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Full Hearings

Hearing: 24th February 2009, day 113

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ROSEMARY NELSON

PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

 

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held at:
The Interpoint Centre
20-24 York Street
Belfast BT15 1AQ


on Tuesday, 24 February 2009
commencing at 10.00 am


Day 113

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



1 Tuesday, 24 February 2009

2 (10.00 am)

3 (Proceedings delayed)

4 (10.11 am)

5 (Closed session)

6 (1.04 pm)

7 (The short adjournment)

8 (2.00 pm)

9 (Closed session)

10 (3.40 pm)

11 (Short break)

12 (4.10 pm)

13 MR COLIN PORT (affirmed)

14 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

16 Yes, Mr Phillips?

17 MR PHILLIPS: Now, sir, before I ask Mr Port any questions,

18 I should make an announcement about the closed hearing

19 in his case.

20 Again, you have indicated that part of his evidence

21 will be heard in a closed session. So far as the

22 matters to be covered, they are, first, particularly

23 sensitive questions which were raised in relation to the

24 possibility of collusion in relation to the

25 investigation itself; and secondly, some sensitive

 

 

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1 matters in relation to sources of intelligence.

2 Now, Mr Port, can you give us your full names,

3 please?

4 A. Colin Dunlop Port.

5 Q. Thank you. I think it is right, isn't it, that you have

6 made two statements to the Inquiry? Can we see the

7 first, please, at RNI-817-379 (displayed). And if we

8 flick over to RNI-817-417 (displayed), do see your

9 signature there and the date of 6 February this year?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. And then a second statement at RNI-817-420 (displayed),

12 and again, I think we see your signature, don't we, at

13 RNI-817-473 (displayed) and the same date, 6 February

14 this year?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. Now, can we please begin by looking at your early

17 career, and that means looking, I think, at your second

18 statement at RNI-817-421 and I think we will take it up

19 in paragraph 5 (displayed).

20 There you tell us that you began your career in the

21 police service in 1974 in Manchester, and go on to

22 explain that in the, I think, 15 years or so that you

23 spent there before moving to Warwickshire, you were

24 involved in murder investigations at various stages of

25 your career. Is that correct?

 

 

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1 A. At every rank, yes, that's correct.

2 Q. And during that period leading up to 1989, by which time

3 I think you were a detective chief inspector, were you

4 ever SIO or deputy SIO in relation to a murder

5 investigation?

6 A. Yes, I was.

7 Q. On many occasions? On a few occasions? Can you

8 remember now?

9 A. A few occasions.

10 Q. Yes. Thank you. Can I next ask you just a few

11 questions about your appointments in the former

12 Yugoslavia and then later in Rwanda, which you touch on

13 in paragraph 7, which we see at the bottom of the screen

14 there and on the next, page, RNI-817-422 (displayed).

15 What, first of all, were you doing, please, in the

16 former Yugoslavia?

17 A. I was investigating the circumstances of the genocide

18 and the war crimes which took place in those two

19 countries.

20 Q. In both former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda?

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. In relation to your work in Rwanda in particular, were

23 there aspects of that work that you think were useful,

24 matters you could draw on in the course of your work on

25 the Rosemary Nelson investigation?

 

 

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1 A. Yes, I think in particular my relationship and use of

2 non-Governmental organisations, and relationships

3 generally with other foreign governments.

4 Q. Thank you. Now, just going back to your career and the

5 phase you mention in paragraphs 9 and 10, where you

6 became in, I think, 1996, the Head of the South East

7 Regional Crime Squad and explain in paragraph 10 what

8 was involved in that responsibility.

9 Can I ask you, please: was this your first

10 substantial experience of liaising with outside agencies

11 and using covert surveillance techniques, or is that

12 something that you dealt with earlier in your career?

13 A. I dealt with it throughout my career.

14 Q. Can I take it from the comments you make here that those

15 were two important features of your work in the South

16 East Regional Crime Squad?

17 A. Very much so.

18 Q. Thank you.

19 In relation in particular to the business of using

20 covert techniques, can I take it that you would be doing

21 so in order to gather evidence for prosecution?

22 A. Intelligence and evidence?

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. Preferably evidence.

25 Q. Yes. But whether you were looking at high level

 

 

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1 criminals or, indeed, corrupt police officers, the aim

2 presumably was to that gather sufficient evidence for

3 prosecution?

4 A. Absolutely.

5 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as this appointment is

6 concerned, can I ask you to move now to paragraph 16,

7 because -- that's at RNI-817-424 (displayed) -- you tell

8 us there that when it was first raised with you as

9 a possibility to come and lead this murder

10 investigation, your immediate reaction was negative?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. Why was that?

13 A. I think I explain in my statement: I had shortly arrived

14 in Norfolk about ten months before, there was lots to

15 do. I was part of a new team and I felt it was

16 inappropriate at that particular time.

17 Q. But you tell us in this same paragraph, 16, that

18 although your Chief Constable's own reaction initially

19 had been the same, he had his mind changed. Is that

20 a fair way of putting it?

21 A. That's correct, yes.

22 Q. And in the end you were presented with a situation

23 where, as you put it, "he told me that I had to do it"?

24 A. That's correct.

25 Q. Why?

 

 

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1 A. He said there was no alternative, no one else would

2 do it.

3 Q. Right. So, again, it sounds as though -- and I think

4 you mention this elsewhere -- others had been asked and

5 they came to you and your boss said, "You have got to

6 do it"?

7 A. That's my understanding, yes.

8 Q. As I understand it also, you expected it to last for

9 three months. Is that right?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. That was the assurance you were given?

12 A. It was.

13 Q. In fact, as I understand it, you were here for a good

14 deal longer than that. When did you eventually leave

15 Northern Ireland and your work here?

16 A. At the end of 2001.

17 Q. Thank you.

18 Now, so far as your very initial contact with the

19 investigation and discussions about it are concerned, we

20 see in paragraph 17 that you came over on 29 March to

21 discuss the matter. And can I ask you again --

22 unfortunately it goes over the page to, I think it must

23 be, paragraph 17 -- must be, I think -- at RNI-817-425

24 (displayed). That's right.

25 What did you understand from Sir Ronnie Flanagan,

 

 

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1 when you spoke to him, as to the role he was looking for

2 you to take up?

3 A. I think, as I say in my statement, it was very much

4 hands-on and I would be overseeing the investigation.

5 Q. And so far as the briefing that he gave you is

6 concerned, can I ask you to look with me, please, at

7 paragraph 4 of your first statement at RNI-817-380

8 (displayed) because that also touches on this early

9 meeting, although I think the date is probably wrong

10 there. 23 March, it says. I think it is possibly -- is

11 that right -- it is the 29th?

12 A. Yes, that's right.

13 Q. The points you touch on there: he explained to you the

14 circumstances in which David Phillips of the Kent

15 Constabulary was leaving, and then you record him as

16 saying that it was a serious issue, people were already

17 drawing comparisons with Pat Finucane's murder.

18 So it sounds as though right from the start you were

19 being made aware of the potential political

20 ramifications of the murder. Is that correct?

21 A. That's correct, and in fairness to Sir Dan Crompton, he

22 mentioned those when he spoke to me on the Friday.

23 Q. And presumably the reference to Patrick Finucane there

24 was in the context of the suggestion made right from the

25 outset in relation to Rosemary Nelson that she had been

 

 

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1 murdered because of the association made in people's

2 minds between her and her clients. Is that right?

3 A. That was my understanding, yes.

4 Q. Yes. And you say also that you -- that's Sir Ronnie and

5 you -- talked about her background. What do you mean by

6 that, please?

7 A. What her client base was, what -- who she represented,

8 generally stuff like that.

9 Q. In other words, to give you some more detail?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Now, if we move on in this first statement at

12 RNI-817-382 (displayed), you tell us there in relation

13 to the political significance that Sir Ronnie told you

14 it was of high political importance and that he had

15 a continuing dialogue with the Secretary of State about

16 it. And he briefed you then about the NGO involvement

17 as well.

18 So far as the political aspect of the investigation

19 is concerned, from the moment you took up your post in

20 the early part of April, did that political focus and

21 attention continue?

22 A. Yes, it did.

23 Q. And how did you deal with that aspect of the work?

24 A. I saw that very much as my responsibility, taking it

25 away from the SIO.

 

 

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1 My role was to deal with issues at a strategic level

2 and clearly the political level was at a strategic

3 level. And what I did with that was try to keep any

4 potential for political interference away from the

5 investigation and basically, in rugby league terms, give

6 them the hand off.

7 Q. So in a sense, you were protecting the more hands-on but

8 senior investigators from having to deal with all of

9 that?

10 A. That's my job.

11 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the way in which the

12 investigation was being regarded by Sir Ronnie is

13 concerned, can I ask you to go back with me to

14 paragraph 17 of your second statement at RNI-817-425

15 (displayed), because here you are talking about

16 a question you posed about resourcing.

17 As I understand it, you were told from the outset

18 that there were no limits to the budget for this

19 investigation. Is that right?

20 A. That's correct. And in fact, when I asked him for the

21 budget for the investigation, he said 750 million, which

22 was the budget of the Royal Ulster Constabulary at that

23 time. It is the first time for a long, long time I have

24 run an operation where I did not have a restraint on

25 budget, other than my good management.

 

 

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1 Q. Now, so far as Sir Ronnie Flanagan is concerned,

2 finally, can I just ask you about how things progressed

3 with him once you had come to take up your post, and ask

4 you -- I am afraid we are flipping backwards and

5 forwards; the nature of the two statements -- to go back

6 with me to paragraph 6 of the first statement at

7 RNI-817-381 (displayed), because here, four lines from

8 the end, you say:

9 "Whilst we had our moments, Sir Ronnie Flanagan

10 behaved admirably, balancing my demands with the morale,

11 safety and security of the much wider environment.

12 Ensuring that I justified my role and accounted for my

13 actions was something I would have expected any

14 Chief Constable to do."

15 So just picking up a few points from that, what were

16 the moments that you had with Sir Ronnie?

17 A. There were a number of issues. There were issues

18 regarding particular acts that I wanted to do. He quite

19 rightly asked me to justify my actions, which I freely

20 did.

21 He, after all, was trying to run a big organisation

22 and here you have an outside deputy chief constable

23 making demands which had never been asked before. There

24 are other people who had been before me and never asked,

25 and it was difficult. And it was difficult for him,

 

 

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1 bearing in mind that he had to look after the morale,

2 the safety and the general security of the wider

3 population of this part of Ireland.

4 Q. Just picking up that point you have made, was he aware,

5 as far as you could tell, from the outset that the

6 investigation was going to take the force -- the RUC,

7 I mean -- into new territory?

8 A. I think it became perfectly clear because the way that

9 we were progressing the investigation, that was

10 a natural assumption and he clearly became aware of this

11 because I was asking difficult questions.

12 Q. Now, so far as justifying your role and accounting for

13 your actions, you have cited that as an aspect of your

14 relationship. Was that a feature of your dealings with

15 him throughout your time here; in other words, that from

16 time to time he required you to explain what you wanted

17 to do and why, so that he could be satisfied?

18 A. Absolutely. And as I say, I would expect any

19 Chief Constable to do the same.

20 Q. And was there a formal system for reporting between you?

21 A. The formal system was that if there were any issues that

22 I needed to bring to his attention of significance, then

23 I would have an open door policy to him.

24 Q. So really it was left in your court, if I can put it

25 that way?

 

 

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1 A. Absolutely.

2 Q. Did he from time to time, as it were, contact you and

3 ask for an update on a specific issue, or generally?

4 A. Yes, he would query particular things which he had heard

5 about and then I would brief him. But generally it was

6 the other way round because what I wanted to do was to

7 make sure that he didn't get to know things which had

8 taken place without me telling him.

9 Q. In other words to make sure he was fully informed?

10 A. Absolutely.

11 Q. And not, therefore, taken by surprise?

12 A. Yes, I have always operated with a no surprises rule and

13 I don't want people to be caught by surprise.

14 Q. No. But no requirement for regular or, indeed, any

15 written reporting from you to him?

16 A. No, not at all.

17 Q. And is it right to say that in the course of your time

18 here, and indeed at the end of your time when you left

19 and moved back to England full-time, if I can put it

20 that way, there was no written summing up or report to

21 him in that sort of formal sense?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. Now, so far as your Terms of Reference are concerned,

24 can we look at what you tell us in your evidence about

25 that at RNI-817-425 (displayed), beginning at

 

 

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1 paragraph 19. You tell us there, first of all you

2 drafted the Terms of Reference. Is that right?

3 A. That's right.

4 Q. Using an ACPO precedent or model?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Did you consult with anybody else in England about them?

7 A. I spoke to Sir Dan Crompton about them, yes.

8 Q. So far as Sir Ronnie himself is concerned, did he

9 suggest any alterations or amendments?

10 A. None that I recall.

11 Q. And as I understand it, therefore, having submitted them

12 to him, they came back to you in the form of a letter

13 from him to you?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. Thank you. Now, obviously, the paragraph with which

16 a great deal of time has been taken up is paragraph 7 of

17 the Terms of Reference. What I would like to do, if

18 I may, is to get that on the screen at RNI-831-084 and

19 with it paragraph 8 of your first statement, to help

20 you, and that's at RNI-817-381 (displayed).

21 Now, looking at paragraph 7, everybody is very

22 familiar with it and you, of course, are as well. Was

23 that the sort of access to intelligence that you were

24 used to obtaining in the course of your investigative

25 work in England?

 

 

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1 A. Yes, it was.

2 Q. So you weren't, in terms of the English experience that

3 made up your career to this point, conscious of going

4 into any new territory?

5 A. Oh, this was very new territory for me.

6 Q. Sorry, this was very new territory?

7 A. Very new territory in Northern Ireland.

8 Q. In Northern Ireland, exactly. But in terms of what

9 paragraph 7 sets out, that's what you were used to

10 getting as an SIO, senior officer investigating, in

11 England?

12 A. Absolutely.

13 Q. But what I'm getting at is were you aware, as you

14 drafted it for use in the Rosemary Nelson case, that it

15 was by no means usual in Northern Ireland?

16 A. Yes, and it became clearer and clearer as time went on.

17 Q. But was it something that you were aware of and thinking

18 of when you drafted it?

19 A. Yes, it was.

20 Q. So you deliberately put it in wide terms when you

21 drafted it?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. Presumably knowing that it would cause something of

24 a stir?

25 A. I didn't do it to cause a stir, I did it because I felt

 

 

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1 that was the professional way that I was going to

2 approach this investigation. The stir is a matter for

3 others.

4 Q. Yes, but if you weren't aware at the time you were

5 drafting it, you became aware very quickly presumably

6 that that's not the way things operated in

7 Northern Ireland?

8 A. Yes, that's correct.

9 Q. The SIO in a murder investigation, even a very

10 significant one such as this, would not ordinarily get

11 "unlimited access to all intelligence and information"?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. Yes. Can I ask you about one aspect of this, about

14 which, again, some evidence has been given, and that's

15 the use of the word "you" at the start of it. Obviously

16 in the context, it is a reference to yourself by

17 Sir Ronnie in his letter.

18 Now, if we look at paragraph 8 of your first

19 statement, on the right-hand side of the screen there,

20 do you see the second sentence says:

21 "As far as I was concerned ..."

22 And you are referring to this paragraph:

23 "... it meant the Murder Investigation Team would be

24 given unfettered and unrestricted access to all

25 intelligence material."

 

 

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1 So as I understand it, you read the "you" there to

2 cover not only yourself, Colin Port, but also the team?

3 A. Yes, and perhaps I badly drafted it.

4 Q. But did you become aware on arriving in Northern Ireland

5 in the first weeks and months that others were perhaps

6 interpreting it in a rather more personal way, that this

7 was access afforded to you, Colin Port, and not to other

8 members of the team?

9 A. I did become aware of that, yes.

10 Q. Did you at any point seek to get those Terms of

11 Reference changed so as to make what you are telling us

12 there in paragraph 8 rather clearer?

13 A. No, as far as I was concerned, they were clear. It was

14 just badly drafted by me. As far as I was concerned,

15 others were allowed access to intelligence once they had

16 reached the developed vetting stage.

17 Q. We will come back to that in a moment because obviously

18 it became something of an issue during the

19 investigation. But were there occasions where, as it

20 were, you were tied to the actual words there:

21 "You will have unlimited access ..."

22 And required to keep things which were disclosed to

23 you to yourself?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And did that cause a difficulty from time to time in the

 

 

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1 investigation?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Can you give us an example? I'm sure we will come to

4 it, but can you give us an example now?

5 A. Probably the largest example was when I asked for

6 details of CHISs and the fact that I alone was allowed

7 access to the Special Branch CHIS list, which I had

8 asked for, whereas with the Crime Branch CHIS list

9 myself and Mr Provoost shared it.

10 Q. Without any difficulty?

11 A. Absolutely.

12 Q. We will come back to that in a moment. Can I ask you

13 just to look again at paragraph 7 because it seems from

14 some of the evidence the Inquiry has now heard that

15 other officers, technically Special Branch officers,

16 read into that paragraph some qualifying words; in other

17 words, that in essence the need to know principle still

18 applied, so that by way of caveat in paragraph 7, there

19 would be the requirement that the information was

20 relevant, necessary and that its disclosure was

21 proportionate.

22 Now, can I ask you, was that a point of view which

23 was expressed to you at the time?

24 A. No, paragraph 7, despite the "you" point, is quite

25 clear:

 

 

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1 "You will have unlimited access to all intelligence

2 and information available and all files held by the

3 RUC."

4 The question of relevance was a question for me, not

5 a question for others.

6 Q. I understand your point of view and it is very clear

7 from the contemporaneous documents that that's the

8 attitude you took. What I'm asking you is whether this

9 other attitude, the other interpretation that I have

10 tried to outline to you, was one that you were aware of,

11 that people were saying to you, "Well, that may be what

12 it says, but we are going to take it as meaning as

13 follows"?

14 A. No one said that, no.

15 Q. No. It is important. What I'm trying to do, to be

16 clear, is to disentangle what was going on at the time

17 with what people may be telling the Inquiry now. So

18 when you, as it were, played your Terms of Reference

19 card in the various meetings, discussions, at the time,

20 nobody came back to you and said, "Well, yes, but that's

21 subject to relevance and necessity and proportionality,"

22 et cetera, et cetera?

23 A. No, but in fairness a number of people did ask me to

24 explain why I needed this information. That's

25 completely understandable. We are talking about

 

 

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1 people's lives here.

2 Q. Was there ever a moment in the course of that sort of

3 discussion when you on the other hand said, "Actually,

4 no, I do not have to do that because of my Terms of

5 Reference. Look at paragraph 7"?

6 A. There are times when I came very, very close to that.

7 It was an iterative process where I would say, "This is

8 what I want" and they would say, "Why do you need it?"

9 I would explain.

10 But the bottom line is I had these Terms of

11 Reference and people knew that's what I wanted and

12 people knew I would get what I wanted eventually.

13 Q. Thank you. So far as Sir Ronnie's attitude to that

14 particular issue and this part of your Terms of

15 Reference, did you ever doubt his support in giving you

16 what you told him that you needed?

17 A. I think in relation to the CHIS lists, it was causing

18 him a great deal of angst, understandable angst as the

19 head of an organisation dealing with issues that they

20 dealt with. And it was a long process, a long drawn out

21 process which was at times, for me, frustrating.

22 However, I got what I wanted and that was it.

23 Q. Now, so far as passing the word round about these Terms

24 of Reference, can I just ask you to clarify something.

25 If you look at the right-hand side, the paragraph we

 

 

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1 were looking at, paragraph 8, you say:

2 "I recall I gave copies of the Terms of Reference to

3 ACC Special Branch and ACC Crime as well as to the

4 family."

5 Bearing in mind that comment, can I just -- on the

6 right-hand side, please -- flick over to paragraph 12,

7 which is, I think, RNI-817-382 to RNI-817-383. If we

8 try RNI-817-382 first, please (displayed). That's how

9 the paragraph begins. If we go over to RNI-817-383

10 (displayed), at the top, do you see there you say:

11 "I think my Terms of Reference were circulated to

12 them ..."

13 That's the ACCs:

14 "... shortly after this meeting"?

15 Whichever is the precise position doesn't matter,

16 but can I take it that you were taking steps, however

17 you did it, to make sure that they were fully aware of

18 your Terms of Reference?

19 A. Yes, and in fairness to Sir Ronnie, at that meeting he

20 made it clear that I had wide-ranging Terms of

21 Reference.

22 Q. And at the time -- in other words, at the moment of

23 handing over or delivery, or however you want to put

24 it -- was there any adverse reaction from either of

25 those senior officers to the Terms of Reference?

 

 

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1 A. None at all.

2 Q. Now, can I ask you about the particular role that you

3 decided that you would take up: the OIOC -- I think

4 referred to by Mr Kinkaid as the OIOC; it was him -- and

5 ask you to look with me, please, to your second

6 statement and paragraphs 5 and 6, and that's RNI-817-421

7 (displayed). Thank you. We can take the other page off

8 the screen. Thank you very much.

9 Here you tell us that at an earlier stage of your

10 career, as I understand it, when you were in the

11 Warwickshire force -- it must be in the late 80s and

12 very early 90s, from the chronology here -- you acted as

13 an OIOC on a rape inquiry where there were three

14 different police forces involved. Is that right?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. And then again after your promotion, you say you

17 continued as an OIOC in that. Was that the same case

18 or --

19 A. Yes, it was, and it was only for a short time because I

20 didn't think it was appropriate as the Head of CID to

21 continue it. But I needed to find someone who was

22 willing to take the job on.

23 Q. Right. What were the differences between that OIOC role

24 and the role you took up and the title you gave

25 yourself, as you explain, in the Rosemary Nelson

 

 

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1 investigation?

2 A. Well, I was working in a part of country that I knew. I

3 was working with systems that I knew, I was working to

4 one standardisation of processes that I knew. I was

5 working to a large extent with people that I knew. Very

6 great differences.

7 Q. And also presumably at a sort of fundamental level you

8 were only dealing with one force, rather than in the

9 case of the OIOC here, where there were three -- I think

10 you say three forces involved. Is that right?

11 A. That's right, but many OIOCs work within one force. If

12 you take, for example, the recent Suffolk murders, there

13 was an OIOC there within one force.

14 Q. So there would be a number of SIOs, would there, and one

15 OIOC on top, if I can put it that way?

16 A. In some cases, yes. It depends upon the linkages and it

17 depends upon the sophistication of the investigation.

18 Q. Mr Kinkaid, again, when he was talking about this said

19 he thought your role in the Rosemary Nelson

20 investigation was like that of a Gold Commander, as it

21 would be known nowadays. Do you agree with that?

22 A. Yes, I do.

23 Q. So far as the impact of this on the investigation is

24 concerned, and its effects, you talk about that in

25 paragraph 18 of this same statement, the second

 

 

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1 statement, at RNI-817-425 (displayed). Here you say

2 that the role you were undertaking was unusual, if not

3 unprecedented, in British policing.

4 Now, just to help us, the main reasons for that

5 comment are?

6 A. Well, I was actually being imposed upon an investigation

7 which was running in a part of the country which I had

8 never had any experience of before, and running a live

9 murder investigation as a non-RUC police officer in

10 Ireland.

11 Q. So, as you say, not only unprecedented or outside your

12 experience, but also unprecedented for policing as

13 a whole in this country?

14 A. Absolutely.

15 Q. Now, in terms of the impact of this on the SIO, you say

16 there:

17 "There can only be one SIO in any investigation."

18 Presumably that was a view that you took with you to

19 Northern Ireland based on your own experience?

20 A. That's right.

21 Q. So how did that relationship work out in practice

22 between you and Mr Kinkaid?

23 A. I think, in credit to Mr Kinkaid, he is a professional

24 officer, a very bright individual, who realised the

25 significance and importance of this and he got on with

 

 

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1 his job, and that was the senior investigating officer

2 of the murder.

3 I had a more strategic role and I think, as the

4 Chair has mentioned on previous occasions, I was the

5 boss but Mr Kinkaid was the Senior Investigating

6 Officer.

7 Q. And looking at specific aspects of your role, you help

8 us with a short description in paragraph 21, RNI-817-426

9 (displayed), where you say your role in the

10 investigation was to devise and monitor the overall

11 strategic approach and then go on to touch on other

12 points, including the one that you and I have already

13 discussed about the political angle and, as it were,

14 protecting him from that.

15 So you were the outward facing head of the

16 investigation in that sense, but you were also directing

17 and monitoring the strategy?

18 A. Absolutely.

19 Q. And presumably in order to preserve the integrity of his

20 position, the SIO's position, that would involve very

21 close liaison with him?

22 A. Without a doubt. It was essential and, in fact, we

23 shared the same office for a little while.

24 Q. Now, given what you have just said about Mr Kinkaid and

25 about your approach, is it fair to say that the key to

 

 

25


1 this working in practice was more with the personalities

2 of the individuals involved than with the structure

3 itself?

4 A. No, I think it is to do with the professionalism. It

5 doesn't matter about their personalities. These are

6 professional investigators who understood their role,

7 understood my role, as I did theirs.

8 Q. Now, so far as other individuals are concerned, you tell

9 us slightly later in your statement at paragraph 33,

10 RNI-817-429 (displayed), that after you had arrived,

11 taken up your post, you identified key further posts

12 that you wanted to fill. And the one I want to ask you

13 about first was the need for, as you put it at the top

14 of this page:

15 "... an experienced SIO to act as a personal adviser

16 to me."

17 And as I understand it, in that role you recruited

18 Mr Provoost. Is that right?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. And once he came to the investigation -- we know he

21 undertook the 28-day review; we will look at that

22 briefly in a minute -- but once he, as it were, had

23 completed his review and remained with you, how did his

24 role fit into what you have just been describing as the

25 relationship between you and Mr Kinkaid?

 

 

26


1 A. If I wasn't about, if Mr Kinkaid wanted any points of

2 reference, he would go to Mr Provoost.

3 Q. And in addition, as I understand it, he was running the

4 collusion --

5 A. He was.

6 Q. -- strand of the investigation. Is that right?

7 A. He was.

8 Q. Now, can I just ask you about the second individual on

9 the list. His name is redacted, as you see. He came to

10 run the Intelligence Cell which you established. Is

11 that right?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. And, again, were you aware that the way in which the

14 cell was set up and the resourcing which was devoted to

15 it were also unprecedented in Northern Ireland?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Now, so far as the day-to-day running of the

18 investigation is concerned -- and, again, the

19 relationship between you and the SIO -- who was

20 responsible for establishing lines of enquiry?

21 A. The SIO.

22 Q. And in terms of reviewing them, reconsidering them,

23 deciding on new ones, does the same answer apply?

24 A. It applies, but it also applies to me as well and the

25 rest of the senior management team. We were a team.

 

 

27


1 Q. Yes. So that if, for instance, there was to be

2 a reconsideration of an existing line of an enquiry, you

3 would expect there to be full discussion between

4 Mr Kinkaid, yourself, his deputy perhaps, and

5 Mr Provoost?

6 A. It depends upon the -- it depends upon the line of

7 enquiry. If it was something pretty fundamental to the

8 way the investigation was going, yes. If it was

9 a straightforward cut-off, then not in all cases, no.

10 Q. Now, so far as the challenge of working in

11 Northern Ireland is concerned, you've mentioned it a few

12 times already this afternoon, but can I ask you to look

13 now with me at paragraph 11 of your first statement at

14 RNI-817-382 (displayed), because here you say succinctly

15 that your immediate impression on arriving in

16 Northern Ireland was that there were significant

17 differences between the way things were done here as

18 compared to other parts of the UK. And then you say:

19 "I had to balance an ongoing murder enquiry which

20 was under intense scrutiny with the desire to change the

21 way things operated elsewhere."

22 I think there may be a word or two missing there.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. But is the point you are making that you wanted to

25 achieve, as it were, the standards that you were used to

 

 

28


1 following in your work back in England, but were very

2 conscious that three weeks' of work had already happened

3 and that this was an investigation which was in the

4 spotlight, so you had to be sensitive to all of that in

5 bringing in changes?

6 A. Absolutely, and one of my greatest regrets is that I

7 wasn't there from day 1. It would have been far easier

8 for everyone concerned if I had have been there from

9 day 1.

10 Q. How did you address that specific issue of what had

11 already happened, as it were, in the first three weeks,

12 on your arrival?

13 A. Which specific issues, sorry?

14 Q. Well, the issue that you have just raised, namely, you

15 know, that it would have been a lot better if you had

16 been there from the beginning. What did you do to

17 address that and to assess what, in your view, should

18 have been done on your arrival?

19 A. What I did was to familiarise myself with the systems,

20 to understand how it operated, which was very different

21 from what I had seen before, but nevertheless had

22 operated and stood the test of time as it had gone on.

23 Q. Now, did the sensitivities and the fact that you were

24 working with RUC officers -- and particularly senior RUC

25 officers, for whom this was all very normal -- did that

 

 

29


1 make the business of introducing changes one which was

2 difficult?

3 A. Yes, I'm not in the business of introducing change for

4 change's sake; I will introduce change if it is going to

5 improve without a dramatic effect upon the progress of

6 investigation. And, frankly, as I explain later in

7 relation to HOLMES, it would have been pointless.

8 Q. I would like to look at that in just a moment.

9 A. Sure.

10 Q. But can I, by way of introduction, ask you to look at

11 your second statement at RNI-817-432, paragraph 43

12 (displayed), because here you make the point that you

13 had to build relationships with those who had already

14 been working -- RUC officers, of course -- and that

15 was a very important consideration.

16 Did it mean that you had to soft pedal on

17 challenging some of the practices which were familiar to

18 them?

19 A. I'm not sure I've ever been consciously called a soft

20 pedaller. If I think there is an issue, I will deal

21 with the issue and I'll deal with it robustly. If

22 I feel I can deal with it in a softer way, then, yes, I

23 will deal with it in a softer way. I'm a fairly

24 straightforward individual.

25 Q. But you weren't treading on eggshells in this case.

 

 

30


1 We know you were later, but you weren't treading on them

2 at this point?

3 A. No, I have to say that in credit to everyone involved in

4 the major investigation, they behaved professionally

5 towards me, professionally towards my colleagues. They

6 were desperate to find out who had killed

7 Rosemary Nelson and they did their best throughout the

8 whole of my time and, in fact, subsequent to my time.

9 Q. Now, just going to the 28-day review, the point that you

10 flagged up just a moment ago, you explain in this

11 section of your statement that this was something that

12 you were a proponent of; indeed, by then you say it was

13 good practice -- that's by 1999 -- and so, as you

14 explain, you asked Mr Provoost to come and conduct the

15 28-day review in this case.

16 You tell us in paragraph 46, RNI-817-433

17 (displayed), that you asked him during his work to

18 liaise regularly with the SIO, and presumably that was

19 with these sorts of considerations -- the ones we have

20 been talking about -- in mind, that it had to be handled

21 very carefully and sensitively?

22 A. Just to clarify, I asked Mr Provoost to be my deputy.

23 His first job was to do the 28-day review.

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. That's correct, yes.

 

 

31


1 Q. One of the matters he talked about -- and I don't think

2 we need to look at any of the detail, you will perhaps

3 be relieved to hear -- was the way in which the HOLMES

4 system in the major incident room was operating and the

5 differences between the way it was operating and the way

6 that he and you were used to the system operating in

7 England. That's right, isn't it?

8 A. But there were variations in England. I knew that from

9 my own experience from Greater Manchester to

10 Warwickshire to Norfolk.

11 Q. What you found in this case was something else again?

12 A. Absolutely.

13 Q. And what you set out for us -- and I would like to look

14 at both the passages, please -- at RNI-817-434 and

15 RNI-817-435 (displayed), is, as it were, the reasoning

16 process when confronted with what he was telling you and

17 what you presumably worked out for yourself about the

18 system as it was in fact operating. And you set out the

19 four possible options which were open to you in relation

20 to HOLMES there?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And you explain that the one you elected to go with was

23 the fourth one, which was essentially leave things as

24 they were, keep them under review and presumably hope it

25 all worked out all right in the end?

 

 

32


1 A. That was my judgment and I think I explain in

2 paragraph 53 why I did that. I have had experience of

3 back record conversion, I have seen the difficulties and

4 I think I explained my rationale quite clearly there.

5 Q. Now, I can see also you say in paragraph 54 it is

6 a matter you raised with others, with the senior

7 officers, and they agreed with the approach you had

8 decided to take, option 4. Did deciding to stick with

9 the system as it was ever create difficulties for the

10 investigation?

11 A. It was difficult for the non-RUC officers to come and

12 work in this context initially, but they got used to it

13 and those were the difficulties they amounted to. Had

14 it been grossly inefficient, which it wasn't, then I

15 would have changed it regardless of the considerations.

16 Q. So even if in that situation you would have found

17 yourself treading on toes and going against the local

18 practices, as it were, you say you would have been

19 prepared to do that had you really thought it necessary?

20 A. If I thought it was necessary, yes.

21 Q. Now, looking at 49 where you set out the three

22 constituent parts of the investigation: The mainstream

23 investigation through the MIR, the Intelligence Cell we

24 have mentioned and the Collusion Cell -- that's

25 Mr Provoost's part of the case -- how did you go about

 

 

33


1 ensuring from your position, as it were, on top of all

2 of this, that there was effective communication between

3 the three parts of the case?

4 A. There are formal and informal communications systems.

5 The informal communication system was that I was working

6 in the same office as the SIO and I was discussing this

7 structure with him and his deputy. This wasn't done in

8 isolation, this wasn't Colin Port imposing anything;

9 this was done through negotiation, consultation, what is

10 going to work best for us. That's the product.

11 Q. So there was a meeting structure, reporting in meetings,

12 as I understand it?

13 A. That's right.

14 Q. Any other formal ways of communicating from one part to

15 the other?

16 A. Well, clearly there was -- there were processes in terms

17 of officers' reports and the like which came through,

18 yes.

19 Q. Now, in terms of some of the material generated by the

20 Intelligence Cell and Collusion Cell, presumably there

21 were difficulties about full dissemination because of

22 the nature of the material?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. How did you get round that so as to ensure that, where

25 necessary, those officers in the team who weren't part

 

 

34


1 of those two cells, as you put it, were sufficiently

2 informed?

3 A. I think it was easier in relation to the Intelligence

4 Cell because the Intelligence Cell was working directly

5 for the SIO.

6 The Collusion Cell was slightly more problematic

7 because one of the things that we arranged with people

8 was if they didn't want to tell the RUC something, then

9 it would be a non-RUC officer and, indeed, on many

10 occasions it was Mr Provoost and myself who went to see

11 these people and then we had to make a judgment. But,

12 again, in fairness to the SIO and his deputy in

13 particular, they understood this; they understood the

14 seriousness of the potential allegations and they

15 behaved admirably.

16 Q. And as I understood what Mr Kinkaid was saying, there

17 were aspects of the work of the Collusion Cell which

18 they never became privy to because of the way the system

19 worked. Is that right?

20 A. That's right, but I think that's the advantage of having

21 a strategic lead because I was aware of all of those

22 issues, as was Mr Provoost, and we were able to make

23 sure that they didn't significantly impact upon the

24 major investigation.

25 Q. So that you too, as it were, sitting again, if I can use

 

 

35


1 that expression, above the thing, were not only privy to

2 what was coming in to the Collusion Cell, but also were

3 fully informed, obviously, as to the other strands of

4 the investigation?

5 A. I wouldn't say I was informed of every piece of

6 intelligence or the day-to-day intelligence work,

7 because I wasn't. I was aware of the strategic issues

8 which carried on.

9 Q. Now, so far as the approach that you took is concerned,

10 you say in paragraph 58, RNI-817-436 at the bottom of

11 the page (displayed), that it might be characterised as

12 the use of MIM plus, and then go on to explain the

13 various sources of guidance that you drew on over the

14 months, and years indeed, of your involvement, beginning

15 with the Stevens team and covering all sorts of other

16 individuals and organisations.

17 Now, so far as the murder manual itself is

18 concerned, again, you explain that you were aware of the

19 work going to there -- this is paragraph 56, which we

20 have on the left-hand side -- you brought a copy of the

21 text with you and consulted it, as I understand it, from

22 time to time during your work. Is that right?

23 A. That's right.

24 Q. And specifically you say in relation to what is referred

25 to in the manual as victimology?

 

 

36


1 A. That's right.

2 Q. Now, so far as the manual is concerned, did you

3 understand it to be, as other witnesses have told us, an

4 attempt to bring together established best practice in

5 England and Wales in particular, in murder

6 investigations?

7 A. It was an attempt to do that, yes.

8 Q. And in that sense, it brought things on from what I

9 think you refer to -- we have just got it here on the

10 right-hand side at the bottom -- as the SIO's handbook,

11 which you still found useful, as I understand it?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. Now, the question I wanted to ask you about the guidance

14 in the manual is this: did you regard it as flexible

15 enough to be of value at least in this investigation, as

16 in a wide range of other murder investigations?

17 A. The murder investigation manual was not a code; it was

18 a collection of some of the best guidance that was

19 around. Useful? Yes. But it wasn't the only thing

20 and, frankly, any decent investigator needs the

21 flexibility and not to be bound by a book or by

22 processes because otherwise you are more concerned with

23 the process than you are with the outcome.

24 Q. So the key to it was using what was set out in it

25 flexibly and so far as the particular circumstances

 

 

37


1 demanded?

2 A. Flexibly, appropriately and was it relevant.

3 Q. Now, so far as the aspects of it, or indeed of the other

4 guidance that you have referred to here -- so far as it

5 was, in your view, useful, applicable, appropriate, what

6 did you do to ensure that, for example, the senior RUC

7 officers were, as it were, getting the benefit of all of

8 that?

9 A. As I say, I shared the same office as them, we talked

10 about things, we talked about where we were going, we

11 talked about the investigation, which lines we were

12 going on, on an informal and formal basis.

13 I know that Sam had a copy of the MIM, which was

14 supplied by Mr Humphreys. He had been on relevant

15 courses, he was aware of the existence of this, but this

16 was just one source of information; an important source,

17 but one source.

18 Q. Now, so far as the direction of the investigation is

19 concerned, can I just turn with you to look at that now,

20 please. In paragraph 41 of this statement, the second

21 statement at RNI-817-432 (displayed), you say:

22 "It was clear to me in the absence of eye-witnesses

23 or immediate forensic evidence, that intelligence would

24 be of fundamental importance to the investigation."

25 The first thing I wanted to ask you is how early on

 

 

38


1 in your time do you think you realised that intelligence

2 would be of fundamental importance?

3 A. On my first visit to Lurgan.

4 Q. Even on 29 March?

5 A. Yes, having spoken to the SIO, spoken to the Kent team,

6 spoken to the FBI there, it was clear that was the

7 situation.

8 Q. That's very helpful. So that would be within two weeks

9 of the murder on your visit -- that's 29 March -- they

10 were presumably telling you, "Look, there is no

11 eye-witness evidence, no CCTV, for example, nobody

12 saying, 'I saw the people who did it', and also nothing

13 of direct evidential value coming out of the forensic

14 work"?

15 A. I think it is far too early in any investigation to say

16 that. You know, the forensic work was still at

17 a preliminary stage. The house-to-house was still going

18 on. The CCTV work took months, if not years, to

19 complete.

20 All I'm saying is that the investigation team that

21 I met at that particular stage were very aware of the

22 potential for intelligence development.

23 Q. But why -- just to be clear about this -- do you think

24 it was so clear to you on 29 March that intelligence was

25 the way forward, rather than the more conventional?

 

 

39


1 A. Because there was intelligence in existence which

2 indicated who was responsible for this murder.

3 Q. So in fact, when you say in the absence of eye-witnesses

4 or immediate forensic evidence, the extra element there

5 is that there was already on the scene, as it were, in

6 existence, the intelligence pointing to the key

7 suspects, which we will talk about in a minute?

8 A. Absolutely.

9 Q. Yes. Now, so far as that is concerned, can I ask you to

10 look now with me at paragraph 46 of your first

11 statement, because here you describe -- and I am afraid it

12 is one of the features of having two statements that you

13 tend to deal with the same points in slightly different

14 ways -- at RNI-817-392 (displayed), there you say:

15 "I took the view that in the absence of CCTV and

16 other more traditional methods of investigation, that

17 intelligence was key to the investigation. The only

18 intelligence we had was that it was a Loyalist murder

19 and, therefore, we maximised our intelligence

20 opportunities against those individuals and against the

21 whole ambit of Loyalist terrorism."

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And then you carry on in the next sentence:

24 "No intelligence that there was a domestic feud or

25 that Colin Duffy had done it. It had all the hallmarks

 

 

40


1 of Loyalist terrorism."

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Now, so far as the rest of the course of your work in

4 Northern Ireland was concerned, did that conviction,

5 that view, about this being a Loyalist terrorist attack,

6 did that ever change?

7 A. I questioned myself on a regular basis about it but,

8 frankly, all the evidence, all the intelligence, pointed

9 to it and I haven't seen anything subsequently that

10 changes me from that.

11 Q. So if you asked yourself the question, as you say you

12 did, you gave the same answer?

13 A. Yes. And I just didn't do it on one occasion, I asked

14 it on many occasions.

15 Q. No. Can I just see how this developed in the first

16 months of the investigation by looking with you at

17 RNI-909-172, which is a secret policy note or decision,

18 and this is from -- I am afraid the copy is not a great

19 copy -- 3 June 1999. So you had been on the scene by

20 this stage for just under two months:

21 "Decision:

22 "The intelligence gathering aspect of the

23 investigation now represents the most important line of

24 enquiry. This has been reflected in the distribution of

25 personnel and IT resources."

 

 

41


1 And we know from the chronology of the investigation

2 that this decision came before the first of the

3 proactive operations, which eventually became known as

4 Operation George, was launched.

5 Picking up on the points you were making to me

6 earlier about it being too early to say on 29 March what

7 the other lines of investigation were going to yield, is

8 it fair to infer from this that by the beginning of June

9 those more conventional methods of investigation were

10 not yielding fruit and that, therefore, the focus of the

11 investigation became intelligence gathering?

12 A. No, it wouldn't be fair.

13 Q. Right.

14 A. Throughout the whole of the investigation, the

15 conventional murder enquiry continued. It would be

16 wrong to assume that Operation George, as you call it,

17 took over the investigation. That is not correct.

18 Q. Well, that wasn't quite what I was saying, although it

19 is helpful to have that answer. You see, when I quoted

20 you earlier as saying:

21 "I took the view that in the absence of CCTV and

22 other more traditional methods of investigation, that

23 intelligence was the key."

24 And in response to that you were saying, "Oh, well,

25 we hadn't come to the end of our work on CCTV,

 

 

42


1 et cetera", what I'm asking you is whether this marks

2 the moment -- 3 June -- when those other angles -- CCTV,

3 other traditional methods -- had been exhausted?

4 A. Absolutely not. If you look at the HOLMES database, the

5 point that I was trying to make, rather inelegantly, is

6 that throughout the whole period the conventional murder

7 investigation in terms of evidence and in terms of

8 traditional approaches was ongoing. The intelligence

9 was one element of this murder investigation, not the

10 other way round.

11 Q. I see that, but the decision book here tells us that it

12 was the most important line of enquiry by the beginning

13 of June 1999. Now, would you accept that?

14 A. That's what the decision log says, yes.

15 Q. But do you disagree?

16 A. All I say is that if you look at the activity that was

17 going on at this time, there was significant activity

18 going on in the conventional MIR, in fact far more than

19 was going on in the Intelligence Cell at that particular

20 time. That's the reality of the situation.

21 Q. What were other important lines of enquiry at this point

22 then, 3 June?

23 A. The forensic was still an issue, the CCTV was still an

24 issue, collusion as a whole was a massive, massive

25 issue. We tracked down, I think, 430-odd security force

 

 

43


1 personnel, helicopters and the movement of helicopters,

2 the unidentified vehicles, tracing of witnesses. At

3 this stage we still hadn't seen people, important

4 people, who had been with Mrs Nelson the weekend before.

5 There was an enormous amount of work going on.

6 Q. Just trying to understand this then, would it have been

7 more accurate to say that in relation to the key

8 suspects, intelligence gathering is now the most

9 important line of enquiry?

10 A. I think that's probably better, yes.

11 Q. Yes. In other words, the individuals named in

12 intelligence -- obviously we will come to this -- in the

13 early days of the investigation, in terms of, as it

14 were, the investigative case against them, the most

15 important line was by intelligence gathering?

16 A. But don't forget at the same time we were still looking

17 at CCTV. We were still interviewing witnesses and it

18 would have been absolutely wonderful if we had found

19 a witness who had seen an individual driving along, and

20 even to this day, we know that an individual saw people

21 driving along at the particular time, and that

22 individual, I hope, has come forward.

23 Q. Can I move to a completely different topic and that's in

24 a sense back to politics, which we discussed just

25 a little earlier and you explained your role in

 

 

44


1 shielding the SIO from that side of things.

2 Compared to earlier investigations with which you

3 had been involved, in which you had been involved, was

4 the degree of political interest and media scrutiny in

5 this one greater or were you able to draw on comparable

6 experiences earlier in your career?

7 A. I was able to draw upon my work in the former Yugoslavia

8 and Rwanda, yes.

9 Q. Where there would be a great deal of media attention on

10 the work that you and your colleagues were undertaking?

11 A. And political interference, yes.

12 Q. Political interference?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. So you learned how to protect the integrity of your

15 investigation from interference in those cases?

16 A. Potential interference, yes.

17 Q. Yes. Now, so far as contact with Government, if I can

18 put it that way, is concerned, did you have regular

19 contact with officials in the NIO?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And was there, again, a fixed or formal reporting

22 structure? How did that work?

23 A. There was a senior civil servant who got regular updates

24 from me. We met, I think, on a three-monthly basis. If

25 there were significant developments, then I would ring

 

 

45


1 him. That's it, really.

2 Q. We must be slightly careful about names, but was this

3 the Head of the Police Division?

4 A. It was.

5 Q. Thank you.

6 Now, in addition to that, as you explain to us in

7 your statement in paragraph 94 -- if we can have that on

8 the screen, please, RNI- (displayed) -- you had

9 a relationship, which you describe as a very open

10 relationship, with the Anglo-Irish Secretariat. And

11 what I would like to do now, please, is to look with you

12 at one of the notes of -- I think it was the first

13 meeting you had with them in July 1999, RNI-833-001,

14 please (displayed). We can see just from this first

15 page that this, again, appeared to be taking the RUC and

16 officials in Northern Ireland into new territory, and

17 the Chief Constable had obviously expressed his concerns

18 about it. And as I understand it, what happened is that

19 he came to the meeting with the Irish officials in the

20 early part of July 1999, introduced you and then left.

21 Is that right?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. Yes. Now, in terms of the benefit to the investigation

24 of your contact with the Anglo Irish -- and the Irish

25 side of it in particular, granted that it was obviously

 

 

46


1 unusual, what did you see as the benefit to the

2 investigation?

3 A. Part of my job was to demonstrate to the whole community

4 that we were serious about this investigation. The

5 reason I wanted that to be clear is because, frankly,

6 there were elements of the community who weren't

7 cooperating with us. I saw the Irish side as being

8 very, very informative, very influential, I also knew

9 later that members of the family had regular liaison

10 with them and it was a question of making sure that they

11 had confidence in the investigation and, indeed, the

12 family had confidence in the investigation. But I did

13 use the Anglo-Irish Secretariat on a number of occasions

14 in order to try and get evidence.

15 Q. Yes, and it looks from the material the Inquiry has seen

16 as though there were a number of meetings between you

17 and Irish officials?

18 A. That's correct.

19 Q. During your time here?

20 A. That's correct. Again, I think it was a new phenomenon,

21 nothing that had taken place before.

22 Q. Yes. Can I just look at a couple of aspects of this

23 note, which is not your note, I should be clear about

24 that. It is the note prepared by the Irish civil

25 servants. Here, remembering that it is the beginning

 

 

47


1 of July now, a month on from the secret policy file we

2 looked at, we see at paragraph 22 at RNI-833-005

3 (displayed) that you are recorded as saying that

4 intelligence is the key to the investigation.

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Now, that's putting it rather more widely than you and

7 I were discussing earlier, where what you were saying by

8 way of qualification was it was the key to the specific

9 focus on the key suspects. Do you think it is likely

10 that you put it in that general way to the Irish

11 officials?

12 A. I think I probably did, yes.

13 Q. Now, looking at 21, which we don't have on the screen.

14 Could we have that, please? Thank you. There you give

15 some information to them about the device and the tilt

16 switch mechanism which was part of it, and you say there

17 that:

18 "It was somewhat more sophisticated than those

19 usually associated with Loyalist paramilitaries."

20 So, again, one can take it, can one, that at this

21 point of your knowledge of the thing, some three and

22 a half months after the murder, you recognised that this

23 device was at a higher level than the sort of weapon

24 that the Loyalists we are looking at had used in

25 previous attacks?

 

 

48


1 A. The reason I made that comment is that month later

2 Mrs O'Neill had been killed by the same group using

3 a pipe bomb.

4 Q. Yes, which was an altogether less sophisticated weapon?

5 A. But lethal.

6 Q. Absolutely. But the point you are making there is about

7 sophistication?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Now, so far as the meeting is concerned, you see at the

10 bottom of the page you are asked a question about

11 whether you had got access to intelligence, and you gave

12 the answer:

13 "There was no file on Ms Nelson personally, but

14 [you] tracked cross references to her and some of her

15 clients."

16 On the question of the file, first of all, can

17 I take it that that answer you gave them was based on

18 what you had been told?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. In other words, the information given to you by

21 Special Branch?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And I think, so far as the contemporaneous material

24 suggests, by the Head of Special Branch, in fact, B542?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

49


1 Q. Now, I want to return to that in a moment. But so far

2 as the issues you discussed with the Irish Government

3 are concerned, you go on to address the question of

4 a public inquiry on the next page, RNI-833-006

5 (displayed), paragraph 28, saying that you had no

6 difficulty with the idea of it and considered it

7 essential that everything come out in the open:

8 "He is already endeavouring to tell Paul Nelson as

9 much as possible about the progress of the

10 investigation."

11 We will look at your liaison with the family in

12 a moment. So far as this discussion recorded by the

13 Irish officials is concerned, you were going into some

14 detail about some of the aspects of the ongoing

15 investigation, weren't you?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Now, did you ever consider that in doing so some might

18 think that you were perhaps going a little further than

19 confidentiality, in the normal way of dealing with these

20 things, warranted?

21 A. That could be a traditional view, yes.

22 Q. What would you say in answer to it?

23 A. I would say it is wrong.

24 Q. Why?

25 A. This was a method to demonstrate my openness, my

 

 

50


1 transparency. There is nothing in here that could have

2 caused any danger to anyone and any lives.

3 Q. Sorry, do carry on.

4 A. No, it is quite all right.

5 Q. Was that your guiding principle?

6 A. More or less, yes.

7 Q. Let's look at a meeting in September of the following

8 year next, please, and that's at RNI-458-131 to 137

9 (displayed). Again, it is a note, not made by you, but

10 by the Irish officials and -- RNI-458-131. I think

11 I must have broken the ...

12 DOCUMENT MANAGER: They are the ones we have got.

13 MR PHILLIPS: Can I ask, how many of the pages have you got?

14 DOCUMENT MANAGER: Five.

15 MR PHILLIPS: Right, let's start with this page. It is not

16 the beginning of the note, I'm sorry about that,

17 Mr Port, but what we have on RNI-458-132, so everybody

18 is aware of this, is some comments under the heading

19 "Individual Suspects". I hope you have had a chance to

20 see a hard copy of this note?

21 A. No, I haven't.

22 Q. You haven't seen this?

23 A. No --

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Would this be a convenient moment?

25 MR PHILLIPS: I think it would be a very convenient moment.

 

 

51


1 THE CHAIRMAN: Right, we will have a quarter of an hour's

2 break.

3 5.40 pm, yes.

4 (5.25 pm)

5 (Short break)

6 MR PHILLIPS: I hope we have given you a full copy of the

7 document. I think the difficulty is we have various

8 versions of the document and this is the one that is

9 easiest to read. I hope it is now on the screen. Can

10 we have RNI-458-131, please (displayed). Thank you.

11 You will see there, 13 September 2000, as I said.

12 Called on the Secretariat and various issues are

13 recorded as having been raised with you, which are then

14 followed through in the note.

15 The first comment or the first topic dealt with --

16 sorry.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: I'm so sorry, a little technical problem, we

18 have been locked for LiveNote. (Pause).

19 MR PHILLIPS: Right. Sorry, we were looking at RNI-458-131

20 and the first heading you see at the bottom of the page

21 is, "Concerns of Magee Family."

22 I think this may pick up on something you mentioned

23 earlier, that you became aware at least that the family

24 was in contact with the Irish side and discussing

25 matters with them. Is that right?

 

 

52


1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. Again, we see reference here to the question of calling

3 for a public inquiry. Moving on through the note, just

4 so everybody has seen it, at RNI-458-132 some detail is

5 given about individual suspects, and although there are

6 redactions here which make it more difficult to

7 understand, there is a series of individuals dealt with,

8 with your comments recorded, which takes us over the

9 page to RNI-458-133.

10 Various other topics are touched on. We can see one

11 there in the middle of the page about a journalist who

12 wrote a particular article. A TV appeal, at the bottom

13 of the page and then at 4, at the bottom of RNI-458-134:

14 "Review of the treatment of the threats to

15 Rosemary Nelson by ..."

16 Here you offered them some comments, it appears,

17 going over to RNI-458-135, about the way in which the

18 threats issue had been handled.

19 So I'm clear about that, is that a reference to

20 Mulvihill or is it a reference to the Short report?

21 A. The Short report.

22 Q. Thank you very much. Future prospects for the

23 investigation is the next topic and it looks in summary

24 as though they were pressing you, for, as it were,

25 a timescale or a deadline, and you were simply saying,

 

 

53


1 "I can't give you one, we will do it as quickly as we

2 can, as the work demands."

3 A. And in fairness to the Irish side, they weren't the only

4 people who were pressing the timescales.

5 Q. Indeed. By this stage, September 2000, you had been

6 running the investigation for some 17 months or so?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. Yes. And then finally, at 6, the question of leaks to

9 the media at the bottom of the page, RNI-458-136.

10 This I do want to look at in just a little bit more

11 detail with you because of comments that come up later

12 on this. Here you are explaining to them that there had

13 been some, as it were, deliberate leaks to the media as

14 part of your investigative strategy. Is that right?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. Your point there, as I understand it, is again -- it

17 takes us back to the issue you mentioned just a little

18 while ago, which is about any leaks having the effect of

19 placing, as it is recorded here, any of his colleagues

20 and people involved in the investigation at risk:

21 "He", that's you obviously, "insisted that this had

22 not happened."

23 So again, that presumably was the line that you drew

24 in relation to deliberate disclosure to the media?

25 A. That's correct, yes.

 

 

54


1 Q. Then finally 7:

2 "Involvement of the RIR:"

3 Again, you gave them, on the next page, RNI-458-137,

4 some detail of this aspect of the investigation,

5 important obviously, in connection with collusion, and

6 how you saw it as at that time.

7 Now, at the beginning of the note, if we go back to

8 RNI-458-131 (displayed), the Irish say, the first

9 paragraph above number 1:

10 "Port was open with us as usual."

11 Can I ask you, in relation to the briefings that you

12 gave to the NIO official, you mentioned earlier, would

13 you have gone into this level of detail with him?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Now, clearly there was a distinction because these were

16 representatives of a sovereign Government, another

17 sovereign Government. Did you tell the Chief Constable

18 before meetings of this kind that you intended to be

19 open with officials from the Irish side?

20 A. I think by the very nature of Sir Ronnie accompanying me

21 to the first visit, we understood exactly what was

22 taking place. The reason I was meeting -- and I have

23 emphasised this point with the Irish side -- was for

24 community involvement. To reassure the Nationalist

25 community that we were serious about this. And I think

 

 

55


1 everything that I did hopefully translated itself to the

2 Nationalist community, demonstrating to them: here is

3 someone who is serious.

4 Q. To what extent were you doing it also in order to

5 maintain good relations with the family?

6 A. Yes, absolutely.

7 Q. That was part of it?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Now, so far as the other point in this area of your work

10 that you mention in your statement -- and that's contact

11 with the NGOs is concerned -- you have mentioned already

12 your experience of dealing with them in your postings

13 abroad. In simple terms, what was the benefit to the

14 investigation, in your view, of your liaison with the

15 NGOs?

16 A. The NGOs had access to people that I did not have direct

17 access to. They could elicit third party information

18 which I then could possibly convert into evidence or,

19 indeed, intelligence. It was that. But one thing --

20 could I just go back to the Irish secretariat?

21 Q. Yes, please do.

22 A. An important point that you have missed out there is the

23 fact that we used them as a conduit into witnesses and

24 to try and get evidence such as the Pat Finucane Centre,

25 such as the journalist this, that was very, very

 

 

56


1 important -- such as (redacted) -- very important for us as

2 the investigation team.

3 Q. Did you find them willing to assist you in those ways?

4 A. Absolutely.

5 Q. So this was another way of getting round the problem of

6 non-cooperation, as you mentioned earlier?

7 A. Non-cooperation and suspicion.

8 Q. Yes. It is perhaps obvious, but was that another aspect

9 of your work in Northern Ireland which was in great

10 contrast to the work you had done in England?

11 A. To the work that I had done in other parts of the

12 United Kingdom, but not in relation to the former

13 Yugoslavia or, indeed, Rwanda.

14 Q. That's a point that may be worth stressing there, that

15 in your work in foreign countries, the former Yugoslavia

16 and Rwanda, had you there had the experience of dealing

17 with parts of the community who were either hostile or

18 suspicious?

19 A. Yes, absolutely.

20 Q. Was it in that connection, therefore, that you had

21 developed this way of using other means, including NGOs,

22 to get round that problem?

23 A. Absolutely.

24 Q. Thank you.

25 Now, so far as the NGOs were concerned, what was the

 

 

57


1 Chief Constable's attitude to your liaison with them?

2 A. I think I described in my statement he has his moments

3 and he had had his moments with a number of those NGOs.

4 Q. So he perhaps wasn't quite so encouraging in relation to

5 this type of contact?

6 A. No, he was silent on it. He knew what I was doing. He

7 understood why I was doing it, because I explained to

8 him. He had a different relationship generally than

9 I did.

10 Q. Now, looking at the section of your second statement on

11 the NGOs, it begins at paragraph 95, RNI-817-450

12 (displayed), and I don't want to go over all the points

13 that you set out there because we can read them for

14 ourselves, but I want to ask you specifically about

15 paragraph 97. There you say:

16 "I came to this investigation with an open mind.

17 This was not always shared by some of the NGO community.

18 However, I realised that many of these groups had been

19 concerned about the safety of Mrs Nelson prior to her

20 death."

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, in terms of impact on the investigation then, did

23 the rather less open minds that you are talking about --

24 some of them -- did that become a hindrance to you in

25 your work at any point?

 

 

58


1 A. It meant that I had to devote a lot of time to these

2 individuals, to these groups, to reassure them, reassure

3 them and reassure them that we were serious about this.

4 I don't know whether I was entirely successful. That's

5 a matter for them.

6 Q. Can we just look at an example of one of the notes they

7 have made of such a meeting and again with the sort of

8 level of detail that you were giving them in mind?

9 This one begins at RNI-835-123, I hope (displayed).

10 Yes, there it is on the screen. It is a meeting with

11 a number of representatives of the NGO community, if I

12 can put it that way.

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And two from the CAJ and Jane Winter from British Irish

15 Rights Watch. I think it is Jane Winter's note.

16 Now, so far as the detail is concerned, again very

17 briefly you give an update on the amount of work going

18 on in the investigation, an enormous number of people

19 seen and statements taken in the second paragraph, the

20 various teams. You say there there are four because

21 I think you have included forensics there, haven't you?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Then you are still working full-time, though your boss

24 in Norfolk is unhappy about it, and then you touch again

25 on the question of threats.

 

 

59


1 Now, if I could ask you to turn over the page,

2 please, here you are dealing with some points, I think,

3 from them in relation to certain suspects and the

4 various questions they have there. You set out in the

5 second full paragraph beginning, "His strategy", your

6 approach to the Loyalist suspects as at this stage, to

7 keep a low profile and hope that they will become

8 sufficiently relaxed for certain things to happen that

9 he didn't want to discuss.

10 In very, very simple terms, that was the strategy of

11 the proactive operations in England, wasn't it?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. Then again some information about particular

14 individuals. The name in the penultimate paragraph has

15 been redacted. At the bottom, again questions are

16 raised about leaking information. You say at the

17 bottom:

18 "Colin Port insisted that leaks were not coming from

19 any member of his team. The only leaks had been from

20 police sources, but from outside his team."

21 Turning over the page, RNI-831-125:

22 "All the stories that had damaged his investigation

23 had been inaccurate:"

24 Then an example is given. Can I just ask you: was

25 there a stage in the investigation when you thought that

 

 

60


1 information was being deliberately leaked in a way that

2 was harmful to the investigation?

3 A. It wasn't helpful, as I articulated. The problem is

4 that police officers talk and sometimes they talk

5 inappropriately to the wrong people.

6 Q. And you think -- obviously, you are not presumably in

7 a position to say who was responsible and in what

8 circumstances for these leaks?

9 A. No.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Were you suggesting that the leaks were

11 coming from officers within the MIT or --

12 A. I was distinctly saying, no, sir, they were not coming

13 from the MIT.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: That is from the RUC then, if they were

15 coming --

16 A. They were not coming from my team, sir.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: No.

18 MR PHILLIPS: But you thought they probably were coming from

19 other RUC officers?

20 A. Looking at the information, that is probably likely,

21 yes.

22 Q. But as I understand, the point you are making at the

23 last sentence of this paragraph, the top of the page, as

24 we have it now, RNI-835-125, is that this issue of

25 whether or not there was an intent to harm the

 

 

61


1 investigation was discussed with the NGOs. That's

2 right, isn't it?

3 A. I think just taking back to where we started off in

4 relation to 1997 -- and I came to this with an open mind

5 and I kept an open mind. The problem is with some of

6 the NGOs. They didn't have an open mind. Some of them

7 referred on one particular occasion -- said to me, "This

8 is not a question of rotten apples in a barrel, this is

9 a question of the barrel being rotten."

10 Q. A systemic problem?

11 A. Absolutely.

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. I didn't find that.

14 Q. That wasn't a view that you shared?

15 A. No.

16 Q. Presumably, what you are saying now is based on, not

17 just a snapshot as at this point, but on your whole

18 experience of the murder investigation?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. Now, the last part of this I wanted to show you at

21 RNI-835-126 was simply a very accurate prediction in

22 relation to a public inquiry taking place in about five

23 years' time?

24 A. It seems to be a recurring theme.

25 Q. Indeed. Now, so far as that is concerned, to what

 

 

62


1 extent was your approach to the investigation influenced

2 by this sense that what you were doing might itself be

3 enquired into at a later stage?

4 A. I wasn't bothered about ticking boxes, I wasn't bothered

5 about whether or not I crossed this T or dotted this I.

6 It wasn't for auditors in the future. What this was

7 about was finding out for the family of Rosemary Nelson

8 under what circumstances Rosemary had been killed.

9 That's what this investigation was about. That was my

10 whole raison d'etre.

11 Q. Can I just ask you to look with me at one more of these

12 notes from the NGOs and some of the things you discussed

13 with them. This is 6 October 2000, RNI-835-127

14 (displayed).

15 Again, various individuals from various

16 organisations are present. A slightly wider

17 representation, I think, in terms of organisations here,

18 because I think the second name we can see is in fact

19 a representative of Amnesty International, possibly.

20 I don't know if you can help on that.

21 A. That's right.

22 Q. Thank you. Then, again, without dwelling on it, some

23 considerable detail is given here. You make the comment

24 at the beginning of the third paragraph about

25 institutionalised collusion. They haven't found any.

 

 

63


1 Very much picking up, I think, what you have just been

2 saying. Then considerable detail about some of the

3 suspects at the bottom of the page and over to the next

4 page.

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Continuing on RNI-835-129, where, again, in a sense, one

7 can see the areas where you are dealing with individual

8 suspects because of the redactions which appear in our

9 version and pressing on, if we may, to RNI-835-131,

10 which is the last page, because here you have some

11 interesting comments about your perception of the RUC's

12 attitude towards the investigation, and there you say

13 first that the Chief Constable, as you saw it, gave him

14 everything he wanted and was supported, genuinely wanted

15 to get to the truth, trusting the RUC officers in the

16 team implicitly.

17 Then, from then on, you deal with a rather more

18 mixed picture in the other ranks. Can I take it from

19 your review of this document that you are happy that

20 that is a reasonably accurate note of the sort of views

21 you were expressing at this stage -- and this

22 is October 2000 -- to the NGOs?

23 A. Yes, but I wouldn't like it to be taken out of context.

24 These were particular issues demonstrating to the NGO

25 community that I was serious, demonstrating that

 

 

64


1 I wasn't there to be popular, and certainly I wasn't

2 popular in some quarters. It was demonstrating once

3 again to them, as representatives of the wider

4 community, what steps we were taking and the fact that

5 we were serious, and I think to a great extent it

6 achieved that.

7 Q. Thank you.

8 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Could I, Mr Phillips, on the previous

9 page where we have the list of suspects ...

10 MR PHILLIPS: Can we have RNI-835-130 on the screen, please?

11 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: When that was referred to, was that one

12 of the NGOs saying to you, "What about so and so, what

13 about so and so, what about so and so?"

14 A. Yes.

15 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: That wasn't you volunteering names?

16 A. No, absolutely not.

17 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay. Thank you very much.

18 MR PHILLIPS: Can I take it from what you were saying in

19 answer to a question of mine about being unpopular in

20 certain quarters that when you say here in your comment

21 in the penultimate paragraph that this is very much what

22 you had in mind when you were explaining the situation

23 to the NGOs -- is that right?

24 A. That's right.

25 Q. Which were the quarters, please?

 

 

65


1 A. Particular individuals. I was getting feedback that

2 I was referred to as the devil incarnate by certain

3 people within the RUC. I was not popular. I was asking

4 questions. I was going places where people had never

5 been before. You know, I can understand a certain

6 amount of resistance.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: What part, if you can remember with accuracy,

8 of the RUC were describing you as the devil incarnate?

9 Was it any branch or section?

10 A. It was reported at Special Branch, sir.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

12 MR PHILLIPS: Was it ascribed to any particular individual

13 officer?

14 A. No, sir.

15 Q. Where you say there:

16 "Other officers simply turned their back on

17 Colin Port and some with whom he had previously had

18 a good relationship are now paranoid about him."

19 Presumably, at least at the time, you were thinking

20 of specific individuals?

21 A. Yes, I was.

22 Q. Who were they?

23 A. In relation to a rather inappropriate comment by me,

24 which was interpreted inappropriately by my colleague,

25 B503, he thought I was referring to him as being

 

 

66


1 paranoid. I wasn't.

2 Q. This is the question of the correspondence?

3 A. It is, sir.

4 Q. Yes. What about the turning of the back?

5 A. That was an officer in Lurgan police station.

6 Q. A Special Branch officer?

7 A. No.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: A CID officer?

9 A. That's correct, sir.

10 MR PHILLIPS: So clearly, there has been much talk about

11 rubbing points and tensions, but clearly, at times, some

12 of the RUC officers reacted very strongly against you

13 indeed?

14 A. It is fair to say that they sometimes didn't like what

15 I was doing. I understood that.

16 Q. Now, in looking at these notes, which we have done very

17 briefly, of the meetings with the NGOs, we talked about

18 Sir Ronnie's attitude to NGOs and your attitude and your

19 experience.

20 Did you seek his authorisation for this level of

21 disclosure, that we have seen evidenced in these two

22 notes to the NGOs?

23 A. No, I said to him that I intended to be as open as

24 possible. That's a question of professional judgment.

25 I hope that Sir Ronnie trusted me in that respect.

 

 

67


1 I have no reason to doubt that.

2 Q. So far as some of the details we have seen about

3 suspects, for example, were you again comfortable that

4 the question of confidentiality, which would normally

5 pertain in an investigation, and the way you approached

6 the issue here, that, as it were, the ends justified the

7 means?

8 A. In fairness, looking at this, in response to

9 Sir Anthony's question in particular respect, lots of

10 issues were put to me. I answered them as forcefully

11 and as frankly as I possibly could. This was about

12 reassurance to the family, to the wider community.

13 I don't believe that I did anything wrong.

14 It may not be a traditional approach in other parts

15 of England and Wales, but it was certainly something

16 that I felt was worthwhile and one that I do not regret.

17 Q. So again, as with the Irish Government, can I take it

18 that you saw the NGOs, amongst other things, as a way of

19 bolstering, assisting, your relationship with the

20 family?

21 A. And the community widely. In an English, Welsh and

22 Scottish sense, you might have had an independent

23 advisory group. Unfortunately, that wasn't possible.

24 Q. Can I now ask you to look at the document recording

25 exchanges between you and the family and that's at

 

 

68


1 RNI-455-057 (displayed)?

2 It has been reasonably heavily redacted, but we can

3 we can see from the header, or the email at the top,

4 that it is a communication involving a close member of

5 the family. Again, although it is redacted, in fact it

6 is to a representative of one of the major NGOs in

7 Northern Ireland.

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Here various questions are recorded. You see in the way

10 the note works, and the answers that you -- as they

11 recorded it -- gave them are set out after that.

12 Now, so far as that's concerned, you will see 2 and

13 3 concern an individual whose name has been redacted,

14 and you were asked a series of questions including

15 whether that individual was an informer. There were

16 exchanges recorded there. Now, clearly, once that sort

17 of exchange was taking place in a meeting, whatever

18 meeting it was, you had to be exceptionally careful

19 about questions of confidentiality.

20 A. Absolutely.

21 Q. So, how did you, in your view, respect that and at the

22 same time have discussions of this kind with the family?

23 A. I think what -- from that note -- and I wouldn't agree

24 that it was entirely accurate -- people throughout the

25 whole of this investigation put to me on numerous

 

 

69


1 occasions the identity of informants: was this person an

2 informant? It was something I resolutely refused to

3 discuss, except on one occasion when it was in the

4 public domain.

5 Q. Is that such an occasion we are looking at there on the

6 screen?

7 A. I don't know.

8 Q. Because you can't see the name?

9 A. Correct.

10 Q. Yes. Now, I don't want to go through them, but is it

11 fair to say that in the case of your meetings with the

12 family, you also had discussion which touched on, for

13 example, the suspects, the progress of the

14 investigation, the fact that you were relying to a large

15 degree on intelligence, matters of that kind?

16 A. Yes, but I was also explaining to them what else was

17 going on. The family was very concerned about the

18 movement of helicopters and about collusion generally,

19 and I explained to them what was going on in relation to

20 collusion inquiries, what we were doing in terms of the

21 helicopters, the fact that we had an officer for six

22 weeks in a bunker in Aldergrove looking at all of the

23 helicopter traffic, 430-odd security force personnel,

24 all of those things.

25 This was a question of keeping the victims informed

 

 

70


1 and that is what my focus was, victim-focused.

2 Q. To what extent do you think that Special Branch were

3 aware of the nature of your conversations with -- the

4 bodies we have been looking at: namely, the Irish, the

5 NGOs and the family?

6 A. I have no idea.

7 Q. Because we do know from the material the Inquiry has

8 seen that one of the points which caused concern to

9 Special Branch at various stages was that they believed

10 the Murder Investigation Team was prepared to leak

11 things, to disclose things, which they regarded as

12 sensitive, to the media and that, as you know, came to

13 a head at the end of 2000 in relation to the question of

14 CHIS identities. In fact, just about the same time as

15 this email.

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Now, presumably you became aware at that point, if not

18 before, of the very strong views on this topic which

19 Special Branch held?

20 A. On which topic?

21 Q. On the question of disclosing sensitive information to

22 the media.

23 A. I can't specifically recall a conversation with the

24 Special Branch around this issue.

25 Q. So they didn't make clear to you their feeling that the

 

 

71


1 leak in relation to your request for CHIS identities

2 was -- I think the expression used in one document was

3 an "act of treachery"?

4 A. I think that was a comment made by one of the

5 Special Branch officers, who -- B629.

6 Q. Yes, it was, yes.

7 A. Yes. If I had done it, I would see that as an act of

8 treachery. The simple answer is I didn't do it, nor did

9 my team do it.

10 Q. Can we look at the passage in your statement where you

11 deal with this head on and it is paragraph 81,

12 RNI-817-408 and RNI-817-409 (displayed). If we can have

13 both on the screen, please.

14 Now, here, first of all, as I understand it, what

15 you are telling us at the top of RNI-817-409, is that

16 you are aware of the tension that the article in the

17 press, or articles in the press, caused, from documents

18 recently shown to me. So presumably that's the point

19 you were making to me, is it, that you actually don't

20 think you were made aware of it at the time?

21 A. Bear with me. We are talking about paragraph 81 here?

22 Q. Sorry, yes. The top of RNI-817-409 is the relevant

23 sentence. You may be looking at the wrong statement,

24 sorry. There are two paragraph 81s?

25 A. I'm looking at --

 

 

72


1 Q. RNI-817-409 at the top?

2 A. I'm looking at RNI-817-408 to get the context, first.

3 Q. Sorry. (Pause).

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Now, so far as the question of who was responsible for

6 this is concerned, we have seen it undoubtedly did cause

7 great irritation and the Inquiry has heard evidence from

8 Special Branch officers to the effect that they believed

9 it was the Murder Investigation Team that was

10 responsible.

11 Now, what we saw in your -- the note of your

12 discussion with the Anglo-Irish Secretariat is you are

13 telling them that, on occasion, you did deliberately

14 leak things to the media. Now, in the light of that,

15 are you saying to the Inquiry that your team, you and

16 your team, were not responsible for this particular leak

17 about the request for CHIS identities?

18 A. I'm certainly saying that.

19 Q. Can you just--

20 A. The context, if I can just clarify that.

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. The context of those leaks to the media I will discuss

23 in more context in the closed session. In relation to

24 this, there was no benefit whatsoever for my team

25 leaking this and as I think I said in one of my

 

 

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1 statements, there were far more juicy elements about

2 this, and also I think I say in my statement this was

3 very, very tight. I didn't want people to know.

4 I didn't want people to know that I was going to be

5 privy to this information because, frankly, I didn't

6 want that information.

7 Q. What of the suggestion that, by leaking the information,

8 it might have helped to force the Chief Constable's

9 hand?

10 A. I think that's a nonsense. Anybody who knows

11 Sir Ronnie Flanagan knows that.

12 Q. Well, we are left with the leak because leak there

13 undoubtedly was. What would have been the possible

14 motivation for Special Branch leaking the detail of the

15 request?

16 A. I think it would put pressure upon Sir Ronnie, put

17 pressure politically on people to stop releasing this

18 information to me. I think if you look at the articles,

19 you can see that the people who are quoted in the

20 article are people who have asked Parliamentary

21 questions about the cost of my investigation and about

22 the cost of the Stevens investigation and asked the

23 direct questions.

24 Also, I would draw your attention to the most recent

25 article in the paper, which says again, allegations

 

 

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1 regarding Rosemary Nelson, which are false. It is

2 interesting that that has come out, and yet I'm aware,

3 my team is aware.

4 Q. Can we have a look at the article, please, on the

5 screen, RNI-401-734 (displayed)? This is an article you

6 refer to in this statement we have been looking at --

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. -- as recently as 1 February this year --

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. -- and quoting extensively from security sources. Is

11 that right?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Suggesting that, at the time, those sources, or

14 Special Branch, believed the device which murdered

15 Rosemary Nelson to have been built, as it says there, by

16 Republicans and not Loyalists?

17 A. That's what it says and it is absolute nonsense.

18 Q. Well, I wanted to take that up with you immediately.

19 Did any Special Branch officer at the time say to you

20 or, as far as you know, to any of your colleagues, "We

21 believe that this device was built by Republicans"?

22 A. Quite the contrary.

23 Q. Now, that's, as it were, that side of it. What I think

24 I have got to ask you is what connection you draw

25 between this article in February 2009 and the leaking to

 

 

75


1 other newspapers -- the Sunday World was one of them,

2 I think -- two newspapers, at the end of 2000?

3 A. In fairness, it is for others to draw conclusions from

4 that. I merely highlighted that particular newspaper

5 cutting because I thought it bore quite close

6 similarities to the articles in 2000.

7 Q. So far as you are able to assess the situation there, in

8 your view the leak was likely to have come, as I

9 understand it, you are saying, from either

10 Special Branch or Crime Branch, C Branch?

11 A. Those are the only people who knew about it.

12 Q. That's because, is it, the two requests originally made,

13 I think, by Mr Provoost on your behalf in August 2000

14 were addressed to senior officers in the two branches?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. Thereafter, the discussion, which we will look at in

17 a little more detail later, went up through the ranks,

18 as it were, of those two branches to the

19 Chief Constable?

20 A. Yes, it did.

21 Q. And not, as far as you are aware, more widely within the

22 RUC?

23 A. I don't know within the RUC. I know that other people

24 were consulted along the lines, the Security Service and

25 the Surveillance Commission.

 

 

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1 Q. That's precisely what I was going to ask you about. Of

2 course, the Inquiry knows, even if you didn't at the

3 time, that the Security Service was consulted and their

4 assistance, as well as advice, was sought by

5 Special Branch.

6 Do you regard it as possible that they were the

7 source of this leak?

8 A. That's for others to decide, not me.

9 Q. Now, can I ask you now some questions about your working

10 relationship with Special Branch?

11 First of all, just to put it in some context, can

12 I take it that when you arrived in Northern Ireland and

13 came to deal with issues concerning dissemination of

14 intelligence, that you talk about in considerable detail

15 in your first statement, that the systems in

16 Northern Ireland, the way they went about things, was

17 all new to you?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. You had never experienced anything like it before in

20 your career?

21 A. I had experienced something similar to it in the 1970s

22 and 80s in Manchester.

23 Q. Is that why you say in paragraph 20 at RNI-817-385

24 (displayed) that it, as it were, took you back to UK

25 Special Branch's -- I think you say in the 1980s at the

 

 

77


1 top --

2 A. Yes, it is the 70s and 80s, yes.

3 Q. What have you got in mind in making that comparison?

4 A. Provisional IRA explosions in other parts of the

5 United Kingdom and the intelligence that I, as an

6 investigator, saw during that period.

7 Q. Now, so far as the working relationship between the

8 existing Murder Investigation Team and Special Branch

9 when you arrived was concerned, how was that, as far as

10 you could tell?

11 A. I think -- well I, know I talk about relationships

12 between the SIO and an individual.

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. Having said that, I think Sam Kinkaid grasped the issue

15 and the confusion of any murder investigation

16 immediately and saw the significance of this and

17 immediately tasked the Special Branch, and I think

18 that's to his great credit.

19 Q. Well, it may be to his great credit, but did you form

20 the view, when you arrived, that it hadn't done much for

21 his popularity with Special Branch as at that point?

22 A. I think, unfortunately, there was a legacy issue between

23 him and the individual and, no matter what Sam had done,

24 I think that was always going to be an issue.

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Is that B629 you are talking about?

 

 

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1 A. It is, sir.

2 MR PHILLIPS: Now, this was clearly also an important issue,

3 wasn't it, because precisely of the importance of

4 intelligence to the investigation?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And the fact that Special Branch were the gatherers and

7 owners of all related intelligence in Northern Ireland?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. Now, so far as how the relationship began is concerned,

10 you tell us in your first statement at paragraph 12 that

11 you were introduced very early on by Sir Ronnie himself

12 to both the relevant ACCs. That's E Department and

13 C Department. What you say about it, RNI-817-382 at the

14 bottom, is:

15 "This was very important to me. This was

16 Ronnie Flanagan saying that he had requested my

17 assistance and that I had his full support and

18 confidence. The message they would have taken from this

19 was that their Chief Constable was asking them to do

20 everything they could to help me."

21 Now, so far as their response was concerned, what we

22 have heard from Special Branch officers is that what

23 they provided in terms of information and assistance was

24 above and beyond anything that had ever happened before.

25 Now, were you conscious of that at the time of

 

 

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1 taking them into new territory?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And presumably anticipating, as always happens when

4 people get into new territory, that there would be

5 moments of difficulty and discomfort for them?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. What did you do by way of strategy in your approach to

8 assist in the process of taking them into the new

9 territory?

10 A. I spent time and explained to them what we were doing,

11 why we were doing it, the fact -- re-emphasising the

12 importance of this particular investigation and just

13 spent time explaining, to be perfectly honest.

14 Q. Now, so far as that's concerned, you tell us about the

15 8 April meeting, that a lot of it was about relationship

16 building. You see about eight lines down there:

17 "Having explained that intelligence was going to be

18 the key to the investigation ..."

19 Then you say you:

20 "... could not make demands immediately."

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, we know from the evidence that Mr Kinkaid issued

23 some actions on the first full day of the investigation

24 in writing, which I think was most unusual. Did you

25 consciously seek to, as it were, lower the

 

 

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1 temperature --

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. -- on your arrival?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. To smooth over any difficulties?

6 A. I make no criticism whatsoever of Sam Kinkaid. I think

7 he was absolutely right to do what he did. I came

8 along, saw an opportunity to do something else and did

9 it.

10 Q. In terms of the development of your own relationship

11 with Special Branch is concerned, certainly in the

12 normal course of events, one would have expected you to

13 draw on the experience of your SIO, the senior local

14 man, in giving you advice about how to approach them.

15 Was that something you did in this case?

16 A. Yes, absolutely and also M540 as well, who had

17 considerable experience in this particular area.

18 Q. Now, their approaches, from the evidence they have

19 given, would have been rather different if they had had

20 their own way. Presumably you were aware immediately

21 that the way they went about things was very distinct?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Which did you decide to go with?

24 A. I think I went with my own style.

25 Q. Now, in terms of the question of demands, we can see

 

 

81


1 from the -- again, the secret policy file at RNI-620-164

2 (displayed) in this meeting, which you have been talking

3 about in the passage on the screen, 8 April, you asked

4 for various things. Unfortunately, because of the

5 redaction, the first one isn't very clear, but is this

6 consistent with the policy you have told us, that you

7 couldn't make demands immediately?

8 A. Yes. We were setting out what we wanted. I don't see

9 this as demand. This is what we were saying.

10 Q. Yes, you were asking for it in a sensible, reasonable

11 way?

12 A. Absolutely.

13 Q. Right. Now, so far as sharing with them what you were

14 doing is concerned -- again I want to look at this

15 generally if I may -- to what extent were the liaison

16 officers, B567 and B503 we called them -- to what extent

17 were they privy to what you were doing?

18 A. I think B503 came along a little later. The other

19 person, B567, was there at the beginning. I made it

20 perfectly clear what we were doing. He was part of some

21 of the meetings and therefore had an -- I would suggest

22 quite a good understanding of what we were doing.

23 Q. Now, that meeting was with, as we can see, the very

24 senior officers.

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. You have already mentioned the position of Mr Kinkaid

2 and the pre-history, if I can put it that way. Can

3 I just ask you a couple of questions about that? You

4 deal with it in paragraph 16 of your statement,

5 RNI-817-384 (displayed). Can I take it that you were

6 aware of the tension, the personal differences between

7 him and B629 at an early stage?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. You say there, you believe:

10 "... there was a personality clash, they appeared to

11 have no professional respect for each other. Sam was

12 deeply suspicious of some elements of Special Branch.

13 This was his professional and personal opinion."

14 Then you go on to make this comment:

15 "I cannot remember a time when they were in the same

16 room together other than at the meeting," which we have

17 just been looking at, on 8 April?

18 A. That's when I was present, but don't forget that Sam

19 would have chaired meetings when others had been

20 present. I have no idea whether the other individual

21 was there.

22 Q. Now, you go on to say:

23 "This helped in many ways, as it immediately

24 formalised the relationship with Special Branch which in

25 the most part was cordial."

 

 

83


1 Didn't it in any way make things more difficult,

2 that there was in antagonism between the two of them?

3 A. I think -- I have worked with people whom I personally

4 don't like. I hope I'm a professional, I hope that they

5 are a professional, and I hope that whatever happens,

6 that professional police officers -- the professional

7 generally would out as opposed to the personality.

8 Sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it does.

9 Q. Did it in this case?

10 A. I think because there were other people as interlocutors

11 it was made easier, because I was there, Arthur Provoost

12 was there and B503 came along.

13 Q. Because, of course, presumably the concern you must have

14 had was that if there was antagonism of this kind,

15 Special Branch would be even more cautious, to use your

16 expression, about providing what you wanted?

17 A. That's right. But don't forget this is one individual

18 who worked with other people. There were other people

19 above. And as I --

20 Q. You mean B629 when you are saying "one individual"?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. And there are other people above that individual, who

24 had made it clear that I had their full support.

25 Q. But so far as you are concerned then, the relationship

 

 

84


1 between those two individuals was a bad one and it never

2 improved?

3 A. Not that I saw. It was a bad personal relationship.

4 The professional relationship, I didn't see any evidence

5 of it, but we managed to get round it.

6 Q. You say they had no professional respect for each other.

7 A. That was my opinion. I don't know what Sam has said.

8 Q. No. Can we just look at the loose minute of the

9 Security Service official, the official you asked,

10 I believe, to come over?

11 A. S188?

12 Q. Yes, S188, exactly. That's at RNI-532-061 to

13 RNI-532-065. Here, at 3a, he described the high degree

14 of personal antagonism and mistrust between RUC, SB,

15 particularly southern region and the investigation

16 team."

17 Then, as the report continues at RNI-532-063,

18 paragraph 7:

19 "The relation between the regional Head of

20 Special Branch south ..."

21 That's B629:

22 "... and the SIO is particularly hostile."

23 Do you see that?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. It looks as if, in fact, that was the way you saw it

 

 

85


1 yourself?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. The reason I ask you is because there has been a certain

4 amount of comment by various witnesses to the effect

5 that this is all very overplayed and, in fact, everybody

6 got on perfectly well. It looks as though the way you

7 perceived it recognised that there was antagonism

8 between these two individuals?

9 A. That was my perception. I'm not one of those

10 individuals. They may have a different view. But that

11 was certainly my perception, yes.

12 Q. Yes. Now, can I just ask you to flick back to

13 RNI-532-062 (displayed), because here the Security

14 Service officer, S188, recounts that on the last night

15 of his visit, his short visit, it was, in May 1999, he

16 spoke to you about what he had found?

17 A. Yes, he did.

18 Q. "He", that's you obviously, "was surprised to learn of

19 the degree of antagonism that exists between the SB and

20 the Inquiry team."

21 So if that's right, it looks as though you, as at

22 this point, some two months into the -- since the

23 murder, some, whatever that is, six weeks or so after

24 you arrived, were rather taken by surprise?

25 A. I think what I said was -- what I understood that to be

 

 

86


1 was that it was still going on, despite the fact that

2 two months had passed since the initial foray. I had

3 met with both of the individuals, and yet, S188, when he

4 came along two months later, still found it to be an

5 underlying issue.

6 Now, it never manifested itself as far as I'm

7 concerned, it may have been an underlying issue, and

8 clearly was an underlying issue from what S188 found.

9 Q. Was there any sense, so far as you were concerned, that

10 the investigation team needed to be robust, if not

11 confrontational, with Special Branch precisely because

12 of the sorts of allegations you were investigating:

13 namely, the allegations of collusion, for example?

14 A. The collusion -- we went where the evidence was, where

15 the intelligence led us in relation to collusion. Yes,

16 I think we were robust. We were robust with most people

17 where we needed to be, but that wasn't our preferred

18 style. Our preferred style was to work with people and,

19 in fairness, the Special Branch did work to us.

20 Q. Now, moving back to paragraph 8 of the document,

21 RNI-532-063, another comment that the service officer

22 makes here in the last of the bullet points is that:

23 "Mr Kinkaid had a grudge against the SB and is keen

24 to set precedents regarding the use of intelligence and

25 intelligence-gathering resources during this

 

 

87


1 investigation ..."

2 Then he continues:

3 "... to undermine the SB's position in relation to

4 CID."

5 Is that something you were aware of as being one of

6 Mr Kinkaid's aims?

7 A. No, it certainly wasn't an aim. It was certainly

8 possibly going to be a by-product, but it wasn't just

9 Mr Kinkaid who mentioned this; there were other CID

10 officers who mentioned this as a possible outcome of

11 what we were trying to achieve. To say it was purely

12 Mr Kinkaid is not appropriate.

13 Q. But there was an understanding, was there, that you were

14 setting precedents in the way that you wanted to use

15 intelligence to gather evidence?

16 A. The way that we wanted to use covert means to gather

17 intelligence? Yes.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. To gather evidence, rather.

20 Q. You were aware, were you, that that played into

21 a history of tension in Northern Ireland between CID

22 investigators and the Special Branch?

23 A. I think, in fairness, the CID had always felt frustrated

24 at the fact that they were getting sanitised

25 by-products, as opposed to the real intelligence, the

 

 

88


1 live stuff.

2 Q. Now, in terms of getting the intelligence you wanted

3 from Special Branch, we can see from the documents, and

4 Mr Kinkaid explained, that he wanted to set tasks, as it

5 were, set parameters, for them to follow and to provide

6 the information which fell within those parameters.

7 Now, was that an approach that you carried on after

8 your arrival on the scene in April?

9 A. No. Mr Kinkaid, as the senior investigating officer,

10 did that.

11 Q. Yes.

12 A. I saw my role as a facilitator, to get access to stuff

13 that, because of the vetting levels, people weren't

14 allowed. So I used a different means and that was

15 sitting down with people, talking to people.

16 Q. So that was the way in which you added another layer, as

17 it were, and in particular, in relation to validation,

18 in enabled you to deal with things at a different level,

19 did it not, to Mr Kinkaid?

20 A. That's right.

21 Q. Just looking at the general approach, setting

22 parameters, presumably the risks were that, because you

23 didn't know the totality of the potentially relevant

24 information that Special Branch had, by setting tasks

25 and parameters, you might unwittingly be limiting the

 

 

89


1 level of useful information that you received?

2 A. I think that's one of the downsides of the approach that

3 we were take taking as the major investigation team, but

4 by sitting down with people, talking to people, trying

5 to triangulate what we were going told as a process to

6 see what the worth of the intelligence was, then we used

7 different means as well.

8 Q. Now, so far as the reaction of Special Branch to the way

9 you went about this aspect of your work is concerned,

10 can I ask you now to move on with me slightly in the

11 story to -- and to a paragraph of your first statement,

12 56, which is at RNI-817-395 (displayed). There you talk

13 about a note in your rough notebook and give the bundle

14 reference to it there, RNI-914-261. Could we have that

15 on the screen, please (displayed)? Thank you very much.

16 We see it is dated 1 July. This is the first time

17 we have seen one of these entries. Did you make them in

18 type or did -- is this a transcription of your

19 handwriting?

20 A. It is a transcription, and my handwriting is not the

21 best. It looks like a fairly accurate transcription.

22 Q. Thank you very much. So 1 July. The first meeting you

23 record is with the Chief Constable at 10.45 and it looks

24 as though this is all in the context of looking at the

25 Operation Fagotto surveillance vehicles. Is that right?

 

 

90


1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. Again, you deal with this issue in your statement.

3 I don't want to deal with that now. But you go on to

4 record what you told him in relation to this. You say:

5 "He said I would be seeing B542 ..."

6 Then:

7 "Detective superintendent B508" -- sorry:

8 "... and Detective Superintendent B508, who, in the

9 view of wider team, was now being obstructive."

10 As you say, that's obviously what you felt at the

11 time, and not just you.

12 A. No.

13 Q. You were representing the team's view?

14 A. I was representing the Intelligence Cell at that

15 particular time, yes.

16 Q. This is because of what you describe in your statement,

17 I think, as "a marriage not made in heaven" --

18 A. That's right.

19 Q. -- between him and, I assume, the head of

20 Intelligence Cell?

21 A. And, in fairness, also me.

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Because he wasn't perhaps being as helpful and

25 cooperative as you thought he might have been?

 

 

91


1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. Thank you. Now, then you fortified yourself, if I can

3 put it that way, by a visit to the Stevens team at

4 11.30, and it looks as though you gave them an update.

5 Refreshed by that, you came back to see the head of

6 E Department at 12.45. Do you see that?

7 A. I do, but in fairness to the Stevens team, it was

8 a cross flow of information, what they were

9 experiencing, what we were experiencing, and very

10 useful.

11 Q. Is it fair to say -- because there are references in

12 other documents the Inquiry has seen, in which the two

13 investigations are bracketed together, sometimes in the

14 descriptions given by Special Branch officers, which are

15 not always flattering, but is it fair to say that you

16 were able to share similar experiences about your

17 dealings with Special Branch at this point, in other

18 words, 1999?

19 A. Yes, and I wanted to learn from John Stevens and his

20 team what they had done. I think I made the point

21 earlier about the wider circle of people that

22 I consulted outside.

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. I use a phrase that I will borrow with pride from anyone

25 and, if someone has a good idea, then I will borrow it.

 

 

92


1 Q. And on occasions, they had good ideas?

2 A. Absolutely.

3 Q. They had about ten years of experience?

4 A. They did.

5 Q. Now, so far as the meeting with B542 is concerned, it

6 appears that the first thing that happened, as you

7 record it, is that -- I think that's B629 ignored you

8 and walked out of the other door?

9 A. I'm sorry, where are we?

10 Q. I'm sorry, under 12.45 you say you see B542. Do you see

11 that?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. It looks as though you have recorded in your notebook

14 somebody ignoring you and walking out of the other door?

15 A. That's right.

16 Q. Was that B629?

17 A. Yes, it was.

18 Q. So it suggests -- forgive me if this is presumptuous,

19 but it suggest that is your own relationship with B629

20 wasn't exactly rosy at this point.

21 A. I think I made the point earlier in my note here that,

22 whilst I accepted the junior officers would be unhappy

23 with it, I did expect senior officers to support what

24 I was trying to do, and I gained the impression that he

25 wasn't happy with what I had done.

 

 

93


1 Q. He simply left the meeting?

2 A. No the meeting ended. There was a meeting in that

3 office. He -- everyone left the meeting via one door,

4 he left via another door.

5 Q. Without speaking to you?

6 A. Absolutely.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: You took it he was doing it as

8 a demonstration?

9 A. That's my interpretation, sir, yes.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

11 MR PHILLIPS: But it looks as though the purpose of the

12 meetings, so far as you were concerned, was to tell the

13 head of the department, E Department, that as far as

14 your team was concerned, the way in which B508 in

15 particular was going about things was unacceptable and

16 you wouldn't, as you put it, tolerate any further

17 obstruction.

18 A. That's right.

19 Q. Now, do you, in relation to this officer, also make the

20 point -- or take the view -- that you expected him at

21 that level, superintendent level, to be assisting you

22 with the management, in this case of the Fagotto issue?

23 A. Which officer are you talking about?

24 Q. B508.

25 A. Yes, yes.

 

 

94


1 Q. Rather than helping you, by explaining the position to

2 his junior officers in his section or department, he

3 was, as it were, adding to your problems?

4 A. It is a question of leadership. He may not like the

5 decision, but he is a senior officer and I expected him

6 to lead.

7 Q. As I understand it, it is the point you are making on

8 the left-hand side there:

9 "He also needed to remember that he was a police

10 officer and needed to facilitate the process."

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Now, in paragraph 105 of the first statement at

13 RNI-817-415 (displayed), you refer to a loose minute --

14 it is a Security Service document about a month before

15 this -- where you are recorded as -- and you obviously

16 accept that that's the way you put it -- as describing

17 your experience to that point as wading through treacle

18 whilst treading on eggshells.

19 Just trying to move away from that sort of language,

20 you must have found it on occasions very frustrating?

21 A. Absolutely.

22 Q. It was not possible to make the sort of progress you

23 wanted to make at the sort of speed you wanted to make

24 it?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

95


1 Q. People were putting up blockages to your progress?

2 A. People were asking questions that I didn't really see

3 the need to ask those questions. I explained what I was

4 trying to do, I explained my rationale, but people were

5 asking supplementaries and supplementaries.

6 But I have to say that, going back to a point that

7 I made very early, these were people who had been

8 dealing with people's lives, were very concerned about

9 the security of their information and about their

10 sources of intelligence, and to that respect,

11 I respected it but I still wanted to know.

12 Q. But that's the point I was going to put to you myself:

13 that presumably you must have recognised that in the

14 particular circumstances of Northern Ireland what you

15 were asking of them on occasions was going to raise in

16 their minds the fear that lives would be lost, that

17 intelligence assets of importance cultivated over many

18 years would be put at risk and also that methodologies

19 which they had kept secret and preserved over years,

20 would be put in jeopardy.

21 A. But that's precisely the reason why I spent so much time

22 talking and listening to their conditions, articulating

23 and demonstrating my experience. That's one of the

24 reasons why I asked S188 to come across, why I went to

25 visit their technical department, to demonstrate with

 

 

96


1 it.

2 As I said in one of my statements, I had

3 considerable interest in protecting this methodology,

4 which wasn't secret, it was well-known within the

5 criminal and certainly within the terrorist fraternity,

6 and certainly during this period there were a number of

7 exposures in this part of Northern Ireland of technical

8 devices. They were none of ours.

9 Q. In other words, in terms of what happened in practice,

10 the risk of compromise was not borne out?

11 A. No, absolutely not. We were very well aware -- we

12 wanted to protect this methodology as best we could, we

13 weren't prepared to sacrifice that methodology, as has

14 been said, in a short-term hit. These methodologies

15 have developed and developed and are still developing to

16 this day.

17 Q. So you believe you were sufficiently conscious, do you,

18 properly conscious, of the importance of what others

19 have described as the long game of intelligence?

20 A. Absolutely, and I think if you go back to the point that

21 I made in terms of my experience, the fact that I had

22 protected these methodologies, the fact that I was

23 experienced in dealing with these, the fact I was

24 experienced in dealing with covert human intelligence

25 sources, some of which -- perhaps we will deal with that

 

 

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1 in another session.

2 Q. Now, obviously, as a result of preparing these

3 statements for the Inquiry and looking again at the

4 material that was generated at the time, some of which

5 you clearly wouldn't have seen or been aware of, do you

6 think that there was more, that there were other things

7 that you could have done, and should have done, to

8 reassure them?

9 A. I did everything I possibly could. Even with the

10 benefit of hindsight, I don't think I could do anything

11 else. I tried to reference myself, I tried to get other

12 people to reference myself. I tried to demonstrate the

13 fact that we were secret about this; the fact that, when

14 we weren't in a position to handle intelligence, I said,

15 "I don't want that intelligence, please keep it at the

16 moment until we are in a position to handle

17 it securely", and I think we went to inordinate steps to

18 demonstrate that.

19 Q. Did you find yourself in areas of difficulty, having

20 recourse to your Terms of Reference, as it were, as the

21 trump card?

22 A. Not directly. I can't recall bringing it out of my

23 pocket, but I would have mentioned it.

24 Q. In the end, it was your unbeatable --

25 A. Absolutely.

 

 

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1 Q. -- card, was did not?

2 A. And if I had discovered that people had said, "No, you

3 are not getting this", then it would frankly really have

4 affected my remaining here. It was that important.

5 Because it is such an important paragraph.

6 Q. Right. Now, just looking forward to the rest of your

7 time in Northern Ireland in terms of these

8 relationships -- we have focused there at the beginning

9 of July 1999, very early on, in fact, as it turned out.

10 Looking first of all at the period up to Mr Kinkaid's

11 departure at the end of August 2000, was there an

12 improvement in relations?

13 A. I think I say in my statement that in any relationships

14 there are good times, there are not so good times, and

15 that was a fact of life. Sometimes it wasn't so good,

16 sometimes it was fine.

17 Q. So in other words, it is not a question of a bad

18 relationship, improving to a good one, there were rocky

19 patches throughout your time in Northern Ireland?

20 A. Yes, there were and that's where the role of people like

21 Arthur Provoost is so, so important.

22 Q. Can I take it that a particularly rocky patch was around

23 the request for the CHIS identities in August and then

24 to January 2001?

25 A. That's correct.

 

 

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1 Q. In terms of the others, which you deal with in your

2 statement, it looks as though the Elizabeth O'Neill

3 murder and the failure to notify was a low point. Is

4 that fair?

5 A. It was.

6 Q. The Fagotto vehicles?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And then, mindful of the constraints of the open

9 session, it looks as though another issue in parallel

10 with CHIS identities was the request for (redacted)

11 (redacted)?

12 A. That was a low point.

13 Q. That was a low point, yes.

14 A. But I have to say that those are four examples. There

15 were some good points as well and there were some high

16 points.

17 Q. Now, can I ask you about -- just looking at this

18 question of whether you could have done anything

19 differently to assist, we know right at the outset of

20 the investigation a system was proposed and agreed by

21 the Kent officers under Sir David Phillips, whereby

22 access to unsanitised intelligence would be given to the

23 Special Branch officer who came with them, DCI Gutsell,

24 and, in the event of a dispute, there would be, as it

25 were, an appeal through Sir David Phillips up to

 

 

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1 Sir Ronnie Flanagan.

2 Now, did that system or a version of that system

3 continue after your arrival on the scene in April?

4 A. No, there were no reasons -- David Phillips didn't have

5 any Terms of Reference. I had Terms of Reference, which

6 were very clear and so there was no need for that.

7 Q. So the -- as it were, the whole of the apparatus,

8 including that appeal structure, came to an end really

9 when you came with your Terms of Reference?

10 A. I don't think it ever started.

11 Q. That's what Mr Kinkaid said, yes. But an element in

12 that system was the Special Branch officer from Kent,

13 DCI Gutsell?

14 A. That's right.

15 Q. A point has been made in the evidence from the

16 Special Branch officers that they suggested to you that

17 it would be a good idea to have a Special Branch

18 officer -- B542 made that point, for example, in his

19 evidence -- because of the experience and Special Branch

20 expertise, if I can put it that way, that such an

21 officer would have brought.

22 Can you tell me, why was it that you didn't seek to

23 recruit a Special Branch officer from England to fill

24 the role that DCI Gutsell had?

25 A. I'm sorry, I can't find -- 542?

 

 

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1 Q. B542. He is right at the very top of your -- do you see

2 the second block, the first cipher? There are two

3 ciphers, in fact.

4 A. Got him, yes. My apologies.

5 Q. That's what he said?

6 A. Yes, he is quite right. He did say that to me.

7 Q. He did say it. Why didn't you take up this suggestion?

8 A. I have already explained. The system had changed.

9 I had, for want of a better term, carte blanche. There

10 was no appeal as far as I could see. I didn't need

11 a Special Branch officer because I had another officer

12 who was extremely experienced in terrorist

13 investigations who was my head of intelligence, who had

14 a good relationship with Special Branch Security Service

15 and, indeed, investigations.

16 So I think I went one better. It wasn't just

17 a Special Branch officer, it was an anti-terrorist

18 officer. Having said that, there were Special Branch

19 officers seconded from other police services in the

20 Intelligence Cell.

21 Q. Who came in to work for that officer you have just

22 mentioned?

23 A. Absolutely.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: But the officer you have mentioned was not

25 developed vetted, was he?

 

 

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1 A. No, sir. He was security cleared. And the only thing

2 that prevented him -- the only issue that he was not

3 allowed access to -- and, again, I spoke to Mr Phillips

4 before on whether I can mention it or not because of the

5 particular piece of legislation -- there was only one

6 piece of intelligence that prevented him -- that he was

7 prevented access to because of his vetting levels. I'm

8 sure you know what I'm talking about.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: You have said that you had everything you

10 wanted. You had your carte blanche, you had your Terms

11 of Reference in paragraph 7 but it wasn't actually

12 working, was it, and it was taking a very, very long

13 time and a lot of effort on your part to get it to work?

14 Did you consider -- I mean, I'm talking about

15 May/June 1999 -- going along to Ronnie Flanagan and

16 saying, "Look, you have given me these powers, but I'm

17 not getting what I wanted, I'm wasting an awful lot of

18 time and the trail is maybe going cold because we have

19 heard a lot about the golden hour and so on?"

20 What do you say about that?

21 A. I think in May and June I was getting what I wanted.

22 I think when it became later in the year, sir, that it

23 was then that -- I think it was 2000 that things were

24 really slowing down. So I had missed the golden hour by

25 some large proportion, but it was enormously frustrating

 

 

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1 and yes, I did go to Ronnie Flanagan on a number

2 occasions and press my point. He sought to go and get

3 further advice from other people and --

4 THE CHAIRMAN: More time was lost.

5 A. Time was lost there, yes, sir.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, yes. Thank you.

7 MR PHILLIPS: The reason I asked you that question about the

8 suggestion made by B542 is because we have heard

9 evidence, as it were, from the other side that it was

10 a disadvantage to Special Branch that they had no, or

11 most of them had no, CID investigative experience

12 because of the career structure as it was then.

13 As I understand it, that's a view you share. Is

14 that right?

15 A. Yes, it is.

16 Q. Because in judging relevance, which is something we will

17 come to, they didn't have the advantage of knowing how

18 an investigation works and what an investigator is

19 likely to be looking for?

20 A. I think in general terms that's too sweeping

21 a statement. These are police officers who may have,

22 for a long time, become intelligence agents and

23 intelligence operatives, but I think that's doing

24 a disservice to the Special Branch.

25 Q. The reason I made reference to that -- and thank you for

 

 

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1 that qualification -- is because of the way it might

2 work the other way round.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Because they might say with some feeling that you in

5 your team didn't have -- certainly at the senior

6 levels -- the experience that they had of dealing with

7 this sort of material and of managing the dissemination

8 of intelligence.

9 Now, wouldn't it have improved the overall strength

10 of the team if you had recruited somebody with that

11 experience?

12 A. I didn't want to have passengers on my team. I wanted

13 people who could add value. The head of intelligence

14 had significant experience of anti-terrorist operations

15 dealing with secret and top secret intelligence. He

16 brought with him a wealth of experience, as did the

17 Special Branch officers. Frankly, I did not just want

18 people who could sit there in a corner; I wanted people

19 who added value. That individual added considerable

20 value.

21 Q. For how long was he with the investigation?

22 A. He was there for 12 months and, for personal reasons,

23 had to go back.

24 Q. Just so we have got this, between April/May 199 and the

25 following year --

 

 

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1 A. He came to me in April. I can't remember when he went,

2 but it was probably July/August of 2000.

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. By which time of course we had a whole plethora of

5 Special Branch officers in our Intelligence Cell.

6 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, I'm about to move to another topic.

7 Would that be a convenient moment?

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

9 Would it be possible tomorrow morning to start at,

10 say, 9.15 or 9.30?

11 MR PHILLIPS: Yes.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Which time would be more appropriate.

13 MR PHILLIPS: I think Mr Port has kindly indicated,

14 I think -- I will be corrected if this is wrong -- that

15 he would be able to stay after lunch tomorrow, if we

16 needed him to.

17 The issue I had in mind, as so often, is the closed

18 hearing and the time that that takes. But I think if we

19 start at 9.30, we will be able to to complete, if not by

20 lunchtime, then early in the afternoon.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: It wouldn't put back the next witness too

22 much?

23 MR PHILLIPS: No, I don't think so.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: All right. 9.30 tomorrow. I would like to

25 thank the stenographer for her hard work, particularly

 

 

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1 today.

2 Mr Port, 9.30 in the morning. Can you be here, in

3 case anything arises around about 9.15, but we won't

4 start until 9.30?

5 A. Certainly, sir.

6 (7.00 pm)

7 (The Inquiry adjourned until 9.30 am the following day)

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