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Full Hearings

Hearing: 20th January 2009, day 99

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ROSEMARY NELSON

PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

 

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


on Tuesday, 20 January 2009
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



1 Tuesday, 20 January 2009

2 (10.15 am)

3 SIR RONNIE FLANAGAN (continued)

4 Questions by MR PHILLIPS (continued)

5 MR PHILLIPS: Can we look, please, at paragraph 36 of your

6 statement, which is at RNI-806-152 (displayed), and we

7 are returning now in time to the summer of 1997 and what

8 happened after the arrest of Colin Duffy for the two

9 police officer murders in June that year.

10 You say at the bottom of page here that you recall

11 during that summer NGOs being interested in the case.

12 Do you see that?

13 A. Yes, I do.

14 Q. And what I would like to do with your help now, please,

15 is just to touch on some of the points that arise from

16 that. But as I understand it, what you are saying to us

17 there in a paragraph that, I am afraid, goes over the

18 page to RNI-806-153 (displayed), is that in general you

19 don't expect to have seen correspondence from NGOs about

20 this matter?

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. In other words, it would have been dealt with by the

23 officers within Command Secretariat that we discussed

24 yesterday?

25 A. Generally so.

 

 

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1 Q. Thank you very much. So what I would like to do is to

2 test that by looking at some examples of what was

3 a substantial amount of correspondence. But first, can

4 I just ask you to confirm other aspects of the interest

5 in this case. There was media coverage, was there not?

6 A. Yes, there was.

7 Q. You received correspondence about it from the NIO?

8 A. I think so.

9 Q. There was interest in the case expressed by the Irish

10 Government through the Anglo-Irish Secretariat?

11 A. As I described yesterday, there was very widespread

12 interest in the murders.

13 Q. Thank you. Let's start with the NGOs. Can I ask you to

14 look, please, at a letter from Amnesty International

15 dated 18 September that year, 1997, and that's at

16 RNI-101-094 (displayed). For your reference, you deal

17 with this in your statement at paragraph 51, which is

18 RNI-806-157.

19 Now, what you say in your statement is that:

20 "Such correspondence would not normally be

21 personally dealt with by me ..."

22 Which is very much what you have just indicated, is

23 it not?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Thank you. Now, looking at the points raised here,

 

 

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1 there are concerns about the process of detention, and

2 then, if we turn over to the next page, RNI-101-095

3 (displayed), at the bottom of the page, if you look at

4 this paragraph you will see here a reference is made to

5 derogatory remarks made about Rosemary Nelson and

6 references are made to the principles, international

7 principles, which should prevent such intimidation of

8 lawyers.

9 If we could turn over finally to RNI-101-096

10 (displayed) and the paragraph which somebody has marked

11 "E", do you see at the top of the page?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. "Amnesty International is also disturbed to learn about

14 reports that Rosemary Nelson has received death threats

15 relating to her current representation of Colin Duffy."

16 That, in very brief summary, is, so far as

17 Rosemary Nelson is concerned, what the letter set out;

18 in other words, just as the Senator's letter had

19 suggested earlier in the year that death threats were

20 being made, so Amnesty were making the same point in

21 a letter addressed to you.

22 Now, with hindsight, do you think that this was

23 a letter that should have been brought to your attention

24 by your staff in Command Secretariat?

25 A. Is it possible to see the reply that went back to

 

 

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1 Amnesty?

2 Q. Yes, it is within our files. Yes, we will get that

3 found for you.

4 A. The reason being I would like to see the extent of

5 follow-up as indicated in the reply that was taken in

6 response to the letter.

7 Q. Can you just deal with the question of principle,

8 please. Do you think that this letter is the sort of

9 matter that should have been addressed to you for your

10 attention by your Command Secretariat staff?

11 A. Looking at the extent of issues covered in the letter,

12 it is one I would have expected to have been brought to

13 my attention.

14 Q. Let's go to your statement again, then, at RNI-806-157

15 (displayed), where, as I have pointed out, you say:

16 "Clearly such correspondence would not normally be

17 personally dealt with by me."

18 Can I take it you have no specific recollection of

19 looking at and dealing with this letter?

20 A. I do not have any personal recollection of that but I

21 would like to see the reply.

22 Q. We will look for that.

23 A. Yes, thank you.

24 Q. But so far as what it says, namely that death threats

25 were being made against a lawyer practising in

 

 

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1 Northern Ireland, that was a serious allegation, was

2 it not?

3 A. Of course these are serious allegations.

4 Q. Yes. And you would have been concerned, had you seen

5 the letter, presumably, to ensure that everything was

6 being done to investigate the allegations that were

7 being made?

8 A. Yes. Again, as I indicated yesterday, my concern would

9 have been that they were recorded and that they were the

10 subject of investigation.

11 Q. Yes. Now, we can look at the reply, if it assists you,

12 at RNI-101-097 (displayed). It is dated 26 September

13 and it refers to the letter we have looked at, do you

14 see, on the 18th?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Perhaps you could take some time to read it.

17 A. Thank you. (Pause)

18 Yes, I would assume that the officer who signed the

19 letter, in coming to the conclusion that he reached in

20 this reply, would have sought the advice of Crime

21 Department and I'm pretty certain would have sought the

22 advice of Legal Department as well, that these were

23 ongoing legal proceedings and, therefore, it would have

24 been inappropriate to comment in detail on them.

25 Q. Yes. Well, what it says in summary, the letter, is that

 

 

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1 it is inappropriate to comment on the allegations about

2 the Duffy case because it is ongoing. That's the second

3 paragraph, isn't it?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And the third paragraph says that it would be

6 inappropriate to comment on the complaints made by

7 Mr Duffy and Ms Nelson because they were ongoing and

8 being investigated. What it doesn't say is what is

9 being done to investigate the substance of the

10 allegations, namely that death threats are being made

11 against a practising lawyer, does it?

12 A. No, it doesn't specifically address that, but in terms

13 of saying that these matters are currently under

14 investigation, such investigation would include the

15 substance of the allegations being made.

16 Q. But what it is actually doing is to treat the

17 allegations being put to you by Amnesty International

18 solely as if they were complaint matters rather than

19 matters of substance requiring investigation by the

20 police?

21 A. I'm not quite sure that I agree with that distinction.

22 If a complaint is made and that complaint is

23 investigated, the investigation includes investigation

24 into the substance of what is being alleged in the

25 complaint. It seems to me that Amnesty are not

 

 

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1 referring to new complaints or different complaints or

2 allegations, but referring to complaints and allegations

3 which were already the subject of investigation.

4 Q. So are you saying that if you had seen the

5 Amnesty International letter of 18 September, you would

6 have regarded it as familiar material that didn't

7 require any further work from you because it was all

8 being investigated in one way or another?

9 A. That seems to have been the case, and when I look at the

10 reply -- and I'm making assumptions. I can't say for

11 certain, but I'm making assumptions that the author of

12 the reply would have taken advice from Legal Department.

13 Q. Again, that's not something based on anything you

14 actually recall?

15 A. No, it is not; it is based on what would be expected

16 standard practice.

17 Q. Now, so far as the question of NGO correspondence

18 generally is concerned, can I ask you to look at another

19 part of your statement, and this is paragraph 55 at

20 RNI-806-159 (displayed). This is a paragraph, I think,

21 we looked at yesterday; and you said in your statement,

22 if you see in the last two sentences, you wanted to meet

23 with NGOs and be as open with them as possible. Do you

24 see that?

25 A. Yes, I do.

 

 

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1 Q. And if we have paragraph 56 on the screen, please,

2 there, again, you talk about open access and we

3 discussed yesterday the possible downsides of operating

4 a policy of that kind.

5 A. We did.

6 Q. So, as I understand it, your approach was to open your

7 door for meetings with NGOs in the way that you describe

8 here in your statement?

9 A. Generally so.

10 Q. Yes. But equally generally, as I understand it, you

11 didn't expect to be involved in answering or dealing

12 with NGO correspondence?

13 A. Not necessarily. That was a matter for decision by

14 those in Command Secretariat. That was their purpose.

15 That's why Command Secretariat exists.

16 Q. Yes. So can I take it then that no matter what was said

17 in any letter from a NGO, the general rule was that you

18 would expect your officers, your Command Secretariat

19 staff, to deal with the correspondence?

20 A. I would expect them to make that decision as to whether

21 they would or whether they would refer it to me or

22 somebody else.

23 Q. Yes. Now, the examples we have looked at from

24 Senator Torricelli, from Amnesty International, are just

25 one of a number of examples in which the same sort of

 

 

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1 points were made during this period and later by NGOs.

2 Now you have had an opportunity to look back at all

3 the correspondence, some of which, I appreciate you may

4 not have seen at the time, do you think that given the

5 bulk of that material, there did come a point in the

6 summer or later in 1997 when your officers should have

7 brought it to you and said, "Chief, boss," whatever they

8 called you, "we have a problem here. What do you want

9 us to do about it?"

10 A. It is very easy to come to that conclusion now, looking

11 back with hindsight. What I would say is the very

12 volume of correspondence, if it was repetitive, if it

13 was circular, if it was saying the same thing, wouldn't

14 necessarily, I think, lead them to that conclusion.

15 Q. So was there a sense then in which the sheer volume of

16 correspondence, the fact that the same points were made

17 again and again, rather obscured the particular facts of

18 the particular case that was being raised with you,

19 ie Rosemary Nelson's case?

20 A. No, I wouldn't accept that. What I'm saying is that the

21 sheer volume would neither give it increased prominence

22 or importance, neither would it give it decreased

23 importance or prominence.

24 Q. Was there a sense, so far as your approach to NGOs was

25 concerned, that they were not all balanced in the way

 

 

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1 they addressed matters?

2 A. Certainly my experience of some was that they were not

3 balanced.

4 Q. And you give an example, don't you, here in paragraph 55

5 of the British Irish Rights Watch. Do you see that?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And they were an organisation who you did not consider

8 to be as balanced in their approach as others?

9 A. That's correct.

10 Q. What made you come to that view?

11 A. In terms of documentation that I read in relation to --

12 in terms of interviews that I saw their members giving,

13 there was never even an inclusion of such words as

14 "allegation" or "alleged conduct". It was almost always

15 taken as fact, and certainly I saw no evidence on their

16 part of any understanding of the difficulties that were

17 faced in policing or the changes that policing was going

18 through, of the progress that I thought was being made.

19 I never in any instance saw an acknowledgment of any of

20 those things. So in that sense, I did not consider that

21 organisation to exhibit any particular balance.

22 Q. Was that an attitude you held at all the relevant times

23 we are concerned with; in other words, 1997 through to

24 1999?

25 A. Not necessarily. I would look at issues on a case by

 

 

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1 case basis, but generally my view of BIRW is that they

2 generally were not balanced in the views they expressed.

3 Q. But did that mean, for example, that when a letter came

4 in from an organisation like that, you were inclined to

5 treat what they were saying with a punch of salt?

6 A. No, it didn't mean that. I would, having looked at it,

7 then considered whether there was anything of substance

8 in it that required further action. So I might have

9 come to that conclusion or that sort of conclusion in

10 respect of one issue, but certainly not generally across

11 the board.

12 Q. So you are saying, are you, that you retained the

13 ability, as it were, to discriminate between the various

14 points, the various letters, they were sending in?

15 A. I certainly hope so.

16 Q. This view you held of them, was it a view that you

17 discussed with the other officers in

18 Command Secretariat?

19 A. I don't think so particularly, no.

20 Q. Do you think it is likely that they also regarded, for

21 example, BIRW as unbalanced in their approach?

22 A. I couldn't say what their opinion would be.

23 Q. Do you think there is any chance that it influenced the

24 way in which correspondence by organisations such as

25 this was dealt with by your officers?

 

 

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1 A. I don't think so.

2 Q. Can we look at a later example of your correspondence

3 with the BIRW, and that we can see beginning at

4 RNI-103-204 (displayed).

5 Now, this comes at the end of the next year, 1998,

6 and it is a letter from the director, Jane Winter, to

7 you of 5 November, enclosing a report, which is I think

8 a report we can see at RNI-115-196 (displayed). She

9 describes there the continuing problems faced by lawyers

10 and sets out new developments in the case of

11 Pat Finucane.

12 Can we have the report on the screen, please, at

13 RNI-115-196 (displayed). It is called "Mistaken

14 Identity" and it is a substantial document, but if we

15 look over to RNI-103-219 (displayed), for example,

16 paragraph 7.3, we will see reference there to

17 Rosemary Nelson -- do you see at the bottom of the page?

18 And further comment about her in section 8 at the next

19 page, RNI-103-220 (displayed). The question of

20 continuing problems faced by lawyers begins there, and

21 at 8.3 on the next page, RNI-103-221 (displayed), we see

22 again a specific reference to what is described as:

23 "A campaign of death threats and vile abuse, some of

24 it sexual in character, by RUC officers ...

25 Rosemary Nelson from Lurgan."

 

 

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1 We can see at RNI-103-238 (displayed) your response

2 to Jane Winter's letter of 5 November 1998:

3 "Dear Ms Winter, I have received the documents

4 forwarded with your letter of 5 November 1998.

5 "I suppose by now I should really have learned to

6 expect, and not be surprised by, the total absence of

7 balance in reports produced by your organisation. This

8 latest report continues your now well established

9 practice in that regard."

10 Can I ask you this, please: do you think that was

11 a letter drafted by you?

12 A. Yes, I do.

13 Q. Yes. It has your style, does it not?

14 A. I don't know if it has my style, but I think it was

15 drafted by me. It wasn't drafted for me.

16 Q. No. It is direct and to the point, is it not?

17 A. I think so.

18 Q. Can I take it that in the period between 5 November and

19 11 November, you had taken the opportunity to read the

20 report?

21 A. I must have read the report to make the comments I did

22 in the letter. I can't say exactly in what degree of

23 detail I read the report.

24 Q. But you had read enough, had you, to come to this view

25 about it?

 

 

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1 A. That it was not balanced.

2 Q. What was it about it in particular that led you to that

3 view? Can you remember now?

4 A. Again, the sorts of thing to which I referred earlier.

5 It seemed to be taking things as absolutely

6 substantiated fact rather than considering them

7 allegations which may or may not be true, which may or

8 may not be founded.

9 Q. But this report in November 1998 was just the latest at

10 this point, wasn't it, of a number of reports, letters,

11 publications, raising what was perceived by some to be

12 the problem of the way in which defence lawyers were

13 treated inappropriately, mistreated, some would say, by

14 some of your officers?

15 A. Yes, there was certainly a whole series of documents,

16 a whole series of examples of that --

17 Q. Yes. This was by no means the first?

18 A. That's correct.

19 Q. It had been going on for some years by this stage, 1998?

20 A. Certainly for some time, but as I indicated earlier,

21 a lot of it was repetitive, a lot of it talking about

22 exactly the same stuff and, therefore, that volume

23 shouldn't necessarily be taken as indicative of -- that

24 the issue should have greater prominence or importance.

25 Nor should be it be taken that it should have any less

 

 

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1 prominence or importance.

2 Q. That's what I wanted to ask you. This is a fairly, if

3 you don't mind me saying to, brisk response. Can you

4 remember whether you did anything else with the matters

5 raised in her report other than simply send out this

6 letter back after a few days?

7 A. The report would have been undoubtedly sent, for

8 example, to Crime Department, to Complaints and

9 Discipline Department.

10 Q. You think it was?

11 A. I would imagine so. I can't say categorically that

12 it was.

13 Q. Because you were rather dismissive about it in the

14 letter, weren't you?

15 A. Certainly dismissive of what I considered to be its lack

16 of balance.

17 Q. And that was a characteristic of the work of this

18 particular organisation, as far as you saw it; is that

19 right?

20 A. The lack of balance, yes. I have indicated that that

21 was my view.

22 Q. John Steele suggested to us in his evidence that people

23 like Jane Winter:

24 "... were quite naive in their dealings with people

25 in Northern Ireland and could easily be used."

 

 

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1 Is that also a view that you had?

2 A. I never met Jane Winter. I wouldn't be in a position to

3 come to that view.

4 Q. Did you feel that some of the NGOs were being

5 manipulated?

6 A. I don't really have any evidence for that.

7 Q. Did you see them as part of a wider political campaign?

8 A. No, I think by and large they were well meaning,

9 principled people. It doesn't necessarily mean that

10 they had an in-depth understanding of all that was going

11 on in Northern Ireland.

12 Q. You didn't think that they, or some of them, were

13 engaged in a campaign to undermine or discredit the RUC?

14 A. I have no evidence for that.

15 Q. Now, so far as Rosemary Nelson is concerned, in 1997 and

16 subsequently, she was the subject of a good deal of

17 correspondence, some of which we have talked about

18 already, from NGOs. Did you ever believe that her case

19 was being raised by them or some of them as part of

20 a wider political agenda?

21 A. I never came to that conclusion.

22 Q. Do you think it detracted in any way from the

23 consideration that was given to her case by you and your

24 colleagues that so often it came to you through the

25 medium of NGO correspondence and reports?

 

 

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1 A. No, that did not detract -- I can only speak for my own

2 position, but certainly it would have been much

3 preferable for anyone who is the subject -- who wants to

4 make a complaint, who has a complaint to make, who is

5 the subject of allegations, that they would see deal

6 directly and that they would assist the investigation.

7 Without that personal assistance, any investigation is

8 bound to be somewhat debilitated.

9 Q. Now, so far as the question of other correspondence is

10 concerned, I just want to touch on one or two further

11 examples. First, at RNI-101-066 (displayed) is a letter

12 from an MP, Chris Mullin, raising again concerns about

13 the Duffy case and, indeed, about the treatment of

14 Rosemary Nelson. It is a letter to the Secretary of

15 State, which was copied to you if we look at the next

16 page. Do you see? You appear as one of the copyees at

17 the bottom of the page, albeit misspelt. Do you see

18 that?

19 A. Yes, I see.

20 Q. Now, that sort of letter coming in from an MP, is that

21 the sort of letter that would have routinely been drawn

22 to your attention?

23 A. Not necessarily, especially when it is just copied, not

24 actually addressed to me. Again, I would like to see

25 any reply or any further correspondence because I have

 

 

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1 indicated in relation to one of the other documents that

2 it is headed in one of the corners by "11A", and that

3 indicates to me it is part of a much bigger file. So

4 without the benefit of seeing the file that an

5 individual piece of correspondence is part of, it is

6 very difficult to give an assessment as to whether I

7 think it was properly dealt with or could have been

8 dealt with in a different manner.

9 Q. We can certainly show you the reply, although I'm not

10 sure you will learn a great deal from it. It is at

11 RNI-101-081 (displayed).

12 A. That's just an acknowledgment of receipt.

13 Q. Indeed. So far as we can see, it goes no further than

14 this. All I wanted to establish from you is in terms of

15 general practice, was a letter from an MP raising these

16 sorts of points, albeit copied to you, sent to the

17 Secretary of State, something that you would have been

18 informed about?

19 A. I think in the administration of any office it makes

20 quite a bit of difference as to whether the letter has

21 been addressed to you or whether you are just one of

22 half a dozen people to whom it has been circularised.

23 Q. So in short, you wouldn't have expected to see it?

24 A. Not necessarily so.

25 Q. So far as the next source of correspondence is

 

 

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1 concerned, can we look at RNI-101-058, please

2 (displayed). Here, we see a letter from the NIO to

3 Command Secretariat -- it is 26 August -- enclosing

4 a letter from the Special Rapporteur of 1 August at the

5 next page, RNI-101-059 (displayed).

6 Now, can I take it that by this stage, end

7 of August/early September 1997, you knew that the

8 Special Rapporteur was going to make a visit to the UK

9 and specifically to Northern Ireland?

10 A. I can't quite remember, but certainly I think it was the

11 Northern Ireland Office who asked me if I would meet the

12 Special Rapporteur.

13 There was a strange chain of protocol, as I recall,

14 that it was actually the Foreign Office that dealt with

15 the UN. So there was a chain from the

16 Northern Ireland Office to the Foreign Office, to the

17 United Nations, but I can't recall exactly when they

18 would have asked if I could make an arrangement to meet

19 the Special Rapporteur when he came. So I can't say

20 whether I knew on 1 August or not.

21 Q. Well, the letter came in, as I said, on the 26th, as

22 I said, from the NIO, 26 August. Now, is this

23 correspondence, correspondence from this senior official

24 at the UN, something that you would have expected to be

25 drawn to your attention?

 

 

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1 A. I'm just reading it.

2 Q. Thank you.

3 A. Sorry. (Pause)

4 I see that, quite apart from the allegation that

5 detectives were making totally inappropriate statements

6 during interview, there seems to have been a particular

7 detective constable named. Obviously it is redacted in

8 this matter. So I would certainly have expected that if

9 that was not already detail which had been recorded and

10 which was the subject of investigation, that that should

11 go to Complaints and Discipline to ensure that if it was

12 not already under investigation, that such an

13 investigation was initiated. I would be pretty certain

14 that it was probably already under investigation.

15 Q. Yes. Well, if we have the full letter on the screen,

16 please -- that's RNI-101-060 (displayed) as well -- you

17 can see the rest of it.

18 A. Can I ask how the letter came to Command Secretariat?

19 Was it the NIO --

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. The letter I'm looking at --

22 Q. The first letter I showed you was from the NIO to

23 Command Secretariat of 26 August.

24 A. Enclosing this?

25 Q. Yes. So you will see in the first numbered paragraph

 

 

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1 there are the points you have just been talking about.

2 In the second, there is reference to the alleged assault

3 which we discussed yesterday, the alleged assault on the

4 Garvaghy Road, and an expression of concern in the

5 following paragraph by the UN Special Rapporteur. And

6 in the penultimate paragraph, there is a request for

7 a response from Government.

8 Now, presumably, going back to the first point on

9 the left, you would have been concerned to ensure that

10 these matters were being investigated had you seen this

11 letter?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And given the provenance of this letter, can I take it

14 that you would have expected to see it?

15 A. I think that's one that I would have expected to see,

16 especially if it was known at that time that the Special

17 Rapporteur was making a visit and that I would be

18 meeting the Special Rapporteur in due course.

19 Q. Yes. So it is likely then that you would have asked

20 Command Secretariat, if you didn't know already, what

21 was going on with the complaints investigation?

22 A. I don't -- that assumes that I have seen the letter.

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. Or are you suggesting that I would be likely to do that

25 before any meeting?

 

 

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1 Q. No, if you look at this letter, what I thought you had

2 said is that you would have expected to see this letter

3 given its provenance, the fact that it was from the UN

4 Special Rapporteur?

5 A. Yes, plus the fact that this was already known that that

6 Rapporteur was to make a visit and that I in fact was to

7 meet the Rapporteur during his visit.

8 Q. Yes. But what I was focusing on with you, or trying to,

9 was that what you were looking at in the paragraph

10 numbered 1 there at the bottom of the left-hand page,

11 and presumably you would have wanted to make sure that

12 the matters referred to by this official were in fact

13 under investigation?

14 A. Reading that, of course I would be anxious to make sure

15 that those matters were the subject of investigation.

16 Q. So that if you didn't already know about the complaints

17 investigations that we know had started by this point,

18 it is likely, isn't it, that you would have found out as

19 a result of pursuing that question?

20 A. I can only pursue the question of the correspondences

21 brought to my attention.

22 Q. Yes. And what you are saying, as I understand it, is

23 you can't now remember whether it was or not, but you

24 would have expected it to have been?

25 A. Reading that letter, I would have expected that it would

 

 

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1 have been brought to my attention. I certainly have no

2 personal recollection of it having been.

3 Q. Yes. You see, the reason I'm asking you these questions

4 is because of something you say later your statement at

5 paragraph 64, RNI-806-162 (displayed), where you say at

6 the top of the page:

7 "I have no recollection of having known about the

8 complaints made by Mrs Nelson at the time I met

9 Mr Cumaraswamy:"

10 That, as we know, was in fact as late as the end

11 of October 1997.

12 Now, having seen this material, do you think that

13 that is correct: in other words, that you didn't know

14 about the complaints at the time you met him at the end

15 of October 1997?

16 A. I don't know. You say "having seen this

17 correspondence". I can't say if I saw it at the time.

18 Q. Do you think it is likely that you would have gone into

19 a meeting with the Special Rapporteur at the end

20 of October without making sure you were fully briefed on

21 what was going on in relation to Rosemary Nelson?

22 A. That could be the case because the discussion with the

23 Special Rapporteur was very general; it wasn't

24 specifically about Mrs Nelson.

25 Q. But he had, as we know -- we have been looking at it

 

 

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1 together -- written earlier that year in August, raising

2 specifically two points about her?

3 A. He had, and that's -- I can't say that they were brought

4 to my personal attention.

5 Q. Right.

6 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Sorry, just before you leave that,

7 given that you were going to meet Mr Cumaraswamy, would

8 your office not, as a matter of routine, checked

9 whatever correspondence there might have been from such

10 a person?

11 A. That's what I certainly would have expected, ma'am.

12 MR PHILLIPS: So that makes it very likely, does it not,

13 that this letter would have been drawn to your attention

14 at the very least when you were preparing for your

15 meeting with Mr Cumaraswamy?

16 A. I can't say that it was. It is certainly something I

17 would have wanted to have been brought to my attention.

18 Q. Can we look finally, in relation to the Duffy case, at

19 correspondence involving the Secretary of State. This

20 is at RNI-105-053.501 (displayed).

21 This is a letter addressed to you from the Private

22 Secretary on 14 July that year. If we move that to the

23 right of the screen and have on the screen the previous

24 page, RNI-105-037.500 (displayed). Thank you very much.

25 Can we have RNI-105-037.500 on the left-hand side,

 

 

25


1 please. Thank you very much. That's the letter, again,

2 from Jane Winter to the Secretary of State shortly after

3 the arrest of Colin Duffy, taking, as she puts it, the

4 unusual step of writing to the Secretary of State about

5 someone whose bail hearing takes place tomorrow. The

6 letter is passed on to you by the Secretary of State on

7 the 14th, as you see on the right-hand side.

8 Now, again, can I just ask you: assuming you have no

9 specific recollection of this letter -- is that

10 a sensible assumption for me to make?

11 A. I certainly don't have a personal recollection as I look

12 at it now.

13 Q. Yes. Is this sort of letter -- in other words, a letter

14 direct to you from the Private Secretary -- the sort of

15 matter you would have expected your Command Secretariat

16 staff to draw to your attention?

17 A. Yes. I would like to see the action because the letter

18 says:

19 "I'm enclosing, for whatever action you deem

20 necessary, a copy of the letter and attachments."

21 I would like to see first of all what action was

22 taken in response to that in order to come to some

23 conclusion whether I think it should have been brought

24 to my personal attention.

25 Q. What was enclosed with it was a submission made by

 

 

26


1 British Irish Rights Watch, as you can see from the

2 third paragraph of the letter on the left, to the

3 United Nations. Do you see?

4 A. Yes, I see the reference to it.

5 Q. Why do you need to see that in order to help the

6 Panel --

7 A. I'm not saying I want to see that. What I'm saying is I

8 would like to see the reply that went back to the

9 Secretary of State's office.

10 Q. From you?

11 A. If it was from me.

12 Q. Yes. Again, we will look for that.

13 But what I want to ask you --

14 A. Again, I think that is important to come to some

15 assessment now as to whether I think -- you are asking

16 me is that something I think should have been brought to

17 my attention. I would like to see the action that was

18 taken prompted by the correspondence to give you

19 an honest assessment as we sit today as to whether I

20 think it was properly dealt with or could have been

21 dealt with in a different --

22 Q. I'm not asking you whether you think it was properly

23 dealt with; I'm asking you whether this sort of letter

24 from the Secretary of State to you is the sort of

25 material that you would have expected your officers to

 

 

27


1 draw to your attention?

2 A. I think it is very important -- I come back to the

3 reason for the existence of Command Secretariat. They

4 were, as you described yesterday, I think, a filter of

5 correspondence and they became very experienced, and

6 I have great trust in them and had great trust in them

7 at the time.

8 So I think it is very important when you ask is this

9 the sort of thing that should have been brought to your

10 attention or that I would have expected to have been

11 brought, I would like to see the action that was taken

12 as a result of it. And then I would be in a position to

13 say, "Actually, when I see that, as I sit today, I think

14 more should have been done, I think it should have been

15 brought to my ..." Without knowing or seeing how it was

16 dealt with, it is difficult to give you a more accurate

17 response.

18 Q. While we look for that, can I just continue with my

19 questions.

20 What we see, and you and I have discussed this

21 morning, is a substantial amount of interest and

22 correspondence about an ongoing high profile criminal

23 case. Was it something that you were aware of in

24 general terms at the time?

25 A. Yes, and I indicated yesterday that it was something

 

 

28


1 that was widely reported in the media. There was

2 widespread interest in this case. When someone is in

3 custody charged with a murder, it becomes very difficult

4 and, in my case, almost always inappropriate, to become

5 involved.

6 Q. So what role did you think at the time that

7 Rosemary Nelson was playing in all of this?

8 A. Rosemary Nelson was simply the lawyer who represented

9 the individual --

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. -- who had been charged.

12 Q. But we have seen evidence of contact with NGOs, with the

13 Irish Government, with the media. Was this an usual way

14 in which a lawyer went about the defence of their

15 client?

16 A. No, it wasn't widespread in my experience and, indeed, I

17 wasn't aware, before the UN Rapporteur's report, of any

18 other solicitors or lawyers making such complaints or

19 having them made on their behalf.

20 Q. So in that sense she had at that point, as far as you

21 were concerned, a unique position?

22 A. I certainly wasn't aware of it being a widespread

23 allegation, you know, that detectives were making

24 utterly inappropriate comments and statements, threats,

25 during interviews.

 

 

29


1 We did have, of course, and had for many years, full

2 video recording of those interviews, but not at that

3 time audio recordings. So in the absence of audio

4 recording, it became very difficult to come to

5 a conclusion as to whether such inappropriate things

6 were said.

7 I have always felt that that does not mean that

8 video recording and a video record is absolutely

9 useless. I think if such things were said, there is

10 almost bound to be, in body language, a reaction.

11 Subsequently, of course, I would say as a direct result

12 of the investigations of the complaints by or on behalf

13 of Mrs Nelson, we did quickly introduce full audio

14 recording as well.

15 Q. That was something touched on by Commander Mulvihill in

16 his report, wasn't it?

17 A. That's correct.

18 Q. So as I understand it, the changes came in sequence,

19 ie the silent video recording first and then the audio

20 recording later, after that?

21 A. The video recording had been in place since something

22 like 1980.

23 Q. Yes, thank you. But just getting back to your

24 perception of Rosemary Nelson, we have talked about the

25 various ways in which she was unusual or unique. So I'm

 

 

30


1 clear about this, you are saying, are you, that despite

2 that, you continued to regard her as simply a lawyer

3 doing her job for her client, in this case Colin Duffy?

4 A. That was always my view of Mrs Nelson.

5 Q. You didn't think at any point, given the sheer amount of

6 material, the amount of heat that was being generated,

7 that she was being used by others as, to use the

8 expression you used in your statement, a legitimate

9 front for Republican purposes?

10 A. I think there is always that risk. Certainly the people

11 and the bodies that Mrs Nelson represented were, in my

12 view, very clever, one might say cunning, individuals

13 who I didn't think needed the assistance of Mrs Nelson

14 to either help them in their planning or their strategy

15 or, indeed, as has been alleged yesterday, to create

16 false alibis for them. I never saw it in those lights.

17 Q. So you I did think that she herself was part of this

18 Republican campaign, if I can put it that way?

19 A. I certainly was never given evidence to lead me to come

20 to that conclusion.

21 Q. Now, that very much chimes with what you were saying to

22 us yesterday, that nothing -- I think the expression you

23 used yesterday was "untoward" was being reported to you

24 by this stage.

25 So, again, I come back to this question: if that was

 

 

31


1 the way you regarded her, when you did become aware of

2 the complaints that were being made of the repeated

3 allegations of death threats? Surely you must have been

4 concerned to find out for yourself what was going on in

5 Lurgan, in South Region, which was leading to this

6 barrage of complaints of misbehaviour by police

7 officers?

8 A. I think I have to bring you back -- and I'm not

9 minimising in any sense -- and I'm certainly not

10 minimising the dreadful murder that was carried out by

11 the cowards who killed Mrs Nelson. I'm not minimising

12 that. But in terms of my position and the things I was

13 involved in, yes, we are focusing on, as you described

14 it, a welter of correspondence about allegations made by

15 or on behalf of Mrs Nelson. But it didn't feature in

16 the prominent way that of course it must feature now, at

17 that time.

18 Q. And do you think --

19 A. So in terms of you suggesting is this something where

20 the Chief Constable would himself go and investigate

21 what was going on: most, most unlikely. And I think it

22 certainly didn't reach that stage.

23 Q. So just to be clear then, in this period we are looking

24 at, summer through to the autumn of 1997, things didn't

25 reach a point, as far as you were concerned, where you

 

 

32


1 felt you, as Chief Constable, needed to get a grip of it

2 and to find out for yourself what was going on?

3 A. I think probably the catalyst for personal direct

4 involvement was the letter from Paul Donnelly, the

5 decision by Miss McNally that she would not be issuing

6 what we have described as a certificate of satisfaction

7 of that investigation. I think that was probably the

8 catalyst for my personal involvement.

9 Q. And that's nearly a year later, in June 1998?

10 A. That's in the summer of 1998, that's right.

11 Q. Looking back at it now, do you think that the extent of

12 the correspondence, the amount of material that was

13 coming in, should have led your officers to bring it to

14 you so that at least you could decide for yourself

15 whether these were matters that needed more than

16 a complaints investigation, for example, and needed your

17 input?

18 A. No, I don't think so.

19 Q. Despite the style that you described yesterday -- you

20 accepted from me other people's description of your

21 style as a "hands-on" Chief Constable?

22 A. Yes, despite that.

23 Q. Did it occur to you at any point in this period to try

24 to find out more about Rosemary Nelson herself?

25 A. No, it didn't. It did not have that degree of

 

 

33


1 prominence in all that I was dealing with.

2 Q. So you didn't ask for a briefing about her?

3 A. No, I did not.

4 Q. You didn't seek to find out more, for instance, in one

5 of your conversations with the Head of Special Branch?

6 A. No, I did not.

7 Q. Now, she was, at least on one view, even by this stage

8 causing a good deal of trouble, or at the very least

9 a good deal of expenditure of time and effort in dealing

10 with correspondence for your officers of one kind or

11 another, not just in Command Secretariat. Wouldn't your

12 normal instinct to have been to seek to find out more

13 about what sort of person she was, whether she did have

14 an agenda and what might be behind all of this?

15 A. No, not necessarily. It was never given that degree of

16 correspondence. A lot of this correspondence was never

17 even brought to my attention.

18 Q. So the danger here, you think, at least so far as the

19 Inquiry is concerned -- this is obviously very

20 important -- is that the perspective as it was at the

21 time, has been lost by a focus on these pieces of

22 correspondence?

23 A. I think there is a risk of that.

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. That it is not seen in the overall context of all that

 

 

34


1 was happening.

2 Q. And that it simply didn't, as far as you were concerned,

3 have the prominence which is now being accorded to it?

4 A. It did not at that time.

5 Q. Is there any sense in which you think, looking back,

6 that that was because the matters were simply not taken

7 seriously?

8 A. No, I don't accept that. I mean, I referred yesterday

9 to the process in terms of investigation of complaints

10 that we had compared with what applied in the rest of

11 the United Kingdom. And the practice there at that time

12 was that complaints by third parties, unless

13 substantiated by the first party, so to speak, were not

14 recorded for investigation.

15 We went much further; we had a very extensive

16 Complaints and Discipline Department -- the Chairman

17 asked about it yesterday -- where the investigators

18 would come from. They became very experienced in

19 investigations. The problem, of course, as I have

20 indicated, was that if the subject of the complaint

21 would not assist, would not come forward with evidence,

22 then any investigation is not going to be as effective

23 as it might otherwise have been.

24 So the point therefore, is it is not something that

25 in any way would have been taken lightly.

 

 

35


1 Q. The difficulties in the investigation on the ground then

2 being where you had, in effect, a non-cooperating

3 complainant?

4 A. Not only that, but the difficulty -- if these were

5 basically complaints that a detective, during interview,

6 said something, the detective denies saying that, and

7 the only real evidence you have are the notes of the

8 interview and the video record, then it is very

9 difficult to say whether those things had at all been

10 said or whether they had not been said.

11 Interestingly, as soon as audio recording was

12 introduced, I think such allegations ended virtually

13 completely. And yet, if it had been a common practice,

14 it would be very easy for detectives to make such

15 allegations, threats, en route to the interview room

16 from the cell, or whatever. So I still think we cannot

17 assume that these things were ever absolutely said.

18 Q. No. Well, dealing with the general point you have been

19 making about which a number of witnesses have also

20 commented, the great advantage of the audio recording is

21 that it was objective, wasn't it?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. It wasn't the record of one side or the other; it was

24 a neutral machine?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

36


1 Q. And therefore, looking at it from one side, it

2 discouraged malicious, fabricated complaints of

3 misbehaviour?

4 A. Looked at from one side, yes.

5 Q. And then from the other side, it discouraged any

6 temptation to misbehave on the part of the interviewing

7 officers?

8 A. Absolutely.

9 Q. So it worked, as it was, both ways. Is that fair?

10 A. I think that is absolute fair.

11 Q. But before audio recording came in, when you simply had

12 the notes from the two interviews officers and the one

13 client, it was always going to be a serious problem for

14 complaints investigators, wasn't it?

15 A. It was always going to be a difficulty. However, I come

16 back to the point that even if a cunning detective could

17 sit under coverage of video cover and appear pleasant,

18 benign but make these dreadful threats, I imagine the

19 person receiving those threats on the other side of the

20 table would indicate by body language some sort of quite

21 discernible reaction. And as far as I understand it,

22 that was never the case.

23 So all I'm saying is they were not nearly as good as

24 audio recording in terms of allegations of what is said

25 verbally, and the video recording was probably

 

 

37


1 introduced at such an early stage to deal with

2 allegations of physical ill-treatment and they served

3 a real purpose for that. So, while in terms of

4 allegations of this nature, of course they're not as

5 good as audio recording, as far as I'm concerned, it

6 does not mean that they have no value.

7 Q. No, but in relation to complaints about what was said in

8 interview, this must have had a powerful impact on the

9 fact that the substantiation rates were so very low,

10 surely?

11 A. That would be one -- how could you substantiate it if

12 you have one person saying it and another person denying

13 it and no hard evidence, such as I've described, by way

14 of audio recording at that time?

15 Q. Yes. Can I just pick up a particular issue in terms of

16 your knowledge of these matters -- it is back to the

17 question of your knowledge of the complaints, the

18 underlying complaints which were going on in fact at

19 this time -- by looking with you at a letter from the

20 NIO of 28 July 1997, so exactly the same period we have

21 been looking at. That's RNI-101-043 (displayed). It is

22 dated 28 July, as I say. Could we have both pages on

23 the screen. That would help. RNI-101-044 is the second

24 page. RNI-101-044, please (displayed). Thank you very

25 much. Addressed to your chief superintendent there, do

 

 

38


1 you see in the top left-hand corner?

2 A. Yes, I do, yes.

3 Q. And:

4 "Rosemary Nelson's name has been very much in the

5 news lately, not least in connection with the

6 Colin Duffy case ... "

7 And then a reference to the ICPC supervised

8 complaint investigations, do you see on the left?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And:

11 "I'm currently dealing with a number of letters

12 about the complaint and should be grateful for

13 clarification on a number of points."

14 So it looks, doesn't it, as though you at the RUC

15 were not the only organisation facing these letters; it

16 looks as though the NIO themselves were having to deal

17 with correspondence on the point?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And then after the list of questions:

20 "I would be most grateful if you could provide as

21 much background information on the above issues as soon

22 as possible, as the case has a high profile and needs

23 careful handling."

24 And again, that's very much what you have been

25 saying to us, isn't it: that this case and the matters

 

 

39


1 around it, which were being written about, which we have

2 seen, was indeed high profile?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And it was politically sensitive, which is why it needed

5 careful handling, wasn't it?

6 A. Yes. Obviously, as we discussed yesterday, they were

7 the beginning of movement towards reinstatement of the

8 ceasefires, and here was a double murder of police

9 officers. So, yes, of course, it had the prominence we

10 discussed yesterday.

11 Q. Yes. Looking at the reply -- and this is at RNI-101-056

12 and RNI-101-057 (displayed) -- this comes from your

13 chief superintendent and you will see that he talks

14 about the current position in the complaints

15 investigation and in particular, picking up the point

16 you have just been making, in the fourth paragraph, the

17 fact that at that point Rosemary Nelson had not been

18 cooperating with the investigation. Do you see that?

19 A. Yes, I see that.

20 Q. Concluding at the bottom of that page by saying:

21 "It is difficult to see what further steps can be

22 taken in the event of Mrs Nelson's continued

23 non-cooperation."

24 Now, I wanted to ask you whether you remember seeing

25 this letter from the NIO and, indeed, considering the

 

 

40


1 response from P157?

2 A. I notice that P157 is talking about a single complaint.

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. "The complaint".

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. The correspondence was addressed to him, so that

7 indicates to me that the Northern Ireland Office didn't

8 expect me to deal with it or for it to be brought to my

9 attention.

10 Q. Right. The reason I ask you this is because in his

11 evidence, P157 said that his recollection was that he

12 did indeed bring it to you for your attention?

13 A. I don't recall that. It could have been at one of the

14 meetings, as we described in the format, that we

15 described yesterday. But I certainly don't recall it.

16 Q. What he explained by way of reasoning is because he

17 regarded it as an important issue, there was a complaint

18 saying that police officers are threatening somebody.

19 And it was for that reason, he told the Inquiry, that he

20 drew it to your attention.

21 A. Did he say he did draw it to my attention or did he say

22 he thinks he would have? I certainly have no

23 recollection of that being brought to my attention.

24 What I cannot be sure -- because obviously the Chief

25 Superintendent is the one who must have made the

 

 

41


1 enquiries from Complaints and Discipline Department --

2 he gets all of that detail as to the progress of the

3 Chief Inspector's investigation, what he has done with

4 the file. So he I obviously made the enquiries

5 personally.

6 I don't recall it ever having been brought to my

7 attention and I'm assuming, when he talks about the

8 single complaint, and I'm assuming the wording from the

9 Northern Ireland Office, relates to complaints

10 specifically in relation to the double murders.

11 Q. Yes. Perhaps it would help to read out what he said.

12 I asked him about the letter, and he said:

13 "I would probably have made him aware of that, yes.

14 "Question: Yes, and can you explain why? What was

15 it about the particular issues, the particular

16 complaints, that you think would have made you draw them

17 to his attention?

18 "Answer: Because it was an important issue, you

19 know. There was a complaint that was saying that police

20 officers are threatening someone.

21 "Answer: Yes.

22 "Question: It was sufficiently significant for you

23 to draw it to his attention?

24 "Answer: Yes.

25 "Question: And it would have been right ..."

 

 

42


1 And he continued by saying:

2 "I thought it was important that probably he would

3 be aware of the difficulties in investigating that

4 particular complaint at that stage."

5 So do you see there were two points: the first, the

6 nature of the allegation that officers were threatening

7 someone; and secondly, the problems that the

8 investigation itself was encountering. And he said that

9 both of those would, he thought, have led him to draw

10 this letter to your attention.

11 Does that sound right, as far as you see it?

12 A. The reason it doesn't sound right is that I have no

13 recollection whatever. I don't think it was drawn to my

14 attention. Had it been drawn to my attention, I might

15 have expected a reference in his reply that he had

16 discussed this with the Chief Constable or the

17 Chief Constable will do this or that. What you have

18 read out to me in terms of his language seems to be

19 retrospective on his part, that he thinks he would have

20 done that.

21 Q. Yes. Do you think he should have done?

22 A. I wouldn't say necessarily. In terms of a specific

23 complaint that relates to, I presume in this case, the

24 interview of the suspect who is by this time charged

25 with murder, not only would all of those things be

 

 

43


1 examined in the investigation of the complaint, but also

2 in the pursuit of the prosecution of the criminal case

3 as well.

4 So if he had taken the steps that he clearly had

5 taken, as indicated in his reply, I don't think

6 necessarily that would have been brought to my

7 attention. And I certainly have no recollection of it

8 ever having been brought to my attention.

9 Q. It was unusual, wasn't it, for you to be specifically

10 informed or briefed about an individual complaint and

11 its investigation?

12 A. Yes, that would be unusual.

13 Q. Now, you explain that in the course of your evidence at

14 paragraph 51, at RNI-806-157 (displayed). In fact, this

15 is where you are commenting on the Amnesty letter. Do

16 you see that?

17 A. Yes, I do.

18 Q. And I think this is a point actually you raised with me

19 yesterday, about the difficulties that would otherwise

20 be caused if you, as Chief Constable, became involved.

21 A. Yes, and I described it as being standard practice in

22 policing throughout the United Kingdom.

23 Q. Indeed. And if we continue reading, you say at the

24 bottom:

25 "However, if there was a compelling operational

 

 

44


1 reason for me to know the details earlier, eg if the

2 matter had a high national or international interest, or

3 if the outcome of the complaints investigation was then

4 appealed, I would have to ask another Chief Constable to

5 hear the appeal."

6 So just going back to the bottom of

7 page RNI-806-157, please, (displayed) can I take it then

8 that there were cases where, for compelling operational

9 reasons, you did get briefed on individual complaints?

10 A. I can't specifically recall any at the moment, but

11 I certainly do recall asking another chief constable, or

12 certainly in my time as Deputy, arrangements being made

13 for other chief constables to hear disciplinary appeals

14 because certainly the Chief Constable, when I was

15 Deputy, had come by detailed personal knowledge of an

16 individual complaint and, therefore, couldn't sit in

17 that appellate function.

18 I can't, as I sit, remember a specific case where

19 that applied to me.

20 Q. But the example you give, where you might know the

21 details of an individual complaint, is if the matter had

22 a high national or international interest. Now, this

23 was such a case, was it not?

24 A. Well, the reason that's there is that that would have

25 been in response to questions put to me by solicitors to

 

 

45


1 the Inquiry; they would have been saying, "Well, was

2 this always the case? Was it always and everywhere the

3 case that no detail of any complaint would have been

4 brought to you or can you think of any circumstances in

5 which it might happen?" And that statement would be in

6 response to such a question.

7 Q. But the case we have been looking at fits exactly into

8 that category, doesn't it?

9 A. Well, certainly the murders fitted into that category,

10 but an allegation that some detective had said something

11 utterly inappropriate to the person during interview

12 wouldn't necessarily have, of itself, fit into this

13 question of --

14 Q. Even if the thing that was said was a death threat?

15 A. I'm not minimising for a second. If a death threat had

16 been issued, that's a deeply important matter.

17 Q. And even if that complaint or that allegation had been

18 the subject of national and international interest and

19 correspondence?

20 A. Yes, that's what I'm saying. I'm giving that as an

21 example, that that might be a reason for something to be

22 brought to my attention.

23 If it had been brought to my attention, then I would

24 know subsequently to exclude myself from any possibility

25 of any appeal proceedings.

 

 

46


1 Q. But you are still saying, are you, despite that, that

2 you don't believe or you can't recall being made aware

3 of the details of these complaints at the time you met

4 Mr Cumaraswamy at the end of October 1997?

5 A. I'm not certain about that, but I would obviously have

6 wanted to know what is Mr Cumaraswamy coming to look at;

7 is there an agenda for the meeting; what will we be

8 discussing. And I would have wanted to know -- I would

9 have wanted to put myself in a position to be able to

10 give meaningful information.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Who would you have asked to brief you in that

12 regard?

13 A. In this case, sir, it would have been the

14 Northern Ireland Office because we have no, you know --

15 we had no direct communication with the United Nations

16 as to what Mr Cumaraswamy wanted to discuss, what

17 information he wanted, who he might have wanted to

18 interview. So we would have been seeking that sort of

19 guidance from the Northern Ireland Office, who were the

20 link to the Foreign Office, who were the link to the

21 United Nations.

22 MR PHILLIPS: Now, before we look at the meeting with

23 Mr Cumaraswamy, I would like to ask you about some

24 reporting that came in to you in relation to another

25 incident in November 1997 involving Colin Duffy.

 

 

47


1 Just to recap, in terms of the chronology here, at

2 the beginning of October that year, 1997, the

3 Director of Public Prosecutions directed no further

4 proceedings in the murder case, the murder of the two

5 police officers.

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And just over a month later, there was an incident in

8 Lurgan involving Colin Duffy, which led to charges in

9 due course.

10 What I would like to do with you, please, is look at

11 the reporting that was coming in to you following that

12 event. The first document is at RNI-101-171.501

13 (displayed). It is dated 21 November, addressed to you

14 from the then ACC of the South Region:

15 "The attached reports give a good account of

16 security strategy in Lurgan and details of the Duffy

17 incident on 17 November 1997."

18 And there follow the attached reports, and it is to

19 passages of that material that I would like to direct

20 your attention.

21 RNI-101-171.502 (displayed) is from the Divisional

22 Commander up the chain of command to the ACC, and

23 specifically here in the third paragraph he says:

24 "Since his recent release from custody on murder

25 charges involving our two colleagues in Lurgan, he has

 

 

48


1 been proactive, provocative and indeed confrontational

2 in both Lurgan and Portadown, ably supported by

3 a vociferous solicitor, Mrs Rosemary Nelson."

4 And you will see then there is further comment about

5 the incident and what followed. And turning over the

6 page, after the redacted passages, the second paragraph

7 on RNI-101-171.503 (displayed) that we can see says:

8 "Clearly there is a strategy by Colin Duffy and his

9 associates to counteract this and maintain a propaganda

10 war against the security forces."

11 Now, the next document at RNI-101-171.504

12 (displayed), from the Subdivisional Commander up to his

13 divisional commander, gives a much more detailed account

14 of the incident itself. Again, there have been a number

15 of redactions, as you will see. The passage there that

16 I would like to draw to your attention is on

17 RNI-101-171.507 (displayed), which begins:

18 "Despite Rosemary Nelson's PR machine going into

19 overdrive in relation to the ongoing harassment of

20 Colin Duffy, we must not lose sight of the fact that all

21 officers involved carried out sterling work in the face

22 of overwhelming odds."

23 So that's the material that came in to you under

24 cover of the ACC's memo of 21 November 1997. Can you

25 remember the circumstances in which these reports were

 

 

49


1 produced for you?

2 A. I think the circumstances related to disturbances

3 generally in the Lurgan area, and this was a specific

4 example. And the fact that we had had the reinstatement

5 of the ceasefires in July of that year, the fact that

6 things were hopefully moving forward in a positive

7 manner must have initiated them letting me know.

8 Perhaps I even asked the question: what on earth went

9 on, what are we doing, because it is rather -- although

10 there are specific mentions, as you have indicated, it

11 is rather more about what is the security strategy, what

12 controlling strategy are we engaging in in that area.

13 Q. Yes, the bulk of the material is directed to other

14 points, absolutely right. Do you think it is likely

15 that you asked for these briefings on what had happened

16 and what was going on down there?

17 A. That's a possibility. I don't recall asking for it, or

18 it could have been simply initiated that the ACC decided

19 that we had better outline exactly what our strategy is

20 in this area and let them know at Headquarters. It

21 could have been either way.

22 Q. Presumably your concern about the matter wasn't simply

23 that this came after the ceasefire and, therefore, had

24 the potential to cause difficulties of that kind such as

25 you have just mentioned, but also because, again, it

 

 

50


1 involved Colin Duffy who had only just been released

2 from custody after the great media and correspondence

3 outburst that we have been looking at together over the

4 summer. He was a very prominent figure as a result,

5 wasn't he?

6 A. Yes, certainly prominent at that time, no doubt about

7 that. I can't recall -- I don't know whether, for

8 example -- it obviously describes a fracas, a physical

9 confrontation between him and police officers. Did he

10 make a complaint? Was he alleging the police officers

11 initiated it? I can't be sure. I have no idea about

12 that. But that would -- that is one possibility.

13 I could have said, "Look, let me have a report on

14 that. What is going on down in that area? Is there

15 a risk of much more widespread ..." because you will see

16 the correspondence refers to balaclavas and other

17 material being found. So it is much wider than just one

18 fracas between Colin Duffy and police officers.

19 Q. Presumably one of your concerns and that of your

20 officers is that this incident might itself be blown

21 into a great big focus for the media and other

22 attention?

23 A. That's exactly what I was getting at.

24 Q. That's one of the themes of the points I have shown you,

25 wasn't it: that there was a propaganda war, as the

 

 

51


1 Divisional Commander puts it?

2 A. That's his language.

3 Q. And what both these commanders were saying, the

4 Divisional Commander and the Subdivisional Commander,

5 was that Rosemary Nelson and, as one of them put it, her

6 "PR machine" were at the heart of what was going on in

7 terms of propaganda. That's what you were going told?

8 A. That's what is described there.

9 Q. When you read that, didn't that cause you to reconsider

10 the view you say you had formed about her: that she was

11 simply a solicitor going about her job in the

12 normal way?

13 A. No, I certainly didn't. I never reassessed my view of

14 Rosemary Nelson. I always saw her as a solicitor doing

15 her own job as best she could, with her own views, which

16 she is absolutely entitled to hold.

17 Q. But at the very least, didn't it make clear to you that

18 whatever you believed about her, your commanders nearer

19 the ground were viewing her in a rather different way?

20 A. That language seems to indicate a slightly different

21 view.

22 Q. Yes, wasn't that something that caused you concern?

23 A. No, it did not cause me concern.

24 Q. So the fact that the local commanders regarded her in

25 this way didn't give you any pause for thought?

 

 

52


1 A. No, I don't see that as particularly hard language,

2 describing her "PR machine" or "ably supported" --

3 whatever their other expression was.

4 Q. Yes. You didn't think --

5 A. No, I think this is in the light of Mrs Nelson having

6 had a lot of publicity about that particular case, her

7 client having been charged with the murders, all of the

8 publicity and attention that those murders attracted and

9 then her client having been released, the DPP having

10 decided not to proceed with charges. I think that's

11 where Rosemary Nelson was simply in the middle of all

12 that media attention.

13 Q. Yes. But you didn't think that there were the seeds of

14 trouble in attitudes of this kind being held about her

15 by the local commanders, the Divisional Commander and

16 the Subdivisional Commander?

17 A. No, not at all. They would have been much more

18 interested in Duffy and his associates and who was

19 potentially causing trouble in that area.

20 Q. But wasn't the point about this that they were

21 effectively associating her as a lawyer with the people

22 she was representing?

23 A. I wouldn't use that expression. I think that's probably

24 just because there was so much publicity about that

25 particular individual and that particular case.

 

 

53


1 Q. Yes. Now, of course, if you had been made aware of the

2 intelligence reporting about her that we discussed

3 yesterday, suggesting that she had crossed the line,

4 that she was an active supporter of the Provisional IRA

5 or at least that she was regarded in that way by other

6 officers, this sort of comment would have come as no

7 surprise?

8 A. Possibly not, if I had seen those reports. But as

9 I indicated yesterday, having seen those reports,

10 I consider them to be individual reports over a period

11 of time, and certainly I would not have come to the same

12 conclusion as the colleagues who have earlier given

13 evidence to this Inquiry.

14 Q. Yes. So you think that they were drawing too much from

15 that material?

16 A. I think so. I certainly would not and do not consider

17 Mrs Nelson to have been a terrorist.

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

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. We will break off until ten to.

20 (11.33 am)

21 (Short break)

22 (11.50 am)

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

24 MR PHILLIPS: Can we come to the meeting that you had with

25 the Special Rapporteur at the end of October 1997, and

 

 

54


1 for your reference you begin to deal with that in

2 paragraph 57 of your statement at RNI-806-159

3 (displayed).

4 You have already mentioned this morning how the

5 Special Rapporteur asked for a meeting with you and you

6 tell us in your statement that, as far as you can

7 recall, I think, there were two meetings during his

8 visit. Is that correct?

9 A. My recollection is I met him twice. I'm not sure if he

10 made the request, but certainly the request to me was

11 from the Northern Ireland Office.

12 Q. Thank you. Now, the meeting with which we are concerned

13 was the one which was attended by you, him, P157, your

14 senior officer in Command Secretariat, Assistant

15 Chief Constable White and Mr Cumaraswamy's assistant,

16 Mr Parra. Can I ask you first, in relation to the

17 Assistant Chief Constable, did you ask him to attend?

18 A. Yes, because it would have been about matters within his

19 area of responsibility.

20 Q. So although there wasn't an agenda, a formal agenda for

21 the meeting, as I understand it, you were aware of the

22 sort of points that were likely to come up?

23 A. Yes, and they would have all fallen within crime policy.

24 For example, the question of solicitors being present

25 during interviews of their clients, why was that not

 

 

55


1 a standard procedure, issues like that. And what

2 generally were the procedures in place in terms of

3 persons in custody, issues such as that.

4 Q. Yes. And presumably as a general rule when you had

5 a meeting, you would want to know what it was going to

6 be about and to get any briefing you could to prepare

7 yourself for it?

8 A. In order for me to be able to give meaningful

9 information to whoever the meeting was with, yes.

10 Q. Indeed. Now, so far as this meeting was concerned, you

11 were aware, weren't you, that one of the main areas of

12 the Rapporteur's focus was this question of the alleged

13 treatment of defence lawyers?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And Mr White in his evidence has told us that he knew

16 before the meeting that the Rapporteur had received

17 reports and material of the kind we have looked at

18 already from British Irish Rights Watch, for example,

19 about that issue?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And he asked his then staff officer to do some research

22 and to prepare a briefing paper on that. Was that

23 something you knew was going on?

24 A. No, I did not.

25 Q. But obviously it sounds as though what the

 

 

56


1 Assistant Chief Constable is doing was simply to make

2 sure that, as far as he was concerned, he had a briefing

3 paper, something in his hand, to prepare him for the

4 meeting?

5 A. Yes, that's correct.

6 Q. Now, what he recollects -- this is the

7 Assistant Chief Constable -- is that he shared the

8 document with you, if I can put it that way, in advance

9 of the meeting?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Is that consistent with your recollection?

12 A. It is not. I have seen that document in very recent

13 days and there is material in that document that I'm

14 certain I have seen for the first time. So it was not

15 shared with me. I was talking in much more general

16 terms about all of the provisions there were in relation

17 to treatment of persons in custody.

18 Q. Right. So as far as your recollection goes then, he,

19 ACC White, if he had that briefing paper at the meeting,

20 kept it to himself?

21 A. That's correct, I haven't seen it before.

22 Q. Right.

23 A. I think there is a specific reference in that briefing

24 note to comments by some American judge, for example.

25 Q. Yes.

 

 

57


1 A. And I'm certain those were the first time, just at the

2 weekend, that I've ever seen those comments.

3 Q. Yes. Can you remember whether there was any

4 conversation between you and the

5 Assistant Chief Constable before the meeting began?

6 A. No, I don't.

7 Q. You don't think there was or you can't remember one way

8 or the other?

9 A. There normally would be. He is coming from a different

10 building to a meeting in my office. Normally he would

11 be there early. If I was free, which I can't recall, or

12 whether it was just back-to-back meetings -- between

13 meetings with other people, which is very often the

14 case, I can't recall. But it would certainly be normal.

15 We would have a conversation, perhaps a cup of tea,

16 waiting for the visitors to arrive. That would be

17 absolutely normal. I don't recall if that was the case

18 then.

19 Q. And you don't recall him taking you through the points

20 raised in the briefing paper?

21 A. No, I certainly did not.

22 Q. And the briefing paper was not prepared at your

23 instruction?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Can you remember whether you asked specifically for any

 

 

58


1 briefing paper to be prepared, other than obviously the

2 one we have seen for this meeting?

3 A. No, my recollection -- and I'm just, if you will bear

4 with me, checking the list. My recollection is that

5 conversations I had, they were telephone conversations

6 with Mrs Collins of the Northern Ireland Office and she

7 was unable to go into detail. So it was a very general

8 discussion.

9 Q. Yes. But this area of the alleged mistreatment of

10 defence lawyers was one which fell within ACC White's

11 purview, if I can put it that way, didn't it?

12 A. Well, the investigation obviously would have fallen

13 within the purview of the Assistant Chief Constable.

14 Q. Yes, complaints.

15 A. G Department. But certainly the crime policy generally,

16 if I can refer to it in that phrase, would have been the

17 responsibility of ACC Crime.

18 Q. And he told us that he recalled discussions with you

19 from time to time -- no detail was given -- about this

20 question, the question of alleged intimidation of

21 defence lawyers. Does that accord with your own

22 recollection?

23 A. I'm certain we would have had such general conversations

24 from time to time.

25 Q. And we know, for example, that after the Cumaraswamy

 

 

59


1 visit and report, you tell us in your statement you were

2 in contact with the Law Society and with your CID

3 training officers to ensure that training was given on

4 these issues?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. And I think you suggest in your statement, without

7 having, as it were, the hard detail to back it up, you

8 may well have involved the ACC in that as well?

9 A. That's correct.

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. I don't know whether you want any detail, but my

12 invitation to members of the Law Society was actually to

13 participate in CID training, in whatever form they

14 chose -- my preference would have been role playing --

15 to outline the role of the defence lawyer, or if they

16 simply wanted to come and give presentations on the role

17 of defence lawyers, that sort of thing.

18 Now, they thought about it, I think, very seriously,

19 but came to the conclusion that it was too close in

20 a sense. That if they were training CID officers one

21 week whom they would be cross-examining a short time

22 later, that they felt it was inappropriate.

23 But that was my offer and, in fact, we did initiate

24 trainee lawyers coming to CID training and doing exactly

25 that: engaging in role playing. So the idea was that

 

 

60


1 detectives got a full understanding and appreciation and

2 respect for the role of defence lawyers.

3 Q. Yes. And presumably this was an initiative that you

4 began, recognising that there was at least a body of

5 concern being expressed -- whether or not it was, in

6 particular cases, well founded -- about this issue of

7 the relationship between some of your officers and some

8 defence lawyers?

9 A. I was quite shocked that Mr Cumaraswamy was talking --

10 and I can't remember whether it was the first meeting or

11 the second meeting, but talking in terms of a plurality

12 of lawyers who had verbally passed these complaints to

13 him. And, therefore, if that was an issue, I wanted to

14 make sure that it was something that would be addressed,

15 not only in terms of training of new CID officers but

16 through instructions -- and that would be through

17 Assistant Chief Constable Crime -- to existing CID

18 officers to make sure that they appreciated and had full

19 respect for the role of defence lawyers.

20 Q. But that rather suggests that the first time you heard

21 about, as you put it, the plurality of such cases was

22 from Mr Cumaraswamy in one of your meetings with him?

23 A. I asked Mr Cumaraswamy -- and I think this probably is

24 the second meeting -- how he had gone about his

25 business. Did he record statements? Was he engaged in

 

 

61


1 an investigation? And he said, no, that what he had

2 listened to was what people were telling him and he

3 said, without going into detail at that stage, that

4 there was quite a number of lawyers who were prepared to

5 make those complaints to him, who had never made them as

6 complaints against the police and who had never

7 contacted the Law Society about them.

8 So my reason for going to the Law Society was

9 twofold. I was shocked at this, if it existed across

10 a wide number of lawyers, and my reason for going to the

11 Law Society was (a) to invite them to be involved, as

12 I have described, in CID training, but (b) as to whether

13 they could encourage -- if for any reason lawyers were

14 not going to make the complaints directly to us, that if

15 perhaps the Law Society could encourage them to make

16 such complaints to them, and that we, through close

17 liaison, would make sure that such complaints were

18 properly investigated and addressed, if there were such

19 complaints.

20 Q. But you are not saying, are you, that it was at this

21 moment, the end of October 1997, that you first became

22 aware of these problems?

23 A. What I was shocked was Mr Cumaraswamy's indication -- I

24 can't remember the language he used, but he was trying

25 to indicate to me that he felt that this was quite

 

 

62


1 a widespread problem, and certainly at that time I was

2 shocked that he would believe that to be the case.

3 Q. But wasn't this exactly what the NGOs in their reports

4 and all the documents we talked about earlier were

5 telling you and your colleagues: that it was not just

6 a question of an isolated case; it was a more widespread

7 problem? This had been going on for some years?

8 A. I have indicated already on several occasions that a lot

9 of that correspondence was certainly never brought to

10 may attention. So I certainly had no feeling that this

11 was a widespread issue. And, indeed, Mr Cumaraswamy was

12 saying that the people to whom he talked hadn't ever

13 raised it as an issue for whatever reason, whether they

14 thought there wasn't much point in it or whatever,

15 whether some of them may have not had confidence in the

16 organisation, for whatever reason.

17 So it is not that it was widespreadly known.

18 I referred to the other correspondence, a lot of it

19 being repetitive, a lot of it being circular in nature

20 and a lot of it dealing with the same issues. That did

21 not give any indication that it meant a lot of lawyers

22 felt they were experiencing that alleged treatment.

23 Q. Well, let's look together, if we may, at the briefing

24 document which you have just told us you didn't see at

25 the time; indeed, I think you have only just seen very

 

 

63


1 recently. Is that right?

2 A. That's right.

3 Q. It is at RNI-838-078, and could we have the second page

4 on the screen as well, please, at RNI-838-079

5 (displayed).

6 Now, the first thing is you see the focus of it is

7 on the British Irish Rights Watch and specifically their

8 1996 report, and various comments are made about it.

9 But it is clear that this was one of the reports we have

10 just been discussing, talking about alleged intimidation

11 of defence lawyers. And the passage you have just

12 mentioned referring to the judge in the United States

13 follows. What the Assistant Chief Constable told us is

14 that he had asked his staff officer to research these

15 issues and specifically BIRW and Jane Winter, the

16 director.

17 Over the page there is a reference to a paragraph in

18 the report -- you see paragraph 2.10 -- and the various

19 reforms called for there.

20 Clearly, as far as we are concerned, a particularly

21 important section begins under the heading "Reasons to

22 disallow solicitors access to interview". The first

23 bullet point being:

24 "Intelligence indicates that there exists a body of

25 solicitors who are unduly sympathetic to

 

 

64


1 paramilitaries."

2 And the next paragraph saying:

3 "Paragraph 5.6 of the BIRW report 1996 states:

4 "'The Commissioner beliefs that some solicitors who

5 regularly attend Castlereagh are corrupt'."

6 Do you see that?

7 A. I see that.

8 Q. Can I take it from what you have been saying to us about

9 this meeting that not only did you not have the briefing

10 paper with you, as you have just said, but you also did

11 not have with you the 1996 BIRW report?

12 A. No, I did not.

13 Q. So you weren't in a position to say at the meeting, or

14 at any point, whether or not that was a full and

15 accurate quotation from the report?

16 A. No, I would not have been in that position.

17 Q. No. Thank you.

18 Now, so far as that is concerned, before we get into

19 the question of what was said or not said during the

20 course of the meeting, can I just ask you this: had you

21 been shown this document with the specific comment

22 beginning "intelligence indicates ...", what would your

23 reaction have been?

24 A. My reaction would have been simply, "What intelligence?"

25 And what is meant by "unduly sympathetic"?

 

 

65


1 Q. You would have asked for more detail?

2 A. Absolutely. People are entitled to be sympathetic to

3 whatever cause they choose. What's meant by the word

4 "unduly"? What does that mean, and where is this

5 intelligence? I had never seen such intelligence.

6 Q. Can I take it at this point you were not aware of

7 intelligence to that effect?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. Because, again, the Assistant Chief Constable in his

10 evidence to the Inquiry at the end of last year said

11 that he was aware of intelligence to this effect, namely

12 that some solicitors are/were unduly sympathetic to

13 paramilitaries. You weren't aware of that?

14 A. I have certainly never seen it. Has the inquiry seen

15 such reporting?

16 Q. Can I carry on asking the questions?

17 A. Of course.

18 Q. That was not something you were aware of?

19 A. That's right.

20 Q. So the position we have then, in summary, is that the

21 Assistant Chief Constable says he was aware of it. His

22 staff officer obviously was aware of it because he is

23 the person who produced the report. But you are telling

24 the Inquiry that you were not?

25 A. Absolutely so.

 

 

66


1 Q. Right.

2 A. I'm still unaware of it. I have never seen such

3 intelligence. I have seen the individual reports to

4 which we have referred several times, but that certainly

5 doesn't indicate a body of solicitors. To me, it sounds

6 as if it is an organised body, if it is a group of

7 solicitors who share the same view. I have never seen

8 intelligence in that regard.

9 Q. And you have never been briefed at this point by your

10 Head of Special Branch to the effect that there were

11 some solicitors who had crossed the line, who were

12 unduly sympathetic?

13 A. No, I had not.

14 Q. No. Now, so far as the next paragraph is concerned, the

15 Commissioner referred to there was

16 Sir Louis Blom-Cooper, wasn't it?

17 A. That's correct.

18 Q. Thank you. And as you know, this question of what his

19 view was in relation to solicitors and whether or not he

20 believed that some of them were corrupt was another

21 matter that came out in the draft report of

22 Mr Cumaraswamy.

23 Now, you say in your statement that you had never

24 had a conversation with Sir Louis Blom-Cooper along

25 those lines. Is that correct?

 

 

67


1 A. I had many conversations with Sir Louis, but not along

2 those lines. He never expressed such views to me, ever;

3 quite the contrary.

4 Q. What you say in your statement is that if you had had

5 a conversation of that kind with him, you would recall

6 it, and you don't?

7 A. Absolutely.

8 Q. Thank you.

9 A. I think Sir Louis, in one of his reports, addressed the

10 issue. Because it wasn't standard practice that lawyers

11 in the holding centres were present throughout all

12 interviews of their clients, they did, however, have

13 consultations before an interview and after interview,

14 and sometimes that was very disruptive for the planning

15 because interviews would be delayed until lawyers

16 arrived because they had other things to do. And

17 Sir Louis at one stage, I think, suggested the creation

18 of a body of lawyers to be based at the holding centre.

19 But of course, I think, unsurprisingly, the Law Society

20 were strongly against such a suggestion because it would

21 mean that persons in custody would have to choose

22 a representative from an existing Panel, rather than

23 having the freedom to choice their own representative.

24 So it was a feeling that he had -- it may even have

25 been a recommendation that he made -- that was never

 

 

68


1 followed through.

2 Q. Yes, thank you.

3 A. That's the only discussion I ever had with Sir Louis

4 that related to lawyers; in other words, Sir Louis's

5 view would have been mine. And I hope in my personal

6 relationship with all lawyers, not to say that there

7 cannot be individual corrupt lawyers, just as there

8 could be individually corrupt police officers, and in

9 any profession, but certainly I hope that I always

10 exhibited personal respect for the role that they played

11 and certainly never have had, and do not now have the

12 view that because lawyers represent people suspected of

13 the most dreadful crimes, that in any way that means

14 they are associated with the people that they represent.

15 Q. Thank you. Now, what I wanted to ask you about the

16 meeting with Mr Cumaraswamy is how clear your

17 recollection of the meeting, the one we have talked

18 about with the various other individuals present, is

19 now, today, in 2009?

20 A. It is not that clear. Certain things are clear: Being

21 surprised, as I have described it, being shocked.

22 I remember part of the conversation -- he used a phrase

23 to me that his experience in a worldwide fashion was

24 that when there is insurrection against the state -- and

25 I paraphrase, but this was the sort of words -- that

 

 

69


1 there arises a group of lawyers who represent those

2 engaged in insurrection. And in his experience, the

3 risk is, as he said, that the state then reacts against

4 those lawyers. And I said, "Well, do you think this

5 applies in the United Kingdom? Are we the same as other

6 countries, other jurisdictions that you have examined?"

7 And he used some expressions such as that he judges by

8 the standards of the individual country, so that what he

9 may have experienced in other countries doesn't

10 necessarily have parallels.

11 So when you are asking me how sharp is my

12 recollection, I remember that sort of conversation with

13 Mr Cumaraswamy. I can't remember whether that was at

14 the early meeting or the second meeting. I remember

15 that I outlined to him what was different about

16 Northern Ireland, what was different about dealing with

17 an ongoing terrorist campaign and what, thereby, had

18 been the provisions, for example, in relation to persons

19 in custody; the installation, as far back as 1980, of

20 video recording, for example.

21 Q. Can I just stop you there?

22 A. Sorry.

23 Q. No, not at all. Sorry to interrupt you. When you say

24 the installation of video recording, do you mean in 1980

25 there was the facility for an officer to follow what was

 

 

70


1 going on in the room on a CCTV camera, to monitor the

2 screens?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Because wasn't the installation or the introduction of

5 silent video recording rather later, in, I think, 1998?

6 A. I think the practice of retaining -- recording and

7 retaining tapes came later.

8 Q. In 1998?

9 A. Yes. What had happened in, I think, 1980 was the

10 introduction of that video that was constantly monitored

11 by uniformed officers.

12 Q. Yes. So they could look to see, if they wanted to, what

13 was going on in the interview room?

14 A. Yes. What I also recall was outlining to Mr Cumaraswamy

15 the fact that members of terrorist organisations are

16 warned by their organisations to remain silent during

17 interview, that terrorist organisations are very adept

18 and knowledgeable about the value of forensic evidence

19 and, therefore, very adept at not leaving forensic

20 opportunities: Destroying cars that they use, et

21 cetera, et cetera. And even the creation of the office

22 that Sir Louis held was a recognition by us that what we

23 wanted to do was to extend what is called the lay

24 visitors' scheme, which takes place in normal police

25 stations. Just members of the public who become lay

 

 

71


1 visitors, who can drop in unannounced to a police

2 station at any time and examine the custody facilities,

3 to sit in on interviews if the person being interviewed

4 would consent to that, et cetera, et cetera.

5 To do such a thing in holding centres where

6 terrorists were being interviewed, and thereby to have

7 lay visitors somehow associated with officialdom would

8 have been, we believed, much, much too great a threat to

9 their safety. So the alternative was to create this

10 Commissioner's office, and Sir Louis Blom-Cooper took up

11 that post. But it is an indication, I think, of what in

12 those days was different in Northern Ireland compared to

13 other parts of the United Kingdom.

14 So those sorts of things I recall outlining to

15 Mr Cumaraswamy.

16 Q. Because you were keen to ensure that he had a full

17 understanding of the very particular context, the very

18 particular problems for policing, for criminal

19 investigation which pertained in Northern Ireland?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And which didn't pertain in any other part of the

22 United Kingdom?

23 A. That's what I was keen to outline, yes.

24 Q. Can I just ask you this question about the meeting. We

25 know who the five attendees were: Who did most of the

 

 

72


1 talking?

2 A. I have seen it described in the ACC's evidence that

3 I did most of the talking. I certainly would have done

4 most of the introductory talking, setting the scene, but

5 my recollection is that -- the Chief Superintendent who

6 was there, I don't think he would have been intervening

7 much. I don't think Mr Cumaraswamy's assistant would

8 have been intervening too much. So I think it would

9 have been myself, the Assistant Chief Constable and

10 Mr Cumaraswamy who would have been doing most of the

11 talking.

12 Q. And in your statement, you say that the meeting ran

13 smoothly. I think that is the way you put it. It

14 wasn't a fractious or difficult meeting in any way?

15 A. Not in any sense.

16 Q. No. As I'm sure you are aware now, we have two sets of

17 notes of what was said at the meeting: one prepared by,

18 if I can put it this way, your assistant, the officer in

19 Command Secretariat?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And the other by Mr Cumaraswamy's assistant. And what I

22 would like to do, please, is to look at both of them on

23 the screen together.

24 As you probably know, the Chief Superintendent's

25 notes are in his handwriting, which some find easier to

 

 

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1 read than others, and what he has done is to transcribe

2 them. So what I would like to do on the left-hand side,

3 please, is to put up the relevant page, so far as the

4 Inquiry is concerned, which is RNI-101-159.505

5 (displayed), and on the right-hand side, his

6 transcription -- this is P157's own transcription of

7 what he has written -- which is RNI-101-159.511

8 (displayed). Do you see that the transcription

9 corresponds to the handwritten notes under the letter F?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Do you see:

12 "Sir Louis BC. Some patently corrupt. A nucleus

13 worked to a paramilitary agenda. Stop people giving

14 information, the must stop information being passed ..."

15 Note, please, in the middle of the page and in a box

16 in the handwritten form on the left, "R White". Do you

17 see that?

18 A. Yes, I see that.

19 Q. What I would like to do, please, is to go back to the

20 briefing note, which is at RNI-838-079 (displayed) and

21 have that on the left-hand side of the screen, please.

22 There you see a reference to a body of solicitors who

23 are unduly sympathetic to paramilitaries, and

24 a reference, which we have looked at together, to

25 Sir Louis Blom-Cooper. Then the suggestion that he

 

 

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1 believed some, as the note puts it, "patently corrupt".

2 Now, what I wanted to ask you, please, is looking at

3 these notes first of all, the notes on the right-hand

4 side as transcribed, made by your Command Secretariat

5 officer, do you recall remarks such as this being made

6 in the course of this meeting?

7 A. Absolutely not.

8 Q. You do not?

9 A. Absolutely not.

10 Q. Right. Well, in that case, can we look at the notes

11 made by Mr Parra on the left-hand side, please, and they

12 are at RNI-112-033 (displayed). Do you see the relevant

13 section is at the bottom left-hand corner:

14 "Sir Louis has commented upon corruption of

15 solicitors, and there is ..."

16 I think that may be crossed out:

17 "... are those who working for a paramilitary

18 agenda, and part of that agenda is to make sure that

19 detainees do not speak, stifling any means of

20 communicating information."

21 There are, aren't there, similarities between what

22 is recorded in the two notes?

23 A. There are those similarities, yes.

24 Q. And we know that the note on the left is made by the

25 Rapporteur's assistant, the note on the right by your

 

 

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1 assistant, as I have put it?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. It is most unlikely that they would both have misheard

4 and miswritten, if I can put it that way, misrecorded,

5 comments made in this way, isn't it?

6 A. It seems certain to me from those notes that some

7 comments were made.

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. They were certainly not made by me, as was later

10 suggested, and we will possibly come to that.

11 Q. Yes, we will.

12 A. And neither were they made in my presence.

13 Q. You don't think that they were comments made by

14 ACC White in the course of this meeting?

15 A. If they were made by him while I was there, I would have

16 been engaged immediately in clarification. I have never

17 ever heard that ascribed to Sir Louis Blom-Cooper,

18 someone I think I got to know quite well, someone whose

19 views I think I got to know quite well. I have never,

20 ever heard that ascribed to him. Had it been ascribed

21 while I was in the meeting, I would have immediately

22 raised it and I would have expected it to be an issue of

23 some substantive discussion.

24 Q. Let's take this example: if ACC White had made that

25 comment about Sir Louis in the meeting, you would have

 

 

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1 challenged him, if I can put it that way, in the

2 meeting?

3 A. If it was made in those terms, if it was a suggestion

4 that Sir Louis held that view.

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. I don't recall, while I was in the meeting, any mention

7 of Sir Louis Blom-Cooper at all.

8 As I have said, he was someone that I thought --

9 I consider I had a very good relationship with. So

10 mention of him is something I would expect to recollect,

11 and I do not recollect being in the meeting when that

12 was said.

13 I have had some evidence brought to my attention, I

14 think by Mr Cumaraswamy's assistant, of some sort of

15 historical explanation. That did not take place while I

16 was present in the meeting either. There were things

17 that clearly could have been said while I was not

18 present.

19 Q. Yes. Now, so far as the evidence we have heard about

20 this is concerned, we have heard more recently from

21 P157, who was present and taking notes, and also from

22 the Assistant Chief Constable.

23 Just to remind you, P157's recollection is that

24 these remarks were indeed made and were made not by you

25 but by the Assistant Chief Constable. Now, can I take

 

 

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1 it from your earlier answer that that does not accord

2 with your recollection?

3 A. It certainly does not. But -- my recollection is that I

4 was not present throughout this entire meeting, so I'm

5 not saying -- from those notes, I would be pretty

6 certain that comments were made. They certainly were

7 not made by me and they were not made in my presence

8 either.

9 Q. Just to be clear then, you are suggesting, are you, that

10 if these remarks were made, they were made at a time

11 when you had absented yourself from the meeting?

12 A. It must be the case.

13 Q. Now, in your statement, I think it is right to say that

14 you mentioned at some point that you had to leave one of

15 the meetings; I think the first meeting. Is that right?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And is the thrust, therefore, of what you are saying

18 that if these remarks were made, it must have been in

19 the course of that meeting and after you had already

20 left?

21 A. They were not made in my presence.

22 Q. Yes. Now, I have to tell you that neither P157 nor

23 ACC White suggested that these remarks were made in your

24 absence.

25 A. Right.

 

 

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1 Q. Indeed ACC White's evidence is that he may well have

2 made the remarks, not least because, of course, I showed

3 him the briefing paper which appears to reflect very

4 much what is set out in these notes, as you have just

5 seen with me. But he also indicated at another point of

6 his evidence that it might have been you and it might

7 have been him because he remembers the conversation

8 involving both of you making contributions in the course

9 of discussion.

10 A. I can be absolutely clear about this, and it is not on

11 the basis of recollection, it is on the basis of views

12 that I strongly hold, and I strongly hold the view that

13 lawyers are entitled to full respect and that just

14 because lawyers represent people suspected of the most

15 dreadful crimes, that that does not associate them in

16 any sense with the people that they are representing.

17 I have always strongly held that view. So if

18 remarks were made in my presence, such as are indicated

19 in the notes, I would immediately seek clarification and

20 immediately seek explanation. I would immediately

21 engage in discussion about that, and no such discussion

22 took place.

23 Q. So I'm absolutely clear about this, you have already

24 made that comment in relation to the

25 Sir Louis Blom-Cooper comments, if I can put it that

 

 

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1 way. Can I take it from what you have just been saying

2 that the same applies to the other comment, "an nucleas

3 worked to a paramilitary agenda"? Had it been made, you

4 would have challenged it and there would have been

5 a discussion in the meeting?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. Is it possible that if you heard that remark being made,

8 on this hypothesis, by ACC White, you would have

9 challenged him about it but after the meeting?

10 A. No, no, I would have challenged it -- this meeting was

11 in the presence of the UN Special Rapporteur, so I would

12 have challenged it there and then to make sure that the

13 Rapporteur did not leave with any misimpression.

14 Q. That's a very important point, isn't it, if I may say

15 so, that this was a UN official conducting a meeting

16 which was not a confidential meeting, was it?

17 A. No, not at all.

18 Q. As part of his mission to the United Kingdom and

19 Northern Ireland, and therefore, anything said to him

20 might form part of his conclusions and, conceivably, of

21 his report on the mission?

22 A. Of course, and that's why something, if said in the bold

23 terms that seem to be indicated by those notes, would

24 undoubtedly lead to a significant discussion,

25 conversation, explanation, whatever. And that didn't

 

 

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1 take place in my presence.

2 If something -- the only possibility of anything

3 like that taking place in my presence was that -- if it

4 was so non-controversial that it didn't give rise to any

5 further discussion. But I'm not, for example, in the

6 note by my colleague, the Chief Superintendent -- he

7 uses an expression "Cumaraswamy on to it".

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. That indicates to me that there would have been -- "What

10 is this about? What do you mean?" None of that took

11 place in my presence.

12 Q. That, I think I am right in saying, is consistent with

13 other evidence we've heard from those present at the

14 meeting, but following these comments there was

15 a discussion involving Mr Cumaraswamy making

16 contributions; in other words, in which he was trying

17 to, as you have suggested, get to the bottom of what had

18 been said?

19 A. That did not take place in my presence.

20 Q. I want to be clear about what you said a little while

21 ago about why it is you are so clear that no such

22 comment would have been made by you.

23 As I understand it, what you are saying to the

24 Inquiry is you would not have made such a comment

25 because you had no basis for believing it to be true?

 

 

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1 A. None whatever.

2 Q. Thank you.

3 A. And it is a position I have always strongly held, and

4 that's why I can be so clear, not depending upon simple

5 recollection.

6 Q. So just to eliminate other possibilities, this wasn't

7 the sort of comment that you might have thought could be

8 true, but it was the sort of comment which was simply

9 not prudent or sensible to make in a meeting of this

10 kind?

11 A. That's absolutely not the case. If you are suggesting

12 it would be imprudent to raise it in a meeting of this

13 kind, that is not the case. That's not the reason I can

14 be so clear. The reason I can be so clear is I have

15 never, and do not now hold such a view.

16 Q. As a matter of fact, if you had been present and if the

17 ACC had made such a remark, would you, amongst other

18 things, have regarded that as most unwise on his part?

19 A. If such a remark had been made in the bold terms that

20 may be indicated.

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. The expression I saw somewhere, "working for

23 paramilitaries". Well, if paramilitaries engage

24 lawyers, in a sense, that means the lawyer is working

25 for a paramilitary. That doesn't -- but if you are

 

 

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1 talking about working to a paramilitary agenda, if you

2 are talking about a body of lawyers -- and I know of no

3 such body; I have never seen a scrap of intelligence to

4 indicate there is a body of such lawyers -- it is not

5 a view I have ever held.

6 Q. Just looking at the question you have raised that you

7 absented yourself from the meeting, can you first help

8 me with why it was you had to leave the meeting?

9 A. My recollection is there were a number of important

10 phone calls. Now, I have actually tried to check

11 records to see if there is anything in the electronic

12 diaries and I don't think it has been possible to find

13 it. I think I was in and out several times to take

14 important phone calls and engage in quite lengthy calls

15 that would not have been appropriate to engage in in the

16 presence of visitors.

17 Q. Can I just follow through in the two sets of notes to

18 see whether you were present for other parts of the

19 discussion.

20 If we look first on the right-hand side at

21 RNI-101-1259.506 (displayed), we will see there

22 a section of your Command Secretariat officer's notes,

23 which I am afraid we don't have transcribed. So we are

24 stuck with his handwriting, which, as you can see,

25 I hope, have the heading "Pat Finucane"?

 

 

83


1 A. Yes.

2 Q. What has been described in the evidence to us is

3 a discussion during your meeting about the Finucane case

4 and the various points that it gave rise to.

5 Now, are you telling the Inquiry that you were not

6 present at this stage of the meeting?

7 A. No, I'm not because I have a recollection of discussing

8 the Pat Finucane case with Mr Cumaraswamy. Whether it

9 was at the first or second meeting, I can't be sure, but

10 I do remember a discussion between the two --

11 Q. Yes. That was certainly ACC White's recollection, that

12 you were very much in the lead on the discussion of the

13 Finucane case.

14 Now, this page is page G, which, I hope I don't need

15 to point out to you, comes after page F in the notes,

16 which suggests on the face of it that this discussion

17 took place after the comments were made recorded on

18 page F. So on that basis, you must have left the

19 meeting when the controversial remarks were made and

20 then come back to make the comments you did about

21 Pat Finucane. Is that likely?

22 A. I didn't -- that's very likely. I didn't leave them

23 when they were made. They must have been made while I

24 was not there.

25 Q. Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. What I was getting

 

 

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1 at is that the order of the notes as they have been made

2 suggests that the Finucane discussion came after the

3 controversial remarks were made.

4 Now, you have told us that you were not in the

5 meeting when the controversial remarks were made?

6 A. I'm certain they were not made in my presence. I would

7 have left to take a phone call, or phone calls plural,

8 and then returned.

9 Q. Yes. You think, therefore, having now seen these notes,

10 that the likelihood is that you came back and then

11 became involved in the Pat Finucane discussion. Is that

12 right?

13 A. Probably the case.

14 Q. Yes. Let's just have on the left-hand -- sorry, just to

15 check with you, if you look at the left-hand side where

16 we have got the Alan Parra notes, you will see how it

17 continues:

18 "Paramilitaries want to learn from the holding

19 centre, which he's deduced is from questions put to

20 detainees. Use legal people to ..."

21 I can't read that, I am afraid:

22 "... provision of info."

23 Then these words:

24 "More than a suspicion on role of lawyers have ..."

25 It says "terms". He has explained to us, he meant

 

 

85


1 "reams":

2 "... of documented evidence from detainees where

3 that has come out."

4 In other words, as the witnesses have described, the

5 discussion continued and, as it were, the RUC side were

6 saying, "Look, this isn't just suspicion. We have reams

7 of documented evidence where this has come out."

8 Can I ask you this question: do you recall being

9 present in the meeting when these remarks were made?

10 A. I don't recall those specific remarks. I'm trying to

11 read on:

12 "Might just be --

13 Q. "... there is a political divide and attempt to portray

14 us part of Unionist tradition. Thus not keen to have

15 dialogue to keep that distance."

16 A. I'm not saying I said that, but it sounds like a phrase

17 I could say.

18 Q. Right. So do you think it is possible that by this

19 stage you had rejoined the meeting so that it was you

20 who made those comments --

21 A. It is possible --

22 Q. -- at the top of the page?

23 A. -- except I'm looking, "1603 -- there is a whole

24 historical -- I'm certain I was not present for that.

25 Q. That's another interesting quirk of the evidence. We

 

 

86


1 have heard about that from Mr Parra, that at the end of

2 this meeting, there was, as it were, a historical

3 presentation. And as I remember the evidence, I don't

4 think Mr Parra suggested that you were present or

5 involved in that. As you can see, it is a history of

6 Northern Ireland, essentially?

7 A. I certainly was not involved in that.

8 Q. Let's go back to the bottom of RNI-112-033, if we may,

9 to the phrase I read out to you:

10 "More than a suspicion on role of lawyers. Have

11 terms [or reams] of documented evidence."

12 Do you think you were present in the meeting at that

13 point?

14 A. No, I was not because I'm not aware of reams of

15 documented evidence.

16 Q. Right. But it looks, doesn't it, just doing what you

17 can with the note, as though this was all part of the

18 discussion which is likely to have followed the comment

19 about solicitors working for a paramilitary agenda,

20 where somebody is saying, "Look, this is not just

21 a suspicion. We have got some evidence"?

22 A. That looks logical, sounds logical.

23 Q. Yes. We can take it, therefore, can we, from all of

24 what you have been saying, that you left the meeting and

25 had returned by -- going to RNI-112-034 (displayed) --

 

 

87


1 the time when the remark is recorded might just be that?

2 A. I'm not as categoric as that. I'm saying this sounds

3 like a phrase I would be capable of using.

4 Q. Yes. And are you saying that the other phrases do not

5 sound likely phrases you would be capable of using?

6 A. Absolutely.

7 Q. Yes. Can we go back to RNI-112-033 then, please

8 (displayed), and what I would like your help with --

9 this is the first page of these notes, I should say.

10 They are very short; much shorter than the other notes.

11 Are you able to assist us from your recollection, or

12 doing the best you can, as to when you think you left

13 the meeting?

14 A. I can't say exactly.

15 Q. There is nothing in the notes that give you any --

16 A. Nothing --

17 Q. -- that jog your memory on that point?

18 A. No, but certainly there is some quite detailed

19 statistics there.

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. And it is unlikely that it would have been me who would

22 have given those statistics.

23 Q. We know, just to help you, that those also appear to

24 have come out of the briefing document that ACC White

25 commissioned from his staff officer. So, again, you

 

 

88


1 think, certainly, that you wouldn't have had those

2 statistics at your fingertips. Is that right?

3 A. That's right.

4 Q. Do you have any recollection of that sort of detail,

5 with the numbers being gone into in the course of the

6 meeting?

7 A. I do not have a recollection of that.

8 Q. You don't think that was something that ACC White dealt

9 with as, as it were, the detail man?

10 A. He certainly could have, but I do not have a clear

11 recollection of that.

12 Q. Let's use the other notes in transcript to see whether

13 that helps you, because I think to ask you to look at

14 the handwriting all the time is rather difficult.

15 Shall we start with RNI-101-159.509 on the left-hand

16 side, please, and put the next page, RNI-101-159.510 on

17 the right-hand side (displayed). What I would like you

18 to do, please, Sir Ronnie, is to look at these notes

19 from P157 as transcribed and see whether they jog your

20 memory as to when you think you left the meeting.

21 A. Well, obviously I was present -- I can see he has

22 written:

23 "CC determined ... treated with greatest respect.

24 Keen on civil action."

25 Obviously, I am there:

 

 

89


1 "Doctors see them in private."

2 Those are all the things I tried to describe to you

3 earlier about provisions that we put in place, indeed

4 provisions that were -- indeed they are embodied in

5 PACE, the police and criminal evidence legislation.

6 Q. Thank you. That's helpful. So that sounds like your

7 contribution at this point?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Then we come back to the statistics at the bottom of the

10 page. Do you see the same numbers we looked at?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So you think that may have been ACC White. Is that

13 right?

14 A. Yes, I don't recall having those statistics to hand.

15 Q. Okay. Carrying on to the next page, does anything on

16 that page help you?

17 A. I see something there. "RF" -- I take it that's me:

18 "All over the world, nowhere is there a greater care

19 and dignity to prisoners and lawyers."

20 Q. Does that sound like you?

21 A. It has RF. I assume that is me.

22 Q. But, again, going back to the way you were looking at

23 things earlier, does it sound like the sort of remark

24 you might have made?

25 A. Absolutely, and it sounds completely out of character

 

 

90


1 with the other remarks. So if it was all in one meeting

2 at which I was present, it would be very strange if I

3 was saying that nowhere in the world was there greater

4 care to both prisoners and lawyers and then saying other

5 things and hearing them said in my presence and leaving

6 them unchallenged.

7 Q. Let's move on to the final page in the transcript, which

8 is RNI-101-159.511 (displayed). That's the page we

9 looked at before, but you will see it has a page E

10 transcribed, which obviously comes before F that we were

11 looking at. And, again, we have statistics there. Does

12 any of that assist you --

13 A. I don't recall statistics being discussed.

14 Q. Right. So is it possible, going back to

15 RNI-101-159.510, please (displayed), that having made

16 your comments about the level of care and dignity, you

17 think you left the meeting and, as it were, handed over

18 to ACC White with more statistics?

19 A. Not formally, as such, because my recollection is it was

20 quite an informal meeting. We weren't around a desk; we

21 were sitting -- I think we were perhaps having tea. So

22 it wouldn't have been a formal handover. It would have

23 been my secretary saying, "Here is the call you were

24 expecting" and I would just excuse myself, leave the

25 meeting and come back at some stage.

 

 

91


1 Q. Now, moving on in the history --

2 A. Sorry, I beg your pardon. Actually, in those notes it

3 says "phone call" somewhere. I don't ...

4 Q. Do you see at the bottom of the page?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. I had rather read that as a reference to the regime in

7 the holding centres. You think it may be a reference to

8 your having to go out to take a phone call, do you?

9 A. I can't say that, but what else could it mean?

10 "Professionalism of police officer -- phone call."

11 Q. It would be a slight, slightly odd thing, if you don't

12 mind me saying so, for your Command Secretariat officer

13 to note, don't you think?

14 A. I can't -- I've just spotted it now. It is something I

15 hadn't seen or noticed before, and I can't think --:

16 "Professionalism of police officers -- phone call --

17 uniformed involvement."

18 Q. Don't you think it more likely that he would have

19 recorded "RF left meeting"?

20 A. Yes, if it was significant, if there was any

21 significance attached to it, which there wouldn't have

22 been.

23 Q. Not at the time?

24 A. It is just the first time I have ever noticed that,

25 where suddenly in the middle of a note it says "phone

 

 

92


1 call". And I can't see what connection that phrase has

2 to what comes before or after.

3 Q. We know from what P157 has told us and what you told us

4 yesterday afternoon that one of his roles in meetings

5 was to make sure that what you said was fairly recorded

6 and noted, and of course to note any actions that were

7 required. The example we looked at was the SPMs.

8 A. Yes, but there was certainly in yesterday's evidence

9 much more emphasis on any action to be taken. I would

10 not expect necessarily a need for what I'd said to be

11 recorded in detail.

12 Q. That's very much what he told us in his evidence, that

13 his role, as he perceived it, was to ensure that all

14 meetings where you were present, obviously where he was

15 present also, that a note of what you contributed to the

16 meeting was taken.

17 So it is surprising on the face of it, isn't it,

18 that he didn't make it clear in his own notes that you

19 had actually left? So that what followed were remarks

20 made by other people; maybe Mr Cumaraswamy, it may be

21 Mr White, but there is no such note, is there?

22 A. I don't think -- unless that phone call possibly

23 indicates that -- I don't think -- if I'm just excusing

24 myself from what's a very informal meeting saying,

25 "I must take this phone call", I don't think that's of

 

 

93


1 significance. The notes -- these are very sketchy

2 notes, if I may say so. You know, it is not a minuted

3 meeting.

4 Q. It is not a verbatim note, is it?

5 A. Certainly not, and it is certainly not even a minute.

6 If it had been a minute, you might expect, "11 am RF

7 leaves room; 11 whatever, back in". But it doesn't

8 strike me as that sort of note that contained that sort

9 of detail. But I'm still -- I'm just interested in this

10 phone call. It may relate somehow to the phrase that

11 precedes it and the phrase that follows it, but as

12 I said, I can't see a logic.

13 Q. No, okay.

14 A. Sorry.

15 Q. No, not at all.

16 A. The point being you said is there anything in the

17 sequence of those notes that might help me, and that

18 phrase "phone call" --

19 Q. Is the best you can do?

20 A. -- is something that might help me. That's the best I

21 can do.

22 Q. Thank you. Let's move on to when the draft report came

23 in because that, in a sense, is when things really took

24 off in relation to this issue, isn't it?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. We will look together, if we may, at the relevant

2 paragraph, although of course you are very familiar with

3 it. It is at RNI-110-048 and it is paragraph 21

4 (displayed). There, you see the whole paragraph or the

5 first substantial part of it, and the key lines of

6 course are some seven lines from the end:

7 "However, the Chief Constable did express the view

8 that some solicitors may in fact be working for the

9 paramilitaries. In this regard, he stated that this is

10 more than a suspicion. Then he explained that one

11 agenda of the paramilitary organisations is to ensure

12 that detainees remain silent, and thus, one role of

13 a solicitor is to convey this message to the detainee."

14 Then these remarks:

15 "Further, he stated that there is in fact

16 a political divide in Northern Ireland and part of the

17 political agenda is to portray the RUC as ..."

18 Can we read over, please:

19 "... part of the Unionist tradition."

20 Do you remember that was the phrase we looked at

21 together in the handwritten notes which you said might

22 well have come from you?

23 A. Yes, it is something I could have said, that sort of

24 phraseology.

25 Q. Right. This, we know, came in to Command Secretariat

 

 

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1 in, I think, about mid-February 1998. Can I take it

2 that you would have read and considered the text of the

3 draft at that point?

4 A. My recollection is that we were not included in the

5 circulation as such, but that this came from the

6 Northern Ireland Office. And either through reading it

7 myself or having it drawn to my attention, I was stunned

8 because it is not something I have ever believed, not

9 something I believe now, and certainly, therefore,

10 something that I was certain I didn't say, and

11 therefore, I wanted it removed from that document.

12 Q. Yes. Can we go back to have the relevant passage on the

13 screen, please, RNI-110-048 (displayed). So you think

14 it may have come to you from the NIO. Is that right?

15 A. That's my recollection, that it came perhaps even

16 unofficially because we, I think, as an organisation

17 were not officially or formally included in the

18 circulation of what was a draft document.

19 Q. Yes. Are you sure about that because we know the draft

20 was seen by various different bodies and individuals?

21 A. I'm not certain, but it is my recollection because what

22 I also recollect is this question of contact with

23 Mr Cumaraswamy's office to have this removed.

24 Q. Absolutely.

25 A. And my recollection is that the route was via

 

 

96


1 Christine Collins in the Northern Ireland Office to the

2 Foreign Office to Mr Cumaraswamy's office.

3 Q. As a result of the protocol that you mentioned earlier?

4 A. Yes, that's my recollection.

5 Q. We will come to that in a minute, but just looking at

6 the text and your first reading of it, presumably you

7 were surprised and dismayed to read that sentence?

8 A. I was shocked.

9 Q. Yes. And presumably your first move was to find out how

10 it had come to be that this remark had been attributed

11 to you at the meeting?

12 A. No, my first step was to make sure that was removed

13 because I did not say it and would not say it, not to

14 ascertain how. It was a clear -- as far as I was

15 concerned, it was an absolute clear mistake.

16 Q. Presumably the first thing you did was to check your

17 notes or the notes made by the Command Secretariat

18 officer, to ensure that they supported you in believing

19 that you had not made those remarks?

20 A. No, I didn't see those notes and I hadn't seen them

21 until, again, very recently.

22 Q. You are saying, are you, that you didn't call for the

23 notes being made at the meeting by P157 at the time?

24 A. I had no need to call for the notes because there was

25 a clear attribution of this to me.

 

 

97


1 Q. Yes.

2 A. I was so clear that it hadn't been said and neither was

3 it said in my presence that I viewed that as a simple

4 and complete mistake that had to be removed. So I

5 didn't need notes. I didn't feel any need for notes.

6 It was something I was not unclear about. I was

7 absolutely crystal clear.

8 Q. No. But what you have told us in your evidence this

9 morning is that you left the meeting at at least one

10 occasion and so, therefore, it followed obviously that

11 things might have been said in your absence?

12 A. But this very clearly attributes it to me.

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. That's why I saw it as a complete and utter mistake.

15 Q. But if you had read that sentence and it had said:

16 "However, the Assistant Chief Constable did express

17 the view that some solicitors may in fact have been

18 working for paramilitaries," you would also have been

19 very concerned, wouldn't you?

20 A. I would, and I would have wanted to know how did that

21 arise.

22 Q. Indeed.

23 A. But it didn't say that. It said "the Chief Constable".

24 Q. And you would have sought further information from him,

25 wouldn't you?

 

 

98


1 A. If it said, "The Assistant Chief Constable said this

2 ...", I would have said, "He didn't say it or he

3 certainly didn't say it in my presence". But that's not

4 what's stated here. It is stated very clearly that

5 I said it.

6 Q. But you are telling us, are you, that you didn't speak

7 to the Assistant Chief Constable or P157 to check that

8 your recollection of the meeting accorded with theirs?

9 A. No, I didn't feel any need to do that because I was so

10 clear, and in the event, although for a different reason

11 given by Mr Cumaraswamy, what I wanted to achieve was

12 achieved. He removed it from what was to be a public

13 document. So for me, that was the matter at an end.

14 Q. But there were two aspects to it. The first was that

15 the remark had been wrongly attributed to you. That was

16 the first point. But the second point was that the

17 remark was made at all because you understood, didn't

18 you, that this would have potentially very serious

19 political implications?

20 A. But the second aspect didn't occur, didn't arise. The

21 first aspect was this was attributed to me, very clearly

22 attributed to me, and I'm crystal clear it was wrong.

23 So I saw it as a mistake, and because it wasn't said

24 in my presence, that didn't lead me to say, "Might it

25 have been said by others?" Certainly not at that stage.

 

 

99


1 My thrust was, "This is wrong. I didn't say such

2 a thing. I would not say such a thing because I do not

3 hold such a belief, so please remove it." And it was

4 removed.

5 So for me, that was the end of the matter.

6 Q. But I'm right, aren't I, to suggest that even if you had

7 been removed from the pitch and it had referred to

8 somebody else making these comments, some senior officer

9 at the RUC, it would have been a very serious matter

10 politically?

11 A. If it had, I would have been immediately seeking

12 explanation. But the fact that it was removed, for me

13 the objective was achieved.

14 I think he, Mr Cumaraswamy, continued to say that

15 I did say it, but my thrust was to have that removed,

16 it's not right, and therefore, that objective was

17 achieved. For me, that was the end of the matter. It

18 didn't require any further investigation at that stage.

19 Q. But I come back to the question I was trying to ask you,

20 which is that the fact of this comment, that some

21 solicitors in Northern Ireland may be working for the

22 paramilitaries, was itself controversial and politically

23 very, very sensitive, was it not?

24 A. Of course it would be, but the suggestion also is that

25 this is not a mere suspicion.

 

 

100


1 Q. Indeed. And that takes us back to the notes and the

2 comment about reams of documented evidence?

3 A. Exactly. Here is Mr Cumaraswamy, comes to

4 Northern Ireland, has a meeting with me and others, as

5 we have described, has a subsequent meeting just as he

6 leaves, which I think was rather more a courtesy visit.

7 But we had other discussion. Then he produces a draft

8 report based on all sorts of things and all sorts of

9 people that he had spoken to that I wouldn't have known,

10 and then he produces this report with this attribution

11 to me, which was wrong.

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. So my thrust was simply to get that removed. But it

14 didn't occur to me that it might have been said by

15 somebody else. It didn't occur to me that it could have

16 been said in my absence. The fact was when it was

17 removed, as far as I was concerned, the objective had

18 been successfully achieved and that was the end of the

19 matter at that time.

20 Q. Yes. But as I say, your concern was both to correct

21 something that was absolutely incorrect, as you have

22 explained, but also presumably to ensure that what you

23 regarded as an unfounded allegation did not get into the

24 public domain?

25 A. That's correct.

 

 

101


1 Q. Yes, both that there were solicitors working for

2 paramilitaries and that this was more than a suspicion

3 because you regarded both of those elements as being

4 alike, unfounded, didn't you?

5 A. I had certainly no evidence to suggest that and

6 certainly, again, I repeat it is not a view I held.

7 Q. No. And just to be very clear, your use of the word

8 "evidence" in that last answer, you are not drawing

9 a distinction between evidence on the one hand and

10 intelligence on the other?

11 A. No, I'm not drawing a distinction between what might be

12 formal evidence. I had no basis, no ground on which to

13 come to such a belief.

14 Q. Yes. Now, as this matter continued -- and we will look

15 at just a little bit of it later -- did you never seek

16 to find out from the other senior officers who had been

17 present how it had come about that the Special

18 Rapporteur had mistaken what had been said or had come

19 to the view that these remarks had been said in the

20 meeting?

21 A. I don't recall ever pursuing that. As I have said, once

22 he had agreed that this would be removed, so far as I

23 was concerned, the error had been corrected.

24 Q. Did you not ask the Assistant Chief Constable to produce

25 his commentary on the draft report?

 

 

102


1 A. I'm not sure whether I asked or whether he -- I think

2 Command Secretariat would have done on my behalf.

3 Q. But presumably that came out of all the row which began

4 in February and continued into March about whether or

5 not these remarks had been made?

6 A. Well, no, no, it was rather more a commentary on the

7 entire report, which I considered to be a rather

8 unbalanced report, rather lacking in evidence.

9 Q. And that was very much the view of ACC White as well,

10 was it not?

11 A. I think so, in terms of the response that he prepared --

12 Q. Yes. But you are saying you are not sure that you

13 specifically asked ACC White to prepare that commentary?

14 A. I can't personally recall doing it, but it is certainly

15 something I would likely -- I don't know whether I spoke

16 to the Chief Superintendent Command Secretariat --

17 because they would often do things in anticipation. So

18 they would say, I guess, "I have sent that to crime

19 branch for their views" or whatever. So I don't know

20 whether I specifically asked, but I certainly could well

21 have and it is something that I am likely to have

22 requested.

23 Q. And in relation to this paragraph of the draft and your

24 understanding of the process that the Rapporteur was

25 following, can I take it that you realised that if

 

 

103


1 objection was not taken to these remarks, these comments

2 in the draft, then what would happen is that they would

3 appear in the published report of the UN Special

4 Rapporteur in due course?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. So therefore, it was vital, wasn't it, so far as you

7 were concerned, to do what you properly could to ensure

8 their removal?

9 A. It was important, yes.

10 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you. Would that be a convenient moment?

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. So I understand your evidence,

12 Sir Ronnie, is your recollection clear that you didn't

13 discuss with any officer in the RUC the contents of

14 paragraph 21 after you read the draft report?

15 A. That's correct, because my recollection is the removal

16 that I sought had already been agreed.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: So you had no discussion with anyone before

18 it was removed. Is that right?

19 A. No, when I saw this, I took action myself. I recall

20 speaking to Mrs Collins and asking what was the route

21 through which I could properly get back to the Special

22 Rapporteur.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. We will adjourn until

24 2 o'clock.

25 (1.00 pm)

 

 

104


1 (The short adjournment)

2 (2.00 pm)

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

4 MR PHILLIPS: Sir Ronnie, before we move on, I would like to

5 take a short step back, if I may, to pick up a point you

6 raised in your evidence just before lunch, and it

7 concerns the notes made by P157. So can we look at the

8 relevant page at RNI-101-159.510 (displayed). The

9 specific part you talked about earlier is the sudden

10 reference there to phone call. Do you see that?

11 A. Yes, I do.

12 Q. And you had offered a tentative suggestion that it might

13 be a reference to the reason why you believe you left

14 the meeting?

15 A. I had just wondered. I had never picked up that phrase

16 previously.

17 Q. No, indeed. Can I offer you an alternative

18 interpretation?

19 A. Indeed.

20 Q. What was going on in this section we have on the screen

21 under D was an attempt to explain to the Rapporteur

22 exactly what regime pertained in the holding centres,

23 wasn't it?

24 A. Yes, that seems to be the case, yes.

25 Q. And the context one can imagine, given all the other

 

 

105


1 material we have seen, is precisely the suggestion that

2 some interviewing officers were misbehaving, and you

3 will see there under D, it says:

4 "H centre are the same detectives, not special unit

5 within CID ... not special interrogators", it says two

6 lines on.

7 So it sounds like you or Mr White are saying, "These

8 are the people, they are ordinary CID detectives." Do

9 you see?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And then it looks as if Mr Cumaraswamy makes a comment

12 about them disparaging lawyers. There is obviously

13 a discussion, is it an isolated thing or is it a more

14 systematic problem, and:

15 "UN not to support any form of terrorists but as

16 lawyers."

17 Then your initials, RF:

18 "... all over the world nowhere a greater care and

19 dignity to prisoners and lawyers. Professionalism of

20 police officer -- phone call. Uniform involvement."

21 It is right, isn't it, that when a phone call came

22 in for a prisoner or when a prisoner made a phone call,

23 that was all handled by the uniformed branch at the

24 holding centres?

25 A. Yes, that would be the practice, yes.

 

 

106


1 Q. By contradistinction to the detectives who were

2 conducting the interviews?

3 A. One of the issues picked up and embodied in PACE was the

4 whole concept of a custody suite --

5 Q. Indeed.

6 A. -- with dedicated custody officers, who would be

7 uniformed officers.

8 Q. And therefore, by definition not the people who were

9 conducting the interviews and, therefore, by definition

10 not the people against whom allegations of misbehaviour

11 in interview were being made?

12 A. Correct.

13 Q. So wasn't this simply a note of a point that you or

14 Mr White was making to say, "Look, this isn't an

15 institution simply run by the CID detectives who do the

16 interviews? In fact, there is uniformed involvement and

17 here is an example: they are responsible for contact in

18 and out from prisoners in the form of phone calls?"

19 Doesn't that make sense?

20 A. It could make sense. I think the author is the only

21 person who can say, but equally it seems strange just to

22 include the phrase "phone call".

23 Q. But it is an example, isn't it, of how the uniformed

24 officers were involved in the process of looking after,

25 of dealing with prisoners in the holding centres?

 

 

107


1 A. Again, I think the author is the only one who can say --

2 if he can say at this stage -- why he included that

3 phrase, but it seems very strange to me.

4 Q. Yes. Thank you. Can we move on to look at just one or

5 two more aspects of the aftermath of the Rapporteur's

6 issuing of the draft report. There came a time

7 in March, didn't there, when you realised others had

8 seen or were aware of the contents of the draft report?

9 A. There arose a time. I couldn't say that it was

10 specifically March.

11 Q. Can we look together at the Law Society's letter to you

12 of the 13th of that month? It is at RNI-103-068

13 (displayed) and it is from the President, addressed to

14 you and referring to a meeting at the end of January.

15 And there, the subject matter of the meeting, you can

16 see, is "Complaints by individual solicitors against

17 members of the force". I have no doubt that that was

18 part of the ongoing discussions with the Law Society

19 that you mentioned earlier in your evidence. Is that

20 right?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Thank you. And then in the third paragraph, the

23 President makes reference to remarks attributed to you

24 by the Special Rapporteur:

25 "... which we understand will appear as part of his

 

 

108


1 final report. According to the Special Rapporteur, you

2 expressed a view that some solicitors may be working for

3 the paramilitaries, that this is more than a suspicion

4 and that solicitors convey certain messages to detainees

5 on behalf of paramilitaries."

6 In other words, the very sentences we have been

7 looking at together?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Just going back so we can see the date of this on the

10 screen, please, and see the full letter, is this

11 a matter which you think would have been brought to your

12 attention?

13 A. I think so.

14 Q. Yes. It was a very serious point being made to you by

15 the President of the professional body?

16 A. Yes, I remember my dialogue with that professional body.

17 Q. And it looks from the other documents that we have as

18 though -- at RNI-103-070.500.pdf">RNI-103-070.500 (displayed) -- three days

19 after this on 16 March, your Chief Superintendent

20 forwarded the letter from the Law Society that we have

21 seen and his interim reply to the

22 Assistant Chief Constable, White, who had been present

23 at the meeting?

24 A. Yes, I see that minute.

25 Q. And one can infer, surely, that that was done because

 

 

109


1 the Chief Superintendent knew that ACC White had been

2 present when it was alleged these remarks had been made

3 to Mr Cumaraswamy?

4 A. Again, the Chief Superintendent would have to speak for

5 himself, but that's certainly an inference that I would

6 draw.

7 Q. It is not something that you directed; you didn't direct

8 that this letter be forwarded to him for his

9 contribution and comment?

10 A. No, I did not.

11 Q. Thank you. So far as the holding response, which is

12 referred to there is concerned, we can see it at

13 RNI-103-069 (displayed), it is dated the same date,

14 16 March, and you will see in the second paragraph:

15 "In the interim, I thought you would be interested

16 in the content of the attached letter from the

17 Chief Constable to the Special Rapporteur."

18 And that letter, also dated 13 March, is at the next

19 page, RNI-103-070 (displayed), and it is your letter,

20 isn't it, to Mr Cumaraswamy himself?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, can I ask you a question in relation to the

23 drafting of this letter: had this letter been your own

24 work, if I can put it that way?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

110


1 Q. Yes. Because this is part of your handling the issue of

2 what was set out in the draft report yourself, isn't it?

3 A. I assume there must have been an earlier letter, or at

4 least earlier contact. Whether it was perhaps verbally

5 through that chain that I mentioned earlier in the

6 Northern Ireland Office, because in this letter I'm

7 writing that I'm pleased that he has already agreed that

8 it is removed.

9 Q. You had heard by this stage that he had agreed to delete

10 or amend the relevant passages?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Thank you. Now, just to clear up something we were

13 talking about earlier, so far as ACC White is concerned,

14 his response to the minutes to him we have seen comes on

15 24 March, RNI-101-232 (displayed), and it is addressed

16 to the Chief Superintendent:

17 "Your minute of 16 March refers ... I think that

18 your interim response more than adequately deals with

19 the issue raised in the first part of the third

20 paragraph of [name redacted]'s letter ..."

21 That is the point we were looking at:

22 "As for the remaining issued raised therein, may I

23 refer you to my minute of 13 March where I elaborate on

24 this point in my comments on paragraph 21 of

25 Mr Cumaraswamy's report."

 

 

111


1 And we can see that long and detailed comment

2 beginning at RNI-101-233 (displayed), and this is the

3 minute of 13 March. The date for everybody's note is at

4 RNI-101-242.

5 So can I return to this? We have seen how it was

6 that ACC White made these comments and the context in

7 which he made them. Is it your evidence to the Inquiry

8 that you did not consider these detailed comments at the

9 time?

10 A. That's correct. I have no recollection of considering

11 them in detail at that time.

12 Q. And further, that you did not seek such a detailed

13 commentary from ACC White?

14 A. We referred earlier to that commentary having been

15 sought and we described it might have been come from me,

16 it might have been initiated by Command Secretariat.

17 Q. You are not sure?

18 A. I'm not sure.

19 Q. So far as the Law Society is concerned, just going back

20 to the correspondence with them and completing it for

21 the moment, we see your response, your full response, at

22 RNI-103-091 (displayed) and that's 8 April 1998. And,

23 again, can I ask you, as far as you can recall, is this,

24 as it were, your own work?

25 A. It would have been because it relates to a meeting that

 

 

112


1 I personally participated in with two representatives of

2 the Law Society.

3 Q. So you had gone, I think, to their offices at the end of

4 the month, the 27th, to discuss no doubt this and

5 related issues with members of the Law Society?

6 A. Yes, as I described earlier.

7 Q. Thank you. And what you say in your second paragraph

8 here:

9 "As I reiterated at the meeting, at no stage did

10 I make comments to Mr Cumaraswamy or gave any ground for

11 suggesting that I or the RUC associated lawyers with

12 their clients' causes. There can be no misunderstanding

13 of this. I did not say it because I have no grounds for

14 believing it to be the case."

15 As I understand it, that was your position then

16 in April 1998 and it remains your position today?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Thank you. Now, when ACC White was asked about this

19 letter --

20 A. Sorry, can I -- I beg your pardon. Referring to the

21 last paragraph, I say:

22 "I have emphasised to my senior colleagues in CID

23 the continuing need for the sensitivity of the position

24 of legal representatives to be fully respected. In this

25 regard, I would be most grateful if the Society could

 

 

113


1 consider how it might assist in the future training of

2 CID officers."

3 So the meeting I had at the 27th, I clearly had

4 subsequent meetings --

5 Q. Yes, and this, as we were discussing earlier, was

6 something that you initiated in terms of CID training?

7 A. Yes, although I think I wouldn't want necessarily to

8 make the claim I initiated it at that time. I think my

9 recollection is it was already included in the curricula

10 for CID training courses. I wanted to emphasise that it

11 should be emphasised.

12 Q. Yes. To what extent did you emphasise the need for it

13 or go to these meetings to discuss it with the

14 Law Society with the possibility in your mind that there

15 just might be something in some of these complaints

16 about misbehaviour that you were hearing about?

17 A. That would always be a possibility. I certainly could

18 not rule out that possibility. I could not stand over

19 the conduct of every individual at every time or during

20 every interview.

21 Q. So your attitude to this, so we are clear about this,

22 was not one of blanket denial, refusal to admit that

23 something had in fact occurred?

24 A. I had no evidence to suggest that this was a widespread

25 practice, but I certainly could not rule out the

 

 

114


1 possibility that some individuals might make such

2 inappropriate remarks.

3 Q. Presumably in part you were also concerned to ensure

4 that whatever had happened in the past, it wouldn't

5 happen again, by greater cooperation, more training,

6 between the lawyers on the one hand and your detectives

7 on the other?

8 A. And the introduction of audio recording, because

9 although that appeared -- I would need to check the

10 dates. Although it appeared as a recommendation, I

11 think, in Mr Mulvihill's report, I had already directed

12 that that be done. So I think by the time that

13 Mr Mulvihill produced his report, I think it was already

14 in operation. My recollection is very early 1999, full

15 audio and full video recording.

16 Q. Yes. I think the material the Inquiry has seen suggests

17 that the audio regime came in at the very beginning of

18 1999?

19 A. I think 1 January, I think.

20 Q. Yes. As you say, before the Mulvihill Report was

21 completed and delivered in about March that year?

22 A. Yes, and bearing in mind my dialogue with Ms McNally,

23 with Paul Donnelly and addressing -- just, as you say,

24 what was I doing about this if there was a possibility

25 of it. These were the things I was doing: speaking to

 

 

115


1 the Law Society, issuing my directions to the CID,

2 because my recollection is it was quite a lengthy

3 process, to have protocols agreed as to what would

4 happen with these tapes, what use could be made of them,

5 who could have access to them. And that involved

6 separate liaison with the Law Society, amongst others,

7 with the Director of Public Prosecutions, for example.

8 So I think by the summer or late summer of 1998, I

9 had already decided that there would be an installation

10 of full audio recording.

11 Q. So that's one of the things that you were doing and you

12 have explained very clearly the reasons for it.

13 Can I come back to the refrain which I have put up

14 with you on a couple of occasions before: now we have

15 moved on until April 1998, in your consideration of what

16 needed to be done, did you not further consider the

17 possibility of focusing your specific attention on South

18 Region, on the police stations, the holding centre, the

19 Gough Holding Centre in particular, from which it was

20 said that these complaints were emanating, to see

21 whether something could or should be done, as it were,

22 more on the ground rather than at this level of CID

23 training?

24 A. I think there already was a system whereby uniformed

25 officers supervised the conduct of interviews of persons

 

 

116


1 in custody, and I was taking these steps that we have

2 already described. I don't think it is reasonable to

3 expect me to actually go on the ground in the holding

4 centre to take this further personally.

5 Q. You described on earlier occasions how you would go out

6 and convince people, for instance, about the pending

7 changes to the organisation. You accepted, perhaps

8 reluctantly, the description given by colleagues of

9 yourself as a hands-on officer. Wasn't that the sort of

10 thing that you could and perhaps should have done?

11 A. I don't think so. I don't think it is reasonable to

12 expect that. I think I was working on the basis that

13 let's make these strategic moves, if we could describe

14 them like that, and make sure these steps are put in

15 place. To expect the Chief Constable to actually go to

16 a holding centre in relation to a specific detail, I

17 think is unreasonable.

18 Q. Thank you. Now, can we just look at the final report of

19 the --

20 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I'm so sorry to interrupt. Before

21 we leave that letter, the last paragraph says,

22 Sir Ronnie, that you have emphasised to your senior

23 colleagues in the CID the continuing need for the

24 sensitivity of the position of legal representatives to

25 be fully respected. Can you just say a little bit more

 

 

117


1 about that? How did you do that emphasising? Did you

2 put anything in writing?

3 A. I'm pretty certain that I sent a directive to Crime

4 Department that this must be included, to make sure it

5 is included in the curricula for CID training and to

6 make sure that the Assistant Chief Constable in his

7 regular meetings, going back to the force structure we

8 described yesterday, there would be a regional head of

9 CID in each of the three territorial regions, so that in

10 his interaction with those chief superintendents, that

11 this message would be passed. I think I have further

12 spoke to the officers directly involved in providing CID

13 training.

14 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Yes, CID training is clearly very

15 important, but it obviously affects only the people who

16 are being trained. There are a lot of people who have

17 been trained and are getting on with their jobs.

18 A. Yes, I'm certain that my directive -- and I'm pretty

19 certain, although I don't know if it can be recovered --

20 I'm pretty certain that I put this in writing and I'm

21 pretty certain there were the two phases. As you say,

22 of course the training relates to those coming into CID

23 although, indeed, there is a whole programme of ongoing

24 training for those already in CID. But beyond that, the

25 other element was that the Assistant Chief Constable

 

 

118


1 should make it clear through his network of detective

2 chief superintendents that people should show total

3 respect, proper sensitivity for the role played by

4 defence layers.

5 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Mr Phillips, do we happen to have

6 any indication of that directive?

7 MR PHILLIPS: No, ma'am, the position is that we have asked

8 for disclosure of this material, but as yet, have not

9 received it. So we have sought to follow up on what

10 Sir Ronnie is saying. It hasn't yet been received.

11 A. I certainly had a conversation with one particular

12 colleague in CID training who certainly remembers -- at

13 least, as he described to me, seeing it and acting

14 upon it.

15 Q. Now, can we turn to your final report, and the relevant

16 paragraph as it appeared when this report was published.

17 So that is at RNI-110-118 (displayed) paragraph 21

18 again. And the relevant section -- I am afraid this is

19 rather more difficult to read; the type is extremely

20 small -- is about ten lines from the end, and the

21 sentence begins:

22 "The Chief Constable ..."

23 Do you see that:

24 "The Chief Constable alluded to an agenda ..."?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

119


1 Q. Thank you:

2 "... in which the paramilitary organisations ensured

3 that detainees remain silent and alleged that solicitors

4 may be involved in conveying this message to the

5 detainees."

6 Then this sentence:

7 "Further, he stated that there is in fact

8 a political divide in Northern Ireland, and part of the

9 political agenda is to portray the RUC as part of the

10 Unionist tradition."

11 So can I assume that when the final report was

12 issued, you also took a look at it to ensure that indeed

13 the offending passage had been removed or amended?

14 A. Yes, I would have done.

15 Q. Yes. And presumably from what appears from the files to

16 be an absence of comment from you after the final report

17 was issued, you were content that this was a rather

18 fairer account of your position?

19 A. No, it is not true to say I was content. I was

20 certainly not content with the entire report, and this

21 specific suggestion, that there is an agenda whereby

22 solicitors participate in what is described as detainees

23 remaining silent, I don't think those organisations,

24 whatever they may be, so-called Loyalist terrorist

25 organisations or the Provisional IRA, they don't need

 

 

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1 advice from solicitors to remain silent.

2 Q. So in his characterisation of what he says you had said

3 there, he had got it wrong in the final report as well?

4 A. That's not a view -- solicitors -- these dedicated

5 terrorists, as they were, if they choose to remain

6 silent -- and the organisations generally of which they

7 were a part would impress that upon them -- they didn't

8 need solicitors to give them that advice. That's in my

9 experience.

10 Q. What about the next sentence, which is very much the

11 sentence we saw recorded in the handwritten notes -- do

12 you remember? -- which you said you might well have

13 said?

14 A. I said I might -- well, I take it as a fact and that's

15 why I might well have said it, that there is a political

16 divide and some people tried to portray the RUC as part

17 of the Unionist tradition.

18 Q. Yes. So in terms of that first sentence we looked at,

19 did you do anything to raise your objection or protest

20 in relation to that sentence?

21 A. Not specifically. I would have viewed it as pointless,

22 quite frankly, by that stage. It is a public document.

23 I had made my overtures to him. Yes, he removed the

24 specific issue, I had achieved that. But in terms of

25 any hope of bringing about a great revision of his

 

 

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1 report, I didn't see much hope of that.

2 Q. I understand the point about the great revision because

3 of course your concerns went much wider than this single

4 paragraph, didn't they?

5 A. Yes, my view of the entire report, I would have to say.

6 Q. Yes, but in relation to this sentence in particular, so

7 the Inquiry has your evidence, you don't think that you

8 made remarks of that kind in the meeting?

9 A. No, I don't. Because, again, that is not necessary, in

10 my experience, for members of paramilitary

11 organisations.

12 Q. Yes. So again, if remarks of that kind were made, if

13 this is a fair statement of remarks made in the meeting,

14 can I take it that you would suggest that they must have

15 been made in your absence?

16 A. I certainly don't recall them at all. It is not

17 something I would be as exercised about as the other

18 specific allegation. It is a solicitor's right to

19 advise people to remain silent, if that's the best

20 advice that there is for them. So I don't see this in

21 the same category as the other attribution to me.

22 Q. No. I understand. Just moving on in this text, we

23 looked at the second sentence; we have discussed that.

24 The next sentence refers back to that second sentence

25 and says:

 

 

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1 "These allegations concerning police intimidation

2 and harassment of solicitors is part and parcel of this

3 political agenda, ie the political agenda to portray the

4 RUC as part of the Unionist tradition."

5 Do you see that? That's what the report says.

6 Can I ask you: did you hold the view that the

7 allegations concerning police intimidation and

8 harassment of solicitors were part and parcel of the

9 political agenda?

10 A. I did not have any evidence for holding that view, but

11 it is certainly something that I could have seen as

12 a possibility.

13 Q. It was a possibility in your mind?

14 A. A possibility.

15 Q. Was it something that other fellow officers had said to

16 you, that they believed these complaints and the

17 allegations that were being made were part of

18 a political agenda to portray the RUC as part of the

19 Unionist tradition?

20 A. No, because I had never any specific discussions in that

21 regard. But I'm not sure. You would need to check

22 whether there is any detail in respect of

23 Mr Cumaraswamy's work and whether this also referred to

24 so-called Loyalist terrorists, these allegations, in

25 respect of solicitors representing them. And of

 

 

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1 course --

2 Q. In which case you would say the point wouldn't apply?

3 A. And of course, solicitors aren't necessarily exclusively

4 representatives of people from one side of the

5 community --

6 Q. No. But as far as you were concerned then, that

7 suggestion, that the allegations were part of that

8 agenda, was a possibility in your mind but --

9 A. A possibility --

10 Q. -- you have no evidence for it. Is that right?

11 A. None. It could be a possibility in the minds of some.

12 I didn't see it as a great design. I had no evidence --

13 nobody ever presented me with any evidence that that was

14 an integral part of a grander design.

15 Q. So when you thought about complaints of this kind, you

16 weren't tempted to dismiss them as just being part of a

17 political agenda against the RUC?

18 A. If I was tempted to dismiss them, I certainly wouldn't

19 have taken the steps with the Law Society: the

20 introduction of audio recording and the other steps that

21 I did too. So I wasn't tempted to dismiss them.

22 Q. Are you saying, therefore, that you did take those steps

23 because you thought there at least might be substance in

24 them?

25 A. Of course there might be some substance, as I have

 

 

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1 described earlier.

2 Q. You haven't ruled it out?

3 A. Could not rule it out.

4 Q. So what you have been describing in terms of the steps

5 you took was not window dressing, it was not PR, if I

6 can put it that way, but was, as you would say, a

7 genuine attempt to address what might be problems in the

8 relationship between some lawyers and some officers?

9 A. I think you very fairly described it this morning when

10 you said looked at from two different views, that

11 hopefully if there were invented allegations or

12 complaints, this would stop them and, looked at from

13 a different view, if there was any of this behaviour

14 going on, this would be a great disincentive for such

15 behaviour.

16 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you about one further letter,

17 which emerged at this time, by which I now mean March,

18 again, in relation to the draft report. It is a letter

19 from BIRW again, 10 March, and I would like both pages

20 on the screen, please: RNI-101-247 and RNI-101-248

21 (displayed). Thank you very much.

22 It is addressed not to you, but to the Secretary of

23 State, but what we know from our files is that towards

24 the end of the month, by the 27th certainly, you had

25 asked for a copy of this letter addressed to the

 

 

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1 Secretary of State. We see again the key paragraph on

2 this topic is the third paragraph. Do you see, she

3 refers there to the visit of the Rapporteur:

4 "During his visit, he met the Chief Constable of the

5 RUC and various other senior RUC officers. As is his

6 practice, the Special Rapporteur allowed all those

7 quoted in his report to see a draft, and by those means

8 we have become aware that when the Special Rapporteur

9 met the Chief Constable, a senior police officer,

10 possibly Assistant Chief Constable Raymond White,

11 commented that some solicitors 'may in fact be working

12 for the paramilitaries.'.

13 "In his draft, the Special Rapporteur attributed

14 this remark to the Chief Constable who had since made it

15 clear that it was not he who made the remark. However,

16 the contemporaneous notes made by the Special

17 Rapporteur's assistant during the meeting confirm that

18 the remarks were indeed made and that the Chief

19 Constable did not challenge them or distance himself

20 from them in any way."

21 Now, presumably, when you saw this letter at the end

22 of March 1998, if you hadn't before, you were concerned

23 to find out from Assistant Chief Constable White what

24 had been going on in the meeting during the time when

25 you say you were absent?

 

 

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1 A. I'm not sure that I did take any steps on those lines.

2 The letter contains a lot of material.

3 Q. It does indeed.

4 A. And there are other issues that I would have seen as

5 more important.

6 Q. So you don't think -- sorry?

7 A. I'm not sure what I did in terms of follow-up to that

8 letter. I'm not even sure -- can you help me with how

9 it came? I think you suggested I asked for it?

10 Q. Well, we can see that. If you really want to see it, it

11 is at RNI-101-249. That is a note from within

12 Command Secretariat at 27 March:

13 "CC has asked for a copy ..."

14 Do you see it is a note from Superintendent Maxwell?

15 Do you see?

16 A. Yes indeed.

17 Q. "Copy of letter ..."

18 Do you see at the bottom:

19 "... passed to CC by Superintendent Maxwell."

20 Then it is initialled and given the date of

21 27 March?

22 A. I see.

23 Q. So it looks as though you saw it on 27 March,

24 doesn't it?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Going back to the page we had on the screen,

2 RNI-101-247, Ms Winter was very well informed, wasn't

3 she, in the sense that she already knew by this stage,

4 10 March, that the Chief Constable -- you -- had made it

5 clear that you were not the person who had made the

6 remark? Do you see that?

7 A. Obviously she is quite well informed. I'm not saying

8 that everything she says is accurate by any means --

9 Q. No, but that was indeed the case, wasn't it, that by

10 this stage you had made your objection known; in other

11 words, that you had not made a remark of this kind?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. She goes on to say by way of criticism, right at the

14 end, do you see, of this paragraph:

15 "The Chief Constable did not challenge them or

16 distance himself from them in any way."

17 This takes us back, doesn't it, to the evidence you

18 were giving before lunch? As I understand it, what you

19 are saying is if anybody, whether it is ACC White or

20 anybody else, had made a remark of that kind in the

21 meeting, you would indeed have challenged them?

22 A. Yes, as I indicated in my evidence this morning.

23 Q. Yes, thank you. And so here Jane Winter was pointing

24 the finger rather more firmly in another direction,

25 namely that of ACC White. Are you telling the Inquiry

 

 

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1 that you did not seek to find out from him at this

2 stage, when you received this letter, whether or not he

3 had made these remarks?

4 A. I did not. I have certainly no recollection of speaking

5 directly to Raymond White on the issue.

6 Q. It may be, because of the way we are looking at these

7 matters in detail ten years after the event, that that

8 seems very surprising. These were controversial remarks

9 which had caused a great deal of trouble. Wasn't it

10 very much in your interests to get to the bottom of what

11 had in fact happened at the meeting when you say you

12 were away?

13 A. Can I ask to be reminded exactly when Mr Cumaraswamy's

14 report was published?

15 Q. It was actually published at the very end of March or

16 the very beginning of April 1998.

17 A. So it hadn't been published at the time of this letter?

18 Q. No. In fact -- I'm sorry to give the evidence -- but I

19 think that by the early part of March, I think 5 March,

20 by then he had agreed to make the amendments to the

21 report. So this is after that report.

22 A. So this is after that had been achieved, to use my word.

23 Q. Yes, hence Jane Winter's remark about that. Does any of

24 that help you in terms of giving an explanation of why

25 you didn't feel the need to --

 

 

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1 A. I felt I had already got to the bottom of it in the

2 terms of it was not going to appear in the report and,

3 as I repeat, I did not say it and it was not said in my

4 presence.

5 Q. Now, in relation to the other changes made by the

6 Rapporteur, they were specifically to remove the names

7 of three solicitors, weren't they?

8 A. I can't recall the detail.

9 Q. No. Are you saying that you were not involved in the

10 business of discussing with the Rapporteur the

11 possibility of removing those solicitor's names from the

12 draft?

13 A. I cannot recall, but I certainly would not have wanted

14 solicitors' names bandied about in a public document.

15 Q. Yes. If you look at the next paragraph down on the

16 left-hand side of the page we have on the screen,

17 RNI-101-247, Jane Winter continues:

18 "What is more shocking though, is the fact that when

19 the Chief Constable saw the draft report, he is reported

20 by the UK Mission in Geneva as insisting that they be

21 excluded from the report because if they appeared in the

22 same report as allegations about abuse against herself

23 made by Ms Nelson, whom he names specifically, it might

24 lay her open to Loyalist attack."

25 So that was what she was suggesting: that you were

 

 

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1 forging a connection between the remarks about the

2 solicitors, paramilitaries, et cetera, and your

3 objection to that, and the naming of solicitors and

4 specifically of Rosemary Nelson?

5 A. It is not necessarily a connection I forged personally

6 at all. It is certainly a connection that British Irish

7 Rights Watch would try to forge, and certainly did try

8 to forge, specifically in the case of Pat Finucane.

9 Q. Did you, when you looked at the draft report, see that

10 various solicitors had been named in it? Was that

11 a matter that you had spotted?

12 A. I think so. I can't be absolutely certain, but I

13 think so.

14 Q. Christine Collins, in her evidence to the Inquiry, told

15 us that when she saw the draft report she was concerned

16 by the juxtaposition of the names and particularly of

17 Rosemary Nelson's name with the alleged remark about

18 working for paramilitaries. Was that a concern that you

19 shared?

20 A. Yes. I don't recall a specific conversation with

21 Christine Collins about that, but I certainly would not

22 have wanted that juxtaposition in a public report.

23 Q. So are you saying that you thought that not only the

24 remark, should that be amended or changed, to be more

25 accurate, as you would say, but also that the names

 

 

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1 themselves should be removed?

2 A. Not necessarily because I forged a causal link whereby

3 an attack would be likely, but that British Irish Rights

4 Watch and others, having published their view in

5 relation to the murder of Pat Finucane, could possibly

6 publicly issue a similar view.

7 Q. Right.

8 A. So it is not -- I mean, the chain outlined in the

9 British Irish Rights Watch view in relation to

10 Pat Finucane refers, I think, to a politician visiting

11 Northern Ireland, being briefed, presumably, on the

12 situation -- this is their description -- then making

13 a statement in the Houses of Parliament and then, sadly,

14 a short time after that Patrick Finucane is murdered.

15 Q. This is the Douglas Hogg case?

16 A. Yes. What I'm saying is while I would not want even the

17 possibility of people saying there is such a causal

18 link -- if Loyalist murderers are going to murder

19 Patrick Finucane, I don't think they need to hear

20 a politician saying anything.

21 Q. Okay. Can I just --

22 A. Sorry, am I making it clear that even though I would not

23 want the juxtaposition, as you have described and as

24 Christine Collins has described, it doesn't mean that

25 I subscribe to the causal links.

 

 

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1 Q. Absolutely. But is this fair to say: that your main

2 concern was about the comment which you thought had been

3 wrongly attributed to you?

4 A. I think that's fair to say.

5 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 69 of your statement, which

6 I hope will remind you about all this, at RNI-806-163

7 (displayed), you say about six lines down that you think

8 you passed your concerns about the report -- by which I

9 think you mean the draft report -- to Christine Collins

10 at the NIO. Do you see that?

11 A. I think that's the case -- yes, I see it. Thank you.

12 Q. And you then say:

13 "During the conversation, I probably said to her

14 that I would contact Mr Cumaraswamy directly to discuss

15 my concerns, and she informed me that there were

16 protocols in place."

17 So, again, I don't want to spend any real time on

18 this, but your instinct was to deal with the matter

19 directly by contacting him yourself. And she told you,

20 "No, no, you don't understand. These thing have to be

21 done in a particular way"?

22 A. I think that's my recollection of it.

23 Q. Thank you. Christine Collins's evidence to the Inquiry

24 was that she was just as worried about the naming of

25 names, if I can put it that way, and the security risk

 

 

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1 that this would pose, as she was about the remark

2 attributed to you.

3 Is that something that you think was discussed

4 between the two of you when you talked about the draft

5 report?

6 A. I think it may well have been. It has just been in your

7 questioning earlier, it strikes me now that that's

8 something Christine Collins and I may have discussed.

9 So if I was seeking one change, she may have said,

10 "I have been looking at it. There are other changes I

11 want. Do you agree?" There may have been that sort of

12 discussion.

13 Q. So, so far as you were concerned, she would go off and

14 follow her protocols and it was likely she would be

15 talking not only about paragraph 21 but about the other

16 paragraphs with the named lawyers?

17 A. Possibly, but I can't be definite about that.

18 Q. Yes. To be clear then, stepping back from what happened

19 at the time aspect of this, the issue on the table in

20 terms of security was the potential for increased risk

21 where a general remark about some solicitors allegedly

22 working for paramilitaries was made alongside specific

23 references to named individual lawyers. That was the

24 concern, was it?

25 A. I have to emphasise that we never had any intelligence

 

 

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1 to suggest the possibility of an attack upon Mrs Nelson.

2 Q. Yes.

3 A. But if she had an increased profile in the area in which

4 she worked, and if that profile involved publicity about

5 Mrs Nelson and her clients, then of course that is

6 something that so-called Loyalists could take an

7 interest in.

8 But the risk that I would have seen could have been

9 a risk of criminal damage to her offices, maybe even to

10 her home, that sort of risk. I would never, and have

11 never, ever been given any intelligence to suggest that

12 she was likely to be attacked in the way that sadly took

13 her life, ultimately.

14 Q. Did you consider that the final report, if published

15 with her name in it, would itself have added to the

16 risk, so far as she was concerned, Rosemary Nelson?

17 A. It could in the way that I have just described. It

18 could have raised her profile in what I would have

19 considered an unhelpful way.

20 Q. Yes. Did any discussion take place between you and

21 Christine Collins about the possibility of asking

22 Rosemary Nelson whether she objected to having her name

23 published in the report?

24 A. I don't recall any such conversation.

25 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just take you to the final parts

 

 

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1 of your correspondence with the Rapporteur, which you

2 refer to in your statement. RNI-103-081 (displayed) is

3 his riposte, if I can put it that way, to the short

4 letter you subject him on 13 March. It is dated the

5 27th:

6 "Dear Chief Constable Flanagan, in response to your

7 facsimile of 13 March, please note that I have decided

8 to remove the two sentences in paragraph 21 for reasons

9 other than your denial at having made such comments in

10 the course of our discussion. For your information, I

11 quote the relevant paragraphs of my letter dated 5 March

12 to the United Kingdom Government."

13 Then he does so:

14 "As the Chief Constable's contention is that he

15 couldn't remember making those remarks, I'm afraid the

16 contemporaneous notes of the meetings recorded by

17 Mr Parra show otherwise. I have, however, carefully

18 deliberated on the request for deletion of the sentences

19 and have decided to accede in the interests of the

20 security of the defence lawyers and not because the

21 Chief Constable disputes having made the remarks."

22 So presumably when you received that, you realised

23 that he at least was making the link between the remarks

24 on the one hand and the naming of names on the other?

25 A. Yes, and I can't say what language was used through that

 

 

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1 chain of contact, as I have indicated. I think the only

2 person with whom I had a conversation was

3 Christine Collins. I can't say what was said, whomever

4 in the Foreign Office or whomever in the

5 Northern Ireland Office.

6 Q. But you knew from that letter also, didn't you, that you

7 were maintaining his position and he equally was

8 maintaining his own, namely that the remarks had indeed

9 been made?

10 A. He is maintaining his own incorrect position.

11 Q. Indeed.

12 A. He was still determined to say that I have said those

13 things.

14 Q. Okay. Can we move on to another topic completely at

15 this point, and it is the first of two threat

16 assessments that were undertaken in 1998 by the RUC at

17 the instigation of others in relation to Rosemary Nelson

18 herself. What I'm obviously particularly concerned

19 about is your involvement in those events rather than

20 the generality of the events about which we have heard

21 now a lot of evidence from many different witnesses.

22 So far as that is concerned, the first assessment so

23 far as the Inquiry is concerned, comes in February/March

24 and then very early April, and the second, so that you

25 are aware, is August/September of 1998.

 

 

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1 Before looking at the first of those two, I just

2 want to touch very briefly on a meeting with the Lawyers

3 Alliance for Justice in Ireland delegation, which took

4 place at about the same time; in other words,

5 in February 1998. For your assistance, you deal with

6 that in your statement at paragraph 92, RNI-806-171

7 (displayed).

8 Can you remember what the point of the meeting, the

9 purpose of the meeting with the delegation was?

10 A. No, I can't, but the -- there was always -- their

11 interest was in the situation in Northern Ireland

12 generally. So there was always -- I had two meetings

13 with them, I think, February 1998 and I think

14 again February 1999.

15 Q. Yes.

16 A. And there was a whole range of topics in which they

17 would be interested. So I would go through the

18 discussion and give my response to specific things that

19 they would raise.

20 Q. If we look at 95 together on the next page, RNI-806-172

21 (displayed), what you say is one of the issues you

22 expect would have been raised was the progress of any

23 complaints made by Rosemary Nelson. Do you see that?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And presumably that's because you knew that that was an

 

 

138


1 issue in which they had an interest?

2 A. That's -- I find it very difficult to separate the two

3 meetings, the 1998 meeting and the 1999 meeting. So I

4 can't be certain that that -- I can be certain that it

5 was an issue on the agenda, if you like, in our 1999

6 meeting. I can't be absolutely certain that it would

7 have been as early as that in the 1998 meeting.

8 Q. But consistent with what you were saying before, before

9 the meeting, whichever it was, you would have sought an

10 update on the state of play with the complaints. That's

11 what you say in the last sentence, isn't it?

12 A. So far as -- I would have sought an update so far as the

13 people seeking the meeting would have been willing or

14 able to give us a list of the topics that they wished to

15 discuss. It was usually much more general than that.

16 Q. So you didn't know in advance, as it were, that whatever

17 else they want to talk about, that delegation and

18 Mr Lynch in particular would want to talk about

19 Rosemary Nelson?

20 A. I don't think so.

21 Q. No. Now, so far as the conversation that took place at

22 the meeting is concerned, do you now have any

23 recollection of what was said?

24 A. I have a clearer recollection of the 1999 meeting than

25 of the 1998 meeting. I have virtually no recollection

 

 

139


1 of the 1998 meeting other than they would discuss the

2 marching issues, they would discuss general progress.

3 I'm just trying to put it in chronological order

4 with what was going on. Obviously the February 1998

5 meeting would have been just before the

6 Good Friday Agreement, but it would have been at

7 a period when clearly politicians were moving towards an

8 agreement. So that, I imagine, would have featured

9 quite strongly in the discussion.

10 Q. So in terms of what you can remember, can I take it from

11 what you have just been saying that you can't remember

12 one way or another whether the question of

13 Rosemary Nelson's safety was raised with you at the

14 meeting?

15 A. I honestly can't in the 1998 meeting. I can in the 1999

16 meeting.

17 Q. Can I ask you this question: if in a meeting such as

18 that a delegation had produced evidence, had produced

19 material suggesting that somebody, in this case

20 Rosemary Nelson, was at risk or that there was concern

21 for her safety, what would you have done?

22 A. Well, I would have ensured that those areas of concern

23 raised by them were subject to full investigation.

24 Q. You see, in your statement at paragraph 96, it is in

25 connection with this meeting in February 1998 that you

 

 

140


1 say you may well have mentioned the KPPS scheme?

2 A. But phrases like that -- I don't want to be

3 repetitive -- are as a result of questions put to me by

4 the solicitors to the Inquiry. So they would have been

5 saying, "Might you have ..." and I would say I might

6 well have, but I don't know is the honest answer.

7 Q. Yes. Given the material the Inquiry has seen, it looks

8 much more likely that the KPPS question came up on the

9 second occasion in August, rather than at this time

10 in February 1998.

11 A. I don't even recall the KPPS system being discussed in

12 detail, but I do certainly recall Mrs Nelson's position

13 being discussed by the Lawyers Alliance.

14 Q. In February 1998?

15 A. No, no, I'm saying February 1999. I can't be sure about

16 1998.

17 Q. Thank you. Just returning then to the threat assessment

18 in February, again, for your reference you begin to deal

19 with this in paragraph 100 of your statement, which is

20 at RNI-806-173 (displayed). What I would like to do is

21 to focus with you on the end of the process, ie the time

22 at which material came back from various parts of the

23 RUC into Command Secretariat so that you, or rather so

24 that Command Secretariat, the RUC, could produce an

25 answer to the letter from the NIO which had initiated

 

 

141


1 the entire process.

2 What I would like to do first is to remind you of

3 the letter. It is 24 February and it is RNI-101-196

4 (displayed) and it shows, doesn't it, that at the same

5 sort of time you were meeting the Lawyers Alliance, so

6 was he and, indeed, Christine Collins, and they were

7 expressing their deep concern over the safety of

8 Rosemary Nelson. Then do you see the second paragraph:

9 "In case these comments were not made to the

10 Chief Constable or you have not picked them up

11 elsewhere, I thought I should write to pass them on."

12 So it looks as though Simon Rogers anticipated that

13 the Lawyers Alliance might have raised these concerns at

14 their own meeting with you, doesn't it?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Now, this, as I say, is the start of the process and

17 Command Secretariat sent out requests for assistance to

18 various parts of the RUC. You have been shown all the

19 various documents and dealt with them in your statement.

20 What I would like to do is first of all to remind you of

21 the way it went by showing you the February threat

22 assessment chart and then just to ask you about the end

23 of the process (displayed). Thank you.

24 A. The chart is here now on the screen.

25 Q. Thank you, yes. So it comes from the top, from the NIO

 

 

142


1 down Command Secretariat, South Region, the Commander,

2 the Subdivisional Commander, down to Lurgan and then

3 back up again -- do you see the arrows on the left? --

4 all the way up to Command Secretariat, and the final

5 stage takes it back to the NIO.

6 So that was the way it worked, and what I would like

7 to do is to look with you at the stage as it comes back

8 to Command Secretariat, and that's RNI-101-206

9 (displayed). If we could have that on the left-hand

10 side of the screen, please, and RNI-101-207 on the right

11 (displayed), we will see the two versions of this

12 document that we have in our files, both of which you

13 have commented on in your statement. You will see the

14 second one, RNI-101-207, is exactly the same but

15 somebody has simply put a Post-It on the right-hand

16 side, and it is in fact P157, we know from the evidence,

17 with the question:

18 "Need to offer her a crime prevention order ..."

19 It says, and in his evidence he corrected it and

20 said that it should have said "officer".

21 Now, you see on the left, the report comes back from

22 the Assistant Chief Constable with all the accompanying

23 material and the record is made in the handwriting of

24 P136:

25 "Discussed with CC on 1/4/98 -- Chief Superintendent

 

 

143


1 P157. Nothing further can be done by police at this

2 time."

3 Now, P157 in his evidence to the Inquiry said that

4 it was likely -- it was likely -- that he gave you the

5 file, that you had a chance to look at it and then he

6 and you had a discussion about this question about what

7 could be done in relation to Rosemary Nelson.

8 Do you have any recollection now of that discussion

9 with P157?

10 A. I do not have a specific recollection of the discussion.

11 What I think is more likely is that he would have

12 described to me the reports that he had sought and

13 received and would have dealt with the outcome that the

14 Assistant Chief Constable believes that, because there

15 are no specific threats, because there are no

16 Special Branch intelligence, that what should be done

17 is, because of her high profile, police attention to be

18 paid to her home and business. And I would have thought

19 that was an appropriate outcome.

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. I don't understand -- if the document on the right-hand

22 side of the screen presumably is a later copy because it

23 is a new note, this question to offer a crime

24 prevention, and he thought that should be "officer"

25 rather than "order"?

 

 

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1 Q. Yes, that's what he said, P157, yes.

2 A. What I can't recall is whether, you know -- is his note

3 as a result of me suggesting that? That it is not in my

4 view, for example, a matter for KPPS or other issues,

5 but it could be a matter for crime prevention advice.

6 Q. I think the evidence from the two officers was that this

7 was a suggestion, namely that a crime prevention officer

8 should be deployed in this case, I think originally made

9 not by P157 but by P136. It was raised, discussed with

10 you and the conclusion was, you see the note in P136's

11 handwriting:

12 "Nothing further can be done by police at this

13 time"?

14 A. So, what, after the appended note?

15 Q. Yes.

16 A. I can't recall that.

17 Q. No. So to be clear about this --

18 A. I thought at one stage -- sorry, I beg your pardon --

19 I thought at one stage Mrs Nelson was visited by a crime

20 prevention officer.

21 Q. Not at this stage. I think we can be clear about that.

22 A. Right.

23 Q. And it looks as though the conclusion that you drew was

24 that that nothing further could be done?

25 A. I think I have seen documents over the past couple of

 

 

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1 days where officers locally -- and maybe in that chain

2 of correspondence -- there is some suggestion from

3 a local police officer that actually in the absence of

4 intelligence or the absence of a basis for threat, that

5 to actually physically visit Mrs Nelson may cause alarm

6 or distress. I think I recall looking at a document

7 like that. But only over past couple of days have they

8 been brought to my attention.

9 Q. Yes, but do you think that was a reason why you said

10 that nothing more could be done?

11 A. I could have been if it was part of this file and if it

12 was part of the discussion that the Chief Superintendent

13 would have had with me. But I think, bearing in mind

14 what was known at the time, the ultimate response of

15 local police officers being briefed to pay attention to

16 Mrs Nelson's home and her office, to pay particular

17 attention as to whether there was any suspicious

18 activity in those areas, would have been an appropriate

19 outcome.

20 Q. So you don't think it would have been appropriate to

21 offer the visit from the crime prevention officer?

22 A. I'm not sure -- as I said, I personally wouldn't see any

23 difficulty with that. As I have said, there is a report

24 brought to my attention over the past couple of days,

25 where someone thought that that may have had an

 

 

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1 inappropriate response, that people -- that Mrs Nelson

2 may have thought, "My goodness, do I need this? What's

3 going on?"

4 Q. What I was asking you earlier was whether you thought

5 that that was a problem and, therefore, it was a reason

6 not to offer it in this case?

7 A. No, I certainly didn't not think -- I'm only speaking on

8 the basis of having seen that document over the past

9 couple of days.

10 Q. In that case why not do it?

11 A. I can't see any reason other than the reasoning offered

12 by the local officer. Personally it is not -- I would

13 have thought that the response, as indicated by the

14 regional Assistant Chief Constable, of local police

15 being briefed and not only being briefed but paying

16 particular attention to Mrs Nelson's home and office,

17 was the appropriate response at that time, bearing in

18 mind what was in RUC records.

19 Q. And was the key element here, as far as you were

20 concerned, that there was no specific threat?

21 A. In a threat assessment -- that forms -- in my experience

22 as Chief Constable, it is not usual that I would be

23 involved in individual threat assessments, but certainly

24 a very important plank in that assessment would be: what

25 do Special Branch know? Have they any intelligence of

 

 

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1 paramilitary organisations who are liable to carry out

2 any such attacks or present any other form of threat?

3 That would be a very important plank.

4 Q. Yes. Can I just pick up the first point you made. It

5 was unusual, or very unusual, for you as Chief Constable

6 to be involved in considering a specific threat

7 assessment. Is that right?

8 A. Yes, I can't recall many individual threat assessments

9 that I have ever been involved in.

10 Q. Can you recall any?

11 A. No, I can't.

12 Q. So there was something very particular about this

13 individual and her case that led you to become involved

14 at this point, as Chief Constable?

15 A. Well, if it is initiated by the Northern Ireland Office,

16 although they didn't write to me, they wrote

17 specifically I think, in the chain that you showed me,

18 to a superintendent in the first instance, but that's

19 another example, I think, of the Chief Superintendent in

20 charge of Command Secretariat making a decision as to

21 what he would discuss with me and what he felt he could

22 adequately deal with himself.

23 This is something he obviously wanted to discuss.

24 I have no specific recollection of that discussion, but

25 I'm certain it would have been in the form that

 

 

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1 I described yesterday. He comes into the office, he has

2 a number of issues. That would have been one of the

3 issues discussed.

4 Q. And so far as --

5 A. I have certainly no recollection -- you said -- and he

6 may have said -- that he would, he thinks, have left the

7 file for perusal. I certainly have no recollection of

8 the file being presented to me, and that would not be

9 the normal course of events. It would be rather more as

10 a discussion, which is indicated in this:

11 "Discussed with CC."

12 Q. Even the fact that you had a discussion about a specific

13 threat assessment made it a unique case, didn't it?

14 A. I can't think of other instances. Certainly not as

15 Chief Constable. I think plenty of instances at

16 Assistant Chief Constable level and in other positions.

17 I can't think -- no, I can't recall another incident of

18 a specific individual threat assessment --

19 Q. No.

20 A. -- in which I would have had any involvement.

21 Q. And are you able to assist us as to why it was that you

22 became involved in this particular case?

23 A. Well, I think that it is obvious that it is precipitated

24 by the Secretary of State's office writing to

25 Command Secretariat, and it is simply -- it is, again,

 

 

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1 one of those decisions for the Head of

2 Command Secretariat. He might well, in other instances,

3 have decided, well, here it is coming right through the

4 chain, here is the ultimate response to it: increased

5 patrolling, increased attention to be paid by local

6 uniformed officers. He might well have decided that's

7 enough, but it seems by this note that he wanted to

8 check with me. So that's his decision.

9 Q. But it was the right decision, wasn't it, because this

10 was a very high profile and politically sensitive case?

11 A. It was becoming so, and obviously this visiting American

12 delegation which prompted the note from the

13 Northern Ireland Office to Command Secretariat. Again,

14 it is one of those -- you know, the Chief

15 Superintendent, as I indicated earlier, I considered to

16 be very experienced, I considered to be very

17 professional in how he went about his business. And

18 this is just an example -- we have had other examples of

19 things that he didn't feel appropriate to place before

20 me. This is clearly something that he felt appropriate

21 to place before me.

22 Q. What he said in explaining why it was he had drawn this

23 to your attention was this was another part of the

24 sequence, if you like:

25 "... and he [that's you] was already aware and

 

 

150


1 au fait with the previous parts of the sequence, and

2 therefore, it is logical that he should be brought in

3 for this."

4 Then I asked him.

5 "Question: And you thought he would have wanted to

6 know?

7 "Answer: Yes."

8 A. That's not unsurprising.

9 Q. Indeed. What was operating in his mind was the idea

10 that this was yet another --

11 A. Sorry, I beg your pardon. It is unsurprising, it is not

12 surprising.

13 Q. Indeed. What was in his mind, therefore, was this was

14 simply the latest in a whole series of events, some of

15 which you and I have been looking at together over the

16 last day or two, and you had had some involvement in the

17 earlier sequence, as he put it that way, and therefore,

18 it was something he thought you should be involved in

19 and that you would want to know about?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And that's unsurprising to you?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Thank you. Can I just go back to this question of why

24 crime prevention advice might have been an option here.

25 If we have on the left-hand side, please, RNI-101-196

 

 

151


1 (displayed) -- thank you -- which was the original NIO

2 letter, do you see in the second paragraph the writer,

3 Simon Rogers of the Police Division, specifically raised

4 the question of whether or not she -- that's

5 Rosemary Nelson:

6 "... needs to be approached and given advice on her

7 security"?

8 So it is at least possible, isn't it, that this

9 whole question of crime prevention officer, the Post-It

10 on the right, was prompted by the steer that was being

11 given to Command Secretariat by the NIO in that

12 paragraph?

13 A. That's a possibility.

14 Q. Yes. But for whatever reason, you clearly decided that

15 it wasn't appropriate in this case to offer that advice

16 and that nothing further at that point could be done?

17 A. I don't think it is correct to say that I clearly

18 decided that. I have no recollection of actually making

19 a conscious decision as to whether it should or not be

20 done.

21 I have referred to a document of a local officer who

22 feels in his report that it shouldn't be done because it

23 might give rise to fears for which, in his view, there

24 was no basis. And therefore, it might cause concern

25 unnecessarily. I think that is the gist of his argument

 

 

152


1 in the document that I have seen.

2 Q. But you expressly, when I asked you about this earlier,

3 said that that wasn't a concern or a point that was

4 operating in your mind?

5 A. I don't think so. I don't think it would be.

6 Q. No. So the question comes back to this: why was it that

7 you decided that nothing more could be done?

8 A. I have said earlier that I think, bearing in mind all

9 that was known at that time, the appropriate response

10 was as that indicated by the regional

11 Assistant Chief Constable: increased patrolling,

12 increased attention to be paid.

13 Q. Were there any other options?

14 A. In due course there is the whole range of options. In

15 due course, you know, there is a range of options

16 whereby individuals can apply to be part of the Key

17 Persons Protection Scheme. They can apply for personal

18 firearms, which I'm sure would not have been of interest

19 to Mrs Nelson, and crime prevention advice is

20 a possibility, but crime prevention advice would be at

21 a very low level and really is largely about common

22 sense.

23 Q. Telling people things that, frankly, they ought to know

24 for themselves?

25 A. To a large degree.

 

 

153


1 Q. I don't mean to be disrespectful, but giving common

2 sense advice about basic security precautions?

3 A. I think that's fair.

4 Q. Can I just ask about a point you raise on this topic in

5 your statement at paragraph 100, and that's RNI-806-173

6 (displayed). It is when you have been through this

7 chain of documents that we were talking about earlier

8 and it is where you talk about specific threat. Do you

9 remember I put that expression to you just a little

10 while ago?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. What you say is:

13 "There was no information available that suggested

14 that Mrs Nelson was under a specific threat."

15 Just to check, the fact that the assessment came

16 back with no specific threat wasn't a bar to giving the

17 crime prevention advice, was it?

18 A. No, that would not be a bar to it, no.

19 Q. No.

20 A. It wouldn't be an automatic bar to the other steps

21 I have described, but it would be most unlikely that

22 anyone would be included in the Key Persons Protection

23 Scheme unless there was intelligence about a specific

24 threat. I think that would be most unlikely. But it

25 would ultimately be a matter for the

 

 

154


1 Northern Ireland Office.

2 Q. That was a matter within their purview and not yours?

3 A. Not mine at all.

4 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just ask you some very specific

5 questions about the KPPS, although, as I have suggested,

6 this may not have been the time in which it was to the

7 fore.

8 But you were referred to it in this context in your

9 statement, and I would like you to have for your

10 reference paragraph 99, first of all, of your statement

11 in front of you, RNI-806-173 (displayed), because this

12 is where you are saying if there had been a suggestion

13 that she is at risk, of course, you say, you have:

14 "... made enquiries about the possibility of

15 protection for her as part of the KPPS scheme and --

16 sorry?

17 A. What I'm saying there is whether or not the individual

18 made a specific personal request, if we had in the

19 system intelligence that a person was to be the target

20 of a terrorist attack, that would bring into my

21 consideration the KPPS, whether or not that person made

22 a personal application to be admitted into that scheme.

23 Q. Presumably that was a matter that you would have had to

24 pass on to the NIO to deal with, was it not?

25 A. Yes, it would be.

 

 

155


1 Q. Picking up on that in the next paragraph where you deal

2 with it, which is RNI-101-806.174. This is where you

3 say in the third line:

4 "I do have a recollection of having a conversation

5 with P136 directly at some stage where we discussed the

6 fact that the NIO should advise Mrs Nelson of the

7 existence of the KPPS."

8 Do you see that? It is three lines from the start

9 of paragraph 101 -- sorry, do you have the paragraph?

10 A. Yes, I have got it now, I beg your pardon.

11 Q. That's all right. Do you see the third line?

12 A. "I do have a recollection ...", yes.

13 Q. The first point I'm going to make to you is that this

14 conversation is much more likely to have taken place

15 in August or September 1998, rather than in this time,

16 March/early April. What's your response to that?

17 A. I think that's probably more likely. I do -- in my

18 sentence, I say I have a recollection of having that

19 conversation at some stage.

20 Q. How detailed is your recollection of the detail of the

21 conversation?

22 A. No, it is not detailed in terms of recollection.

23 Q. So if I asked you, for example, whether in the

24 conversation it was agreed who would make contact with

25 the NIO, would you be able to help?

 

 

156


1 A. I wouldn't specifically, but if I recall the

2 conversation with P136, P136 would have had regular

3 contact with NIO officials.

4 Q. Yes. Can you recall anything about what, in that

5 conversation, you agreed with P136 should be said to the

6 NIO about it?

7 A. No, I can't. It is only a vague recollection.

8 Q. Any other recollection of the detail of that

9 conversation at all?

10 A. No, I don't.

11 Q. Thank you very much. Now, can I turn to another topic

12 now, which is the topic you yourself have in fact

13 referred to on a number of occasions, and it is the ICPC

14 saga, if I can put it in that way, which came to your

15 attention, as I understand it, in June 1998.

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. Thank you. Now, I appreciate that there are all sorts

18 of points which might be made, things that might be said

19 about this. You have said some of them already. What

20 I want to try to do is focus on a few aspects of it

21 which are of particular interest. But obviously, if

22 there is a point that I'm missing or that we are not

23 covering, please feel free to supplement, to add, to

24 raise facts of your own.

25 What I would like to do is to start by looking at

 

 

157


1 Mr Donnelly's letter. Again, you have referred to it,

2 but it is at RNI-101-276 (displayed), dated 189 June.

3 You have succinctly described in your evidence already

4 what it was about what was proposed here that

5 concerned you.

6 The first thing I want to do, however, is to ask you

7 this: did you have any warning that this letter and what

8 was said in the letter was coming your way?

9 A. None whatever.

10 Q. Was there any, as it were, signalling or advanced

11 warning at all?

12 A. None whatever. I was very shocked to receive the

13 letter.

14 Q. Thank you. Rather than take you through that letter and

15 your reaction to it, what I would prefer to do -- and

16 I hope this is all right -- is to look with you at your

17 response, which I hope will more effectively encapsulate

18 what your concerns were. That's at RNI-101-281 and

19 RNI-101-282. Could we have both pages on the screen,

20 please (displayed).

21 Now, this is your response to the letter which, as

22 you point out at the beginning of your text, was marked

23 "In confidence". Can I take it that by this stage you

24 had received the visit from John Steele that you

25 describe in your evidence yesterday? Do you see the

 

 

158


1 third paragraph?

2 A. Yes. I think I must have been visited by John Steele by

3 that time.

4 Q. And what you discovered in the visit, in brief summary,

5 was (i) that you weren't the only one to receive a letter

6 like this, the Secretary of State had one as well, and

7 (ii) that not only were the Commission intending to

8 withhold a certificate of satisfaction, but they were

9 going to inform the complainant parties about their

10 intentions very shortly thereafter?

11 A. I only learnt that from John Steele. It wasn't included

12 in any correspondence to me.

13 Q. So in that meeting, as I say, you learned first of the

14 existence of the other letter, and secondly of the

15 ICPC's further intentions which they hadn't mentioned in

16 the Chairman's letter?

17 A. I think the Chairman at this stage must still have been

18 out of the country because I'm clearly writing to the

19 Deputy Chairman and outlining what I would like to

20 discuss.

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. In terms of -- I think you described it as two concerns

23 of mine: One that I was not the only recipient. It is

24 rather more the case that I found it rather strange that

25 two letters that were identical in wording didn't

 

 

159


1 indicate on each that it had been copied to the other

2 party. So it was indication of great concern.

3 Q. But both were marked "In confidence"?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. What you then do -- and I am afraid the type is rather

6 small -- is to set out what you propose should happen,

7 and you give a numbered list of points you wanted to

8 discuss with the Chairman in a meeting. And all of that

9 against the background of the comments you make in the

10 fourth paragraph:

11 "The idea that such an outcome should arise of

12 course gives me the greatest cause for concern. So too

13 ..."

14 I can't read that word, I am afraid:

15 "... the question of how we arrived at this point

16 without the matter being brought to my earlier attention

17 or to my Head of Complaints and Discipline Department."

18 So in other words, you were concerned that matters

19 had reached the stage that they had and also that there

20 had been no warning, no flagging up of the problems at

21 an earlier stage, either to you or the Head of

22 G Department?

23 A. I think I have already described that I considered my

24 relationship with the ICPC to be a very important one,

25 considered it to be an open one and it was my practice

 

 

160


1 to refer matters to them for supervision or for their

2 consideration of supervision, even if there was no

3 obligation upon me to do so.

4 Q. Yes.

5 A. In that sense, I considered the ICPC, if you like, to be

6 analogous to the building control regulations of an

7 investigation. And this seemed to me, to use that

8 analogy, in terms of the correspondence, a case where

9 they were unhappy with the foundations, but allowed the

10 walls to be built, and being unhappy with the walls,

11 they allowed the roof to be put on, and being unhappy

12 with the roof, they allowed the internal finishing to be

13 done and then condemned building.

14 So it was of great concern to me. My previous

15 relationship with the ICPC, as I indicate in this

16 letter, if they had concerns with the individual

17 investigating officer, I would change that investigating

18 officer.

19 So that's the basis for my concern in receiving this

20 letter at what they considered to be the end of the

21 investigation. But because of the concerns they raised,

22 I certainly did not consider it to be the end of the

23 investigation.

24 Q. We will come back to that, if we may, but in essence

25 then, you think they should have alerted you to their

 

 

161


1 concerns much, much, much earlier?

2 A. I was very surprised not to have been alerted.

3 Q. Yes. Now, Mr Steele who has given evidence about his

4 visit to you, his meeting with you, described you at the

5 meeting as being furious, and further, that, as he put

6 it, you became more furious when you discovered that:

7 "Mr Donnelly had sprung this trap and then gone on

8 holiday, and it began to look increasingly like a trap."

9 So is that a fair summary of your mood when you met

10 John Steele?

11 A. Yes. I'm not sure I would have used the word trap. I

12 don't see it as a trap. But I was prepared to hold that

13 letter because it was in confidence, until he got back

14 from holiday, to discuss what we could do about this

15 situation. And then suddenly to find that he has

16 actually sent exactly the same letter to the NIO and has

17 informed the NIO that they will be going public at

18 a time when he is still out of the country, I considered

19 that to be most unusual. I think to describe me as

20 being furious would be pretty accurate.

21 Q. Was one of the things that was making you furious the

22 discovery that they were intending, in effect, to go

23 public with their position in a very short period of

24 time?

25 A. Yes, without any discussion with me, other than having

 

 

162


1 sent this letter but then not having put himself in

2 a position to discuss it with me.

3 Q. Because the concern presumably about them going public

4 is that they would be expressing criticism of the way

5 the RUC officer had conducted the investigation in

6 public?

7 A. Not only that, but I saw this in a much wider way.

8 I saw this in a much wider context: that it seemed to me

9 that if this was to be the relationship between the

10 policing organisation and the ICPC, that it would affect

11 everything in terms of how the RUC went about

12 investigation of complaints. It would be very

13 undermining, I think, of public confidence and I think

14 grossly unfairly so.

15 Q. And all of this at a very difficult time, the time you

16 and I talked about yesterday, when policing was very

17 much on the political agenda?

18 A. Obviously we had the Good Friday Agreement earlier in

19 that year. Arising out of that there was the creation

20 of the Patten Commission. So policing was a very

21 integral part of the whole process, as we described

22 yesterday.

23 Q. And in paragraph 113 of your statement at RNI-806-179

24 (displayed), what you say there in relation to their

25 proposal -- this is five lines from the end -- is:

 

 

163


1 "The fact that the ICPC proposed to announce that

2 a certificate of satisfaction would not be issued was

3 essentially public damnation of the RUC complaints

4 process."

5 So this became a huge issue very suddenly?

6 A. I think that's fair.

7 Q. That's the way you regarded it at the time?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Just so I'm clear about this, presumably you would have

10 regarded this verdict, this damnation by the independent

11 complaints organisation, as something which would give

12 ammunition to those individuals and bodies who were

13 concerned to criticise and to undermine the

14 organisation --

15 A. It is not so much that. I would be worried about the

16 community at large and their confidence because it was

17 something -- the procedures for investigating

18 complaints, I think is something of very great

19 importance in the confidence of the public. And

20 I described yesterday about my support for the creation

21 of an Ombudsman's office, my continuing support for

22 that. And therefore, I see that as very important in

23 the public mind, and I saw this as, in my view, an

24 unfair -- because there are other steps and I referred

25 to it in my letter: did they give, throughout the

 

 

164


1 process of investigation, any directions, guidance? It

2 is not even specifically within their remit, but did

3 they draw attention to what they saw as shortcomings to

4 the investigating officer? Did they ask him to take any

5 different steps?

6 They referred at one stage, as I indicated

7 yesterday, to an officer turning up for an interview

8 with what they thought was the smell of drink. What did

9 they do about it? Why did they not draw it to my

10 attention? Why did they not raise the possibility of

11 changing investigating officer at a much earlier stage?

12 I was grossly surprised.

13 Q. So those are obviously specific concerns, criticisms

14 even, about the way they had handled the matter. But at

15 the more general level, the level that you and I were

16 talking about just a minute or two ago, presumably the

17 concern here was that if the independent body

18 responsible for supervising the RUC's investigation of

19 its own complaint, if they delivered such a verdict,

20 then the whole complaints system as it then was would be

21 undermined and confidence in it would be shaken?

22 A. And I think very unfairly so.

23 Q. Yes. Because at this point, although the Ombudsman idea

24 that you just mentioned had been accepted, indeed

25 legislation had been, or was just about to be passed to

 

 

165


1 set it all up, we were in an interim phase, weren't we,

2 whereby the ICPC system had to continue until that time

3 when the Ombudsman office was ready to start its work?

4 A. Yes. I think if you go back to my analogy, it indicates

5 how important a role I think they had to play in the

6 whole process.

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

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly. We will break off until quarter

9 to four.

10 (3.28 pm)

11 (Short break)

12 (3.45 pm)

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

14 MR PHILLIPS: Sir Ronnie, I am afraid it is another case of

15 a short step back before we move on. I'm sorry about

16 that.

17 I would like to ask you some questions about one of

18 the documents that was generated in the course of the

19 threat assessment we were looking at

20 in February/March 1998. It is one you refer to in your

21 statement and, indeed, you comment specifically on it in

22 paragraph 103, if that would help you. It is at

23 RNI-806-175 (displayed).

24 What I would like to do, please, is to have the

25 document on the screen. Could you look at your hard

 

 

166


1 copy statement? That would be very helpful. On the

2 screen, could we have, please, RNI-101-211 and

3 RNI-101-212 (displayed).

4 Now, this is the assessment from the local

5 Special Branch office at Lurgan, as you can see, and the

6 first question I wanted to ask you is this. This came

7 back up the chain to Command Secretariat from South

8 Region. It is one of the documents you have looked at

9 for the purposes of doing your statement. Do you think

10 that you would have looked at this document in the

11 course of your consideration of these issues in

12 late March/the very beginning of April 1998?

13 A. I don't recall looking at the document.

14 Q. I mean, what you said earlier, just to remind you, I

15 think you said that when you had this discussion, it

16 might well have been that P157 simply summarised or gave

17 you the gist of what the reporting was. Do you

18 remember?

19 A. Yes, indeed.

20 Q. I said that his evidence was he thought he might have

21 brought the file there for you to look at, and you said

22 actually it might well have been that he just gave me

23 the substance of what was being said?

24 A. It could be either, but I don't recall reading that

25 specific document.

 

 

167


1 Q. So in other words, where you have made comment for us in

2 your statement about it, they are, as it were, comments

3 made now you are looking at it and considering it and

4 what it is saying, as it were, for the first time?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Can I just ask you, therefore --

7 A. Sorry, it could be, but I couldn't rule out having --

8 I have no recollection --

9 Q. Thank you. Just looking at a couple of passages, and

10 this is all on the basis that you had read it, which

11 I appreciate is a very big question, but if you had read

12 it, you would have seen there what it says in the first

13 paragraph:

14 "She regularly represents Republican activists ..."

15 Do you see that?

16 A. Yes, I do.

17 Q. "... and, as such, would be well-known."

18 Next paragraph:

19 "... came to the fore when representing

20 Colin Duffy."

21 Presumably in general terms you would have been

22 aware of all of that anyway?

23 A. I would have been aware of the generality of it.

24 Q. Yes. And then this paragraph:

25 "Mrs Nelson remains close to the Republican movement

 

 

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1 and attends functions, rallies, et cetera, in support of

2 their aims and objectives. As such, she would be

3 regarded in the local Nationalist and Unionist

4 communities as a supporter of the Republican cause."

5 So if you had read that, you would have seen,

6 wouldn't you, that the way she was regarded locally was

7 not just as a lawyer who acted for Republican clients,

8 but also as someone who personally was close to and, as

9 it puts it there, a supporter of the Republican cause?

10 Do you see that?

11 A. I can see the paragraph, but I discussed yesterday when

12 discussing the phrase "sympathies", for example, people

13 are entitled to have whatever sympathies they hold.

14 Q. And, as I understood it, what you were saying yesterday

15 is that there is a world of difference between having

16 sympathies, sharing views and beliefs on the one hand,

17 and being an active member of an organisation on the

18 other?

19 A. Indeed, a world of difference.

20 Q. Yes, thank you. And then it says:

21 "It is, therefore, my assessment in the absence of

22 any threat that she would be known to Loyalist

23 paramilitaries in this area and would be at a degree of

24 risk whilst working and residing in this area."

25 Just asking you about that, presumably based on what

 

 

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1 you knew of Lurgan and the sort of place it was, you

2 wouldn't have been surprised to read that paragraph?

3 A. No, I think I used similar language yesterday in terms

4 of profile and in terms of that risk -- more likely to

5 be manifest and perhaps bricks through an office window

6 or damage to a car, or something that of nature.

7 Q. But it was a very divided part even of Northern Ireland,

8 was it not?

9 A. Yes, it was.

10 Q. And there were bitter sectarian hatreds at this time

11 in February/March 1998?

12 A. I think that's fair.

13 Q. And, therefore, somebody perceived by those in the

14 Loyalist community as siding with, being a supporter of

15 the Republican cause might well be the object of strong

16 feelings, in some cases amounting to hatred?

17 A. The sort of things that I have described. But if it

18 went further than that, it would certainly be my hope

19 that there would have been Special Branch intelligence

20 to indicate that the risk was greater than that.

21 Q. This takes us back to the specific threat point.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Something more than the general run of risks in this

24 part of Northern Ireland?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. And presumably if you had been asked to think about it,

2 you would have recognised that with the high profile

3 that by this time she had attained, went at least the

4 potential for greater risk because she simply was more

5 prominent in her community?

6 A. The potential for the sort of risk and the sort of level

7 of risk that I have already described, but certainly

8 I have never been presented with any evidence that

9 anything was manifest in Mrs Nelson's direction until

10 her dreadful murder.

11 Q. In looking at this, had you done so, of course, had you

12 done so, is there anything in it, do you think, that

13 would have changed the view of her that you have

14 expressed to us already, which is that as far as you

15 knew, she was an ordinary solicitor doing her job for

16 her clients?

17 A. Even the phrase is yours, that she represents Republican

18 activists in her capacity as a solicitor. There is

19 nothing in that that would have changed my view.

20 Q. And the same applies to the third paragraph?

21 A. Yes, indeed. Nothing wrong with attending functions and

22 events.

23 Q. So even if you had been shown it, you had seen it, it

24 wouldn't have given you any cause to doubt the view of

25 her that you had formed?

 

 

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1 A. No, it would not.

2 Q. Thank you. Now, can I ask you to try to turn your focus

3 back to the topic we were discussing, which is the ICPC

4 and what happened after you had received their letter of

5 19 June. What I would like to do next is just to pick

6 up a couple of points you make in your own witness

7 statement about this. The first is in paragraph 110 at

8 page RNI-806-178 (displayed). We have looked at part of

9 this earlier, I think. The last sentence is the

10 sentence I'm interested in now. You say:

11 "I had nothing to suggest that this investigation

12 was not being conducted to our normal high standards,

13 and the matter could not be concluded as the

14 investigation was clearly still ongoing from my

15 perspective."

16 So two points there: first, nothing to suggest that

17 the investigation wasn't being conducted to your normal

18 high standards; and secondly, the investigation was

19 ongoing.

20 In terms of the first, the standard to which the

21 investigation was being conducted, it is fair to say,

22 isn't it, that the body responsible for supervising the

23 investigation, the ICPC, had made some pretty strong

24 criticisms of the standard of the investigation in the

25 letter that we looked at together of 19 June?

 

 

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1 A. Of course, in the letter. But what I'm referring to in

2 my statement is that I had nothing by way of what you

3 describe as pre-warning --

4 Q. Yes.

5 A. -- that that letter would be issued.

6 Q. I see. But when you say here "nothing to suggest", what

7 you had was the view in the letter of 19 June of the

8 body responsible for supervising the investigation?

9 A. But I'm saying that up to that point I had nothing to

10 suggest.

11 Q. No, but from that point you knew that they had profound

12 reservation --

13 A. Yes, of course.

14 Q. Thank you. Secondly, so far as the investigation still

15 being ongoing, let's have a look at that together, if we

16 may.

17 By this stage, we know that the report had been

18 submitted to the ICPC and considered by them, and it is

19 after that that they sent the letter out, on 19 June.

20 And with the report from -- if you have your sheet

21 there -- P146, who is the investigating officer, came

22 the certificate of completion, didn't it? That was part

23 of the process. So certainly as far as the

24 investigating officer was concerned, he had completed

25 his work?

 

 

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1 A. Yes, that's why I'm saying that from my point of view,

2 these great concerns having been raised led me to

3 a personal position where I did not conclude this matter

4 to be concluded.

5 Q. So far as you were concerned, presumably one of the

6 points was that once it had been concluded, various

7 matters flow from that, including the question of

8 whether the certificate of satisfaction or

9 dissatisfaction would be issued on the one hand, and on

10 the other hand the question of informing the

11 complainants about what was going on, because that was

12 all required under the system, wasn't it?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. So, therefore, bluntly, what you were seeking to achieve

15 over these next days and weeks was a situation where the

16 matter was not formally concluded. Is that fair?

17 A. Yes, because these concerns having been brought to my

18 attention led me to believe this matter was not

19 concluded.

20 Q. Yes, and the advantage of it being ongoing was that

21 there wouldn't be public announcement, there wouldn't be

22 public criticism along the lines of the letter and you

23 wouldn't have the public issuing of any comments or

24 criticisms by the ICPC?

25 A. That would be an advantage, but only if it was furthered

 

 

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1 by a proper conclusion to the investigation.

2 If, after a proper conclusion to the investigation,

3 the same things were extant, then the advantage, as you

4 describe it, would not exist. I wanted to make sure,

5 because in every thankfully rare incident up to this

6 point, where the ICPC had difficulty -- and that's why I

7 think I can with justification refer to our high

8 standard because in every case that they supervised,

9 they had issued a certificate that they were satisfied

10 with the investigation. In this case they had reached

11 a point where they weren't. They had raised specific

12 reasons as to why and I wanted those specific concerns

13 addressed before I certainly considered this to be at

14 the end of an investigation.

15 Q. And as I understand it, therefore, what was agreed

16 eventually -- not immediately, but eventually -- was

17 that the matter would be taken on by an independent

18 officer from outside the force, Commander Mulvihill as

19 it turned out, and that he would work with the same

20 supervising member of the Commission, Geralyn McNally.

21 Is that right?

22 A. That is exactly correct.

23 Q. And the advantage, so far as you were concerned,

24 therefore, was that a fresh pair of eyes, if I can put

25 it that way, was brought to the underlying allegations.

 

 

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1 There was no certificate because by definition you had

2 reached the end of the investigation, and presumably you

3 hoped as a result no public airing of criticisms with

4 the resulting problems for confidence in the system and

5 in the RUC?

6 A. Yes, which I thought that, had they appeared at that

7 time, would have been grossly unfair. It was totally

8 out of character with any previously supervised

9 investigation in terms of how this had been approached.

10 So while I was angry at the approach that had been

11 taken, the main purpose was to put this thing right.

12 The main purpose was to see how we moved forward, and

13 that's why I made it very clear that the same supervisor

14 would have to agree the appointment of the investigating

15 officer and if, for any reason, she had any

16 reservations, we would find another one, but equally

17 would have to agree the terms of reference.

18 So all the approaches that you are describing were

19 in full agreement of the ICPC.

20 Q. As I understand it -- I think you have already mentioned

21 this -- you had a meeting with the Chairman and with

22 Geralyn McNally on, I think, 1 July and you made your

23 proposals, your suggestions, to her. And in due course

24 that -- I think the next day, in fact -- that was agreed

25 upon, Commander Mulvihill was approached, appointed and

 

 

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1 then conducted his own investigation?

2 A. Yes, the approach I made was to then Sir Paul Condon,

3 who was Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service,

4 to ask for an officer and he identified

5 Commander Mulvihill. So I didn't make the approach to

6 Commander Mulvihill.

7 Q. Thank you. Can I just look with you at

8 Geralyn McNally's letter of agreement to what was being

9 proposed, and that's at RNI-103-127 (displayed). This

10 is addressed to you and dated 2 July that year, 1998.

11 It refers to the meeting the previous day, and then she

12 says:

13 "As I understand you have already been told, I have

14 considered your proposals in response to the

15 unsatisfactory investigation of these complaints. While

16 my serious concerns and dissatisfaction to date will, in

17 any circumstances, be recorded in any final statement

18 which I issue in respect of this investigation, I'm

19 prepared to delay this pending reinvestigation by an

20 officer from an outside police service under my

21 continued supervision and direction."

22 So effectively, what she was saying, wasn't she,

23 was, fine, I agree with your proposal. We will have the

24 independent officer, I will continue to supervise, but

25 whatever the result of his investigation, I will issue

 

 

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1 my statement of, as she puts it, serious concerns and

2 dissatisfaction?

3 A. Hm-mm, that's in the letter, yes.

4 Q. So you were aware from this point, weren't you, that you

5 had, as it were, not ended but rather just put off the

6 moment when she would publish her concerns and

7 dissatisfaction?

8 A. Yes, but I think that would be a much more satisfactory

9 position in any case. And, you know, it was my great

10 hope that Miss McNally would end up totally satisfied

11 with the work of Commander Mulvihill.

12 Q. And we know what did in fact occur was that she issued

13 a certificate of satisfaction in relation to his

14 investigation, but with it an appendix -- this is much

15 later, in March -- in which she did indeed cite her

16 concerns and criticisms of the initial investigation?

17 A. Yes, that's what took place.

18 Q. I would like to ask you in relation to Geralyn McNally

19 to think forward a little in time with me, please, and

20 ask you whether you recall a second meeting with her and

21 the Chairman at some point, perhaps in the early part of

22 1999, certainly before the murder of Rosemary Nelson?

23 A. I think I have a vague recollection of a meeting.

24 Q. Thank you. Now, as Miss McNally described it in her

25 evidence to the Inquiry, that came at a time when the

 

 

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1 Commander's report had been submitted, although not in

2 any sense publicly released and, in a sense, the meeting

3 was to, as she put it, round off the business that you

4 had discussed when you first met on 1 July the previous

5 year.

6 The first point I want to put to you about the

7 meeting is her recollection was that she felt at that

8 meeting you were trying to put her under some pressure

9 not to publish her concerns, her dissatisfaction about

10 the original investigation. Does that accord with your

11 own recollection?

12 A. No, it doesn't, and it certainly wouldn't be my style

13 either. I wouldn't attempt to put any pressure.

14 I could well have said, "Do you still think it is

15 necessary to do that if you are actually totally

16 satisfied with the ultimate outcome?" It wouldn't have

17 gone beyond that. There would have been no attempt to

18 pressurise.

19 Q. But do you think it is possible that you used those

20 words or something like them and she might have

21 interpreted that as something of a nudge from you?

22 A. I don't think she could have fairly interpreted it as

23 pressure.

24 Q. But presumably it is fair to say, isn't it, in your

25 capacity as Chief Constable, that you would have

 

 

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1 preferred it had she not issued the appendix to the

2 certificate of satisfaction?

3 A. Yes, I think if she had come to the conclusion that the

4 work carried out by Commander Mulvihill was totally

5 satisfactory and had erased the concern, then of course,

6 as Chief Constable that would have been much preferable.

7 Q. Yes. Now, in relation to this same meeting, do you

8 recall that there was a discussion about the complaints

9 themselves and, of course, the fact that Rosemary Nelson

10 was at the centre of them?

11 A. No, I think there probably was a discussion around those

12 elements that we had discussed in our earlier meetings,

13 those elements that led Miss McNally to feel unable to

14 issue a certificate of satisfaction.

15 Q. The concern, the criticisms that she had made?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. You don't remember any discussion about Rosemary Nelson

18 in this second meeting?

19 A. I don't specifically recall, but these, after all, were

20 files in relation to investigations of complaints either

21 by Mrs Nelson or made on Mrs Nelson's behalf, so there

22 is bound to have been discussion involving Mrs Nelson.

23 Q. Yes. You see, the reason I ask you this is because

24 Miss McNally said in her evidence that her recollection

25 at that meeting is that you told her during that meeting

 

 

180


1 that Rosemary Nelson was having an affair with

2 Colin Duffy. Is that something that you said in the

3 course of that meeting?

4 A. No, it is not something that I would have said. But

5 what might have happened is that in terms of this

6 expression that we discussed at some length yesterday,

7 the moral conduct, the moral behaviour, of Mrs Nelson,

8 in asking questions about that at some stage I came by

9 knowledge of that rumour, as I described it yesterday.

10 So I could well have said -- I have no specific

11 recollection of saying it -- that in that context, this

12 phrase could be misconstrued because there is a certain

13 rumour. I would not have been seeking to spread

14 a rumour; quite the contrary. I was talking to

15 a professional supervisor of a police investigation.

16 Q. Indeed.

17 A. If it were said, it would have been in relation to that

18 phrase and perhaps a reworking that of phrase and

19 a definition other than saying that the moral conduct of

20 Mrs Nelson was being questioned, because I think that

21 could be very easily misinterpreted.

22 Q. But you don't think then that it is possible that you

23 made a reference to the rumour that you had by then

24 heard about the relationship?

25 A. I could have made a reference to the rumour as a reason,

 

 

181


1 as explanation to please not use the phrase questioning

2 Mrs Nelson's moral conduct.

3 Q. You see, Miss McNally's account of it is that she very

4 much had the impression that in making the comment, you

5 were trying in some way to cast doubt on

6 Rosemary Nelson's reliability?

7 A. No, I wouldn't do that.

8 Q. Now, as at this point, let's say in early 1998 at some

9 point before Rosemary Nelson's murder, just to come back

10 to the question I have asked you on a number of

11 occasions now, did it remain your view that she was

12 a solicitor doing her job and not acting in the way that

13 you -- I think, the expression you used yesterday was in

14 an untoward manner?

15 A. That's correct. Nothing altered my view of Mrs Nelson

16 in that regard.

17 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just ask you about the NIO's

18 involvement in this ICPC business and, again, just some

19 very specific questions, if I may: in summary, the

20 Secretary of State herself took a close interest in the

21 ICPC business, didn't she?

22 A. Yes, she did.

23 Q. And we know, because you explain in the context of

24 telling us about your meeting with John Steele on

25 24 June, that she had received an identical or very

 

 

182


1 similar letter from the Chairman. What I would like to

2 do is just look at a couple of letters between the two

3 of you at this period. The first is her letter to you

4 at RNI-103-114 (displayed). It is dated 28 June, and

5 what she says is:

6 "I know that John Steele and Christine Collins

7 discussed with you on Wednesday the letter you and

8 I have received from Paul Donnelly."

9 So the first question is: do you think it is

10 possible that Christine Collins was at a meeting with

11 John Steele and yourself?

12 A. She could have been. In fact she must have been,

13 otherwise I can't see how the mistake could be made.

14 I don't particularly recall Christine Collins being

15 there, but she worked very closely with John Steele and

16 that's not surprising.

17 Q. No. And then she goes on to say that:

18 "We both regard the allegations ..."

19 Presumably the allegations made by the ICPC:

20 "... as serious ones. I understand you are

21 considering how best to address the points made by

22 Paul Donnelly about the quality of the investigation. I

23 should be particularly grateful for a report on this

24 case because this will be important to me in considering

25 what action I should take.

 

 

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1 "I'm very conscious of the need not to prejudice

2 current or possible criminal investigations and I will

3 keep in touch with you about the way forward when I have

4 your views.

5 "I'm enclosing for your information a copy of the

6 lines to take I have approved for defensive use. I

7 would welcome sight of your own lines in due course."

8 Now, this was an example, was it not, of her letting

9 you know in reasonably clear terms that she intended to

10 keep a very close eye on what was happening and, indeed,

11 specifically on what you were doing about it?

12 A. Yes, I think that's fair.

13 Q. And was your reaction -- again, trying to keep the

14 language as simple as I can -- that she needed to take

15 a step back?

16 A. My reaction was that she needed to know that actual

17 involvement in an ongoing investigation was not a matter

18 for her, not a matter for politicians. But certainly in

19 terms of being kept abreast of the overall picture --

20 because, again, we set this in the context of all that

21 was going on in 1998: the Patten Commission had been

22 instigated, was looking at changes in policing, et

23 cetera, et cetera. So I think it is absolutely

24 justifiable for the Secretary of State to be very

25 interested, so that perhaps one of the things

 

 

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1 I considered was whether the ICPC's letter to me

2 actually -- actually amounted to a complaint, and if it

3 did amount to a complaint, were they the appropriate

4 body to supervise an investigation of their own

5 complaint.

6 And I thought if it is a complaint, that would not

7 be appropriate. So, for example, the Police Complaints

8 Authority in England, I thought, might be a body who

9 could supervise it, if that's the conclusion we reached.

10 If that were to be the case, it would be the Secretary

11 of State who would have to speak to her counterpart. So

12 she certainly had a role, and it was absolutely right,

13 I feel, that she was briefed on all that was going on

14 because public confidence in investigation of complaints

15 is important in policing and we have already described

16 the importance of missing policing in the overall

17 Northern Ireland process at that stage.

18 So all of that was totally legitimate for

19 a Secretary of State, but not actually to be involved in

20 what was an ongoing investigation, and I think she

21 indicates that even in respect of her own letter.

22 I'm very conscious of the need not to prejudice

23 current and possible criminal investigation because

24 these were investigations of criminal allegations and

25 would ultimately have to be decided by the Director of

 

 

185


1 Public Prosecutions. So I think that's where it is

2 inappropriate for a Secretary of State to be involved.

3 Q. If we have the reply on the screen at the same time,

4 please, on the right, RNI-103-134 (displayed), it is

5 from you, dated 7 July to the Secretary of State, and it

6 consists of six numbered paragraphs or subparagraphs.

7 Can I ask you: is this your drafting?

8 A. Yes, it would be.

9 Q. Yes. And essentially in a reasonably clear way you were

10 telling her to back off a bit, weren't you?

11 A. Only to back off from that aspect that I had described.

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. An ongoing extant investigation.

14 Q. Yes, because at the end, you say:

15 "I see no real role for your office while

16 investigations are extant."

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. In other words, you were reminding her of the proper

19 limitation of her role?

20 A. Yes, in a sense.

21 Q. Thank you. Now, I would like to move on to look at

22 a subsequent letter from her, really by way of

23 introduction to another part of the story. This is at

24 RNI-223-013 (displayed) and it continues. Perhaps we

25 could have the second page, RNI-223-114, on the screen

 

 

186


1 as well, please (displayed). 22 July:

2 "Dear Ronnie ..."

3 I think it is a response to the letter we have just

4 been looking at, although there may be an error there in

5 the date given, 22 July. She begins by saying:

6 "I understand you have since discussed the issues

7 with Joe Pilling and John Steele and the next step is

8 for you to agree the terms of reference for

9 Commander Mulvihill's inquiry with Commander Mulvihill

10 and Geralyn McNally."

11 Again, after that in the next paragraph, you see she

12 is seeking a report on the outcome of that discussion;

13 do you see?

14 A. Yes, I do.

15 Q. Thank you. So this is a matter from this letter then,

16 which you, at this point, had discussed with these two

17 very senior officials within the NIO. Is that right?

18 A. Yes, indeed.

19 Q. Now, so far as Mr -- then Mr, now Sir Joseph Pilling is

20 concerned, do you have any recollection at this date of

21 what was discussed in meeting him in relation to the

22 ICPC matter in July 1998?

23 A. I can't even be sure that it was a meeting, as opposed

24 to perhaps a telephone call. I have no recollection of

25 the specific meeting about this particular issue with

 

 

187


1 Mr Pilling -- Sir Joseph Pilling.

2 Q. As you know, because you mention it in your statement,

3 Sir Joseph, in his statement to the Inquiry, has given

4 evidence to the effect that it was you who first told

5 him of the suggestion that Colin Duffy and

6 Rosemary Nelson were having an affair, were lovers. And

7 although he couldn't remember when it had taken place,

8 he thought it had taken place, that conversation, before

9 the murder of Rosemary Nelson.

10 Now --

11 A. I do not have any recollection of such a discussion with

12 Sir Joseph Pilling, but if that took place, again, it

13 would be in this whole context of the phraseology to

14 which I have referred now quite often.

15 Q. Right. Let's have a look at what you say about it in

16 your statement, if we may. This is about the

17 conversation. That's at paragraph 121 at RNI-806-182

18 (displayed). Can we enlarge that paragraph, please.

19 This is the section of your statement where you are

20 talking about your knowledge of the relationship.

21 Do you see, about five lines down, you say:

22 "I have no recollection of having a discussion with

23 Sir Joe Pilling about this matter. I did meet him on a

24 weekly basis and we both attended the monthly SPM

25 meetings with the Secretary of State, but I doubt that

 

 

188


1 such a thing would have been raised at these meetings."

2 Now, presumably the reason you made this comment in

3 your statement is that you were asked about it in the

4 course of your interview?

5 A. That's right.

6 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as Sir Joseph is concerned, his

7 evidence was to the effect that this was a one-to-one

8 meeting between you and him. You say you have no

9 recollection of this matter coming up in a meeting with

10 him. Is that right?

11 A. That's right, but we would have had a number of

12 one-to-one meetings. Sometimes we had dinner in his

13 apartment and we discussed informally a whole range of

14 issues. So there could have been -- if -- as I

15 understand from his evidence, he can't be sure as to

16 when this took place, but if it was raised at all, it

17 must have been in the context of going back to this

18 phrase: what is the suggestion that investigating

19 officers are questioning the moral conduct -- it says, I

20 think, in what is before me on the screen -- the moral

21 integrity of Mrs Nelson?

22 So it is quite possible that in that context I could

23 have, again, described -- that's a very unfortunate

24 phraseology because in fact there is a rumour in that

25 area.

 

 

189


1 Q. So you think again, so far as Sir Joseph is concerned,

2 as with Geralyn McNally, that if you said anything, you

3 would have been referring to the rumour about which you

4 had heard?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. I mean, presumably you worked alongside, closely, with

7 Sir Joseph for a number of years?

8 A. Yes, that's true.

9 Q. And presumably knew him well enough to form the view

10 that he is most unlikely to have made such

11 a conversation up?

12 A. I wouldn't suggest for a second he would make

13 conversations up.

14 Q. So it suggests at the very least, doesn't it, that some

15 discussion of this issue of the alleged relationship

16 between Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy did indeed take

17 place in the course of such a discussion between

18 yourself and him?

19 A. If it took place, it would have been in the context that

20 I have described. I have certainly no recollection

21 whatever, and it was never raised again. I was never

22 asked for any further explanation.

23 Q. Yes. Can I just ask you about John Steele now and his

24 evidence to the Inquiry, because one of the matters that

25 he discussed with me was the sense that he had that he

 

 

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1 was able, as a result of his own long experience of

2 working with you, to be fairly straight in talking to

3 you about issues as they came up?

4 A. I think that's fair. We would be straight with each

5 other, yes.

6 Q. And he told the Inquiry in particular that he is sure he

7 would have had a conversation with you, either during

8 the Cumaraswamy episode or this one, the one we have

9 been looking at, the ICPC crisis, where he suggested

10 that you get a grip on your people and make sure it --

11 in other words, the alleged misbehaviour of your

12 officers in relation to lawyers, and Rosemary Nelson in

13 particular -- didn't happen.

14 Can you remember a conversation in which John Steele

15 told you to get a grip, get to the bottom of it and sort

16 it out?

17 A. Absolutely not, and I would suggest that being straight

18 with each other still leaves that a rather unusual thing

19 for him to say. I wouldn't need a senior civil servant

20 to tell me what I should be doing operationally.

21 Q. So you think that Mr Steele's recollection about this is

22 mistaken?

23 A. I think it is a strange phraseology and it would, I

24 think, if used, probably raise a smile and some sort of

25 retort between a Chief Constable and a senior civil

 

 

191


1 servant.

2 Q. Do you have any recollection of officials at the NIO,

3 whether John Steele or anyone else, suggesting to you in

4 the context of these allegations about misbehaviour,

5 inappropriate behaviour, by some of your officers in

6 relation to lawyers, that this was the time for you to

7 get involved personally and try to do something

8 about it?

9 A. No, I do not have any such recollection. I have already

10 described what I did personally.

11 Q. Did you ever have any what I might call policy decision,

12 any high level discussion with officials at that sort of

13 level about the ways of dealing with these issues and

14 the steps that you, as a force, might be taking to

15 ensure that this became rather less of a problem in the

16 future?

17 A. I don't recall any such discussions, but I would have

18 certainly kept them updated at the regular meetings we

19 would have had, either formal or informal. I described

20 yesterday, for example, functions where visiting

21 delegations might be entertained. There would be lots

22 of opportunity to talk informally. I would certainly

23 know -- because we have already described the chain of

24 some of the correspondence we have been considering and

25 sometimes people would write to the Secretary of State

 

 

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1 rather than write to us directly.

2 So I think it was absolutely right and appropriate

3 that if, for example, we were deciding operationally to

4 introduce audio recording, that that's something I would

5 have kept him updated on, things like that.

6 Q. Yes. Well, with that as an example, of course there

7 were legislative consequences?

8 A. Of course.

9 Q. Where you would have to work closely with them in any

10 event, wouldn't you?

11 A. Yes, and I have described yesterday in terms of the

12 fundamental review that I was determined that that would

13 be very much a tripartite piece of work; tripartite

14 meaning the police authority -- and I see Pat Armstrong,

15 the former chairman of the police authority is mentioned

16 in the document -- the Secretary of State and myself.

17 Q. Yes. But in terms of the problem and the steps you were

18 taking, the CID training, whether audio recording, to

19 address it, these were all matters in which the civil

20 servants and indeed, perhaps more importantly, the

21 politicians at the NIO, had a close interest precisely

22 because all issues of policing were sensitive political

23 issues?

24 A. I think that's what I was trying to say. Exactly that,

25 yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Now, can I turn to the second threat assessment of 1998,

2 and that's the one I mentioned earlier in August. For

3 your reference, you begin to discuss it in your

4 statement at paragraph 127, which is RNI-806-184

5 (displayed). Do you see that?

6 A. Yes, I do, thank you.

7 Q. Thank you very much. Now, before we get into any of the

8 detail of this, can I ask you: do you have any

9 recollection of dealing with this matter yourself

10 at all?

11 A. I don't at that stage.

12 Q. No. But it looked from your statement very much as

13 though you could just about dredge up a memory of some

14 involvement at an earlier stage, the one we looked at

15 earlier, February to April 1998, but you only remembered

16 being involved this these issues once, ie not on the

17 second occasion, in August?

18 A. That's right.

19 Q. Now you have seen a little more material, does it help

20 you with the fact that you did have some involvement at

21 this later stage, in August 1998?

22 A. My involvement in relation to these matters -- and there

23 is a second document which was actually an anonymous

24 note to Mrs Nelson -- was that that was never brought to

25 my attention until after Mrs Nelson's death.

 

 

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1 Q. My understanding of your evidence on that was that it

2 wasn't until May or June 1999, I think, when after what

3 you had said in a police authority meeting was picked up

4 by, I think, the CAJ, that you became aware that there

5 was the handwritten threat note?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Thank you. So as I understand it, what you are saying

8 there is if you saw any of the relevant material at the

9 time, it wouldn't have included that?

10 A. I did not see it.

11 Q. No, thank you. Well, let's just look again at the

12 relevant chart because I think it makes things much

13 easier, as a reminder of the context. Can we have

14 the August 1998 threat assessment chart, please

15 (displayed). Thank you.

16 Here, the top box is the CAJ, comes into the NIO and

17 then to Command Secretariat. But from

18 Command Secretariat on this occasion, you will see, it

19 goes in two directions: to Special Branch, to

20 E Department, on the left, and once again to the South

21 Region on the right. And then, as before, back up

22 again, eventually to Command Secretariat, to the NIO

23 Police Division. And the letter that goes back, you see

24 in the second box from the top, is in fact from the

25 Private Secretary to the Security Minister, Adam Ingram.

 

 

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1 Now, what I would like to do is just to look at the

2 initiating letter, or one of them anyway. It is

3 RNI-101-346 (displayed). Simon Rogers again. This time

4 addressed to P136 at Command Secretariat, enclosing the

5 leaflet -- this is the "Man Without a Future" pamphlet

6 that you comment on in your statement -- sent to us by

7 the Irish side of the Secretariat, brought to their

8 attention by Rosemary Nelson herself:

9 "We understand she is extremely distressed and

10 seriously concerned about the threat to her personal

11 security posed by the claims in the leaflet and the

12 circulation of her address and telephone number."

13 Then a discussion:

14 "If this has not already happened, could steps

15 please be taken to assess the background to the leaflet

16 and any threat or increased threat to the security of

17 the individuals mentioned in it. I presume that if

18 there was a threat to the safety of the individuals, the

19 police will talk to them about it. In doing so, and

20 while we could not prejudge the outcome, Ms Nelson in

21 particular could be informed that if she needs financial

22 assistance with any required security measures, the NIO

23 does run a limited scheme and she could apply to this.

24 Obviously any application would be treated on its

25 merits."

 

 

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1 Doing what you can, now you have had a chance to

2 look at, as it were, the full documentation at this

3 time, which began with this letter, do you think that

4 the first time you were aware of the material, the

5 consideration that was going on, was when it all worked

6 its way back up the chain to Command Secretariat?

7 A. Yes, I think that's the case and I think this is

8 probably -- I referred earlier to a discussion with P136,

9 I think.

10 Q. Yes, you did.

11 A. About the Key Persons Protection Scheme.

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. I think it is in this context, with this coming back up

14 that it would have been important that, because the

15 letter was from the CAJ to the Security Minister, then

16 the reply going back from the Security Minister could

17 include, or should include these opportunities such as

18 application for the Key Persons Protection Scheme.

19 Q. Yes. Just to be absolutely clear, I think the diagram

20 is slightly simplified, the leaflet came in in two

21 different ways: first via the Secretariat -- I am afraid

22 it is not shown on this diagram -- and secondly via the

23 CAJ, just so that you have got that in your mind. But

24 it was the same leaflet. And the NIO letter we have

25 just been looking at at RNI-101-346 is the first in time

 

 

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1 and it is dated 6 August, and it says there -- do you

2 see? -- that the leaflet has been passed to them by the

3 Secretariat. Do you see?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. There was subsequently a letter raising very similar

6 points from the CAJ, and it is to that letter, you are

7 right, that the Security Minister made his response.

8 Does that help? I am afraid it is rather confusing.

9 A. That helps, and my recollection is that it actually came

10 from the CAJ, but you have described to me --

11 Q. It came twice?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Thank you very much. So far as that is concerned then,

14 the next question -- so that I don't ask you questions

15 to which the answer will just be, "I can't remember" --

16 when it came to you for the first time, in other words,

17 when the material had come back to Command Secretariat,

18 how was it brought to you for your attention by the

19 officers in the Command Secretariat; can you remember?

20 A. I am afraid I can't remember.

21 Q. Would it again have been a question of the relevant

22 officer briefing you as to what was said in the

23 underlying material?

24 A. I think so.

25 Q. It looks on this particular occasion as though one thing

 

 

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1 we can be reasonably sure about is that you were given

2 a copy of a draft response prepared by P136 before it

3 actually went out?

4 A. Could I see the draft?

5 Q. Yes, absolutely. Can we look at RNI-101-348

6 (displayed). The reason the Inquiry has suggested to

7 P136 and, I think, P157 that this was a draft which you

8 looked at is because, if you see at the top right-hand

9 corner the date, the 3rd, in fact we know that it was

10 about a week later, possibly slightly longer -- I think

11 possibly 11 September -- before the letter was issued.

12 And the Command Secretariat witnesses confirm that that

13 time elapsed while they were waiting for you effectively

14 to give your approval.

15 A. I certainly don't recall it.

16 Q. Now, again --

17 A. But that's not to say that it didn't happen at all.

18 Q. No. Just looking at the question that we discussed

19 together in relation to the previous threat assessment,

20 presumably you wouldn't have been surprised that they

21 wanted your approval, your okay, for the letter dealing

22 with Rosemary Nelson's safety yet again?

23 A. I think this is where the discussion between P136 and

24 myself took place about other options that she should

25 make sure the Northern Ireland Office offered to the

 

 

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1 people who were writing on Mrs Nelson's behalf, ie the

2 CAJ. I think it was in this process, so that while that

3 letter may have dealt with the specific aspect of the

4 leaflet -- what does that mean? -- that the overall

5 picture there would be more in the

6 Northern Ireland Office response to the CAJ.

7 Q. Right. Well, let's look together at that letter we have

8 on the screen. Can we put that on the right, please,

9 and put the Northern Ireland Office letter on the left

10 or either way, it doesn't really matter. But can we

11 have 346, please, RNI-101-346 (displayed). Thank you.

12 So you were being directed in terms of things that

13 might be done here, in the third paragraph of the letter

14 on the right, to the idea that she, Rosemary Nelson,

15 could be informed that the NIO ran the limited scheme,

16 the KPPS scheme, and that she could apply to the scheme?

17 Do you see that?

18 A. Yes, indeed.

19 Q. So it looks, doesn't it, as though the official at the

20 NIO regarded that as something that you or your officers

21 might do: might literally go to Rosemary Nelson and say,

22 "Look, if you are worried about the leaflet or your

23 security, there is this scheme. You can apply and your

24 application will be treated on its merits"?

25 A. That's certainly the import of the letter to

 

 

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1 witness P136.

2 Q. Exactly. Now, going back to the draft response, there

3 is no reference in that whatsoever to that KPPS

4 suggestion, is there?

5 A. There isn't a reference to that, but I certainly have

6 a recollection of those discussions with witness P136,

7 who would have been making, I think, virtually daily

8 visits to the NIO, had very frequent contact with them.

9 And it was certainly the case that my understanding was

10 that the NIO would be drawing all of this to the

11 attention of Mrs Nelson.

12 Q. So you didn't think it was a good idea actually to

13 respond to that part of their letter, which said that

14 Ms Nelson could be informed?

15 A. It is wrong to suggest that was a conscious decision on

16 my part. This would have been -- indeed, that letter

17 needn't even have been placed -- you know, if there was

18 a delay and if the witness thinks the delay was waiting

19 to get my approval, it would normally take the form of,

20 "This is the letter I'm intending to send. Is that

21 okay?" Something of that nature. Not necessarily all

22 the other background papers or even necessarily showing

23 me the letter; it could often take the phrase, "I'm

24 intending to write back outlining the following".

25 Q. Yes. The witnesses seemed pretty convinced in this case

 

 

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1 that they took the letter in for you specifically to

2 approve, no doubt --

3 A. And I --

4 Q. -- because of the prior history. And it must have been

5 obvious to you looking at that draft that it didn't

6 address specifically the question of KPPS, did it?

7 A. No, but I do have a specific recollection of

8 a discussion with that witness about KPPS.

9 Q. But not with the NIO?

10 A. Not with the NIO.

11 Q. You didn't take any step yourself to contact your

12 opposite number or the usual contact at the NIO, whether

13 it is Christine Collins or, perhaps by this stage,

14 Ken Lindsay or John Steele, to say that really is

15 a matter for you to take up and the minister might want

16 to deal with in his reply?

17 A. I didn't take those steps, but it was a matter for them.

18 Q. So as far as you were concerned, the whole question of

19 not only processing any KPPS application but informing

20 Rosemary Nelson that this was something she might want

21 to apply for was for the NIO to deal with?

22 A. It was something that I assumed they would do.

23 Q. Yes. So if you had spotted in your examination of the

24 draft that there wasn't any reference to the suggestion

25 they had made, you would have regarded that as

 

 

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1 unimportant because it was a matter for them?

2 A. No, no, I would not have regarded it as unimportant. In

3 my recollection -- my clear recollection is that having

4 discussed it with the witness P136, that it would be

5 drawn to the attention of the Northern Ireland Office

6 and that it would be acted upon.

7 Q. I think it is fair to say --

8 A. Sorry, I have no specific recollection of the various

9 grades of scheme, whether we discussed the limited

10 scheme or the full scheme. It would all come, I think,

11 under the broad title of KPPS.

12 Q. Yes. Let's look together at the document which shows

13 your approval of the letter, and that's at RNI-101-349

14 (displayed). The date on the left-hand side, you see

15 there actually under B157's cipher, is:

16 "10/9 approved by CC"?

17 A. Yes, I see that memo.

18 Q. As I remember it, his evidence at any rate was that he

19 discussed the draft prepared by P136 and he took the

20 file of correspondence on this in to you so you could

21 see it when you were considering the draft letter and

22 deciding whether or not to approve it. Does that sound

23 likely?

24 A. Certainly likely, certainly possible, but I can't say

25 whether it was in the form as we described earlier or

 

 

203


1 whether the documents were actually placed before me.

2 Q. Right. But you are, as I understand it, reasonably

3 confident that there was a discussion between you and

4 P136 at this time --

5 A. I wasn't exactly sure when that discussion -- I have

6 a recollection of a discussion with P136 and it seems to

7 be most logical it would be in or around this time.

8 Q. And, so I'm clear about this, you understood as a result

9 of that conversation that she would be raising these

10 matters about KPPS with officials at the NIO?

11 A. That's my recollection.

12 Q. Again, I may be wrong -- we will check this before

13 tomorrow morning -- but I don't recall P136 mentioning

14 a conversation with you along those lines or regarding

15 herself as charged with the responsibility to take the

16 matter to the NIO. Does that cast any doubt in your

17 mind on your recollection?

18 A. It certainly doesn't cast any doubt on my recollection

19 of the discussion, but I wouldn't say that

20 a responsibility was cast upon her. My recollection is

21 in the discussions that -- you have the formal

22 correspondence in writing.

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. But you have the people in my Command Secretariat

25 constantly on the phone, so there is constant discussion

 

 

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1 about the issues that are dealt with in writing as well.

2 Q. Yes.

3 A. My recollection is that, either verbally, that would

4 already have been raised and discussed. That's my

5 recollection of it.

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

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Could I just ask one question? You say

8 possibly between 3 and 10 September, the file may have

9 been shown to you or the contents of it discussed

10 with you.

11 A. I don't think that's the case, sir. I think, as I look

12 at the memos, witness B157, he writes:

13 "Approved by CC 10/9."

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

15 A. What I would take from that is that I must have been on

16 duty outside the office or whatever, and therefore, they

17 held the file until I get back. So it wouldn't have

18 been a case --

19 THE CHAIRMAN: When you get back, the likelihood is that you

20 were shown the file. They had the file with them when

21 they asked you whether you approved the letter?

22 A. That's a good likelihood, but very often the format

23 would be that the file would be on their knee, for

24 example, and they would be going through that together

25 with other items, other issues, they wanted to raise.

 

 

205


1 So sometimes they might have said, "Look, there is the

2 file, this is the correspondence, this is what we are

3 suggesting as a reply" or sometimes they may have talked

4 that through without actually -- I don't recall seeing

5 the detail of the correspondence, but I may well have

6 done.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Wouldn't you have been curious to ask what

8 prompted this threat assessment? This particular threat

9 assessment?

10 A. In the ultimate reply going back, it was clear to me

11 that what had prompted it was this leaflet being

12 distributed around Portadown.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Did you look at the leaflet?

14 A. I have a recollection of seeing that leaflet. What

15 I certainly did not see was a document that we will

16 undoubtedly discuss later.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: The threat later. But you have

18 a recollection of seeing a leaflet?

19 A. I have a recollection of seeing the leaflet, but I

20 can't, again, place --

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Did the contents surprise you?

22 A. Not in terms of the sort of -- I think counsel referred

23 earlier to sectarian attitudes that existed in the sort

24 of area we are describing around Lurgan and Portadown.

25 We are talking about, in some areas, a divided

 

 

206


1 community. So leaflets that would be placed on lamp

2 posts and things would not necessarily be particularly

3 unusual.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: But the particular contents of the leaflet

5 didn't surprise you?

6 A. I would need again --

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Perhaps overnight you would like to look at

8 the leaflet again.

9 A. Yes, sir.

10 Housekeeping

11 MR PHILLIPS: Before we finally conclude, could I just make

12 a housekeeping announcement, which is that there are

13 some additional documents, I think some of them recently

14 disclosed by the MIT, which we have copies of for

15 everybody, which we have already provided copies to

16 Sir Ronnie's legal representative because I intend to

17 refer to at least some of them tomorrow morning.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

19 MR PHILLIPS: So there are copies here if people would like

20 to come and collect them.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Quarter past ten tomorrow

22 morning. Thank you.

23 (4.48 pm)

24 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)

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