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Full Hearings

Hearing: 21st January 2009, day 100

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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 Wednesday, 21 January 2009
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Wednesday, 21 January 2009

2 (10.15 am)

3 (Proceedings delayed)

4 (10.24 am)

5 SIR RONNIE FLANAGAN (continued)

6 Questions by MR PHILLIPS (continued)

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

8 MR PHILLIPS: Good morning, Sir Ronnie.

9 A. Good morning.

10 Q. We were talking about the August 1998 threat assessment

11 and what I would like to do is to read to you some of

12 the evidence given to the Inquiry by David Watkins about

13 it, when he was asked about it.

14 What he said was this:

15 "I would be surprised, in retrospect, if

16 Ronnie Flanagan himself had not, as it were, signed off

17 on that ..."

18 i.e. the August threat assessment:

19 "... but I don't know that. I say that because

20 Rosemary Nelson was clearly such an important person in

21 terms of her perception in the Nationalist community,

22 point (a). Point (b), Ronnie was very aware at all

23 points of the damage that could be done to Nationalist

24 confidence in policing which was always very qualified,

25 to put it no higher than that, but he would be extremely

 

 

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1 aware of the damage to the reputation of the RUC had

2 Rosemary Nelson been killed as, of course, happened.

3 His reputation and more so the RUC's was very severely

4 damaged.

5 "So let me say, it wouldn't surprise me at all if

6 Ronnie himself signed off on that. If that was the

7 case, that sort of thinking was the sort of assurance

8 that I would have drawn from my knowledge of the

9 process."

10 Can I just put various parts of that to you? First

11 of all, do you agree with his comment or assessment that

12 you were very aware at all points of the damage that

13 could be done to Nationalist confidence in policing, as

14 he has put it:

15 "... which was always very qualified, to put it no

16 higher than that, but he would have been extremely aware

17 of the damage to the reputation of the RUC had

18 Rosemary Nelson been killed..."?

19 A. It didn't occur to me that there was ever a risk of

20 Rosemary Nelson being killed at that time. But

21 certainly the other phrases, the importance of

22 Nationalist confidence in policing, the importance of

23 Nationalist confidence in the Royal Ulster Constabulary,

24 was something, yes, very much to the forefront of my

25 thinking.

 

 

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1 Q. At this stage, in August/early September 1998, when you

2 were considering the question again of Rosemary Nelson's

3 safety, did you regard it as an issue very much bound up

4 with this question of Nationalist confidence in

5 policing?

6 A. I didn't at that time give it that sort of prominence.

7 Again -- and not to trouble the Inquiry with continually

8 referring to the context -- on 15 August 1998, the Omagh

9 explosion took place and that followed a whole series of

10 other explosions carried out by dissident Republicans

11 who did not want the peace process to work.

12 At that time I was immediately involved in meetings

13 with the then Home Secretary, Jack Straw, the Minister

14 for Justice in the Republic, Parliament was recalled,

15 there was a whole question of new legislation, there was

16 the whole question of the investigation into the Omagh

17 explosion. So there was a tremendous amount happening

18 at that time, and I say that for no reason other than to

19 just draw the Inquiry's attention to the context.

20 And in that context, the position of Mrs Nelson

21 didn't have that prominence that might be taken, or

22 might be inferred from the sort of comments made by

23 Mr Watkins in his evidence. But certainly that is not

24 in any way to say that I would minimise the question of

25 any threat or any risk or take lightly any consideration

 

 

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1 of such potential threats or risks.

2 Q. So you are not suggesting, are you, that because of

3 these other very significant events, the press of events

4 going on at this time, that you think her issues rather

5 receded in terms of importance?

6 A. That's exactly the point I'm making. I'm not suggesting

7 that; I'm simply setting the overall context. When you

8 ask what prominence did this have as an issue, there was

9 no -- I come back to the point that there was never

10 anything brought to my attention that indicated any

11 prospect or risk of what sadly later took place.

12 Q. Can I just ask you this in relation to another comment

13 Mr Watkins made: was it obvious to you by this

14 stage, August/September 1998, that she was clearly such

15 an important person in terms of her perception in the

16 Nationalist community, which is the way he puts it?

17 A. Not as I would put it. I would have seen Mrs Nelson's

18 prominence as being much more local, not abroad, within

19 the Nationalist community as such, across the entire

20 Province.

21 Q. And you say that, do you, despite all the media

22 coverage, the correspondence, the focus that we saw

23 which began in the summer of the previous year?

24 A. Yes. If I may say, the Chairman asked about the

25 pamphlet yesterday.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes.

2 A. And in looking at that pamphlet, a number of things

3 strike me. First of all, it was very much directed at

4 the head of the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition. Of

5 course, Mrs Nelson is mentioned in the pamphlet.

6 Q. Can I just stop you? Shall we just have a look at it?

7 I was going to talk about it anyhow. Let's have it on

8 the screen, please. It is RNI-106-209 (displayed).

9 Sorry, I interrupted you.

10 A. The reason I mentioned this, in terms of your questions

11 about the prominence, the priority in the minds even of

12 the Nationalist community, as I could discern it. So

13 looking at the pamphlet, which I looked at overnight,

14 the thrust is on the individual who was head of the

15 Garvaghy Road --

16 Q. On Mr Mac Cionnaith?

17 A. Yes. Mrs Nelson is of course mentioned in it.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. But in general terms, to address the Chairman's

20 question, if I may, about how important -- what

21 significance such pamphlets would have, pamphlets

22 generally were a common occurrence and I described

23 yesterday the area locally as being an area that

24 suffered from sectarian division. So one side or the

25 other would often engage in issues like this, placing

 

 

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1 pamphlets. And I personally have been the subject of

2 pamphlets on some occasions, and I can think actually of

3 no instance where subsequent activity or terrorist

4 action could be attributed to or could be deemed to be

5 as a result of such, what I would describe as

6 propaganda.

7 Q. Now, let's look then at what you could have gleaned from

8 the pamphlet in addition to the points you have just

9 made. You say that pamphlets such as this were common

10 in this area?

11 A. Certainly not uncommon. And particularly in this issue,

12 this was, it seems to me, addressed to the marching

13 issue and obviously from Loyalist sources, describing

14 a denial of their rights to march, et cetera.

15 Q. And that's the point, isn't it: that they were

16 particularly prevalent, such pamphlets, at and around

17 the time of the marching in the summer of each year?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. So that puts it in its general context. So far as the

20 matters which -- when the NIO wrote in, they were

21 referring to the claims in the pamphlets. Let's look at

22 some of those together. What it does is to describe

23 Rosemary Nelson as a "former bomber". Do you see that?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And says that she, acting with what is described as

 

 

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1 a "motley crew", which is not only Mr Mac Cionnaith but

2 various other individuals, including Bobby Storey and

3 somebody called Spike Murray, is trying to put in place

4 the plan that you mentioned earlier; in other words --

5 A. In relation to Mrs Nelson it says "and with advice

6 from".

7 Q. Yes.

8 A. Although it uses that preposterous phrase "former

9 bomber", it doesn't say that she is an integral part of

10 this motley crew.

11 Q. But it associates her with the motley crew, does it not?

12 A. Yes, by use of the phrase "with advice from".

13 Q. Yes, but it may well be that the people, the consumers

14 of this pamphlet, wouldn't have given it quite such

15 a refined and detailed attention that you have, by

16 pointing out that it was simply using the expression

17 "advice from"?

18 A. In my experience, the consumers of such pamphlets

19 wouldn't even read it. They would see and would not

20 pick up the fact that Mrs Nelson's name was mentioned in

21 the body of it.

22 Q. You said earlier that you were aware of such a pamphlet

23 which referred to you. Had you ever come across

24 a pamphlet referring to a lawyer before?

25 A. I don't recall so.

 

 

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1 Q. No.

2 A. It does refer to a lawyer, but as I say, just in the

3 body of the thing.

4 Q. Had you ever seen a pamphlet before referring to a local

5 lawyer as a former bomber?

6 A. No, of course I haven't, no.

7 Q. No. So one can imagine then exactly why it was that,

8 because this was entirely untrue, Rosemary Nelson was,

9 as reported to you by the NIO, distressed by the claims

10 in the leaflet?

11 A. Yes, I can understand that distress.

12 Q. And you can understand, presumably, also that this

13 leaflet showed a good deal of animosity, if not hatred,

14 about her on the part of some at least in that local

15 community?

16 A. No, I would have seen the focus of this pamphlet as

17 being on Mr Mac Cionnaith, as we have described.

18 Mrs Nelson is mentioned there in terms of "and with

19 advice from". There are Jesuit priests mentioned in the

20 document.

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. So in terms of what subsequently dreadfully happened to

23 Mrs Nelson, I would not make any link between that

24 atrocity and this pamphlet.

25 Q. At the moment I'm not asking you about links, I'm asking

 

 

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1 you what you would have derived from this. It was an

2 unpleasant and threatening document so far as she was

3 concerned, wasn't it?

4 A. I think unpleasant and threatening is a fair term.

5 Q. Not only did it describe her in these terms, but it also

6 provided details of her work address and telephone

7 number?

8 A. It did, which would have been common knowledge and

9 available, as the assessment indicated, in Yellow Pages,

10 et cetera, et cetera.

11 Q. Indeed, but to put them in a pamphlet of this kind was

12 done with a very deliberate purpose, wasn't it? This is

13 where she is, this is where you get hold of her?

14 A. I have no doubt that the people responsible for this

15 pamphlet were of malign disposition.

16 Q. Now, you said in answer to the Chairman and his

17 questions yesterday that you did recall seeing that

18 pamphlet at the time, I think you were saying; in other

19 words, when you were considering the question of the

20 assessment in August/September 1998?

21 A. I think that's my recollection. I certainly remember

22 seeing the photograph of Breandan Mac Cionnaith as

23 someone I have had personal dealings with. So, yes,

24 I have a recollection of seeing the pamphlet at some

25 stage and can't be exactly sure when. I can't be

 

 

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1 exactly sure that it was in consideration of the threat

2 assessment at that time.

3 Q. No. And this was the second time within a few months

4 that you and your officers within Command Secretariat

5 had been considering this issue of what were said to be

6 concerns about her safety?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Now, presumably at that time, you having had your

9 discussion, which you told us about yesterday, at the

10 beginning of April, deciding that there was nothing more

11 that could be done, presumably you had to revisit that

12 question in your mind at least in August/September 1998?

13 A. I repeat what I have said to the Inquiry, that the main

14 plank in any threat assessment would be: is there any

15 intelligence? Is there any intelligence which indicates

16 a specific threat to the person involved? And there

17 never was any such intelligence.

18 I never came to the conclusion that what

19 subsequently took place, the atrocity which took

20 Mrs Nelson's life -- I never at any stage believed that

21 that was a possibility.

22 Q. Can I ask you this question: when you saw what was

23 written in this pamphlet and the allegation about her

24 that we have gone over together, did it make you wonder

25 about the impression that you had formed of her, the

 

 

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1 impression you have told us about in your evidence,

2 namely that she was just a lawyer getting on with her

3 work?

4 A. Absolutely not. What is generally included in such

5 pamphlets -- and, again, they are of a very local

6 nature. You know, if I had to ask to see the pamphlet

7 to remind myself, the widespread knowledge of such

8 a pamphlet would have been very small. And such

9 pamphlets generally included absolutely preposterous

10 propaganda and nonsense. So the fact that the phrase

11 "former bomber" is in there, wouldn't for a second make

12 me conclude that there might be anything in that, not

13 for a second.

14 Q. So you didn't think, when you saw the matter when it

15 came back into Command Secretariat in September, that

16 there was any need to get any further information about

17 it, to, for example, ask your Head of Special Branch

18 whether he could explain what was going on down in

19 Lurgan?

20 A. Absolutely not, not certainly in terms of that

21 preposterous phrase "former bomber".

22 Q. Can I just ask you in relation to the threat note that

23 you yourself mentioned yesterday and which you told us

24 clearly that you didn't see at the time and, indeed,

25 didn't see until after Rosemary Nelson's murder: I think

 

 

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1 you said in answer to my questions that that emerged, so

2 far as you were concerned, following a question raised

3 by the CAJ, I think it was, which in turn followed

4 a comment you had made in the police authority meeting.

5 Is that correct?

6 A. I think that was the sequence of events. I was asked at

7 a police authority meeting, which are public meetings,

8 whether there was any -- I can't remember if the word

9 was "intelligence", but my response was that there was

10 no intelligence as there was not, to indicate the

11 threat.

12 The CAJ, I think having read those minutes, referred

13 to -- referred Command Secretariat to what they had

14 forwarded to the Northern Ireland Office, and my

15 recollection is that it was in or around that time

16 witness 136 recovered the file and realised that the

17 Northern Ireland Office had sent only the pamphlet and

18 had not sent a copy of a handwritten anonymous letter to

19 Mrs Nelson.

20 Q. So can I take it --

21 A. I'm sorry, this was after Mrs Nelson's murder.

22 Q. So was it, therefore, P136 who first alerted you to the

23 existence --

24 A. That is my recollection.

25 Q. Yes. Now, can I just ask you a question about the

 

 

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1 threat note because you touch on it in paragraph 130 of

2 your statement at RNI-806-186 (displayed)? In response,

3 clearly, to a question posed in your interview, about

4 eight lines from the bottom there is a section

5 beginning, "I have been asked ..." Do you see that?

6 A. Yes, I can see that.

7 Q. And your conclusion, in summary, is that you think it

8 unlikely that even had the threat note been considered

9 as part of the assessment which took place

10 in August/September 1998, it would have affected the

11 conclusion. Can I just ask you to help us by expanding

12 on the reasons for that view?

13 A. In all my experience, I have no examples that I can

14 offer of terrorist organisations actually writing a note

15 to someone whom they had already identified as a target.

16 Nonetheless, the difference I would place on

17 consideration of that letter, compared to the pamphlet,

18 is that a letter always at least offers the opportunity

19 of investigative possibilities. Is there DNA from the

20 person who licked the stamp, who licked the sealing of

21 the envelope? Are there finger prints on the note?

22 Probably ridiculously in this case, but is there

23 handwriting expertise that could be brought to bear?

24 So in a sense, there are investigative opportunities

25 presented that wouldn't be presented by people sticking

 

 

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1 a pamphlet on a lamp post, and in that sense I would

2 have wanted that investigated as a crime in itself, the

3 issue of a death threat.

4 But if your question is what significance would

5 I attach to such a note in the overall threat assessment

6 of the person who received such a note, is that there

7 wouldn't be great significance attached. It is most

8 unlikely, in my experience, that any terrorist

9 organisation would carry out such activity; it was

10 rather more someone engaged in nuisance and mischief.

11 Q. Can I just take those two points you have been making in

12 turn? First of all, in the context of the threat

13 assessment, presumably the difference that you would

14 acknowledge between the threat note on the one hand and

15 the pamphlet on the other is that the threat note was

16 very much directed to Rosemary Nelson?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Sent to her address, I think her work address, and

19 contained a direct threat against her, whereas the

20 pamphlet, as you have been pointing out, in fact has its

21 principal focus on Breandan Mac Cionnaith and named

22 various other people as well as Rosemary Nelson?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. Just turning to the second point you have made, can

25 I take it that if you had been aware of the existence of

 

 

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1 the threat note at the time, by which I mean in the

2 summer of 1998, you would have wanted to ensure that

3 those investigative opportunities that you have

4 mentioned were taken?

5 A. Absolutely.

6 Q. And so that quite apart from the threat assessment,

7 there was an investigation of what was prima facie

8 a criminal offence?

9 A. Indeed.

10 Q. And of course as a result of the elapse of time, by the

11 time you discovered it in May 1999 or whatever it was,

12 around that time, you must have been concerned that

13 some, if not all, of those opportunities had been lost?

14 A. Certainly diminished.

15 Q. Yes, thank you. Now, can I turn to --

16 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Sorry, before you leave the threat

17 note, one of the things that has puzzled me as a lay

18 person is that -- I have heard from other witnesses that

19 somebody who writes this kind of note tends to be

20 actually a rather sad individual who doesn't get out

21 much and is most unlikely to execute the threat that

22 they have offered. But what I had wondered was for

23 every such sad person who writes a note, they are

24 expressing a view which may well be held by other people

25 who don't send threat notes, but who do do atrocities.

 

 

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1 Would that thought have crossed your mind or would

2 you think that it is simply nothing to do with anything

3 else?

4 A. I think the note itself is almost certainly the work of

5 a crank, a person such as has been described to you by

6 other witnesses. Whether the view was held of

7 Mrs Nelson as indicated in that note by others who

8 would, in a much more covert manner, seek to pursue such

9 a threat, I think sadly has been evidenced by what took

10 place.

11 So clearly there were people, cowards, murderers,

12 prepared to attack and take Mrs Nelson's life at a later

13 stage. But the existence of the note I don't think

14 would have added to the assessment to lead to

15 a conclusion that that was a real risk.

16 My dear hope would have been that there would have

17 been intelligence in the system if Loyalist members of

18 terrorists organisations had that intention, that that

19 would have manifested itself in intelligence. And

20 sadly, the position is that it never manifested itself

21 in intelligence.

22 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: No. But you did say that if

23 somebody was writing a note like that, then other people

24 might be acting in a more covert fashion. The question

25 which is in my mind is, given that that is so, wouldn't

 

 

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1 the existence of a threat note like that be important,

2 not in itself but as an indicator that there was a real

3 risk, albeit from somebody else?

4 A. I take the point you are making, ma'am, but I would say

5 it isn't such an indication in my experience, and I have

6 never seen such a note and I can't think of an example

7 where such a note has actually been followed up. And I

8 wouldn't personally draw any connection, even in the way

9 that your question implies, between the writing of such

10 a note and what dreadfully took place subsequently.

11 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Thank you.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: You described, I suppose, really in your role

13 as Chief Constable, the suggestion that Rosemary Nelson

14 was a former bomber was preposterous.

15 A. Indeed, sir.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: But would a Loyalist terrorist or a Loyalist

17 with terrorist inclinations, reading the leaflet,

18 necessarily regard it as preposterous?

19 A. I think in my experience of these people, they have good

20 knowledge of each other, in a sense. So there are

21 others mentioned in that leaflet, but if someone

22 actually had read it in detail, they would know that

23 some of the people mentioned had indeed a terrorist

24 background. They would equally know, in my

25 experience --

 

 

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1 THE CHAIRMAN: Some have actual public convictions for

2 terrorism. Isn't that right?

3 A. Yes, that is correct, sir.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Surely then the association in the letter

5 between Rosemary Nelson and one or more people who have

6 convictions for terrorism might lend credence to the

7 suggestion that she was a former bomber?

8 A. I don't think so, sir. I honestly think that

9 terrorists, so-called Loyalist terrorists in that area

10 would clearly know that that's a preposterous suggestion

11 and would clearly know that Mrs Nelson was in no way

12 a former bomber.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

14 MR PHILLIPS: Can we move on to another topic, which was

15 another matter in progress at exactly this time, the

16 time when you were considering the threat assessment,

17 which came to you, as we have seen, in early September?

18 This is Operation Indus.

19 A. Can I just --

20 Q. Sorry?

21 A. Could I take up a phrase? You used the expression "when

22 I was considering the threat assessment". I accept

23 completely that the assessment was presented to me in

24 the way that we discussed yesterday, but I wouldn't want

25 to give the impression that I asked for this, that I was

 

 

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1 directing the threat assessment. I approved the

2 subsequent conclusion arrived at by the Assistant

3 Chief Constable in South Region, but it is just the

4 expression that I -- I wouldn't want to give the

5 impression that I sat personally and considered

6 line-by-line all of the implications of the assessment.

7 I certainly accept that the conclusion was presented to

8 me and I agreed with the conclusion.

9 Q. Yes. Well, in terms of that limited role, you remember

10 the assurance -- the expression that David Watkins used

11 in his evidence was that they had an assurance, he would

12 have drawn an assurance from the fact that you were

13 involved; in other words, that you, in the end, were the

14 person taking --

15 A. I acknowledge that, yes, of course.

16 Q. You may be keen to be very clear about how much

17 precisely you read and what you saw and what you didn't

18 see, but in the end he was right, wasn't he, to say that

19 this was a decision which had your authority as

20 Chief Constable?

21 A. Yes, as I acknowledged yesterday.

22 Q. Yes, for which you must take responsibility?

23 A. Of course I take responsibility for my actions, yes.

24 Q. Now, can we return to the question of Operation Indus?

25 In paragraph 456 of your statement at RNI-806-155

 

 

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1 (displayed) you say that you were not in general -- I

2 think this is what you are saying -- involved in

3 warrantry applications. Is that correct?

4 A. That's correct.

5 Q. Now, I know that you have had the chance to look at some

6 of the documents which were generated in the Indus

7 process, some of which I think it is fair to say you

8 hadn't seen when you prepared your statement. Is that

9 correct?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you this question: was it unusual

12 in your time as Chief Constable for there to be

13 a discussion about an individual application with the

14 DCI?

15 A. That would be relatively unusual. I can't recall many

16 instances of such discussions.

17 Q. The evidence the Inquiry has heard is that the warrantry

18 applications were principally his territory and he dealt

19 with the Secretary of State and, of course, he liaised

20 with your Head of Special Branch?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Thank you. Now, I would like to show you just a couple

23 of the underlying documents, and the first is at

24 RNI-543-010 (displayed). This is, as it were, the start

25 of the formal material in the application. This is

 

 

21

 

1 a memo, as you see, from the Head of South Region

2 Special Branch, and if we follow in the bundle to

3 RNI-543-011 (displayed), the next page, we see the

4 layers of Special Branch officers taking us to the main

5 document, which begins at RNI-543-012 (displayed), with

6 the substance of the application at RNI-543-013

7 (displayed).

8 Now, of course, the focus of the application was

9 Colin Duffy, was it not?

10 A. Indeed.

11 Q. And the relevance so far as the Inquiry is concerned is

12 that at the time he was living in a property which was

13 owned by Rosemary Nelson?

14 A. Yes, I see that from the document.

15 Q. Yes. Now, so far as the substance of the application is

16 concerned, I would just like to show you a couple of

17 parts in it. The first is at RNI-543-018 (displayed).

18 This is at the top of the page, where the comment is

19 made:

20 "False alibis that PIRA, assisted by their

21 solicitor, Rosemary Nelson, were preparing for a married

22 couple when arrested for possession of a PIRA arsenal of

23 weapons in their home. CID were briefed on the

24 direction of their enquiries."

25 Because of the way the document is redacted -- as

 

 

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1 you see, that paragraphs sits rather isolated on the

2 page, but I would like to ask you this, please: it looks

3 on the face of it, doesn't it, as though this issue of

4 the alleged involvement of Rosemary Nelson in false

5 alibis had by this point, August 1998, gone outside

6 Special Branch and reached the CID?

7 A. As indicated in this document, that seems to be the

8 case.

9 Q. Yes.

10 A. That would, I guess, be a local issue.

11 Q. Can I take it from that answer that, as you have said to

12 me on a number of occasions now, this allegation, that

13 Rosemary Nelson was involved in the creation of false

14 alibis, was not something that was ever made known

15 to you?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you, did you ever see this

18 material?

19 A. Not until yesterday.

20 Q. Thank you. Now, turning on in the application to

21 RNI-543-020 (displayed) -- again, it is a heavily

22 redacted page, but the part that is unredacted baldly

23 states:

24 "Duffy and Rosemary Nelson, with whom he is having

25 a sexual relationship ..."

 

 

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1 So we can see, can't we, that in the application

2 this relationship is stated as a fact?

3 A. I can see it in this document, that's correct.

4 Q. Now, in your evidence yesterday and indeed on Monday,

5 you have characterised what you heard of it as being

6 a rumour, and again it looks as though whoever was

7 involved in preparing this material and the officers who

8 approved it as it went up the Special Branch chain,

9 regarded this as rather more than a rumour?

10 A. It is a bald statement in this document, yes.

11 Q. Indeed. Can I ask you this question: did you ever, once

12 you were made aware of the rumour -- you think you may

13 have been made aware of it by B542, your Head of

14 Special Branch -- seek for further information about the

15 rumour?

16 A. No, I did not.

17 Q. To find out yourself whether there was indeed any

18 substance to it?

19 A. I did not.

20 Q. And were you at any point concerned that rumours of this

21 kind involving someone you regarded as a prominent

22 terrorist and Rosemary Nelson were in currency?

23 A. I considered it to be a rumour and a rumour that I was

24 not interested in disseminating.

25 Q. Now, can I take it that if you had seen this document or

 

 

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1 had been presented with the relationship as a fact by

2 your Special Branch officers, you at that point would

3 have been concerned to get to the bottom of what was

4 being said?

5 A. I'm not certain that I would have been so particularly

6 concerned. I would have seen that as a very private

7 issue and a matter for the individuals concerned.

8 Q. Well, a private issue: one can entirely understand that,

9 if I may say so. But the reason it was relevant,

10 surely, is because of the fact that this brought

11 together on the face of it somebody regarded as

12 a terrorist and a local lawyer, who you regarded as

13 simply representing Republicans as part of her work. So

14 it had that significance, which took it outside the

15 purely private domain, did it not?

16 A. Yes, in retrospect and with hindsight perhaps it had

17 that significance. I never attributed that

18 significance.

19 Q. Thank you.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: But wouldn't it obviously place her at

21 greater risk if knowledge of the rumour or knowledge of

22 the alleged fact was spread around among Loyalists?

23 A. I think that is a real possibility, and therefore, if

24 there was such a rumour, I wasn't interested in

25 spreading, disseminating such a rumour.

 

 

25

 

1 THE CHAIRMAN: But you would have taken it into account in

2 assessing the risk, wouldn't you?

3 A. I'm not certain that it would have been a real feature

4 in assessing the risk at the time.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Can you explain why?

6 A. I think, sir, that so far as -- I can only speak

7 personally from my position and so far as I was

8 concerned, this was merely a rumour and wasn't something

9 that I would have seen as contributing to the risk that

10 applied to Mrs Nelson. It wasn't, in my understanding,

11 something that was widespreadly known, suspected or

12 believed.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: But if it was being stated, allegedly as

14 a fact, wouldn't that increase the risk?

15 A. It is being stated supposedly or allegedly, as you

16 describe it, as a fact in what is a very secret

17 document. I certainly had never sight of that document

18 and I certainly didn't have the belief that it was

19 a fact.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

21 MR PHILLIPS: Now, can I just ask you to look at another

22 document in this chain and this is at RNI-531-024

23 (displayed)? This, again, is certainly not a document

24 you will have seen at the time. I appreciate that. It

25 is a Security Service document and it records the

 

 

26

 

1 concerns expressed by the DCI about the sensitivities of

2 the operation. Do you see that?

3 A. I see it on the screen, yes, thank you.

4 Q. Thank you. And the first is that the property is owned

5 by Rosemary Nelson, and then it says:

6 "Nelson is the solicitor and lover of Colin Duffy,

7 the target of the operation."

8 And continues in that vein to talk about the

9 activities of Rosemary Nelson. Then this:

10 "DCI Rep has reported that Secretary of State has

11 taken particular interest in the case and similar claims

12 of harassment by Duffy himself. According to the

13 Regional Head of Special Branch, Duffy has a rental

14 agreement with Nelson. Nonetheless, DCI is concerned

15 that a compromise on target could be presented as

16 further harassment by the RUC. DCI therefore plans to

17 speak to HSB and the Chief Constable before the warrant

18 is submitted to the Secretary of State, to ensure that

19 they are fully signed up."

20 So that is the first point, and the second point is

21 about legal privilege. Do you see on the screen there

22 at paragraph (b)?

23 A. Yes, I do.

24 Q. That document, as you see from the top left, is dated

25 28 August and the final document in the chain, which

 

 

27

 

1 I want to show you, is at RNI-531-028 (displayed). This

2 is the record made by the DCI of what happened when he

3 made his presentation of the application to Mo Mowlam,

4 to the Secretary of State, and you will see in

5 paragraph 2 particular sensitivities arise because:

6 "... the property is owned by Duffy's solicitor,

7 Rosemary Nelson."

8 Now, you will see also in paragraph 3 that he has

9 recorded there the very considerable concerns expressed

10 during the conversation by Mo Mowlam about what was

11 proposed.

12 Turning on to RNI-531-029 (displayed):

13 "She asked who in the RUC had been consulted on the

14 application."

15 Do you see in the first line?

16 A. Yes, I do.

17 Q. And the DCI records himself as responding:

18 "I said that in addition to ..."

19 And that's the cipher of the Security Service

20 officer:

21 "... a normal process of consultation, I had spoken

22 personally to the Head of Special Branch and intended to

23 mention it to the Chief Constable in recognition of the

24 sensitivities."

25 So it looks as though the Secretary of State herself

 

 

28

 

1 had, as it were, underlined and emphasised the

2 considerable sensitivities involved in this proposed

3 technical attack?

4 A. I think my recollection is that the Secretary of State's

5 sensitivities were about compromise, and this is in the

6 context of the overall ongoing peace process.

7 Q. Yes.

8 A. And I think in earlier evidence I had described that

9 intelligence gathering was changing in emphasis at this

10 period from intelligence on operational terrorist

11 activity to the political intentions of those involved

12 in the process.

13 I can't be sure of the timing, but it is public

14 knowledge that there was a very publicly demonstrated

15 compromise of a device in a vehicle. I'm not sure

16 whether it preceded this, without checking -- I'm just

17 talking of it from recollection -- and of course it was

18 a matter of public record that the Secretary of State

19 personally had been involved in authorisation. So

20 therefore, she was understandably very sensitive about

21 the risk of any compromise and how such compromise might

22 reflect upon her post as Secretary of State and her

23 involvement with the ongoing peace process and the

24 parties involved in such.

25 I think that's my recollection of the basis for

 

 

29

 

1 sensitivities generally.

2 Q. So do you remember discussing it with the DCI?

3 A. I don't -- I remember discussing the overall issue.

4 I remember a newspaper article, an interview with me,

5 [ redacted ]

6 [ redacted ]

7 [ redacted ]

8 [redacted]. And it gave rise to some publicity at the

9 time. So it was very much an issue.

10 Q. Can I just show you the document which records your

11 conversation, before coming back to the points you have

12 just been making? That's at RNI-531-030 (displayed),

13 which is the DCI's note of a meeting with you on

14 4 September 1998. Under (iii) -- the other two have

15 been redacted, you see -- he says he drew your attention

16 to:

17 "... a number of current property warranted

18 operations which served to emphasise the extent to which

19 the consequences of compromise were changing."

20 Which rather picks up the point you have just been

21 making, doesn't it?

22 A. Yes, I think so.

23 Q. Then the specific example was:

24 "... the second was the latest Duffy warrant and the

25 Nelson connection ... The Chief Constable recognised

 

 

30

 

1 both the general point about increasing sensitivities

2 and the particular in respect of ..."

3 Then there is a redacted name:

4 "... and Duffy. Whilst he may have known about [the

5 redacted name], he did not appear to have been warned

6 about Duffy (though I had mentioned to the HSB my

7 intention to raise it). The Chief Constable intended to

8 talk to Regional SB Heads when he saw them that

9 evening."

10 It looks as though at this point, 4 September, you

11 had not been briefed in substance by the Head of

12 Special Branch about the specific proposal and the

13 sensitivities that surrounded it?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. It is likely, isn't it, that in this conversation with

16 the DCI there was a discussion about the sensitivities

17 surrounding this particular proposal?

18 A. The sensitivities related to, as far as I can recollect

19 and without this document having been brought to my

20 attention, I'm not sure whether I would have recollected

21 it spontaneously, but it was in that whole general issue

22 of sensitivity about compromise. And in this particular

23 instance, it is also related to the fact that if Duffy's

24 solicitor actually owned the property, there might be

25 conversations in the property that would be subject to

 

 

31

 

1 legal privilege and that would have to be taken into

2 account. This seems to be the thrust of the

3 conversation.

4 Q. Yes.

5 A. It doesn't indicate -- and I certainly have no

6 recollection whatever of any discussion, including the

7 phrases in the other documentation, which did not pass

8 through me, that they were in a relationship.

9 Q. That's obviously the question I was going to ask: to

10 suggest to you that in setting out the background for

11 all this, you presumably would have gathered from the

12 DCI exactly what the basis was for what they were

13 proposing to do and the nature of the connection, as

14 they saw it, between Colin Duffy on the one hand and

15 Rosemary Nelson on the other?

16 A. In all the documentation I have seen in relation to what

17 was placed before the Secretary of State in relation to

18 notes of discussions between the DCI and the Secretary

19 of State, there is no reference that I have seen in that

20 as to a relationship between Duffy and Mrs Nelson, other

21 than the relationship between a client and a solicitor.

22 And that was the basis in my recollection for all the

23 sensitivity; that there might be legal, if you like,

24 consultations, discussions, that would be subject to

25 legal privilege.

 

 

32

 

1 Q. Yes, but returning to the issue of compromise -- and you

2 have helpfully set out the more general context --

3 presumably one of the concerns here was that

4 Rosemary Nelson was perceived by some at least to be

5 a critic of the force, of the RUC, and somebody who had

6 shown in the past her willingness to speak to the media

7 and her ability to attract public attention to

8 grievances, whether it be her complaints, whether it be

9 Garvaghy Road, whether it be the Colin Duffy case in

10 1997. And so the fear about compromise was, presumably,

11 that if there was a compromise in this case, what was

12 described in the documents yesterday as the "PR

13 machine", the propaganda machine, would crank into

14 action?

15 A. No, I don't think that was the basis of the fear of

16 compromise. The basis for the fear of compromise was,

17 as I understand it, the ceasefires had been reinstated.

18 There was supposed to be good faith on both sides. If

19 there was ceasefires in place, then in the view of the

20 people previously engaged in violence, that should have

21 brought an appropriate response from the State, so to

22 speak. They would have viewed as utterly inappropriate

23 the continuation of such things as the placing of

24 technical listening devices in people's houses, et

25 cetera, et cetera.

 

 

33

 

1 So that was the great fear, as I understood it, in

2 the Secretary of State's mind: that she would personally

3 be accused of lack of good faith by continuing

4 personally to authorise such activity in respect of

5 people, and in this case Duffy, not at all Mrs Nelson.

6 But by continuing to authorise such activity in respect

7 of such people, that if compromised, if discovered, that

8 it would very much debilitate her personal position in

9 trying to facilitate the ongoing peace process. That's

10 my understanding of the fear of compromise.

11 Q. Yes. And in relation to the privilege concern, which

12 was the other concern, are you saying that the question

13 of the nature of their relationship between Colin Duffy

14 and Rosemary Nelson did not come up in your discussions

15 with the DCI?

16 A. My recollection of the discussions were that they were

17 very much in a general nature. I think there was some

18 brief discussion about guidelines in terms of legal

19 privilege, but it would have been only on the basis of

20 a relationship between a client and solicitor.

21 Q. So it wasn't said to you by him, for example, look, this

22 is not just a normal lawyer/client relationship, which

23 is why we can't, for example, look at privilege in the

24 way that you would in the normal context, where there is

25 a professional relationship between the solicitor and

 

 

34

 

1 his or her client?

2 A. No, it wasn't, and I think that's reinforced by the fact

3 that so far as the documentation that I have read is

4 concerned, it doesn't seem to have been presented to the

5 Secretary of State either, either in terms of written

6 material placed before her or notes of conversations

7 with the Secretary of State. Certainly I haven't seen

8 that in any of the documentation shown to me over the

9 past couple of days.

10 Q. So far as the note here recording that you intended to

11 talk to the regional Special Branch heads when you saw

12 them that evening -- that's 4 September 1998 --

13 presumably this was a matter you wished to take up with

14 them?

15 A. Yes, and the fact that it is a plural, regional heads,

16 reinforces, I think, my recollection that this was very

17 much a general issue, that the whole pattern of things

18 is changing and in making such applications, there must

19 be great attention paid to the sensitivities, the

20 political sensitivities and the risk of compromise.

21 Q. So you are saying, are you, that on that occasion, at

22 that meeting with the regional Special Branch heads, you

23 didn't seek and didn't receive further background

24 information about the nature of the relationship between

25 Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy?

 

 

35

 

1 A. I can't even remember on that particular evening having

2 a meeting with the regional heads; I just recall the

3 issue was something that I needed to be sure was fully

4 understood by all those involved, this risk of

5 compromise, this risk of discovery of technical

6 operations.

7 Q. Yes. Now, just thinking back to the chronology of this,

8 the meeting and discussion with the DCI is on

9 4 September, and we saw yesterday that you approved the

10 letter to go back to the NIO on 10 September, the draft

11 originally having been prepared on the 3rd. So it

12 follows, doesn't it, that between the preparation of

13 that draft on the 3rd and your decision to approve the

14 draft, you had had your discussion with the DCI about

15 the Indus application?

16 A. Yes, I accept that the note indicates we must have had

17 that discussion, I think, on the 4th.

18 Q. Yes. To what extent, do you think, did the knowledge

19 that this application was afoot and concerned

20 Rosemary Nelson's house where Colin Duffy was, so you

21 knew, living, influence your attitude to the question of

22 her safety?

23 A. No, it wouldn't have influenced my attitude to the

24 question of her safety.

25 Q. Even if, as you say, the whole question of the nature of

 

 

36

 

1 their relationship did not come up, was, as it were, not

2 part of the discussion that you had with the DCI --

3 A. It is described in this documentation as a commercial

4 relationship, that he was renting the property from his

5 solicitor, that he had moved into it, I think, in the

6 documentation, as a result of the break-up of his

7 marriage. So I didn't see it as contributing to any

8 increased risk to Mrs Nelson.

9 Q. And you didn't, therefore, take any account of whatever

10 this revealed to you about the closeness of a local

11 lawyer and the prominent alleged local terrorist? You

12 didn't weigh that up in the balance when considering

13 questions of her safety?

14 A. I did not.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: It wouldn't be normal, would it, for an

16 ordinary solicitor to have legal discussions which were

17 the subject of legal privilege in a private house of a

18 client?

19 A. I think, sir, again, I would point out the great

20 difference in the context of Northern Ireland's

21 experience compared to what would be described as normal

22 procedures elsewhere. And certainly members of the

23 Provisional IRA and members of other terrorist

24 organisations would take great care in terms of

25 discussions that they would not want to come to the

 

 

37

 

1 attention or knowledge of the police. And they would

2 hold meetings in public places because of the risk of

3 listening devices. They would hold meetings only in

4 premises that they felt completely secure about.

5 So it would not be unusual for terrorist suspects to

6 have such discussions in premises that they thought were

7 entirely safe from eavesdropping, rather than simply

8 going to a solicitor's office, for example.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: You weren't aware that Colin Duffy regularly

10 and frequently visited Rosemary Nelson's offices?

11 A. I was not aware, no.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

13 MR PHILLIPS: Just to be absolutely clear about what you

14 have been saying, you say that in Northern Ireland,

15 meetings, as I understood it, between solicitor and

16 client would take place in public places because of the

17 risk of listening devices?

18 A. Not necessarily meetings between terrorist suspects and

19 solicitors; meetings between themselves. They -- so

20 even if the solicitor has no difficulty with saying,

21 "Come to my office and we will make an appointment at

22 3 pm tomorrow", et cetera, et cetera, these terrorist

23 suspects would be very careful about any meetings, any

24 discussions that they might have.

25 I was simply saying in relation to Sir Michael's

 

 

38

 

1 question that is it not very unusual that a solicitor

2 and a client would have discussions which might be

3 subject to legal professional privilege in a private

4 house; not necessarily unusual in our circumstances,

5 while being clearly unusual in other, more normal

6 circumstances.

7 Q. You may not be able to help with this, but would you

8 have regarded it as unusual for a solicitor, for

9 example, to rent a house to one of her clients, a client

10 of this kind?

11 A. I don't think actually particularly unusual because

12 solicitors, like people in other professions, have other

13 business interests. So I wouldn't have seen that as

14 particularly unusual.

15 Q. So can I take it from everything you have been saying

16 that there was nothing about this exchange, your

17 involvement, such as it was, with the Indus application,

18 that led you to question the view of Rosemary Nelson

19 that you had formed and which you have expressed to the

20 Inquiry?

21 A. No, as described in the documentation, it was simply an

22 example of a much more general issue, and it was the

23 general issue which concerned me: the risk of compromise

24 of technical operations and the effect that such

25 compromise/such discovery might have in the ongoing

 

 

39

 

1 peace process.

2 Q. Thank you. Can I move into 1999 now and the second

3 meeting you had with the Lawyers Alliance delegation?

4 This is paragraph 137 of your statement at RNI-806-188

5 (displayed), and I think you said to me yesterday that

6 you had a recollection of this meeting, whereas you

7 weren't so confident in your recall of the previous

8 year's meeting. Is that right?

9 A. That's correct.

10 Q. Thank you. Now, you at RNI-806-189, paragraph 139

11 (displayed) you tell us that you think P157, the Chief

12 Superintendent, attended the meeting and you think he

13 would have taken notes. Do you see that in the third

14 line?

15 A. Yes, I see that.

16 Q. Now, so far as this meeting is concerned, as I

17 understand it you believe that it had a rather wide

18 agenda, covering a whole series of topics. Is that

19 correct?

20 A. That's correct.

21 Q. And this was very much in the aftermath of the

22 Good Friday Agreement with the Patten Commission doing

23 its work and with those changes that you and I have

24 discussed in mind. Is that correct?

25 A. That's correct.

 

 

40

 

1 Q. Thank you. And is it right to say that amongst the

2 topics that were covered were the delegation's concerns

3 about Rosemary Nelson and her safety?

4 A. Yes, I recall that being mentioned.

5 Q. And --

6 A. Sorry, I think the main thrust was about progress on the

7 investigation of the complaints by or on behalf of

8 Mrs Nelson. They had, I think, by that time, or at

9 least some of them, met Commander Mulvihill. So the

10 discussion was rather more about what's happening in

11 respect of those investigations, rather more that than

12 specifically Mrs Nelson's safety. And they expressed

13 the view that, simply, the police officers involved in

14 those complaints should be disciplined. They didn't

15 seem to understand that there has to be due process,

16 there has to be evidence derived on which police

17 officers could be disciplined. That's my recollection

18 of the gist of the discussion with particular respect to

19 Mrs Nelson.

20 Q. So you don't remember a principal theme of the meeting

21 being their concern for her safety?

22 A. It certainly was not a principal theme for the meeting.

23 Q. Now, one of the oddities in the various recollections of

24 the meeting is that some of the delegation have

25 suggested that when her case was raised, you indicated

 

 

41

 

1 that you weren't aware of the details, you weren't aware

2 of the circumstances. Can that be right?

3 A. Absolutely cannot be right, it is nonsense.

4 Q. Because by this stage, as we have now been through

5 together, you had been very closely involved in the

6 fallout from the ICPC letter, the establishment of the

7 Mulvihill investigation and all of the other issues we

8 have been through. So you must have had a good deal of

9 information about the complaints and what was being done

10 to investigate them?

11 A. I had arranged the appointment of Commander Mulvihill.

12 Q. Indeed.

13 A. Commander Mulvihill had met at least Mr Lynch from the

14 delegation and maybe others. So it is absolute nonsense

15 to suggest that I had said in such a meeting that I had

16 no knowledge of complaints made by or on behalf of

17 Mrs Nelson, absolute nonsense.

18 Q. What about the suggestion that you commented that she,

19 Rosemary Nelson, was not entitled to any protection

20 under the law?

21 A. Not at all. I mean, this meeting -- as I recollect it,

22 we devoted an entire Saturday morning to this meeting.

23 When I say "we", I mean, I think -- is it, 157, the

24 cipher?

25 Q. P157, yes.

 

 

42

 

1 A. He and I came in. We were the only people in the

2 office. He made tea, prepared biscuits. It was a very

3 cordial meeting. At the end, I recall them all taking

4 out digital cameras and asking to be photographed with

5 me, shaking hands under the RUC crest. It was a very

6 cordial meeting.

7 I have read some of the evidence that has been

8 presented to this Inquiry and I'm quite astounded by

9 some of the evidence that has been presented by them.

10 Not at all the meeting that I recollect.

11 Q. So far as that is concerned, that is the last of the, if

12 I can put it this way, the pre-murder topics that

13 I wanted to ask you about, and obviously what we have

14 now done together is to look at all the various ways in

15 which Rosemary Nelson and the concerns, the issues,

16 surrounding her had in one way or another, and to

17 a lesser or greater extent, as it were, come across your

18 desk and you have had the opportunity to look at the

19 material, look at more material indeed, and think about

20 the issues and cast your mind back to that time.

21 As you have done that, has there been a point at

22 which you have said to yourself, "I wish I had handled X

23 or Y, any aspect of this, differently"?

24 A. I have to say, sir, setting aside this Inquiry, the

25 organisation that I joined, on the day I joined it

 

 

43

 

1 outlined to us the priorities for policing, and the

2 number 1 priority was protection of life and that has

3 always been something that means very much to me.

4 In this instance, Mrs Nelson's life was brutally

5 taken by cowardly terrorists. So quite apart from this

6 Inquiry, I have in my mind gone over time and time and

7 time again what we as an organisation might have done

8 differently, what I as an individual might have done

9 differently.

10 I have to say in looking with hindsight -- and

11 I stress with hindsight -- in terms of those assessments

12 that we discussed in detail, in response to your

13 question would I now do things differently, there are

14 things that I would have done additionally. I would

15 have made sure that Mrs Nelson was seen personally, was

16 given advice. That didn't take place. I stress that

17 that's with the benefit of hindsight, and all these

18 many, many occasions when I have gone through this and

19 gone through other instances where people have lost

20 their lives and considered time and time again whether

21 things might have been done differently, I do come to

22 the genuine conclusion in this case that in the absence

23 of intelligence, that all of those things, whereas

24 I have indicated there are things with hindsight I might

25 have done differently -- I might have had the

 

 

44

 

1 organisation do differently -- I do come to the genuine

2 conclusion that in the absence of any intelligence that

3 Mrs Nelson was under threat from the sort -- thugs and

4 cowards who murdered her, that it would not have made

5 any difference.

6 Q. Thank you.

7 A. That's the sad but genuine conclusion I have come to.

8 Q. Now, that, where you have been describing what -- and

9 I also stress what you say -- with hindsight, you think

10 you might have done differently, you have given a couple

11 of examples, are there any other examples that you can

12 think of now to tell the Inquiry about where,

13 with hindsight, you think you would have

14 done things differently?

15 A. Nothing springs to mind other than what I have

16 described.

17 Q. Can I just ask you a couple of very general questions,

18 picking up some of the themes that you and I have

19 discussed? You have outlined for us on a number of

20 occasions the huge range of your responsibilities and

21 the changing environment in Northern Ireland, the

22 political challenges that you, as Chief Constable, had

23 to deal with.

24 Do you think, looking back on it, that in the

25 fast-moving press of those events, her case, the

 

 

45

 

1 specific issues that she raised, got rather lost?

2 A. No, I don't think that's the case and, again, it is

3 something I have given consideration to personally on

4 many occasions. And I come back to the fact that just

5 as many people were at risk -- I think, in setting that

6 context, I have often said to some of my colleagues in

7 policing elsewhere in the United Kingdom that in a place

8 with a population of not much more than half a million

9 people, we had 302 people murdered for no other reason

10 other than that they were police officers. Down through

11 the Troubles, we had some 7,000 police officers

12 seriously maimed or injured, and if you were to

13 extrapolate that to the population of England and Wales,

14 for example, maybe 60 million people, you would be

15 talking about 10,000 police officers murdered. You

16 would be talking about a quarter of a million police

17 officers seriously maimed or injured.

18 I give that example simply to say that there were

19 many people at risk. There were many people who sadly

20 lost their lives and there were many people, terrorists,

21 willing to take people's lives. And in looking in

22 detail at the consideration that was given to

23 Mrs Nelson's safety, I personally never dreamt for

24 a moment that she was at risk of what subsequently

25 happened. And I don't think, apart from the issues

 

 

46

 

1 I described earlier, that in looking back and even with

2 the benefit of hindsight, the differences I suggested

3 that might have applied would actually have saved her

4 life. If there are thugs and terrorists willing in that

5 cowardly way to come out and place a device under her

6 car, it is tremendously difficult in the absence of

7 intelligence to deal with that sort of activity and

8 prevent that sort of activity in all cases.

9 Of course, largely contributed to by very courageous

10 men and women in Special Branch, many, many, many lives

11 were saved. But sadly, it just was an impossibility to

12 save life on every occasion.

13 Q. Now, you were at the head of this organisation and we

14 have seen at least some of the range of your

15 responsibilities and the involvement you had with the

16 various different issues in this case. When considering

17 Rosemary Nelson's safety, do you think there was anybody

18 in the history we have been looking at at any point who

19 took into account the full range of all of these matters

20 in assessing whether she was actually at risk?

21 A. I think -- and the Chairman drew attention to the

22 relationship or even what might have been, on the basis

23 of rumour, suspected relationship between Mrs Nelson and

24 one of her clients. And I'm not sure that that featured

25 in the assessments that we have discussed in detail over

 

 

47

 

1 this past couple of days.

2 Q. But when we have looked, as we have with other

3 witnesses, at the threat assessment process as it took

4 place in the particular cases, it is clear that the

5 focus was on the specific issues raised, whether it be

6 the leaflet or the comments made by the Lawyers Alliance

7 in February, and on the issue of whether Special Branch

8 locally held specific intelligence or intelligence of

9 a specific threat on Rosemary Nelson. So it is a very

10 particular approach that has been taken.

11 What I'm asking you is whether there was a moment

12 when anybody within the organisation -- and you were at

13 the head of it, seeing a very full range of these

14 issues -- stood back and looked at all of it and brought

15 it all together in order to assess whether there was

16 a risk to this individual?

17 A. I think that if all of the issues we have discussed had

18 been brought together, I honestly do not think it would

19 have made a difference to the overall conclusion in

20 terms of threat assessment.

21 Police officers are constantly reminded of the need

22 for personal security. Police officers, during the

23 period we are talking about, because of the profession

24 that they chose to follow, were specific targets of

25 terrorist activity, and sadly, when a number of my

 

 

48

 

1 friends died in the way that Mrs Nelson sadly died --

2 and it was not possible to protect their lives -- so

3 even if things had been done differently, it is my sad

4 but genuine conclusion that it would not have saved

5 Mr Nelson's life because of the people who were willing

6 to go out and do what they did on that night

7 in March 1999.

8 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. We will break off until five to 12.

10 (11.35 am)

11 (Short break)

12 (11.55 am)

13 MR PHILLIPS: I would like to look at events after the

14 murder with you. But first, can I just remind you of

15 part of the evidence of David Watkins that I read to you

16 right at the outset this morning? He said:

17 "He ... "

18 By which he meant you:

19 "... would have been extremely aware of the damage

20 to the reputation of the RUC had Rosemary Nelson been

21 killed, as of course happened. His reputation, and more

22 so the RUC's, was very severely damaged."

23 Do you think that comment concerning damage in

24 relation to the RUC on the one hand and yourself on the

25 other, is a fair comment?

 

 

49

 

1 A. I think it pales into insignificance when we consider

2 the loss to Mrs Nelson's family. That's the prime

3 issue.

4 Q. But presumably you realised as soon as you heard of the

5 murder that many would see what had happened here as

6 being due to the force's failure to take seriously the

7 very substantial concerns about her safety that had been

8 expressed over the year?

9 A. There were almost immediate allegations in that regard.

10 I think my recollection of the period, on St Patrick's

11 Day every year, St Patrick's day being 17 March,

12 politicians would go from here to Washington and the

13 whole Northern Ireland issue, progress or lack of

14 progress, would be an issue.

15 My recollection of that period back in 1999 was that

16 up to that point there was tremendous pressure around

17 the whole issue of decommissioning. And upon

18 Mrs Nelson's murder a couple of days before St Patrick's

19 Day, I think people had already departed. I think the

20 Secretary of State was already in Washington. Then that

21 immediately became the focus, rather than the general

22 discussion in Washington that that was going on.

23 So it is fair to say that I acknowledged national

24 and international interest in the terrible murder and

25 I acknowledged the need to do my very best to give

 

 

50

 

1 reassurance nationally and internationally that

2 everything possible would be done in the investigation

3 of that murder.

4 Q. Because you were aware at that moment of the various

5 ways in which her case and the concerns about her had

6 come to your attention over the preceding years,

7 weren't you?

8 A. I wasn't interested in my personal position, if that's

9 the question. I was interested in trying to do my very

10 best to offer reassurance publicly and to instil as much

11 confidence publicly in the investigation of Mrs Nelson's

12 murder.

13 Q. Indeed. But you were aware of the immediate political

14 impact of the murder? You have just described --

15 A. As I have described, yes.

16 Q. And in that, there would be people, wouldn't there, who

17 would say that the force had simply been indifferent to

18 the question of her safety when it had been repeatedly

19 raised with them?

20 A. There would be people who would express that view, yes.

21 Q. And they would say that that was typical of a force with

22 only the interests of half of the community at heart?

23 A. Some people might say that. Absolutely incorrectly and

24 unfairly.

25 Q. Indeed.

 

 

51

 

1 A. But some people might.

2 Q. And the point was surely that whether or not you agreed

3 with that -- and one assumes that you did not -- those

4 sorts of criticisms, those sorts of comments were made

5 and, as you realised, would continue to be made, in the

6 aftermath of her murder?

7 A. I think any review of media coverage in the immediate

8 aftermath of Mrs Nelson's murder would indicate what you

9 have described.

10 Q. Thank you. And therefore, although, as you say, your

11 focus was on the murder investigation and what had to be

12 done in that connection, it was presumably also clear to

13 you that the murder would shine still further light on

14 questions of policing, on all of the issues that you and

15 I have been discussing and, of course, the role of the

16 RUC in all of this?

17 A. That was obvious, yes.

18 Q. Yes. And therefore, presumably, you realised

19 immediately that if the investigation was not handled

20 effectively and thoroughly and in a way that allowed

21 that to be seen, this pressure, this criticism, would

22 simply continue?

23 A. That's correct. I was anxious to assuage any public

24 concern or disquiet about the rigour which would be

25 applied to this investigation. I wanted to make it

 

 

52

 

1 absolutely clear that it would be as rigorous as humanly

2 possible.

3 Q. And the investigation from its outset was conducted in

4 the glare of considerable media attention, was it not?

5 A. Indeed.

6 Q. And against this highly sensitive political background?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you some specific questions

9 before returning to some of these bigger themes in

10 a moment?

11 In relation to the day of the murder itself,

12 15 March 1999, P136 told us that on that day you told

13 her to take the Command Secretariat files, which

14 concerned Rosemary Nelson, to Special Branch. Do you

15 remember doing that?

16 A. I don't. I remember my concern was to make sure that

17 all files were secured.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. I don't recall saying that it should be secured within

20 Special Branch. But my thrust was to make sure that all

21 documentation, all correspondence, was secure.

22 Q. Can you think why you might have suggested -- ordered

23 her effectively to take them to Special Branch?

24 A. No, my only concern was that they must be secure, that

25 there must be no question of any of the documentation

 

 

53

 

1 being lost.

2 Q. Yes. Presumably that was the point, wasn't it, so that

3 material was preserved so in due course it could be

4 considered by the Murder Investigation Team?

5 A. Indeed.

6 Q. And so the question I come back to is what part in that,

7 i.e. the preservation of the files, did you see

8 Special Branch playing?

9 A. Secure storage. CID Headquarters, for example, is in

10 a totally different building. I'm talking about within

11 what is described as Brooklyn main police headquarters.

12 Q. So you think it likely, although you have no specific

13 recollection, that you did give her that order?

14 A. I wouldn't describe it as an order.

15 Q. Instruction.

16 A. I certainly wouldn't dispute -- if P136 says that,

17 I certainly would not dispute it.

18 Q. Were you involved in the decision to release the files?

19 A. I don't think I would have needed to be involved. I

20 don't recall being personally involved. That would be

21 automatic.

22 Q. Now, can I just take you to a paragraph of your

23 statement, 168, which is at RNI-806-199 (displayed),

24 where you say that you would have had immediate

25 conversations with B542? Can we have --

 

 

54

 

1 A. It is not on the screen.

2 Q. Can we have RNI-806-199 on the screen, please

3 (displayed)? Do you see that:

4 "I would have had immediate conversations with B542

5 following the murder in terms of whether there was any

6 intelligence that something like this was going to

7 happen or who might have been responsible"?

8 A. Yes, I see that.

9 Q. Presumably one of the obvious points here was why it was

10 that there had been apparently no warning of the attack

11 that was to follow?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And I imagine one of the things you were concerned to

14 find out from your Head of Special Branch was first, was

15 that in truth the case, and secondly, could he give you

16 an explanation as to how it had happened that such

17 a prominent local figure had been murdered without there

18 being any warning coming to his officers?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Did you institute a formal review at that point of

21 intelligence?

22 A. No, I didn't specifically direct such a review, but

23 undoubtedly 542 would have been doing that.

24 Q. Did you regard this as a failure of intelligence on the

25 part of Special Branch?

 

 

55

 

1 A. Not at that stage. As I have indicated earlier in my

2 evidence, intelligence is not infallible, not everything

3 can be covered. I have referred to 302 police officers

4 losing their lives, thousands of members of the public,

5 young soldiers lost their lives as well. So while many,

6 many more lives were saved, intelligence certainly is

7 not infallible. So to describe it as a failure I think

8 is an unfair description.

9 Q. You said at the beginning of that answer that you didn't

10 regard it as a failure at that time or at that stage.

11 Did there come a moment later, when you knew more about

12 it, when you did think that Special Branch had slipped

13 up on this occasion?

14 A. No, I never came to that conclusion.

15 Q. And even if you didn't order a formal review, did you

16 make it clear that you wanted to have a briefing from

17 him as soon as he could get the information together, as

18 to whether there had been any intelligence, if not, why

19 not, and who might have been responsible for the attack?

20 A. Indeed, those sorts of issues would have been to the

21 forefront.

22 Q. Yes. Because --

23 A. But I don't know -- sorry, the one phrase in your

24 question: you said "if not, why not".

25 Q. Yes.

 

 

56

 

1 A. I would have had a personal knowledge that not

2 everything is possible. We can't know everything. We

3 can't know all that people intend.

4 In a general sense, paramilitary organisations

5 operate in different ways. The Provisional IRA, many,

6 many years earlier, engaged in a complete reconstruction

7 of their organisation to move away from what you might

8 call military brigades to cells. So that you had

9 intelligence officers, quarter masters, couriers who

10 drive vehicles, people who provide safe houses and the

11 people who would actually carry out gun or bomb attacks.

12 No one of those would know what the others were doing,

13 and that was a quite deliberate reconstruction so that

14 if people were arrested or even if people were willing

15 to give intelligence, they could only give intelligence

16 on the aspect of the particular piece of terrorist

17 operation in which they were involved.

18 Other organisations were much more loosely gathered

19 together. So-called Loyalist organisations often didn't

20 even have plans. They would go to a pub, they would

21 drink and then they would decide, "Let's kill

22 a Catholic" and they would go into a Catholic area and

23 just randomly murder whoever was in that area. So that

24 they didn't even have their plans; then it would be

25 impossible for us to have prior intelligence of their

 

 

57

 

1 plans.

2 So to describe it as an intelligence failure I think

3 would unfairly denigrate those who were doing their very

4 best and doing what was humanly possible to gather

5 intelligence.

6 Q. But presumably it would have been at the very least

7 standard practice to see what, if any, lessons could be

8 learned for the future to avoid similar fatalities?

9 A. We are talking about the day of the murder?

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. So on the day of the murder, the focus would have been

12 on the investigation and making sure that was instigated

13 in a way that there would be complete rigour to the

14 investigation. And as you have indicated earlier, from

15 my point of view, in a way that hopefully would give

16 confidence in at least right-thinking members of the

17 public as to what was going on.

18 Q. Yes. Did there, whether in the immediate aftermath or

19 some time later, come a moment when you received from

20 your Head of Special Branch or, indeed, from any other

21 Special Branch officer, a briefing as to the extent of

22 the intelligence reporting on Rosemary Nelson?

23 A. Those briefings would have taken place (a) in relation

24 to the one-to-one meetings which we described, I think

25 on Monday, and (b) in the formal meetings where both the

 

 

58

 

1 Assistant Chief Constable Special Branch and

2 Assistant Chief Constable Crime Branch would have been

3 present. So there would have been those ongoing

4 briefings.

5 As the investigation unfolded, conducted and headed

6 by Mr Colin Port, I would have also had regular meetings

7 with Colin Port.

8 Q. In the course of those briefings, were you at that point

9 made aware of the sort of reporting that you and

10 I discussed on Monday: alleging matters against

11 Rosemary Nelson in relation to alibis, improper

12 behaviour, et cetera?

13 A. No, I was not.

14 Q. You were not?

15 A. I wasn't made aware of those documents until they were

16 brought to my attention in the course of this Inquiry.

17 Q. Thank you. The reason I asked you those questions was

18 because you gave a number of interviews in the immediate

19 aftermath of the murder in which you made comments about

20 Rosemary Nelson, and I would like to show you just one

21 example, which is at RNI-104-059 (displayed).

22 This is, I think, a transcript of an interview you

23 gave to RTE. It begins, for everybody's note, at

24 RNI-104-056 (displayed) and I have got this passage on

25 the screen because you see that the reporter, in the

 

 

59

 

1 third paragraph, says:

2 "Had you heard beforehand that death threats had

3 been issued against Rosemary Nelson? It is in the

4 papers at the moment. Had you heard beforehand that

5 there had been threats and that some of your officers,

6 people have claimed since, questioned her

7 professionalism?"

8 To which you responded:

9 "Well, I hadn't heard allegations of any questioning

10 of professionalism. Mrs Nelson was a most professional

11 lawyer who never operated other than in the best

12 interests of her clients."

13 Now, again, I don't intend to show you all the

14 various examples that the Inquiry has, but can I ask

15 you: that comment about her professionalism was very

16 much the answer that you gave in all of the interviews

17 in which this question came up, wasn't it?

18 A. I don't personally recall that particular interview, but

19 that was my view.

20 Q. Yes. And one can take it, therefore, as you have just

21 been saying, presumably, that at this point you had no

22 basis to come to any other conclusion?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. And so I'm absolutely clear about this, again, that was

25 because you had no basis whatsoever, rather than because

 

 

60

 

1 you had knowledge of intelligence but not evidence?

2 A. No basis whatever.

3 Q. Thank you. Now, in his evidence to the Inquiry, in his

4 statement to the Inquiry, Sir Joseph Pilling touched on

5 the question of whether the RUC's judgment in relation

6 to Rosemary Nelson, the issues concerning her, was

7 influenced by their knowledge of the alleged

8 relationship between Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy.

9 And he said in his statement:

10 "However, with hindsight, I suppose an important

11 question, which we did not know the answer to at the

12 time and I do not know the answer to now, is whether the

13 police judgment that Rosemary Nelson was not at risk was

14 influenced by any knowledge of an alleged relationship

15 between Rosemary Nelson and one of her clients."

16 In the immediate days and weeks after the murder,

17 did you come to wonder whether that had played a part in

18 the way the police had dealt with Rosemary Nelson?

19 A. No, I did not.

20 Q. So to be clear again, there was nothing that you were

21 told in the weeks and months after the murder that

22 raised that as a question in your mind?

23 A. No.

24 Q. Thank you. Now, in relation to the murder

25 investigation -- you have dealt with this in your

 

 

61

 

1 statement and I don't want to go over a great deal of

2 the ground that you have covered for us there -- can

3 I just ask you a specific question about it before

4 turning to Mr Port and his terms of reference? The

5 specific question is about collusion. In the immediate

6 aftermath of the murder, allegations of what was called

7 collusion were made, weren't they?

8 A. There were allegations of that nature, yes.

9 Q. Yes. And presumably one of the matters that you were

10 concerned to ensure in the context of the murder

11 investigation was that that aspect which addressed those

12 allegations was transparent and seen to be so?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. And can you tell us what were the steps that you took to

15 ensure that that was the case?

16 A. Well, a whole range of steps. The primary step being to

17 arrange for the appointment of an external head of the

18 investigation.

19 Q. Yes.

20 A. And in that context I contacted the then Inspector of

21 Constabulary who pointed me towards Mr David Phillips,

22 who was then Chief Constable of Kent, but also certainly

23 Head of the Association of Chief Police Officers crime

24 business area. I think he may even have been President

25 of the Association of Chief Police Officers. So that

 

 

62

 

1 was the first step.

2 The second step, I contacted, I think, within

3 24 hours, the director of the FBI. If we go back to

4 what I had said earlier, the Secretary of State, I

5 think, was in America, in Washington at this stage.

6 There was tremendous American interest because everyone

7 from Northern Ireland was there at the time. The

8 Lawyers Alliance for Justice in Ireland, who had an

9 American interest, and I asked the Director of the FBI

10 if he could send a number of his most experienced

11 investigators to be part of the investigation. I can't

12 exactly say when, but I made contact in writing with

13 what had newly been created in Northern Ireland, the

14 Human Rights Commission, because the experience of the

15 London Metropolitan Police, I think in relation to the

16 dreadful murder of young Stephen Lawrence, was that the

17 concept of an independent advisory group was very

18 helpful: People who could be briefed on the progress of

19 an investigation, but who could very much help with what

20 you might describe as an assessment of community impact.

21 So my offer to the Human Rights Commission was that

22 they could be my independent advisory group in this

23 matter on any basis which they chose, even to have

24 access to sensitive intelligence, but in respect of

25 which I would require a signature in terms of

 

 

63

 

1 confidentiality or simply to receive regular briefings

2 of whatever nature they described -- whatever nature

3 would be acceptable to them.

4 I think they felt -- and it is understandable,

5 I guess -- I don't offer this as any criticism -- but

6 they felt as a fledging body who might, amongst others

7 things, have to from time to time criticise policing,

8 that to be so directly involved in policing would not be

9 appropriate. And I understand that. I contacted the

10 editors of the main newspapers. I contacted the church

11 leaders and offered them regular briefings.

12 So these are some of the steps in relation to the

13 transparency that I thought was absolutely crucial, that

14 you have mentioned.

15 I think, again, it illustrates the great difference

16 from what would be easily-achieved standard practice in

17 England and Wales, for example, compared to the

18 willingness of people in that period of

19 Northern Ireland's history to be so directly involved

20 with policing.

21 In terms of the investigation, there were some calls

22 that no one in the RUC should in any way be involved in

23 this investigation. And I had said if I thought for

24 a second that a successful investigation could be

25 carried out not involving people from the Royal Ulster

 

 

64

 

1 Constabulary, then I would be open to that. But of

2 course, not that I needed advice from the Director of

3 the FBI, from David Phillips, their clear view was that

4 such an investigation would be impossible.

5 And I think, again, to talk about the specific

6 circumstances of Northern Ireland, if the investigation,

7 for example, included surveillance of suspects, it would

8 be impossible for such surveillance to be carried out by

9 people other than who knew the area in which they were

10 working intimately.

11 So that's an indication of some of the steps that

12 I took in the immediate aftermath of the murder.

13 Q. Thank you. So far as the Chief Constable of Kent was

14 concerned, as you explain in your statement -- and I

15 don't want to get into any detail about this -- he came

16 on the scene and relatively shortly afterwards realised

17 that for him to continue his involvement would be

18 effectively another full-time job on top of an existing

19 full-time job?

20 A. Exactly.

21 Q. So in due course you were looking for another leader of

22 the investigation, and that's how you came to Mr Port?

23 A. Exactly, through the Inspector of Constabulary.

24 Mr Phillips and I realised immediately that this is

25 a full-time job and, as Chief Constable of Kent, as

 

 

65

 

1 President of the Association of Chief Police Officers,

2 it simply would have been impossible for him to devote

3 the full-time attention to this investigation that was

4 required.

5 On the other hand, I asked him, and he agreed, to

6 remain. If there were allegations of collusion,

7 I wanted to make sure that whoever would then be

8 appointed in a full-time capacity -- and I didn't select

9 Mr Port; it was the HMI who contacted his Chief

10 Constable in Norfolk -- I knew of Mr Port's reputation,

11 of his investigative expertise and background, and I was

12 very happy for him to undertake this, but I wanted him

13 to have someone, even if there were issues that for any

14 reason he felt he couldn't discuss with me, that he

15 would have Mr Phillips as an independent adviser,

16 quality assurer, overseer or whatever.

17 Q. Just looking very briefly at the whole question of the

18 involvement of David Phillips, Sir David Phillips as he

19 now is, with hindsight it was never going to be

20 possible, was it, for him to combine an active role on

21 this very, very high profile investigation with his

22 duties as Chief Constable of Kent?

23 A. Well, obviously these were matters for him.

24 Q. Yes, indeed.

25 A. And it was the Inspector of Constabulary who originally

 

 

66

 

1 secured his agreement to take on this task. When he

2 arrived, I think he realised the enormity of it.

3 I certainly accepted the enormity of it and that it

4 would be impractical for him to conduct it on

5 a full-time basis.

6 Q. Thank you. Just turning to the question of Mr Port's

7 appointment, I want to ask you one or two questions

8 about his terms of reference, and they are at

9 RNI-831-083 (displayed).

10 A. Could I just say something in relation to my statement

11 and the terms of reference?

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. I think I make a reference in this statement that these

14 are my terms of reference and were not discussed. And I

15 can't understand how that's in the statement.

16 Of course they were discussed with Mr Port and,

17 indeed, they may -- the beginnings of terms of reference

18 may even have been discussed with David Phillips at the

19 time. I can't understand how that was slipped in to the

20 statement that they aren't discussed. They would have

21 been discussed.

22 Q. We have certainly seen reference in the documents to

23 discussions about Mr Phillips's terms of reference, but

24 can we look at this passage of your statement just so

25 that everybody else is aware of the passage you are

 

 

67

 

1 talking about. It's paragraph 158 at RNI-806-195

2 (displayed), where you begin the paragraph by saying:

3 "I was responsible for Mr Port's terms of reference

4 and they were not the product of a discussion with him

5 or anybody else."

6 So that's incorrect?

7 A. I cannot understand how that's there and how it

8 slipped -- because, of course, they would have been

9 discussed.

10 Q. Right. And you think they would have been discussed

11 with him. Who else do you think would have been

12 involved in the discussion of them?

13 A. I cannot be absolutely certain, but it would have been

14 normal for my legal adviser, for example, to have been

15 involved in such a discussion.

16 Q. And you go on to describe your concern, and I infer --

17 but please tell me if this is right -- that what you are

18 saying here is that your concern in producing these

19 terms of reference was, as you put it, to ensure that he

20 did not meet any barriers with his investigation. Is

21 that correct?

22 A. That is correct, but I wouldn't want that to be

23 interpreted that in any way I assumed that that would be

24 the case.

25 Q. No.

 

 

68

 

1 A. That's said in response to questions being asked.

2 Q. And in this very part of your statement, the next

3 sentence, at the top of the next page, RNI-806-196

4 (displayed), you yourself referred to paragraph 7, which

5 you say gave him unrestricted access to necessary

6 intelligence.

7 Can I just go back to the terms of reference and ask

8 you to look at that paragraph, please? It is at

9 RNI-831-084 (displayed). It is paragraph 7. If we

10 could have it enlarged, please?

11 A. Thank you, I have it now.

12 Q. Thank you very much. Now, was that aspect of his terms

13 of reference unprecedented, as far as you were

14 concerned?

15 A. I can't think of any personal involvement in other terms

16 of reference where that was either necessary or

17 included.

18 Q. And this presumably reflected the point you have made in

19 your statement, and the particular context of this

20 investigation that it was vital for its credibility that

21 the RUC should be open to Mr Port?

22 A. Indeed. I'm not -- I can't quite recall the terms of

23 reference ultimately agreed between Miss McNally and

24 myself and Commander Mulvihill, so I don't know if there

25 was any sort of similar reference within that.

 

 

69

 

1 Q. But of course the context there was very different?

2 A. It is very different.

3 Q. Yes. Can I ask you about this particular paragraph?

4 Did you consult with anyone in Special Branch whilst

5 considering this aspect of the draft terms of reference?

6 A. I don't think I would have consulted them in advance,

7 but I would have informed them that this was a term of

8 reference.

9 Q. That's what you say in your statement in paragraph 157,

10 if we can look at that, RNI-806-195 (displayed) because

11 there you say:

12 "I would ensure that his terms of reference, which

13 I sent to him within a few days of his appointment, were

14 brought to everyone's attention."

15 So to be clear then, who do you mean there by

16 "everyone" and how did you bring it to their attention?

17 A. I can't be absolutely certain, but I think at one of our

18 regular meetings of all the chief officers that

19 I disclosed the terms of reference.

20 Q. And were any concerns expressed about that specific

21 aspect of the terms of reference at that time?

22 A. I don't recall any concerns being expressed.

23 Q. At the time that you produced them and sent them out to

24 Mr Port, let's say early April 1999, did you consider

25 that it was at least possible that the wide access, the

 

 

70

 

1 unrestricted access you were affording him might cause

2 friction between him and Special Branch in due course?

3 A. Yes, I think I referred in my evidence on Monday to

4 rubbing points, as you might describe them, whereby

5 people in Special Branch, quite understandably and

6 specifically in terms of terrorist activity, would have

7 a desire to make sure that the sources of their

8 intelligence were protected and to make sure that

9 nothing was done to bring about that risk of danger,

10 physical danger, to the sources, particularly to human

11 sources of intelligence.

12 So there were always going to be potential for

13 rubbing points and I think term of reference number 7

14 acknowledges that possibility at least.

15 Q. Yes. Can we have a look at the paragraph again just so

16 I have understood what you are saying here? It is at

17 RNI-831-084 (displayed).

18 Now, I want to understand from you how you yourself

19 regarded that. Were you giving him unlimited access to

20 intelligence and information, et cetera, which was

21 necessary for the murder investigation?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And in that regard, there is in a sense an implied

24 limitation in the paragraph, isn't there? It wasn't

25 actually carte blanche; it was unlimited access where

 

 

71

 

1 he, for the purposes of the investigation, regarded that

2 as necessary. Is that the way you understood it?

3 A. What I'm reading is:

4 "You will have unlimited access to all intelligence

5 and information available to and on files held by the

6 RUC."

7 That is pretty much carte blanche, as I would

8 see it.

9 Q. I wanted to check that with you because that's certainly

10 what you say in your statement, and at paragraph 178, we

11 see it set out, RNI-806-203. If we could have that on

12 the screen, please (displayed)?

13 Here, in the context of an issue that I'm going to

14 ask you some questions about in a moment, you say:

15 "It was my view ..."

16 Three or four lines from the end:

17 "... that he must have whatever he needed. I cannot

18 think of any situation where Mr Port would not have been

19 allowed access to SB information if it was his view that

20 he needed it for the benefit of the investigation."

21 That, as I understand it, was your approach to this

22 matter. Is that correct?

23 A. Indeed.

24 Q. Thank you. Now, when informing the ACC at the meeting

25 you have mentioned -- if that's how you did it -- was

 

 

72

 

1 there any discussion between you as to how this

2 paragraph of the terms of reference would work out in

3 practice?

4 A. I don't recall such discussion.

5 Q. Did you ever suggest to the Head of Special Branch or,

6 indeed, any other senior Special Branch officer, that

7 access would only be granted to source identities, for

8 example, very sensitive intelligence information, on

9 a need to know basis?

10 A. This only arose at some stage later and I guess we will

11 come on to that particular issue, but not at the time of

12 formulation of the terms of reference.

13 Q. Yes. And when you were thinking about how this might

14 work out, did you have an idea as to who would be the

15 arbiter in the event of disagreement between the Murder

16 Investigation Team on the one hand and Special Branch on

17 the other?

18 A. I wasn't consciously thinking that there would be a need

19 for an arbiter, but if that arose, it would be me.

20 Q. Yes. Now, so far as your role in the investigation on

21 a more general basis is concerned, can I ask you first,

22 in your own words how would you describe your role in

23 relation to the investigation once Mr Port had taken up

24 his appointment?

25 A. Well, bearing in mind what we described earlier as my

 

 

73

 

1 perceived need for public reassurance, including the

2 fact that this should be headed by someone outside the

3 organisation, it was certainly not my role to then in

4 any way head the investigation or direct it in

5 particular ways. Rather, my role was of course to

6 receive regular updates from Mr Port on progress and to

7 ensure that any resources that he felt he needed were

8 provided to him, and if there should be in any way any

9 barriers that he perceived, that such barriers would be

10 immediately removed.

11 Q. So you expected -- and as I understand it, this is what

12 happened -- that he would report to you on a regular

13 basis?

14 A. That's correct, and I think the timing of such reports

15 were matters for Mr Port.

16 Q. In terms of --

17 A. Sorry, so it wasn't every Tuesday morning at 10. It

18 wasn't that sort of arrangement.

19 Q. That was very much left to him. Is that right?

20 A. Yes, but we had frequent meetings.

21 Q. In terms of formal responsibility for the murder

22 investigation, did the ultimate formal responsibility

23 remain with you?

24 A. I suppose you could say -- as Chief Constable of the

25 organisation, I suppose formal responsibility for

 

 

74

 

1 everything in a sense resides in the office of

2 Chief Constable. So in that sense. But in terms of

3 conducting the investigation, reporting the conclusions

4 of the findings, et cetera: matters for Mr Port.

5 Q. And did you see yourself as having any formal role,

6 whether monitoring, supervision, at all in relation to

7 the investigation?

8 A. Only in the way I have described, in making sure that

9 Mr Port had everything that he needed to conduct this

10 investigation.

11 Q. And was that a way -- of the ways we have just been

12 discussing -- was that an aspect of this investigation

13 that made it different to local investigations with

14 local SIOs, for example?

15 A. Well, slightly different but standard practice. It is

16 not just a unique case. In the 43 forces in England and

17 Wales, it is quite frequent that there would be external

18 investigation teams and that they would have the

19 responsibility in the way that I have described. So it

20 is not -- it is not unique in that sense.

21 Q. Now, in your contact with the media, not long after the

22 murder -- I think it was on 25 March -- you were dealing

23 with questions, and we can see an answer you gave at

24 RNI-104-095 -- if we could have that on the screen,

25 please (displayed) -- about ten lines down in

 

 

75

 

1 a reasonably long answer, there is a sentence beginning:

2 "People need to know ..."

3 Do you see that?

4 A. At the moment half of the page is obscured on my screen.

5 Q. I think actually that is the end of the -- there we are,

6 that's better.

7 A. I have got it now, thank you.

8 Q. Thank you very much. So the sentence or the passage I'm

9 interested in begins there. Do you see:

10 "People need to know ..."?

11 A. Yes, thank you.

12 Q. And this came in response, do you see, at the very top

13 to a question from somebody called Brian Rowan about the

14 role that David Phillips and the FBI have in the

15 investigation. Do you see that?

16 A. Yes, I do.

17 Q. And in answering that, you are talking about -- do you

18 see a few lines -- a monitoring role. And again -- I am

19 afraid the thing is moving around a bit -- you refer to

20 a monitoring quality assurance role. Do you see that?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, after the departure of David Phillips, which you

23 have described, and Colin Port's arrival, was anybody

24 continuing to play that monitoring or, as you put it,

25 monitoring/quality assurance role?

 

 

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1 A. Well, I know that -- and my understanding is you will

2 hear evidence from Sir David, but you know he visited

3 Colin Port and his team on a number of occasions after

4 he had formally departed. So that was the role that

5 I envisaged for him, and the availability to Colin Port

6 as well. If Colin for any reason felt -- bearing in

7 mind all of the allegations of collusion, the calls from

8 some quarters that the RUC should not even be involved

9 in this investigation. So bearing those things in mind,

10 it was my intention that Sir David would remain

11 available to Colin Port in that consultative capacity.

12 Q. So he was an available resource, if I can put it that

13 way, and it was really up to Mr Port to use that

14 resource as and when he wished to?

15 A. I think that's accurate, yes.

16 Q. Because the impression one gets certainly from

17 Sir David Phillips' statement to the Inquiry -- as I

18 say, we'll hear more later -- is that his visits and his

19 involvement with the investigation was relatively

20 infrequent, certainly after the middle of 1999. So it

21 was a resource, but it was up to Mr Port to use it. Is

22 that a fair way of putting it?

23 A. Yes, indeed.

24 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you some questions about

25 comments you make in your statement about the murder

 

 

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1 investigation manual? And you begin to talk about it at

2 paragraph 160, RNI-806-196 (displayed).

3 Here, you touch on the question of whether this

4 manual had been in force in Northern Ireland at this

5 time, although, as you point out there, it came into

6 force in England and Wales in September 1998. Just

7 cutting to the point on this, as I understand it, what

8 you are saying is whether or not the manual was formally

9 in place or in force in Northern Ireland, you would have

10 expected the officers involved in the investigation to

11 be aware of it and, indeed, to follow the principles in

12 it because it represented established best practice?

13 A. Yes, and my understanding is that -- I'm not sure if he

14 is ciphered, but the name is mentioned in this

15 statement -- but a chief superintendent from Kent --

16 Q. Mr Humphreys?

17 A. Mr Humphreys, was sent out immediately by Mr Phillips.

18 My understanding is that Mr Humphreys was actually the

19 author of that manual. So while it hadn't been

20 introduced in Northern Ireland -- and, indeed, my

21 recollection is that an Association of Chief Police

22 Officers' survey of all 44 forces in England and Wales

23 indicated that it wasn't being operated fully in all but

24 a handful of forces at that time -- but certainly here,

25 we had the author of that manual involved at the outset

 

 

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1 of the investigation. Mr Port would have been very

2 familiar with it.

3 So the fact that it wasn't formally introduced in

4 Northern Ireland at that time would not have been seen

5 by me as any detraction from the principles contained

6 within the manual.

7 Q. And Sir David Phillips himself had been involved, had he

8 not, in all of these issues and indeed in the creation

9 of the manual?

10 A. He had. As I described, he for quite a period was the

11 person in charge of the whole crime business area within

12 the Association of Chief Police Officers.

13 Q. Can I ask you to focus, please, on a specific aspect of

14 this, which comes at the very bottom of this page, where

15 you are talking about the murder manual and you say,

16 about five lines up:

17 "I have no doubt he [Mr Port] would have followed

18 the principles contained within it, including those in

19 relation to victimology, if it was appropriate to

20 do so."

21 I just want to pick up with you that last caveat,

22 "if it was appropriate to do so". We know that the

23 murder manual was written in England and came into

24 force, as you have just been explaining, first in

25 England and Wales.

 

 

79

 

1 In the Inquiry, the expression "Ulsterisation" has

2 come to be used. In your view, in what respects would

3 the manual need to be Ulsterised, if I can use that

4 expression?

5 A. I don't think -- the manual -- and it is not just

6 Northern Ireland. I can think of forces that

7 I inspected quite recently where there is difficulty

8 when there is a significantly increased volume of

9 murders being carried out -- you know, the manual, I

10 think, wasn't written in terms of dealing with terrorist

11 organisations, in terms of dealing with vast a number of

12 murders being carried out. So resources might be

13 a problem, things like that.

14 So it is in that context that Ulsterisation would be

15 used, not in the context of reducing the principles or

16 in any way reducing the significance of the principles

17 underlining the approaches to murder investigation.

18 Q. Can I just pick that up with you and take you to the

19 next paragraph of your statement, where you say in

20 paragraph 161:

21 "I'm aware that Raymond White, the ACC Crime, asked

22 his deputy ..."

23 That name has been ciphered:

24 "... to consider the Ulsterisation of the murder

25 investigation manual at some stage."

 

 

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1 Can you help us with when you think that might have

2 been?

3 A. I can't be precise about that, but I guess it would be

4 around about this time. Having been introduced in late

5 1998 in England and Wales, I guess it would have been an

6 ongoing process at the time we are talking about, early

7 1999. I can't be precise, I'm sorry.

8 Q. Now, focusing on this particular investigation itself,

9 are there any practical aspects of the manual and its

10 principles that you think would have required

11 Ulsterisation in this particular context?

12 A. I don't think, taken item by item, there are any issues

13 within it that would require Ulsterisation. It is just

14 the question of when you are dealing with much greater

15 numbers of murders, sadly, than others have to

16 encounter, you are dealing with terrorist organisations,

17 the manual wasn't written with that in mind.

18 Q. So the manual was not directed to terrorist crime. Is

19 that right?

20 A. I think that's fair, yes.

21 Q. So that's obviously a reasonably significant point,

22 where adaptations or some flexibility would have to be

23 introduced into the application of the principles within

24 the manual?

25 A. Yes, but these are questions that would be much more

 

 

81

 

1 detailed in dealing with by people like Mr Port or,

2 indeed, Mr White or his deputy.

3 Q. Yes. Well, now, with that important caveat, for which

4 I'm grateful, can I just ask you a specific question

5 about the sentence we looked at a little while ago about

6 victimology? This is the bottom of the page,

7 RNI-806-196 (displayed), because the sentence we looked

8 at together was:

9 "I have no doubt he [Mr Port] would have followed

10 the principles contained within it, including those in

11 relation to victimology, if it was appropriate to

12 do so."

13 Can I take it then that your expectation would have

14 been that victimology should naturally feature as part

15 of this investigation?

16 A. If Mr Port deemed it was appropriate. That's the

17 important caveat I draw attention to.

18 Q. He was in control of the investigation and you were not

19 privy to the relevant level of detail?

20 A. Not that level of detail.

21 Q. And is it fair, therefore, to suggest that you are not

22 in a position to offer a useful and specific judgment on

23 that point?

24 A. I think that's fair.

25 Q. Thank you. So far as the briefings you received from

 

 

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1 Colin Port are concerned, what you tell us in your

2 statement is that P157 would have attended those

3 meetings, but, you say:

4 "... only made notes if action on my part was

5 needed, which was unlikely."

6 So can I take it then that there would be meetings

7 where he would attend but no actions resulted, if I can

8 put it that way, so no notes would be created by P157?

9 A. And indeed I have recollection of meetings where he

10 would not have been present, where it would have been

11 simply one-to-one, Mr Port and myself, and some of them

12 were just for your information. You know, there were

13 some specific issues that arose that would be outside

14 that category, that would require action on my part.

15 Q. Yes. As I understand it, what you are saying there is

16 that the notes would be created simply to record points

17 that needed to be addressed after the meeting?

18 A. Exactly.

19 Q. They weren't formal minutes in any sense?

20 A. No, they were not minuted meetings.

21 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you about a very specific

22 aspect of the investigation that you touch on in

23 a part-redacted paragraph of your statement, 169, at

24 RNI-806-199 (displayed)? Here, in a passage that

25 continues to 172, you say that you recall being told

 

 

83

 

1 that -- and then there is a redaction of names:

2 "... had carried out the murder and [another

3 redaction] had made the bomb."

4 You say that:

5 "This was at an early stage of the investigation,

6 although I cannot specifically recall when."

7 Can you recall who gave you these pieces of

8 information?

9 A. I think almost definitely it would have been -- is it

10 152, Head of Special Branch? 542, I beg your pardon.

11 Q. Yes, thank you. Did you seek or were you given any

12 further information by him about the nature of the

13 information or the intelligence which led them to that

14 view?

15 A. No.

16 Q. But you were told, as I understand it, that they were

17 confident in their view?

18 A. That was my belief.

19 Q. So are you saying then that on that occasion you were

20 not disposed to, and you didn't seek further

21 clarification, seek further information from him?

22 A. It wouldn't be my role to ask from whom this information

23 comes, by what means has it been received; this wouldn't

24 be my role. He would be briefing me and he would be

25 telling me whom they -- and my belief was that they were

 

 

84

 

1 confident in this belief -- had carried out this murder.

2 Q. Yes. And you didn't see it as any part of your role to

3 ensure that this aspect of the investigation, the

4 intelligence side of it, as reported to you by B542 was

5 soundly based?

6 A. That would not be the role of a chief constable.

7 Q. No. So you didn't take any steps to investigate that

8 yourself.

9 From the expression of confidence in the view that

10 you obviously do remember, did you take it that this was

11 intelligence that, as far as he were concerned, was, if

12 I can put it this way, copper bottomed?

13 A. I don't know if you can say that any intelligence was

14 copper bottomed, but I certainly formed the view that

15 they were very confident and they knew and had passed to

16 Mr Port details of who was involved in this murder.

17 Q. Yes. So far as the individuals were concerned, and

18 bearing in mind the redactions in the document, you say

19 later in this same paragraph, 169, at the end of the

20 paragraph, RNI 806-200 (displayed) that the LVF -- I'm

21 sorry, I should have said your statement continues:

22 "SB were certainly clear that this was the work of

23 the LVF. I would have been told this by the ACC of SB."

24 Then at the end of the paragraph, you say:

25 "I was aware that the LVF were dangerous and

 

 

85

 

1 ruthless people who were undoubtedly prepared to take

2 life. So I was not surprised that intelligence led to

3 them."

4 What did you know, do you think, at this point of

5 the previous types of crime and the types of murder and

6 the way they had gone about them, these individuals, the

7 dangerous and ruthless people from the LVF?

8 A. While talking earlier, I described different forms of

9 terrorist organisations --

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. -- and how some were very well organised, how some

12 follow a well defined strategy and how others are much

13 more loose collections of people but, nonetheless, loose

14 collections of absolutely ruthless, murdering thugs.

15 And it is in that latter category I would place the LVF.

16 Q. The suggestion has been made to the Inquiry that this

17 attack, the attack on Rosemary Nelson by a device put

18 under her car, was more sophisticated than anything that

19 organisation had been involved in in the past. Was that

20 something you were aware of?

21 A. My understanding was that the device was provided by

22 someone else, not necessarily a LVF member. So even if

23 the LVF, within its own ranks, didn't have the capacity

24 to construct that device, my understanding was that the

25 subsequent examination through weapons, explosives and

 

 

86

 

1 research techniques, left Special Branch in no doubt as

2 to who had manufactured that device.

3 So the fact that the LVF hadn't previously deployed

4 such a device, the fact that the LVF perhaps didn't even

5 have within their own ranks the expertise to construct

6 such a device, I think, led to this belief. My

7 understanding was it was a confident belief -- that

8 another individual had manufactured and provided this

9 device to them.

10 Q. Yes. That deals with the type of the device.

11 What about the type of attack, the targeting, the

12 planning that was required for an operation like that?

13 Wasn't this at a level of greater sophistication than

14 had so far been displayed by the LVF?

15 A. Would you say the sophistication in planning such an

16 attack? In my experience, it doesn't require much

17 planning. If you are ruthless enough and cowardly

18 enough to engage in such an attack to go along under

19 cover the dark, to place a device under somebody's car,

20 as happened in this case, I don't consider that to

21 require very sophisticated planning.

22 Q. Do you remember these sorts of points being discussed in

23 the briefings you had with the Head of Special Branch

24 about this issue?

25 A. No, I can't recall specific detail of that nature.

 

 

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1 Q. Is it likely, if they didn't come up in that context,

2 that they would have come up in your discussions with

3 Mr Port, for example?

4 A. They certainly could have, but I have no specific

5 recollection of the detail of our conversations.

6 Q. Can I ask you finally on this topic a question about the

7 likely perpetrators, and specifically whether you recall

8 any suggestion being made that this might not be

9 a Loyalist device at all?

10 A. None whatever. No such suggestion was ever made.

11 Q. As I understand it, your evidence in your statement is

12 that had such a suggestion been made, you would have

13 given it no credence?

14 A. It depends on what basis it was made. If it was made on

15 the basis of intelligence, of course I would have given

16 it credence. But if it was made just as a supposition,

17 I would have considered it fanciful.

18 Q. Yes. Thank you. Can I just ask you to look at

19 paragraph 174 at RNI-806-201 (displayed)? Here, you are

20 talking again about the report you received from your

21 Head of Special Branch about the fact that the bomb was

22 planted by the LVF:

23 "... there was never any suggestion that I was aware

24 that that device could have been anything other than

25 a Loyalist device."

 

 

88

 

1 Can I ask you about this: Were you made aware at

2 the time of why it was that the Head of Special Branch

3 was so convinced that this was a Loyalist device?

4 A. As I have said, my understanding was he was convinced --

5 they were convinced on the basis of specific

6 intelligence they had received, added to which was the

7 examination of the remains of the device, the

8 examination of Mrs Nelson's car after the attack had

9 been carried out, to give some sense of what type of

10 device. Because within a sub-department of

11 Special Branch, there was this weapons explosives

12 research unit who were very expert in identifying

13 devices, indeed to the point of who was the manufacturer

14 of such a device.

15 My understanding was that was the basis of the

16 intelligence in this case.

17 Q. Thank you.

18 A. So, if I may, in the rest of that paragraph where I say,

19 you know, there was no trading of devices between, for

20 example, the Provisional IRA and Loyalists, that is in

21 response to questions. That's not something I would

22 spontaneously say because it had never, and would never,

23 happen.

24 Q. Presumably that applies to the suggestion that was made

25 here that there was a possibility that the device had

 

 

89

 

1 been designed to look as though it was the work of

2 somebody else?

3 A. No, I would consider that fanciful.

4 Q. Yes. Can I ask you some questions looking further

5 forward as to the way in which the murder investigation,

6 by this stage under the command of Mr Port, proceeded

7 and your involvement with it?

8 In general terms, from your position as

9 Chief Constable, how would you describe the relationship

10 between the Murder Investigation Team and your officers,

11 and specifically your Special Branch officers?

12 A. There were undoubted rubbing points in specific areas.

13 At one stage, Mr Port wanted a list of all registered

14 human sources and that was certainly a rubbing point,

15 where Special Branch officers, I think justifiably, had

16 great concern for the safety -- indeed, they would have

17 raised legal concerns with me about our duty of care

18 under the legislation not to make known the identities

19 of those who were prepared to give us information. So

20 there were rubbing points such as that.

21 On another occasion, dealing with trying to

22 eliminate any possibility of collusion -- and it is

23 always desperately difficult to prove a negative, of

24 course -- Mr Port wanted to forensically examine every

25 vehicle held by a particular surveillance team. He at

 

 

90

 

1 one stage considered taking these vehicles to the

2 mainland. And there was another rubbing point because

3 an entire surveillance team left suddenly without its

4 vehicles -- and they were understandable rubbing points

5 because these surveillance officers would be passing

6 a view, "Am I suspected of this?" Whereas in fact the

7 forensic examination would have been to eliminate any

8 possibility. And I, again, directed that if Mr Port

9 wants to take these vehicles and have them examined in

10 Great Britain, that's what will happen. In the event, I

11 think what he did was to bring experts to

12 Northern Ireland.

13 So I give those as examples of undoubted rubbing

14 points.

15 Q. Those were the rubbing points. In general, however,

16 would you describe the relationship, so far as you were

17 aware of it, as good, moderate, excellent? How would

18 you put it?

19 A. I think I would describe it, so far as I was aware, as

20 a good relationship, with those rubbing points, as I

21 have described and undoubtedly other rubbing points.

22 You know, I remember one of the very early decisions

23 in the investigation was that no officer in any way

24 involved in the complaints by or on behalf of Mrs Nelson

25 would be involved in the investigation of her murder and

 

 

91

 

1 I remember a local officer expressing some sense of

2 grievance to me.

3 Q. Was that Inspector Monteith?

4 A. I think it probably was. He had described Mrs Nelson --

5 if it was Inspector Monteith -- as someone who had

6 performed the conveyancing on his home at some earlier

7 stage, and he felt that, in terms of the biggest crime

8 that had happened, so to speak, on his patch, for him to

9 be excluded from involvement in the investigation --

10 there were issues such as that.

11 Q. And they were an inevitable consequence --

12 A. I think inevitable.

13 Q. -- of an investigation which had to address and probe

14 allegations of collusion, weren't they?

15 A. I think they were inevitable consequences but I wouldn't

16 want to overstate them, and therefore I come to the

17 ultimate conclusion, in response to your question, that

18 I would describe the relationship as a good

19 relationship.

20 Q. Thank you.

21 Sir, it is 1 o'clock. As far as I can tell, we

22 probably have another 45 minutes to go. I'm hoping that

23 we will be able to complete Sir Ronnie's evidence and

24 then proceed and complete Sir David's evidence without

25 sitting too late.

 

 

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1 THE CHAIRMAN: Today? Good. Thank you.

2 We will adjourn until 2 o'clock.

3 (1.02 pm)

4 (The short adjournment)

5 (2.00 pm)

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

7 MR PHILLIPS: Now, returning to the topic of relations

8 between the Murder Investigation Team and Special Branch

9 in particular, Sir Ronnie, you very helpfully, before

10 lunch, referred to one of issues that I would like to

11 develop with you in a little more detail, and that is

12 the question of source identities.

13 Can I take you straight away to one of the

14 paragraphs in your statement where you deal with this:

15 RNI-806-203, paragraph 178 (displayed). You make

16 a number of comments about this issue and the way that

17 it developed from your perspective, of course, in your

18 evidence. What I want to do first, if I may, is to just

19 remind you of the history, as we understand it.

20 It seems that in the early day of his

21 investigation -- that's Mr Port's investigation --

22 Mr Port requested the details of a number of individual

23 sources, which were provided to him. So that's, as it

24 were, phase 1.

25 But later, in about August 2000 a broader request

 

 

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1 was made. Can I just ask you about the first request?

2 Were you involved, as far as you can remember, in that

3 initial request?

4 A. I don't recall being personally involved. I think that

5 just happened automatically.

6 Q. Thank you. So far as the timing of all of this is

7 concerned, it looks as though it may have been

8 foreshadowed even before Colin Port came on board, if I

9 can put it that way, because Sir David Phillips tells us

10 in his statement to the Inquiry that at an early meeting

11 with you he raised this question of affording access to

12 Special Branch sources.

13 Can I just show you that paragraph of his statement?

14 A. Yes, please.

15 Q. Paragraph 24 at RNI-817-072 (displayed). Do you see the

16 very first sentence there, we have it?

17 A. Yes, I do.

18 Q. It looks as though Sir David, in the very early stages

19 of the investigation, had highlighted to you that, as

20 far as he was concerned, it was likely that this sort of

21 access was going to be required by the investigation.

22 Now, so far as the second phase is

23 concerned, August 2000, what I wanted to do first is to

24 ascertain, so far as you can help us, when you think you

25 were first aware of the second phase, the second request

 

 

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1 for identities.

2 A. I couldn't place it precisely in time, but I think

3 I became aware, as a result of an approach to me by ACC

4 Special Branch -- I can't remember -- my understanding

5 is the request was made directly from Mr Port to

6 Special Branch, and that would have been locally, in

7 what we call South Region --

8 Q. Can I just interrupt you by showing you the document

9 that supports what you have just said?

10 A. Please.

11 Q. It is RNI-622-001. I hope it has arrived on the system

12 (displayed). Yes, it has. You see 16 August, not from

13 Mr Port but on his behalf, from his chief

14 superintendent, Arthur Provoost, to the Regional Head of

15 Special Branch in South Region, B629?

16 A. Yes, I see the request.

17 Q. And you see its terms there, that:

18 "[Mr Port] has instructed me to enquire of

19 E Department ... what human intelligence sources they

20 manage or have available to them who have, or have had,

21 association with/or are providing information

22 concerning: the Loyalist Volunteer Force, Red Hand

23 Defenders, Orange Volunteers or similar affiliated

24 groups."

25 Then the memo continues. That supports what you

 

 

95

 

1 have just been saying, doesn't it?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. That the request came direct to Special Branch?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Do you recall that there was a similar parallel request

6 to CID?

7 A. I think there was a slightly earlier request to CID in

8 respect of which my understanding is ACC Crime did not

9 see any difficulty and had provided the details in terms

10 of CID sources.

11 Q. Can we look at the next page of this file, which is

12 RNI-622-002 (displayed), because that, dated the next

13 day, seems to show, doesn't it, a parallel request to

14 CID for identities?

15 A. Yes, indeed.

16 Q. Dated this time 17 August?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Now, so far as you were concerned -- can I go back,

19 please, to RNI-622-001 (displayed) -- how did you, so

20 far as you can remember, first become aware that this

21 request had been made?

22 A. I think I became aware as a result of an approach by ACC

23 Special Branch, who was advocating an approach whereby

24 Mr Port should provide justification on a case-by-case

25 basis for access to individual human resources -- human

 

 

96

 

1 sources.

2 Q. Can you remember what the ambit of the request was as it

3 was explained to you by B542?

4 A. I think I quite simply understood the request to be

5 access to the details of all the identities, names and

6 addresses of all human sources.

7 Q. All human sources, do you mean?

8 A. Sorry, in relation to the organisations that Mr Port's

9 colleague outlined.

10 Q. So in other words, those providing information on those

11 various organisations?

12 A. Yes, that was my understanding.

13 Q. Yes. And in relation to that, did the Head of

14 Special Branch explain what his attitude to that

15 request was?

16 A. Yes, my recollection is that there were concerns

17 expressed to him, which he supported, that this would

18 almost be in breach of legal duty of care

19 responsibilities in respect of the risk that they

20 estimated that that would expose these individuals to.

21 Q. The concerns being expressed to him by other

22 Special Branch officers?

23 A. By the Special Branch officers in South Region, yes.

24 Q. And in particular are we talking there about B629, the

25 Regional Head?

 

 

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1 A. I recall two colleagues. B629 would have been one of

2 those colleagues.

3 Q. Do you have your cipher list?

4 A. I actually just handed it to the -- I'm sorry.

5 Q. No.

6 A. I handed it to the clerk.

7 Q. I'll get you another one.

8 A. I'm sorry about that.

9 Q. I'll return to that issue because I would like to get

10 your confirmation of the other officer. But what I have

11 understood then is that the Head of Special Branch had

12 had expressed to him concerns which he supported and

13 which he passed on to you?

14 A. Yes, I think there was even documentation in that

15 regard. I think there was a file.

16 Q. Here is the cipher list. (Handed)

17 A. Sorry about that.

18 Q. Not at all. So you have given us the cipher of the

19 first officer, the Head of South Region. Was the other

20 officer B503?

21 A. Yes, B503.

22 Q. Thank you very much. Now, you have explained,

23 therefore, what the position of the Head of

24 Special Branch was. Can I ask you about your own view

25 of the request that was being made? In paragraph 178,

 

 

98

 

1 if we can look at that then, RNI-806-203 (displayed),

2 you simply say that:

3 "It was my view that he ..."

4 That's Colin Port:

5 "... must have whatever he needed --

6 And you go on, in a sentence I showed you before

7 lunch:

8 "I cannot think of any situation where Mr Port would

9 not have been allowed access to SB information if it was

10 his view that he needed it for the benefit of the

11 investigation."

12 That was your position at the time, was it?

13 A. It was.

14 Q. And that was the position that you explained presumably

15 to your Head of Special Branch?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Did it cause him further concern?

18 A. Obviously it caused him initial concern, and I have no

19 doubt that acting in very good faith it continued to

20 cause him concern, that idea of risk that we may be

21 exposing these human sources to.

22 Q. Yes. But as far as you were concerned -- can

23 I summarise it in this way and see whether you accept my

24 summary -- that if there a conflict between those

25 Special Branch concerns on the one hand and Mr Port's

 

 

99

 

1 needs in terms of the investigation on the other, those

2 needs would prevail?

3 A. I had no doubt.

4 Q. Thank you. Now, in terms of Mr Port's rationale and the

5 explanations for why it was he believed he did need that

6 information, did you seek to obtain from him further

7 particulars, further details, of his need?

8 A. I did not.

9 Q. Were you in that case simply prepared to proceed on his

10 word, if I can put it that way, or the statement that he

11 needed the information?

12 A. I was, but I did seek advice from other quarters.

13 Q. Now, we will come back to advice in a moment, if we may.

14 In terms of discussions between you and your

15 Special Branch colleagues, you have mentioned

16 a discussion with B542, him explaining the nature of his

17 concerns. Did you in due course have discussions with

18 other officers, including, for example, the two you have

19 just mentioned?

20 A. I undoubtedly would have but I'm not sure at what stage.

21 Q. Yes. But did you, through whatever means, become aware,

22 as it were, yourself, in other words directly rather

23 than through the Head of Special Branch, that there were

24 concerns or even serious concerns about what was being

25 proposed?

 

 

100

 

1 A. I did become aware of those concerns. I think they were

2 offered in complete good faith.

3 Q. And were you able, or did you attempt to give the

4 Special Branch officers reassurance; in other words, to

5 put their minds at ease or to allay their concerns?

6 A. I think so.

7 Q. How did you go about that?

8 A. In terms of -- I referred earlier to advice that

9 I sought. The advice was not whether Mr Port should get

10 the access he was requesting, but in what manner. And

11 based on the advice I was given, we arranged, with

12 Mr Port's complete agreement, that he would have access

13 to everything that he wanted. He would not remove the

14 material, he would not record the material unless there

15 was some need that the investigation indicated he should

16 do that, and if there would be follow-up action, that he

17 would clear that with me in the first instance.

18 So I think those were steps to reassure people that

19 if they thought this information was going to be bandied

20 about, that actually it would be very sensitively

21 handled and very confidentially handled.

22 Q. Thank you. The advice you have referred to now on

23 a couple of occasions, was that from the Information

24 Commissioner?

25 A. It was.

 

 

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1 Q. Can I show you paragraph 181 of your statement at

2 RNI-806-204 (displayed)? There, as I understand it, in

3 your statement you are reciting first your

4 understanding, appreciation, of the concerns, and

5 secondly, the steps that you took to deal with them and

6 the regime that was proposed which, as I think you are

7 saying, was in fact put in place. Is that correct?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. Can I look at another document from the MIT with you,

10 please? And I should have said at the outset that you

11 were only provided with these documents very recently

12 and you have only, therefore, had a limited chance to

13 see them. That's right, isn't it?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. Thank you. This is at RNI-622-005 (displayed). It is

16 in fact a memo by Mr Port of a conversation he had with

17 the Head of Special Branch, and you see that although

18 the date of the memo is 29 August, you will see that by

19 this stage, in the chronology, the Head of

20 Special Branch was telling Mr Port, whose memo it is,

21 that he had already discussed the issue with you on

22 Friday of the last week. Then the note continues:

23 "And that at this time he ..."

24 That's the Head of Special Branch:

25 "... had no authority to release the information

 

 

102

 

1 requested."

2 And then goes on:

3 "Did I still feel the need for a meeting."

4 Can I just ask you first: who had the authority

5 within the RUC for the release of the information?

6 A. It would have been the Head of Special Branch, B542.

7 Q. When he said he had no authority, was that because you

8 had told him that you weren't happy for him to release

9 the information at that point?

10 A. No, certainly not. I guess he must be referring to what

11 he saw and what had been drawn to his attention as

12 a legal obligation.

13 Q. In other words, you think he was referring to, as it

14 were, legal problems, legal hoops, that he had to go

15 through before he could be satisfied that he was in

16 a position to release the information?

17 A. Bearing in mind this is a note by Mr Port of

18 a conversation he had with the other party, I can only

19 make assumptions.

20 Q. But as far as you were concerned then, you were not the

21 officer with authority over whether or not the

22 information should be released?

23 A. Well, ultimate authority. If ACC Special Branch, who

24 had that authority, decided that it would not be right

25 for him to exercise that authority, it would be an issue

 

 

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1 that would come to me for resolution.

2 Q. So I'm clear then, there is no question of you having

3 told the Head of Special Branch at this point or indeed

4 at a later stage, that you were not happy for him to

5 release the information?

6 A. You are correct, there is no question of that.

7 Q. Because that would have been, on the face of it,

8 inconsistent with paragraph 7 of the terms of reference

9 that you have given to Mr Port, wouldn't it?

10 A. It certainly would have been.

11 Q. Thank you. Now, in paragraph 180 of your statement,

12 which is, we can see, at RNI-806-204 (displayed), you

13 tell us that you were not briefed in detail as to which

14 identities were required or why. Can I take it that

15 that remained the case throughout the discussions which

16 continued between Special Branch on the one hand and the

17 investigation team on the other?

18 A. That's the case.

19 Q. You never, as it were, descended into that level of

20 detail?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Thank you.

23 A. It would not have been necessary for me.

24 Q. No.

25 A. It was something I did not need to know.

 

 

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1 Q. Were you aware at the time, do you think, that the

2 Security Service had become involved in this issue?

3 A. I was not aware at that time.

4 Q. Can you remember when you first became aware that the

5 Security Service had been involved in what was going on?

6 A. My recollection was that the first time I became aware

7 of their direct involvement was when the solicitors to

8 the Inquiry produced documents to me and raised this

9 issue.

10 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you to look with me, please, at

11 a Security Service note? It is by the DCI and it is at

12 RNI-532-193 (displayed).

13 Now, you will see it is a note of a meeting between

14 you and the DCI, and it looks as though it takes place

15 on 18 January. So this is the following year, 2001. It

16 looks as though your discussion in the meeting began

17 with you explaining to him why it was you had decided,

18 which you had by this stage, to go forward with

19 Mr Port's request in the manner in which you have

20 explained to us.

21 Is it possible, do you think, that during the course

22 of that conversation you became aware that at an earlier

23 stage, the Security Service had been consulted by

24 Special Branch and had become involved in this issue?

25 A. No, I did not become aware of that consultation prior to

 

 

105

 

1 my meeting with the solicitors to the Inquiry.

2 Q. Thank you. So although this document in the second

3 paragraph at the end shows that the Security Service was

4 helping the Head of Special Branch to draw up the

5 documentation, which would go as part of the protocol

6 for the release of information, which we have discussed,

7 you weren't at that stage told of any prior involvement

8 by them?

9 A. I was not.

10 Q. Thank you. Can I just pick up something in your

11 statement that I think may need correction at this

12 point, in relation to the Security Service? This is

13 paragraph 179 at RNI-806-203 (displayed), where you talk

14 about the funding of payments to sources. Is there

15 something there you would like to correct?

16 A. Yes, there is, please, if I may. Somewhere here I say

17 that payments to sources, CHIS as it is in the

18 statement, were funded by the RUC. That's not the case.

19 What I intended to say, and I must have missed it when

20 I signed this document, certainly the salaries of all

21 officers deployed in Special Branch were funded by the

22 RUC. Payments to sources and other expenditure in

23 connection with Special Branch were paid in total by the

24 Security Service from what was called the intelligence

25 vote, a vote financially that they audited on a very

 

 

106

 

1 regular basis; I think a quarterly basis. So that's

2 a mistake. The RUC did not fund such payments, the

3 Security Service did.

4 Q. Yes. So in that sense they had a financial role or

5 financial responsibility in relation to Special Branch

6 sources?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And there were, of course, some sources that were

9 jointly handled, weren't there?

10 A. There were.

11 Q. Thank you. With those two points -- and there may be

12 others that you would draw my attention to, but with

13 those two points in mind, when you discovered in the

14 course of your interview, your preparation for your

15 interview for this Inquiry, that there had been

16 involvement of Security Service officers in this issue,

17 were you surprised?

18 A. I was surprised.

19 Q. Why do you say that, please?

20 A. I was surprised that, although direct contact by Head of

21 Special Branch had been made, I was surprised but not in

22 the sense that I was even remotely offended. For me, it

23 just indicates how deeply these Special Branch officers

24 felt about their need to protect the identities of their

25 sources.

 

 

107

 

1 Q. Yes. If you had been told at the time that the

2 Special Branch officers were in contact with the

3 Security Service on this issue because of the serious

4 nature of their concerns, would you have regarded it as

5 in any way a reflection on yourself?

6 A. I suppose I might, if they felt there was any channel by

7 which they could get me to change my mind. If it had

8 been drawn to my attention as an intention, I would have

9 told them not to proceed with such intention, that it

10 would have been pointless.

11 Q. Yes, because --

12 A. I do not take offence. I know these officers. They are

13 of the utmost integrity. They are very professional

14 officers and it simply, for me, reinforces my belief

15 that they were actually acting in very good faith.

16 Q. Can we look at one or two of the documents which were

17 generated in this part of the discussions, and obviously

18 these were not documents you saw at the time and they,

19 indeed, were not events of which you were aware, and

20 I appreciate that. But I would like to show you first

21 of all, RNI-532-157 (displayed), which is dated

22 5 September 2000. The author -- his name is redacted.

23 It is a Security Service document and it records

24 a meeting between him and the Regional Head of

25 Special Branch for the South Region, B629. And do you

 

 

108

 

1 see the nub of it is in paragraph 2:

2 "He wanted to warn me of something that might affect

3 ..."

4 Then there is a redaction:

5 "... of our agents and to enlist the services'

6 support for a proposed RUC line of action."

7 In other words, that the officers were going to the

8 Security Service, it would appear, to bolster their

9 position in relation to their concerns about the

10 proposed disclosure of source identities. Do you see

11 that?

12 A. Yes, I do.

13 Q. And you can see at the end of the same paragraph the

14 statement:

15 "RUC South were therefore most reluctant to compile

16 and hand over such a list."

17 So that was their attitude to the matter as recorded

18 in this minute. Was that an attitude that became clear

19 to you in your conversations or discussions with B629,

20 for example?

21 A. Yes. As I have described earlier, yes, it did become

22 clear to me that that was their attitude.

23 Q. Yes. It wasn't simply a question of concern; they were

24 in fact reluctant?

25 A. Yes, because of their concern, yes.

 

 

109

 

1 Q. And they felt, didn't they, that they hadn't been given,

2 as it were, a case for the disclosure, they hadn't been

3 given the details of why exactly it was that Mr Port

4 felt that he needed this sensitive information?

5 A. Yes, and that was ultimately part of the argument to me,

6 that their view was that Mr Port should make

7 a case-by-case justification.

8 Q. Now, where in paragraph 2, in the first passage

9 I directed to your attention, it refers to the proposed

10 RUC line of action, you of course were not aware of

11 these discussions, were you?

12 A. Not aware at all, no.

13 Q. So when they talk there about a proposed RUC line of

14 action, it was not one in fact which you were aware of?

15 A. No, it is clearly a proposal of theirs.

16 Q. Indeed. It was a proposal of the South Region, rather

17 than of the organisation as a whole, headed up by you?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Thank you. And then in paragraph 3 -- if we can have

20 that enlarged, please? -- the suggestion is made

21 apparently that:

22 "The Chief [you] might need to have a discussion

23 with someone in top management of the Service to

24 encourage him [you] to resist Port's request."

25 When you saw that comment in this document, were you

 

 

110

 

1 surprised?

2 A. It is in the same vein as becoming aware of any approach

3 to the Security Service. Yes, I was surprised that that

4 approach had been made.

5 Q. Would you have considered it appropriate for one of your

6 Special Branch officers to be encouraging senior

7 management of the Security Service to seek to persuade

8 you in this way?

9 A. I don't consider it inappropriate. It indicates again

10 to me that this is a belief that the officer firmly

11 held, and I believe he held it in very good faith.

12 Q. Can I ask you, were you at any point approached by top

13 management in the Security Service in an effort to

14 persuade you in this way?

15 A. No, I was not, although the earlier document that you

16 produced to me -- I noticed the phrase in introducing it

17 that before that individual could address his agenda, I

18 was telling him what I had done. So it may be that he

19 had in mind, if he didn't know the decision had already

20 been put in place -- it may be that he had some

21 intention to discuss it with me, but no discussion, no

22 attempt to have me change my mind was ever made.

23 Q. And you will see the note records the Regional Head

24 considering there were:

25 "... serious national security issues at stake which

 

 

111

 

1 both Port and, to a lesser extent, the Chief did not

2 fully understand."

3 Was that a justified remark, do you think?

4 A. I think it is more dramatic than I would express it.

5 Q. Did you think that you needed any more help or

6 information to enable you to understand the national

7 security issues at stake?

8 A. No, I did not.

9 Q. No. Did you at any point come to the view that Mr Port

10 needed further advice or help in understanding the

11 serious national security issues at stake?

12 A. No, I did not.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, there is one further meeting, just

14 slightly later the same month, that I would like to show

15 you the note or minute of, please, and that's at

16 RNI-532-170 (displayed). This is a conversation, I

17 think, on 14 September between another officer, S224,

18 and the same officer, B629. I should say again that

19 this is a Security Service note of that conversation.

20 You will see at paragraph 1(i), B629 is reported as

21 saying that:

22 "The Chief Constable had promised to support South

23 Region's stand. Privately ..."

24 He then explained:

25 "... he was worried the Chief Constable might

 

 

112

 

1 waiver."

2 Taking those two points in turn, was there a moment

3 in all of this when you promised to support South

4 Region's stand?

5 A. No, there was not.

6 Q. Sorry, I have just been told that you and I continue our

7 discussion while everybody else is floundering around --

8 A. I'm sorry.

9 Q. It is not your fault at all, it is mine. The wrong part

10 of the document is on the screen. Could we enlarge

11 subparagraph (i), please? There.

12 Do you see the first reference was to the South

13 Region's stand and the second I highlighted was the

14 concern that the Chief Constable might waiver. Can I go

15 back over the points? One, did you ever promise to

16 support their stand, as you have explained to us?

17 A. No, I did not.

18 Q. So one assumes from that that no question of waivering

19 one way or the other actually, in your view, arose?

20 A. No.

21 Q. Thank you.

22 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Just to clarify, there are two, as

23 it were, incidents mentioned here: one being the

24 so-called persuasion to authorise requests for itemised

25 billing on the operational telephones of certain South

 

 

113

 

1 Region SB officers; the other, the attempt by Colin Port

2 to get the identities of South Region agents.

3 What I'm not clear from here is where it is that the

4 Chief Constable had promised to support the South

5 Region's stand. Might it have been on the first or the

6 second -- I'm not sure whether to address this question

7 to counsel or to Sir Ronnie, but perhaps one of you

8 could help.

9 A. Certainly I didn't ever indicate that I would support

10 a stand in respect of either item.

11 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Thank you. That's fine.

12 MR PHILLIPS: That's very helpful. Thank you. Can I just

13 show you subparagraph (iii) on the same page,

14 RNI-532-170 (displayed). Enlarge that, please?

15 In summary, the concern being expressed here to the

16 Security Service officer, as he has recorded it, is that

17 the Port team, or Mr Port, were concerned about their

18 ability to retain sensitive information securely.

19 Now, was that a concern that was expressed to you by

20 your Special Branch officers?

21 A. Never in anything like those specific terms. The

22 concern was rather more general: that the wider the

23 circle of knowledge, the greater risk there is of

24 identities being discovered.

25 Q. Was the concern expressed, for example, in terms that

 

 

114

 

1 Mr Port might not be sufficiently sensitive to those

2 issues?

3 A. I don't recall that having been raised with me, but

4 I suppose it could have been. The concern expressed to

5 me was rather more in terms that they felt this was

6 actually a breach of their legal responsibility, duty of

7 care, in respect of taking every step to prevent the

8 identities of human sources being discovered.

9 Q. Can I just ask you to look at a final passage of this

10 document, RNI-532-171 (displayed), because here at

11 paragraph 4 -- could we have that enlarged? Thank you:

12 "Returning to the theme of the political pressure on

13 the Chief Constable and his anxiety that Flanagan might

14 not hold the line, B629 said that if South Region was

15 let down, then they would be minded to 'pay off' all

16 their Loyalist agents ... He added that if matters

17 continued in this way, the RUC SB would become

18 paralysed."

19 Just looking at the first part of this, was there

20 political pressure on you, do you think?

21 A. Absolutely none.

22 Q. Thank you. And was there a concern expressed to you by

23 Special Branch officers that they felt that your

24 attitude was dictated by political pressure?

25 A. Never was such an opinion expressed.

 

 

115

 

1 Q. Thank you. Now, what about the next comments:

2 "... if South Region was let down, they would be

3 minded to 'pay off' all of their Loyalist agents"?

4 Can I take it that if such a comment had been made

5 to you in one of these meetings, you would have been

6 alarmed, to put it no higher than that?

7 A. I would have made my views very clear, that such

8 a course of action would never be embarked upon.

9 Q. What about the final comment about principal analysis?

10 Presumably for the same reasons, you would not have

11 countenanced such a situation?

12 A. No, I would not.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, in your statement when you are looking

14 at these issues in paragraph 184 at RNI-806-205

15 (displayed), you say:

16 "I was concerned that this issue ..."

17 The one we are talking about:

18 "... needed to be resolved before there was a risk

19 of any breakdown in the relationship between Colin Port

20 and SB."

21 Were you aware during this period that there was

22 a risk, a possibility, of breakdown?

23 A. Yes, I became aware. I wouldn't describe it as

24 a breakdown, but I became aware of what I described

25 earlier as the rubbing points.

 

 

116

 

1 Q. Yes. Clearly if these notes, if these notes we have

2 looked at, the Security Service notes, correctly record

3 the sorts of comments that were being made, feelings

4 were running very high, at least on the Special Branch

5 side, weren't they?

6 A. Those notes certainly indicate that, yes.

7 Q. Yes. Thank you. Now, looking at the matter as it moved

8 on and one further document from the Port team at

9 RNI-622-006 (displayed), here we have a short note,

10 27 September, of a meeting between him and you. It

11 looks as though you at this stage, the end of September,

12 are making a proposal as to what looks like some form of

13 compromise in relation to this issue. Is that a fair

14 way of putting it?

15 A. Yes, I don't recall it but that's a fair description of

16 that first paragraph.

17 Q. In other words, that this looks like part of the

18 negotiations, if I can put it that way, the to-ing and

19 fro-ing, where you were seeking a way forward,

20 presumably, which would --

21 A. Which would satisfy both sides.

22 Q. Exactly. But as I understand it, that in fact was not

23 the way it turned out and the eventual regime and

24 procedure was, as you have just described it, following

25 advice from the Information Commissioner?

 

 

117

 

1 A. Indeed.

2 Q. Thank you. Can we go back briefly to the note of your

3 meeting with the DCI at the beginning of the following

4 year, RNI-532-193 (displayed)? It is the meeting that,

5 as you have just observed, began with your statement of

6 your reason.

7 So far as the mechanism on which you had taken

8 advice, which is set out in your statement, from the

9 Information Commissioner, was that something about which

10 you consulted Colin Port before deciding that that was

11 the way forward?

12 A. No, I don't think I did.

13 Q. No. You simply took the advice that you felt you

14 needed, set up the regime and expected it to be

15 complied with?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Now, so far as the note is concerned -- I hope you have

18 had an opportunity to consider it -- it contains various

19 points which the DCI has you as putting forward by way

20 of explanation for why you had agreed to the disclosure.

21 Is it a fair summary of your reasoning?

22 A. I don't quite understand that a refusal would indicate

23 a lack of trust in Colin Port, unless it was indicative

24 that he could not be trusted with access to such

25 material, and I don't recall saying that. But I

 

 

118

 

1 wouldn't dispute any of the elements that are noted

2 there.

3 Q. So it wasn't an element in your reasoning, as I

4 understand it, that you felt you simply couldn't turn

5 him down in the circumstances?

6 A. I think that's a fair description, bearing in mind the

7 specific term of reference.

8 Q. That's what you had given him, paragraph 7?

9 A. That's the assurance I had given him and I was

10 determined to see that held.

11 Q. And on the basis that you explained already, you were

12 content, if he said that he needed this information for

13 the purposes of his work, then he should have it?

14 A. Absolutely.

15 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as explaining your decision to

16 Special Branch is concerned, can you recall how you went

17 about that?

18 A. I don't specifically recall, but I think that I would

19 have explained first of all to the Head of

20 Special Branch, "Make sure this arrangement is put in

21 place and let Mr Port have access to what he wants". As

22 simple as that.

23 Q. Can you remember what their reaction to their being told

24 of your decision was?

25 A. I don't particularly recall an adverse reaction.

 

 

119

 

1 Q. No. Can we look at one more Security Service document?

2 This is dated 8 February 2001. It is by another

3 redacted officer, copied to the officer whose note we

4 saw earlier, S224, and the subject, as you see there at

5 RNI-532-198 (displayed), is:

6 "RHSB(S) Comments on Port and the Disclosure of

7 Agent Identities."

8 Do you see just above the bullet points:

9 "Throughout our discussions, RHSB(S) did not hide

10 his:

11 "Anger at the way he'd been treated by Port and his

12 enquiry team;

13 "Feeling of betrayal by the Chief Constable who had

14 gone back on his word over disclosure of agent

15 identities."

16 Did B629 ever express to you his feeling of

17 betrayal?

18 A. No.

19 Q. Did he ever accuse you of going back on your word?

20 A. No.

21 Q. Did you go back on your word to him?

22 A. I did not.

23 Q. Was there anything in what you knew of matters to

24 suggest that the complaint made as to the way in which

25 B629 had been treated by Port and his inquiry team was

 

 

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1 justified?

2 A. I see no justification whatever.

3 Q. Thank you.

4 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Mr Phillips, can I just come in?

5 MR PHILLIPS: Yes.

6 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Sir Ronnie, you had given this

7 commitment in terms of reference and personally to

8 Mr Port --

9 A. Yes.

10 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: -- that all intelligence would be made

11 available to him. You have heard during this Inquiry

12 and, I think, latterly in relation to some of the

13 information, the action of your officers -- my terms,

14 but behind your back.

15 What reassures you that there is nothing more

16 sinister in this than officers just having a genuine

17 concern about the disclosure of this intelligence?

18 A. What reassures me is that I have known these officers

19 personally for many years. I have first-hand knowledge

20 of their dedication, their professionalism, their

21 integrity and all of this reinforces for me how strongly

22 they felt about this issue. And I think they were right

23 to feel strongly about this decision. They were right

24 to bring it before me. But the decision was clearly

25 always going to be mine and the decision was always

 

 

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1 going to be in terms of the terms of reference that I

2 had agreed for Mr Port.

3 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Thank you.

4 MR PHILLIPS: Can I ask you finally about some comments you

5 make in paragraph 184 of your statement, and this is at

6 RNI-806-205 (displayed)? We looked at it earlier in the

7 context of the concern you had about the possibility of

8 a rift, a breakdown -- you may not accept that term, but

9 difficulties anyway between Special Branch and

10 Colin Port.

11 Two lines on, you say:

12 "I was also aware that there was some friction

13 between Sam Kinkaid and SB. I don't think this was due

14 to anything in particular. I would not apportion blame

15 to any side. I think it was really a case of

16 conflicting roles and I do not believe that this

17 affected the progress of the investigation in any way."

18 Now, on Monday we discussed together that the

19 differing views which occasionally arose between CID

20 investigators, of whom Mr Kinkaid was one, and

21 Special Branch and Special Branch officers.

22 Now, when you say there, "I don't think this was due

23 to anything in particular", in relation to the friction

24 between him and Special Branch, do you think that that

25 is properly to be seen against the background of that

 

 

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1 CID/Special Branch friction?

2 A. Yes, that's how I would describe it.

3 Q. In other words, the conflict between the wishes of an

4 investigator to gather as much evidence as he could for

5 the purposes of the investigation and the concern of

6 Special Branch to protect their sources?

7 A. Indeed.

8 Q. And you were plainly aware at the time that there was

9 a particular friction point between Sam Kinkaid. Was

10 there a friction between him and particular SB officers?

11 Can I suggest, B629, for example?

12 A. I don't know if I would personalise it as an issue

13 between individual and individual. I would describe it

14 as I have in my statement as the issue of conflicting

15 roles.

16 Q. Yes.

17 A. And they're both officers for whom I have the very

18 highest regard.

19 Q. Thank you. (Pause)

20 Sorry, there is one further thing. Can I ask you to

21 look back with me at the note made by the DCI

22 in January, the note of the meeting where you were

23 explaining your reasoning to him?

24 At paragraph 5, at the bottom of the page,

25 RNI-532-193 (displayed), on a more general topic, the

 

 

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1 DCI records:

2 "One of the key points to emerge from the discussion

3 was the Chief Constable's determination to progress with

4 Special Branch/CID organisational arrangements. He said

5 frankly, that ACCE was being wholly unrealistic in

6 resisting changes which the Chief Constable wanted and

7 which Alpass had recommended and which the RUC HQ review

8 (now underway) was bound to recommend."

9 Can I take it that these were organisational changes

10 in the years after the Patten Review had reported?

11 A. The Patten Review and our own fundamental review to

12 which I earlier referred. But I cannot understand why

13 the DCI would make such a note, because I didn't view

14 ACCE as in any way obstructive to change.

15 There was one particular issue about, as I recall,

16 embedding Security Service officers in regions as well

17 as having Security Service officers at Headquarters, and

18 that was an issue for debate, but I wouldn't describe

19 that as amounting to obstruction or amounting to

20 resisting change.

21 Q. And you didn't regard B542 as fighting a rear guard

22 action, as it says?

23 A. Absolutely not. I brought B542 into Special Branch as

24 an officer who had no previous history or background in

25 Special Branch. That was all part of the change that I

 

 

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1 was seeking to bring about.

2 Q. But if we carry on to 194, where the note continues,

3 there is a reference there, do you see, in the second

4 sentence of the page:

5 "There is a risk that SB culture and practices will

6 not change, especially if B542 is replaced in his

7 image."

8 It certainly looks as though the DCI regarded that

9 as a block to progress, namely SB culture and practices?

10 A. B542 -- and I'm just making absolutely -- B542 had spent

11 a relatively very short time in Special Branch.

12 Virtually his entire background was in uniformed

13 policing. So I can see no basis whatsoever for the DCI

14 to make such a note. He certainly was not obstructive.

15 I would consider him innovative and very open to

16 progress and change.

17 Q. I appreciate the comments you have made. Putting B542

18 to one side, was SB culture and practice an obstacle to

19 making the changes that you were trying to bring about?

20 A. No, it wasn't, but clearly I think anyone involved in

21 organisational change would indicate that bringing about

22 cultural change is perhaps as difficult a change to

23 bring about as any. But I never saw it as an

24 obstruction.

25 Q. Thank you. Now, those are the questions that I had for

 

 

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1 you, but as I'm sure you know, at the end of my

2 questions I always give witnesses an opportunity to add

3 anything which you think needs to be said now, which we

4 haven't covered or which you would otherwise like to say

5 to the Tribunal.

6 A. I would first of all simply like to thank the Tribunal

7 for the courtesy and consideration shown to me as

8 a witness, and say that at the heart of all that we have

9 been considering there is a dreadful human and family

10 tragedy, and I desperately and deeply regret that this

11 dreadful murder took place and it remains my hope that

12 at some time those responsible might be brought to

13 justice.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

15 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN

16 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Sir Ronnie, could I ask you a couple

17 of questions on a particular issue which is notebooks?

18 I appreciate this is rather a pedestrian question to ask

19 after what you have said, but at, I think it is

20 paragraph 167 of your statement -- and I am afraid I do

21 not have the page reference handy -- you commented that

22 you were aware that officers in Special Branch would

23 have kept journals but these would probably have been

24 destroyed after a certain period of time. And you noted

25 that officers were allowed to keep their firearms at

 

 

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1 home with the expectation that they would be kept

2 securely, and the same would apply to journals.

3 It struck me that home is not inherently a more

4 secure place to keep journals than the office, but would

5 you like to comment on it?

6 A. It is not a spontaneous comment I made.

7 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I appreciate that.

8 A. I made it in response to questions about should they

9 keep journals at home. And I think in that context, in

10 terms of the security of a journal, I drew the parallel

11 with firearms, which they kept at home.

12 So these, particularly in relation to Special Branch

13 officers, would be officers with a very keen sense of

14 security and I wouldn't have seen a particular danger in

15 such officers keeping their journals in safe custody at

16 home.

17 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Would that apply to retired

18 officers?

19 A. I think a policy has been initiated where officers on

20 retirement are asked to hand their journals in to the

21 organisation for safe keeping and custody.

22 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right. After Rosemary Nelson was

23 murdered, was an order made, particularly given the

24 immediate allegations that were floating around, that

25 all journals should be handed in --

 

 

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1 A. I'm not aware of any such order. I didn't issue any

2 such order.

3 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Do you think it should have been?

4 A. I can't think what there might be in journals that would

5 not be available in other forms of documentation. It

6 certainly didn't occur to me personally as an order that

7 I should have given and I didn't give such an order.

8 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right. And the second question --

9 also this is a point of detail, but I hope it may be

10 clarificatory -- you were discussing with Mr Phillips

11 earlier the second meeting with the American lawyers,

12 and one point that was put to you was did you say at any

13 time that Rosemary Nelson was not entitled to the

14 protection of the law. And you said no, certainly not,

15 and indeed I cannot imagine the Chief Constable saying

16 such a thing.

17 I did wonder, is it possible that you might have

18 said -- and they might have misunderstood -- that in the

19 absence of a specific threat, she wasn't entitled to

20 the KPPS?

21 A. I certainly would not have used the word "entitled"

22 because whether an individual is admitted to the scheme

23 is not a decision for me, and having seen what

24 I considered to be absolutely glaring inaccuracies in

25 how that delegation described the meeting, I would put

 

 

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1 that comment in the same category. They do not describe

2 the meeting that I held with them.

3 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I understand that. Is it possible

4 that you made a reference to the KPPS?

5 A. It is possible that there could have been such

6 a reference, indeed. But it would not have been in

7 terms of me stating that Mrs Nelson was not entitled to

8 entry to that scheme. It is not a phrase I would have

9 used because it is not a decision for me.

10 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: But they would have known that she

11 would not have had automatic entry?

12 A. Yes, she certainly would not have had automatic entry.

13 There is quite a narrow range of officers that have

14 automatic entry to that scheme.

15 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: So it is possible that there was

16 a total misunderstanding of something that you might

17 well have said?

18 A. Certainly the note or the evidence given by them is

19 absolutely and utterly inaccurate. Whether it is

20 a misunderstanding or not, I couldn't say.

21 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Thank you.

22 A. Thank you.

23 Questions by THE CHAIRMAN

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Following up on the question from

25 Dame Valerie, so far as Special Branch officers were

 

 

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1 concerned, would you expect them to keep in their

2 journals the dates when they met their sources?

3 A. Not necessarily in their journals, but that process was

4 a rigorously documented process. In each region there

5 is what has been described in some of the papers as

6 a tasking, coordinating group. There is what used to be

7 described as a source unit and people -- SB officers

8 don't just meet their sources without a brief from the

9 source unit in the first instance.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: There might be a record in another place, in

11 the source unit or the DCG, but would you expect

12 Special Branch officers to record in their journals

13 dates when they met the sources they were handling?

14 A. I would expect them to do that, but in a very careful

15 way so that if the journal should be discovered, there

16 would be no indication of the exact location, there

17 would be no indication of identity, et cetera, et

18 cetera. So I would expect them to exhibit care in notes

19 of that nature.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: And possibly also put in their journals the

21 gist of what they were told by the source?

22 A. I wouldn't -- again, I would expect very great care in

23 that because the procedure is that they go back to the

24 source unit, where they are debriefed because

25 an individual Special Branch officer working in an

 

 

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1 individual station area will have particular interest in

2 that local area. It might well be that a particular

3 informant has knowledge or information that is valuable

4 across the piece or valuable in other areas. So

5 a source unit would brief a Special Branch handler

6 before a meeting and debrief a Special Branch handler

7 after that meeting, including debriefing and recording

8 much more than the gist of what took place in the

9 meeting, in the encounter.

10 So I would see it as an unnecessary duplication to

11 include that -- to include much detail in a personal

12 journal.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Bearing in mind the murder investigation was

14 continuing into the murder of Rosemary Nelson, would you

15 expect an officer who retired during the continuation of

16 that murder investigation to return his journal to

17 security within the RUC, or if he was a Special Branch

18 officer to Special Branch Headquarters?

19 A. But that was not a practice then; it is a practice, as

20 I have indicated, now, that has been introduced more

21 recently. I could not give you the exact date of

22 introduction of that procedure.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much.

24 Yes, Sir Anthony?

25 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

 

 

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1 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Sir Ronnie, what would you say to those

2 who might suggest that harassment of defence solicitors

3 was not just possibly the actions of a few officers, but

4 was a culture or an attitude which existed within

5 the RUC?

6 A. I have no evidence whatever that such a culture, such

7 a widespread attitude existed. I can't rule out, as

8 I indicated in my evidence, that some individual

9 officers may fall beneath the high standards required of

10 them, but I have no evidence whatever and no belief that

11 it was a widespread culture or a widely-held attitude.

12 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Would there have been checks and

13 balances within your organisation to prevent that

14 happening?

15 A. I think in terms of some of the checks and balances that

16 I described in relation to my meeting with

17 Mr Cumaraswamy, the whole regime within a holding

18 centre, all of the practices that were put in place to

19 ensure that persons in custody were properly treated,

20 the whole question of all interviews right from a very

21 early stage being monitored by close circuit television,

22 dedicated uniformed officers indeed, it was that whole

23 concept that was taken by Sir Cyril Phillips, who

24 chaired the Royal Commission which led to PACE, the

25 whole concept of custody suites with dedicated uniformed

 

 

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1 officers. So all of that I would include in the

2 definition of checks and balances.

3 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I ask your opinion, with your vast

4 experience in Northern Ireland, of the possibility or

5 the likelihood of collusion occurring at a local level

6 between a police officer or police officers with

7 Loyalist terrorists?

8 A. I have no evidence whatever. But, again, I cannot rule

9 out that in such a large organisation individuals might

10 engage in utterly unlawful and improper practices. But

11 I've no evidence to suggest, and certainly -- none

12 whatever and no personal belief that it ever was

13 a widespread practice.

14 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay, thank you very much.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Sir Ronnie, we are extremely grateful to you

16 for the obviously great care you have taken in preparing

17 yourself to give evidence before us and for the evidence

18 you have given to us. It has been a great help to us.

19 Thank you very much indeed.

20 A. Thank you very much, sir.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: We will adjourn now until quarter past three.

22 (3.00 pm)

23 (Short break)

24 (3.20 pm)

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Would you, please, take the oath, Sir David?

 

 

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1 SIR DAVID PHILLIPS (sworn)

2 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Please sit down.

4 A. Thank you.

5 MR PHILLIPS: Sir David, could you give us your full name,

6 please?

7 A. John David Phillips.

8 Q. I think it is right, isn't it, that you have made

9 a statement to the Inquiry?

10 A. I have.

11 Q. Could I have it on the screen, please, at RNI-817-064

12 (displayed)? Do we see your signature at RNI-817-081

13 (displayed), and the date there of 6 June 2007?

14 A. That is correct.

15 Q. Thank you. I would like to go back with you to the

16 first paragraph of your statement, please, at

17 RNI-817-061 (displayed). Thank you. And there you tell

18 us about the position you held at the time you were

19 contacted after the murder of Rosemary Nelson. You were

20 the Chief Constable of Kent, weren't you?

21 A. I was.

22 Q. At the same time you were also the Chairman of the Crime

23 Committee of ACPO?

24 A. I was.

25 Q. Which you had been Chairman and Secretary of for some

 

 

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1 years?

2 A. Correct.

3 Q. Thank you. It was in that role, as I understand it,

4 that you set up the working group which in due course,

5 under the leadership of Ian Humphreys, produced the

6 murder investigation manual?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you to tell the Tribunal in your

9 own words what was the murder investigation manual?

10 A. It was an attempt to formulate best practice as guidance

11 to senior investigating officers. It represented

12 doctrine, and that meant its purpose was there to be

13 guidance for investigators, but it was not meant to be

14 mandatory. It was a document that offered them the best

15 advice that we had at that time, but all advice of this

16 kind has to be dealt with in context.

17 Q. So can I just pick up a couple of points arising from

18 that answer, the first that it was guidance and not

19 mandatory?

20 A. That is correct.

21 Q. And the second that it, as I understand it, represented

22 existing best practice?

23 A. That is correct.

24 Q. Thank you. Now, the final comment you made, as

25 I understood it, was to say that how it came to be

 

 

135

 

1 applied would depend in each case on the very particular

2 context of the investigation. Is that right?

3 A. That is correct.

4 Q. Thank you. Can I ask to you move on in your statement

5 to paragraph 3, please? This is RNI-817-065

6 (displayed). You tell us there that you were on leave

7 at the time of Rosemary Nelson's murder and were

8 telephoned by the HMI, who asked you whether you would

9 be willing to assist in relation to that investigation.

10 Is that correct?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. As you understood it, what were you being invited to do?

13 A. As I understood it, it was to provide the then Royal

14 Ulster Constabulary and the investigation team with the

15 best possible advice that was available from our

16 position of knowledge in the Crime Committee.

17 Q. And was it that consideration about the best advice that

18 led you, once you had decided to help out, to bring with

19 you Mr Humphreys?

20 A. It was.

21 Q. Now, so far as the level of your assistance was

22 concerned, you tell in this same paragraph that it was

23 not practically possible for you to lead an

24 investigation in Northern Ireland. Presumably you mean

25 there you couldn't combine your duties as

 

 

136

 

1 Chief Constable in Kent with that role in

2 Northern Ireland?

3 A. I would imagine that if you became effectively the

4 senior investigating officer in an awful murder of this

5 sort, and one which was clearly of such importance, that

6 you would have to dedicate yourself almost entirely to

7 it. You cannot conduct that role without doing so.

8 Therefore, it was incompatible with my responsibility as

9 Chief Constable of the county of Kent to do that.

10 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you, please, to look on to

11 paragraph 6 of your statement at the bottom of this same

12 page, RNI-817-065? Could you enlarge it, please, so we

13 can see it on the screen? Can we have the whole of that

14 paragraph? Thank you.

15 It says that you:

16 "... immediately became aware that there was a good

17 deal of concern in Northern Ireland regarding the murder

18 of Rosemary Nelson. Ronnie Flanagan was clearly very

19 disturbed that this should have happened and was

20 concerned that it should be handled in such a way that

21 it did not derail the peace process."

22 Just arising from that, please, it was obvious to

23 you from the outset that this was a murder with the

24 potential for serious political consequences?

25 A. That is correct.

 

 

137

 

1 Q. And in the time that you spent in Northern Ireland, were

2 you aware of that political background and, indeed, of

3 the media spotlight which was upon the investigation?

4 A. Yes, I was.

5 Q. Indeed, it looks from the paragraph we first looked at

6 together on this page, paragraph 3, as though it was

7 precisely because of the difficulty of the case, but

8 also, as you say, its importance to the peace process,

9 that you agreed to help?

10 A. I suppose that's true, yes.

11 Q. Now, so far as the political context of the

12 investigation, the media interest that I have mentioned,

13 so far as those factors are concerned, did that make it

14 a unique investigation in your experience?

15 A. Many major inquiries have got occasional considerable

16 media interest, but I think this one probably was more

17 than any other that I had been involved in, yes.

18 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you to look, please, with me at

19 a document which was sent, we believe, to you by

20 Sir Ronnie Flanagan? It is at RNI-837-244 (displayed).

21 This may be a draft, it doesn't have a precise date

22 in the top right-hand corner, but you see it is

23 addressed to you, it bears what appears to be his

24 signature?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. It looks as though it is, as it were, the formal record

2 of your agreement to assist?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Now, so far as formal terms of reference are concerned,

5 as I understand it, you didn't agree with him formal

6 terms of reference at any stage. Is that correct?

7 A. Well, it became apparent when I came over to

8 Northern Ireland that Ronnie Flanagan felt there needed

9 to be the direct involvement of a chief officer leading

10 the investigation, and I made it clear that I was not in

11 a position to do that, and I suppose, as time

12 transpired, that was the resolve of both of us.

13 Q. Can I ask you a question about the terms of this

14 document, and in particular about the penultimate

15 paragraph, where it says:

16 "You will have total access to all intelligence, all

17 lines of enquiry and to all aspects of the

18 investigation"?

19 Now, the reference in particular to intelligence,

20 was that something -- the need for access to it -- that

21 you and Sir Ronnie discussed?

22 A. Yes, I had said to Ronnie Flanagan that in an

23 investigation of this kind, as was practice on the

24 mainland, I would expect the senior investigating

25 officer to have access to the real sources of

 

 

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1 intelligence and that without that, he would be blind.

2 I was not seeking access to the intelligence for

3 myself; I was seeking access to the intelligence for the

4 inquiry. And Ronnie Flanagan agreed to that.

5 Q. Can I ask you to look at the relevant part of your

6 statement, just so we can put this in some context. In

7 paragraph 24 at RNI-817-072 (displayed), you tell us

8 that at an early meeting with Ronnie Flanagan you made

9 it clear that in order to progress the investigation in

10 an unquestionable way, access would be required to

11 Special Branch sources regarding the likely perpetrators

12 of the crime.

13 Can I just ask you to clarify for us what you mean

14 by "in an unquestionable way"?

15 A. I think the context of our involvement was the need to

16 satisfy opinion that the investigation was going to be

17 completely objective. There were suggestions that -- of

18 collusion and if we were to satisfy people that the

19 inquiry was unhindered, we would need that level of

20 access. And it is in that context that I use here the

21 word "unquestionable way".

22 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you to turn over, as it were,

23 on the screen, to the next page, RNI-817-073

24 (displayed), because here you return to the topic of the

25 need for the SIO to have access to intelligence. And

 

 

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1 four lines from the top of the page, you say:

2 "As far as I am aware, investigators typically

3 received sanitised versions of the information available

4 to Special Branch. Ronnie Flanagan said that he would

5 make sure Special Branch sources would be made available

6 under control conditions."

7 So it suggests, doesn't it, that there was

8 a discussion at this sort of level between you and he,

9 in which he gave you that assurance?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. Thank you. Can I just come back to the question of your

12 arrival in Northern Ireland having agreed to assist, and

13 you have already mentioned that when you arrived, it

14 became clear to you and, you think, to Sir Ronnie that

15 you would not be able to combine your role as

16 Chief Constable with a full role as the head of the

17 investigation? Was it obvious to you when you arrived

18 that there was a media and a public perception that your

19 role was going to be much greater than you had

20 understood?

21 A. There was a growing -- I had a growing perception that

22 that was the case and I wanted to take early steps to

23 make sure that that was not presented to the media.

24 I suppose, in a sense, the term had been suggested

25 "supervising the inquiry". I was of the view that

 

 

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1 effectively supervision of an investigation doesn't

2 really make sense. You either have an investigating

3 officer in whom you place trust, and a review process,

4 or you have confusion with two different people trying

5 to control the same event.

6 Q. That's a view you express in your statement, isn't it?

7 A. It is a view I express in my statement, yes.

8 Q. Is it part of your central theme here, which is the need

9 for there to be a single senior investigating officer

10 with complete command of the investigation?

11 A. Yes, and complete access to material.

12 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just look at a contemporaneous

13 document, which deals with the nature of your role and,

14 indeed, that of the FBI personnel who became involved?

15 This is at RNI-835-007 (displayed), and the part of it

16 that I wanted to ask you about is in fact at the bottom

17 of this page, the fifth paragraph:

18 "The Kent Constabulary and the FBI, will therefore

19 provide independent and professional scrutiny of the

20 investigative process to be conducted by the RUC."

21 Now, this, as you see from the top of the page, is

22 described as a press release. Can you remember whether

23 it was ever in fact released to the press?

24 A. I can't.

25 Q. Is the statement which we have on the screen there about

 

 

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1 the nature of your role accurate, as far as you are

2 concerned?

3 A. Generally, yes.

4 Q. And what about your understanding of the FBI's role in

5 the process? Is it also generally accurate?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Thank you. So far as the dealings you had with RUC

8 officers involved in the murder investigation is

9 concerned, can I ask you this rather general question:

10 how were you received by the RUC personnel?

11 A. Very well.

12 Q. Thank you. And can I ask you this question: were there

13 ever occasions during your involvement with the

14 investigation when you felt you were in any way excluded

15 by MIT personnel?

16 A. There was no occasion when I felt excluded.

17 Q. Thank you. And did you form an impression as to the way

18 in which the investigation was being handled on your

19 arrival by the senior investigating officer,

20 Sam Kinkaid?

21 A. So far as I could tell, it seemed to me that all the

22 proper steps had been taken and that the investigation

23 was in professional hands.

24 Q. Thank you. Is it also right to say that, as far as you

25 were aware, the SIO was advocating a thorough approach

 

 

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1 to the investigation of the allegations of collusion

2 that had been made?

3 A. I can't recall specifically. I do recall having

4 discussions about the issue and saying that it should be

5 raised as an issue, and my response to it was to take

6 certain steps in relation to analysis.

7 Q. Can you help us with what those steps were?

8 A. Collusion is a -- perhaps a difficult word to define,

9 but it seemed to me it might represent two things:

10 either that rogue officers within the force had colluded

11 with terrorists to make this possible; or it might mean

12 that the organisation itself, or some part of the

13 organisation, was complicit in the crime.

14 If it was the latter, then it seemed to me we should

15 find something about the nature of the police response

16 to the incidents on that night or the night preceding

17 the murder which would be untypical. I, therefore,

18 proposed that an analyst be called in to look at the

19 sequence of events that night, to find comparable

20 occasions in Northern Ireland and to see whether the

21 response was noticeably different or untypical.

22 If it was the former -- that's to say if rogue

23 officers were involved in some way in supporting those

24 who had committed the crime -- then that could

25 presumably only be discovered in the course of the

 

 

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1 investigation by the detection of the crime.

2 Q. In relation to that question of activity on the weekend

3 before the murder, there were allegations, weren't

4 there, made very shortly after the murder that there had

5 been a notable amount of security force activity around

6 the area in which Rosemary Nelson lived that weekend?

7 A. I believe there was.

8 Q. And as I understand it, the analyst to whom you have

9 referred came in to do the task of getting together all

10 the pieces of information and analysing them with

11 exactly the points you have just made in mind. Is that

12 correct?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as your early work on the

15 investigation is concerned, can I ask you to look at

16 paragraph 22 of your statement? This is at RNI-817-071

17 (displayed). This records a meeting with the

18 Chief Constable and, you think, possibly an FBI

19 representative, and it looks as though one of the

20 matters discussed in that first meeting was the question

21 which we have just been talking about of the

22 investigation of collusion. Do you see that?

23 A. Yes, I do.

24 Q. And there you set out the two ways of looking at it,

25 which you have just explained to us in your evidence.

 

 

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1 Can you remember what Sir Ronnie's attitude to the

2 question of collusion and how to go about investigating

3 it was?

4 A. I don't recall a discussion about how we might

5 investigate it, but certainly there was no obstruction

6 to the issue of collusion being raised, so to speak, as

7 a line of enquiry.

8 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just in a sense fast forward to

9 the end, if I can put it that way, and to the moment

10 when it became clear to you that what was possible from

11 your point of view and the expectations there did not

12 match?

13 Now, you wrote, I think, didn't you, to the

14 Permanent Undersecretary, explaining your position on

15 26 March 1999. Is that correct?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. And if we look together at RNI-107-111.498 (displayed),

18 we will see a copy of your letter addressed to

19 Mr Pilling, and you say there in the third line, if I

20 can just remind you:

21 "From the outset, I made it plain that neither I nor

22 my officers would take responsibility for the

23 investigation."

24 Then you say:

25 "It was agreed that I and the legal attaché ..."

 

 

146

 

1 That's from the FBI:

2 "... would offer support and advice and seek to

3 quality assure the investigation, and to this end we

4 would supply advisers and observers."

5 Just on that latter point, in addition to

6 Mr Humphreys, you brought DCI Gutsell from Kent, didn't

7 you?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. And he had Special Branch experience?

10 A. He did.

11 Q. And I think you tell us in your evidence, in your

12 statement, that that's precisely why you brought him?

13 A. Correct.

14 Q. Now, in the second paragraph, you say:

15 "There has been a degree of political pressure for

16 my role to be transformed so as to assume direction of

17 the enquiry."

18 So can I take it that when you got to

19 Northern Ireland, you found that it wasn't just the

20 public and the media who wanted you to take charge, but

21 that those with the political side of things in mind

22 were keen for you to be involved in that way?

23 A. I think that's the case. I can't specifically remember

24 conversations about it from Mr Pilling, but I think that

25 was the case.

 

 

147

 

1 Q. And presumably this was all part of the perceived need

2 to ensure that the investigation was not only thorough

3 and perceived to be thorough, but also that it had an

4 element of real independence?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Thank you. Now, as I understand it, you explained your

7 position to Mr Pilling in the numbered paragraphs, which

8 we see here, 1 to 5, I think it is, and the paragraph

9 that I would like to ask you about is 4, on the next

10 page, RNI-107-111.499 (displayed), where you say -- if

11 we could enlarge that, please:

12 "The concept of an investigation led by an outsider

13 but enquired into by local officers is flawed. It would

14 not generate the confidence that is sought, nor would it

15 be practical."

16 Just so I'm clear about this, are you referring

17 there to the set-up where there would be local officers

18 doing, as it were, the body of the work but an outside

19 officer leading the investigation?

20 A. That is what I'm referring to, yes.

21 Q. In due course, as you know, Mr Port took over and he was

22 the officer in overall command, and then there were in

23 the end two senior officers beneath him, Mr Kinkaid and,

24 slightly later, Mr Provoost, who came from Greater

25 Manchester.

 

 

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1 Did that arrangement, which was put in place after

2 your departure -- did that offend against the principle

3 you set out there?

4 A. I suppose that it does.

5 Q. So would you have had reservations about the way in

6 which the investigation was set up after your departure?

7 A. Sometimes in a difficult context you have to compromise,

8 and I think that the pressure for the investigation to

9 be led by someone who was independent and external to

10 the force was clear; it was clear in the mind of

11 Ronnie Flanagan. But it would have been entirely

12 impractical, I think, to make enquiries in the community

13 with officers who had no understanding of the community

14 and didn't know their way round. So it was

15 a compromise. It was not a perfect situation, but it is

16 often difficult to obtain perfection in difficult

17 situations.

18 Q. Indeed. But presumably you would accept that there were

19 various ways in which it could have been made to work?

20 A. Yes, I do.

21 Q. Thank you. Now, just returning to the role that Mr Port

22 played, namely the officer in overall command, how does

23 that approach fit in with your theme in your statement

24 of the central importance of the senior investigating

25 officer?

 

 

149

 

1 A. I'm not sure I entirely understand the question.

2 Q. It is entirely my fault. Can we start by looking at

3 your statement in paragraph 8 at RNI-817-066

4 (displayed), where you talk about the role of the senior

5 investigating officer?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. "There can only be one investigating officer, who should

8 be privy to everything in the investigation"?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. That's where you make the point which you have already

11 made in your evidence: that you don't agree with the

12 idea of supervision. What you advocate is reviewing

13 investigations led by an SIO?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. So what I wanted to ask you is what impact on that, if

16 any, does the imposition above that, above that level of

17 an officer in overall command, have?

18 A. I think effectively -- I mean, I was not part of the

19 arrangements whereby Colin Port was either selected or

20 tasked, but it would seem to me that he had become the

21 SIO.

22 Q. And as far as you were concerned, that was the key

23 thing, because that was the way you believed effective

24 investigations were run?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

150

 

1 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as your actual involvement is

2 concerned, I would like to start at the end by looking

3 at paragraph 37 of your statement, RNI-817-080

4 (displayed), because having described your involvement,

5 you say that:

6 "My involvement thereafter ..."

7 That's after April 199:

8 "... was extremely limited."

9 And you give a couple of examples there of letters.

10 So we have understood the position, as far as we can see

11 you made two or possibly three visits to

12 Northern Ireland in the immediate aftermath of the

13 murder. Is that right?

14 A. Probably so.

15 Q. And then you were present for what you, I think,

16 described somewhere as a handover, effectively, to

17 Colin Port on or about 7 April?

18 A. I was.

19 Q. And after that, is it fair to say that your involvement

20 was very limited indeed?

21 A. It is correct.

22 Q. You made yourself, as it were, available should he wish

23 to consult you on an issue or issues, but in the event,

24 as I understand it, that did not happen?

25 A. That is correct. In a sense, I was saying to Colin Port

 

 

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1 that I recognise that if he was to conduct an

2 investigation which had aspects to it of secrecy, he

3 would not want much outside involvement. But if he came

4 across circumstances in which he felt he needed support,

5 I would be there.

6 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just look again with you at this

7 question of your view in relation to access to

8 intelligence?

9 We have touched on the general point and you have

10 explained clearly your position on that. I would like

11 to look with you now, please, at a passage in the

12 Operation Cornwall log, which by way of introduction is

13 the log maintained by your officers of their involvement

14 in the investigation, isn't it?

15 A. It is, yes.

16 Q. Thank you. And the passage is at RNI-836-050

17 (displayed), and here, at 16.00 hours on the 7th, you

18 are having a meeting with the Chief Constable,

19 Sir Ronnie Flanagan, with Mr Humphreys. And there are

20 redactions there, so I won't get into the details of

21 those other persons present.

22 This was, as it were, the sign-off meeting, as far

23 as one can see, with Sir Ronnie because it followed

24 a meeting that you had held with Mr Port and the SIO and

25 Messrs Humphreys and Gutsell, which we will come back to

 

 

152

 

1 later. But here you are recorded in the log as saying

2 that you were:

3 "... satisfied with the conduct of the investigation

4 to date."

5 And you reinforced the need for Mr Port to be given

6 total access to all relevant intelligence. And the

7 Chief Constable, Sir Ronnie, is recorded as being

8 emphatic that Mr Port will be given every access to

9 support he required.

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. So it looks as though in, as it were, your sign-off

12 meeting, you made a point of saying to Sir Ronnie that

13 this was important, that Mr Port, as it were the new man

14 in charge, should be given total access to relevant

15 intelligence?

16 A. At that stage of the enquiry, it was clear there were no

17 eye-witnesses, there were no witnesses coming forward

18 with material evidence, there was no forensic evidence

19 pointing directly at a suspect and in the absence of

20 those things, the most likely successful route to the --

21 to establishing the identity of the killers would be

22 through intelligence, which is probably why I was

23 stressing that point.

24 Q. Yes. So in other words, by this stage, 7 April, you

25 were clear in your mind that this had to be essentially

 

 

153

 

1 an intelligence-led investigation?

2 A. I think all investigations should be intelligence-led

3 and intelligence-led at a loose sort of level. But I

4 don't think that means that you close down other

5 options.

6 There were still things to be completed in the

7 periphery of the enquiry, and if at any stage anything

8 cropped up -- and it often does in an investigation --

9 then other lines of enquiry could open. But it seemed

10 to be the central line of enquiry rather than the

11 essential one.

12 Q. Yes. So as at this point, 7 April, as you say, it

13 seemed to be the central line.

14 Can I just go back to something you said just

15 a little before that? As I understand it, what you are

16 saying is that in many investigations things can crop

17 up, the unexpected can occur and presumably one has to

18 have an open mind and be ready to follow new leads, go

19 down new lines of enquiry as and when that occurs?

20 A. I think the murder manual makes the point, and both

21 myself and Ian Humphreys have always made the point at

22 all the investigations that one way or another we have

23 been involved in: the investigator has to keep an open

24 mine -- that doesn't mean a vacant mind, it means an

25 open mind -- and be alive to the possibility of the

 

 

154

 

1 investigation taking an unexpected turn.

2 Q. Does that mean in turn being prepared to question and

3 challenge your own thinking up to that point to see

4 whether it needs to be revisited, reviewed, revised?

5 A. I think that should always be part of the process. I

6 think with an investigation, if you develop a hypothesis

7 as to how you think this crime was carried out and why

8 you think this crime was carried out, you have to ask

9 yourself is there anything we could find that would

10 undermine those suppositions. So we are looking not

11 only for evidence to confirm our hypothesis, but also

12 for evidence to counter it, and if we don't, then surely

13 the defence will.

14 Q. Yes, thank you. Can I just look at an earlier note

15 within the log on this same topic of intelligence?

16 This, I think, comes on the first day when you were in

17 Northern Ireland, 18 March, and it is at RNI-836-026

18 (displayed). Here, the note on the left-hand, do you

19 see, "10.25, RUC Headquarters", there is a discussion

20 recorded between you and Sir Ronnie and others regarding

21 terms of reference. We have touched on that and I don't

22 want to return to it.

23 Then there is another meeting, attended by ACC B542

24 as the Head of Special Branch, and yourself, somebody

25 from the FBI, the Regional Head of Special Branch, who

 

 

155

 

1 is B629, and Messrs Humphreys and Gutsell. And the part

2 that I want to draw to your attention is two lines down

3 from the introductions, as it were, where it says:

4 "Agreement that the monitoring team would be made

5 privy to all relevant SB intelligence in relation to the

6 Nelson investigation."

7 So, so far as you and your colleagues and the FBI

8 were concerned, this was something that was agreed with

9 Special Branch at this very early stage of your

10 involvement?

11 A. That is correct.

12 Q. And then you continue:

13 "This would be achieved vis-à-vis DCI Gutsell, Kent

14 acting as monitoring team liaison officer."

15 He was the Special Branch officer we talked about

16 earlier.

17 A. Correct.

18 Q. "It was also agreed that such intelligence should be

19 made available to the SIO".

20 In other words, Mr Kinkaid?

21 A. Correct.

22 Q. "In the event of there being intelligence which the RUC

23 SB did not wish to disclose to the SIO, if there was any

24 conflict in relation to the belief by the monitoring

25 team that it raised the line of enquiry, DCI Gutsell

 

 

156

 

1 would inform the Chief Constable, Kent ..."

2 That's you obviously:

3 "... who would take up the matter with the

4 Chief Constable, RUC."

5 Just looking at the various points raised by that,

6 you were seeking to ensure that you and your colleagues

7 and the FBI had access to all Special Branch

8 intelligence, with DCI Gutsell acting as the liaison man

9 with Special Branch, but also that the SIO should have

10 the same access?

11 A. Yes, I was.

12 Q. And presumably that was consistent with the view that

13 you have expressed and stated in your statement that the

14 SIO needed to have access to everything?

15 A. I gave it this level of emphasis because I think it

16 constituted a departure from normal policy within the

17 force.

18 Q. Within Northern Ireland?

19 A. Within Northern Ireland.

20 Q. Yes. And this is a reference to the sanitisation

21 process that you mention in your statement?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And as far as you were concerned, that wasn't

24 sufficient; what was required was complete access?

25 A. Correct.

 

 

157

 

1 Q. Thank you. Now, where there is a reference at the end

2 of this passage to what would happen in the event of

3 conflict, was it understood and anticipated even at this

4 stage in the meeting that there might be information

5 which Special Branch were not content to share with the

6 SIO?

7 A. It was conceivable.

8 Q. But the fact that a procedure was set up for resolving

9 disputes through you and eventually Sir Ronnie, suggests

10 that it was anticipated?

11 A. I'm not sure that that would be the case. I think it

12 was more the case that I wanted to be certain that there

13 would be unhindered access to this material, and as it

14 represented a change in policy for the force, that that

15 was clearly understood.

16 Q. Yes.

17 A. And that there was a reality to the statement, there was

18 a process, if it was not working.

19 Q. Now, so far as the senior Special Branch officers who

20 were present at this meeting were concerned, did they

21 raise any objection to what you were proposing?

22 A. No.

23 Q. Did they express any reservations?

24 A. Not to me.

25 Q. Did you become aware of them expressing reservations to

 

 

158

 

1 others?

2 A. I don't think so.

3 Q. Thank you. Did you at this stage raise with

4 Special Branch the issue of getting access direct to

5 sources?

6 A. I think it is explicit in what I have already said that

7 David Gutsell and, if necessary, the SIO would know what

8 was constituted in the raw intelligence.

9 Q. The reason I put it in the way that I did is in fact

10 prompted by a remark you make right at the end of your

11 statement, and I would like to show it to you, please.

12 It is in paragraph 39 at RNI-817-800 (displayed) where,

13 having summarised your role in the investigation, you

14 return to the topic of intelligence. You say:

15 "In the end, it would all depend on how strong the

16 intelligence was. Intelligence is notoriously sketchy.

17 This is one of the reasons I thought it was so important

18 that the SIO review and have access to the source of any

19 intelligence. He could not be just chasing shadows."

20 A. Correct.

21 Q. So it sounds as though this question of access to the

22 source was something that was very much in your thinking

23 during your involvement with the investigation?

24 A. Over a period of some years I had been involved in

25 developing policy around intelligence and around

 

 

159

 

1 investigation, and I was and still am of the firm view

2 that whilst it is important to protect the intelligence,

3 it is also important that an SIO must have access to its

4 source, because only the SIO can really make a judgment

5 about whether or not that is relevant.

6 Now, this is not something that everybody has found

7 easy, but in my view if you cannot trust the SIO, whom

8 can you trust. And I believe it is essential for

9 justice that the view the SIO has of all the evidence is

10 unblinkered.

11 Q. Was it a point of view, the view you have just expressed

12 to us, that you remember expressing either to

13 Special Branch officers in Northern Ireland or to

14 Sir Ronnie during the time you were there?

15 A. I would hesitate to be pedantic about the issue in

16 Northern Ireland because I had not worked here and the

17 problems here were probably more especial than the

18 problems I had encountered in my professional career.

19 But that is the view I had taken in England anyway, and

20 it was the view that I brought to this inquiry for the

21 purpose of this inquiry.

22 Q. So it seems likely in those circumstances that you would

23 have expressed that view during your time in

24 Northern Ireland?

25 A. Almost certainly, yes.

 

 

160

 

1 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you to look back at the

2 passage in the log we were considering, RNI-836-026

3 (displayed), and the note of the meeting? Do you

4 remember there was a system set up in the meeting in the

5 event of dispute? Can you recall whether in fact there

6 was a dispute which required you to intervene --

7 A. There were none brought to my attention.

8 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just ask you a question prompted

9 by one of the documents which you have exhibited to your

10 statement? I think it is a note which was either

11 written in your hotel or on paper that had come from

12 your hotel, and that's at RNI-836-011 (displayed).

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Now, you are going to be much happier reading the

15 writing than I am. I am afraid it is not a very good

16 copy anyway, but there is a reference there to technical

17 opportunities in the second line. Do you see that?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And what I wanted to understand from you is this: as far

20 as you can recall, does this note come from that time in

21 the investigation you referred to earlier, when it was

22 obvious that the use of intelligence in this case

23 obtained through technical means was going to have to

24 drive the investigation on because there weren't the

25 eye-witnesses, et cetera, et cetera, that you mentioned?

 

 

161

 

1 A. Intelligence doesn't constitute evidence. If we were to

2 turn it into evidence, this would be one practical way

3 of doing so. The opportunities would be either to find

4 evidence by arresting and searching the suspects or to

5 interview them, but it would be unlikely, given local

6 experience, that they would make confessions. And

7 thirdly, it would be to eavesdrop effectively upon them,

8 and it is eavesdropping to which I'm obviously

9 referring.

10 Q. Thank you. We can look at the context and, indeed,

11 I now see we have got a full transcript of what you say

12 in paragraph 28 of your statement, RNI-817-075

13 (displayed), because there it is set out.

14 Unfortunately, some of it is redacted but it is easier

15 to read.

16 As I understand it, that is where you are explaining

17 your thinking in that note and in what you have been

18 telling us about the ways in which you might turn

19 intelligence into evidence which could be used in an

20 investigation and, of course, thereafter in any

21 prosecution?

22 A. Correct.

23 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just go back to the topic we

24 talked about right at the outset, which is the murder

25 investigation manual? What I would like to do is to ask

 

 

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1 you some questions picking up some of the points that we

2 touched on at the outset on context.

3 What were the obvious differences, as you saw them,

4 in the challenges faced by this investigation team as

5 opposed to, for example, a murder investigation team

6 operating in your constabulary in Kent?

7 A. I suppose in the first place there was the difficulty of

8 establishing a relationship with the family based upon

9 confidence. It is crucial in most murder enquiries to

10 get to know, so to speak, the victim in retrospect and

11 to do that you need to be able to -- you need to rely on

12 the family.

13 There clearly was some difficulty in terms of the

14 relationships, and that would be a major issue to

15 address. To try to develop a better knowledge would

16 depend upon developing a relationship with the victim's

17 family.

18 I suppose the second thing was that if you were

19 dealing with a murder where it is possible that

20 terrorism or organised crime have a hand, then you can

21 expect that you will be facing witnesses who might be

22 threatened and you might be looking at investigating in

23 a hostile environment.

24 So these are all inhibitions to the normal course of

25 event, which you would seek to plan for.

 

 

163

 

1 Q. Thank you. I will return to both of those in a moment.

2 On the question of the fact that this was regarded

3 as a terrorist murder from the outset, as it appears, to

4 what extent would you say that the manual was applicable

5 and usable in practice in the case of the investigation

6 of a terrorist crime such as this?

7 A. Well, many parts of it would still be relevant. You

8 would still be concerned to protect, investigate and

9 interpret the scene. You would still require a search

10 strategy. You would still -- you would still seek to

11 look at what fast time enquiries you might make. You

12 would still want to do a victimology at some stage. So

13 there would be many aspects which would be similar.

14 But because, if you were dealing with a terrorist

15 incident or a likely terrorist incident, you would have

16 to expect that intelligence would play a much more --

17 a much greater part, then the emphasis within the

18 investigation that related to intelligence would be

19 greater. I mean, what we had planned for in the manual,

20 I think, was the prospect of placing an intelligence

21 cell, if necessary, within the incident room of a murder

22 enquiry. In this case, it would clearly have been of

23 quite considerable importance.

24 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the manual itself is

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

 

 

164

 

1 some of DCI Gutsell's notes? The page I want you to

2 look at with me is RNI-836-074 (displayed), and this is

3 another lot of handwriting. I believe these to be notes

4 of the meeting, I think on 18 March, when you first

5 arrived. If you look at the initials at the top, yours

6 are first, then two have been redacted and Mr Gutsell's

7 and Sam Kinkaid's, I think it is, come next. You are

8 recorded as speaking from the part where it says:

9 "DPR thoughts."

10 Then this phrase, which I think I can read:

11 "Murder manual for you tomorrow."

12 So was the idea that an actual copy of the manual

13 would be brought over? Is that the point?

14 A. I think it is. I can't be certain now, but I seem to

15 recall that it was not the basis of investigation in

16 Northern Ireland at that time.

17 Q. Yes. That's the question I wanted to come on to. As

18 you recall it, had the manual been introduced to

19 Northern Ireland by this point in March 1999?

20 A. I'm not certain, but I don't think that it had.

21 Q. Now, to the extent that it represented, as you told us,

22 best practice, presumably you would have expected best

23 practice to be followed, whether or not the formal

24 introduction of the manual had taken place?

25 A. I'm sure we would always wish to follow best practice.

 

 

165

 

1 I don't know what had occurred in the Royal Ulster

2 Constabulary, as it then was, about the manual, but it

3 was certainly generally available.

4 Q. And as far as you could tell from talking to the

5 officers who you met, the RUC officers in the

6 investigation, was it something they were at least

7 aware of?

8 A. I can't recall.

9 Q. But did you see it as your role and that of Mr Humphreys

10 to bring to the investigation, as it were, the benefits

11 of the work that you had done in producing the manual

12 and the best practice that it embodied?

13 A. I think Mr Humphreys and I were very much advocates for

14 the manual.

15 Q. So the answer is yes?

16 A. The answer is yes.

17 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just ask you some questions on

18 a few topics which emerged in the very early days of the

19 investigation? But before I do, I would like to return

20 to the nature of your role, if I may. We have heard

21 from you that the two Kent officers went to

22 Northern Ireland with you. I think it is right, isn't

23 it, that they arrived there before you did?

24 A. I think that's right.

25 Q. And their involvement with the investigation was more

 

 

166

 

1 substantial than yours was?

2 A. Yes, they were there all the time.

3 Q. Would it be fair to say that your role and the advice

4 that you gave was at a strategic level rather than at

5 a level of any particular detail?

6 A. Generally, yes.

7 Q. Thank you. Now, it is right, isn't it, that

8 intelligence was received while you were involved with

9 the investigation -- in other words, at an early

10 stage -- as to who might have been involved in the

11 murder and who may have made the bomb?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Can I take it from the answer you have just given me

14 that you did not have detailed knowledge and you didn't

15 read in detail any of that relevant intelligence?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. Thank you. And so to the extent that you were made

18 aware of it, that presumably was based on briefings

19 given to you by other MIT officers?

20 A. Correct.

21 Q. Thank you. And did you receive from those briefings any

22 impression as to how confident the MIT officers were in

23 the soundness of that intelligence?

24 A. Well, I'm not sure how to answer that question

25 accurately. That was the intelligence. It is always my

 

 

167

 

1 view with intelligence, because if it was better than

2 intelligence, then it could be supported by evidence,

3 that you take serious account of it and if they have

4 confidence in the source, then you see what options are

5 open to you because of it. But I can't really recall

6 what level of confidence they were placing on it. My

7 best recollection is they were fairly confident

8 about it.

9 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as that is concerned, one of the

10 documents you refer to in your statement is a note that

11 I believe you believe you prepared at RNI-836-010

12 (displayed) and headed "Intelligence issues". Can

13 I take it that, again, this came from that time of the

14 investigation when it was clear to you that, as it were,

15 turning intelligence into evidence was the way forward?

16 A. Correct.

17 Q. Thank you.

18 A. I mean, my concern here implicitly is that if there is

19 intelligence directing us in a particular way, we should

20 be looking at whether or not our intelligence capability

21 is able to give it greater strength. Can we support it?

22 Which is one of the reasons why I was saying to people,

23 it is necessary that the SIO has access and it is

24 necessary that they are in a position to test it out.

25 If this was to be a main line of enquiry, we needed

 

 

168

 

1 to know what level of confidence we could have in the

2 source and could it be buttressed in any way.

3 Q. Is this the process known as validation?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Thank you very much. Can I take you to a part of the

6 log which also deals with this question? It is a note

7 on 25 March which, if we keep it on the screen, you see

8 there was going to be a review on that day, on the

9 bottom of the screen. The relevant note in the log is

10 at RNI-846-037, please (displayed). This records you

11 talking about various points, and at B, do you see, you

12 are recorded as saying:

13 "The SIO to establish:

14 "How much intelligence exists.

15 "The validity and scope"?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Now, perhaps talking in reasonably general terms, given

18 the nature of your involvement in this issue, what would

19 you have expected by way of validation once this

20 intelligence had been received?

21 A. In a sense, what I was -- I mean, perhaps this record

22 reads in a more instructive way than was intended.

23 I saw my role as trying to make sure -- to give the best

24 advice possible to those investigating the crime, to

25 stimulate their thinking about which ways to go. And I

 

 

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1 was suggesting to the SIO that if intelligence is the

2 crucial source that we presently have available, it

3 needed to be strengthened and validated. So that would

4 mean looking at the intelligence and asking questions

5 like, you know: what do we know about the source; what

6 level of access to information do we think they have;

7 what's their previous track record in providing

8 information that's valid and invalid and so on; is there

9 anything -- can we go back to the source and find, by

10 questioning or by some sort of contact, any other detail

11 that we might be able to substantiate, looking for

12 collateral routes to support the same information.

13 I would have thought it would have been important,

14 and I would have impressed upon them that it would be

15 important not just to accept it, but it so important to

16 say -- not only so that we could validate it, but it

17 might open up lines of enquiry where material evidence

18 could be obtained. So that would be the background

19 to it.

20 Q. Presumably in that process you would say, as you did in

21 answer to a question of mine a little while ago, that

22 the need to keep an open mind was important there as in

23 all aspects of the investigation, namely if in that

24 process something emerged which seemed to go against the

25 intelligence, then one would have to regroup, review,

 

 

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1 reconsider and decide what impact that had?

2 A. Definitely.

3 Q. Thank you. Now, on the question of open mind, this

4 appears to be a theme in a number of the meetings that

5 you had with the investigation team, and I would like to

6 just go through a couple of examples with you. The

7 first is at RNI-836-027 (displayed).

8 Here, you are talking at paragraph 1 about a crime

9 scene assessment -- and this is a matter you deal with

10 in your statement:

11 "The facts are clear, but afford several possible

12 interpretations. Laying out the possible motives, even

13 if some are remote, should be the basis for establishing

14 lines of enquiry."

15 So in other words, you have to consider a number of

16 different possibilities even if some seem, on the face

17 of it, unlikely?

18 A. Yes. I mean, I think there is a difference between mere

19 speculation and lines of enquiry.

20 Q. Indeed.

21 A. But you begin by speculating on possible scenarios. You

22 look at possible scenarios, try to construct them as

23 a hypothesis and then consider whether they are capable

24 of being tested or not.

25 Q. Yes. Now, in relation to the question of lines of

 

 

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1 enquiry, I would like to show you paragraph 18 of your

2 statement, RNI-817-070 (displayed), because there,

3 obviously in answer to a question posed in your

4 interview for this Inquiry, you say:

5 "I have been asked whether I provided guidance as to

6 lines of enquiry. In my view, at the stage I was

7 involved in the investigation, it was too early to be

8 specific about lines of enquiry."

9 So in other words, by the time you left the

10 investigation, if I can put it that way, on 7 April,

11 matters had not come to the point where this question of

12 being specific about lines of enquiry had been reached?

13 A. I think we were still in the general evidence gathering

14 phase and I don't think, even with regard on to the

15 intelligence, that I would have regarded things as

16 having crystallised sufficiently to be sure what the

17 best lines of enquiry were. So I think we were still at

18 the stage of collection.

19 I think if you make your lines of enquiry explicit

20 too early, maybe you will miss out in the collection and

21 thereby restrict the investigation. So in a sense

22 that's what I was referring to.

23 Q. Now, I directed your attention to that specifically

24 because I'm going to ask you some questions about the

25 particular lines of enquiry, particular points that came

 

 

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1 up. Of course, if in fact I'm asking you to comment on

2 matters that you didn't deal with or weren't aware of at

3 the time, please feel free to say that.

4 Can I start, however, by asking you this question:

5 based on the experience you had in the relatively short

6 period you were there, what were the difficulties that

7 the team, the Murder Investigation Team, was

8 encountering? You have mentioned liaison with the

9 family. Were there any other particular difficulties

10 that struck you?

11 A. Well, I think there were probably difficulties in

12 obtaining general confidence in the area where this

13 attack had taken place, giving people enough confidence

14 to come forward if they had evidence. I mean, there

15 was, you know, a level of hostility which had to be --

16 we had to find a way through or to at least try to find

17 a way through.

18 Q. Was an example of that the difficulties with the

19 house-to-house enquiries that I think you mention in

20 your statement?

21 A. Yes, there clearly were some people who were not

22 naturally helpful to the police.

23 Q. So it was a very much more challenging environment than

24 an investigation team would usually operate in in

25 England, for example?

 

 

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1 A. I think so.

2 Q. Yes. Were there any other examples that you can

3 think of?

4 A. Not specifically. I mean -- no.

5 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the device which was

6 responsible for the murder in this case is concerned, I

7 would like to look with you, please, at the part of your

8 statement where you deal with that, and it is

9 paragraph 16 at RNI-817-069 (displayed).

10 Here, you record your visit to the forensic science

11 laboratory on 18 March, and record there a definite

12 view -- do you see, two lines down? -- that the attack

13 was by terrorist device and that the device was

14 consistent with devices used by Loyalist terrorists.

15 Now, so far as you were concerned, you had no

16 knowledge of explosives, did you?

17 A. I had no knowledge of explosives, no.

18 Q. And you tell us in your statement that the forensic

19 team -- and I assume you are referring to the sorts of

20 individuals who would be involved here in

21 Northern Ireland -- was arguably the best in the world

22 at the time?

23 A. So I believed.

24 Q. Yes. So, so far as your personal position was

25 concerned, can I take it that you didn't feel in

 

 

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1 a position to question or challenge the opinions that

2 they were expressing?

3 A. Correct.

4 Q. Thank you. Were there any questions or challenges in

5 your meeting at the laboratory, that you can remember?

6 A. It is difficult to remember, but there were certainly

7 questions raised about the possible source, I think, of

8 the devices that had been used, where they might have

9 come from and whether that might produce a line of

10 enquiry. That's my best recollection.

11 Q. Thank you. But where you refer in the passage we have

12 on the screen to the fact that:

13 "There didn't seem to be any other sensible or

14 logical reason for the use of this sort of device. To

15 suggest any other reason would have been fanciful," can

16 I take it that that was the general view of the officers

17 that you spoke to who were involved in the investigation

18 at the time?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Thank you. And so far as that was concerned, can I just

21 ask you this -- and getting back to the question of

22 considering a range of possibilities, albeit not

23 fanciful or ludicrous ones -- do you remember any

24 consideration being given to the question of whether

25 this might have been a Republican device rather than

 

 

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1 a Loyalist one, for example?

2 A. I think we discussed -- I think it was discussed and --

3 but my recollection is that the forensic people were

4 of the view that this had the hallmark of Loyalist

5 terrorism, not Republican terrorism.

6 Q. Yes. Can I just ask you to take a look at a slightly

7 later passage in your statement, in paragraphs 30 and

8 31, where, in the context of talking about victimology,

9 you are dealing with other possible motives? This is at

10 RNI-817-077 (displayed). I'm going to return to this

11 briefly in a moment, this particular question that you

12 raise in paragraph 30.

13 But in 31, you explain how difficult it would have

14 been to raise a line of enquiry of that kind, and you

15 say that you would have been very cautious. You

16 conclude the paragraph by saying:

17 "At the time of my involvement, the context in this

18 investigation was either pretty clear or the forensic

19 team got it wrong."

20 Just so we have understood it, do you mean,

21 therefore, either this was pretty clearly a Loyalist

22 terrorist device or the forensic advice you had received

23 was wrong?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as that is concerned, can we

 

 

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1 look at how you dealt with that in your meeting, which

2 came after the visit to the laboratory, as I understand

3 it? That's at RNI-836-027 (displayed), and it is

4 paragraph 2, the paragraph below the paragraph we looked

5 at earlier. Could we have that enlarged, please:

6 "The key orientation at this stage seems to be

7 inferences drawn from the forensic examination of the

8 explosive device. The forensic scientist's view

9 expressed with a high degree of confidence [underlined]

10 was that this device contained the bomb maker's

11 signature and could be associated with several other

12 devices known to have been deployed by Loyalist

13 terrorists. This observation should provide the main

14 focus for the enquiry, at least in regard to motive.

15 There are good reasons, however, to work to exclude

16 other possible motives."

17 So as I understand it, what this records you as

18 saying is this: this advice and what follows from it

19 should provide the main focus for the enquiry's work,

20 but not to the exclusion of other enquiries in relation

21 to other possible motives?

22 A. Yes. I mean, I think we had learned over the years from

23 bitter experience that there can be other explanations

24 and one has to keep an open mind and constantly be

25 seeking to reassure yourself that you are on the right

 

 

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1 track. In the case of a married couple, if one of them

2 is murdered, statistically there is the likelihood of

3 involvement of the other. Therefore, you would always

4 want to make sure you could exclude that possibility,

5 and it would seem remiss not to.

6 Q. And presumably there was particular sensitivity here

7 precisely because of the allegations of collusion?

8 A. Yes. I mean, I think, whilst that may have been in your

9 mind, unless you had some evidence to support it, it

10 would have been counter-productive to have started to

11 question people along those lines because it could have

12 been interpreted in a very negative way and would

13 probably then have closed many doors. So this was

14 a sensitive issue that needed tact, diplomacy and skill

15 to handle it.

16 Q. Thank you. Now, in relation to the issue of collusion,

17 can I just ask you to look at paragraph 25 of your

18 statement, RNI-817-073 (displayed), because here you

19 deal with the position of the RUC officers who had been

20 involved in the Mulvihill Inquiry and you think that you

21 suggested they should be eliminated from the murder

22 investigation?

23 I should tell you there is something of a rush to

24 claim the credit for this suggestion, and there are

25 a number of people who are putting themselves forward,

 

 

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1 but do you think it is possible that by the time you

2 arrived in Northern Ireland, the SIO himself,

3 Mr Kinkaid, had already suggested that those officers

4 should be removed from the investigation?

5 A. I think it is entirely possible. I mean, clearly there

6 was a relevance to that enquiry. I am -- I can't recall

7 exactly who might have raised the issue first.

8 I probably didn't know, but I was certainly -- would

9 have wanted to make clear that this comparison took

10 place.

11 Q. Thank you.

12 A. It may have already been in train. I can't be sure.

13 Q. Can I just show you a paragraph in the log on this? It

14 is at RNI-836-024 (displayed) at the bottom of the page.

15 This is in fact a note on 17 March, I think before you

16 arrived in Northern Ireland. At the end of the page, do

17 you see:

18 "SIO discussed at length his wish to remove from the

19 investigation team the remaining officers whom

20 Mrs Nelson had previously lodged complaint, either

21 personally or on behalf of her clients. Criteria live

22 unresolved complaints, declared fact in first stages of

23 investigation. This had not been possible. Number of

24 officers had been removed."

25 If we turn over the page, RNI-836-025 (displayed):

 

 

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1 "After discussion, SIO decided to remove officers

2 from enquiry to establish independence and avert

3 allegations of collusion by enquiry team."

4 So it looks possible, doesn't it, or indeed likely,

5 that this was in train by the time you arrived?

6 A. Yes, but I think my recollection is that I was saying

7 that the database of the Mulvihill Inquiry should be

8 screened against this enquiry, not really removing

9 officers who might have been involved -- might have made

10 statements that were subject to the allegations, that it

11 might be necessary to look at the two investigations

12 together, that it would be a wise thing to do.

13 Q. Yes. So in fact on that approach, you were advocating

14 a rather more radical step even than removing the

15 officers?

16 A. I'm not sure that it would be radical. I think it would

17 be sensible to -- given that there was, as I understood

18 it -- that threats had been made to Mrs Nelson and that

19 she had alleged that to be the case, and given

20 information about it, and that had been investigated by

21 a third party as a complaint, it would seem sensible to

22 me that if there was a database in relation to the

23 Mulvihill Inquiry, you would want to cross-reference it

24 with this investigation.

25 Q. Thank you. Can I just turn to ask you a couple of

 

 

180

 

1 questions about the question of the claim of

2 responsibility here? It is something you touch on in

3 paragraph 26 of your statement, RNI-817-074 (displayed).

4 You mention the Red Hand Defenders and you say a few

5 lines down:

6 "As far as I know, the Red Hand Defenders were not

7 a recognised group."

8 Can I ask you this question: was it suggested to you

9 that this was a name used by individuals as a flag of

10 convenience?

11 A. I can't recall, but what I do remember is that obviously

12 if someone had claimed responsibility, you would show

13 a considerable interest in that claim.

14 Q. Yes.

15 A. I think what I'm reflecting here is that I had been told

16 that no such organisation was known.

17 Q. Yes, I understand. But in terms of the importance or

18 otherwise of the claim of responsibility, you then go

19 and make a number of comments. You say, a few lines

20 down:

21 "I don't know how much reliance was placed on the

22 claim of responsibility. I am not sure that it would

23 mean very much even if reliance had been placed on it by

24 the investigating team."

25 Can I ask you just to explain what you are getting

 

 

181

 

1 at there?

2 A. I think I'm saying that, unless you knew -- unless there

3 was an organisation that could be discovered, it didn't

4 take you very far. So long as this was an anonymous

5 organisation and that nobody knew of their existence or

6 their membership, it wasn't a line of enquiry that

7 looked to be productive.

8 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just turn next to the question of

9 victimology, which you have already mentioned in your

10 evidence, and start by looking with you at another

11 passage of the log, RNI-836-028 (displayed)? This is

12 simply the next page of the record of your first meeting

13 with the team in Northern Ireland on 18 March, and at

14 paragraph 6 it records:

15 "We discussed the desirability of a fuller

16 victimology and the need to speak to those people whom

17 Rosemary Nelson might have spoken to in the last week.

18 SIO pointed out the immediate difficulties but agreed in

19 principle."

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. So to be clear then, the impression you were given was

22 that this was something which the SIO was indeed

23 pursuing, but that there were particular difficulties in

24 this case?

25 A. I think that was the case. I mean, my -- my experience

 

 

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1 of dealing with difficult situations around the victim

2 is that you have to put a very considerable effort into

3 building bridges. You have to develop confidence. And

4 I did discuss with Ronnie Flanagan possibly setting up

5 a sort of monitoring team who we might keep informed of

6 the progress of the investigation in an effort to

7 generate some goodwill. So this might be furthered.

8 The reference to speaking to the people that she had

9 spoken to would not only be about discovering any

10 details regarding Mrs Nelson, but it could be that if

11 there had been some reconnaissance by the killers, she

12 may have witnessed something and spoken about it. She

13 may have seen something untoward or unusual and spoken

14 of it. So you would want to do that, and that it was

15 a difficulty in this case was a hindrance and called for

16 a strategy to get round it.

17 Q. And can you remember what the strategy was to get round

18 those difficulties?

19 A. Well, it was to try and develop liaison directly with

20 the family.

21 Q. To work on building those bridges?

22 A. To work on building those bridges.

23 Q. Yes, because as you tell us in your statement -- if we

24 could see look at that, please, paragraph 29,

25 RNI-817-076 (displayed) -- one of the problems, as you

 

 

183

 

1 understood it at the time, you say, was there didn't

2 seem to be much dialogue with Rosemary Nelson's

3 contacts. Do you see that?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And you say:

6 "The dialogue needed to be opened up. It had to be

7 recognised, however, that if this was approached in the

8 wrong way, it could serve to close down all lines of

9 enquiry. It is very important not to underestimate the

10 difficulties of building a bridge with the family and

11 Rosemary's contacts. This step needed to be undertaken

12 before moving on to fuller victimology."

13 So as I understand it, the advice you were giving,

14 the suggestions you were making, were to pursue their

15 strategies, to build up confidence, to build up

16 contacts, so that a fuller victimology could be, in due

17 course, developed?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Thank you. Was there a point during your involvement in

20 the investigation where it was appropriate in your view

21 simply to abandon victimology as a line of enquiry?

22 A. Whilst I was involved, no.

23 Q. Now, in terms of the difficulties in this area, can we

24 look, please, next at paragraph 38 of your statement,

25 RNI-817-080 (displayed), because here you come back to

 

 

184

 

1 this point under the heading of "Final thoughts". And

2 after making the point that people must not be tempted

3 to try and compare the investigation into

4 Rosemary Nelson's death with an investigation of rural

5 Essex, you deal again with victimology. You say:

6 "It is very difficult to deal with victimology when

7 the merest suggestion against the victim may result in

8 a violent outburst, and house-to-house enquiries are

9 themselves problematic."

10 So the first of those points, the suggestion against

11 the victim that might result in a violent outburst, was,

12 as you saw it, a real possibility, was it?

13 A. If people were alleging collusion, and the investigation

14 seemed to be directing itself towards the private life

15 of Rosemary Nelson, they may have seen this as

16 a deliberate attempt to mislead an investigation, in

17 a sense to take it in a wrong direction.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. So that was the implicit theme that I was referring to.

20 Q. Yes. And did that concern come into particular focus

21 where you were considering the rumour that you had heard

22 in relation to the alleged relationship between

23 Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Can we look together, please, at the paragraphs of your

 

 

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1 statement in which you address this matter? Now, first,

2 as I understand it, this was a rumour that you heard

3 during the course of your work on the investigation. Is

4 that right?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And what you do at RNI-817-077 (displayed), in these two

7 paragraphs, is to set out vividly, if I may say so, the

8 very considerable difficulties which would have faced

9 the Murder Investigation Team in pursuing investigations

10 on that front.

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And the point you make at the beginning of paragraph 31

13 is:

14 "I want to impress on the Inquiry how difficult it

15 would have been to raise a line of enquiry of the sort

16 I have referred to above, without credible evidence. It

17 would have looked like an attempt to deflect the focus

18 away from the RUC."

19 That points takes us in a sense, doesn't it, back to

20 the political context of the investigation?

21 A. It does.

22 Q. But the first point you make in those two sentences is

23 that there would have been particular difficulty to

24 launch such a line of enquiry without credible evidence.

25 So can I take it from that that in your time in the

 

 

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1 investigation, there was no credible evidence suggesting

2 that line of enquiry, that you were aware of?

3 A. What I was saying was there was credible evidence from

4 the forensic scientists that this was probably

5 a Loyalist terrorist device, and that would lead to an

6 assumption that we were probably looking for Loyalist

7 terrorists. That didn't exclude other lines of enquiry,

8 but because there was no evidence to support them, and

9 because if they had been pursued in an unsubtle way, it

10 would have seriously damaged the prospects of the

11 enquiry, it would be necessary to build the bridges you

12 referred to earlier before you could take this issue any

13 further and to see if it was material. It seemed to me

14 that there was any strong likelihood that it was, if it

15 were true, material to her murder.

16 Q. Were you ever aware in your time in Northern Ireland of

17 political considerations and political pressures having

18 an adverse impact on the work of and the course of the

19 murder investigation?

20 A. I don't think so.

21 Q. Was that a risk or a danger of which, as far as you

22 could tell, the officers were aware?

23 A. As I understood it, there was a possibility that the

24 victim might have had friends that were associated with

25 the Republican movement and, therefore, there would be

 

 

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1 some risk that the Republican movement would exercise

2 their own influence in relation to potential witnesses

3 if they felt the enquiry was not being objective.

4 That much seemed to me fairly -- you know, fairly

5 common sense appraisal. But I was never aware of any

6 threats from any side that specifically inhibited the

7 investigation.

8 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just turn finally to a topic you

9 raise in paragraph 18, where, under the heading "Lines

10 of enquiry" at RNI-817-070 (displayed), you are talking

11 there about lines of enquiry and hypotheses? You say at

12 the end:

13 "I had expected both hypotheses and specific lines

14 of enquiry to be documented as the investigation

15 proceeded."

16 With that in mind, can I ask you, please, to look at

17 another part of the Cornwall log at RNI-836-038

18 (displayed), where in a very long note of a meeting,

19 there is a section headed "Policy file"? It records

20 Mr Kinkaid and yourself agreeing what the main lines of

21 enquiry were, and then there is a great list of them.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, victimology does not feature in that list. Is that

24 correct?

25 A. That's correct.

 

 

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1 Q. Does that suggest that in fact, while you were still

2 engaged with the investigation, a conscious decision was

3 made not to pursue victimology as a line of enquiry?

4 A. No, I mean, I think the sentence says "main lines of

5 enquiry", not a complete list of all lines of enquiry.

6 And I would have expected that the longer-term project

7 of trying to build up a relationship and to get more

8 knowledge of Rosemary's friends and acquaintances so

9 that we could possibly find other routes to evidence was

10 still there.

11 Q. So, again, coming back to the point I raised with you

12 earlier, as far as you are aware, by the time you left

13 the investigation no decision to abandon victimology as

14 a separate line of enquiry had been made?

15 A. No, a line of enquiry is not, as I said earlier, just

16 a speculation.

17 Q. Indeed.

18 A. It is a hypothesis which begets a series of actions.

19 They would have been in a position to develop a series

20 of actions in relation to house-to-house enquiry, search

21 strategy and so on. They were not in a position to

22 develop specific enquiries in relation to victimology at

23 that stage.

24 Q. Thank you. Finally, can I ask you to look at the note

25 of the sign-off meeting we looked at earlier,

 

 

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1 RNI-836-050 (displayed), where at 16.00 hours on

2 7 April, it records your comments to the

3 Chief Constable, Sir Ronnie Flanagan?

4 We have looked together at the emphasis you placed

5 on the need for Mr Port to be given total access to all

6 relevant intelligence. It earlier records you as saying

7 that you were satisfied with the conduct of the

8 investigation to date. Can I take it that that was the

9 view that you formed at this point as you were leaving

10 the investigation?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Thank you. Those are the questions I have for you. I'm

13 sorry that we have overrun our usual time.

14 Sir David, what you may or may not know is that at

15 the end of witnesses' evidence, I always invite them, if

16 they wish to, to add anything that they would like to

17 say to the Panel at this point. Is there anything you

18 would like to add?

19 A. Perhaps only to regret that we were not able to bring

20 the culprits to justice.

21 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you.

22 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

23 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Sir David, could I just ask one point?

24 Whilst entirely accepting your original point that there

25 should be no confusion as to who is in charge -- one

 

 

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1 SIO -- would you just explain to the Panel, if you are

2 able, please, the term "officer in overall command", in

3 an English/Welsh context, when is that individual

4 employed in a murder investigation or the investigation

5 of murders?

6 A. There isn't such a role as I'm aware of.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: But would be commonly used if there

8 were linked enquiries, perhaps, across borders or ...?

9 A. Yes, if there were linked murder enquiries, then it

10 might be relevant to appoint someone to be responsible

11 overall.

12 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: But in your discussions with Mr Port,

13 was it clear to you that he was explicitly -- are we

14 understanding that he was now the SIO?

15 A. I wasn't a party to the exact terms of reference, but

16 that's certainly what I understood. I didn't think

17 there was any other --

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Whatever he was called, he was the boss?

19 A. He was.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, Sir David, thank you very much for

21 coming over here to give evidence. We are very

22 grateful.

23 A. Thank you, sir.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: We will adjourn now until tomorrow morning at

25 quarter past ten.

 

 

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SIR RONNIE FLANAGAN (continued) .................. 1
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS (continued) ......... 1
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Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 125
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Questions by THE CHAIRMAN .................... 128
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Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 130
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SIR DAVID PHILLIPS (sworn) ....................... 133
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 133
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Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 189
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