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Full Hearings

Hearing: 17th February 2009, day 108

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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, 17 February 2009
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 108

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Tuesday, 17 February 2009

2 (10.15 am)

3 M540 (continued)

4 Questions by MR PHILLIPS (continued)

5 THE CHAIRMAN: The checklist. Is the public area screen

6 fully in place, locked and the key secured?

7 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the fire doors on either side of the

9 screen closed?

10 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

12 and securely fastened?

13 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

15 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

16 of this chamber?

17 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Can the video engineer please

19 confirm that the two witness cameras have been switched

20 off and shrouded?

21 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: All the other cameras have been switched off?

23 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

25 Bring the witness in, please. Please sit down.

 

 

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1 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

2 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

3 switched back on.

4 Yes, Mr Phillips?

5 MR PHILLIPS: Can we first pick up some points from

6 yesterday, first in response to the Chairman's question.

7 I know you have had a chance to consider whether there

8 is any other written material going to this question of

9 a forensic link between the Harland and Wolff magnets

10 and the magnets in the device.

11 As I understand it, the passage that you have found

12 for us is in Dr Murray's report to the investigation

13 in July 1999. Can we look at that together, please, at

14 RNI-703-072 (displayed). We will come back to this in

15 a minute, but so far as this is concerned, we see on the

16 next page, RNI-703-072 (displayed), that the magnets

17 from the device are item 5 there and where, in his

18 comments later in the report at RNI-703-078 (displayed),

19 he deals with this comparison, as I understand it, the

20 passage that you want to draw attention to is the fourth

21 line there, where he says:

22 "Attached to one of the brackets ..."

23 This is when he is looking at the gas cutter rail

24 from Harland and Wolff:

25 "... there was a red painted block magnet assembly

 

 

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1 similar to that referred to in item 5 above"?

2 A. That's correct, yes.

3 Q. Thank you.

4 A. Apart from that, I also have a note in my notebook and

5 journal in relation to a conversation I had with

6 Mr Murray about the examination of the magnets in

7 comparison against the rail.

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. And really it would affirm really what has been said

10 there.

11 Q. That they were similar?

12 A. Yes. He basically said there couldn't be a physical fit

13 because they were bashed about, but the markings on them

14 suggested they were similar.

15 Q. Yes, thank you. Can I ask you a further question about

16 the magnets before we move on. Did you make enquiries

17 of the manufacturer of the magnets to ascertain whether

18 they supplied anybody else in Northern Ireland apart

19 from Harland and Wolff?

20 A. No, I did not.

21 Q. Can you explain why not?

22 A. I think we reached the conclusion that we had taken all

23 the factors into consideration and the most likely place

24 where they would have come from would have been Harland

25 and Wolff because of the findings of forensic,

 

 

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1 et cetera.

2 Q. Do you think that your focus in this respect was limited

3 by your conviction as to the identity of the bomb maker?

4 A. No, it had no bearing at all on the bomb maker. This

5 was a separate enquiry.

6 Q. Thank you. Can we just look at the topic of the views

7 of the two forensic scientists who gave opinions on

8 similar devices to the Murder Investigation Team. We

9 have already talked about Dr Murray; we have got his

10 report on the screen and we have looked yesterday at the

11 note of a conference on the day of the murder in which,

12 as you explain, he was expressing his views about

13 similarities.

14 Was he a forensic scientist you had worked with

15 before?

16 A. Yes, he was.

17 Q. And he was a man of great experience in this field, was

18 he not?

19 A. That's correct, yes.

20 Q. Now, so far as your due diligence statement is

21 concerned, at paragraph 57 -- and that's RNI-842-179

22 (displayed) -- you tell us that you had a conference

23 with the scientists at an early stage, and I think this

24 was probably the day after the murder. We have seen the

25 reference to the day of the murder. Is that correct?

 

 

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1 A. That's correct, yes.

2 Q. Yes. What was the purpose of that conference, please?

3 A. This was actually a usual thing that one would do in the

4 course of a major investigation like this; you would

5 seek to get together with all the scientists involved in

6 your investigation to determine -- so that they, with

7 you, could determine on the correct courses of

8 examination for each item.

9 Q. Thank you. So it is a standard procedure?

10 A. It is, but an important one.

11 Q. Yes. Now, in your statement, as it continues over the

12 page, RNI-842-180 (displayed), in paragraph 58 you say

13 that during that meeting Dr Murray gave you an initial

14 list of, I think, seven devices. Is that correct?

15 A. That is correct, yes.

16 Q. I think we can see that at RNI-704-001 and RNI-704-002

17 (displayed). Can we have RNI-842-002 on the screen

18 (displayed). That would help. And there are the seven

19 incidents, ranging in date from 1996 to 1998, and we see

20 the note at the bottom of the second page, which says:

21 "In incidents 1 to 3 above ..."

22 I can't read the next two words, but the key point

23 is:

24 "... encapsulated mercury tilt switch was used."

25 So in the first three, as I understand it, a tilt

 

 

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1 switch of the kind used in this device was also

2 deployed. Is that correct?

3 A. That's correct, yes.

4 Q. Can I just ask you about a specific point arising at

5 this stage in relation to Dr Murray and his views and

6 ask you to look at RNI-842-223, paragraph 198 of your

7 statement (displayed), because here at the bottom of the

8 page -- if we could have the next page it would also be

9 helpful, thank you; RNI-842-224 (displayed) -- where you

10 are dealing with the question of the bomb maker, as

11 opposed to similarity of devices, you say:

12 "While it was suggested by ..."

13 And for some reason Dr Murray's name has been

14 redacted, I am afraid:

15 "... suggested by Dr Murray that devices might be

16 attributable to the UDA, even if there were the case, it

17 was unlikely that the same team planted all the

18 devices."

19 Do you recall that suggestion coming from Dr Murray?

20 A. No, that didn't come from Dr Murray. That came from me.

21 That's my assertion.

22 Q. You see, what you say there is:

23 "Whilst it was suggested by Dr Murray that the

24 devices might be attributable to the UDA ..."

25 Is that not what he suggested?

 

 

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1 A. Yes, that's what he suggested. The second part is mine.

2 Q. Yes, certainly. But you remember him making that

3 suggestion --

4 A. I do yes.

5 Q. -- in relation to the particular device used in the

6 Rosemary Nelson murder?

7 A. Yes, in relation to the series of devices.

8 Q. In relation --

9 A. In relation to the seven devices that he handed to me

10 and he was suggesting that the Rosemary Nelson device

11 was similar.

12 Q. And that they were all attributable to the UDA. Is that

13 what he was saying?

14 A. In his view. I think it might not have been as firm as

15 that, but he did mention the word "UDA".

16 Q. Was this an opinion he expressed at this early stage in

17 the conference on 16 March?

18 A. That was right, yes.

19 Q. How significant was that opinion in your thinking?

20 A. The opinion of the similarity of the devices was

21 significant to me.

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. His opinion as to who was involved in the devices was

24 not really, I didn't think, within his remit to make.

25 Q. Why do you draw that distinction?

 

 

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1 A. Because he is not an investigator and he is not an

2 intelligence expert and, therefore, I did not feel he

3 could come to that firm conclusion on that point.

4 Q. Yes. But it is right, isn't it, to say that the view he

5 was expressing about similarity of devices on 16 March,

6 the conference, was before he had had a chance,

7 forensically, to examine the device itself?

8 A. That's absolutely correct.

9 Q. So at that stage, presumably, even that forensic opinion

10 was something that you had to treat with some caution?

11 A. That's correct, yes.

12 Q. It was subject to the future forensic examination that

13 he was to do?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. Thank you.

16 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I just -- on the previous devices,

17 prior to Rosemary Nelson one, wouldn't it be fair to say

18 in terms of any comment made by Dr Murray, that there

19 would be feedback from the police service to the

20 forensic science service about attributing devices to

21 certain organisations, so that they could collate

22 intelligence for future use?

23 A. That's correct, sir. I think in another part of my

24 statement I refer to a department (redacted)

25 (redacted), that are involved in the intelligence in

 

 

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1 relation to devices. I'm not sure how much you can go

2 into it in the open session. (Redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted) --

5 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Yes. So in terms of the previous

6 devices, any connection with the UDA is not speculation

7 on his part?

8 A. No, it is not speculation. It is something he has

9 picked up.

10 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Yes.

11 MR PHILLIPS: So far as this business of comparison with

12 previous devices is concerned, it seems from Dr Murray's

13 statement to the Inquiry that by this time, in other

14 words, March 1999, it had become standard practice in

15 relation to incidents of this kind for the scientist to

16 produce comparisons, to produce lists of similar

17 devices. Does that accord with your experience?

18 A. Yes, for -- I think it was just attached to a statement

19 for the information of the investigator.

20 Q. And presumably you would say in relation to that that on

21 the question of attribution you had to bring your own

22 investigative skills to bear, his principal role being

23 that of offering forensic advice?

24 A. That's correct, yes.

25 Q. Yes. So what was the value to you, as an investigator,

 

 

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1 of this type of similar device list or schedule?

2 A. It was certainly a starting point that we could look at

3 something, we had these previous devices and there was

4 a possibility that looking at those may lead us -- or

5 assist us with our own investigation.

6 Q. Now, we know from your statement at paragraph 201, which

7 we have on the screen on the right-hand side, that in

8 due course you created a chart of devices from the list

9 you had originally been given by Dr Murray and you

10 added, I think, another incident yourself. Is that

11 correct?

12 A. Yes, I think it was Dr Murray or someone else at the lab

13 brought that eighth one to my attention.

14 Q. Did you discuss the composition of the chart and the

15 devices which are featured on it with Dr Murray?

16 A. I didn't discuss the fact this I was going to create the

17 chart. I think I got his assistance in locating some of

18 the components that are photographed to be part of the

19 chart.

20 Q. Now, so far as the initial list that he provided, which

21 we can have to the screen, please, RNI-704-001 and

22 RNI-704-002, (displayed), so far as that early list is

23 concerned, what Dr Murray is telling the Inquiry in his

24 statement is that it was purely a memoire which recorded

25 an instance of similarity. Were you aware at the time

 

 

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1 that that was the way he regarded that list?

2 A. Yes, I was. It was a memoire that may be of use to me.

3 Q. So it remained for you, as the work developed, to use

4 that, no doubt amongst various other items of

5 information and assistance, in order to progress this

6 line of enquiry?

7 A. That's correct, yes.

8 Q. Yes. Now, going back to your statement again and

9 touching on a point that came up yesterday, at

10 paragraph 200, RNI-842-224 (displayed), you say from

11 your experience there was a uniformity of construction

12 in Republican devices, but that the Loyalist devices

13 given to you on the list by Dr Murray -- and, again,

14 I apologise for the fact that his name is repeatedly

15 redacted -- do you see, you say:

16 "That could not be said of the devices identified by

17 Dr Murray."

18 In other words, you are contrasting the position of

19 the Loyalist devices and the Republican devices. Didn't

20 the fact that the Loyalist devices were themselves

21 disparate make it important for you to compare this

22 device, the Rosemary Nelson device, not just with

23 Loyalist devices but also with Republican devices?

24 A. No, that is something I didn't feel I had to do.

25 Q. Can you explain why not?

 

 

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1 A. Because, as I said, there was a certain standardisation

2 in Republican devices which I was very familiar with,

3 and then taking into account what the scientist himself

4 said, that these appeared to be part of a series, I

5 didn't think there was any advantage to the

6 investigation of making that comparison.

7 Q. Thank you. But so far as the Loyalist devices are

8 concerned, as I understand it, what you are telling us

9 is that when the details of the component parts of the

10 various devices began to be collated, obvious

11 differences between them emerged?

12 A. That's correct, yes.

13 Q. And presumably that made this whole line of

14 investigation rather a difficult one precisely because

15 there were so many differences?

16 A. There were some differences, but there were also some

17 key similarities as well in them.

18 Q. Now, so far as the relationship between this type of

19 work that you were doing and the work in relation to the

20 identification of the bomb maker is concerned, can we

21 just look together, please, at your statement in

22 relation to this. In paragraph 202, which we have on

23 the screen, still, leading over to 225, if we could have

24 that, please (displayed). Could we have both? That

25 would be excellent. 224 and 225, please (displayed).

 

 

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1 Here you are describing the purpose of creating the

2 chart and you set that out, including the points that it

3 was a permanent reference document and an aide-memoire

4 for the team. You then go on later in this paragraph to

5 make the point that you also prepared a brief outline of

6 the various incidents. The incidents where devices had

7 been used, it must be; is that right?

8 A. That's correct, yes.

9 Q. "... and included an identification letter for suspects

10 of each case that could be correlated to an intelligence

11 document. I had access to some intelligence from SB

12 that was relevant to the identification of the bomb

13 maker in each case."

14 Now, that, as I understand it, is the work you did

15 in relation to the previous devices. But as I read the

16 rest of this section of your statement, you go on to say

17 in paragraph 205 that the work you did on the previous

18 incidents also enabled you to, as it were, test the

19 early intelligence as to the bomb maker in this case.

20 Is that correct? That's paragraph 205, do you see, at

21 the bottom of the page?

22 A. Yes, at that time -- I'm just making the general

23 statement about an opportunity to develop leads on the

24 bomb maker for the device in Rosemary Nelson's case,

25 yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes. Now, so far as the earlier incidents were

2 concerned, as you say in the second sentence in this

3 paragraph, 205:

4 "There was no claim of responsibility in relation to

5 any of them and nobody had been convicted in relation to

6 any of them."

7 Is that right?

8 A. That is right, yes.

9 Q. And then you go on to say:

10 "There was nothing to indicate that any of the

11 individuals or organisations suspected for involvement

12 in those incidents had any connection to the Mid Ulster

13 terrorists apart from the suspected bomb maker."

14 That's the suspected bomb maker in your case, the

15 Rosemary Nelson case. Is that right?

16 A. That is right, yes.

17 Q. Then you go on to say:

18 "In essence, while the examination of the previous

19 and subsequent cases was a legitimate and prudent line

20 of enquiry, it was not particular significant or

21 compelling in the context of the investigation as

22 a whole. Our investigations into this matter did not

23 prove fruitful and when all reasonable enquiries had

24 been exhausted, this line of enquiry came to an end."

25 Now, just trying to get to the bottom line in this

 

 

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1 part of your statement, are you in essence saying that

2 the similar-devices work that was undertaken with the

3 assistance of the scientist didn't help you to bolster

4 your case against this particular bomb maker?

5 A. No, it didn't help to advance our investigation into

6 Rosemary Nelson's -- not the specific maker. We were

7 looking for anything, any intelligence from the previous

8 devices, anything that was peculiar or significant about

9 each individual incident.

10 We had, for instance, persons that had been arrested

11 for those other devices, if they had any connection with

12 Mid Ulster or could some of those persons have played

13 a part in our device. So there are various strands of

14 investigation into the previous devices as well as the

15 forensic link, including intelligence.

16 So when we didn't -- we had no firm leads from

17 examining the previous devices that could take us

18 forward on our device apart from the intelligence that

19 we had.

20 Q. Right. Because, as you have now explained, the work you

21 have done didn't advance the investigation as a whole,

22 did it cause you to reconsider the theory that you had

23 in relation to who might have been responsible for the

24 attack?

25 A. Well, I did not have a theory. I had intelligence which

 

 

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1 had been verified and validated, so I didn't change that

2 view on who made the device that we were investigating.

3 Q. But you had a line of enquiry, not only in relation to

4 who you thought had made the device, but who had been

5 involved in planting it?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. That's correct, isn't it? And given the absence of

8 connection between the previous devices and the

9 Mid Ulster terrorists that you were looking at in that

10 connection, wasn't this an occasion to stand back and

11 ask yourself whether that view of who had been

12 responsible for this incident should now be

13 reconsidered?

14 A. No, I think it is important to emphasise that we didn't

15 narrow it down solely to Mid Ulster individuals; we

16 looked at several individuals from outside Mid Ulster,

17 from Belfast, who may have had connections with all of

18 the bomb makers that we knew of who might have had some

19 involvement in our device or some connection with

20 Mid Ulster that we could follow through. That included

21 considerable investigation into the background of, I

22 would say, numerous individuals who were also firm

23 suspects as terrorists in certain organisations,

24 including telephone analysis and intelligence documents,

25 associations. And quite a lot of that was --

 

 

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1 Special Branch assisted us with that type of work. And

2 what I'm saying is that when we peeled all of that back,

3 we came back then to five or six individuals in

4 Mid Ulster who had a connection with the bomb maker.

5 Q. But as I understand it, what you are saying -- and

6 I appreciate all the other things that you were doing --

7 is that in all this work with the focus that you have

8 just explained, the forensic side of things was, to use

9 your words, "not particularly significant or

10 compelling". Is that right?

11 A. No, the forensic examination of the other devices was

12 not significant or compelling.

13 Q. No. Now, to what extent was that also due to the fact

14 that the two scientists who expressed an opinion on the

15 question of similarity differed in their views?

16 A. It wasn't influenced at all by that.

17 Q. Now, just dealing with them briefly in turn, we have

18 seen Dr Murray's initial list and the first three

19 devices, where he said that the same sort of tilt switch

20 had been used. We looked at that together. He also

21 mentioned, didn't he, a device that had been used at

22 Maghaberry Prison. Is that correct?

23 A. Not at that stage. I think it was about a year

24 afterwards that the matter of the Maghaberry issue came

25 up, although it had been in, I think, the appendix to

 

 

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1 his initial statement or reported on it.

2 Q. Let's have a look at it together. We saw the beginning

3 of his statement to you in the investigation at

4 RNI-703-072 earlier. Could I just take to you the

5 relevant passage at RNI-703-079 (displayed).

6 Here he gives a list, do you see, under "For

7 information" of the three devices where there was a tilt

8 switch. Those are the three from his original list,

9 I believe. And then he goes on to make the comment

10 on 30 July 1999:

11 "Slurry explosive, black plastic adhesive tape and

12 reinforced tape were noted in a booby trap device at

13 ..."

14 Then there is the prison given as the name:

15 "... on 16 March 1996."

16 So he referred to it, didn't he, in his report?

17 A. He did refer to it, yes.

18 Q. Yes. Were you aware that that incident was thought to

19 have been due to an INLA device?

20 A. I was, yes.

21 Q. Now, given the similarities that he sets out there --

22 slurry explosive, black plastic adhesive tape,

23 reinforced tape -- what significance, if any, did

24 you attribute to the fact that that device had been an

25 INLA device?

 

 

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1 A. Sorry, could you repeat the question again?

2 Q. You see the references there --

3 A. Yes, I see the researches.

4 Q. -- to the various aspects of the device that Dr Murray

5 wanted to draw to your attention?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And we know that that was attributed, that device, to

8 a Republican terrorist organisation. What significance

9 did that have on you as an investigator in looking at

10 the question of similar devices?

11 A. It didn't have any significant impact on me. We did

12 take a cursory look at that investigation and, together

13 with the SIO, we eliminated it.

14 There were just two factors: The one was slurry

15 explosive and the second was black plastic tape. Black

16 plastic tape is a common feature on many devices so that

17 really would have left the slurry explosive.

18 Q. And you don't think it was an example of where your

19 focus was rather too narrow and you weren't keeping an

20 open mind?

21 A. No, we gathered information on this particular device

22 and looked at it. We examined intelligence that there

23 was on it, both of what -- from my recollection,

24 Mr Kinkaid had personal knowledge of the feud involved

25 in the INLA that brought about this device being placed

 

 

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1 under the individual's car at Maghaberry Prison. We got

2 photographs of the components of the device and

3 certainly they were vastly different from the items used

4 in the Rosemary Nelson device, apart from the

5 explosives. And what was significant from my

6 recollection about this device was that it had the doyle

7 pin concept, which was quite unique to Republicans, as

8 opposed to Loyalist bomb makers.

9 I might add that in none of the previous devices,

10 apart from perhaps one which I mentioned yesterday,

11 there was no doyle pin.

12 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you in relation to

13 Dr Murray's initial view as, as we have seen, expressed

14 very early on, that this was a Loyalist device. Can you

15 remember that view being challenged by the team or,

16 indeed, by anybody else at any stage of the

17 investigation?

18 A. I wouldn't say it was challenged in the sense that --

19 certainly when this INLA device was brought to our

20 attention, we looked at it, considered if there was

21 a possibility here and moved away from it because there

22 was no supporting intelligence at all. Whereas Mr --

23 Dr Murray's view and opinion was supported by a raft of

24 intelligence about the bomb maker.

25 Q. Can we just look together at a short passage from the

 

 

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1 notes made by the Kent officers at RNI-837-128

2 (displayed), because here at the bottom of the page --

3 it is the note of a meeting, it looks like, on

4 18 March -- there is a reference to the prospect of one

5 side imitating another, "very unlikely". So it looks as

6 though even that possibility was being considered at

7 this relatively early stage. Do you remember that?

8 A. Sorry, I'm trying to just find the reference.

9 Q. It is right at the bottom of the page:

10 "Prospect of one side imitating another: very

11 unlikely."

12 A. I obviously wasn't privy to that. It seems that that

13 document was put together after the visit of Mr Phillips

14 and others to the laboratory, and obviously that was

15 a comment that they must have gleaned from Dr Murray or

16 some other person in the explosives department.

17 Q. So it wasn't a possibility that you considered or

18 investigated?

19 A. No, it wasn't.

20 Q. Thank you.

21 A. Although there was one case on that series where there

22 was an imitation of a Republican device.

23 Q. So that was something that you considered in your

24 examination of previous devices?

25 A. That's correct, yes.

 

 

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1 Q. And did your conclusions on that lead you to think that

2 there was any possibility of such a masquerade, if I can

3 put it that way, in this case?

4 A. Well, certainly it would be very difficult for

5 Republicans to masquerade, using your word, a Loyalist

6 device because they were so disparate, so it would be

7 very difficult for them to get a template. Whereas on

8 the other hand, as I explained yesterday in answer to

9 Sir Anthony's question, there was a distinct similarity

10 from case to case in a Republican case, not only in

11 under-vehicle booby trap bombs but in various other

12 devices that they used. And in particular, the timer

13 power unit was a concept that they used for most of the

14 devices, almost a standardisation right across all of

15 their work.

16 Q. Thank you. Now, you at a slightly later stage of the

17 investigation, you sought an alternative view on the

18 forensic side from Mr Todd?

19 A. We did, yes.

20 Q. And that, as I understand it, was something that Mr Port

21 instigated following, I think, Mr Provoost's 28-day

22 review?

23 A. That's correct, yes.

24 Q. And as far as you were aware, was the point of this

25 second opinion, if I can put it that way, to quality

 

 

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1 assure the work that had been done by the forensic

2 scientists in Northern Ireland?

3 A. I sensed, from Mr Port's point of view and my own point

4 of view, we were trying to in a sense quality assure and

5 also, probably more, validate what had taken place at

6 the laboratory. And I think that was driven purely

7 because of the independent factor of the investigation.

8 Q. And you tell us in paragraph 166 of your statement,

9 RNI-842-215 (displayed), that this decision caused

10 a little consternation in Northern Ireland. Is that

11 correct?

12 A. That's correct, yes.

13 Q. In due course we can see at RNI-704-096 (displayed)

14 a request was made by Mr Port for the scientists in

15 England to undertake work, including expressing a view

16 about the particular device and commenting upon the

17 previous devices in relation to which, I think, details

18 of eight were provided to Mr Todd. Is that right?

19 A. That is correct, yes.

20 Q. And it looks as though you were involved in liaising

21 with Mr Todd and possibly even taking the parts of the

22 Rosemary Nelson device over to him?

23 A. That is correct, yes.

24 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just ask you this question: it is

25 right, isn't it, that the Maghaberry device we talked

 

 

24

 

1 about earlier wasn't included in the list of previous

2 devices for Mr Todd; is that right?

3 A. That's correct, yes.

4 Q. Had you by that stage, therefore, already eliminated it

5 as potentially relevant?

6 A. I can't say at what point. At that particular point

7 when we took the items across, we certainly weren't

8 considering it to be part of that series.

9 Q. Was it possible that at this point, which is April 1999,

10 you weren't aware of Dr Murray's view, expressed, as we

11 saw, in his report of the end of July --

12 A. Yes, possibly because from recollection I don't think we

13 had the final statement for some time.

14 Q. It looks as though it was dated the end of July?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Right. So it may well be then that the reason that

17 didn't get included in Mr Todd's list was simply because

18 Dr Murray hadn't raised it with you at that stage?

19 A. That's quite likely.

20 Q. Yes. Now, we know that in due course Mr Todd produced

21 his own statement and report, and we can see that

22 beginning at RNI-704-098 (displayed). And in relation

23 to the previous devices, it looks as though what he was

24 provided, as I have said, was documents rather than

25 physical samples from those devices. We can see that at

 

 

25

 

1 RNI-704-109 (displayed), where he refers to the eight

2 other cases -- do you see there? -- at the bottom of the

3 page in his report.

4 So far as that is concerned, he deals with the

5 comparison in his conclusion at RNI-704-110, the next

6 page (displayed). And to explain it, he also prepared

7 a table -- I'm not going to show it at the moment

8 because it is extremely difficult to read even in hard

9 copy form, but he gave each previous device a number,

10 didn't he?

11 A. Yes, that's right.

12 Q. And what he says in relation to the matters he is

13 considering in the second full paragraph is:

14 "The similarities between these cases may suggest

15 some commonality amongst themselves as regards makers

16 and/or perpetrators, but not particularly in this case

17 ..."

18 That's the Rosemary Nelson case, his strongest

19 contender being, therefore, number 4 where he points to

20 the plastic container and the ammonium nitrate-based

21 high explosive:

22 "There are other detailed differences and

23 similarities which can be read from the table ..."

24 The table that he prepared:

25 "... however, I would regard their significance as

 

 

26

 

1 debatable. My overall opinion as regards this

2 comparison exercise is that at best the similarities

3 between number 4 and this case may suggest some degree

4 of commonality between the makers and/or the

5 perpetrators. As regards the other cases and this one,

6 I would regard their degree of similarity with this one

7 to be not much more than the basic general similarity of

8 under-vehicle explosive devices. Without any other

9 further specific information, I would regard any linking

10 of those other devices with this one as tenuous at

11 best."

12 So that view that he was expressing in his report to

13 you was rather different to that which you had received

14 from Dr Murray, wasn't it?

15 A. That would be right, yes.

16 Q. And getting back to the question I posed about this

17 originally, presumably, as the officer in charge from

18 the investigation point of view of this aspect, the

19 forensic aspect, of the work, the difference in opinion

20 between the scientists created a problem for you?

21 A. It didn't really create a problem. In fairness, I feel

22 that we give Clifford Todd an impossible task. What we

23 were asking him to do was compare documents in front of

24 him with each other, whereas Dr Murray had the

25 opportunity to examine the physical items in each

 

 

27

 

1 particular case, each component and each particular

2 device.

3 In hindsight, if we were doing it again, which

4 obviously we can't, we would have taken all the items to

5 him and let him have a physical examination because as

6 you read through it, the paragraph is littered with the

7 way "it appears", "may", "possibly", and in fairness he

8 was doing the best that he could with what we give him,

9 and I feel we didn't give him the proper material to do

10 the job.

11 Q. He was not only saying that, but he was saying

12 specifically at the end, wasn't he, that without any

13 further specification information, he would regard any

14 linking of those other devices with this one as tenuous

15 at best. So he was flagging up the possibility that you

16 could have provided him with more, with more

17 information. Isn't that a fair point?

18 A. Yes, I think, yes, he is. Well, I don't know whether he

19 is asking for that. He could have lifted the telephone

20 and asked and we would have brought them across to him.

21 But it is an exercise on his part and it is an exercise

22 we asked him to carry out, and it wasn't a very well

23 thought through exercise, I feel, from our part.

24 Q. But left with the two opinions, what did you do, as the

25 investigator in charge of this part of the work, to

 

 

28

 

1 resolve the matter one way or the other?

2 A. We took account obviously of what Dr -- Clifford Todd

3 said, Mr Todd said, but we didn't take it any further

4 than that. We didn't decide to go across with the items

5 and let him carry out a physical examination.

6 Q. Can I take it that what you decided to do in effect was

7 to go with Dr Murray?

8 A. That is right.

9 Q. Now, having made that decision, effectively to put

10 Mr Todd on one side, did you not think at the very least

11 that some of the questions raised by Mr Todd should be

12 pursued with Dr Murray and an opportunity for further

13 research or clarification by him should be seized?

14 A. Well, in addition to what we were doing with Dr Murray

15 and Clifford Todd, we were also carrying out our own

16 enquiries about each device, about who might have

17 planted them, and we looked at the intelligence on each

18 device, including the ones that Mr Todd had brought to

19 our attention. I think it was number 4. And we were

20 able to discriminate between organisations that had made

21 number 4 and the other devices.

22 Q. Now, so far as Mr Todd's report to you is concerned, and

23 his role in the investigation, you touch on this in

24 paragraph 207 of your statement where you say that his

25 secondary role -- there were two tasks, if we remember:

 

 

29

 

1 the first to look at the device and the second to

2 undertake a review of the documents on the previous

3 ones. You say at 207, which is RNI-842-226 (displayed):

4 "His secondary role was to review forensic reports

5 and statements relating to the eight other Loyalist

6 devices."

7 And there you make the point that he didn't have the

8 benefit of the actual material. You say:

9 "I did not consider that Mr Todd's comments really

10 advanced the investigation. This should not be taken as

11 a reflection on the professionalism or competence of

12 Mr Todd. I don't think he had any experience of the way

13 in which terrorist groups in Northern Ireland operated."

14 Did you know that Mr Todd was a principal forensic

15 officer who, at the time you instructed him in 1999, had

16 been working in relation to the Irish Republic bombing

17 campaign on the mainland?

18 A. I did, yes.

19 Q. Was that a disadvantage or an advantage in his work

20 for you?

21 A. I think it was an advantage.

22 Q. Now, was the problem here, so far as you and your

23 colleagues were concerned, that the views that he was

24 expressing cast some doubt on the theory you had in

25 relation to the identity of the specific bomb maker in

 

 

30

 

1 this case?

2 A. No, we -- as I said before, we didn't have a theory. We

3 had intelligence on the specific bomb maker and quite

4 a lot of intelligence. So it didn't cast any doubt at

5 all on that intelligence.

6 Q. So you don't think that his views as to the lack of

7 similarity between this device and the other ones had

8 any impact on your theory as to who made this specific

9 device?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Now, did you draw his report to the attention of

12 Dr Murray?

13 A. I don't believe I did.

14 Q. Wasn't it important that the forensic scientist who you

15 had first instructed and had as your adviser on the

16 case, should be made aware of precisely what another

17 expert in his field was saying?

18 A. I don't -- I didn't believe that was necessary.

19 I certainly -- we discussed it in the senior management

20 team and we didn't feel the need to take it any further.

21 As far as the device that was used in

22 Rosemary Nelson's murder, there was very little

23 difference between what Dr Murray said and what

24 Clifford Todd had said, and that was the primary reason

25 for our examination. The similar device aspect was

 

 

31

 

1 something basically that was more or less an

2 afterthought as we went through the door to see

3 Clifford Todd at DERA.

4 Q. However it had originally come about, the fact was that

5 you now had conflicting opinions from experts in the

6 field. Was the problem, looking back on it, that you

7 were more concerned to identify similarities rather than

8 to recognise the differences that Mr Todd was pointing

9 out to you?

10 A. I think our primary objective was to identify the

11 bomber. Whether there was differences in the scientists

12 or whether there was differences in their view on the

13 similarities, which would have explained -- wasn't the

14 factor. Our objective was to identify the bomber and

15 make him amenable. And it didn't matter who that bomb

16 maker was, whether it was the one we had in mind or

17 whether intelligence took us somewhere else, we would

18 have pursued that.

19 Q. Can I just ask you finally one or two questions about

20 the proactive operations that we talked about yesterday

21 afternoon.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Which came to be known, if not by you, as Operation

24 George.

25 A. Yes.

 

 

32

 

1 Q. And I would like to start by taking you to a paragraph

2 of your due diligence statement where you start to talk

3 about this. It is 218 at RNI-842-229 (displayed), and

4 there you are saying, amongst other things, as I

5 understand it, that the operation, whilst significant,

6 was one of a number of lines of enquiry which were being

7 pursued during the period that the operation was in

8 progress. Is that a fair summary?

9 A. That's correct, yes.

10 Q. Now, I'm sure you have seen, but I just want to remind

11 you, of a passage in Mr Ayling's report, simply because

12 it is a convenient way of looking at this, where there

13 is an analysis of the relevant actions in relation to

14 Operation George on the one hand and, if I can put it

15 this way, the conventional enquiry on the other. That's

16 at RNI-602-031 (displayed), and this encompasses the

17 period from the beginning of 2000 to March that year,

18 and then the same period for the following two years.

19 And what is shown there is how it was, just on the basis

20 of the actions, that Operation George came to dominate

21 in terms of the overall numbers.

22 Now, would you accept that there came a moment when

23 the balance of the investigation shifted in favour of

24 Operation George in terms of time and effort and

25 resources and away from the conventional enquiry work

 

 

33

 

1 going on back in Northern Ireland?

2 A. I wouldn't say the focus ever shifted. The work of the

3 Murder Investigation Team, which was located at Lurgan,

4 wasn't really seriously impacted by the work that was

5 going on with Operation George.

6 Specific individuals -- and a number of individuals

7 were recruited for that function and really the only

8 departure from -- the relocating of my staff was about

9 two or four officers, in fact two officers, from

10 recollection, and maybe, at the most, three. So it

11 didn't impact on the work of the MIT.

12 Probably the reality was that there was two things.

13 It was important, obviously, to pursue what was coming

14 out off Operation George because serious offences were

15 being talked about, and this is one of the difficulties

16 about proactive work. You set it up and you hope that

17 you are going to capture conversations about a

18 particular incident. You have no control over what the

19 individual talks about. But there was also then the

20 danger -- or a decision that had to be made, either we

21 looked at this within the investigation or we gave it to

22 another investigation team. But the dangers of doing

23 that would have compromised our investigation. That's

24 one point.

25 At the same time, our investigation into the

 

 

34

 

1 Rosemary Nelson was -- murder -- the majority of actions

2 were diminishing because we were now, by 2001, three

3 years into the investigation. And had there been a lot

4 of enquiries incomplete, a lot of questions, I would

5 imagine -- I would have been asking questions, "Why have

6 we not made the progress that we should have?" and I'm

7 sure Mr Port would have been asking the same questions.

8 So just naturally those were going to diminish. But

9 the fact that the Operation George actions went up did

10 not impact on the MIT work that we were doing with the

11 team at Lurgan because in reality, all of the MIT at

12 Lurgan, with the exception of about three officers that

13 I mentioned, had no knowledge of the Operation George

14 work that was going on outside of Northern Ireland and

15 in other places in Northern Ireland.

16 So what I'm saying is that it didn't impact on the

17 work of the MIT; our focus on what we were doing

18 continued. And what lines of enquiry that were left

19 were being diligently pursued.

20 Q. And, again, just to be clear about this, so far as you

21 are concerned -- because I appreciate you were not

22 involved in the proactive undercover work that was going

23 on under that title of Operation George, were you?

24 A. I had an awareness, a good awareness. I was involved at

25 certain levels at certain times.

 

 

35

 

1 Q. Yes. But so far as you are concerned in relation to the

2 resourcing of the conventional enquiry back in Lurgan,

3 are you telling the Inquiry here that there was no

4 impact on the resources available to you?

5 A. Apart from -- minimal impact, that's what I'm saying,

6 about three officers out of quite a large team. And

7 what I'm saying in relation to Operation George, as the

8 work increased, as it intensified and as the need arose,

9 officers that were capable of operating in that arena

10 were recruited because in reality even if we were to try

11 and make extractions from the MIT, the officer wouldn't

12 have really been qualified to do what we were asking

13 them to do. So it was two different roles in a way,

14 apart from the three officers that I mentioned.

15 Q. From your perspective, continuing to be based in Lurgan,

16 are you saying that there was no point at which you

17 thought that these operations under the heading

18 Operation George had taken on a life of their own?

19 A. No, I didn't consider that they had reached the point

20 that they were a distraction from the murder

21 investigation. The single focus always was to apprehend

22 the culprits for the murder of Rosemary Nelson.

23 Q. Now, as we know, during the course of all of the work

24 that went into Operation George, there were no

25 admissions or nothing that could have founded

 

 

36

 

1 a prosecution in relation to the murder of

2 Rosemary Nelson, although, of course, a large number of

3 other prosecutions followed. Was there a review -- and,

4 if so, at what point -- of the key suspects, targets, of

5 the operation in the light of the fact that there had

6 been no such admissions?

7 A. There had been no clear admissions. There had been

8 comments that are of interest in relation to the

9 Rosemary Nelson case. And the Operation George, as you

10 call it, was something that was reviewed constantly, the

11 strategy was reviewed constantly. And I recall at one

12 particular stage myself doing a document on where we

13 were with that strategy and what the likely outcome was

14 and what suggestions were to Mr Port.

15 Q. Now, just returning to a topic we looked at in some

16 detail yesterday, so far as your relations with

17 Special Branch are concerned, you have talked about this

18 at some length in your third statement and we have been

19 together through various items of intelligence, which

20 you now believe you should have seen but you didn't see

21 at the time, can I ask you this question: in relation to

22 your dealings with B567, did you ever have cause to

23 wonder whether he was doing what he could to assist you

24 in your work on the investigation?

25 A. I had no reason to doubt his credibility or

 

 

37

 

1 professionalism. I was quite happy that he was giving

2 us the assistance that he could, as best I knew.

3 Q. And, indeed, just to look at your position generally, as

4 I understand it from that third statement of yours, your

5 position, so far as cooperation between Special Branch

6 and the investigation is concerned, is that there was

7 more cooperation in this investigation than had been

8 your experience in previous cases. Is that correct?

9 A. That is correct, yes.

10 Q. And can I take it that if you had had cause to worry

11 that material was being deliberately withheld from you

12 by him or any other Special Branch officer, you would

13 have made your views known and perhaps complained to

14 your own line managers about the situation?

15 A. In this investigation?

16 Q. Yes.

17 A. Yes, I would have, yes.

18 Q. Did you ever have reason to do that?

19 A. No, no reason.

20 Q. Now, those are the questions I had for you in the open

21 session, but as you know, all witnesses are offered an

22 opportunity to add anything they wish to. Is there

23 anything that you would like to add to the evidence you

24 have already given to the Inquiry?

25 A. No. I would just like to say that this was a horrendous

 

 

38

 

1 murder at the end of it and we are talking about various

2 issues, and at the heart of it all lies a family that

3 was devastated as a result of this murder. And

4 obviously it's a regret of mine, as I know it is with

5 the whole team, that we didn't -- or haven't as yet --

6 seen anyone stand in the dock charged with the murder of

7 Mrs Nelson. And it is certainly my hope in the

8 future -- I look forward to the day when that happens.

9 But certainly I would say, that certainly we gave it

10 100 per cent effort and left no stone unturned as far as

11 we were concerned to try and make that happen.

12 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

13 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Just the one point, if I may.

14 A. Yes, sir.

15 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And it goes back to this correct or

16 justified attribution of the device, and Mr Phillips has

17 very helpfully given us a thorough airing, but could

18 I just, so that I fully appreciate the position, go

19 through the sort of logic thread that has developed as

20 your evidence has been given?

21 A. Yes, sir.

22 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Republican devices, you have said, have

23 this doyle pin common factor, in the main?

24 A. Yes, sir.

25 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Which obviously was a hallmark factor

 

 

39

 

1 when looking at devices. And you said yesterday that

2 almost sort of factory produced in design and style?

3 A. Yes.

4 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Loyalist devices, from what we have

5 heard this morning, looking at the previous devices

6 attributed to Loyalist organisations, did not have the

7 same similarities, except of course their targets were

8 Catholics or members of the Nationalist communities?

9 A. Yes, with just one exception --

10 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: With one exception. So there was

11 a logical conclusion to be drawn there.

12 A. That's correct, yes.

13 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: That they were Loyalist devices?

14 A. That's correct.

15 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: In terms of the lack of similarity with

16 some of the components, from your vast experience of

17 terrorism in Northern Ireland does that in itself

18 indicate that they were necessarily different bomb

19 makers producing these bombs or was it a case of using

20 basically whatever came to hand?

21 A. I think in the case of the Loyalists it was getting

22 together whatever came to hand, and they didn't --

23 whenever they were making a device, they just grabbed

24 whatever they could get. They knew the components they

25 needed and they went with that.

 

 

40

 

1 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So they didn't have the same access to

2 recognised explosives?

3 A. That's correct, yes. I think actually in the previous

4 eight devices, I think our device was the only one where

5 slurry explosive was used. In the previous devices it

6 was PETN-based explosives.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And finally, have you ever come across

8 a situation in bomb making terms where the bomb maker,

9 for whatever reason, tried to produce a device which in

10 itself displayed hallmark features going back to that

11 individual?

12 A. No, the Provisional IRA ones were just standard.

13 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Standard.

14 A. Hm-mm. And looking at that, you would say the same

15 persons or the same persons who had been brought up in

16 the same school made the devices.

17 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Made the devices. Thank you very much

18 indeed.

19 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN

20 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I have one question, which I'm not

21 sure how far you will be able to answer in open session,

22 but do what you can.

23 One of the pieces of intelligence that was discussed

24 yesterday related to Colin Duffy apparently confessing

25 to Rosemary Nelson his involvement in murders. And that

 

 

41

 

1 raised the question about was he or was she suspected

2 possibly of being a talker.

3 This is a general question, which is: on your

4 experience of many terrorist incidents, what would cause

5 PIRA to think of somebody as being a talker and what,

6 customarily, would they do about it? It is a rather

7 general question.

8 A. If they felt that somebody was a security threat, they

9 would murder them, as simple as that. And we have too

10 many examples of that.

11 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right. And how would they do that?

12 A. Usually by shooting them. What they would generally do

13 would be arrest them, take them for interrogation, quite

14 often across the border, and then they would be perhaps

15 dumped at the border with a bullet in their head.

16 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: That would be a fairly public

17 demonstration?

18 A. It sent out a message of, "This is the consequences if

19 you talk".

20 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Are you aware of any instances where

21 they, as it were, carried out the, as it might be,

22 execution in a way that it was not possible to discover

23 that it had been an execution by them?

24 A. Possibly. It probably would be better to discuss that

25 in closed session.

 

 

42

 

1 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Okay, thank you.

2 Questions by THE CHAIRMAN

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Am I right in thinking that you yourself and,

4 as far as you know, no one in the senior management team

5 asked Special Branch for intelligence in relation to

6 Republican terrorist activity in the general area of

7 Lurgan in the days and weeks before Rosemary Nelson's

8 murder?

9 A. We had some intelligence to hand, some Special Branch

10 briefing sheets, of dissident and PIRA activity, which

11 we were shown and took possession of some, which is in

12 our account. But there was nothing in that that

13 indicated that they were considering mounting an attack

14 in the Lurgan area on a civilian.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: So you were shown some intelligence?

16 A. That's correct, yes.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

18 We will now, after a break, have a closed session.

19 We will have a break of at least a quarter of an hour

20 and resume in closed session. Anyone in the public area

21 and any legal representatives not entitled to be in the

22 closed session will, of course, be excluded and will

23 leave the chamber and the public area, and the chamber

24 will be closed.

25 Before the witness leaves, would the video engineer

 

 

43

 

1 please confirm that all the cameras have been switched

2 off?

3 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

5 An announcement will be made of the exact time of

6 resumption.

7 (11.26 am)

8 (Short break)

9 (11.50 am)

10 (Closed session)

11 (1.16 pm)

12 (The short adjournment)

13 (2.45 pm)

14 THE CHAIRMAN: May the witness be sworn.

15 MR ARTHUR PROVOOST (sworn)

16 Questions by MR SAVILL

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Savill.

18 MR SAVILL: Thank you, sir. Could you give us your full

19 name, please.

20 A. Arthur Gilles Provoost.

21 Q. Thank you very much, indeed, Mr Provoost. As

22 a formality to commence proceedings, you, I think, have

23 given three statements to the Inquiry?

24 A. Yes, sir.

25 Q. And the second of those statements can be found at

 

 

44

 

1 RNI-817-122 (displayed), and at RNI-817-294, I hope, is

2 your signature and the date of the statement,

3 18 December?

4 A. That's correct.

5 Q. The third statement is at RNI-817-295 (displayed). You

6 can see that's yours?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. If we go to RNI-817-378 (displayed), we can hopefully

9 again see your signature and the date I think was on the

10 first page?

11 A. Correct.

12 Q. Just so there is no confusion, you, as I say, gave three

13 statements, but the first of those dealt with matters

14 that are encompassed now in your third statement?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. That's why we are not going to be referring to that;

17 indeed, it has not been distributed. I'm going to ask

18 you some questions about the murder investigation today

19 and tomorrow, but can I just point out, please, that we

20 are, at the risk of stating the obvious, in open session

21 at the moment and tomorrow we will be going into

22 a closed hearing, at which point certain matters will be

23 discussed in relation to issues regarding collusion and

24 certain matters of intelligence.

25 Now, I will obviously do my best to be aware of that

 

 

45

 

1 throughout the questioning, but I would also be very

2 grateful if you could use your vast knowledge and

3 experience of the documents in the case to assist me to

4 conduct the open hearing in as open a way as possible,

5 but without revealing anything that shouldn't be

6 revealed?

7 A. Yes, I will certainly try to.

8 Q. Thank you very much indeed.

9 Could we call up, please, on to the screen

10 RNI-817-123 (displayed). I think we can probably

11 highlight the whole of that page. It is right to say,

12 isn't it, that you joined the police in 1971?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And we can see on this page that in 1976, you had your

15 first involvement in CID work, as a CID aide?

16 A. Yes, that's correct.

17 Q. And then you were appointed as detective constable

18 in 1977?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Promoted to sergeant in 1980?

21 A. Hm-mm.

22 Q. And in 1980, in August of that year, transferred to

23 Wigan as a detective sergeant, where you remained for

24 six years?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

46

 

1 Q. At that point in time, I hope I'm right in saying, you

2 were dealing with common or garden CID investigations?

3 A. In the main, yes.

4 Q. Then if we see in 1986, paragraph 7, you were promoted

5 to the rank of inspector, posted to Salford and you

6 managed all local crime investigations, including

7 serious crime, other than home supported inquiries for,

8 Homicide?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. You were also, during this posting, the person that led

11 a number of category C murders and suspicious deaths

12 investigations.

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Could you just assist me with the different categories

15 of murders?

16 A. Working in order of seriousness, a category A murder

17 would be the murder of a child, a police officer, prison

18 officer or a figure of some public note. A category B

19 murder would be a murder where the suspect was not

20 obvious and was, therefore, initially an undetected

21 murder, but not a category A murder or not classified as

22 a category A murder. And a category C murder would be

23 a murder where there was an obvious suspect or, indeed,

24 it was -- somebody had already been arrested for that

25 murder.

 

 

47

 

1 Q. Thank you. In June 1987 you transferred or were

2 transferred to the Serious Crime Squad, which was

3 a central unit?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. That is, essentially, you say the Homicide Squad for

6 Greater Manchester police?

7 A. In essence, yes.

8 Q. You began then to be involved with category B and

9 category A murder investigations?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. What does outside enquiries team leader involve, please?

12 A. In essence, I would have managed the teams that were

13 going out and carrying out the outside enquiries that

14 were being allocated actions by the major incident room

15 to undertake specific lines of enquiry, and I would have

16 been part of the management team that reported back to

17 the SIO together with other key officers, such as the

18 office manager and the scenes of crime adviser.

19 Q. Thank you. Looking in the next paragraph, we can see

20 that in March 1989 you were transferred back again to

21 Eccles as an acting detective chief inspector.

22 Following that, you were promoted to the full rank

23 in May and you remained there until March 1994?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And you were responsible for all aspects of crime

 

 

48

 

1 management within the subdivision?

2 A. That's correct, yes.

3 Q. As an SIO for the, as you put it, many serious crime

4 investigations, you were gathering experience,

5 presumably, of homicide investigations of all varieties

6 and all levels of seriousness?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. In paragraph 11, you say in the last sentence that:

9 "Having been posted to the division that encompassed

10 the city centre, [you] were involved in homicides

11 arising out of gang activity"?

12 A. That's correct, yes.

13 Q. Can I ask you -- it may not be the case -- are there any

14 analogies that you can draw between the investigations

15 that you conducted in Northern Ireland into Mrs Nelson's

16 death and gang-related homicides?

17 A. In my experience, very few.

18 Q. Now, you also at this stage were gaining experience, if

19 we look in paragraph 12, of covert intelligence and

20 evidence gathering methods?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Was it this time period where you only started to become

23 involved in that or had you encountered it in previous

24 investigations?

25 A. On the margins, I think, really. It was only at this

 

 

49

 

1 time that I started to get personally and more

2 intimately involved with that line of really

3 investigative --

4 Q. If you will assist me, what does that mean, to become

5 personally, more intimately involved? What role were

6 you playing?

7 A. Taking decisions as to whether we would undertake covert

8 surveillance, receiving reports back from technical

9 advisers as to what was -- what we were able to do and

10 then making decisions on the basis of, in essence,

11 whether we should be doing what was technically viable.

12 Q. So examining the strategy, if you like, of what you were

13 doing?

14 A. The strategy and legal issues and questions of

15 proportionality.

16 Q. Thank you. You also in your experience at this time

17 were asked to review a case in Surrey, I think that's

18 right to say?

19 A. Yes, a criminal cases review commission.

20 Q. And that was a murder case?

21 A. It was indeed, yes.

22 Q. And also in June 1998 you were moved to a slightly

23 different area, when you were made the officer in

24 command of the Complaints and Discipline Department at

25 Greater Manchester Police?

 

 

50

 

1 A. Yes, that's correct.

2 Q. I presume I may not be right in saying so, but did that

3 require a different skill set to that of an SIR?

4 A. It was a very different type of job, but there was still

5 obviously a degree of investigative skills and

6 experience needed. On this occasion, clearly the people

7 who were under investigation were police officers. So

8 it was similar, but not the same.

9 Q. How long did you actually do that for, that particular

10 role?

11 A. It was around about nine months before I joined this

12 investigation.

13 Q. I was going to say that in fact you would presumably

14 have gone on to continue in that role for some greater

15 period of time, but that was interrupted by an approach

16 to come to Northern Ireland to work on the

17 Rosemary Nelson murder enquiry?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. So in those nine months you picked up a feel and some

20 experience for Complaints and Discipline matters?

21 A. I did indeed, yes.

22 Q. Just so I have my dates right, you were approached

23 in April 1999 to come over to Northern Ireland?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. On 12 April, you were seconded to the Rosemary Nelson

 

 

51

 

1 investigation?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. You first of all conducted a review of what had gone on

4 prior to your arrival?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And you were the then deputy officer in overall command

7 for a period of time?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. And then in April 2003 you became the officer in overall

10 command?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So at paragraph 53 of your statement, which is at

13 RNI-817-138 (displayed) -- it is not coming up but

14 perhaps it does not matter. I can just ask you the

15 question. What I hope you say at that paragraph, which

16 I will just check to make doubly sure, is that:

17 "I have acknowledged that I was not an experienced

18 review officer, but I was a very experienced SIO"?

19 A. Yes, that's correct.

20 Q. So I just want to be clear, at the time you came over to

21 join the Rosemary Nelson enquiry you were extremely

22 experienced, would you say, in all different types and

23 levels of serious murder investigation?

24 A. Yes, I believe so.

25 Q. Thank you. Now, I hope we can call up RNI-817-130

 

 

52

 

1 (displayed). Good.

2 Now, what I want to ask you here is that in the last

3 sentence of paragraph 31, you say that:

4 "I soon realised that the situation in

5 Northern Ireland was very different from that existing

6 in Manchester and that I had to embark on a very steep

7 learning curve."

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And if we go over the page, please, to RNI-817-131

10 (displayed), which we don't seem to be able to do --

11 well, again, hopefully you have your statement in front

12 of you. It is paragraph 34. I'm trying to pull up on

13 to the screen -- you list a number of reasons why

14 Northern Ireland was very different. I don't want to go

15 through them one by one, but could you just summarise

16 for us, please, orally why it was that you felt that

17 Northern Ireland was so very different to that which you

18 had experienced?

19 A. Well, I had no experience whatsoever with investigating

20 terrorist crimes obviously. So that was the first and

21 major difference. And then, as you say, Mr Savill, at

22 paragraph 34 I do list some of the more obvious

23 differences that I encountered, for example, what was

24 immediately noticeable was that the accommodation at

25 Lurgan was really quite cramped, and without making it

 

 

53

 

1 sound pejorative, but it was certainly less

2 sophisticated than what I had been used to in murder

3 incident rooms in Manchester.

4 Q. Would it be fair to say that you were coming into

5 a world that involved obviously serious crime and murder

6 but in a terrorist context, which perhaps made it even

7 more serious, but you were not encountering the level of

8 sophistication, if I can use that word, that you might

9 have expected to encounter in your home force?

10 A. Yes, in terms of accommodation and equipment, and

11 certainly there was, I feel, less sophistication. There

12 was a difference in systems and the resources that were

13 available for staffing up the murder rooms and the

14 outside enquiry teams.

15 MR SAVILL: And the other issue obviously that was in your

16 mind -- and I hold my breath when I ask for RNI-817-132

17 to be called up, which it doesn't seem possible to do

18 again.

19 The other possibility I'm going to ask you about at

20 paragraph --

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Is it a matter that could be easily sorted

22 out in about three or four minutes?

23 MR SAVILL: I am afraid you are asking the wrong person.

24 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, it is. We can sort it out in about

25 three or four minutes, no problem, sir.

 

 

54

 

1 MR SAVILL: Yes, is the answer to your question. Yes,

2 it can.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Would you like to sit down while that is

4 done. (Pause)

5 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: While we are waiting, could we just

6 straighten out how we ought to be pronouncing your name

7 for future reference.

8 A. Actually, ma'am, it is Provoost.

9 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Thank you very much. (Pause)

10 MR SAVILL: Does this mean now that it is going to work for

11 all other papers?

12 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes.

13 MR SAVILL: Paragraph 35 at RNI-817-132, please (displayed).

14 You say there:

15 "However, for me, it was the allegations of

16 collusion that epitomised just how different this murder

17 investigation was going to be from any I had

18 investigated previously."

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. I just want to ask you: the strength of that feeling,

21 was that when you arrived, in the first day or so, or

22 was that a feeling that you developed over the period

23 that you were investigating the murder?

24 A. Well, I was aware of the collusion allegations before

25 I actually came to the murder, of course, because I had

 

 

55

 

1 about a week to prepare myself along with other duties.

2 But I had been reading the reportage on the murder and

3 looking on the Internet, so I was well aware of those

4 allegations before I actually arrived.

5 On the first working day I had an extremely detailed

6 briefing by the SIO and he majored on the allegations of

7 collusion during that briefing. So certainly very, very

8 early on into the investigation I was aware just how

9 serious these allegations were.

10 Q. And if we can just deal with it at this point, you in

11 fact spent a good deal of your time being in charge of

12 the collusion aspect of the investigation?

13 A. I did indeed, yes.

14 Q. And that was a matter that you took very seriously

15 indeed knowing the context and the allegations that were

16 being made?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. The other difference that I just want to explore with

19 you briefly at this stage is the way in which

20 Special Branch related to a murder investigation and the

21 SIO in particular.

22 What was your experience of dealing with

23 Special Branch in terms of a murder investigation and

24 intelligence in Manchester?

25 A. Very, very little. Practically none, indeed.

 

 

56

 

1 Q. I must ask you the next question: why was that?

2 A. There just wasn't the reason to have that sort of

3 liaison. I had never investigated anything in

4 Manchester that had any sort of terrorist overtones or

5 connections. I simply had no reason to have that sort

6 of liaison with Special Branch.

7 I was aware, obviously, as a department within the

8 force, what they did, what their objectives were. I was

9 aware of some of the individuals that worked within that

10 department, but in terms of needing to call upon them as

11 a resource in any of the murder investigations that I

12 had been involved in, it just hadn't happened.

13 Q. That having been said, did you have an understanding of

14 how Special Branch worked and related to a murder

15 investigation in Manchester or, indeed, England?

16 A. Yes, I had a good idea, certainly in principle, if not

17 in practice.

18 Q. What was that?

19 A. Well, in essence, that if there was a murder, say, in

20 Manchester and there was a need to call upon

21 Special Branch, then Special Branch was there to be used

22 as a resource, in essence, in support of the murder

23 investigation and in support of the SIO.

24 Q. And in that context what did you understand -- it is my

25 expression -- the pecking order to be between the murder

 

 

57

 

1 investigation and Special Branch?

2 A. I'm not sure that "pecking order" is probably the right

3 expression. I think there would be an understanding

4 that the SIO leading the murder investigation would, as

5 it were, set the agenda and that obviously -- and

6 this -- I hasten to add, this is me talking really

7 hypothetically about what I think would have happened in

8 a murder in Manchester, you know. I did not have that

9 actual experience. But I have no reason to believe that

10 it wouldn't have been anything other than the SIO would

11 have set the agenda and then, within that agenda,

12 Special Branch would have advised what was appropriate

13 and what could be achieved. And if, say, one was

14 dealing with sensitive material or sensitive sources,

15 there would be a negotiation between the SIO and

16 Special Branch as to how that would be managed against

17 the backdrop of the murder investigation.

18 Q. Thank you. You do indeed express it much more

19 felicitously than I did.

20 As far as your experience of Northern Ireland was

21 concerned, Special Branch in murder investigations,

22 presumably you had no experience?

23 A. None whatsoever.

24 Q. But did you have any preconceptions, or had you heard

25 through discussions with other senior officers on

 

 

58

 

1 courses, for example, of the relationship that existed

2 in Northern Ireland?

3 A. I had certainly met RUC officers on courses in England

4 and, of course, a proportion of those were

5 Special Branch officers. I mean, in the main I didn't

6 find that they talked about great deal about their job

7 or the job that they were undertaking in

8 Northern Ireland. I guess I did have some

9 pre-conditions from talking to those people on those

10 courses and mutual friends who were -- you know, who had

11 colleagues working in Northern Ireland and the

12 impression that I got was that Special Branch was an

13 extremely efficient department who pretty much had their

14 finger on the pulse, if I can put it that way.

15 Q. Yes.

16 A. And I would say this: I think there was a general

17 perception throughout the police service that

18 Special Branch had saved an awful lot of lives

19 throughout the difficulties.

20 Q. Yes. Let me just ask you at this stage, slightly out of

21 sequence, but during your time, which has been

22 considerable as of today's date, in Northern Ireland and

23 based in the Rosemary Nelson murder enquiry, have you

24 ever heard any discussion or comment -- and I don't mean

25 just by members of your team -- by members of the

 

 

59

 

1 security forces about Mrs Nelson in a pejorative way?

2 A. No, I haven't, but I'm probably the last person that

3 anybody would be talking to in a pejorative sense about

4 Mrs Nelson.

5 Q. Yes, but sometimes things are said when people don't

6 know who is listening and I just wonder whether you have

7 ever heard any unpleasantness?

8 A. No.

9 Q. Have you ever heard any comments expressed by members of

10 the security forces about the relationship between

11 lawyers and suspected terrorists that they may have

12 represented?

13 A. No, I haven't, no.

14 Q. I appreciate as part of your duties you've investigated

15 various matters. I'm just wondering on a more informal

16 basis whether you had?

17 A. The opportunities to have informal contact with members

18 of the Security Service had been pretty rare --

19 Q. Forgive me for interrupting -- it may be your slip of

20 the tongue or mine -- I didn't mean the Security

21 Service, I meant the security forces.

22 A. It was my slip of the tongue, the security forces, in

23 the wider sense that of phrase.

24 Q. Sorry, I interrupted you.

25 A. I was simply saying that, you know, the opportunities

 

 

60

 

1 for that sort of informal contact have, quite frankly,

2 been rare. I mean, I was over here to do a job, so

3 really I have been discharging my professional

4 functions, and I do suspect that in many respects people

5 have kept their guard up when they have been in

6 conversation with me or when they have been in company

7 with me. I wouldn't expect anything less, quite

8 frankly.

9 Q. Now, when you arrived in Northern Ireland, you have

10 mentioned that a few moments ago you received

11 a briefing. So you knew a little bit about what had

12 gone on, the background, because you had told us you

13 read in the press one or two reports. But as far as you

14 might have been responsible, lines of enquiry and so on

15 and so forth, you knew nothing until the point at which

16 you were briefed by the SIO; is that right?

17 A. I knew very little. I knew the broad, broad outline of

18 the investigation because Mr Port obviously, in our

19 conversations over the telephone when he was seeking to

20 recruit me, had filled me in really on the rudiments of

21 the crime and the main line of enquiry or main lines of

22 enquiry.

23 Q. And the briefing came from Mr Kinkaid?

24 A. On the 12th of the 4th. It came from Mr Kinkaid, yes.

25 Q. Just to give us a flavour of that, was that a day-long

 

 

61

 

1 process or half an hour over a cup of coffee? What was

2 the nature of it?

3 A. It started after the morning conference. It would be

4 around about 10 o'clock. We certainly broke for lunch

5 and then continued after lunch. So probably between

6 10 o'clock and maybe 2.30, with a break for lunch.

7 Q. Thank you. I am afraid I'm going to ask you for a bit

8 of self-assessment here. As a character, were you or

9 are you the sort of person who was sitting and listening

10 to what was being said first before forming views and

11 opinions and asking questions, or were you questioning

12 Mr Kinkaid as you went along? How did it work as

13 a dynamic between the two of you?

14 A. A little bit of both. In the main I think it would be

15 true to say I was on receive mode, but every so often

16 I came in with a question when I thought it was

17 appropriate. But in the main, I was there to listen.

18 Q. And as a mindset at this stage and shortly thereafter

19 were you saying to yourself, "I'm going to listen,

20 analyse and then challenge as much as I can what is

21 being said to me" or were you saying, "I'm an outsider,

22 I don't know the people, I don't know the context, so

23 I'm going to be guided by them". What was the way in

24 which you were approaching this?

25 A. No, I don't think it was as a loose as, if I could put

 

 

62

 

1 it that way, as the second proposition. It was -- I was

2 an experienced SIO and he was an experienced SIO, so we

3 were talking, as it were, the same sort of language.

4 But I think as the briefing went on, it might be

5 a little bit extreme to say there was a sense of being

6 overwhelmed, but there was certainly a sense of, my

7 goodness me, do I have to -- I think you used a phrase

8 earlier on "a steep learning curve" and that's exactly

9 what I felt: I had a steep learning curve to engage

10 upon here.

11 Q. Following on from that answer, to what extent did you

12 feel it appropriate and, in fact, do so to challenge the

13 way in which Mr Kinkaid had, if you like, launched the

14 early stages of the murder investigation?

15 A. Well -- I mean, even though I was in a strange

16 environment and I wasn't used to investigating terrorist

17 crime, as I have already said, I was an experienced SIO.

18 So I thought that I could bring something to this

19 investigation even in the early days. So I wasn't shy

20 at challenging or questioning or posing questions where

21 I thought it was appropriate.

22 Q. Could we look at page RNI-817-144, please (displayed).

23 You have a heading in your statement "The structure of

24 the MIT", and at paragraph 68 you say that:

25 "The three constituent parts of the investigation

 

 

63

 

1 which developed under Mr Port were the mainstream

2 investigation, the Intelligence Cell ..."

3 And over the page you mention the Collusion Cell?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. How does, or how did Operation George, which we will

6 come to in due course, fit into what you called the

7 constituent parts? Was it not considered a separate

8 part or ...?

9 A. No, Operation George was always a line of enquiry,

10 a hugely important line of enquiry, but a line of

11 enquiry. So it had elements within the major incident

12 room or -- if there were elements, that were controlled

13 from the major incident room, but in the main it was

14 controlled and managed largely from the Intelligence

15 Cell. And if one had to look for any of those three

16 headings where it would sit more neatly, it would be the

17 Intelligence Cell.

18 Q. Why was that? Just explain that, please.

19 A. Because I guess in the main there was such a degree,

20 certainly in the early days, or the early months indeed,

21 of sensitivity around Operation George. Mr Port was

22 quite keen that in terms of Operation George only -- it

23 operated on a basis of a need to know. And his view,

24 which was shared by mine, was that many people within

25 the major incident room and, indeed, the Collusion Cell,

 

 

64

 

1 simply didn't need to know about Operation George. And

2 in that way, we could try to preserve the integrity and,

3 indeed, the secrecy of that operation.

4 Q. Thank you. And what difficulties did you encounter,

5 speaking generally, in regard to sharing information

6 between the three constituent parts that we have just

7 referred to and, as it were, keeping the left-hand

8 knowing what the right-hand was doing? How hard was

9 that?

10 A. It was difficult because, I mean, this was a unique

11 structure in many respects. I had certainly never

12 worked with a structure like this before. But it was

13 absolutely necessary because this was a mixed team, it

14 was a team made up of local officers and the outside

15 officers, and in essence the collusion side of the

16 investigation had to be dealt with in as much as it was

17 possible by officers from outside of Northern Ireland.

18 So that element of the investigation had to be --

19 really had to be ring-fenced from the rest of the

20 investigation. And I think, for the reasons that I have

21 already said, there was -- there were only a few people,

22 certainly in the early days, who were aware of the full

23 extent of Operation George. So it was difficult and

24 there was no template, or certainly not one that I was

25 aware of, that catered for this situation.

 

 

65

 

1 So we basically had to manage the situation and

2 invent our own template as we went along. And in the

3 main, that was managed through meetings which had

4 a hierarchy to them; for example, at the top was

5 Mr Port's intelligence coordinating meeting and then it

6 trickled down through meetings with Special Branch and

7 with officers from the Intelligence Cell, the tactical

8 intelligence and the strategic intelligence meetings.

9 So that, as it were, dealt with the Intelligence Cell

10 side of the investigation.

11 I was holding discrete meetings with my collusion

12 team which, as I have already said, were ring-fenced and

13 then there were the meetings with the main

14 investigation, the daily conference -- and in the early

15 days, those were twice a day -- the Friday management

16 meeting, and through this series of meetings we were

17 able to share information to a certain extent, although

18 with collusion it was always difficult because

19 obviously --

20 Q. The nature of the beast?

21 A. Yes, the nature of the beast, exactly. We were very,

22 very careful about how that information was shared, was

23 disseminated.

24 Q. And as far as the command structure, if you like, was

25 concerned, again, unusual because, as I understand it,

 

 

66

 

1 the OIOC, officer in overall command, was traditionally

2 a post that was taken on by a man or a woman to oversee

3 two separate investigations?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. So if the same killer, if you like, was suspected of

6 killing two different people, there would be two SIOs

7 and an officer in overall command to supervise them

8 both; is that right?

9 A. Usually. In its traditional sense it involved incident

10 rooms in different forces. So that, for example, I have

11 worked such a situation where we might have a murder in

12 Manchester, then there was a murder on the border of

13 Manchester and Merseyside. We had two different major

14 incident rooms running at the same time and an officer

15 in overall command, as it were, sat over those major

16 incident rooms, he set the strategy and he, through his

17 good offices, determined that there was continuity

18 between the two incident rooms and that, for example, we

19 weren't duplicating our efforts or duplicating lines of

20 enquiry. That's the traditional sense of ...

21 Q. And the role of deputy officer in overall command really

22 was a novelty, wasn't it?

23 A. I don't think there was such a role. I had never seen

24 it so described.

25 Q. If it was to be described, might it be described as

 

 

67

 

1 a minister without portfolio?

2 A. I'm not being flippant, but it would be described as the

3 deputy to the officer in overall command.

4 Q. I asked for that, thank you.

5 A. I'm not being flippant.

6 Q. No, I'm just trying understand how your role developed.

7 A. Sorry, in respect of my role. Sorry, I thought we were

8 talking about beyond the investigation.

9 No, in terms of this investigation, yes, I think --

10 I think there was a -- there was a very, very clear

11 understanding that I was heading up the collusion team.

12 There was an understanding that when Mr Port was absent,

13 that I was his deputy, but when Mr Port was actually

14 there, which he was most of the time, then my role, I

15 think, was a bit more ambiguous. It was, as you say,

16 officer without portfolio because very often Mr Port

17 would give me tasks, give me reviews to undertake, but

18 then I was also there to advise, if he needed it, the

19 SIO. So it was a role without definition, I think.

20 Q. Thank you for trying to define it for me.

21 As far as he was concerned, did Mr Port try and

22 explain to you what your role was meant to be or did he,

23 as it were, leave it to just develop pragmatically?

24 A. I think in the first instance he was -- there was some

25 areas where he was very, very clear. He wanted me to

 

 

68

 

1 undertake the 28-day review. There was a little bit of

2 discussion in early days about whether we should not

3 invite in a specialist team, but that was resolved and

4 it was decided that I would undertake the 28-day review.

5 So he was quite clear on that. He was always quite

6 clear that I would head up the collusion side of the

7 investigation.

8 And the rest of it, quite frankly -- and it was so

9 for quite a lot of the senior management team. It was

10 just roll your sleeves up and get stuck in and do what

11 needs to be done.

12 Q. For the avoidance of any doubt, obviously you are aware

13 there is a cipher involved here. Can you just tell us

14 who you define the SMT, the senior management team, to

15 be, please?

16 A. I guess in its most precise sense in terms of

17 accountability and setting strategy and agreeing

18 strategy, it would be Mr Port, Mr Kinkaid as the SIO,

19 M540 as his deputy and myself as the deputy officer in

20 overall command.

21 The only reason I equivocate is that there were

22 other medium to senior ranking officers, like the Head

23 of the Intelligence Cell or Mr Port's staff officer, who

24 could be regarded in its wider sense as the senior

25 management team.

 

 

69

 

1 Q. Just so we are aware, the Head of the Intelligence Cell

2 was a detective chief inspector?

3 A. He was.

4 Q. I think, in fact, there were two, weren't there, in the

5 main currency of the enquiry, two different individuals?

6 A. Yes, when the first chief inspector left, after around

7 about a year on the investigation, then another chief

8 inspector came. They were both from the National Crime

9 Squad, by the way.

10 Q. Thank you. So when you are describing the rolling-up of

11 sleeves, would you agree that one of the things that you

12 and Mr Port brought to this investigation was a fresh

13 approach from, if you like, a completely different

14 geographical and contextual area?

15 A. Yes, yes, I think that would be stating the obvious

16 really because, I mean, I have already explained my

17 background and Mr Port's background was really a whole

18 career in investigations, and certainly his experience

19 was a good deal wider than mine was.

20 Q. And was anything said either between yourselves or to

21 any of you that you are aware of that you were expected

22 to bring the most up-to-date, if you like, approach to

23 murder investigations?

24 A. No, I don't know who would be saying that to us, really.

25 Q. Well, Mr Port may have said to you, "One of the reasons

 

 

70

 

1 I want you is because you are ..." so on and so forth?

2 A. No, we never had that discussion, no. In fact, I don't

3 think Mr Port ever told me why he selected me or why he

4 chose me.

5 Q. That may be a question that remains in your mind today?

6 A. Yes, it might well be.

7 Q. Dealing with those individuals you have kindly mentioned

8 in the SMT, could you just give me a flavour of their

9 contacts and their approach: Mr Kinkaid?

10 A. Mr Kinkaid, he would -- well, he was an experienced

11 police officer, but I wouldn't class him as an

12 experienced detective. I don't mean that in any

13 pejorative sense because Mr Kinkaid had many, many

14 skills and many, many qualities. In terms of

15 personality, I would say he was assertive, direct and

16 dynamic.

17 M540, an extremely skilled and experienced

18 detective, immense experience as a practitioner, very,

19 very knowledgeable about Mid Ulster, a quieter

20 individual, probably much more reserved and perhaps more

21 cautious in his approach, I think that would be true to

22 say.

23 Mr Port, hugely experienced, not only in a technical

24 sense but in terms of man management. He brought great

25 skills to the investigation. If something needed to be

 

 

71

 

1 done, he always seemed to have the knack of knowing

2 somebody who could achieve what needed to be done and

3 have the right contacts in place to be able to call in

4 that resource. Very thoughtful, energetic and

5 a gentleman, as well, I think -- I just round off on

6 that point: somebody who was always, always

7 approachable.

8 Q. Do you mean to the man in the street as well as a senior

9 officer such as yourself?

10 A. Yes, I think literally so. He never differentiated --

11 or he didn't seem to me to differentiate between rank.

12 He had this knack of being able to get to know people,

13 being able to pick up little bits of their personal

14 history and repeat that back to them. In a sense that

15 made them feel as though, you know, he was on an

16 intimate level with them.

17 I don't want to overplay this because, of course,

18 this was the workplace and everybody was working hard,

19 but certainly in the sense of knowing his team and

20 knowing the people within the team and being careful to

21 always keep morale high and be as buoyant about the

22 investigation as was possible, then he was your man.

23 Q. Do you feel that he had at his high level a good grasp

24 at all times of the detail, or did he just remain at

25 a very strategic level above everybody else?

 

 

72

 

1 A. A little bit of both, I think. I mean, he had an

2 amazing eye for detail and -- I don't know why I'm

3 talking about him in the past tense. He has an amazing

4 eye for detail and quite an incredible memory, but he

5 never got involved in the day-to-day running of the

6 murder investigation.

7 One thing that did strake me very, very early on --

8 and he was quite clear about this to me -- was that the

9 SIO and his deputy must be left to get on running the

10 murder incident room. He didn't want to appear as

11 though here was an English officer coming along, telling

12 Northern Ireland police officers how they should be

13 conducting a murder in their own patch, if I can put it

14 in that way.

15 Q. Yes.

16 A. So I never saw him in the murder room trawling across

17 the HOLMES database, asking about categories or asking

18 about details of the murder, or I never saw him

19 debriefing the outside enquiry teams. It was very much

20 a case of going through the SIO for those sorts of

21 figures.

22 Another example, if I can give it, he always

23 insisted that the SIO or the deputy should take the

24 daily conference even though he was present and was the

25 most senior ranking officer. But, again, he was just

 

 

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1 getting the message out there that this was the SIO's

2 murder and that he was running the major incident room

3 and the murder team.

4 Q. Thank you. That leads into the next question I want to

5 ask you about that. What degree of oversight, if that's

6 an appropriate word, did Mr Port and yourself have of

7 decisions being made by the SIO?

8 A. It depends on what level really, sir, in terms of where

9 the decisions were being made. The SIO was making what

10 I would call daily administrative decisions.

11 Q. Can I assist -- I'm sorry for interrupting you. Let's

12 call them significant, policy-type decisions.

13 A. In terms of significant decisions, that would have been

14 a joint decision with Mr Port. The SIO might have gone

15 to Mr Port or to me and said, "Look, I want to do A

16 or B" but it wouldn't have been a case of the SIO coming

17 and saying, "By the way, I have done A or B" or "I have

18 introduced A or B". It would be a case of, "This is

19 what I want to do" and then there would either be

20 a discussion about it, which would involve the whole of

21 the senior management team if it was of some import that

22 that was necessary, or else Mr Port, I'm sure on

23 occasions and, indeed, I did when I stood in for him,

24 would have said, "Fine, get on with it, let's do it".

25 Q. Using, for example, lines of enquiry?

 

 

74

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. They were set by Mr Kinkaid -- I think we may come to

3 see the document in due course -- early on in the

4 investigation. Is that the type of thing that would

5 have been hands-off by yourself and Mr Port, or that you

6 would have expected the SIO to discuss with you?

7 A. No. I mean, some of those lines of enquiry were set

8 early on in the investigation and other lines of enquiry

9 were introduced later on. But when we came, obviously

10 we inherited some of the existing lines of enquiry.

11 One of the purposes of the 28-day review was to give

12 some reassurance that the right lines of enquiry were

13 being followed and that no obvious line of enquiry was

14 being overlooked. But as the murder investigation

15 progressed, some other lines of enquiry came into play

16 and in large measure they were the result of discussions

17 within the SMT that we were all signed up to.

18 So, I mean, Mr Port would never have appeared in the

19 office one day and said, "By the way, I have decided

20 that there is going to be a new line of enquiry and that

21 is it," and we would all have been expected to fall in

22 behind it. There would have been a discussion about

23 that and the pros and cons or merits or not of pursuing

24 that line of enquiry and we would have taken it on all

25 being signed up to it.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes. And I hope this is of assistance. Can we call up

2 RNI-817-144, please (displayed), the top paragraph

3 begins on the previous page -- I don't want it called

4 up -- talking about the matters we have discussed:

5 traditional function of the officer in overall command

6 and so on and so forth. You begin to talk about the

7 possibilities that a top heavy structure could have

8 created difficulties in terms of individual

9 responsibilities and demarcation of authority?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And you go on to say in the fourth line that:

12 "Mr Kinkaid and M540 seemed very pleased to have top

13 cover for their actions and Mr Port and I were careful

14 not to intrude into the actual management of the MIR

15 which was the preserve of the SIO and his deputy.

16 Mr Port determined the strategic direction of the

17 investigation and allowed the SIO to get on with running

18 the murder investigation. There was no confusion among

19 the SMT as to roles and responsibilities."

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Who would you say was accountable for which parts of the

22 investigation?

23 A. In terms of, I guess, looking at it in a hierarchical

24 manner, one would say Mr Port set the strategy, although

25 if there was any disagreement about that strategy, then

 

 

76

 

1 we would have an opportunity, obviously, as the senior

2 management team to have given our views.

3 Q. Can you give an example of strategy?

4 A. It is always difficult, isn't it? I suppose the most

5 obvious one is the pursuit of Operation George as a line

6 of enquiry.

7 I think -- I think what one would say about that is

8 that one wouldn't have expected the SIO or his deputy to

9 have had really firm views or a great deal of input into

10 the discussion about establishing that line of enquiry

11 because I think they would have said to themselves that,

12 you know, these investigative techniques were outside

13 their normal working experience. So I think that's the

14 most obvious one that I could think of in terms of

15 setting strategy.

16 You know, my recollection is that Mr Port, who was

17 probably the most skilled and experienced of us all in

18 that area, would have said, "Look, we obviously need to

19 gather intelligence because we haven't got a great deal

20 to go on here. You know, intelligence has got to be the

21 way forward and this is one of the means by which we

22 might go about gathering further intelligence". And

23 then from that he would have set tasks, discrete tasks

24 for each of those to advance that line of enquiry.

25 Q. Thank you. That deals with Mr Port.

 

 

77

 

1 A. Yes, I'm sorry. Can you just remind me of what the

2 question was again?

3 Q. Certainly. I was asking you as best I could as to who

4 was accountable for what in the murder investigation.

5 You said Mr Port, strategy?

6 A. Dealing with Mr Port then, strategy, certainly the

7 family, I would say.

8 We were in a situation where Mr Port saw, quite

9 rightly, contact with the family as being so important

10 and he took that role on himself. He recruited two

11 experienced FLO officers from Merseyside and between

12 them really they managed contact with the family. Then

13 it extended when, as I understand it, Mrs Magee, the

14 mother of Rosemary, made contact with Mr Port, asked to

15 see him and from that developed regular meetings with

16 Mrs Magee and her extended family.

17 Then in terms of, one might say, representing the

18 investigation to the outside world, that was certainly

19 Mr Port's role in the sense of media, NGOs, Anglo-Irish

20 Secretariat, politicians and leading journalists. So

21 I guess you would say he was very much the face of the

22 investigation.

23 As regards myself, I think I can't add anything more

24 to what I have said. I was Head of Collusion and I

25 think, as you very, very appropriately say, I was

 

 

78

 

1 officer without portfolio.

2 Mr Kinkaid, in essence, was the SIO and was

3 conducting all the duties that go with that role. M540

4 was his deputy and with particular responsibility to

5 look after the forensic line of enquiry and any actions

6 or elements stemming from the crime -- the scene --

7 sorry, the crime scene which still had to be developed

8 or finalised.

9 Q. In fairness to you, because I have asked the question,

10 it wasn't of course the case that there was ever

11 a situation where you would say, pointing to Mr Kinkaid,

12 "Don't look at me, that's down to him", this was

13 a joined-up murder investigation?

14 A. Absolutely, that never happened. I mean, obviously

15 there were occasions when people were absent, away for

16 between a couple of hours out of the incident room or

17 for a fortnight when people were on their holidays, and

18 people just slotted in. When I say people, we are

19 talking about the four of us here. We slotted in and

20 performed each other's roles and, quite frankly, to use

21 that dreadful expression, became multi-skilled in the

22 process.

23 Q. Thank you. Now, just moving on to a slightly different

24 topic, namely the murder investigation manual, if we

25 look at RNI-817-127, please (displayed) -- we seem to be

 

 

79

 

1 firing on all cylinders now, as far as the document

2 production is concerned -- paragraph 23, please

3 (displayed). This is obviously paragraph 23, an early

4 part of your statement, and in the third line you say:

5 "I also revisited some of my previous policy books

6 in respect of serious crimes that I had investigated.

7 I consulted my National Crime Faculty SIO's handbook.

8 I noted a number of bullet points in my rough book as

9 part of my preparation. I was able to locate a copy of

10 the newly published Murder Investigation Manual (MIM).

11 I didn't find it easy to track down a copy of MIM within

12 GMP. I read it thoroughly and I made notes for future

13 reference in a rough book that I maintained at that time

14 and which have I have disclosed to the Inquiry."

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Now, just dealing with one or two points from the

17 paragraph. The National Crime Faculty SIO's handbook,

18 that was a standard document?

19 A. It was.

20 Q. At the risk, again, of stating the obvious: that all

21 SIOs were issued with?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And one that you were very familiar with, presumably?

24 A. I was indeed, yes.

25 Q. That presumably, as opposed perhaps to the MIM, must be

 

 

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1 in circulation for a much longer period of time?

2 A. Yes, a considerable period of time.

3 Q. Could you tell me roughly how long?

4 A. I couldn't, no. I don't know the date of it, but

5 certainly years before I came on the investigation.

6 Q. Thank you. So far as MIM was concerned, you say you had

7 to hunt a little bit harder to find a copy of that?

8 A. A good deal harder.

9 Q. Did you in fact have your own copy of it?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Why was that?

12 A. I assume because I wasn't in a recognised investigative

13 role at that time. I was the Head of Discipline and

14 Complaints and had been for nine months, so I didn't --

15 there wasn't anything unusual in my not having a copy of

16 MIM.

17 Q. But had you been in an investigative role, you would

18 have expected to have had a copy?

19 A. I don't know. I don't know that that would be the case.

20 All I can say is I found it extremely difficult -- not

21 extremely difficult. I found it difficult to get hold

22 of a copy in Manchester. I did try a couple of SIO

23 colleagues and they didn't have it; they didn't have

24 a copy of the manual, no.

25 Perhaps being a little bit mischievous, maybe they

 

 

81

 

1 just didn't want to give me their copy, but I eventually

2 found one in CID admin and, you know, it was literally

3 there on a shelf on its own to be taken off and handed

4 over with a very, very strong word of caution that

5 I must return it.

6 Q. Whatever you do, don't take it out of the country?

7 A. Well, yes, indeed, yes. I actually had to sign for its

8 release and to sign for its return.

9 Q. And when in fact, as you understand it, had it been

10 published?

11 A. I think it is described as the 1998 murder manual, but I

12 think it was actually published in 1999.

13 Q. As far as you were concerned --

14 A. Published in the sense of being broadcast to the police

15 family, yes.

16 Q. As far as you were concerned though when you took this

17 and dusted it down from the shelf, was this the first

18 time you had actually seen it?

19 A. I didn't need to dust it down, it was brand spanking

20 new. It was virtually cracking as I opened the pages,

21 but it was the first time I had seen it.

22 I had heard about it because whilst I was an SIO, we

23 obviously tried to keep au fait with pending

24 developments and current developments, so I knew that it

25 was being developed, I knew that it was being worked

 

 

82

 

1 upon in Surrey but I had never actually seen the

2 finished product.

3 Q. Thank you. And when you say that you made notes about

4 that and about your SIO's handbook, again, just so we

5 are clear, you were taking from both documents points

6 that may have been of assistance, were you?

7 A. Yes, because, you know, if I can put it this way, I had

8 been out of the saddle for nine months really in terms

9 of the murder investigation, so I did have that week to

10 prepare and it was just a sense of reading myself back

11 into what I thought was going to be the role again.

12 Q. Thank you. Could we call up RNI-623-003, please

13 (displayed)? I hope this is your handwriting?

14 A. Yes, this is definitely my rough book.

15 Q. I was going to say this is your rough book?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Or part of it. If we look down the page -- there is

18 probably no need to highlight it -- there are two

19 asterisks, can you see that under "Issues"?

20 A. I can, yes.

21 Q. Alongside the second one, you have written -- and you

22 will correct me:

23 "Outside scrutiny. Standard used MIM."

24 Could you help me, please, as to the context in

25 which that is written?

 

 

83

 

1 A. I think I was just posing a question for myself really,

2 you know, that the standard to be employed would be MIM.

3 I can't think what else I would be meaning there.

4 I mean, bearing in mind I haven't seen this for --

5 I mean, I wrote that ten years ago. Obviously I have

6 had no reason to come back and look at it again, but

7 that would be my first instinct: I would be posing the

8 question is the standard to be used MIM.

9 Q. Let me try and help you by asking you this question:

10 when you stepped off the plane, as it were, what

11 standard in your mind were you going to seek to apply to

12 the investigation?

13 A. Well, without sounding pretentious, obviously the best

14 standard. MIM was a new document. I must say I found

15 it a useful document in as much as that -- in as much as

16 that it had things to say about the subjects that it

17 addressed, if that makes sense. It was a useful

18 document, I thought. I thought, reading it for the

19 first time, that it was a valiant attempt to codify good

20 practice in terms of murder manuals, but also I was

21 drawing on my SIO's handbook and the experience that I

22 had as an SIO. And I think I also mention in my

23 statement that I revisited a couple of my policy books.

24 Q. You do.

25 A. Because one learns something new on every investigation.

 

 

84

 

1 So it was an amalgam of points that I was trying to

2 bring together, list in my rough book, as it were, and

3 this was going to be, as it were, my guide into the

4 investigation.

5 Q. And I think two words you have just used were "good

6 practice"?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Would it be fair of me to say that having read MIM at

9 that stage and obviously knowing MIM as you do now, it

10 in fact contained nothing particularly revolutionary, if

11 you like; it was a combination of bringing together many

12 years of good practice in investigating homicide? Is

13 that fair?

14 A. I think that's fair.

15 Q. Because if we could just call up RNI-616-276

16 (displayed), that seems to be how the authors perceived

17 it. Could we just highlight the middle of the page,

18 please. Middle paragraph, last sentence:

19 "Arguably, murder investigations have been driven

20 hitherto by MIRSAP and the experience of seasoned Senior

21 Investigating Officers (SIOs).

22 "Against that background this manual has been

23 developed. It seeks to assemble, for the benefit of

24 investigators of murder offences, recognised good

25 practice within the Service whilst introducing some of

 

 

85

 

1 the theoretical processes, which the enlightened SIO

2 will employ."

3 Yes?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. So I have to ask you did you consider yourself to be an

6 enlightened SIO?

7 A. I hope that I would have attracted that title, yes.

8 Q. Now, again, just to delve a little bit deeper -- please

9 don't think I'm attaching some sort of Holy Grail status

10 to the document, but I just want to understand, did you

11 and Mr Port or, indeed, Mr Kinkaid or M540, discuss the

12 benchmark, if you like, that was going to be applied to

13 the investigation, bearing in mind there was or there

14 were officers coming from different backgrounds and

15 different areas to the enquiry?

16 A. We didn't have a discussion about benchmarks, no.

17 I mean, I was aware from what Mr Kinkaid said on the

18 12th of the 4th briefing that officers from Kent,

19 including Sir David Phillips, had been present with the

20 murder investigators for the first month. And I knew

21 that Mr Phillips, as it were -- well, Mr Humphreys was

22 the author of the Murder Investigation Manual and

23 I guess Sir David Phillips would be classified as the

24 patron of the manual. And I knew that it had been

25 discussed by those officers with Mr Kinkaid, but I don't

 

 

86

 

1 think we ever sat down and said, "Right, this is going

2 to be the benchmark that we are going to use for the

3 rest of the investigation".

4 Q. Again, try and help me understand the position: were you

5 saying, or are you saying now, that the Murder

6 Investigation Manual simply had no application to

7 a homicide of this type, or that actually it was far

8 more subtle than that and that there were certain parts

9 which did and certain parts which didn't, and you had

10 a discretion, which you exercised, as to how you picked

11 and chose to apply them?

12 A. Well, I think first of all the Murder Investigation

13 Manual was guidance, I mean, to give it its proper

14 status or to give it its correct status. I think we

15 immediately realised -- when I say "we", Mr Port and

16 myself realised that there was a problem in respect of

17 Mr Kinkaid and M540's knowledge not only of the Murder

18 Investigation Manual but of murder investigation across

19 the piece. And, again, I don't mean it in any sort of

20 derogatory or judgmental fashion.

21 We realised quite early on that murder

22 investigations were simply investigated in a different

23 way in Northern Ireland to what I had been used to in

24 Manchester and Mr Port had been used to in Norfolk. And

25 so many things were different, more than could be

 

 

87

 

1 encompassed by sitting down with a murder manual and

2 saying, "What do you do? What don't you do? What can

3 we safely introduce? What can't we safely introduce?"

4 It was far more complicated than that.

5 Q. Again, I'm sure you will correct me if I'm being unfair:

6 would you agree that the content of the Murder

7 Investigation Manual by and large did lend itself to

8 implementation by managers who were familiar with it?

9 A. I'm not sure that I understand the question.

10 Q. My fault. You have more junior ranking police officers

11 who have no experience of MIM, no knowledge of MIM

12 at all?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. You have officers who have a greater experience at

15 managerial level?

16 A. Meaning Mr Port and myself?

17 Q. Yes.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Is it fair to say that the content of MIM does by and

20 large, the majority of it, lend itself to an

21 implementation in that scenario, i.e. you wouldn't have to

22 spend weeks and months sending the more junior ranking

23 officers away to read it, understand it, study it,

24 et cetera, et cetera?

25 A. Not in the context that faced us on this murder

 

 

88

 

1 investigation, no. I think that would have been

2 extremely difficult to try and introduce MIM or, indeed,

3 elements of MIM. I'm not sure I'm on the right track

4 here with you, but if I could just give an example?

5 Q. Please do.

6 A. There were no trained FLOs in Northern Ireland. We had

7 to introduce our own. So that's an easy fit, as it

8 were; you could simply parachute a couple of officers in

9 and they would be your FLOs and that is done without too

10 much disruption. But, for example, the advice that the

11 Murder Investigation Manual gives on the interview of

12 significant witnesses, where it talks about those

13 witnesses being interviewed by specifically trained

14 officers and ideally being video taped, that simply

15 wasn't achievable in Northern Ireland at that time.

16 We didn't have officers on the investigation who were

17 trained in interviewing to that standard, and even if we

18 did, I think it would have been highly unlikely that we

19 would have been able to persuade many of our significant

20 witnesses to actually be video interviewed. For

21 example -- I won't give an example, I will just give

22 a generalisation.

23 I think you will know some of the difficulties that

24 we had in actually persuading some of the witnesses to

25 come forward and cooperate with the investigation. To

 

 

89

 

1 then say, "And by the way, we want to video your

2 interview", I think it would have made it doubly

3 difficult.

4 So there were areas that could be relatively easily

5 implemented and we tried to implement what could be

6 easily implemented. There were others that it was going

7 to be extremely difficult and then you had to ask

8 yourself the question: in the middle of this live

9 investigation of such an intensity, is it really the

10 right time to try and introduce some new systems?

11 But then there were other systems where it was

12 simply a question of, "We can't introduce these, we

13 haven't got the training, the resources, the equipment".

14 Q. I don't want to stray into it in too much detail, but an

15 example, I think, was pointed out in your 28-day review

16 of the way in which the murder investigation room was

17 resourced?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. That that was wholly different and it would have been

20 whole impractical, in your opinion, to have implemented

21 the standards that were applied?

22 A. Yes, that's a very good example.

23 Q. You have just said to me, though, that there were some

24 that you did choose to try to implement, some chapters

25 or headings?

 

 

90

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. What were they?

3 A. Well, I think I have already talked about the chapters

4 on -- well, not the chapters, but I have already talked

5 about the introduction of FLOs. I think, you know, it

6 would be incredibly hard to say, "Well, actually we

7 introduced the whole of this chapter or we introduced

8 the whole of chapter 2 or chapter 3". I mean, the crime

9 scene by the time that we already -- that Mr Port and

10 myself arrived, the crime scene had been dealt with in

11 large measure, the house-to-house enquiries in large

12 measure had been dealt with, although Mr Port introduced

13 a couple of other -- you know, a couple of other matters

14 into that area. The forensics were well underway.

15 So it is very difficult to say that we actually came

16 along and said, "Well, here is a chapter that we can

17 adopt" and without actually having the murder manual in

18 front of me to flick through and say, "Yes, we

19 introduced that, we didn't introduce that because we

20 couldn't or because we thought it impractical," I think

21 at this moment in time, quite frankly, I would be

22 stumbling to help you with that.

23 Q. You will be relieved to hear I'm not going to ask you to

24 do that.

25 A. I would be relieved to hear that.

 

 

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1 Q. Did you utilise the MIM when you were conducting your

2 28-day review, for example?

3 A. I didn't utilise it as a benchmark, I utilised it as

4 a personal guide. But I didn't set the standard for

5 what had been done against the murder manual. That

6 seemed to me to be really rather unfair on the SIO.

7 Q. To give this, again, a more colourful picture, would you

8 take time in the day or even, I'm sure, in the evening

9 to get your copy of MIM out to read what it said about

10 a certain aspect, or did it stay in your suitcase for

11 the duration?

12 A. You know, I mean, those early months, those weeks and

13 early months of the investigation, running into the

14 first couple of years, they were so intense, I don't

15 think there could have been many occasions where I went

16 to the murder manual because I found myself having

17 a free hour or a free two hours to flick through it and

18 see what we were doing against the recognised standard

19 of good practice.

20 Q. I'm not suggesting that it was necessary to check

21 against yourself, but in fact to seek guidance. Are you

22 saying that you felt that you had the knowledge that was

23 contained within MIM?

24 A. I had the knowledge and also I had the awareness by then

25 that MIM wasn't an easy fit to what we were doing.

 

 

92

 

1 I mean, there was no point reading over significant

2 witnesses or the paper flow in a major incident room

3 because no amount of reading was going to change the

4 fact that those just didn't apply in Northern Ireland

5 and couldn't be introduced.

6 Q. And as far as the Northern Irish Office was concerned,

7 M540 and Mr Kinkaid -- please don't think I mean this

8 rudely -- did they show any interest in looking at MIM?

9 A. No, I couldn't say that there was any burning interest

10 to look at MIM or even talk about MIM. I mean, we were

11 all so busy doing what we were tasked with doing.

12 But I couldn't in all honesty say that there were

13 sessions where we sat round and said, "How would they do

14 this in MIM?" And, "Does MIM have anything to say about

15 this?" I think very early on into the investigation

16 there was an acceptance that this was good advice, this

17 was sound advice in as far as it went, but this was

18 a totally different environment.

19 You know, some of the pieces might fit, but many,

20 many of them didn't fit. If -- the most use that MIM

21 would have been to us would have been something like

22 an a la carte menu where we could have picked off

23 different pieces and said, "Yes, that's easy enough, we

24 can do that" or, "We can introduce that" but in the main

25 we were dealing with a different ball game altogether.

 

 

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1 Q. Obviously you are aware of the comments Mr Ayling makes

2 in this regard?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. You have been telling us about what was going on in the

5 heady days of the murder investigation, but sitting here

6 today, do you maintain the position that you have just

7 expressed to me about the way in which MIM was utilised?

8 A. Yes, I do. I mean, it is always difficult to look back

9 ten years and try to remember these sorts of things

10 because, of course, you know, this hasn't been a burning

11 issue for the murder investigation. You know, we didn't

12 really sit around and say, you know, "Are we applying

13 the right standard?" We were doing our best at all

14 times and we were drawing on each other's experience.

15 And within that room, within those four offices, you had

16 over 100 years' policing experience and God knows how

17 many years' investigative experience.

18 But we weren't closed to the fact that there were

19 other people, other agencies, other documents, other

20 areas from which we could get advice, and where we

21 could, we sought that advice.

22 Q. I was going to put it in this way: there wasn't an

23 occasion when you felt out of your depth and, therefore,

24 needed to consult MIM?

25 A. No. And I don't think MIM is that sort of document.

 

 

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1 I mean, I know it is called a manual, but it is not

2 what I would regard as being a manual; it is a guidance

3 document in many respects. It seems to me that it is

4 very strong in some areas in what it has got to say

5 about forensics and crime scene and crime scene

6 management. It is a very strong, powerful read. In

7 other areas, it really isn't so powerful.

8 When you look to see what it has got to say about

9 informants, it is pretty much, well, if you want to know

10 about informants, go off and read the ACPO Manual on the

11 Guidance and Management of Informants, and it has

12 precious little, quite frankly, or it did in 1999, to

13 say about how one would conduct a terrorist

14 investigation or how one would conduct a terrorist

15 investigation with overtones of collusion or, indeed,

16 what to do when confronted were murder scene where

17 a UVIED had been used. These things were outside the

18 scope of MIM and when -- I think to the heart of why

19 there was a feeling within that management team that

20 this is a limited document.

21 Q. Would you agree that there were certain core aspects

22 nevertheless of good practice in a murder investigation

23 illustrated in MIM that did transfer themselves to this

24 enquiry?

25 A. Yes, I have mentioned some of those, I think, with

 

 

95

 

1 forensics and crime scene management, and I think I can

2 only commend Mr Kinkaid for the way that he went about

3 managing the crime scene. And certainly I think it was

4 to a standard that Mr Humphreys found well able to sign

5 off on.

6 Q. And before I suggest we break off for a few minutes, the

7 final question is this on this topic. Obviously you

8 can't look inside his head, but knowing him as you do

9 and having worked and discussed the matter with him, is

10 it your opinion that Mr Port's view of MIM and the

11 matters that we have just discussed between us would be

12 very similar to yours?

13 A. I think, yes.

14 MR SAVILL: Yes. I'm going to move on to a new topic.

15 I wonder if now would be a satisfactory time to have

16 a short break?

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, we will have a quarter of an hour break,

18 Mr Provoost, and resume at quarter past four.

19 (4.00 pm)

20 (Short break)

21 (4.16 pm)

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Savill.

23 MR SAVILL: Thank you, sir.

24 Mr Provoost, I would like to move on now to a topic

25 that is indeed, I think, contained within the Murder

 

 

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1 Investigation Manual, that of victimology?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. To begin with, let me ask you, following on from what

4 you have said, do you think that this was one of those

5 topics that was easily translatable?

6 A. In a way. I must say I have got a real bee in my bonnet

7 now about victimology.

8 Q. I'm glad I asked you about it then.

9 A. Only in this sense -- and, I mean, this may sound

10 awfully pretentious of me, given that you have had the

11 author of the murder manual before you here to give

12 evidence, but I do suspect that we are all using

13 victimology in somewhat of a wrong sense because when

14 you look at the murder manual -- I think it is actually

15 chapter 3 and it talks about victimology --

16 Q. Just pause there. RNI-616-293 (displayed). Forgive me,

17 I have interrupted you again.

18 A. Excellent because --

19 Q. There you are.

20 A. I think it is very relevant. I think it is either the

21 first sentence -- perhaps the first two sentences.

22 Q. We have a highlighting facility so if you would say

23 which bit you would like.

24 A. The first two sentences really.

25 Q. There you are. Does that help you?

 

 

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1 A. Yes, it does, thank you. It says:

2 "Victimology is the total assessment of the

3 circumstances of a victim with the aim of establishing

4 the reason for their death and the likely identity of

5 the offender. To this end the use of a behavioural

6 psychologist may be of particular value."

7 I don't know whether it's possible, sir, but if you

8 could go to chapter 7, I think it is, which is entitled

9 "Victim Enquiries"?

10 Q. Let me try and be very clever, and if I'm not, it may

11 take a little longer. RNI-616-368 (displayed).

12 A. You are clearly very clever.

13 Q. I think lucky is a better expression. Is that what you

14 meant?

15 A. Yes, it is.

16 Q. Do you want some highlighting?

17 A. The first point that I'd make is that heading is "Victim

18 Enquiries":

19 "Enquiries into the victim's background ..."

20 And then it breaks down into five subcategories, one

21 of which is victimology. And then if one could just

22 turn to victimology, to that particular subheading --

23 Q. Would it help to have both those pages on the same

24 screen?

25 A. I think the point that I want to make could be made if

 

 

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1 we just got up paragraph 4 "Victimology" on its own.

2 Q. Let's keep RNI-616-368 on one side and bring up

3 RNI-616-293, please (displayed). There we are. Is that

4 helpful?

5 A. It is, yes. Yes, I think the first two sentences of the

6 page that is headed "victim", 293. Actually, it is the

7 section that's -- I think this is the wrong page. It is

8 the section that is headed "Victimology" that falls

9 within chapter 7. This is chapter 3 again, isn't it?

10 MR SAVILL: Yes. So not so clever after all.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: 4, is it?

12 MR SAVILL: No, I don't think it is. I can tell you, I

13 think, that it is at page 103. Just bear with me,

14 I have got it here. Shall we get rid of the one on the

15 right or the left, Mr Provoost?

16 A. Could you get rid of the one, sorry, on the right?

17 Q. Could we get red of RNI-616-293 and bring up RNI-616-270

18 (displayed). Is that it?

19 A. Could we just perhaps highlight the victimology section,

20 and to quote that from the second paragraph:

21 "Although a specialist field which may require

22 subsequent support from an expert such as a behavioural

23 psychologist ..."

24 So thanks for bearing with me, but I think the point

25 that I would seek to make -- and I'm as guilty as

 

 

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1 anybody here. When we are talking about victimology, we

2 are maybe not being as precise as we should be because

3 it seems to me that victimology within the Murder

4 Investigation Manual is talking about a really quite

5 specialised area of victim enquiries where the services

6 of an expert, a behavioural psychologist, would prove to

7 be of some not insignificant assistance. Whereas I

8 think what we were -- not think, I know what we were

9 conducting is what most, if not all, murder

10 investigations conduct and that's victim enquiries or,

11 as I have seen it referred to in the murder manual,

12 victim-centred enquiries.

13 Q. I'm sorry for interrupting you. Do you mean by that the

14 left-hand document, roman numerals (i) to (v)?

15 A. Yes, but it is not a point specific to MIM. Most murder

16 investigations carry out victim enquiries or

17 victim-centred enquiries.

18 Victimology was something new. I had never heard of

19 it before I actually saw it written in the murder

20 manual. I think I and other people have fallen into the

21 trap of adopting victimology as shorthand for something

22 that it isn't because what we were conducting on the

23 Rosemary Nelson murder investigation was victim

24 enquiries and not victimology. I'm sorry for labouring

25 the point but I think it is important.

 

 

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1 MR SAVILL: Not at all.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: But surely the three questions under (iv),

3 forgetting about the behavioural psychologists, were

4 relevant questions in relation to Rosemary Nelson,

5 weren't they?

6 A. I'm sorry, sir, which three questions?

7 THE CHAIRMAN: In (iv) under "Victimology":

8 "Why was the victim selected."

9 That was a relevant question with regard to

10 Rosemary Nelson?

11 A. Yes.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: The significance of the location.

13 A. Yes.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: The significance of the time of death in

15 relation to other public events.

16 A. Yes, but those are all points as well that would be

17 related to victim enquiries.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, because it is a subcategory of victim

19 enquiries, isn't it?

20 A. You may think so, sir; I would beg to differ.

21 I think what we are looking at is really quite

22 a discrete area of victim enquiries, and I think MIM

23 actually spells that out in the way in which it

24 describes it as being a specialist area.

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, thank you.

 

 

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1 MR SAVILL: Perhaps if we could -- had you finished what you

2 were saying?

3 A. I had finished, yes, thank you.

4 Q. Could we call back RNI-616-293 (displayed) and highlight

5 that first paragraph. I don't want to get bogged down

6 in definitions, but whatever you call it, victimology,

7 victim enquiries, written here is:

8 "The total assessment of the circumstances of a

9 victim with the aim of establishing the reason for their

10 death and the likely identity of the offender."

11 Now that's so far so good in your mind, isn't it?

12 A. It is in terms of describing victimology as being

13 something new, introduced by the murder manual.

14 You know, I would -- this is not what one would

15 undertake on a normal murder investigation. One would

16 undertake victim enquiries; one would not undertake

17 a total assessment of the circumstances of the victim.

18 You might do on a Jill Dando-type murder, where you

19 needed to know -- you are searching for a motive, you

20 need to know everything about that particular

21 individual, there is no obvious motive, there is no

22 obvious leads. So I can understand why one would want

23 to explore the victim in great detail. You would want

24 to -- as the murder manual suggests, you would want to

25 know the totality of the victim.

 

 

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1 But on a normal, standard murder investigation, you

2 wouldn't do that. There is no need to do that.

3 Q. And the reason that there is no need to do that, you

4 would say, presumably, is that you were able to make

5 presumptions based on your knowledge of the

6 circumstances at that time?

7 A. Yes, presumptions or assessments or whatever you care to

8 call them. But that is not something new to the

9 Rosemary Nelson murder investigation. That is -- would

10 have been my approach on every single murder

11 investigation I had ever undertaken.

12 One wouldn't start off by saying, "We simply need to

13 know everything about this victim". That would be

14 a wholly disproportionate approach.

15 Q. Was one of the presumptions -- and I think you helpfully

16 added the word "assessment" as well -- presumptions or

17 assessments that you made that this was a terrorist

18 murder?

19 A. Yes, absolutely.

20 Q. And can you tell me any other presumptions or

21 assessments that you made that ruled out the need for

22 the Jill Dando-type enquiries?

23 A. The SIO arriving at the scene would have been able to

24 make some very, very early assessments. He would have

25 known who the victim was very, very early on. He would

 

 

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1 have known why the victim was in that area, what the

2 victim was doing and he would have known how the victim

3 met her death and he would have known the means of that

4 death, i.e. a UVIED placed beneath the motor vehicle.

5 I mean, if one can bring it down to the particular,

6 my argument here would be in terms of the

7 Rosemary Nelson murder investigation and in terms

8 specifically of victim enquiries, there are two things

9 that the SIO would have wanted to know quite early on

10 and would have wanted to develop with some vigour, and

11 that would have been Mrs Nelson's immediate movements,

12 and once he got to know about the threats to Mrs Nelson,

13 whether those threats had anything to say about the

14 murder.

15 So those two -- I think within the line of enquiry

16 of victim enquiries, those would have been two key

17 strands that the SIO would have wanted to develop quite

18 quickly and, indeed, we went on to develop once we had

19 arrived also.

20 Q. How much influence did Mr Kinkaid have on the way in

21 which this was progressed or not, as the case may have

22 been?

23 A. I don't think that he -- well, he had his view, he had

24 his opinions. He would raise actions that had already

25 commenced on this particular enquiry before Mr Port and

 

 

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1 myself arrived, but there was certainly no disagreement

2 or disorder about how we would approach this particular

3 line of enquiry.

4 Q. I'll try and stop using the expression "victimology"

5 because I think that's causing a debate between us, but

6 as far as victim enquiries is concerned, is it not the

7 case that by limiting the enquiries that you make at

8 a very early stage, you are not progressing in

9 a balanced way in that you are not able to rule things

10 out very quickly and say, "We have now ruled that out as

11 an aspect of her background, we will move on", setting

12 up, if you like, issues to be knocked down and then

13 moving on. You are simply not even considering issues.

14 Isn't that very dangerous?

15 A. No, actually I would apply the balance elsewhere. I

16 would say in terms of this victim, what is it that we

17 are trying it find out about this victim which is going

18 to move the investigation on. So in that respect, in

19 the context of Mrs Nelson's murder and what we knew

20 then, does it serve any purpose, for example, examining

21 her financial transactions. And you make a judgment

22 call on that, and to me, no, it didn't make any sense

23 whatsoever. Do we go off and find out what her hobbies

24 were? Well, why? This isn't a Jill Dando type murder

25 investigation. We have already said that. Do you --

 

 

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1 Q. If I can interrupt you there, might not, for example,

2 investigating her hobbies have revealed potentially

3 supervision, surveillance or contact with the murderers,

4 for example?

5 A. Yes. Well, if we carried the logic of that argument on

6 then, on every single murder investigation the SIO

7 should raise an action to undertake a total research on

8 the victim: financial records should be seized; the home

9 computer should be seized in order to see what websites

10 are being visited; her investments should be checked;

11 her diaries should be seized; relationships should be

12 gone into. That's the logic of that approach.

13 Q. Quite.

14 A. I think I and probably the vast majority of SIOs would

15 say, "No, that's wholly disproportionate". On

16 Jill Dando, I suspect that sort of assessment is made

17 over time, "We need to ratchet this up a little layer

18 and now maybe we need to look at her financial

19 transactions. We need to ratchet this up a bit more.

20 Why don't we go and have a look at her computer and see

21 what was happening on her computer?"

22 I think the balance -- that's why I much prefer the

23 phrase "victim enquiries", better still "victim-centred

24 enquiries" because I think that introduces a subjective

25 test of who is this person, what is it we are trying to

 

 

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1 find out and where does this take us in terms of

2 advancing the murder. And if you make those judgment

3 calls early on, I think we got the judgments right.

4 Q. Would you say, dealing with the expression "victim

5 enquiries", that that should have been a line of

6 enquiry?

7 A. But it was a line of enquiry.

8 Q. Well, could we call up RNI-616-778 (displayed). We may

9 descend to semantics as to whether it was or wasn't

10 written down as such, but could we highlight in PL23,

11 the second entry. This is, for the sake of those who

12 don't know, the policy log, yes?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. 17 March 1999, the time and authorised by DSU Kinkaid.

15 Is there anything in there:

16 "The SIO and Deputy SIO agreed the following lines

17 of enquiry for this investigation ..." that suggests on

18 your interpretation the type of victim enquiries was

19 a line of enquiry?

20 A. Not in this document, but I'm certain there is another

21 policy log not too far removed from this where the

22 SIO -- he may actually have used the term "victimology",

23 but I'm pretty certain that he articulates.

24 Q. Let me try and help you. RNI-616-779 (displayed), and

25 we can highlight obviously the only entry on the page,

 

 

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1 please. Is that what you mean?

2 A. This is what I mean, yes.

3 I would regard that as falling under the title

4 "victim enquiries".

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, page 30 -- which of these? Is that

6 victim enquiries page?

7 MR SAVILL: That's what I was looking for and I can call it

8 up on the screen, please: RNI-616-293 (displayed).

9 That's page 30.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: I see, thank you.

11 MR SAVILL: So we have got an entry here saying that this is

12 to develop an assessment of the victim as per the

13 section of victimology at page 30.

14 If we can just very quickly highlight those bullet

15 points, please. Again, I don't want to get bogged down

16 with it. There doesn't seem to be a selection of

17 certain headings in that policy log entry, and we have

18 here:

19 "Routine, risk, lifestyle, associates."

20 And then at the bottom:

21 "Precursor incidents ... relationships."

22 Which would seem relevant to this investigation, or

23 are you saying, no, they wouldn't?

24 A. What I'm saying is I do not honestly believe -- and I'm

25 the wrong person probably to make this sort of

 

 

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1 assessment because I understand you have had Mr Kinkaid

2 giving evidence before you. But I don't think the SIO

3 was actually talking about victimology as per the Murder

4 Investigation Manual even though he articulates the

5 page. It is my personal opinion that we are all using

6 "victimology" in the wrong sense.

7 Q. Let me try and help you. Mr Kinkaid stated in his

8 statement at least that the term "victimology" would not

9 have been used by SIOs in 1999 as MIM was not Royal

10 Ulster Constabulary policy, so ...?

11 A. I think, putting myself in Mr Kinkaid's shoes, he comes

12 to this murder, he has limited, as I understand it,

13 knowledge of the Murder Investigation Manual. He is

14 introduced to the author of the Murder Investigation

15 Manual who, I think, says, "I can get a copy for you but

16 I haven't got a copy with me". And, you know, the SIO

17 is then making policy entries about what he is going to

18 do around the victim, but I think the terminology is

19 wrong.

20 You know, I'm probably the wrong person to be saying

21 this because it is Mr Kinkaid's call, but I think what

22 he goes on to do is victim enquiries and not

23 victimology. And I do think that this is, you know, so

24 important because I think -- as I have said, I think not

25 only myself and Mr Kinkaid are using the wrong term

 

 

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1 here, but I think Mr Humphreys has been -- we all know

2 what we are talking about: we are all talking about

3 victim enquiries. My argument would be, and my

4 proposition would be we are not all talking about

5 victimology as per this section of the murder manual.

6 Q. Let me try and extricate us from terminology to reality.

7 A. I don't think it is actually terminology, sir. There is

8 a misconception about this. You know, perhaps it is

9 because it has got an "ology" on the end of it, but I

10 think an observer looking at this would say, "Oh, the

11 MIT have failed to do something here. There is

12 a mathematical equation, there is a scientific formula

13 called victimology. It must be because it has got an

14 "ology" on the end of it." It is like the

15 Maureen Lipman ad --

16 Q. Just forgive me for interrupting you. That thought was

17 passing through my mind but, forgive me, may not be of

18 assistance to us today.

19 A. I'm sorry.

20 Q. Let me just ask you this: I have heard what you have had

21 to say about a difference in understanding of the term

22 "victimology". What I would like to do, and what

23 I meant to suggest I could do a moment ago by using

24 reality, was to ask you about certain aspects of victim

25 enquiries that may or may not have been conducted

 

 

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1 satisfactorily in this enquiry. That's what I would

2 like to go on to do now.

3 A. Right, okay.

4 Q. But I don't want to -- I rudely interrupted you. I

5 don't want to cut off a point that you obviously feel

6 strongly about, but certainly for my part I have an

7 understanding that there is an issue in your mind as to

8 the applicability of victimology as a term?

9 A. I just want to get across the point that somebody

10 looking at these proceedings may be confused about what

11 the MIT have or have not done. There is no scientific

12 rigour to victimology that I'm aware of.

13 Somebody looking at this should not look at it as if

14 the MIT have somehow been performing poor science or not

15 carrying out something that they should have done simply

16 because it has got an "ology" at the end of it.

17 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: If I'm understanding you correctly,

18 what you are saying is that this little list, the bullet

19 points, might well be a guide but that the SIO would, as

20 it were, think about each but would be reasonably

21 selective about which lines needed to be pursued in

22 light of his or her knowledge of the circumstances?

23 A. I think --

24 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Is that the point?

25 A. I think I go further than that. I would say that some

 

 

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1 of these may not be applicable at all. Some of these

2 seem to me to be a guide towards what a behavioural

3 psychologist might want to look towards, the areas that

4 he or she may consider in preparing a profile for the

5 SIO. I think one needs to go to victim enquiries, to

6 chapter 7 of the murder manual to see what we were doing

7 and to see what most SIOs do on the vast majority of

8 murder investigations.

9 MR SAVILL: Shall we call that page up?

10 A. Please, yes.

11 Q. RNI-616-368 (displayed). There. That's the page you

12 mean?

13 A. Yes.

14 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Do you reckon that all of those were

15 done?

16 A. Certainly, I mean, identification is not an issue.

17 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Very straightforward.

18 A. We did some enquiries around associations, we did some

19 enquiries around lifestyle. I think you are aware by

20 now I have a bee in my bonnet about victimology and I

21 don't think -- I couldn't think of anything that we did

22 that would fit under behavioural patterns.

23 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Might that have been an appropriate

24 thing to look at?

25 A. I think not, ma'am, no. As I say, I think there is

 

 

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1 a test of proportionality in terms of the victim. When

2 one comes to a murder investigation and considers the

3 victim, it is -- I think the test to be applied is,

4 "What do I need to do in terms of this victim that is

5 going to advance my murder investigation?" And that

6 allows you to rule some things in and rule some things

7 out and maybe park some things to come back to them at

8 a later stage.

9 I would say that what we did on this murder

10 investigation was wholly appropriate to our

11 investigation in terms of victim enquiries.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Take behaviour patterns. We have heard

13 evidence that Mrs Nelson took no particular steps for

14 her own safety. Isn't that something that you would

15 have regard for?

16 A. Well, I think we did have regard for it, sir.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: And all those things on the opposite page,

18 RNI-616-293, not every single one, but take:

19 "Links to the scene ... was the victim targeted?"

20 That's a question you do not need a behavioural

21 psychologist to answer, but that's the sort of question

22 that would be answered by the investigating officer on

23 the evidence, wouldn't it?

24 A. But in terms of behavioural patterns -- and you have

25 given us one example there, I would then direct you to

 

 

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1 the work that we did, for example, with Mrs Nelson's BMW

2 motor vehicle where, picking up on a statement made -- I

3 think it was by Nuala McCann, an employee of hers, when

4 she said that Mrs Nelson had complained about a problem

5 with the alarm and she came out of the house and flicked

6 the key and the alarm seemed to come on, and she seemed

7 to give a sort of shrug to Mrs McCann. Now, we did some

8 really quite extensive enquiries around that area,

9 including seeking out a BMW specialist, taking him to

10 DERA, to liaise with Mr Clifford Todd at DERA to see if

11 anything had been done to immobilise or compromise the

12 alarm. And we carried out similar enquiries with the

13 key fob.

14 So in terms of -- I would say, you know, in terms of

15 when we saw something -- when we came across something

16 that needed to be followed up, as in that instance, we

17 diligently followed it up.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Provoost, I think I ought to make it clear

19 that certainly I, and I don't think either of my two

20 colleagues, have reached any view that victim enquiries

21 weren't pretty thorough. We haven't reached any

22 conclusion on such matters at all.

23 A. I'm sorry, sir.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: We haven't reached any view as to whether

25 victim enquiries wasn't diligent.

 

 

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1 A. Yes, have I given some impression that contradicts that,

2 sir?

3 THE CHAIRMAN: I'm not saying you have given any impression

4 at all, but don't think that we are criticising the way

5 in which victim enquiries were carried out.

6 A. No. I'm sorry, sir. It is just -- you know, I'm using

7 the phrase again, I have got a real bee in my bonnet

8 about victimology. I may be absolutely wrong. I don't

9 think that I am, and I'm sorry if the strength of my

10 feeling is shown.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Perhaps we could move on from the bee and on

12 to something else.

13 MR SAVILL: On to the bonnet. Yes. I'm in one of those

14 moments where I wish I had never asked the question.

15 You have got a bee in your bonnet. I have got one as

16 well, which is that I want to ask you some more

17 questions about reality and I'm going to take them as

18 shortly as I can.

19 The scene: The handbag of Mrs Nelson, her diaries;

20 yes?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. They were not subjected to close scrutiny, were they?

23 A. No.

24 Q. So I'm trying to move along using some real examples

25 here. Would you say that this is something, bearing in

 

 

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1 mind we are talking about victim enquiries -- that that

2 was something that could be explained as being

3 a reasonable approach by the SIO: we don't need to look

4 at the diaries, we don't need to look at the address

5 books and so on?

6 A. I would argue so, yes.

7 Q. Why?

8 A. Because of the reasons that I have already said: an SIO,

9 when he is coming to the victim line of enquiry, must

10 ask himself or herself a question and that is, "What am

11 I intending to do or what am I thinking about doing?

12 Will it advance the murder investigation?" And that

13 sort of assessment has to be made.

14 If the answer to that self-asked question is "no" or

15 it is very, very dubious, then I think the SIO is

16 perfectly entitled to say, "I'm not going to go off down

17 that route".

18 THE CHAIRMAN: We have heard evidence that Mrs Nelson told

19 a friend, I think that very weekend, before she was

20 killed, that in the previous fortnight she had been

21 receiving threats. Might she not have recorded those in

22 her diary?

23 A. She might have done, Sir. We did an awful lot of work,

24 again, around her contacts and her associates, her

25 employees, ex-employees. So I think, you know, in many

 

 

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1 respects we had those angles covered.

2 I say there were two particular lines that I think

3 it was wholly reasonable to pursue in terms of victim

4 enquiries, and one of them was the movements of the

5 victim, the second was whether Mrs Nelson had been

6 subject to threats and whether her being subject to

7 threats said anything about the manner of her death.

8 And we pursued those lines of enquiry really quite

9 diligently.

10 I agree, sir, we didn't seize the diary. There may

11 have been something in the diary, we don't know. But

12 that's a judgment call you make at the time.

13 MR SAVILL: Do you think you made sufficient enquiries into

14 her movements the weekend prior to her death?

15 A. I do in the context of the death, yes.

16 Q. As far as her clients were concerned -- obviously she

17 was a female solicitor who took on, if you like,

18 unpleasant and high profile cases -- do you think that

19 sufficient victim enquiries were made in that regard?

20 A. I don't know that we interviewed many of her clients, if

21 any of her clients.

22 Q. There may have been issues of confidentiality that may

23 have crossed your minds?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. But was that something that you considered?

 

 

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1 A. Well, I mean, if we would have thought that that was

2 a reasonable and worthwhile line of enquiry, then the

3 question of confidentiality wouldn't have mattered. We

4 would have managed that somehow, I'm sure.

5 But, again, posing the question I would have

6 asked -- how is that going to advance the murder

7 investigation? -- I'm sure when we answered that

8 question, it was, "I can't see how it would advance the

9 murder investigation".

10 Q. Forgive me for answering a question with a question: how

11 do you know until you ask?

12 A. It is a judgments call again, sir. It is an assessment

13 that you make with the information that you have at the

14 time. But, you know, there has to be a degree of

15 proportionality about this, otherwise, you know, we do

16 get back to the situation where you simply can't have

17 enough information about your victim and the whole thing

18 becomes really quite disproportionate. You are

19 gathering in information for the sake of gathering in

20 information.

21 Q. Is it really the case that you could ever, in a murder

22 investigation, have too much information about your

23 victim?

24 A. Yes, I think you could because I think there is

25 a responsibility upon a police officer in these

 

 

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1 circumstances to be proportionate in terms of this

2 enquiry.

3 Q. Now, if we could move on to the subject of Mrs Nelson's

4 telephone records, can you recollect what checks were in

5 fact made on her telephone records?

6 A. To my recollection, there were checks made on her mobile

7 telephone, certainly, and I'm not sure whether an action

8 was raised on the office telephone and then suspended or

9 ...

10 Q. I will be corrected --

11 A. Or whether that was --

12 Q. I will be corrected, but I'm under the impression it was

13 simply checks on her home telephone.

14 A. Right.

15 Q. But if we look at RNI-606-008, please (displayed) -- the

16 only reason I'm doing this is this is Mr Ayling's report

17 and it is perhaps more neatly summarised than I would

18 put it. At 6.4.2:

19 "In the initial stages of the murder investigation,

20 the assessment team would have expected that, in

21 accordance with best practice, at least two months prior

22 to the crime all the victim's telephone calls would be

23 the subject of detailed analysis. This would include

24 mobile telephones in addition to home and business

25 telephones. This would have increased in importance in

 

 

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1 the light of the number of alleged threats that

2 Mrs Nelson had received both at home and at work. It

3 would also have been desirable to have obtained cell

4 site analysis on Rosemary Nelson's phones, which would

5 have assisted in determining her movements prior to her

6 death and also establish whether any of the suspects

7 tried to make contact with her or were in the same

8 location as the victim at any time prior to her death."

9 I'm not putting a case to you, I'm just showing that

10 because it summarises it. What do you say about that?

11 A judgment call again or do you say that would have been

12 an easy decision where we knew that wouldn't help, so we

13 didn't do it?

14 A. It seems a big dogmatic to me to say that best practice

15 was that one would obtain two months of a victim's

16 telephone records.

17 You need to come to every investigation on the basis

18 of it being a subjective test, on the basis of what you

19 know about your victim, what it is you are trying to

20 achieve, what you are trying to find out. And surely

21 then your actions must be geared by those sorts of

22 subjective tests. I don't think that one should by rote

23 say that good practice dictates that we get two months

24 of telephone traffic or telephone billing and that is

25 jolly well what we are going to do.

 

 

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1 Q. And it is what you didn't do?

2 A. It is what we didn't do because, again, we asked

3 ourselves the question, "What is it that we need? What

4 do we need to find out? How are we going to find that

5 out?" And in terms of the telephones, I think it was

6 wholly proportionate what we did.

7 Q. I'm sorry, can I just insert here, are you content that

8 you and I are both talking about the things you mean,

9 victim enquiries?

10 A. Yes, I am.

11 Q. What about cell site analysis?

12 A. Again, sir, the question is: how is this going to take

13 the investigation on?

14 We had interviewed Mr Nelson, we had got a detailed

15 statement from Mr Nelson. Eventually we get a detailed

16 statement from the second person who spent the weekend

17 with Mrs Nelson. I don't think that there can be any

18 reasonable doubt that that device is planted on

19 Mrs Nelson's vehicle when they return home to Lurgan.

20 So in terms of her immediate movements, why would

21 one need to get cell site analysis? It just seems to me

22 to be disproportionate.

23 Q. Moving on to another topic, that of Mr Colin Duffy. I'm

24 mindful of the time. I'm not going to take you to

25 individual pieces of intelligence which we have all seen

 

 

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1 and you are aware of, but at varying points you became

2 aware, and that awareness increased as to the

3 allegation, the rumour, if you like, of a relationship

4 between the two of them?

5 A. I was aware from a very early stage, sir, right from

6 arriving at Lurgan.

7 Q. Yes, I understand that. But what I'm saying is that

8 pieces of intelligence came in to the murder

9 investigation as you went along that repeated, if you

10 like, that suggestion?

11 A. I'm not sure that pieces of intelligence came in.

12 I have seen --

13 Q. Information. It is my fault: information?

14 A. Yes, sorry.

15 Q. Now, again, I hesitate to ask this: that rumour was

16 something that was discussed, was it, as a matter of

17 victim enquiries or simply relegated to file X?

18 A. No, it wasn't discussed in terms of is this a line of

19 enquiry that we should introduce in the victim

20 enquiries.

21 Q. It wasn't?

22 A. It wasn't, no.

23 Q. Going back to those matters which I have quickly gone

24 through, and her movements, telephones, clients and her

25 diary, were any of those discussed and discounted or

 

 

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1 simply not considered?

2 A. No. Of course, I mean, they were discussed in terms of

3 a line of enquiry and it was an area that I looked at as

4 well on the 28-day review and I made certain

5 recommendations around that line of enquiry.

6 Q. I'm sorry, victim enquiries?

7 A. Victim enquiries. Although, again, you know, I mean --

8 and I'm hoisted with my own petard in many respects

9 here, but I think I have already admitted that I've

10 misused the term "victimology". It does appear under

11 the heading of "Victimology" in the 28-day review.

12 Q. I hate to tell you, but I was going to take you to that.

13 A. I thought you might.

14 Q. You will understand why I do. RNI-616-145 (displayed),

15 the first page. This is your 28-day review?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Just so we understand -- there is no magic to this -- it

18 was a review as of that date?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. Custom and practice to look back at the early days of an

21 investigation -- I'm trying to remember the word you

22 used -- to reassure the -- well, usually the SIO, but in

23 this case Mr Port, that things were going in the right

24 direction.

25 If we look at RNI-616-148, and I try to keep the

 

 

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1 triumph out of my voice, we look at the bottom of the

2 page at number 3 and we have a section entitled

3 "Victimology". We then -- and I'm not going to read it

4 all; I hope you would take it from me that we go through

5 some background to the offence, the timings of it in

6 relation to Mrs Nelson. Then I think you will be

7 pleased to see when I show you at RNI-616-151

8 (displayed), we have a heading that perhaps is more

9 helpful, bottom of the page:

10 "Inquiries in relation to victim."

11 Yes?

12 A. Yes. I mean, I should say for clarity that I only --

13 I have only recently come to this view about

14 victimology, since I have been forced back into reading

15 in detail the murder manual. So, you know, that's my

16 explanation for that heading being there in 1999.

17 Q. Now, if I could just ask you very quickly just to read

18 that to yourself. We can all read it. Yes?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Let me know when you have done that. (Pause)

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. If we then go over the page to RNI-616-153 (displayed),

23 if we can highlight the top two thirds of the page,

24 please, you can read on there. I do apologise. I think

25 I've gone to the wrong page. RNI-616-152, I meant.

 

 

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1 Sorry, apologies.

2 Can we highlight the top two thirds of that and you

3 can read on. And I will let you just skim read that

4 section, please. (Pause)

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. First of all, this is the bit where, if anywhere in your

7 28-day review, you are going to deal with the victim

8 enquiries?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. That there doesn't seem to be there any -- give the

11 expression, any real attempt to address the types of

12 issues that we have looked at -- telephones, for

13 example, clients -- to either say this has been

14 considered and Mr Kinkaid isn't going to do it or this

15 doesn't appear to have been considered, I think it

16 should be. Would you agree with that?

17 A. On the basis of that, yes. On the basis of the report.

18 Q. Why was that, at that stage in your 28-day review, were

19 you not considering these aspects of victim enquiries,

20 either to endorse the approach or to criticise it?

21 A. Well, I mean, one has to understand how the review

22 process worked. It isn't all encompassed by the

23 document that you see here. There was regular contact

24 between myself and the SIO throughout the review period.

25 There was minutes sent back from the review team to the

 

 

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1 murder room about suggested enquiries to be undertaken

2 or actions to be raised, and I do recollect sending one

3 message back suggesting that we should extend some of

4 the telephone research, for example.

5 So there is more to the review than what you

6 actually see in the document here.

7 Q. I see. But there isn't any attempt, if you like, in

8 this document, in the question I'm putting to you, to

9 get to grips with the nuts and bolts of what was being

10 done in relation to victim enquiries, is there?

11 A. No. I mean, victim enquiries is continuing, don't

12 forget.

13 Q. Forgive me for interrupting. Continuing in the way that

14 the SIO had chosen it to continue?

15 A. Well, continue in the way that we had all elected that

16 it should continue. But that's ongoing. There are

17 contacts and employees and ex-employees of Mrs Nelson

18 who aren't interviewed until late in 1999.

19 The lady who had been away with Mr and Mrs Nelson on

20 the weekend prior to her murder wasn't interviewed

21 until June of 1999, and I'm writing this document in May

22 before those events had taken place. So those sorts of

23 enquiries are still continuing even as the review has

24 been written and has been sent to the SIO for his

25 consideration.

 

 

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1 Q. But that's an individual aspect of a theme, isn't it:

2 interviewing one person?

3 A. No, I'm not talking about interviewing one person.

4 There were enquiries going on across the board in

5 respect of employees, ex-employees, we were doing work

6 around Mrs Nelson's vehicle which had been recently

7 serviced. We were making enquiries at the garage there.

8 I talked about some enquiries that we were making with

9 BMW.

10 I'm not saying all of these enquiries were

11 outstanding by the time that the review was complete,

12 but certainly these enquiries are not finished; they are

13 ongoing.

14 Q. Changing tack slightly, dealing with the sensitivities

15 of the investigation -- please don't think I'm making

16 any criticism of you or your colleagues -- the

17 relationship with Mrs Nelson's family was always going

18 to be a difficult one?

19 A. In the circumstances, yes.

20 Q. Yes. Would it be right or fair of me to suggest that

21 the potential difficulties in the perceived need to keep

22 the family engaged with the murder investigation may

23 have influenced the level to which victim enquiries were

24 conducted?

25 A. No, I don't think that's a fair assessment.

 

 

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1 Q. Putting it another way, you put privacy above --

2 A. No, I think we were very mindful of privacy and we were

3 very mindful that we needed to maintain good relations

4 with the family. So, if anything, it gave added rigour

5 to the tests that we were setting ourselves. But those

6 tests were still valid tests. The question was still

7 a case of, "What is it that I want to achieve? Where do

8 I want to go with this particular line of enquiry in

9 terms of progressing the investigation?" And in terms

10 of victim enquiries, I would argue that what we did was

11 proportionate and was necessary, but it wasn't a case

12 of, well, we would have liked to have just gone a little

13 bit further with the telephones or we would really have

14 liked to have had Mrs Nelson's diaries so that we could

15 scrutinise it. But that could have put the family's

16 nose collectively out of joint so we didn't do that. It

17 wasn't a case of that.

18 Q. That's what I was going to ask you. Putting the

19 question on its head, as it were, had you taken the

20 Nelson family out of the equation -- and I don't mean

21 that at all to make any criticism of them, let's be

22 clear about that -- if you had taken that dynamic out of

23 the equation, would you have done things differently?

24 A. No, I don't think so, sir. I would say this: I think we

25 could have made things a whole lot worse by being crass

 

 

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1 about this particular line of enquiry.

2 Q. You mean victim enquiries?

3 A. Victim enquiries, yes. What we did was what we wanted

4 to do, but if we had been disproportionate in our

5 approach, I think we could have made the situation

6 really quite untenable probably in respect of the

7 family.

8 Q. Would you accept before certainly I try and move on,

9 that if some of the presumption/assessments that you

10 have referred to -- that this was a terrorist murder,

11 for example -- were incorrect, then your victimology

12 would have been flawed -- your victim enquiries?

13 A. I mean, it is a hypothetical suggestion, then one would

14 have to say that's -- obviously it is possible.

15 Q. As time went on -- and we will come to Operation George

16 tomorrow -- there were no admissions by what I hope we

17 can come to call the core suspects. Did that at any

18 stage cause -- and, again, I'm just trying to speak

19 figuratively -- you to all sit down together and say,

20 "Right, we have been down this path for a number of

21 years, based on certain presumptions and, in what we are

22 talking about now, conducted victim enquiries

23 accordingly, so we had better go back and open up a few

24 more lines of enquiry under the heading of victim

25 enquiries because it may well be we have missed

 

 

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1 something"?

2 A. No, no, I don't -- I don't think we ever had such

3 a discussion and I couldn't see how that would have

4 arisen really in --

5 Q. Well, because Operation George had taken you no closer

6 to arresting and charging the core suspects with the

7 murder of Rosemary Nelson?

8 A. Well, I think -- you know, with respect, I think one has

9 to understand that this investigation was about much

10 more than Operation George, you know? There were lines

11 of enquiry being continued and leads being followed when

12 Operation George was running. And as I have said in my

13 statement, and I think I have articulated some of these,

14 there were leads that we were following when Operation

15 George closed.

16 Q. Let me ask you this: did any of those take you any

17 closer to arresting and charging the core suspects?

18 A. Not in terms of arresting and charging, no.

19 Q. So neither your traditional or your Operation George

20 took you any closer. So my question again: did you not

21 consider, do you not now consider it would have been

22 appropriate to consider reviewing the tack you had taken

23 to victim enquiries?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Thank you. I appreciate you and I have spoken about

 

 

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1 this -- I won't say in heated terms, but you have

2 expressed a very firm opinion about it. I have

3 interrupted you, trying to move things along, I hope

4 properly. I'm going to move on to another topic, but

5 I don't want you to leave the room tonight thinking you

6 have been cut off on this. So is there anything else

7 you would like to say about the victim enquiries point

8 before you move on?

9 A. No, I think I have made my point, for what it is worth.

10 MR SAVILL: Thank you. And I should say, because I can see

11 someone wanting to ask a final matter on this --

12 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I hope it is final. I hope it isn't

13 opening up a new can of worms.

14 As I understand it, a judgment was reached pretty

15 early on by the SIO -- and I think that you shared it --

16 that this was a Loyalist terrorist murder?

17 A. Yes, that's correct.

18 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: If I can put it this way, it looked

19 like a duck, it quacked like a duck, it probably was

20 a duck.

21 A. Yes.

22 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Was there anything that you

23 subsequently heard that caused you to doubt that first

24 judgment?

25 A. No, ma'am. As a matter of fact, I'd go further than

 

 

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1 that. Since I have become privy to what I would call

2 the new intelligence, it just seems to me that that

3 initial assessment has got stronger and stronger.

4 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right.

5 MR SAVILL: Thank you. It is now ten past five. I hope

6 I don't embarrass you when I say this, but you are not

7 able to come back to the enquiry after tomorrow so I'm

8 just wanting to push on a little bit later than

9 I perhaps might normally do, and the person I address

10 this remark to is typing away in front of me. I wonder

11 whether she and, indeed, the Panel would like to take

12 a short break now and to sit on a little later to

13 perhaps 6 o'clock?

14 THE CHAIRMAN: We will have a quarter of an hour break.

15 (5.10 pm)

16 (Short break)

17 (5.25 pm)

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Savill.

19 MR SAVILL: The next matter that I want to just explore with

20 you are some of the reasons behind the way in which you

21 directed -- I don't mean you personally -- the murder

22 investigation.

23 The first of those involves the validation of

24 intelligence that was received, and if we could just

25 remind ourselves, or remind you perhaps, of what I'll

 

 

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1 call the main pieces of intelligence. Could we call up

2 RNI-548-168 (displayed)? That's probably a document

3 that you are familiar with.

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Now, again, forgive me for stating the blindingly

6 obvious, we are in open session, so ...?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. NB:

9 "Intelligence indicates that [blank] and [blank]

10 played an active role in the murder of Rosemary Nelson."

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Could we call up RNI-909-078 (displayed). A similar

13 document:

14 "Constructed and supplied the UCBT device which was

15 used in the murder of Rosemary Nelson."

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And RNI-909-148, please (displayed). I'm sorry, I think

18 it is my fault, I have jumped one. RNI-909-148 is the

19 one I want. Yes, apologies. Similar information, if

20 you like:

21 "[Blank] made the bomb that killed Rosemary Nelson."

22 And then goes on to say:

23 "[Blank] has made explosive devices for the UDA and

24 LVF in the past and is now providing his services to

25 dissident Loyalists."

 

 

133

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. So we have got three, if you like, pieces of

3 intelligence: two offering a similar line, if you like,

4 the first offering a different line.

5 Those were received -- I'm choosing my words with

6 care -- early on in the history of the murder

7 investigation?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And much later on, RNI-548-166 (displayed) -- this is

10 a document that's in two pages, and I'm just showing you

11 the first paragraph. There is information in that first

12 paragraph:

13 "On the night before the murder ... DOB [date of

14 birth] drove ... DOB ... in ... registration number ...

15 to the murder scene ... was carrying the bomb."

16 Paragraph 2:

17 "[Blank] planted the bomb under Rosemary Nelson's

18 care ... drove ... away from the murder scene.

19 "... is an ex-member of [blank] and has been based

20 in [blank] and other ... establishments. On the night

21 that the bomb was transported to the murder scene ..."

22 So there are four individual items there and, as

23 I say, probably now that totals, if you like, three

24 headings of information; yes? But this last one came

25 later on in the history of the investigation.

 

 

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1 Now, although the names have been redacted, these

2 were the core Mid Ulster LVF members in the first three

3 pieces of intelligence that I was showing you; yes?

4 A. Well, I wouldn't class one as being Mid Ulster.

5 Q. I'm sorry, the first piece, to be precise, RNI-548-168?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. I have tried to show you the Special Branch briefing

8 sheet and I hope I'm right in saying that with the

9 exception of this last one these were the documents as

10 you saw them?

11 A. Yes. In unredacted --

12 Q. You personally.

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. I'm sorry, they weren't redacted of course.

15 Now, were you given -- and, again, we are in open

16 session -- any indication as to the quality of this

17 intelligence by Special Branch?

18 A. Not at the time of receipt, not when I first saw the

19 material, no, not by Special Branch.

20 Q. And these different pieces of intelligence, how

21 important were they, would you say, to the direction and

22 focus of the investigation as a whole?

23 A. Very important.

24 Q. My expression, but your most important?

25 A. Well, I would have regarded them as being very

 

 

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1 significant pieces of intelligence.

2 Q. And once the information was made known to yourself,

3 when was that roughly in the context of the first few

4 weeks of your arrival?

5 A. I certainly would have seen these documents as part of

6 the 28-day review. Well, I would have seen the first

7 three documents as part of the 28-day review. I would

8 have seen R1Y very soon after its receipt within the

9 MIR.

10 Q. What attempts were made by the SMT to validate this

11 intelligence?

12 A. This could be a long answer, but I have tried to explain

13 in my statement the way in which intelligence was

14 disseminated to the murder investigation, and there are

15 basically three tiers. There is a hierarchy to those

16 tiers, so that Mr Port had exclusive access to

17 Special Branch intelligence, that very, very sensitive

18 Special Branch intelligence, through his communication

19 with ACC -- sorry, I do apologise.

20 Q. Keep going.

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. And with the Head of South Region, SB. And then on the

24 second next important level the Head of our Intelligence

25 Cell was in quite regular contact with senior South

 

 

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1 Region SB officers. Then there was a third level, which

2 was the remainder of the SMT, who were meeting

3 Special Branch officers through regular meetings and the

4 SIO was also raising queries, written reports, written

5 documents and sending them through to the Special Branch

6 for specific assessments to be made or specific requests

7 for intelligence.

8 Q. So if we could just take this document down from the

9 screen that we have got there at the moment, the

10 question I asked you was: What was done to validate

11 these pieces of intelligence?

12 A. Well, my understanding is that on 20 April Mr Port had

13 a meeting with senior Special Branch officers and that

14 intelligence other than R1Y was discussed at that

15 meeting, and everything that I have seen around the

16 documentation of that meeting and Mr Port's journal

17 suggests to me that that was an early attempt at the

18 validation of that material.

19 I can't speak for what was done on the second tier,

20 as I've described it, with DCI McKenna. I'm not privy

21 to that. But on the third tier, I would have to say

22 that we did very little because, quite frankly,

23 validation of that intelligence in the manner that you

24 are speaking about simply wasn't an option.

25 Q. I was going to ask you: How important theoretically --

 

 

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1 applying that theory to the reality of where you found

2 yourselves -- was it to validate intelligence of this

3 type?

4 A. It was obviously very important.

5 Q. Were any efforts made to validate it, as far as you are

6 aware, using B567 who was the liaison officer in the

7 murder investigation?

8 A. I think B567 was present at that 20 April meeting with

9 Mr Port, and he was certainly present during the

10 meetings -- subsequent meetings that we had with

11 Special Branch. (Redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted). That much was revealed to

14 us.

15 But beyond that, there wasn't a great deal that was

16 revealed in those early weeks and early months of the

17 investigation at my level.

18 Q. So I'm trying to just summarise it, and correct me if

19 I'm putting it unfairly: Would it be right to say that

20 in your opinion you were not able to validate the

21 intelligence to the standard that you would have

22 wished to?

23 A. Yes, I think that's fair. I don't think there was an

24 option to do that. I mean, for one thing, apart from

25 Mr Port, nobody else on the senior management team was

 

 

138

 

1 developed vetted. So that was an impediment obviously

2 in --

3 Q. We will come to that aspect tomorrow.

4 A. Right.

5 Q. As far as the validation process was concerned, though,

6 I think I'm right in saying that you did re-engage that

7 process in 2003 when you yourself undertook an

8 intelligence review?

9 A. We re-engaged it, but that wasn't -- validation was

10 a side product of what the review was intended to do.

11 Q. All right.

12 A. The intelligence review was intended to review all the

13 intelligence to see whether there were any --

14 Q. Let me put it another way: the next occasion upon which

15 validation was progressed was when the intelligence

16 review took place?

17 A. No, I wouldn't necessarily agree with that. I mean, as

18 the weeks and the months unfold, the early reserved

19 relationships between ourselves and Special Branch

20 relaxed a little bit, and certainly over a period of

21 weeks, you know, I was given information (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted). And, you know, I don't really want to

25 go into too much more detail here, but there were useful

 

 

139

 

1 little pieces of information that came out over the

2 weeks and months in respect of this early intelligence

3 like that.

4 Q. Let me try putting it another way. Was the time at

5 which validation took place to the standard you had

6 wished it to at the time of the intelligence review?

7 A. I don't know because I simply don't know what Mr Port

8 would have done on the 20th. I anticipate that Mr Port

9 would have taken out -- or would have undertaken an

10 early exercise in validation. I have every

11 confidence that that would have happened.

12 Q. We can ask Mr Port.

13 A. Yes, I'm sorry. I think that's in essence ...

14 Q. But it is right, isn't it, that moving along with this

15 intelligence, as you were, you were taking it at face

16 value because you were forced to?

17 A. Well, we were taking it at face value and validation

18 wasn't on offer. Yes, I think that's a fairer way of

19 putting it.

20 Q. Do you regret commencing Operation George without

21 a fuller validation taking place in relation to this

22 intelligence?

23 A. No.

24 Q. And --

25 A. This has got to be caveated with the fact that, you

 

 

140

 

1 know, Mr Port has got an important part in setting the

2 strategy for Operation George, as I have I think already

3 explained. And, you know, because of the conditions

4 under which Mr Port is being given Special Branch

5 intelligence and the exclusivity that surrounds it and

6 the fact that he can't discuss these arrangements with

7 us or the product of these arrangements with us, we

8 simply don't know what was discussed and what was

9 decided and what was assessed on 20 April.

10 Q. I'm sorry, you did know about the intelligence, you had

11 seen it?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. That's where the line was drawn, and for that reason you

14 were unable to deal with it in your 28-day review?

15 A. No, I wouldn't say I was unable to deal with it in the

16 28-day review, but I didn't know what I could

17 productively add to that line in the 28-day review.

18 Q. You mention frequently Mr Port and his involvement. Did

19 you take it upon yourself, feel it necessary, to raise

20 with him vehemently your view that really this needs to

21 be taken in hand and validation, however we do it, but

22 we need to do it?

23 A. I think I would have had that discussion, perhaps not in

24 the way in which you describe it, but certainly --

25 I mean, within the 28-day review, if my memory serves me

 

 

141

 

1 right, I do make a very strong recommendation that the

2 SIO should have unfettered access to the intelligence

3 product. And I would have discussed that with Mr Port

4 probably whilst the review report was in its draft form.

5 So Mr Port would have been aware of my views and he

6 probably shared them.

7 Q. Please don't think I'm suggesting that you are passing

8 responsibility on to Mr Port.

9 A. No.

10 Q. But I think what I'm understanding from what you are

11 saying is that you have the point I'm making, but your

12 answer is in reality you were not in a position to take

13 it any further, ergo talk to Mr Port about it?

14 A. In essence, yes.

15 Q. Right. Well, that's what we will do.

16 A. Good.

17 Q. Just moving on now to the claim of responsibility, was

18 this part of the briefing that you were given by

19 Mr Kinkaid when you arrived?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Yes?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And obviously I don't want you to go into the code

24 words --

25 A. No.

 

 

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1 Q. -- but, again, would you agree or not that this line of

2 enquiry was an important one in terms of directing you

3 in your focus to the core Mid Ulster suspects?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. What I want to just show you, and I think perhaps the

6 best place to do it is in Mr Ayling's report at

7 RNI-608-074 (displayed). Again, I'm only using his

8 report because it saves time going to the documents. We

9 have got here, if we can highlight it, a comment there

10 in the second paragraph, the redacted portion refers to

11 the code words:

12 "These had been passed around everybody: LVF, OV,

13 RHD, all could have, and probably were, using them. In

14 the end it was a joke. We used to say it was the only

15 organisation where everyone got the code."

16 If you see the footnote, for what it is worth that's

17 in a report, R1BA. If we look at the paragraph from the

18 bottom with DI [blank]:

19 "As a result of consultation with the SIO, we had

20 asked that this action be resulted as NFA. It has

21 become increasingly more apparent that the Red Hand

22 Defenders have become a name synonymous with Loyalist

23 terrorists as a flag of convenience, and it is accepted

24 that no such organisation has sole control of the name

25 or actions purporting to have been committed by this

 

 

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1 group on this basis. I would suggest that to attribute

2 certain individuals with the name would be fundamentally

3 misleading and inappropriate."

4 If we go over the page to RNI-608-075 (displayed),

5 the second paragraph down:

6 "Intelligence suggests that Red Hand Defenders and

7 Red Hand Defenders code words were widely known."

8 Yes? So those are just some quotes speedily taken

9 from documents created by your team?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. What I wanted to ask you is: it seems apparent from that

12 that you and your colleagues were aware that -- well,

13 the impression was it was a bit of a joke that not much

14 reliance could be placed on the code words and the claim

15 by a particular organisation because everybody was

16 claiming for everybody else's attacks. That's right,

17 isn't it?

18 A. I think you would have to -- in fairness, I think you

19 would have to look at the dates of those documents.

20 Presumably the date that follows the quote is the date

21 of the document.

22 Q. Yes, I'm sorry, forgive me. I didn't read them out, but

23 they are there to be seen.

24 A. What I did take from that, if I'm correct -- I missed

25 the first document, I must say --

 

 

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1 Q. 7 July 2000.

2 A. Right, and I think the first one was 2001.

3 Q. Correct, September.

4 A. Sorry, the second one was 2001 and this one is 15/09/03.

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. I think it is important to realise that this did change

7 over time, and earlier on it was certainly a much more

8 tighter situation around the RHD and RHD code words than

9 it eventually came to be. I think eventually -- if my

10 memory serves me right, I think even -- there was

11 a murder that was attributed to PIRA, a shotgun attack,

12 which was claimed under the sobriquet of the Red Hand

13 Defenders. So it did change over time, but early on --

14 Q. So early on --

15 A. The knowledge --

16 Q. They were reliable and as time went on: hang on

17 a moment, these may not be as reliable as we thought

18 they were because of the information that we are

19 receiving?

20 A. I don't know about reliable. I would say --

21 Q. Indicative of responsibility?

22 A. It changed considerably over time. I think that's the

23 point.

24 Q. As to whether you could rely on the claim of

25 responsibility as indicating who had been responsible

 

 

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1 for killing Mrs Nelson?

2 A. Yes, and certainly everything that I read and saw was

3 that in 1999, March of 1999, the Red Hand Defenders were

4 not properly defined by Special Branch. There was still

5 a lack of understanding about who exactly they were,

6 whether they were dealing with an organisation, whether

7 it was a splinter group, whether it was just a loose

8 collection of people who had come together for

9 a specific purpose or whether it was the more extreme

10 elements from some of the dissident groups that were

11 coming together and using the Red Hand Defenders as

12 a flag of convenience.

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. I was just going to say -- I'm sorry -- I think

15 in March 1999 what I was reading was that the Red Hand

16 Defenders has been used by -- or the title Red Hand

17 Defenders has been used by the LVF and UFF to claim

18 responsibility for their attacks.

19 Q. But --

20 A. So early on, you know, it was really those two

21 organisations and then became more terrorist

22 organisations, or further over time.

23 Q. But as time went on, the certainty of the indication

24 given by the claim of responsibility waned?

25 A. Yes, it appeared to do so.

 

 

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1 MR SAVILL: If it is the case --

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Sorry to interrupt, but I thought

3 in March 1999 the use of these code words was a reliable

4 indicator of who committed the Rosemary Nelson murder,

5 wasn't it? In March 1999?

6 A. In the sense that -- I'm just trying to choose my words

7 carefully here. In the sense that Special Branch were

8 giving us intelligence that they knew who they thought

9 was heading up the Red Hand Defenders, we can show

10 a very, very close connection between that individual

11 and Mid Ulster LVF. And on that basis, when the claim

12 of responsibility came through, I think there was an

13 assessment placed on it that, given who was heading it

14 up at that time, who his contacts were, who his

15 associates were and what his recent movements had been,

16 this was most likely to be a LVF claim of responsibility

17 or this was most likely to be a LVF crime claimed under

18 the banner of the RHD.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, thank you.

20 MR SAVILL: By as I say, you have agreed with me as time

21 went on, your certainty waned.

22 Did there not come a time at which a reappraisal of

23 the reliance you had placed on the claim of

24 responsibility should have taken place, or are you

25 saying, "Well, we had got the point. We weren't placing

 

 

147

 

1 as much reliance on it as we discovered it was

2 unreliable"?

3 A. Yes, I think our assessment was that it had changed so

4 much over time that an assessment in 2001/2002/2003 of

5 what the situation was like -- the situation beyond --

6 in 2001 and beyond didn't seem to have much relevance to

7 what was happening in 1999 in terms of the Red Hand

8 Defenders.

9 Q. Thank you. Moving on to another topic, namely that of

10 the device that was in fact used, if I may, I'm going to

11 try and take this in as simple a way as I can.

12 The device prompted a line of enquiry, an

13 examination of previous incidents where similar devices

14 had been used by Loyalists. That's right, isn't it?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Now, first of all, let me just ask you this: we have

17 heard some evidence at the Inquiry that you may or may

18 not be aware of that suggests that Loyalist

19 organisations were rather more haphazard, inefficient,

20 if that's the right word, in the way that they went

21 about killing people, if you like. Sir Ronnie Flanagan

22 said that they, he, were shocked and surprised and had

23 wondered where the Loyalists had got a viable device

24 from because that was not their form; they were normally

25 too incompetent to do that sort of thing; yes?

 

 

148

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. So at that stage of you arriving at the Rosemary Nelson

3 murder investigation, as your time went on there, was

4 that ever a topic that was raised by yourself or by

5 fellow officers: that this didn't fit with the type of

6 organisation you were looking at?

7 A. I think it was raised -- well, I don't think, I know it

8 was raised very, very early on in the briefing by

9 Mr Kinkaid because there was an acceptance that this

10 sort of device was beyond the technical skill of the LVF

11 as we knew it at that time.

12 But when one looked at that early intelligence that

13 named a bomb maker, our information coming back from

14 Special Branch and certainly the RUC officers'

15 assessment within the senior management team was that

16 here was an individual who was quite capable of making

17 that device.

18 Q. So let me take that a stage further. If the information

19 about the bomb maker had proved to be inaccurate or

20 incorrect, that would presumably then have made

21 a significant difference to your viewpoint?

22 A. Well, clearly it would, yes, if it was incorrect.

23 Q. You are saying that was the, if you like, link or the

24 extra encouragement to make the link that was available

25 to you?

 

 

149

 

1 A. Well, no, that was the explanation. The explanation of

2 how the LVF had been able to carry out this crime was

3 because they had managed to source the device from

4 outside of their organisation. And this individual, who

5 is named in the early intelligence, was named as the

6 bomb maker.

7 When we looked into that and researched it and saw

8 what he had been allegedly responsible for in the past,

9 it did seem to us that this individual had that degree

10 of sophistication to be able to put that device

11 together.

12 Q. So there had been, as it were, outside assistance to the

13 group that you were looking at?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Now, I want to just ask you about Dr Murray and Mr Todd,

16 their opinions; yes?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. I hope I can take you to a document which summarises

19 Dr Murray's position, which is the Operation Cornwall

20 log which was created by the Kent officers who,

21 I accept, you didn't overlap with. And there is a typed

22 version at RNI-837-007 (displayed). We can see in the

23 second column near the bottom:

24 "18 March 1999 ..."

25 A meeting -- and this document will be familiar to

 

 

150

 

1 some of us; there is no need to highlight it -- at which

2 various persons are present:

3 "The SIO provided the group with a brief update,

4 following which the CC, the Chief Constable of Kent,

5 made the following observations."

6 Sorry, I'm just showing you the context because this

7 isn't a document you are very familiar with.

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Go over the page to RNI-837-008, top paragraph

10 highlighted, please (displayed), and I hope that this

11 summarises what you understood Dr Murray to be saying,

12 that:

13 "The key orientation at this stage seems to be

14 inferences drawn from the forensic examination of the

15 explosive device. The forensic scientist's view,

16 expressed with a high degree of confidence, was that

17 this device contained the bomb maker's signature and

18 could be associated with several other devices known to

19 have been deployed by Loyalist terrorists. This

20 observation should provide the main focus for the

21 enquiry at least in regard to motive. There are good

22 reasons, however, to work to exclude other possible

23 motives. SIO response: agreed."

24 So I'm just hoping in short form to take to you what

25 the position was, and you would agree with that?

 

 

151

 

1 A. I would agree with it in terms of what, sir?

2 Q. That this was, as you understood it, what Dr Murray was

3 saying?

4 A. Oh, yes, in terms of what Dr Murray was saying, yes.

5 Q. Now, I don't want to go into the detail, but

6 considerable amounts of work -- and I think M540 has

7 dealt with this -- was done in relation to the device

8 and similar devices. You did a little bit of work

9 there -- I don't mean to be rude when I say that -- but

10 it was his responsibility?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. There came a time when Mr Todd was instructed to conduct

13 a review, and if we look at RNI-604-019, please

14 (displayed), paragraph 4.16.3, this is again from

15 Mr Ayling's report. I'm using it as a shorthand. It

16 says there, we can see, that:

17 "Mr Port made a request that re-examination of all

18 material connected with the UVIED and to conduct

19 'a review of the examination of this series of

20 under-vehicle improvised explosive devices connected to

21 or attributable to Loyalist terrorist activity."

22 Yes?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. So Mr Todd, from a separate organisation, was asked to

25 conduct a review?

 

 

152

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And so we are clear, he was sent or had taken to him the

3 physical fragments, parts of the Rosemary Nelson device;

4 yes?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. But was only given photographic and documentary evidence

7 in relation to the other devices that Dr Murray had

8 included on his list?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Is that right?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Yes. Now, we then, please, can see page RNI-704-110

13 (displayed). Again, as a police officer you will be

14 used to far better treatment than I'm giving you whilst

15 you are giving evidence, where I would have shown you

16 the first page of the statement, but I hope you will

17 forgive me and recognise this as being a page from

18 Clifford Todd's witness statement?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Which was given in September 1999 and deals with the

21 review of the devices; yes?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, I would just like to go to RNI-704-112 (displayed).

24 I'm not sure how helpful it is going to be on the

25 screen. Can we flick that over? "Not very" is the

 

 

153

 

1 answer to that.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Can it be enlarged?

3 MR SAVILL: It probably can be highlighted, but I'm not sure

4 if that will improve the quality at all. A bit.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: I can read it.

6 MR SAVILL: I hesitate to make the obvious comment that

7 follows from that. Summarising again the statement of

8 Mr Todd, he groups together various devices; yes?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. He groups together 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8 --

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. -- as one group, and we will go back to his statement.

13 He puts 3 on its own; yes?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And he puts 4 with the final one on the far right

16 column, which is the Rosemary Nelson device?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Yes? Now, if we can go back to his statement at

19 RNI-704-110 (displayed), we can just read this:

20 "Excepting number 3, it would be valid, in my

21 opinion, to further categorise the remaining cases into

22 two groups. I would base these two groups on what

23 I consider to be the two most important components,

24 namely the container and the high explosive charge."

25 So, as I said, 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7:

 

 

154

 

1 "... the device appears to be in a deliberately

2 constructed or adapted wood/plywood box and the

3 explosive charge has been a PETN-based high explosive.

4 Although number 8 had apparently no recovered container

5 parts, I would add it to this group on the basis that it

6 appears to have been a PETN-based explosive."

7 So we have got that first group?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. "The similarities between these cases may suggest some

10 commonality amongst themselves, as regards makers and/or

11 perpetrators, but not particularly with this case.

12 "This leaves number 4 and this case, which both

13 appear to have had an adapted lunch box-type plastics

14 container and an ammonium nitrate-based high explosive.

15 "There are other ..."

16 I wonder whether that should be "detailed":

17 "... differences in similarities, which can be read

18 off from the table. However, I would regard their

19 significance as debatable. My overall opinion as

20 regards this comparison exercise is that, at best, the

21 similarities between number 4 and this case may suggest

22 some degree of commonality between the makers and/or the

23 perpetrators. As regards the other cases and this one,

24 I would regard their degree of similarity with this case

25 to be not much more than the basic general similarity

 

 

155

 

1 with under-vehicle explosive devices. Without any

2 further, specific information, I would regard any

3 linking of those other devices with this one as tenuous

4 at best."

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. I think you will understand the point I'm about to make.

7 On the one hand, Mr Murray, linked devices; on the

8 other, Mr Todd casting doubt on that on the face of it.

9 Do you accept that?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. What I just want to ask you is: did you have any role to

12 play in the receipt and action generated by Mr Todd's

13 statement or call it report?

14 A. Not to my recollection, no. I mean, I did visit DERA

15 and I did read the statements, but I don't remember

16 being deeply involved in that line of enquiry. That was

17 pretty much M540s province.

18 Q. Again, I don't want you to think I'm encouraging you to

19 blame somebody else, but if I were to ask you about the

20 significance of this apparent difference of opinion, you

21 would say, "I did not have anything to do with it at the

22 time"?

23 A. Well, I mean --

24 Q. Would you?

25 A. It was known to the senior management team, we did

 

 

156

 

1 discuss it, we did discuss its significance. It is done

2 in respect of that.

3 Q. So you do have knowledge because you discussed it?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. So what was said?

6 A. Obviously it was an area of some importance, but I don't

7 think -- you know, I don't think we ever placed too much

8 reliance on Dr Murray's assessment that this could be

9 linked to X number of other devices.

10 The important point for us is that there seemed to

11 be unequivocal opinion that this was a Loyalist device

12 and that, to me, was the really important thing.

13 Q. But wasn't the way in which that was so credible a line

14 of enquiry, was there -- people were telling you there

15 were a number of other devices similar, also created by

16 the same person or by Loyalists organisations. It

17 reinforced the point, didn't it?

18 A. Well, it reinforced the point that this was an

19 experienced and skilled bomb maker, but then we had

20 Special Branch intelligence which also underlined that

21 point. So it wasn't a point that we were looking at in

22 isolation and we didn't place too much reliance on

23 whether this individual had made five bombs, seven bombs

24 or three bombs previously.

25 Q. So similar devices -- and by that I mean the fact that

 

 

157

 

1 this device, you were told, was similar to other

2 Loyalist devices -- did not form an important or

3 significant line of enquiry for you?

4 A. It was a line of enquiry, yes. What I'm saying is that

5 we didn't place too much reliance on the fact that

6 Dr Murray was saying this is linked to other devices and

7 this is the linkage, these are the previous devices.

8 Q. And accordingly, therefore, as you say that, you would

9 say therefore Mr Todd's opinion didn't matter very much

10 because we weren't paying -- or attributing much

11 importance to it anyway?

12 A. The key thing for us was is this a Loyalist device, and

13 there seemed to be no equivocation between Mr Todd and

14 Dr Murray, who I would regard as being the foremost

15 authority.

16 Q. Sorry, which one?

17 A. Dr Murray. Who could doubt that he would not be, given

18 his background and the amount of time he had been

19 working in Northern Ireland -- layer that over with the

20 Special Branch intelligence as well as to the bomb

21 maker, and our assessment was -- and this is the

22 important assessment -- yes, this is a Loyalist bomb.

23 Could this person have the -- did he have the ability

24 and the technical capability to make this bomb? Yes, he

25 did. That's what we regarded as being the really

 

 

158

 

1 crucial information or assessment.

2 Q. Forgive me for hounding you, but Murray equals

3 Rosemary Nelson device, similar to other Loyalist

4 devices?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Todd, no it doesn't, because Todd says they were not in

7 his view able to be described as similar, as we have

8 seen. The degree of their similarity with this case not

9 to be much more than basic general similarity of an

10 under-vehicle explosive device.

11 I don't want to labour the point, but didn't

12 Mr Todd's opinion when received cause you to say, "We

13 need to reassess whether in fact this is a Loyalist

14 device"?

15 A. No, because there was no equivocation from Mr Todd on

16 that fact. Both were agreed that this was a Loyalist

17 device, and in support of that we had the Special Branch

18 intelligence.

19 MR SAVILL: Sir, I have run over a little bit. It is five

20 past six. It is possibly an appropriate time to

21 conclude today. I'm very grateful to the short-hand

22 writer and to the witness.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. We will adjourn until quarter past

24 ten tomorrow morning.

25 Thank you Mr Provoost. Could you be back in plenty

 

 

159

 

1 of time.

2 A. I will, sir, yes.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: We will start at quarter past ten.

4 (6.07 pm)

5 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)

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1 I N D E X

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M540 (continued) ................................. 2
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS (continued) ......... 2
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Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 38
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Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 40
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Questions by THE CHAIRMAN .................... 42
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MR ARTHUR PROVOOST (sworn) ....................... 43
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Questions by MR SAVILL ....................... 43
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