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Hearing: 19th January 2009, day 98

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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 Monday, 19 January 2009
commencing at 1.00 pm


Day 98

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Monday, 19 January 2009

2 (1.00 pm)

3 SIR RONNIE FLANAGAN

4 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Pleases sit down, Sir Ronnie.

6 Yes, Mr Phillips?

7 MR PHILLIPS: Could you give the Inquiry your full names,

8 please?

9 A. Ronald Flanagan.

10 Q. Thank you. I think it is right that you have made

11 a statement to the Inquiry and we can see it on the

12 screen at RNI-806-139?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. Do we see your signature at RNI-806-333?

15 A. That's my signature.

16 Q. And the date there of 18 April last year?

17 A. That's correct.

18 Q. Thank you. I would like, if I may, to start by asking

19 you some questions about your career within the RUC and

20 in particular to take you to the end of paragraph 1 of

21 your statement, which you will see at the top of

22 RNI-806-140 (displayed).

23 Having told us that you began your service in 1970,

24 you go on to explain the various postings and

25 promotions, taking you up to 1978, if you see there, we

 

 

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1 have at the top of the page on the screen when you were

2 transferred again, you say, to Castlereagh.

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. Thank you. Can I take it that for all this period from

5 1970, you were a uniformed police officer?

6 A. Apart from a short period in the CID in 1971, a very

7 short period in the immediate aftermath of the

8 introduction of internment in August of that year.

9 Q. Thank you. So far as your responsibilities when you

10 went to Castlereagh as a uniformed inspector in 1978,

11 what were they, please?

12 A. Those particular responsibilities related to supervision

13 at the holding centre to ensure that persons in custody

14 there were properly treated.

15 Q. So you were stationed at the Castlereagh holding centre?

16 A. That is correct.

17 Q. Thank you. So far as the next stage of your career is

18 concerned, you tell us in paragraph 2 that in 1982 you

19 became a detective inspector in Special Branch, and

20 initially you were based in North Belfast. Is that

21 right?

22 A. That is correct.

23 Q. Now, after some seven months there you were promoted to

24 chief inspector and went, in 1983, to take charge of the

25 HMSUs. Where were you based then, please?

 

 

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1 A. I was based at Headquarters in Belfast.

2 Q. Thank you. And what were your responsibilities in that

3 post?

4 A. My responsibilities were operational command of those

5 units who comprised the Headquarters Mobile Support

6 Unit.

7 Q. Thank you.

8 I think it is right, isn't it, that you spent some

9 four years in that post?

10 A. That is correct.

11 Q. Thank you. During that period, did you continue to be

12 a member of Special Branch?

13 A. In charge of the uniformed units that were part of

14 Special Branch at that time.

15 Q. Yes. And they were, as I understand it, giving support

16 to Special Branch in relation to operations. Is that

17 correct?

18 A. That is correct.

19 Q. Thank you. Now, I would like to ask you about the

20 review you mentioned there in this same paragraph, and

21 you touch on it again in paragraph 9 of your statement

22 at the top of RNI-806-143 (displayed). If we could look

23 at that together, please.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Now, what was the nature of the review you undertook in

 

 

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1 relation to HMSUs, please?

2 A. The nature of that review was to address the procedures

3 that should be in place in terms of command, control and

4 decision-making in relation to operations in which these

5 units would be involved.

6 Q. Was the nub of it that you recommended that

7 responsibility in relation to those matters should stay

8 with the uniformed, or should be with the uniformed ACC

9 rather than within Special Branch?

10 A. That is correct. That decision-making, even though

11 these were operations based in Special Branch

12 intelligence -- decision-making should reside outside

13 Special Branch.

14 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us in brief terms what your

15 reasoning was in making that recommendation?

16 A. It is most unusual, you could say, that in conventional

17 British policing terms Special Branch would have the

18 means of gathering intelligence, assessing intelligence

19 and then have dedicated units to engage in operational

20 police action in relation to that intelligence. And

21 I felt that as a very important check and balance, while

22 there were good reasons that that should be the case,

23 that ultimately the decision-making in respect of any

24 operations should reside outside Special Branch.

25 Q. With the ACC for the relevant region?

 

 

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1 A. That is correct.

2 Q. Was that recommendation accepted?

3 A. It was.

4 Q. Thank you. Going back to your career history -- and we

5 can go back together, please, to paragraph 2 at

6 RNI-806-140 (displayed) -- you tell us that in 1987 you

7 were promoted to the rank of superintendent. Did you at

8 that point remain within Special Branch?

9 A. I was transferred to Armagh but within Special Branch.

10 Q. Yes. And there, as I understand it, you took over

11 responsibility for the TCG based in Armagh?

12 A. That is correct.

13 Q. And what were your responsibilities in that rank,

14 please?

15 A. The responsibilities in that rank were to oversee and

16 advise the regional uniformed assistant chief constable

17 in relation to operations which would be based on

18 sensitive intelligence.

19 Q. Yes. Can we look together, please, at paragraph 8 of

20 your statement where you return to the question of TCG.

21 That's at RNI-806-142 at the bottom of the page

22 (displayed). Here, you tell us in the fourth line what

23 the responsibilities of TCG were: as I understand it

24 then, what you were doing in Armagh was to be in command

25 of that particular TCG unit?

 

 

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1 A. Of that particular unit, that is correct.

2 Q. Thank you. Going back to your career, later the same

3 year you tell us -- this is paragraph 2 again,

4 RNI-086-140 (displayed) -- that it was in the summer of

5 1987 that you went to the FBI Academy, presumably to

6 undertake a course there. Is that right?

7 A. That is correct. I was a British representative at the

8 FBI National Academy course.

9 Q. Thank you. Then, when you returned to Northern Ireland,

10 you tell us you were transferred to Headquarters again

11 and you continued to be in Special Branch?

12 A. That is correct.

13 Q. Thank you. And what were your responsibilities in that

14 role, please?

15 A. My responsibilities at that time were to act in charge

16 of a sub-department, E4, which comprised surveillance

17 teams and the uniformed support units to which

18 I referred earlier.

19 Q. Yes. Thank you very much. Now, as I understand it,

20 during that period you did your intermediate command

21 course at the college, the police college, in England,

22 and some two years later, having advanced to chief

23 superintendent, you in fact joined the staff of the

24 police college. Is that right?

25 A. That is correct.

 

 

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1 Q. And remained there, presumably based in England, for

2 some two and a half years?

3 A. That is correct. I think in my original statement there

4 may be an error in the date. I referred to returning

5 from that posting in late 1991. In fact, that should be

6 late 1992.

7 Q. Thank you very much. So you remained at the staff

8 college until the end of 1992?

9 A. That is correct.

10 Q. Thank you. And as I understand it -- we are now on

11 paragraph 4 of your statement at RNI-806-140

12 (displayed) -- in late 1992, you were promoted again,

13 this time to assistant chief constable and had two

14 responsibilities for short periods of time: the first in

15 relation to the Operations Department and then in charge

16 of Complaints and Discipline?

17 A. That is correct. These were short periods comprising

18 weeks in each case, while the Chief Constable of the day

19 was contemplating a reshuffle at

20 assistant chief constable level.

21 Q. So presumably the advantage, so far as you were

22 concerned, is it gave you experience, albeit limited, of

23 other parts of the organisation?

24 A. It did to some degree, that's correct.

25 Q. Then you tell us you went to become uniformed ACC, this

 

 

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1 time responsible for the urban region; in other words,

2 for Greater Belfast?

3 A. That is correct.

4 Q. Thank you. Now, the next move, if I can put it that

5 way, took you to become the Head of Special Branch in

6 the aftermath of the Chinook helicopter disaster in the

7 summer of 1994?

8 A. That is correct. I think the first -- the disaster took

9 place in the summer. I think my appointment was

10 1 September that year.

11 Q. Thank you. Now, in relation to your time as the Head of

12 E Department of Special Branch, you tell us at the top

13 of the next page, RNI-806-141 (displayed), that you

14 spent six months, I think, only in that role. Is that

15 right?

16 A. I think five months, something of that order.

17 Q. Right. Thank you very much. And can you tell us in

18 your own words your responsibilities in that post?

19 A. Obviously there had been quite a degree of devastation

20 as a result of the deaths and the loss incurred in the

21 Chinook disaster, so the main purpose was to try to

22 rebuild the morale of the department, to make new

23 appointments, to fill the vacancies left by those who

24 perished in the disaster.

25 Q. Can I ask you particularly on the question of morale,

 

 

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1 which you talk about later in your statement, in

2 paragraph 11, RNI-806-143 (displayed), how did you go

3 about rebuilding morale within E Department?

4 A. By a whole range of visits right across the Province to

5 all stations to talk personally to the officers who were

6 deployed in that department, to remind them that their

7 deceased colleagues had actually left a very good legacy

8 of systems and structures. So that while of course we

9 all very much mourned their loss, the department had to

10 carry on in its very important work of saving lives and

11 that they had to play a very important part in that

12 process.

13 Q. Now, so far as your responsibilities as Head of

14 Special Branch are concerned, you touch on this later in

15 paragraph 13 of your statement, RNI-806-144 (displayed).

16 And there you say that one of your roles as Head of

17 Special Branch was to brief the authorities on security

18 issues. Can you just help me with that? When you say

19 "briefed the authorities", to whom do you refer?

20 A. Well, in terms of the authorities, that is a phrase I

21 would use to encompass, for example, the Chief Constable

22 and other senior officers.

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. The Secretary of State.

25 Q. Yes.

 

 

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1 A. And, of course, this was at a time when there was very

2 good intelligence indicating that paramilitary groups

3 were moving towards an announcement -- a public

4 announcement of cessation of their military operations.

5 So in terms of those briefings of the threats, I say

6 in my statement that think any threat of course

7 comprises two main elements: that's the will to engage

8 in violence and the ability to engage in violence. And

9 a large part of my briefing would be that the important

10 aspect of any threat was the will of people to continue

11 to engage in violence rather than necessarily their

12 capacity or ability.

13 Q. Yes. Just to put this in context, the time you took up

14 your post as Head of Special Branch came almost exactly

15 at the moment, didn't it, when the first PIRA ceasefire

16 was declared, at the end of August 1994?

17 A. Almost exactly at that time and then that was followed,

18 I think, in October of that year by an announcement by

19 the so-called Loyalist paramilitary organisations.

20 Q. Your time in charge of E Department came at a moment

21 where there at least appeared to be the possibility of a

22 change in the security situation within

23 Northern Ireland?

24 A. That is correct, a momentous change.

25 Q. Indeed. Now, when you were talking about the

 

 

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1 individuals whom you would have briefed in your role as

2 Head of Special Branch, you of course mentioned the

3 Chief Constable. At that stage, I think,

4 Sir Hugh Annesley. Is that right?

5 A. That is correct.

6 Q. How often would you have briefed him in your role as

7 Head of E Department?

8 A. At that time, bearing in mind the movement towards an

9 imminent cessation of military operations, certainly on

10 a daily basis.

11 Q. And would that have been in a one-to-one meeting?

12 A. That would have been in a one-to-one meeting, but also

13 in weekly operational meetings that he would have

14 chaired. Both.

15 Q. In terms of the operational meetings, were they meetings

16 with other senior officers within the RUC?

17 A. That is correct.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. What was known as the chief officers' group, those of

20 assistant chief constable rank and civilian equivalents.

21 Q. Thank you. And presumably in addition to the daily

22 briefing, as and when events demanded it, you might need

23 to go and update him or give him further information

24 even more regularly than that?

25 A. Absolutely.

 

 

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1 Q. Thank you. At that time, in the mid 1990s, was written

2 intelligence reporting provided to the Chief Constable

3 by your department?

4 A. I don't think on a routine basis, but as and when

5 appropriate.

6 Q. Thank you. Now, talking about your time at

7 Special Branch, obviously we began by talking together

8 about the impact of the Chinook helicopter disaster,

9 about which a number of other witnesses have given

10 evidence. The impression one gets is that a number of

11 officers had to be drafted in to Special Branch from

12 outside at this point in order to fill the gaps that had

13 been left. Is that right?

14 A. That is correct.

15 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as senior appointments to

16 Special Branch more generally is concerned, in other

17 words, not in these very particular circumstances but

18 more generally, was it a regular thing for officers to

19 come in from other parts of the RUC to senior ranks

20 within Special Branch at this time?

21 A. It was. Both, for example, from CID and indeed from

22 uniformed regions.

23 Q. What was the rationale behind that?

24 A. The rationale obviously would have been to keep a flow

25 of fresh ideas, fresh thinking, and to ensure that

 

 

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1 people had the opportunity to serve and get experience

2 in different departments.

3 Q. As you yourself had, as you have explained to us?

4 A. Indeed.

5 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just turn to paragraph 7 and 8 of

6 your statement, RNI-806-142 (displayed), where you give

7 us some further detail about the structure of

8 Special Branch, as it was at that time?

9 As I am sure you know, the Inquiry has heard a good

10 deal of evidence about this topic. What I would like to

11 do with you is to pick up some of the specific themes

12 that you raise in these paragraphs.

13 Now, as I understand it, one of the points you are

14 making here is that the regional Special Branch

15 commanders -- I think they were chief superintendents,

16 weren't they?

17 A. They were of the rank of chief superintendent. I'm not

18 exactly sure of the date, but at this time or in or

19 around this time, there was a restructuring in British

20 policing and for a period, the rank of chief

21 superintendent actually disappeared. But I think for

22 simplicity if we refer to those regional heads of

23 Special Branch and, indeed, regional heads of CID, as

24 having chief superintendent rank, that would be

25 accurate.

 

 

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1 Q. Thank you very much. But as I understand it, the point

2 you are making here is that there was close cooperation

3 in the regions between -- let's call him the Chief

4 Superintendent in charge of Special Branch in the

5 region, and the ACC who was in overall command of the

6 region, who would be a uniformed officer. Is that the

7 point?

8 A. That is correct.

9 Q. Thank you. And the Inquiry has heard -- and you

10 yourself will no doubt be well aware of this -- in

11 relation to Special Branch, there is a good deal of

12 published comment and evidence given to the effect that

13 there was a very particular culture and ethos within the

14 Special Branch; in other words, within that part of the

15 RUC. That's something you are at least aware of,

16 I presume?

17 A. Certainly when I was appointed as

18 Assistant Chief Constable, one of the things I did was

19 hold a public forum to invite community groups, to

20 address them as the newly appointed

21 Assistant Chief Constable in charge of Special Branch

22 and to outline the role of Special Branch, what it did

23 and how it went about its businesses. And it was for

24 the express purpose of breaking down any such ethos as

25 you have described.

 

 

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1 Q. But that suggests that you were at least aware of it and

2 wanted to do something to correct any misinformation?

3 A. I'm certainly aware of that perception.

4 Q. Yes, and I think you say somewhere in your statement

5 that in your role as Head of Special Branch, you, for

6 example, talked to the press?

7 A. That's correct, and I think it is fair to say that

8 during my period as the uniformed

9 Assistant Chief Constable in charge of the Greater

10 Belfast area, there was a lot of media coverage. So at

11 the time of my appointment there was similarly a lot of

12 media coverage of that, that I was to take up this new

13 appointment, which had been, I think, unheard-of in days

14 previously.

15 Q. So you were bringing something new to the force, were

16 you, in the sense of your greater openness to engage

17 with the media, for example?

18 A. I wouldn't want to make that claim, but it was certainly

19 my determination to be as open and transparent as

20 I possibly could.

21 Q. Now, just returning to the question of Special Branch

22 and the reasoning you have given for holding your public

23 forum, you must have been aware, presumably, of

24 a feeling, at least amongst some officers outside

25 Special Branch, within the RUC but outside

 

 

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1 Special Branch, that Special Branch had rather too much

2 power and control within the force as a whole?

3 A. I have described my appointment at chief inspector

4 level, and at that time I went right around the Province

5 giving presentations to all subdivisional commanders,

6 i.e. uniformed superintendents, of what these specialised

7 departments could do in terms of capability and capacity

8 and how they should bid for their expertise, not only to

9 be deployed, in other words, in operations based in

10 Special Branch intelligence, but to address all sorts of

11 crime problems that subdivisional commanders might be

12 experiencing.

13 So certainly throughout my time, if there were any

14 such perceptions or any such feelings, I saw it as my

15 responsibility to do all in my power to break down such

16 feelings.

17 Q. So that suggests, at the very least, that you were aware

18 that some had perceptions of that kind and you were

19 doing what you could to correct them?

20 A. Yes, I have described -- the decision was taken, for

21 example, that those uniformed units to which I have

22 referred should for the time being actually reside

23 within Special Branch because of abnormal circumstances

24 that we were experiencing. That is different from what

25 would have applied, for example, in policing in other

 

 

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1 parts of the United Kingdom, and therefore I wanted to

2 make sure, even if the emergency with which we were

3 dealing made that appropriate, that everyone in the

4 organisation realised why it was for the time being

5 appropriate but that these units had expertise upon

6 which they could call if they had a series of burglaries

7 in their area, et cetera, et cetera.

8 Q. Now, can I ask you about a specific point about which

9 there has been discussion in the evidence, which is the

10 suggestion made by some that Special Branch was not as

11 ready to share its intelligence with CID colleagues as

12 it might have been. Was that something, a complaint,

13 that you were aware of?

14 A. I think that was certainly an area for potential

15 friction from time to time, and Special Branch had an

16 obligation, indeed a legal obligation, to protect the

17 sources of their intelligence, to make sure that they

18 were not exposed to physical danger and, indeed, that

19 would from time to time give rise to some friction

20 between, for example, CID and Special Branch.

21 Q. Because --

22 A. I wouldn't want to overstate that as a widespread

23 problem.

24 Q. No, but it is right, isn't it, that some CID officers,

25 some investigators, if I can put it that way, sometimes

 

 

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1 felt that they weren't getting perhaps the flow of

2 information, the support that they had hoped for from

3 their Special Branch colleagues?

4 A. I think that could have applied from time to time but

5 sometimes, quite frankly, the intelligence that they

6 might have hoped for simply didn't exist. So sometimes

7 that might have been a complete misperception.

8 Q. But it was one of which you were aware at the time?

9 A. Yes. But, again, I would want to stress that I would

10 not want it overstated as a widespread problem in the

11 organisation.

12 Q. No. Can I just look with you at the paragraphs we have

13 on the screen again and the point you are making there,

14 which we touched on earlier, about the need for close

15 cooperation between the regional Special Branch

16 commander and the regional ACC, the uniformed commander

17 of the region itself?

18 Now, with that in mind, can I ask you to look at

19 paragraph 10 of your statement, that's RNI-806-143

20 (displayed)? Because here, you move, as it were, from

21 the general to the particular and you talk there about

22 briefing the regional ACC on Special Branch operations.

23 Do you see the first sentence?

24 A. Yes, I do.

25 Q. Thank you. And you continue to the last sentence of

 

 

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1 this paragraph, where you say:

2 "In all my time as a regional ACC ..."

3 And the region you have told us about was the

4 Belfast Region:

5 "... I made sure that I was involved in operational

6 decisions when SB was planning an operation in Belfast,

7 and this is how it should have worked Province-wide."

8 Can I just ask you this question: You say this is

9 how it should have worked Province-wide. How confident

10 are you that it did in fact work in that way,

11 Province-wide?

12 A. Certainly I can't speak for the other territorial

13 assistant chief constables in my time as territorial

14 assistant chief constable from Belfast, but certainly

15 speaking from my time at the tasking and coordinating

16 group in Armagh, the regional assistant chief constable

17 was constantly there when operations were being managed,

18 and indeed when operations were being planned.

19 Q. That would have been the South Region ACC in that case?

20 A. That is correct.

21 Q. Thank you. What I wanted to ask you about is this: do

22 you think it is at least possible that your own approach

23 to your work, indeed your own experience as

24 a Special Branch officer, made you a rather special case

25 in terms of close cooperation with the regional

 

 

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1 Special Branch commander?

2 A. I certainly wouldn't want to make a claim that I was any

3 sort of special case.

4 Q. Can I ask you this: would it be fair to say that you in

5 your role as a regional ACC made sure that you were

6 involved in decision-making of this kind?

7 A. I did.

8 Q. So would this also be fair to say: that, as often

9 happens with large institutions, much in practice

10 depends on the relevant personalities rather than the

11 structures in place?

12 A. Different people have different styles.

13 Q. Yes. So your style would have been such that you would

14 have ensured your involvement in decision-making of this

15 kind. Is that fair?

16 A. That is correct.

17 Q. Thank you. Now, moving on in your career, in

18 paragraph 5, RNI-806-141 (displayed), you tell us that

19 in February 1995, top of the page there, do you see, you

20 were appointed a temporary Deputy Chief Constable, and

21 just over a year after that you became a permanent

22 Deputy Chief Constable and within the same year you

23 became Chief Constable?

24 A. That is correct.

25 Q. Thank you. What I would like to do with you, please, is

 

 

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1 to get your help with your RUC organisation chart. Can

2 we have that on the screen, please? I think it is

3 slide 2, revised (displayed).

4 Now, so that everybody else is aware, it has been

5 revised by including not one but two Deputy

6 Chief Constables, as you see, on the screen there. And

7 the first thing I wanted to ask you is whether that, as

8 far as you are concerned, is accurate or at least

9 reasonably accurate?

10 A. That would be accurate for the period that the Inquiry

11 is interested in.

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. So that, for example, when I was appointed in

14 a temporary capacity in, I think, March 1995 as Deputy

15 Chief Constable, it would have been to fulfil the

16 support function so that one deputy chief constable

17 headed all of the support functions of the organisation

18 and the other deputy chief constable headed the

19 operational functions of the organisation.

20 Now, my predecessor as Chief Constable,

21 Sir Hugh Annesley, inherited a structure that had three

22 senior assistant chief constables, a rank that is not

23 shown there and which he abolished and, in so

24 abolishing, it created a second deputy chief constable.

25 In due course, when I was Chief Constable, I reduced

 

 

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1 back to one deputy chief constable. But the chart you

2 are showing me now is an accurate reflection of the

3 structure in terms of the period that the Inquiry is

4 interested in.

5 Q. Thank you very much. I'm very relieved to hear that.

6 We have had a lot of evidence about it and had to make

7 a number of corrections. Thank you very much.

8 So to be clear for everybody who is looking at the

9 screen, the support role in the rank of deputy

10 chief constable is the one on the right, and the

11 operational is the one on the left. Is that right?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, keeping the chart on the screen, if we

14 may, can I just ask you in your own words, please, and

15 as briefly as you can, to outline what you saw as your

16 principal responsibilities as Chief Constable?

17 A. As Chief Constable?

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. Well, obviously I remember being interviewed at the time

20 about what were the major problems in my appointment

21 and, of course, 1996 was a summer of great unrest as

22 a result of the whole Drumcree situation and I remember

23 saying that one of my most important tasks was to

24 attempt to rebuild relationships with the organisation

25 and particularly with the Nationalist community who

 

 

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1 undoubtedly felt very aggrieved that year, 1996, because

2 an original decision not to allow the Drumcree march to

3 return via the Garvaghy Road had been in fact reversed.

4 And that caused tremendous upheaval in relationships

5 between the organisation and particularly the

6 Nationalist community.

7 So there were a range of duties quite apart from the

8 day-to-day managing of quite a massive organisation, in

9 terms of looking after both operations and support, in

10 terms of deciding on its appropriate structure. But, of

11 course, in addition to that, the specific responsibility

12 given to me on appointment, originally in a temporary

13 capacity as deputy chief constable support, was to

14 conduct what we described as a fundamental review of

15 policing.

16 If, indeed, we were to experience a totally changed

17 environment with hopefully increasingly reduced threats

18 of terrorism and serious public disorder, we realised

19 internally that that would make appropriate massive

20 changes in how we went about our business as an

21 organisation.

22 So conducting that review as a deputy

23 chief constable, a temporary deputy chief constable,

24 took a lot of time. In fact, when the review was

25 completed, with a series of more than

 

 

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1 100 recommendations, each one representing actually

2 a major programme of change, we mapped those

3 recommendations against the number of possible security

4 scenarios. Scenario 1 was the outright violence we had

5 faced for 30 years. Scenario 2 would be a period of

6 reducing terrorist risk and serious disorder risk, but

7 nonetheless terrorist organisations continuing to exist,

8 continuing to have access to explosives, firearms and

9 munitions; in other words, continuing to have the

10 ability to engage in violence, if not the will. And

11 scenario 3 would be the position we are thankfully in in

12 Northern Ireland today: much political progress,

13 terrorist organisations withering on the vine without

14 maintaining either the ability or the will to engage in

15 violence.

16 So these recommendations were mapped against those

17 three very broad scenarios. In fact, before we either

18 published the recommendations or moved upon them, the

19 ceasefire broke down in February 1996 and there was

20 a period of continuing violence and renewed violence to

21 something like end of July the following year, 1997.

22 And, of course, when the Patten Commission came out of

23 the Good Friday Agreement, which was signed on 10 April,

24 I think, 1998, we presented this review to the Patten

25 Commission and I think it is true to say that

 

 

25

 

1 Chris Patten is on record as saying that something like

2 80 per cent of his recommendations come from that

3 internal review.

4 So conducting the review and then seeing through

5 quite massive implementation of change, ultimately to

6 bring the RUC as an organisation through a process so to

7 become the Police Service of Northern Ireland largely

8 took up my time and energy as Chief Constable.

9 Q. Thank you very much. You have very helpfully

10 anticipated a lot of my questions coming up. Can I just

11 pick up one or two points from what you very clearly set

12 out for us.

13 The first question I wanted to ask you is this: the

14 fundamental review, when did work begin on that? Am

15 I right in thinking it might have been as early as 1994?

16 A. My recollection is that it started, certainly in

17 earnest, on my appointment as deputy, temporary deputy,

18 in early 1995, but certainly the thinking that if we

19 were truly to be in a new environment, that it would

20 seriously affect how we should go about our business

21 because -- if I could refer to the period in which

22 I joined without prolonging it.

23 People have sometimes short memories, but the Royal

24 Ulster Constabulary that I joined in May 1970 had been

25 completely transformed as a result of what the

 

 

26

 

1 Government of the day commissioned, a review by

2 Lord Hunt. The organisation was completely disarmed and

3 all stations, for example, were to be completely open to

4 public access. And the thinking was that the Army

5 should secure a safe area, i.e. Northern Ireland, and

6 within that safe area, policing should be completely and

7 utterly civilian. That is the Royal Ulster Constabulary

8 that I joined and we thought we were at the dawn of

9 a new era.

10 Sadly, it proved not to be the case because

11 unprotected police stations soon began to be the targets

12 of terrorist bombs, unprotected police officers, soon

13 began to be the target of terrorist attacks, and the

14 organisation had to progressively become more armed than

15 it had been. The stations had to be fortified, there

16 were joint patrolling in the dangerous areas with

17 military colleagues. There were armoured vehicles.

18 There was a need to wear flak jackets. There was an

19 agreed need for police officers to ensure their own

20 personality security on and off duty. So the transition

21 I'm talking about was, amongst other things, to change

22 the culture of the organisation, to remove all these

23 unwarranted barriers not of our making, but certainly of

24 great necessity, which we saw as barriers between us and

25 the communities we wanted to serve.

 

 

27

 

1 Q. And so far as the fundamental review is concerned, can

2 I take it that that was established at the instigation

3 of the then Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Annesley?

4 A. That is correct.

5 Q. And it was, as you have been describing for us, an

6 attempt to map out the possible way forward if, as

7 seemed at least possible, normal life and, as a result,

8 normal policing became the order of the day in

9 Northern Ireland?

10 A. That is correct. It looked at so many things. It

11 looked at recruitment, it looked at the structure of the

12 organisation, it looked at questions such as I have

13 described earlier, if it was appropriate in the course

14 of an ongoing serious emergency, to have, for example,

15 uniformed units within Special Branch in this new

16 environment, should there be restructuring, to be much

17 more conventional in terms of the model of policing that

18 we always would have wanted to follow.

19 Q. Yes. And in terms of the recommendations, when were

20 they finalised, please? Can you remember?

21 A. They would have been finalised, I think, in or around --

22 we were still working on it at the time of the breakdown

23 of the IRA cessation, which was, I think, February 1996,

24 with the attack on Canary Wharf.

25 Q. Yes.

 

 

28

 

1 A. So certainly on into 1996, 1997 it was a very long piece

2 of work. I was determined that it would be a tripartite

3 piece of work, that it would involve the police

4 authority, that it would involve the

5 Northern Ireland Office. I was determined that everyone

6 would be consulted. I was determined to avoid what

7 might be described as statistically significant sampling

8 and I wanted the views of everybody in the organisation.

9 It meant night after night holding open forum

10 meetings around the organisation, asking their views of

11 what they felt should be put in place to help them to do

12 their jobs more effectively, more efficiently. It

13 involved the creation of a hotline because in all of

14 these things, rumours abound and while there weren't

15 answers to all the rumours, I wanted to be as open to

16 everyone in the organisation and say, "Look, if you ask

17 me questions, first of all -- I'm encouraging questions

18 from all levels, part-time reserve constables to

19 assistant chief constables and civilian equivalents, to

20 encourage their questioning of me but, frankly, telling

21 them that if I did not have answers I would tell them

22 that, but ask them for their help in constructing

23 answers which, for me, very importantly, would be to

24 bring about improvements in policing. And I would like

25 to make the important distinction between the police and

 

 

29

 

1 policing because on a number of times and, indeed, as

2 politicians were sitting down the night before they

3 signed the agreement on Good Friday 1998, I was visited

4 by a whole rang of politicians because policing was the

5 one issue upon which they could not agree and, of

6 course, they decided to created what became the Patten

7 Commission, and there was great discussion about the

8 terms of reference.

9 I simply wanted to indicate that while of course

10 restructuring of the police and repositioning of the

11 police, a new culture for police officers who hopefully

12 were going to be increasingly free of the threat of

13 violence and disorder, was very important, that the

14 review should actually be about policing and not the

15 police alone, that it should involve relationships with

16 all those to whom the police deliver a service and with

17 all those whom the police work in partnerships to

18 deliver that service.

19 Q. Can I just ask you about one of the points you have just

20 made, which was your concern to ensure that the whole of

21 the force had an opportunity to know about and, indeed,

22 to comment about the proposals you were putting forward.

23 Was that at least in part because recommendations of

24 the fundamental review were themselves going to lead to

25 huge changes within the force?

 

 

30

 

1 A. That's right, and I wanted people to feel that they had

2 an opportunity throughout to contribute, to feel that

3 they owned the change and, for example, we created

4 a weekly bulletin which we called "The Bottom Line".

5 Apart from going out night after night and visiting

6 stations, we created weekly videos of updates and we had

7 this permanent 24-hour hotline that people could ring in

8 and ask because, for example, the whole position of the

9 body of full-time reserve constables, colleagues who had

10 originally been recruited specifically to deal with

11 security issues, but recruited on recurring, three-year

12 contracts, they would have had a great concern, for

13 example, that they didn't have a job in the future.

14 That's only one small element of the review.

15 Q. But it suggests a concern on your part that you needed,

16 so far as you could, to take the organisation with you?

17 A. Absolutely.

18 Q. Ensure that they were informed about it and at least

19 understood the reasons why the proposals were being put

20 forward?

21 A. Absolutely.

22 Q. Presumably you recognised in that organisation, as in

23 any organisation, that some would be in favour of the

24 changes, or some of them, and others would be less keen?

25 A. And, quite frankly, not only the full-time reserve. But

 

 

31

 

1 it was clear that if we were going to be in this new,

2 much safer environment, the organisation would be

3 significantly smaller. So there would be a fear on the

4 part of people, "Will I have a job in the future". And

5 many steps were put in place to prepare people for new

6 working lives outside of the police service. It was

7 a very wide-ranging piece of work.

8 Q. Just to complete what I wanted to ask you about this for

9 the moment, going back to one of the comments you made

10 earlier, the position, as I understand it, is that when

11 the Patten Commission produced its recommendations in, I

12 think, September 1999, you are saying that about

13 80 per cent of those were in fact proposals or

14 recommendations from your fundamental review?

15 A. Not a claim I would make, but I think it is a matter of

16 public record that Chris Patten himself said something

17 of that order.

18 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you about the organisation

19 that you took over, as it were, as Chief Constable in

20 late 1996. In terms of its overall size, am I right in

21 thinking that that would be in the order of 15,000

22 individuals, including the staff and reservists?

23 A. Something of that order.

24 Q. Thank you. Presumably with a very substantial

25 organisation such as that, you had to work through the

 

 

32

 

1 management structure and in particular through your

2 senior officers?

3 A. Yes, that's correct.

4 Q. And we see the various ACCs set out there on our chart

5 on the screen, and presumably you relied on them to

6 deliver your policies, your objectives, in the various

7 parts of the organisation for which they were

8 responsible?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Thank you. Now, in terms of keeping yourself informed

11 as Chief Constable as to what was going on across this

12 very substantial organisation, who did you have

13 day-to-day contact with in terms of your various senior

14 officers?

15 A. I would have had day-to-day contact -- certainly I had

16 a formal weekly meeting with all those officers at

17 assistant chief constable level or civilian equivalent

18 who are shown on the chart. But much more frequent

19 contact with each of them, week to week, as well.

20 Q. Thank you. Just dealing with those two points in turn,

21 we have heard about an operational meeting or an

22 operational senior officers' meeting which took place

23 weekly. Is that what you are referring to?

24 A. Yes, indeed.

25 Q. Would that involve the ACCs, as it were, on the

 

 

33

 

1 left-hand side of our screen now?

2 A. Yes. What I wanted to do -- I expanded it beyond those

3 officers who headed these specific operational units

4 because I wanted to make it clear that everyone had

5 a contribution to make, not only in their, for the time

6 being, area of responsibility or area of expertise. So

7 in one sense it was an expanded meeting in terms of

8 numbers, but I personally thought in terms of managing

9 meetings that that was a price worth paying for

10 cooperacy.

11 Q. Yes. So the result of that presumably was that others

12 at the same rank, at ACC rank, for example, were

13 themselves informed by what was being said by their

14 colleagues as to what was going on in the other bits of

15 the organisation?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. Was there a regular -- perhaps the word "agenda" isn't

18 right, but a list of points that were regularly covered

19 in those weekly meetings?

20 A. Yes. In turn, each would have given an update in terms

21 of what had happened within their area of responsibility

22 over the past week, what was ongoing, what was planned

23 for the coming week. And in terms of cooperacy, for

24 example, if there was a major parade or a major public

25 order issue, it would involve very much all the

 

 

34

 

1 colleagues on the support side as well in terms of

2 making sure there was catering and transport, et cetera,

3 et cetera. It would involve the legal adviser to make

4 sure that in the planning of the operations, we were

5 operating fully within the law, et cetera, et cetera.

6 So they would all be involved.

7 Q. Can I take it that if events demanded it, there would be

8 still more regular meetings or informal gatherings of

9 the relevant senior officers and yourself?

10 A. That's right.

11 Q. Yes. Now, in terms of other formal meetings of, as it

12 were, the management level, if I can put it that way,

13 the senior management level, we have heard evidence

14 about something called the chief officers' group. What

15 was that, please?

16 A. The chief officers' group I would describe as the

17 gathering of all those chief officers. In British

18 policing there is the term "ACPO", the Association of

19 Chief Police Officers, and chief police officers are

20 generally referred to as those of ACC rank and above or

21 the civilian equivalent.

22 Q. Are you saying that that was the meeting that took place

23 every week?

24 A. Yes, I chaired that every week.

25 Q. Because what we have heard is that there were two levels

 

 

35

 

1 of meetings, the chief officers' group meeting monthly

2 and then the rather smaller operational officers' group

3 that met every week. Does that accord with your

4 recollection?

5 A. There was originally the chief officers' group. That

6 was the original structure. I have referred to me

7 changing the structure.

8 Q. To make for more regular meetings?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Thank you. You also say in paragraph 19, if we could

11 have that on the screen, please, RNI-806-147

12 (displayed), that in the context in fact of your

13 discussion of external meetings -- you see there is

14 a reference to the SPM -- you say:

15 "I would also be briefed following on from regional,

16 divisional and subdivisional meetings."

17 So is it right then that briefings would come back

18 to you after all of the various levels of meetings?

19 A. Yes, the regions, of which there were three, were each

20 headed by the Assistant Chief Constable. So they would

21 hold their regional action committees, the RACs, then

22 before the restructuring to which I have referred in the

23 review, the structure was such as that there were then

24 territorial divisions and, within that, subdivisions.

25 The divisions were headed by chief superintendents and

 

 

36

 

1 the subdivisions were headed by superintendents. And

2 each had their own what were called action committees.

3 So you had the RAC, the regional action committee, the

4 DAC, the divisional action committee and the Sub-DAC, the

5 subdivisional action committee. So there would be

6 a two-way flow from the bigger group.

7 For example, a policy might emanate that would have

8 to be cascaded through the different groups and, indeed,

9 information would be passed up from that network of

10 meetings.

11 Q. Just to be clear about that, we have heard that at these

12 various meetings, there would also be representatives,

13 for example, from the Army. Is that right?

14 A. In earlier years there was a determination -- if you

15 wind the clock right back, the Army brigade areas were

16 not coterminous with the police territorial regions. So

17 many years before my time there was a determination to

18 bring that about, that they would be coterminous and in

19 terms of rank, so that an assistant chief constable

20 would relate to a brigade in charge of the same

21 geographic area. And in terms of corresponding ranks,

22 they would attend the divisional action committee

23 meetings and the subdivisional action committee

24 meetings, for example; a superintendent equating to

25 a major, et cetera, et cetera.

 

 

37

 

1 Q. In terms of information coming back to you from these

2 various levels of meeting, how would that actually

3 happen? Would you receive the minutes or would you

4 receive --

5 A. No, certainly not routinely, but if there was something

6 specific, it would be brought to my attention through

7 the regional ACC concerned. Or otherwise it would be

8 fed into those meetings at a higher level, which I have

9 described on the weekly basis.

10 Q. Because it would have been simply unmanageable, wouldn't

11 it, for you to try and keep on top of all the various

12 minutes of these layers of meetings?

13 A. Absolutely impossible.

14 Q. So far as the way you conducted yourself in the role of

15 Chief Constable, the Inquiry has heard evidence now,

16 some evidence from relatively senior officers, which

17 suggests that you were regarded as a very hands-on chief

18 officer. Is that a description that you recognise?

19 A. I wouldn't dispute that.

20 Q. Thank you. Would it be fair to say that in the course

21 of your work you would go out and find out information,

22 go and talk to your officers to find out what they were

23 doing, what was going on, rather than, as it were,

24 waiting for formal reports to come back to you?

25 A. I have already referred to the massive change that the

 

 

38

 

1 organisation was going through and I saw it that it was

2 important for the Chief Constable to be as highly

3 visible as was possible. So, yes, I specifically

4 attempted to get right around the Province and station

5 visits, et cetera. But, as you have described, however

6 hands-on an individual might be, it is absolutely

7 impossible to keep track or to be aware, and it is

8 totally inappropriate to try to be aware, of all the

9 details in the various regions, departments or

10 sub-departments, et cetera.

11 Q. That's what I wanted to touch on really. Would it be

12 fair to say that if there was a particularly big

13 problem, a crisis, going on, which needed to be

14 addressed, you would get yourself actively involved in

15 managing what was happening from the police perspective?

16 A. I would, but always with hopefully a great degree of

17 care not to circumvent the organisational structure, not

18 to do other people's jobs for them.

19 Q. That's the issue, isn't it? Because obviously in your

20 position you might be very intimately involved in

21 managing a big problem, only to discover that your

22 attention and your time and your energy was absolutely

23 required by the next problem, the next crisis. Did that

24 from time to time cause difficulties with your slightly

25 more junior colleagues in the command structure?

 

 

39

 

1 A. Not difficulties of which I'm aware. I think I was very

2 sensitive, and I guess any senior manager in any aspect

3 of business or working life has to be sensitive to those

4 issues and has to make sure that they are not treading

5 on the toes of their own colleagues or trying to do

6 their jobs for them, and I think I was very sensitive in

7 that regard.

8 Q. Because those officers were the people who were probably

9 trying to deal with the issue, the crisis, the

10 difficulty, before your arrival and would be left

11 dealing with it after your departure?

12 A. Of course. So in that sense, if I were to become

13 involved, I would want it to be totally acknowledged as

14 involvement in a supportive way.

15 Q. Now, in terms of your approach, the hands-on approach

16 actively involving yourself, did you see that as very

17 much part of what you describe in your statement as an

18 open-door style, an open-door approach to the way you

19 conducted yourself as Chief Constable?

20 A. I think that's fair to say.

21 Q. In your statement, at paragraph 19, do you see -- we

22 have it on the screen at the moment -- you say you would

23 like to think that:

24 "... as Chief Constable [you] were as open,

25 transparent and approachable as I could be. This is

 

 

40

 

1 a policy I had always adopted."

2 Then you refer to the press coverage or the press

3 contact that you had as Head of Special Branch. Do you

4 see that?

5 A. I do.

6 Q. Is that also true in relation to your dealings with

7 organisations outside the RUC that you had an open-door

8 approach?

9 A. As far as that could be achieved, it was certainly my

10 intention. I felt as a public servant, paid from public

11 funds, that the public had a right to know my view on

12 issues.

13 Q. Yes. If we look together at RNI-806-159 (displayed),

14 which is your paragraph 55, there you say in connection

15 with the NGOs, in the last few lines there at the bottom

16 of the paragraph:

17 "I wanted to meet with NGOs and be as open with them

18 as possible. I wanted to hear what they had to say and

19 explain my position on matters."

20 Now, in relation to that, the example I would like

21 to touch on with you is the Lawyers Alliance for Justice

22 in Ireland organisation, which you tell us in your

23 statement you met up with, or delegations you met up

24 with, on, I think, a couple of occasions. Can I ask you

25 to look at paragraph 93 at RNI-806-171 (displayed)? The

 

 

41

 

1 first thing you do in paragraph 92 is you say you recall

2 a couple of meetings, but you say:

3 "It is difficult now for me to separate them in

4 terms of who was at each meeting and the points that

5 were raised by the delegates at each."

6 But now on the screen we have 93, do you see, and

7 you say:

8 "As stated, I always made myself available for

9 anyone that want to see me."

10 Was that a departure from the approach of your

11 predecessor?

12 A. I think possibly that sentence is a slight overstatement

13 in terms of saying for anyone who wanted to see me. But

14 everyone, as I indicated earlier, is different in their

15 style and I would say that Sir Hugh Annesley, for whom

16 I have the highest regard, would approach things in

17 a different style. So in that sense, it might be

18 described as a departure.

19 Q. So if the first sentence is a little too wide, how would

20 you rephrase it so that it was more accurate?

21 A. I'd include the caveat "generally". If there were

22 people who had -- in other words, I don't think I would

23 make myself readily available for frivolous requests.

24 Q. No. So the door wasn't absolutely and completely open?

25 A. No, it couldn't be.

 

 

42

 

1 Q. Can I just ask you about the consequences of that and

2 that means looking back at paragraph 56 of your

3 statement, RNI-806-159 (displayed), because here you

4 suggest -- if we could have that paragraph enlarged

5 please -- that with hindsight you think you may have

6 been a little too open in the way you afforded access to

7 individuals and groups.

8 A. I think with hindsight what I'm referring to there

9 largely relates to the parades issue and what I tried to

10 do was return parading issues to issues that were local.

11 But to be quite frank, if the Prime Minister sees either

12 groups of residents or those who want to march, then why

13 would they go to the Secretary of State? If the

14 Secretary of State sees them, why would they go to the

15 Chief Constable? If the Chief Constable sees them, why

16 would they go to the Assistant Chief Constable? Et

17 cetera, et cetera.

18 So with hindsight, in order to try to bring matters

19 back to a sensible perspective, I think there is that

20 balance between absolutely open access and the

21 alternative approach of referring them to other

22 colleagues.

23 Q. So this is very much, is it, with the very high level

24 political engagement with the parades issue in mind?

25 A. That's what -- that statement is made with that in mind.

 

 

43

 

1 Q. Yes. Because we have heard evidence about the way in

2 which, after the 1997 election, Northern Ireland came

3 very high on the new Prime Minister's list of priorities

4 and he, his Secretary of State and then his

5 Chief of Staff, became personally involved in the

6 proximity talks concerning Drumcree?

7 A. That's right.

8 Q. And you think with hindsight, do you, that that may have

9 had some downsides as well as some advantages?

10 A. I think there is that possibility. Again, it is not

11 a possibility I would want to overstate.

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. But in terms of giving these issues such a high

14 priority, it was inevitable -- I would like to make it

15 clear that when you were dealing with protests,

16 particularly in Drumcree, where lives were being lost,

17 you know, it is not surprising that everybody at high

18 levels wanted to do their very personal best. So it is

19 not surprising, and it is not a complaint; it is simply

20 a comment that elevating it to those sorts of levels

21 gives it perhaps a context that actually if, as we are

22 seeing today but I guess it has to be in the overall

23 improving security context, that if we can get such

24 issues back to the local level, that that's preferable.

25 Q. Because the danger, which is the point that I raised

 

 

44

 

1 with you earlier, is that the involvement of these very

2 senior figures, politicians, but also in your case very

3 senior police officers, can cause difficulties with

4 those who are rather nearer to the ground, if I can put

5 it that way, who are managing these points day in, day

6 out, week in, week out?

7 A. That's why I think that requires a sensitivity to that

8 possibility, and I would like to think that I exhibited

9 a very high degree of sensitivity in that regard.

10 Q. Thank you. Now, can I ask you some questions about the

11 way you ran your office, and therefore what I'm asking

12 you about is about Command Secretariat.

13 We have heard evidence, as I'm sure you know, from

14 three of the senior officers who were based there during

15 your time and during the time that is of interest to the

16 Inquiry, and that's P157, if you have your sheet with

17 you, Superintendent Maxwell and P136.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And we have seen at least part of the very considerable

20 amount of correspondence which came in to the

21 Chief Constable and was dealt with within

22 Command Secretariat.

23 Now, the evidence that the Inquiry has heard is that

24 it fell to those officers to, if I can put it that way,

25 filter all this material so as to ensure that only that

 

 

45

 

1 which truly required your attention received your

2 attention. Is that how you remember it?

3 A. I think that's a good description of the function of the

4 Command Secretariat.

5 Q. Now, in terms of keeping you up-to-date with what was

6 coming in to Command Secretariat, how would that be done

7 on a day-to-day, week-by-week basis?

8 A. If my diary was such that I was out of the office a lot,

9 then the officer in charge would seek opportunities to

10 keep me updated. Usually that would be on a verbal

11 basis. If it was in the office, he would come in, take

12 a seat, he would have papers on his knee. He would have

13 a little notebook of issues that he wanted to raise and

14 he would go through those issues one by one. Very often

15 that would not in any sense entail me actually seeing

16 the correspondence involved. What would often happen is

17 that a letter would be received, it would be referred to

18 whichever department was relevant, a draft reply would

19 be obtained in many circumstances, and based on that

20 draft a reply would then be forwarded to the person who

21 had made the original enquiry.

22 So on that daily basis, the person in charge, who is

23 anonymised, would come into my office regularly with

24 these updates and go through them item by item.

25 Q. And in general, in the period with which we are

 

 

46

 

1 concerned, would that have been the Chief

2 Superintendent, P157?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. The impression we have been given is that you had rather

5 less face-to-face contact with the more junior officers,

6 Superintendent Maxwell and P136. Is that correct?

7 A. I would see them on a daily basis. I consider I would

8 know them well as good friends and colleagues, but in

9 terms of updating me on issues, that would usually fall

10 to the Chief Superintendent.

11 Q. Yes. And were there occasions on which P157 would make

12 sure that you had at least the opportunity to read the

13 relevant correspondence, to read the letters as they

14 came in?

15 A. He would decide that.

16 Q. Yes. Presumably for those bits of correspondence, those

17 communications, which he regarded as needing your

18 attention?

19 A. I have to say that his overall thrust would be to

20 attempt to keep that to a minimum.

21 Q. Yes. So we can take it, can we, that in general they

22 were matters of some considerable importance which

23 actually appeared in front of you for your specific

24 consideration?

25 A. That's correct. That would be his drive, if you like.

 

 

47

 

1 Q. Indeed. And in terms of the way it operated in practice

2 during your -- let's say your first year as

3 Chief Constable -- we know he was in post at that

4 point -- did you think that he was getting the filtering

5 about right?

6 A. Yes, I did. I consider him to be a very experienced and

7 very professional colleague.

8 Q. Now, were there occasions on which he would leave files

9 of correspondence, files of material for you to consider

10 at your leisure?

11 A. It would be rare, but I'm sure it is not -- it wouldn't

12 be impossible.

13 Q. No. Now, can I just look at the thing at the other end

14 of it, the other end of the process. You said that

15 often requests for information would go out to other

16 parts of the organisation. The information would come

17 back. So we have got to that stage in the process, and

18 what then has to be done is the drafting of a response

19 to go out of Command Secretariat.

20 How often would you be involved in approving or even

21 drafting correspondence to go out?

22 A. Not usually, not often.

23 Q. Were there occasions on which you would make amendments

24 or, indeed, produce drafts of correspondence yourself?

25 A. Yes, there would be occasions when that would happen.

 

 

48

 

1 Q. Again, can I take it that those were occasions which you

2 regarded as requiring your personal input?

3 A. Not necessarily requiring, but if I had the personal

4 knowledge or perhaps if people were on leave, then

5 sometimes I would draft myself.

6 Q. I appreciate it is impossible to give a statistical

7 answer to this, but were those relatively unusual

8 occasions?

9 A. Absolutely. I indicated not usual.

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. Not common.

12 Q. Now, in the evidence and in particular the evidence of

13 P157, for example, he told us that there were some

14 issues, some topics, which you took hold of and dealt

15 with very much yourself. And an example he gave was

16 what happened after the disclosure of the draft report

17 produced by Mr Cumaraswamy. Does that accord with your

18 own recollection?

19 A. It does.

20 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you about another occasion, which

21 I'm going to ask you much more detailed questions about

22 later, and that's after the letter came to you from the

23 Chairman of the ICPC indicating the Commission's

24 intention not to issue a certificate of satisfaction.

25 Was that another occasion where you seized hold of

 

 

49

 

1 an issue and, as it were, did your own drafting?

2 A. I wouldn't use the term "seized hold of the issue", but

3 when that letter originally arrived, it was so heavily

4 caveated as a confidential matter that when I tried to

5 contact the Chairman and the author of the letter, he

6 was in fact out of the country. So I felt bound by the

7 confidentiality caveat in the correspondence and didn't

8 speak to anybody for a couple of days about it.

9 I wanted to get the opportunity to discuss it with the

10 Chairman first.

11 Q. Yes, but for whatever reason you dealt with it yourself?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Thank you very much. Now, so far as, therefore, the

14 majority of letters going out from Command Secretariat

15 are concerned, we have seen a number which go over the

16 signatures of P157, Superintendent Maxwell and P136.

17 Can I take it that there would have been occasions where

18 even if the letter was going out over their signatures,

19 you might have seen the draft, you might have made

20 a comment or two about what they were saying?

21 A. Occasions, but you used the expression "the majority of

22 correspondence". The majority of such correspondence I

23 wouldn't even have seen.

24 Q. Thank you. In relation to letters that went out over

25 your signature -- so we have put them to one side, as it

 

 

50

 

1 were -- letters going out over your signature, would you

2 generally at least have seen the draft before it went

3 out?

4 A. Either seen or discussed it. At these meetings I have

5 described, it may be a very open, friendly conversation,

6 and if it was a routine matter, I wouldn't necessarily

7 have seen the draft if it is a very straightforward

8 thing that I was signing.

9 Q. But in other cases, you might well have done?

10 A. In other cases I could well have done.

11 Q. Can I just go back to the slightly more junior officers.

12 That's Superintendent Maxwell and P136. Were there

13 occasions on which they briefed you directly; in other

14 words, that they would be the one having the meeting

15 with the files on the knee?

16 A. There would have been such occasions. Obviously the

17 other colleague would take leave from time to time, may

18 not be there for whatever reason, and on occasions like

19 that. But usually, I think, he saw the Chief

20 Superintendent Command Secretariat as his area of

21 responsibility. So it would be very much the case that

22 it would be usually him.

23 Q. Can I just ask you a question about files in this

24 connection? RNI-806-148 is the page of the statement

25 and the paragraph is 24 (displayed). Now, you say at

 

 

51

 

1 the bottom of that page:

2 "I'm not aware of any files, paper or otherwise,

3 that have been kept on Mrs Nelson."

4 Now, by making that rather general comment, can

5 I ask you: are you referring there to files kept within

6 Command Secretariat?

7 A. Could I read just for a moment the preceding paragraphs?

8 Q. Yes. Can we enlarge 23 as well, please?

9 A. My immediate inclination is that's a reference to

10 Special Branch files.

11 Q. Yes.

12 A. Yes, as I read paragraph 24 following on from 23, it is

13 the maintenance of Special Branch files which I would

14 have been unaware.

15 Q. Do you mean by that that you didn't know one way or the

16 other whether there were Special Branch, or was

17 a Special Branch file on Rosemary Nelson?

18 A. I would have been surprised that there would. I was not

19 aware.

20 Q. No. Did you know that she had a Special Branch number?

21 A. No, I did not.

22 Q. And the evidence we have heard from a large number of

23 witnesses now is that with the number went the creation

24 of a file, and a number of witnesses have suggested that

25 there was indeed a file or files on her within

 

 

52

 

1 Special Branch.

2 A. I have seen some of that evidence literally over the

3 past couple of days. I certainly was not aware of it.

4 Q. Now, were you aware that there were correspondence files

5 maintained within Command Secretariat about, if I can

6 put it this way, Rosemary Nelson-related issues and

7 topics?

8 A. Yes, there would have been exchanges of correspondence

9 and Command Secretariat may have filed that under the

10 heading of an issue, or indeed may have filed it under

11 the heading of an individual involved in the issue. I

12 couldn't quite say which.

13 Q. Yes. Just going back to the question of the

14 Special Branch files, which you say you weren't aware

15 of, are you surprised to read in the evidence that there

16 was a file on Rosemary Nelson?

17 A. Yes, I was.

18 Q. Why do you say that?

19 A. Well, I had no personal reason to understand or believe

20 that there would any material that would make

21 appropriate the creation of such a file.

22 Q. The fact that witnesses have suggested that there was

23 such a file rather suggests that there was material in

24 existence which made it appropriate to create a file?

25 A. I mean, in the course of this Inquiry I have had drawn

 

 

53

 

1 to my attention such material. I certainly was not

2 aware of it prior to this Inquiry.

3 Q. Thank you. Just coming back to the Command Secretariat

4 filing, and the files you have told us you do know about

5 relating to the Rosemary Nelson issues, when, let's say,

6 P157 came to talk to you about a new development, a new

7 piece of correspondence, a new letter that had come in,

8 would he often bring with him, as it were, the

9 relevant file?

10 A. Not necessarily. For example, if the correspondence

11 related to complaints by or on behalf of Mrs Nelson,

12 what he would have done was made sure that the relevant

13 department, in this case what we called the

14 G Department, Complaints and Discipline, had indeed

15 recorded those complaints and, indeed, that they were

16 under investigation.

17 So in that sense, if the correspondence related to

18 that, he would have made a judgment as to whether it

19 needed to be placed before me or whether he would deal

20 with it in the more routine way which we have described

21 earlier.

22 MR PHILLIPS: Yes. Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. Sir Ronnie, we are going to have

24 a quarter of an hour break now.

25 A. Thank you, sir.

 

 

54

 

1 THE CHAIRMAN: Just after half past two.

2 (2.15 pm)

3 (Short break)

4 (2.34 pm)

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

6 MR PHILLIPS: Sir Ronnie, you told us earlier about the time

7 when you were the Head of Special Branch and you briefed

8 the then Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Annesley. I would

9 now like to ask you some questions about the time when

10 you were in his position.

11 Is it right that you were provided with a written

12 daily intelligence report from Special Branch?

13 A. I think as part of the restructuring of Special Branch

14 a group was created who issued daily reports.

15 Q. Is this the IMG?

16 A. Yes, the Intelligence Management Group, I think, IMG.

17 Q. It is following the Warner Report?

18 A. That's correct.

19 Q. Yes. So the daily report or the daily bulletin, as it

20 were. What about your own contact with the Head of

21 Special Branch at the time?

22 A. That would have been frequent contact. We were in the

23 same building and the Head of Special Branch would have

24 briefed me very regularly.

25 Q. Do you mean at least once a day?

 

 

55

 

1 A. Not necessarily every day, but certainly that wouldn't

2 be unusual. On a virtual daily basis, I would

3 describe it.

4 Q. Again, as when I was asking you about your position as

5 Head of Special Branch, presumably there were occasions

6 when events required more regular meetings and briefings

7 even than that?

8 A. Absolutely. I mean, Drumcree would be a case in point.

9 Q. Yes. Now, when I was asking you questions earlier about

10 your approach to your job, you accepted, I think,

11 a description given of you by some of the witnesses,

12 namely that you were a hands-on Chief Constable.

13 Sir Joseph Pilling, who was then the Permanent

14 Undersecretary at the time with which we are concerned,

15 has described you in his statement as a very hands-on

16 Chief Constable, particularly on the intelligence front.

17 Would you accept that description of yourself?

18 A. I think certainly in terms of the periods that we had

19 ceasefires and then the breakdown of those ceasefires

20 and then the reinstitution of them, together with all

21 the political developments that were going on, it is

22 true to say that the intelligence effort probably

23 changed in its nature from being more operationally

24 based, more politically based on, what is happening in

25 those areas. But certainly in the overall grand scheme

 

 

56

 

1 of things, I would accept that description, but at

2 a high level, not necessarily at a detailed level.

3 Q. And so you saw it as essentially part of your job as

4 Chief Constable to be well informed, albeit at that

5 level, in intelligence terms?

6 A. Yes, going back to the impact that intelligence would

7 have on the transition that we were taking the

8 organisation through, indeed the transition

9 Northern Ireland was going through.

10 Q. So you see that as particularly important, just so

11 I have got this clear, precisely because of all the

12 changes which were taking place which you have described

13 for us?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. Thank you very much.

16 Now, in addition to the contact you had with the

17 Head of Special Branch, which we have just discussed,

18 would you have had any regular contact with senior

19 officers within Special Branch?

20 A. Not what I would describe as regular contact, but I

21 would have known most of them, I would have appointed

22 most of them. In some of my visits I would have seen

23 them out in Belfast and beyond, but not in a way that I

24 would describe as regular.

25 Q. Were there occasions, for example, at Headquarters,

 

 

57

 

1 where you would, as it were, go out and find information

2 by physically going to talk to people rather than

3 waiting for it to come to you?

4 A. I have seen that description applied to me in a document

5 I read just yesterday and I have been trying to think of

6 instances to which I might apply that, and I can't

7 actually think of specific instances.

8 Q. One of the witnesses described you, as it were,

9 appearing at the door at the moment where he was

10 expecting to produce a briefing for you. Is that not

11 a description of yourself you recognise?

12 A. I certainly wouldn't rule it out. I wouldn't see it as

13 a frequently occurring event.

14 Q. No. Can I ask you about meetings with individuals,

15 organisations, outside the RUC. Obviously I'm talking

16 about regular meetings, and you talk about them in

17 paragraph 18 of your statement at RNI-806-146. I would

18 just like to ask you a few questions about them.

19 In relation to the SPMs first of all, which, as I

20 understand it, is really the highest level of meeting.

21 Is that right?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. Thank you. You say in this paragraph, about six lines

24 down:

25 "The main purpose of this meeting would have been

 

 

58

 

1 for me and the GOC to brief ministers on security

2 matters which may have a political impact and for

3 ministers to brief us on political developments which

4 may have a security impact."

5 Now, so far as that is concerned, would there also

6 have been a briefing at those meetings by the DCI?

7 A. The DCI was certainly present. I don't think it was

8 a formal part of the agenda. All of these meetings

9 would have been minuted and I guess my -- my expectation

10 is that agendas should be available, but I don't think

11 there was a regular input by the DCI as part of a formal

12 agenda, but I cannot be sure.

13 Q. You don't recall him giving a regular intelligence

14 update at the meetings?

15 A. I certainly recall his frequent input at meetings, but

16 whether it was tabled as a specific agenda item for each

17 and every meeting, I can't be sure.

18 Q. Thank you. So far as the minuting is concerned, the

19 evidence we have is that the meetings were minuted by

20 NIO staff, but we have also heard from P157 that it was

21 his practice both to attend and to make notes of your

22 contributions in those meetings. Does that accord with

23 your recollection?

24 A. Yes, particularly if there were any actions to be

25 followed through as a result of the meeting.

 

 

59

 

1 Q. So there was, as it were, an RUC record after the

2 meeting to see what needed to be done?

3 A. An RUC record. I would describe it rather more as

4 a personal record by the officer you have described, in

5 case there was any follow-up action that would be

6 required as a result of what had been discussed.

7 Q. Thank you. Now, the next type of meeting you mentioned

8 is the PEC, the Province Executive Committee. Do you

9 see, just a few lines down?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. As I understand it, this was not a regular meeting that

12 you attended. Is that right?

13 A. No, when it was created originally, it was attended by

14 the Chief Constable and the GOC, but with the creation

15 of SPM, my recollection is that the PEC then became

16 jointly chaired by the Deputy and the Commander Land

17 Forces, a post that the Army abolished within

18 Northern Ireland. But, again, I can't, sitting here

19 today, give you the date of the abolition of the post of

20 Commander Land Forces.

21 Q. In relation to those meetings, would they be minuted?

22 A. I would fully expect so.

23 Q. Did you see the minutes?

24 A. Not routinely, as I recollect, but if there were matters

25 again to be followed up, then it would be brought to my

 

 

60

 

1 attention.

2 Q. Presumably by the deputy chief constable who was in

3 attendance?

4 A. Indeed.

5 Q. Thank you. And getting back to the meetings you

6 referred to earlier, as I understand it, from that

7 meeting, the PEC meeting, would be disseminated or, as

8 you put it there, cascaded down the various relevant

9 matters to the lower levels of meeting?

10 A. (Inaudible).

11 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just ask you one or two questions

12 about individuals, and in particular in relation to the

13 NIO?

14 At the time when you became Chief Constable, the

15 Conservative Government was still in power, wasn't it?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. And so can I take it that your first Secretary of State,

18 if I can put it that way, was Sir Patrick Mayhew?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. And he was succeeded after the election by Mo Mowlam.

21 Can I ask you, please, how would you describe your

22 working relationship with her?

23 A. I would describe it as a very good and positive working

24 relationship. A very different approach taken by her in

25 respect of ministerial duties compared to that taken by

 

 

61

 

1 Sir Patrick Mayhew. Very different people.

2 Q. What were the differences?

3 A. In terms of the constitutional position between the

4 Secretary of State and a Chief Constable, Sir Patrick, I

5 think, saw absolutely clearly that the Chief Constable

6 was operationally independent. So, for example, if

7 I attended briefings with Sir Hugh Annesley about our

8 intention with perhaps a contentious parade, there is no

9 way in which Sir Patrick, as Secretary of State, would

10 have, even by body language, indicated his view of the

11 particular line we were taking. He would rather more

12 have said, "Do you want me to speak to my colleague, the

13 Secretary of State for Defence? Do you need additional

14 resources" et cetera.

15 When Dr Mowlam was appointed it was just in the

16 run-up to Drumcree, and I remember her giving an

17 interview which was on the lines of she wasn't sure what

18 decision she would take in relation to Drumcree, and

19 then she wasn't sure what decision, and I think she

20 referred to me in first name terms, "Ronnie and I would

21 take". And I remember saying to her, "Stay a million

22 miles away from these decisions and leave that to us

23 operationally". So a very different style.

24 You asked me how I would describe our relationship

25 and I think it was a very good, friendly but positive

 

 

62

 

1 mutually respectful relationship.

2 Q. Was that a difficulty from time to time, this rather

3 less clear view on the operational independence of the

4 Chief Constable?

5 A. It never became a difficulty, but I would say in a very

6 good humoured way there were some occasions when I would

7 have seen it as a potential difficulty, which I would

8 have drawn to her attention. And we would have spoken

9 in a very good natured, good humoured way if there were

10 such issues to be raised.

11 Q. So far as your level of contact with her is concerned,

12 how regularly would you meet or speak with her?

13 A. Well, we would discuss the formal meetings.

14 Q. Yes. And?

15 A. Beyond that, only if I felt that there was something

16 that had arisen between these meetings that I wanted to

17 draw to her personal attention, or vice versa if there

18 was something that she wanted to see me about. For

19 example, sometimes she would say, very informal, "Let's

20 have lunch" and Dr Mowlam liked to do that very publicly

21 and liked to go to a restaurant and be seen. So there

22 would be occasions like that that would be over and

23 above the very formal meetings that we have described.

24 Q. Thank you. What about the Security Minister at the

25 time, Adam Ingram? How frequent was your contacted

 

 

63

 

1 with him?

2 A. Quite frequent as well, on the basis that there would be

3 these formal meetings, and as security minister he would

4 have attended those meetings that we have discussed, and

5 beyond that if there were issues. So sometimes, if

6 I contacted the Secretary of State's office to say,

7 "Look, there is something I would like to discuss with

8 you", sometimes she would decide to have the Security

9 Minister present and sometimes not.

10 Q. Thank you. So far as senior NIO officials are

11 concerned, can you help with this, please: in the period

12 with which the Inquiry is concerned, so that's

13 essentially 1997 through to, let's say, March 1999 in

14 particular, who were your principal points of contact

15 within the NIO?

16 A. I mean, you have mentioned Sir Joe Pilling.

17 Q. Yes.

18 A. Who was Permanent Secretary. If you don't mind, I will

19 refer to the list to make sure that none of the

20 people --

21 Q. I think you are safe, but, yes, do, please.

22 A. Next in line for me would have been John Steele.

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. And --

25 Q. And his successor, David Watkins?

 

 

64

 

1 A. David Watkins did succeed him, but was in the picture at

2 a lower level before he replaced John Steele. I can't

3 give you his exact title.

4 Q. No. What about the Head of the Police Division? Did

5 you have contact at that level? Christine Collins and

6 then Ken Lindsay?

7 A. Sorry, I was looking exactly for Christine's -- yes, I

8 would have had contact. And Ken, I think -- was Ken not

9 personal secretary to the Secretary of State?

10 Q. Yes, and then took over the Police Division?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Again, can I just ask you -- I know it is very

13 difficult, it is such a long time ago -- but in terms of

14 regularity of contact, who was your main point of

15 contact at your level within those officials at the NIO?

16 A. Probably John Steele.

17 Q. Thank you.

18 A. And next probably Ken in his capacity when he was

19 working very closely with the Secretary of State.

20 Q. Thank you. And again -- I know it is difficult -- but

21 with someone like John Steele, for example, would you

22 meet them every week? Would you talk to them more

23 regularly than that? How did it pan out?

24 A. No, beyond the formal meetings -- there would often be

25 social occasions. If people were visiting, if the

 

 

65

 

1 Secretary of State or the Security Minister was hosting

2 visiting delegations, there would be quite frequent

3 dinners or lunches and you would see such colleagues at

4 occasions like that, but not formal one-to-one meetings

5 structured way. So it was rather more as and when

6 a particular issue might arise.

7 Q. And how would you describe your working relationship

8 with John Steele?

9 A. I think very good. He was someone for whom I had a very

10 high regard and someone with whom I felt I had a very

11 good professional relationship.

12 Q. Thank you. Before looking at some of the individual

13 issues relating to Rosemary Nelson that you touch on in

14 your statement, what I would like to do with you, if

15 I may, is to try and set them in context because

16 obviously there is a danger in the Inquiry of seeing

17 everything with Rosemary Nelson and the events

18 concerning her in mind and forgetting about all the

19 other things that were going on at the time.

20 You have been very helpful in setting out some of

21 the ground for me already. Can I just ask you to look

22 at paragraph 5 of your statement and the third line of

23 that at RNI-806-141 (displayed) because here, having

24 described your promotion to Chief Constable, you say:

25 "I considered that, as the last Chief Constable of

 

 

66

 

1 the RUC, it was important for me to remain in post to

2 see through the changes during the transition period

3 from the RUC to the PSNI."

4 Now, that, because of the way it is drafted, rather

5 gives the impression that you knew at the time you took

6 up your appointment that you were going to be the last

7 incumbent. Can I take it that that's a false

8 impression: you didn't know that?

9 A. I wouldn't have known that until -- some weeks -- and I

10 think you described it as being September 1999, when the

11 Patten Report was published. Some weeks prior to that

12 there were indeed reports in the local press here that

13 Patten intended to recommend a change of title and

14 a change of crest. And I remember very well bringing

15 a very representative section of the organisation, the

16 Police Federation, the Superintendents Association, the

17 Association of Chief Police Officers, civilian

18 representative bodies and, very importantly, the Widows

19 Association, to a weekend meeting where I told them that

20 I had no idea if these early reports were indeed leaks

21 or accurate. But I told them that if indeed it is

22 recommended, and if indeed the Government accepts it as

23 a recommendation and legislates for a new title and

24 a new crest, then as democrats we would have to accept

25 that change.

 

 

67

 

1 And I had in advance made enquiries as to the

2 possibility of creating a garden of remembrance, that if

3 the title should be changed, we would have a garden of

4 remembrance to the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC. And in

5 fact, when I told this to the widows, if this happens --

6 because I knew it was very dear to them particularly,

7 but if it should happen, my promise was that we would

8 construct a garden of remembrance. And actually, they

9 said, "That's a very good idea, it would have our very

10 strong support, but can you not think of something that

11 looks to the future as well?"

12 As a direct result of their suggestion, I had this

13 concept of something like a Churchill Fellowship and

14 went to the Secretary of State who, by this time, was

15 Peter Mandelson and he agreed that if this should

16 happen -- and he made it clear that there would be

17 a consultation period even if Patten had published, and

18 if Patten had recommended that, it would not necessarily

19 follow. But if it should follow, he would build into

20 the legislation the creation of an RUC GC association.

21 That's exactly what has happened. It is a body that

22 the Government actually funded to create that garden of

23 remembrance, which is very important to widows and

24 bereaved families. And additionally, I think of equal

25 importance, it is a body that if young men and women of

 

 

68

 

1 the Police Service of Northern Ireland can make

2 a business case, for example, to identify good policing

3 practice elsewhere, they can obtain bursaries. And

4 under the aegis of the RUC GC Association, can engage in

5 that search for good practice and bring it back through

6 the PSNI for the benefit of policing in

7 Northern Ireland.

8 So when you say when did I know or when did I assume

9 that the title would change, certainly not until the

10 Government had decided that it would fully accept that

11 recommendation.

12 Q. Now, what you have just said, of course, reminds us that

13 you were responsible, after Patten reported, for

14 effectively bringing the organisation with you to accept

15 the changes and eventually -- you were Chief Constable

16 at the time, weren't you -- of the new force coming into

17 being in, I think, November 2001. Is that right?

18 A. That is correct. I have to say that my statement, of

19 course, was prepared in response to questions. So

20 exactly why that comment is there, I would have to refer

21 back to the questions I was answering at the time. But

22 I did see that it was very important for me not only --

23 if I was to be the last Chief Constable of what was the

24 Royal Ulster Constabulary, then I should be the first

25 Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern

 

 

69

 

1 Ireland.

2 Q. And that was indeed what happened, as you say there,

3 before you handed over to Sir Hugh Orde?

4 A. There was a six-month period when Colin Cramphorn acted

5 as Chief Constable and Sir Hugh took up office in

6 September of 2002.

7 Q. That takes us to the period after the murder of

8 Rosemary Nelson. The period with which we are rather

9 more closely concerned comes, as I said, slightly before

10 that, after the Good Friday Agreement and continues

11 principally up until March when Rosemary Nelson was

12 murdered.

13 What I wanted to go back to with you is the evidence

14 you were giving earlier about the process of change,

15 which had in fact begun several years earlier than that,

16 and you have given evidence about the fundamental

17 review.

18 Now, was the position throughout this period with

19 which we are concerned, the mid 1990s, to the time of

20 Rosemary Nelson's murder, one in which there were in

21 fact changes going on within the force within the whole

22 area of policing, throughout that period?

23 A. That's correct. I can't give you an exact date for each

24 of the changes. When I referred to a structural change,

25 for example, whereby we abolished divisions and

 

 

70

 

1 subdivisions and created a new network, at that time

2 some 26 policing areas coterminous with the local

3 Government areas -- and that of course has been revised

4 and will be undoubtedly the subject of further revision

5 as the network of local Government provision changes.

6 So those sort of changes were in train.

7 Q. So what was in prospect but which couldn't be relied

8 upon in the mid 1990s was that there would be a return

9 to normal policing, if I can put it that way?

10 A. Very much what we all hoped for.

11 Q. Yes. But as you have described for us, in February 1996

12 with the Canary Wharf bomb, there was a return to the

13 campaign of violence which didn't in fact result in

14 a further ceasefire until the summer of 1997. Is that

15 right?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. And presumably therefore, throughout this period, the

18 period with which we are concerned, and even after the

19 ceasefire in 1997, although there was a hope of normal

20 life and of normal policing as a result, there was still

21 the ever-present threat of a resumption of paramilitary

22 violence?

23 A. There was a degree of that threat. There was the

24 additional threat from dissidents who did not want to be

25 part of the process.

 

 

71

 

1 Q. And there were substantial challenges, as you have also

2 described for us, on the public order front around the

3 marching disputes, for example?

4 A. Massive challenges.

5 Q. Yes. I want to come back to Drumcree in a little while,

6 but is it fair to say that the Drumcree dispute and

7 everything that surrounded it caused great problems for

8 you and, indeed, your predecessor in these years?

9 A. Absolutely. I have described the situation in 1996 and

10 it is hard, as we sit today, just realising how bad

11 things were in those years, how Province-wide the

12 violence was, how intense and prolonged the violence

13 was, and it provided real challenges.

14 Q. As I understand it, you saw your officers as being

15 caught, in a sense, between the various factions and on

16 the sharp end of violent disorder from both sides?

17 A. Absolutely, and certainly in relation to officers

18 deployed in respect of Drumcree, in many instances their

19 houses were attacked, in many instances their families

20 were attacked while they were deployed on duty, and

21 these attacks would come from so-called Loyalist

22 factions.

23 Q. In relation to, if I can put it this way, day-to-day

24 policing, would it also be fair to say throughout this

25 period that there was the continuing problem of the fact

 

 

72

 

1 that substantial numbers of people in Northern Ireland

2 didn't cooperate with your force, your officers and

3 didn't have confidence in the police?

4 A. There were those who would not have confidence and there

5 were those who, undoubtedly thinking of their own

6 personal security, would not want to be seen openly to

7 be cooperative even in that stage of the beginnings of

8 improvement.

9 Q. Now, in terms of the changes that continued throughout

10 this period, in relation to Drumcree, of course, there

11 was the establishment of the Parades Commission, which

12 had the effect, didn't it, of taking from the

13 Chief Constable the burden of decision-making?

14 A. Yes, and that's a suggestion that goes back as far as

15 one of my predecessors, the late Sir John Hermon. So it

16 is something we had been pushing for for many years:

17 The removal of the situation where we were left to make

18 the decisions and then police our own decisions. So for

19 us and me personally, it was a very welcome development.

20 Q. And it took effect in terms of Drumcree from 1998, did

21 it not?

22 A. It did.

23 Q. But it was still left to you and your force to enforce

24 the decision of the Parades Commission, wasn't it?

25 A. That's correct, and there was a provision in the

 

 

73

 

1 legislation that should operational circumstances

2 warrant it, if we were, for example, to be overwhelmed,

3 there was a provision in the legislation that we could

4 act other than in enforcing the Parades Commission,

5 I made it clear that it would be my determination that

6 we would police every decision that they made.

7 Q. Thank you.

8 A. There were no examples where I had to do otherwise in my

9 period.

10 Q. In terms of other changes, we have also heard evidence

11 about the decision to adopt the recommendations of the

12 Hayes Report, and what followed was the rather slow

13 process of setting up the Ombudsman's office. Again,

14 that coincided with this period, didn't it?

15 A. It coincided with that period and, again, it is

16 something that I personally was very strongly in support

17 of, something in respect of which I had quite a number

18 of meetings with Dr Hayes about as he moved towards his

19 recommendation, something I have always, and continue

20 to, strongly support.

21 Q. Thank you. Would it also be fair, looking at, as it

22 were, the whole of the landscape that we have been

23 discussing, to say that policing, the whole question of

24 policing was regarded by many as fundamental to the

25 delivery of lasting change in Northern Ireland?

 

 

74

 

1 A. Absolutely, and I think that's characterised by the very

2 fact that politicians who, up to that point

3 in April 1998, wouldn't share the same room, let alone

4 sit down around the same table to work out arrangements

5 for Government in Northern Ireland, came to those

6 agreements with the exception of policing. So I think

7 that's indicative of what you suggest: the pivotal

8 position of policing within the whole process.

9 Q. And in that, you are harking back, aren't you, to what

10 you said earlier about the Good Friday Agreement where

11 the one issue that couldn't be resolved at that point

12 was policing?

13 A. Exactly so.

14 Q. And that presumably meant that you, as Chief Constable,

15 were, whether you liked it or not, in an intensely

16 political role?

17 A. That's correct. And certainly an apolitical role, but

18 a political role. Certainly not in terms of any support

19 for any particular party, but general support for

20 progress.

21 Q. Where the organisation that you led for better or for

22 worse was at the heart of the political debate in

23 Northern Ireland?

24 A. Absolutely so.

25 Q. So that in addition to leading it, by which I mean

 

 

75

 

1 leading it in an operational sense, you had to lead it

2 through this changing political landscape?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. Just returning to a topic that you and I touched on

5 briefly earlier, in terms of these changes you must have

6 been aware from your position as the head of the

7 organisation that some of the changes in policing would

8 not be particularly welcome to some of your officers, to

9 some of those for whom you were responsible?

10 A. Absolutely, and that's why I engaged in so many

11 meetings. And there were those who felt a very strong

12 bond with the Royal Ulster Constabulary and there were

13 those for whom it would be very difficult to see that

14 title removed and replaced and, indeed, the crest

15 as well.

16 Q. Now, can I just pick up with you something you said just

17 before the break, and you deal with it in paragraph 12

18 of your statement at RNI-806-144 (displayed)? Here, you

19 are harking back to the time when you were Head of

20 Special Branch. Do you see there, in the first

21 sentence?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And it is the reference to the focus on political

24 questions in terms of intelligence. Can I take it that

25 that continued, given all the political events that you

 

 

76

 

1 and I have just been discussing, throughout the period

2 with which we are concerned?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. In other words, after you left Special Branch and became

5 Chief Constable, this continued to be an important focus

6 of the intelligence effort?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just turn to the question of

9 Drumcree once more. In terms of policing, we have

10 already touched on it -- and the challenges it

11 presented -- it was also an intensely significant

12 political event or dispute, wasn't it?

13 A. I suppose the immediate protagonists would say not, but

14 obviously different political parties took differing

15 views of what the outcome should be. So in that sense,

16 yes, you could say it became an important political

17 event as well.

18 Q. It became the focus, didn't it, for those who objected

19 to the peace process, for example, in 1998, of a lot of

20 their energy and effort?

21 A. I think that's fair to say.

22 Q. And it was regarded by politicians, wasn't it, as at

23 least having the potential, if it went wrong, to put an

24 obstacle in the way of continued progress or even to

25 undermine the process?

 

 

77

 

1 A. Yes, I think it brought into sharp focus two differing

2 traditions: the bulk of people from one tradition taking

3 the view, "Why can't this march take place once a year?

4 It will be of short duration", they are prepared to

5 march silently, and the other people saying, "Hold on,

6 if they have a route, it is appropriate to leave their

7 Orange hall to their church, why can they not simply go

8 back the same route and leave us alone because we don't

9 want them along our road where we live?"

10 So you have those two starkly different views, and

11 undoubtedly you have different political parties that

12 support those differences. So, yes, I think you are

13 correct in saying it was an important icon, to some

14 degree, in the process and had the potential to be

15 disruptive of progress in the process.

16 Q. And it was the focus, wasn't it, also of a good deal of

17 international interest?

18 A. Yes, it became so.

19 Q. Yes. And you mention in your statement at one point, I

20 think, the discussions you had with the Canadian

21 delegation?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And there were foreign delegations who attended in

24 various years, were there not?

25 A. That's correct.

 

 

78

 

1 Q. But there was also in a wider sense an international

2 interest in Drumcree and, indeed, in political events

3 generally in Northern Ireland, wasn't there?

4 A. There was quite massive international interest, yes.

5 Q. And that presumably, from the, as it were, political

6 side of your role was something of which you were aware

7 and had to take account of?

8 A. I mean, you refer to the political side of my role.

9 I answered the question with the caveat that I didn't

10 see myself in any way political, but I had to be

11 sensitive to the political realities of life. From that

12 context, yes.

13 Q. Thank you. Just looking at what you say in your

14 statement about Drumcree, you start by dealing with the

15 previous year, the year when you were not

16 Chief Constable. That's paragraph 21, RNI-806-147

17 (displayed). You have explained what happened on that

18 occasion. You say at the bottom of that page you don't

19 doubt that the RUC's reputation was damaged by allowing

20 the march to take place after such a long stand-off,

21 but -- and then reading over:

22 "I do believe the consequences of not allowing the

23 march down the road would have been much more severe."

24 How did it become apparent to you that the RUC had

25 been damaged by that decision in 1996?

 

 

79

 

1 A. In a very simple way, that I was on the ground and I was

2 dealing with families, undoubtedly of a Nationalist

3 disposition, who were very supportive of the stance we

4 had taken to prevent this parade. So that when the

5 original decision was taken to allow that parade quickly

6 down the road and out of the area, they expressed to me

7 personal disappointment at the scene.

8 Q. And was that --

9 A. And in a widespread way -- sorry -- that was then

10 followed -- bearing in mind that we had officers

11 deployed in those fields for days on end without proper

12 toilet facilities, without refreshment breaks, without

13 support, enduring incredible violence, while, in some

14 instances, their families were enduring violence back at

15 home as well. And then, of course, when the decision

16 was reversed, there were days of violence in all

17 Nationalist areas right across the Province, the most

18 severe violence.

19 So the officers were subjected to incredible

20 personal trauma and challenge, but it was clear that the

21 RUC's reputation had been damaged particularly and very

22 strongly in the eyes of the Nationalist community at

23 large.

24 Q. Was that one of the points you had in mind when you said

25 that when you were in the process of being appointed as

 

 

80

 

1 Chief Constable, it was clear that one of the aims had

2 to be to try to make good or restore relations with the

3 community?

4 A. Absolutely so, to try and rebuild bridges that had

5 undoubtedly been damaged.

6 Q. Thank you. Now, moving on to 1997, you talk about that

7 the beginning of paragraph 22, which we have on the

8 screen. If we could have it enlarged please.

9 At this stage, it was still the Chief Constable's

10 decision -- in other words, your decision -- in 1997,

11 and the march that year came just before, didn't it,

12 what became the Provisional IRA ceasefire?

13 A. What happened in that year -- we are talking about 1997?

14 Q. Yes.

15 A. The decision that the parade should proceed was not

16 taken until the early hours of the morning.

17 Q. Yes.

18 A. And we had provisions in place, including barbed wire,

19 et cetera, physical provisions, that either decision

20 could be followed.

21 The decision in the early hours of the morning was

22 that the number of protesters had dwindled to such

23 a number that the road could actually be secured and

24 held to get the parade out of the area very quickly the

25 following day, and that's -- that was the basis of the

 

 

81

 

1 decision.

2 In the event, ultimately there followed some days of

3 very serious disturbance and violence as well in that

4 year, after that decision.

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. I was the one who made the decision that the parade

7 should proceed on the basis that we wanted to get it out

8 of that area as quickly as possible and, on the basis of

9 all of the intelligence and what was happening, that

10 there was a much more serious risk to life, including

11 risk to life of innocent Catholics in that area because

12 of Loyalist extremists who would be prepared to carry

13 out murder for no reason other than the victim was

14 a Catholic.

15 Q. So what you say in this paragraph, and as you have just

16 said, it was your decision but it was inevitably

17 a decision with political consequences, or at least

18 potential political consequences, wasn't it?

19 A. Certainly security consequences, as either decision --

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. -- would have.

22 Q. Yes. And your last sentence there, which we have on the

23 screen, is that an example of what you were talking

24 about earlier where the Secretary of State may have

25 given the impression that she had some role to play in

 

 

82

 

1 making that decision?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. Yes. Now, on that topic, if you could go over to

4 paragraph 28, please, which is RNI-806-150 (displayed),

5 again talking about 1997 and the proximity talks -- do

6 you see in that paragraph? You talk about her

7 involvement in the talks and having given an assurance

8 that she would communicate the result, the decision,

9 personally and discovering that that was not something

10 she could in fact do.

11 Now, is this an example of what you and I were

12 discussing earlier; in other words, where the Secretary

13 of State got herself personally involved in a problem,

14 in an issue, but in fact found that she couldn't --

15 A. That's --

16 Q. -- honour the assurance she had given?

17 A. That's exactly what I described. Bearing in mind this

18 is very soon after her appointment and after her arrival

19 in Northern Ireland.

20 Q. Yes. Now, so far as Drumcree in 1997/1998 is concerned,

21 you have referred to -- in 1997, you have referred to

22 the intelligence you had. Presumably, intelligence was

23 absolutely vital to the decision-making, to the whole

24 question of how you weren't going to deal with the

25 policing of such an event?

 

 

83

 

1 A. I remember in a public press conference at the scene,

2 and after the parade had proceeded, saying that what I

3 had to do was balance two evils. I made it clear that

4 neither a march nor a protest against the march was an

5 evil, but that there were evil people in the wings

6 waiting to exploit whatever decision should be made and

7 I had to balance on the basis of intelligence which

8 decision would actually result in less damage, less loss

9 of life.

10 Q. Presumably the thing that both you and other consumers

11 of intelligence, if I can put it that way, would be

12 interested in was how would either side react or was

13 either side likely to react in the event of decision A

14 or, on the other hand, decision B?

15 A. Yes. And, again, I stress, if I say "either side", I'm

16 not necessarily referring to either the marchers or the

17 Residents Coalition who would protest against the march,

18 but much more evil people in the wings.

19 Q. The people in the wings who were seeking to exploit the

20 situation and the divisions for their own purposes?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, so far as the next year is concerned, it was the

23 Parades Commission decision, as you have explained, but

24 can I take it that the requirement for as much credible,

25 reliable intelligence as you could get was still very

 

 

84

 

1 much in place?

2 A. Yes, and that's something the Parades Commission

3 themselves would have been interested in knowing.

4 Q. Yes. So although, between 1997 Drumcree and 1998

5 Drumcree, we had had the Good Friday Agreement, all of

6 these points, the points we have been discussing

7 together, were still very much in play?

8 A. Yes, and of course, operationally we would have learned

9 lessons from 1996 through 1997 to 1998.

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. And perhaps things we didn't have in place in terms of

12 being able to sustain the original decision in 1996,

13 having learned those lessons we were much better placed

14 operationally by 1998.

15 Q. This is in terms of the business of public order

16 policing of such an complicated event. Is that right?

17 A. Yes and, indeed, in terms of working with military

18 engineers to create very robust barriers and physical

19 provision to help us enforce whatever decision the

20 Parades Commission might take.

21 Q. Thank you.

22 A. And to protect people in the area.

23 Q. Now, can I just ask you to look at paragraph 23 of your

24 statement, RNI-806-148 (displayed)? Going back now to

25 the previous year, 1997, you say there you don't recall

 

 

85

 

1 Rosemary Nelson featuring in Garvaghy Road 1997. Can

2 I take that what you mean there is that you don't

3 remember being aware of her involvement with the GRRC

4 that year?

5 A. That's right, no personal recollection of that and I

6 would have had meetings with the GRRC and I don't recall

7 Mrs Nelson being at those meetings that I had or giving

8 any input at such meetings.

9 Q. And as far as you were concerned, would you have met

10 during that year, if I can put it this way, the major

11 figures representing the various interest groups?

12 A. I'm almost certain. I certainly did in earlier years.

13 Q. Yes. So as far as you were concerned then and your

14 perception of the matter, she was not a major figure in

15 the Drumcree dispute, certainly in that year, 1997?

16 A. That's certainly my personal view.

17 Q. And you tell us in your statement that you don't think

18 you were aware of the allegation that she made that she

19 had been assaulted that year at Drumcree in

20 early July 1997?

21 A. I'm not sure when I became aware of it. I certainly

22 wasn't aware of it at the time, no.

23 Q. No, if we look together at paragraph 35, RNI-806-152,

24 (displayed) you say there:

25 "As I've stated, I don't think that I was aware that

 

 

86

 

1 Rosemary Nelson made a formal complaint about her

2 treatment on Garvaghy Road in 1997."

3 Are you able to help us, just from your memory

4 before we look at any documents, as to when you think

5 you were first aware of her allegation that she had been

6 assaulted?

7 A. I'm not certain. I remember being asked a question by,

8 I think, a member of the police authority about a video

9 that had been disseminated about events on Garvaghy Road

10 in, I'm almost certain, 1997. And in that video -- I

11 didn't see it personally, but in that video I think

12 Mrs Nelson, in dialogue, talks of an alleged assault on

13 her at the scene.

14 Q. Can we have a look at another reference you make to this

15 in your statement? It is at paragraph 64 at RNI-806-162

16 (displayed). Here, what you say at the beginning of the

17 paragraph is that you don't think you knew about the

18 complaints made by her at the time you met the Special

19 Rapporteur, Mr Cumaraswamy, which we will look at

20 together in a minute. But then you say -- first line:

21 "I do recall there was a video of Mrs Nelson."

22 Is that what you are referring to?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. "I think the police authority brought it to my attention

25 after Mr Cumaraswamy's visit because they asked me if

 

 

87

 

1 the injury to Mrs Nelson's eye had been caused by an

2 incident involving the police."

3 Just so I'm clear about this, what you remember is

4 that she had an injury on her eye. Is that right?

5 A. I think it is not so much Mrs Nelson's eye, but there

6 was a mark on one side of her face.

7 Q. I see.

8 A. And a police authority member asked me if that was an

9 injury that was caused as a result of any assault by

10 police or any incident involving police.

11 Q. So this is in fact a reference to the facial

12 disfigurement she had?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. It is not a reference to any injuries she --

15 A. No, it was a specific question from a member of the

16 police authority.

17 Q. Thank you very much. Can we move on to another topic in

18 the summer of 1997, which you mention in your statement

19 at paragraph 16, RNI-806-145 (displayed)? This is the

20 murder of the two police officers in Lurgan in June of

21 that year.

22 Now, as you point out in your statement here, these

23 murders caused a great deal of revulsion and I think

24 also shock within Northern Ireland. Is that how you

25 remember it?

 

 

88

 

1 A. Absolutely. Within Northern Ireland and far beyond.

2 I have indicated there that the Garda Siochana, which is

3 the police service in the Republic of Ireland, flew

4 their flags at half mast.

5 These were two community police officers patrolling

6 just in broad daylight and each was shot in the head and

7 murdered. It created widespread revulsion, as I have

8 said in the statement. Books of condolence were placed,

9 I think, in the Town Hall at Lurgan and there were long

10 queues of members of the public who wanted to sign those

11 books.

12 Q. And was the shock in part because, at this point, things

13 seemed to be moving in a rather more positive direction?

14 A. I don't think -- notwithstanding the fact that the

15 reinstatement of the IRA ceasefire came towards the end

16 of July that year, I don't think even as close as this

17 we had very specific intelligence that that was the

18 case. But it certainly was, nonetheless, a great shock

19 that two neighbourhood community police officers were

20 murdered in broad daylight on the street.

21 Q. Can I ask you to look at paragraph 43 of your statement,

22 that's RNI-806-145 (displayed), because here when you

23 talk again about the murders -- I think I have mentioned

24 your awareness of elements of the investigation -- you

25 say:

 

 

89

 

1 "It was a significant event particularly as

2 intelligence indicated that the peace process was

3 beginning to get underway again."

4 A. I think what I would stress there is the word

5 "beginning".

6 Q. Yes --

7 A. I don't think we had the belief that it was absolutely

8 imminent.

9 Q. No. But there were some hopeful signs, although perhaps

10 early signs, of something rather better?

11 A. And as the time went on, my recollection is that

12 after -- the Drumcree parade, I think, takes place

13 always on the Sunday before 12 July, which is the peak

14 of the Orange marching season here. And after the

15 Drumcree parade in 1997, my recollection is that the

16 Orange Order actually cancelled four major marches in,

17 in some instances, equally contentious areas. And I

18 think their cancellation of those contentious marches

19 contributed to the overall improvement and would have

20 been a contributing factor, I think, in the

21 reinstatement of the ceasefire that then came towards

22 the end of July that year.

23 Q. Thank you. Just returning to the immediate aftermath of

24 the two murders, at RNI-806-145, paragraph 16 again

25 (displayed), you say at the bottom of the page that you

 

 

90

 

1 were briefed to the extent there was a good case for

2 murder against Colin Duffy, but you didn't know the

3 detail.

4 You go on in the next paragraph -- if we can read

5 over, RNI-806-146 (displayed) -- to say that:

6 "Any greater detailed briefing ..."

7 Do you see the third line:

8 "... would have been by Sam Kinkaid."

9 Just to pick you up on one point, I think you may be

10 wrong about that. I don't think that he was involved in

11 that investigation.

12 A. No, I think Sam Kinkaid was appointed to that area after

13 that incident. I think --

14 Q. Now, so far as this --

15 A. -- it would have been by whoever was the superintendent

16 in that area. I think that's an error. I don't think

17 it would have been Sam Kinkaid.

18 Q. Thank you. But so far as this murder, or these murders

19 were concerned, would you expect to receive a briefing,

20 albeit a high level briefing, about an event, a crime,

21 such as this?

22 A. Certainly in respect of a double murder like that, yes.

23 Q. Yes. And would you expect that process of briefing to

24 continue as the investigation itself continued?

25 A. In a very high level way in terms of what is the

 

 

91

 

1 prospect of successfully charging with these murders.

2 What is the prospect, do you think, of likely conviction

3 as charged at that sort of level.

4 Q. Would that information come to you from the relevant ACC

5 of the relevant region in one of your meetings?

6 A. At the meetings I have described.

7 Q. Yes, thank you. Now, so far as Colin Duffy was

8 concerned, you tell us in paragraph 16 -- if we can go

9 back to that, please -- RNI-806-145 (displayed), that

10 during your time as Head of Special Branch in the

11 mid 1990s, you would have known of him in the Lurgan

12 area. So when, in due course, he was charged with these

13 two murders, it wasn't the first time you had heard of

14 him?

15 A. It is not the first time I would have heard of the name,

16 but no detailed knowledge.

17 Q. Thank you. So in terms of what you knew about him

18 before then, as I understand it then, you had no

19 specific information about him at that time?

20 A. No.

21 Q. Thank you. So far as that is concerned, if we look

22 together at the last sentence of this same paragraph,

23 RNI-806-146, at the top of the page, you say there:

24 "I was aware that intelligence suggested that

25 Colin Duffy was becoming a thorn in the IRA's side."

 

 

92

 

1 Now, you make this comment in the context of the two

2 policemen and their murder in June 1997. Do you think

3 that is when you were made aware of that intelligence?

4 A. I think in and around that time and I think just in

5 general discussion, not having been shown any specific

6 documentation. I recall vaguely being told that there

7 was some internal changes, internal difficulties within

8 the IRA unit in that particular area.

9 Q. And at this point, in 1997, let's say after the murder

10 in June, did his name feature in intelligence briefings

11 you received?

12 A. No, not particularly, unless it would have been

13 mentioned in the ongoing high level briefings I have

14 discussed about the prospect of charges, possible

15 subsequent prospect of conviction in relation to those

16 murders.

17 Q. But putting the murders to one side, have you any

18 recollection of his name coming up in the course of

19 intelligence briefings?

20 A. Not particularly, no, not that I can recall.

21 Q. Now, in relation to the progress of the investigation,

22 you have made various comments about it later in your

23 statement beginning at paragraph 41, RNI-806-154

24 (displayed). There at the bottom of the page, about

25 four lines from the end, you say:

 

 

93

 

1 "I do recall ..."

2 This is in the context of your comment on an

3 intelligence report; do you see?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. You say there:

6 "I do recall that there was a campaign to discredit

7 the witness ..."

8 This is the witness to the murder, witness for the

9 prosecution, and then make various comments about it.

10 How do you think you learned about that campaign to

11 discredit the witness?

12 A. I think that campaign was quite a public campaign. I

13 think it was broadcast in various media elements. So I

14 think it was common knowledge.

15 Q. You don't think it was something you were briefed on by

16 your own officers?

17 A. I'm not certain that it required a briefing beyond what

18 was public knowledge. There were people, there were

19 organisations suggesting that the witness, as

20 I recollect, was not a creditable witness.

21 Q. Who were the people and who were the organisations?

22 A. It is difficult for me to separate that which I have

23 been shown in terms of documentation as a result of this

24 Inquiry, from what was my personal knowledge at the

25 time. But I think it was quite widely known that there

 

 

94

 

1 was an important witness, central to the prosecution

2 case, and I think it was widely known and publicly known

3 that there were people -- I can't name them, I can't

4 name specific organisations -- who were engaged in

5 a campaign to suggest that this was not in fact

6 a creditable witness.

7 Now, that undoubtedly would have been augmented by

8 briefings and discussion at the weekly meetings I have

9 discussed, but I've no personal detailed recollection or

10 detail.

11 Q. Can we at least get to this level of detail: that the

12 sort of people, the sort of organisations you are

13 talking about would have been, if I can put it that way,

14 sympathetic to the defence and the defendant in that

15 case, as opposed to the prosecution?

16 A. Yes, that's fair to say.

17 Q. And would they have come, or would they have had

18 allegiances, at any rate, to the Republican side of

19 Northern Irish political life?

20 A. Not necessarily.

21 Q. Now, so far as the other comments you make about this

22 are concerned, in paragraph 43, two paragraphs on,

23 RNI-806-155 (displayed), you say at the end of the

24 paragraph:

25 "I was aware of the build-up of pressure on the

 

 

95

 

1 witness to withdraw evidence."

2 And there is a redaction there, you see, in that

3 sentence?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Again, can I ask you, please: how do you think you

6 became aware of that; in other words, of the build-up of

7 pressure on the witness?

8 A. I'm not sure, even as I sit today, whether the witness

9 decided actually to withdraw their evidence or whether

10 the Director of Public Prosecutions decided that this

11 would be an ordeal that would be too great for the

12 witness to endure.

13 I can't be certain of that, but that could be easily

14 checked. But certainly I can't say exactly from whom --

15 I was aware certainly, in the sense that I have earlier

16 described, of this public build-up of pressure.

17 Q. So can I take it then that the sources for that

18 information were the same sources you have referred to

19 earlier?

20 A. Yes, that's my recollection.

21 Q. Now, can we look together, please, at an intelligence

22 report about the case? That's at RNI-541-164

23 (displayed). As I'm sure you know, this is the front

24 sheet, and the substance of it is on the next page at

25 RNI-541-165 (displayed). Could we move that to the

 

 

96

 

1 right of the screen, please, and have the front sheet on

2 the left? The other way round. That's fine by me.

3 Thank you.

4 You may be able to make out that the date of this

5 is September 1997 and it concerns, as you will see on

6 the left, Rosemary Nelson's conduct of Colin Duffy's

7 defence in the course of that case. There are a number

8 of redactions which make it a little bit more difficult

9 to understand, but you will see a reference in the

10 second line there to discrediting the character -- do

11 you see that?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And then a reference to pressure of a redacted name into

14 making the statement and threatening, at the end of that

15 line. And then in the third paragraph:

16 "Nelson also intends to fax the statement all over

17 the world to prominent politicians, including the DPP's

18 office, the Secretary of State and the press. Nelson

19 believes this statement will eventually ensure ..."

20 I think that says:

21 "... the release of Colin Duffy."

22 Now, do you recall seeing this report at the time?

23 A. No, I certainly do not.

24 Q. Does it fall into the category of detailed reporting of

25 the kind you say you wouldn't have seen?

 

 

97

 

1 A. Yes, it would be in that category.

2 Q. Thank you. But when you look at what is suggested there

3 in those paragraphs, was this, as far as you were

4 concerned, part of the campaign to discredit the witness

5 that you referred to in your statement?

6 A. Well, if you believe exactly what is written there, you

7 could say that the second paragraph could fall into that

8 category.

9 Q. Yes.

10 A. I don't think anybody could take exception to the first

11 or subsequent paragraphs.

12 Q. But so far as that second paragraph is concerned, you

13 said there was public knowledge of the campaign to

14 discredit the witness. Did you know, therefore, or did

15 you believe, based on what you learned that

16 Rosemary Nelson was part of the campaign?

17 A. No, I did not.

18 Q. Why do you say that?

19 A. Because I did not know it.

20 Q. You didn't have any idea?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Can I take it, therefore, that you regarded her at this

23 time as undertaking an ordinary role of defence lawyer

24 on behalf of her client, in this case Colin Duffy?

25 A. Yes, I did.

 

 

98

 

1 Q. And are saying to the Inquiry, as I understand it, that

2 during the currency of this case, through the summer

3 months and up to the beginning of October 1997, you had

4 no reason to doubt that that was what she was actually

5 doing?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. Thank you. So when we go back to your statement at

8 paragraph 41 and the last sentence at RNI-806-154

9 (displayed), where you say:

10 "I was not briefed on Rosemary Nelson doing anything

11 untoward in that regard ..."

12 In this very context, you were not given information

13 by your officers that she was, as you put it, "doing

14 anything untoward". Is that right?

15 A. That is right.

16 Q. And you learned nothing of that kind from the public

17 material about the campaign?

18 A. That's correct.

19 Q. Thank you. Now, can I turn to look with you briefly at

20 another topic at roughly the same time.

21 In May 1997, a matter came in to Command Secretariat

22 in the form of a letter from a United States senator,

23 that's Senator Torricelli. We can see that together at

24 RNI-101-020 (displayed). If I can put it this way, the

25 meat of it is in the first and second paragraph where it

 

 

99

 

1 is alleged by the Senator, who's writing, I should say,

2 to the British Ambassador in Washington, that:

3 "Rosemary Nelson and a number of other solicitors

4 who represent Catholic clients have been the victims of

5 discrimination and harassment."

6 Then in the next paragraph you see:

7 "Ms Nelson has indicated that she has received

8 several threats against her life from an officer of the

9 RUC stationed at the Gough Interrogation Centre."

10 Then some particulars are given, namely that:

11 "Clients have stated that during the course of their

12 interrogations, Ms Nelson's life was threatened.

13 Although these threats were not made directly to

14 Ms Nelson, they have been terrifying nonetheless."

15 We know from the other material that the Inquiry has

16 gathered together that this came in to

17 Command Secretariat via the NIO and was dealt with by

18 Superintendent Maxwell. Can I ask you this question:

19 were you aware of the letter from Senator Torricelli at

20 the time?

21 A. I do not have any recollection of being made aware of

22 this particular letter.

23 Q. No. Looking at it, on its face it contains an

24 allegation made by an elected official in the

25 United States that one of your officers was threatening

 

 

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1 the life of a practising solicitor in Northern Ireland.

2 That's what it says on its face, doesn't it?

3 A. Hm-mm.

4 Q. Was that not something that should have been drawn to

5 your attention by the officers within

6 Command Secretariat?

7 A. I think that that's an example of something I would have

8 expected to have been brought to my attention. I have

9 no recollection of this particular letter having been

10 brought to my attention.

11 Q. But just doing what we can with the way the system, as

12 you described it earlier, did operate as far as you were

13 concerned -- namely that P157 and his colleagues

14 filtered the material and made sure that you saw the

15 sort of things that you ought to see -- if that system

16 had operated properly, do you think you would have been

17 shown or at least told about the allegations made in

18 this letter?

19 A. I think, because of the level of people involved in the

20 correspondence, although it is in a very secondary way

21 come into Command Secretariat, I think that's an example

22 that I would have expected to have been brought to my

23 attention. But, as I say, I certainly have no personal

24 recollection of it having been.

25 Q. What was it about the allegations made in the letter

 

 

101

 

1 that makes you believe you should have seen it?

2 A. Well, I guess brought about by your question, that this

3 was a representative in a different country writing to

4 the British Ambassador. Presumably the British

5 Ambassador would want to give a reply, and because of

6 the level of interest, the positions held by those

7 people, that would lead me to say what I have just said.

8 Q. But presumably it was a little more than the level of

9 the people interested; presumably it was also the very

10 nature of the allegations made?

11 A. What I find -- when it says "an officer", that sounds

12 specific to me and what I certainly would have expected

13 Command Secretariat to do is to make sure that that was

14 recorded and to make sure that it was the subject of

15 investigation, because I have to say that the practice

16 in the rest of the United Kingdom at this period was not

17 necessarily to record and investigate complaints made

18 against the police by third parties.

19 I insisted that we did record and investigate such

20 complaints and I also insisted that even though the

21 legislation which governed the then ICPC had schedules

22 of matters which must be referred to them and schedules

23 of matters which the police had a discretion as to

24 whether or not to refer to them, that it was my policy

25 and process to refer virtually everything to the ICPC

 

 

102

 

1 and let that body make a decision as to whether they

2 supervise the organisation.

3 So my policy would have been very well-known to my

4 colleagues in Command Secretariat, and that's the very

5 least I would have expected from them: that such

6 a complaint was indeed recorded, that they would check

7 with G Department that that was the case and that it was

8 investigated or, having been recorded, should be the

9 subject of investigation.

10 Q. That obviously deals with the question of investigating

11 it as a complaint because that's what G Department was,

12 wasn't it?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And we know -- perhaps you know this now -- that that's

15 what Superintendent Maxwell did: he sent it to

16 G Department. But wouldn't you also have wanted the

17 substance of the allegation, i.e. whether or not there was

18 a threat to the life of this lawyer, to be investigated

19 by the relevant officers on the ground in South Region?

20 A. And that's what I would exactly expect of the

21 investigation to which I have referred.

22 Constitutionally in a police service -- and I don't

23 exonerate -- as Chief Constable, in one sense I'm

24 responsible for everything, but constitutionally there

25 is quite a deliberate responsibility for complaints and

 

 

103

 

1 for discipline given to a deputy chief constable in case

2 a Chief Constable has to sit in some appellate capacity.

3 In certain instances, if a Chief Constable in the year

4 we are talking about, comes by so much knowledge that he

5 or she is not appropriate to sit in an appellate

6 capacity, that can be dealt with by asking another Chief

7 Constable to sit in that capacity.

8 So it is just possible that in that constitutional

9 position someone may have made a conscious decision,

10 either because they were satisfied as to a rigorous

11 investigation already being in place via Complaints and

12 Discipline Department that it may not have been

13 necessary to place that before me -- I'm not saying

14 categorically it was not; I'm saying because of the

15 level of people involved in the correspondence, it is an

16 example that I would have expected actually to have

17 passed before me. I certainly have no personal

18 recollection of that having been done.

19 Q. To be clear again, the point you have made, as it were,

20 about holding yourself apart as Chief Constable in the

21 cases of complaints in case you had subsequently to be

22 involved --

23 A. I want to stress that's not just me personally; that is

24 a feature of the construct of policing in the

25 United Kingdom.

 

 

104

 

1 Q. Absolutely. But that, again, is to treat the matter as

2 a complaint.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. The question I was seeking to put to you is what about

5 investigating the substance, i.e. make sure that the

6 commander, whether subdivisional or divisional

7 commander, in the relevant area was investigating the

8 substance, namely the alleged -- of course, it's only

9 alleged -- threats to the life of a lawyer?

10 A. I think that is the very important thing: it is only

11 alleged. It is alleged by people presumably being

12 interviewed, presumably being interviewed for very

13 serious offences. So the first stage in the

14 investigation would be is there any substance, is there

15 any basis to this allegation.

16 Q. And would you have wanted to know the answer to that as

17 Chief Constable?

18 A. Certainly if there was any substance or any suspected

19 substance, I would certainly have wanted to know the

20 answer.

21 Q. But if you had received a copy of this letter, would you

22 have directed that an answer come back to you from the

23 region?

24 A. No, I would have made sure that it was the subject of

25 a rigorous investigation.

 

 

105

 

1 Now, that rigorous investigation could completely

2 disprove the allegation, could come to the conclusion

3 that there is absolutely no foundation in it, and in

4 those circumstances it wouldn't be necessary to come

5 back to me. If the investigation showed otherwise, then

6 that's a different matter.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Who would you envisage the rigorous

8 investigation was going to be carried out about? Who

9 was going to carry out the rigorous investigation?

10 A. That's -- G Department, sir, was the department that

11 included officers permanently deployed to conduct these

12 investigations.

13 The standard practice would be that we would seek

14 a two ranks differential, so that, for example, if

15 a detective constable was the subject of an allegation

16 of complaint, the investigation would be carried out at

17 the very least by an inspector or chief inspector. If

18 it relates to a team of detectives, some of whom are

19 higher rank, it would be investigated by -- or at least

20 the investigation would be very closely overseen by

21 officers of a higher rank.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: You would have regarded it as a complaint

23 matter and a complaint matter only. Is that right?

24 A. At that stage, that's what it is being described as:

25 a complaint and an allegation. So I would have expected

 

 

106

 

1 the investigation to be a rigorous investigation, as

2 I have described it.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

4 A. Under the supervision of the ICPC.

5 MR PHILLIPS: Would you have suggested that a threat

6 assessment in relation to this lawyer be carried out?

7 A. I don't think at that stage, based on one allegation --

8 I think that would have depended upon how the

9 investigation was unfolding.

10 Q. Just to complete this, at RNI-101-036 (displayed) we see

11 the letter that went back from Superintendent Maxwell to

12 the NIO, which, as you will see, rather as you have been

13 suggesting, focuses, and focuses entirely in fact, on

14 the complaints side of matters. Do you see that?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Can I take it from what you have said that you don't

17 think you would have seen this letter either --

18 A. I certainly have no recollection of seeing it.

19 Q. Can I also take it from what you have said that you

20 would have been quite satisfied with this response,

21 which focused, as you have just been suggesting, on the

22 complaint?

23 A. Obviously some action was taken by the officer who

24 signed the letter, when he says:

25 "We have presently no evidence to support the

 

 

107

 

1 contention that the threats have recently become more

2 consistent, ominous ..."

3 So he must have made some enquiry, he must have

4 taken some steps.

5 Q. Is that what you would have expected him to do?

6 A. Yes.

7 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you. Sir, would that be a convenient

8 moment?

9 THE CHAIRMAN: We will adjourn until five past four.

10 (3.50 pm)

11 (Short break)

12 (4.05 pm)

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

14 MR PHILLIPS: Could we have RNI-101-020 back on the screen,

15 please (displayed).

16 Now, when you were discussing with me earlier the

17 business of the representation of Colin Duffy in

18 relation to the murder of the two police officers in

19 Lurgan in June 1997, you said in summary that as far as

20 you were aware, in acting for him Rosemary Nelson was

21 doing no more than her job as a lawyer?

22 A. That was my belief.

23 Q. Thank you. And with that belief, can I ask you to look

24 again at this letter. Presumably, if you had seen this

25 letter at the time, you would have been very disturbed

 

 

108

 

1 by the thought that a lawyer going about her business in

2 this way was alleged to have been threatened by one of

3 your officers?

4 A. Certainly if there was any substance to that allegation,

5 it is something that would have disturbed me.

6 Q. Yes. It was a very serious matter, not just obviously

7 because it disclosed, on the face of it, a serious

8 offence, but also it was a serious matter politically

9 within Northern Ireland, wasn't it?

10 A. If it were to be true or to have substance.

11 Q. Yes. Because inevitably it is the sort of thing that

12 would have led to comparisons being drawn, for example,

13 with the murder of Pat Finucane?

14 A. What I would certainly have hoped for and would have

15 expected is that someone who is the subject of any such

16 allegations would have fully cooperated with the police

17 in the investigation of those allegations, and that does

18 not seem to have been the case in the correspondence

19 that you have shown me.

20 Q. Absolutely. But just returning to the nature of the

21 allegation itself, can I ask you this: can I take it

22 that this was the sort of allegation, namely that death

23 threats were being issued against lawyers, defence

24 lawyers, was not the sort of allegation that came to

25 your attention regularly?

 

 

109

 

1 A. No, it certainly didn't.

2 Q. Do you in fact have any recollection of a similar

3 allegation being made in relation to another solicitor

4 in these early months of your tenure of the post of

5 Chief Constable?

6 A. I have no such recollection.

7 Q. No. What about the period after that, between this

8 time, summer 1997, and Rosemary Nelson's murder, did it

9 remain a unique case?

10 A. I can't actually place it in time, but obviously there

11 was an issue around the ICPC supervision of such

12 allegations.

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. There was later an issue in relation to Mr Cumaraswamy.

15 So certainly at those times, but I cannot see the date

16 of this particular letter.

17 Q. Let's have it on the screen, please: 15 April. We think

18 it arrived in Command Secretariat, I think, at the end

19 of May or early June.

20 A. Yes, I wouldn't have been aware of such allegations at

21 that time.

22 Q. But the matters you have mentioned in relation to the

23 ICPC and Mr Cumaraswamy all revolved around the same

24 lawyer, didn't they, Rosemary Nelson?

25 A. Certainly in the conversation that I recall with

 

 

110

 

1 Mr Cumaraswamy, it didn't necessarily revolve around

2 Mrs Nelson.

3 Q. He was saying, was he, that other solicitors had been

4 the subject of death threats?

5 A. Yes. I had two meetings with Mr Cumaraswamy, I think,

6 one at the end of his review, and we had some brief

7 discussion about how he had gone about his work, had he

8 taken statements, and hence the involvement with the

9 Law Society, that perhaps we'll come to.

10 Q. But in terms of individuals, as at this point

11 in April/May/June, whenever it was, 1997, this was the

12 first such allegation that you had encountered as

13 Chief Constable. Is that right?

14 A. Certainly I have no recollection of it having been

15 brought to my attention.

16 Q. Yes. Can I just turn to ask you some further questions

17 about your view of Rosemary Nelson, and I would like to

18 start, please, at paragraph 24 of your statement,

19 RNI-806-148 (displayed).

20 This is the paragraph we looked at together where

21 you start by making a comment about files, and I don't

22 want to go over that with you again. But you say in the

23 next sentences:

24 "My impressions at that time were that

25 Rosemary Nelson was a lawyer who was doing her job.

 

 

111

 

1 I suspected that she was being manipulated by the GRRC,

2 although, as I have stated she was ..."

3 Reading on:

4 "... not a major figure in terms of marshalling and

5 organising the residents. I think the GRRC were capable

6 of doing their own organising and they were simply using

7 Rosemary Nelson as a legitimate front."

8 Then this final sentence:

9 "There was nothing untoward said about her. It came

10 to my ears in any briefing I received from SB

11 [Special Branch] or local police on her role in

12 representing the GRRC."

13 A. That is the case.

14 Q. Thank you. I would like to ask you a number of

15 questions arising out of those various statements and

16 the first takes us back to the beginning of the

17 paragraph I have quoted on the previous page, where you

18 say:

19 "My impressions at that time were that

20 Rosemary Nelson was a lawyer who was doing her job."

21 Do you mean by that in the summer of 1997?

22 A. Yes, I assume I'm referring to the summer of 1997. This

23 is a statement made in response to questions put to me

24 and documents shown to me this year.

25 Q. Yes. So that's a record of your impression at that time

 

 

112

 

1 in the summer of 1997. What I wanted to ask you is

2 this: did your view of her change at any time before her

3 murder in March 1999?

4 A. No, it did not.

5 Q. So I'm very clear about this, it is your evidence, is

6 it, that you were never briefed, never aware, of

7 allegations that she was behaving unprofessionally or

8 even criminally at any stage before her murder?

9 A. I was not, and I certainly believe that in relation to

10 the GRRC, Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition, and indeed

11 other clients, that they didn't need advice such as has

12 since been shown to me as an allegation that Mrs Nelson

13 was offering. I have no knowledge of any such

14 suggestions.

15 Q. Right. And so when we look to the last sentence of the

16 paragraph -- could we have that on the screen, please,

17 at RNI-806-149 (displayed) -- you say:

18 "There was nothing untoward said about her that came

19 to my ears in any briefing I received from

20 Special Branch or local police on her role in

21 representing the GRRC".

22 We can extend that, can we, to cover all of her

23 activity as a lawyer?

24 A. The documents I have since been shown were never shown

25 to me and I have no knowledge of them, was not given any

 

 

113

 

1 briefing on them.

2 Q. Thank you. That takes me on to the next question.

3 In your statement you have addressed various

4 documents that were shown to you obviously in your

5 interview, and I know that since then you have seen

6 other documents and, as I understand it, what you are

7 saying in general -- and we will look at one or two in

8 particular, but in general you did not see that

9 intelligence reporting at the time?

10 A. Absolutely.

11 Q. Now, as I'm sure you are aware, the Inquiry has now

12 heard evidence from some very senior Special Branch

13 officers who had a very different view of her, and in

14 particular B597, if you consult your sheet -- I would be

15 grateful -- who was at one point the Head of the IMG,

16 gave evidence to the effect that in his view, she,

17 Rosemary Nelson, had crossed the line and made himself

18 equivalent to a terrorist by, for example, doing things

19 such as helping PIRA members to create false alibis; in

20 other words, that she had crossed the line between

21 acceptable conduct as a lawyer and what was unacceptable

22 conduct in support of a terrorist organisation.

23 A. Is it possible for me to see exactly what that witness

24 said --

25 Q. There are a number of pieces of intelligence. I can

 

 

114

 

1 take you through them if you would like me to. The

2 first is RNI-541-002.

3 MR McCOLLUM: What the witness asked was could he see what

4 witness B597 had said in evidence, as I understand.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. I think Sir Ronnie's request was to see

6 what the officer actually said --

7 MR PHILLIPS: I very much hope he already has. I think

8 there may be a technical difficulty in doing this.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Maybe by tomorrow morning he can see it.

10 MR PHILLIPS: Yes. I'm pretty certain that attention has

11 been directed to the relevant parts of the transcript.

12 A. If it has -- if it is something I have seen, it did not

13 come across in my recollection of reading it just as

14 directly as counsel has said, and that's why I would

15 like to see it again. Certainly I would be shocked and

16 I wouldn't describe Mrs Nelson in those terms.

17 Q. So that your legal team can know the references, I think

18 they are Day 79, between page 47 and page 53.

19 A. Thank you.

20 Q. Just if we can, accepting for the moment that what

21 I have said is a reasonably fair summary of the evidence

22 that was given, were you aware at any point before the

23 murder of Rosemary Nelson that that was a view held by

24 that officer, senior officer, within Special Branch?

25 A. No, I was not.

 

 

115

 

1 Q. Were you aware that it was a view of Rosemary Nelson

2 held by any other senior officer within Special Branch?

3 A. No, I was not.

4 Q. Now, another senior officer, Mr Albiston -- and this is

5 Day 76, I think, page 79 -- gave evidence to the Inquiry

6 that as far as he was concerned, based on the

7 information, the material, he saw, Rosemary Nelson was

8 committing criminal offences, for example, in what was

9 reported as to the way in which she was giving

10 assistance to the Provisional IRA, for example,

11 gathering information for them about RUC officers.

12 Can I ask you again: is that something of which you

13 were aware before the murder of Rosemary Nelson?

14 A. It is certainly not something of which I was aware, and

15 the reports that I have seen are individual, isolated

16 reports over a period of time and I stress I have seen

17 them only in the conduct of this Inquiry business.

18 Q. Now, both of those officers seem to think it likely that

19 you would have been briefed on matters of this kind.

20 Can I take it from your answer that your evidence to the

21 Inquiry is that you were not so briefed?

22 A. I was not so briefed.

23 Q. So no intelligence of the kind you have been shown or

24 similar intelligence, and no briefings, raising these

25 allegations or these suggestions about her?

 

 

116

 

1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. Now you have had an opportunity to see the material and

3 indeed, if you haven't already, to see the transcripts

4 of this evidence, are these matters of which you think

5 you should have been made aware as Chief Constable?

6 A. Because these were individual reports of a very

7 localised nature, I don't think necessarily they are

8 things that I would have expected to have been

9 briefed on.

10 Q. But that wasn't the only matter I was putting to you. I

11 was putting to you also the views held and expressed to

12 the Inquiry by the very senior Special Branch officers

13 that I have mentioned. Are those views views that you

14 think should have been drawn to your attention at the

15 time?

16 A. If they were views strongly held and believed, then I

17 would have expected to have been aware of them.

18 I certainly was not aware of them and I wouldn't

19 necessarily come to the same conclusion that they seem

20 to have come to, based on the material that I have read.

21 Q. Now, if you had been briefed about them, presumably you

22 would have been very concerned to hear of what appeared

23 to be a very close link between a prominent local

24 lawyer, local to Lurgan, and the main terrorist

25 organisation then operating in Northern Ireland?

 

 

117

 

1 A. It is not at all the impression I had of Mrs Nelson,

2 that she was in any way a sinful figure in terms of

3 terrorist activity or any other criminal activity. Not

4 at all the impression that I had. And, indeed, the

5 organisation to which you refer would not need such

6 assistance from Mrs Nelson or anybody else.

7 Occasionally they may need her -- it may be in their

8 interests to have legal representation, but not

9 assistance of the type that you describe.

10 Q. But just going back to my question, had you been briefed

11 along the lines that I have mentioned by these senior

12 officers or, indeed, by any senior officer in

13 Special Branch, would it not have been a matter of some

14 concern that that was the way in which she was regarded?

15 A. It would have been a matter of concern if that was

16 a strongly held belief and if there was substance upon

17 which such a strongly held belief was appropriate or

18 sensible.

19 Q. Presumably one of the things you would have wanted to

20 know in those circumstances is what your officers were

21 proposing to do about it?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Were they, for example, proposing to pass the matter to

24 CID if there were, on the face of it, criminal

25 activities going on so that it could be investigated?

 

 

118

 

1 That was one option.

2 A. That's one option, but you have referred earlier to

3 a Special Branch number being allocated to Mrs Nelson.

4 Q. Yes.

5 A. And a Special Branch file. You know, the reports that

6 I have seen are isolated, individual reports.

7 Q. Indeed.

8 A. Over a period of time and on the basis of an individual

9 report, I don't necessarily see that there is something

10 to be investigated or -- I don't see some of those

11 individual reports capable of being investigated. If

12 you have a single report simply saying someone says or

13 information has been received that Mrs Nelson is helping

14 construct alibis and there is no corroboration, there is

15 no supporting material for that, I think it would be

16 a matter that would be very difficult to investigate

17 from a criminal point of view.

18 Q. So presumably then, if there was more material or

19 further material of which the officers were aware, that

20 might change your view?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Because that would help to build up a rather more

23 complete picture with perhaps the corroboration that you

24 are talking about?

25 A. Yes, and the documents that I have seen don't amount to

 

 

119

 

1 that sort of picture in my view.

2 Q. Can I just go back to the sentence we looked at a little

3 earlier in paragraph 24 of the statement, and this is at

4 the end of the paragraph at RNI-806-149 (displayed)

5 because there, if you remember, you make a comment about

6 her role representing the GRRC. A little earlier in the

7 same paragraph, you say in relation to them:

8 "They were simply using Rosemary Nelson as

9 a legitimate front."

10 What do you mean by that, please?

11 A. That's based on knowledge now. It is not based on my

12 view at the time. I had no reason to believe they were

13 simply using Mrs Nelson as a legitimate front. What I'm

14 saying is my experience of them is that they were very

15 capable of making their own plans, engaging in their own

16 organisation, but from time to time, for example, they

17 may want to judicially review a decision in respect of

18 a parade and that's, in my view, the sort of instances

19 in which they would have briefed Mrs Nelson to act in

20 that legal capacity on their behalf.

21 Q. But it suggests, doesn't it, that you regarded the

22 organisation itself as illegitimate because they

23 required a legitimate front?

24 A. No, I mean -- I keep coming back to the point that this

25 statement is made in response to questions asked by

 

 

120

 

1 solicitors to the Inquiry. So I would need to see the

2 exact sort of questions that I was asked at the time

3 that they then formulated this statement as my response

4 to their answers.

5 Q. You presumably had a chance to review the statement

6 before you signed it?

7 A. I did, of course.

8 Q. And you would want to make sure that it was an accurate

9 and fair account of the evidence that you were giving to

10 the Inquiry?

11 A. Yes, I would.

12 Q. And truthful in all respects?

13 A. It is rather more the connotation that you are

14 suggesting: if I considered the Garvaghy Road Residents

15 Coalition to be in any way subversive. I didn't view

16 them in that light.

17 Q. Why did they need a legitimate front in that event?

18 A. What I'm saying is if they have need to be represented

19 or whatever, that's the role that I would have seen

20 Mrs Nelson playing: a legitimate front for the

21 organisation, not the sort of role that has been

22 suggested, that she in any way was directing their

23 activity, planning their activities or engaging in

24 anything untoward on their behalf. I had no knowledge

25 or no basis on which to come to that belief.

 

 

121

 

1 Q. No, as you see from that sentence, which is on the

2 screen, your suspicion was that she was in fact being

3 manipulated by them; in other words, she was being taken

4 advantage of as a lawyer. Is that right?

5 A. Yes, but that's written years after the event. As

6 I said earlier in my response to your questions, not

7 necessarily a belief I held at the time.

8 Q. So when you use the past tense there:

9 "I suspected that she was being manipulated."

10 You weren't telling us what you thought at the time?

11 A. Not necessarily.

12 Q. Can we look back to paragraph 23, please? It is

13 a little earlier on this page, RNI-7806-148 (displayed),

14 where you are talking about the organisation. About six

15 lines from the end, you say:

16 "I never got the impression that Mrs Nelson was an

17 organising figure on their behalf ..."

18 That is the GRRC's behalf:

19 "... or at all. Breandan Mac Cionnaith and the

20 others were doing the organising, though I did hold the

21 view they were under the control of Sinn Fein."

22 Now, just so I'm clear about this, when you said

23 "I did hold the view", can I take it that you mean you

24 held the view at the time?

25 A. That's right. You can take that, and it was my view

 

 

122

 

1 that in terms of the range of residents groups, the

2 Orange Order, for example, had made it clear that their

3 policy would not be to engage in dialogue with convicted

4 terrorists.

5 So suddenly, in virtually all of the residents

6 groups, you have people centrally involved who it is

7 public knowledge had previous terrorist convictions, and

8 I held the belief that that was possibly a part of

9 a strategy so that the Orange Order wouldn't engage them

10 in dialogue. That sort of -- it doesn't mean that that

11 makes those residents groups in any way subversive.

12 Q. But it does mean, according to what you are saying, that

13 they were under the control of Sinn Fein, the political

14 front, as it were, or arm, of the Provisional IRA?

15 A. I think certainly Sinn Fein would have had a very big

16 influence and could exert very big influence on the

17 steps taken by those residents groups.

18 Q. Can I take it that that view that you held at the time

19 was formed on the basis of intelligence?

20 A. Yes, that's correct.

21 Q. The sort of intelligence that we discussed together

22 before, the focus of intelligence in and around Drumcree

23 at this time of year?

24 A. That's correct.

25 Q. Thank you. Now, the next matter to which I would like

 

 

123

 

1 to turn, please, at this stage in terms of your view of

2 Rosemary Nelson concerns the evidence that the Inquiry

3 has heard to the effect that she was having

4 a relationship or a romantic sexual relationship with

5 one of her clients, Colin Duffy.

6 Now, you are aware, I'm sure, that evidence of that

7 kind has been given to the Inquiry?

8 A. I'm aware of that evidence having been given.

9 Q. And it is a matter you address in your own witness

10 statement, isn't it?

11 A. I'm not sure at which paragraph, but yes.

12 Q. Yes. What I would like to do is to start looking at

13 this topic in relation to your evidence with

14 paragraph 120, which is at RNI-806-182 (displayed).

15 Here, much later in the story, I should point out,

16 do you see there the letter referred to at the beginning

17 of this paragraph comes at the end of July the next

18 year, 1998. You are talking essentially about the

19 problems relating to the ICPC. Do you see that?

20 A. Yes, indeed.

21 Q. Thank you very much. And you say:

22 "I have been asked if the issue of the alleged

23 relationship between Colin Duffy and Rosemary Nelson was

24 raised at this meeting. I have no recollection of this

25 being raised at the time."

 

 

124

 

1 Then you go on to make a comment about something you

2 think you were shown or told by Geralyn McNally. Do you

3 see that?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. She was the supervising member of the ICPC, wasn't she?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And in your own words, please, what was it that she told

8 you or showed you?

9 A. What was being discussed -- and I think this was

10 probably at a meeting earlier that month --

11 Q. Yes, it was a meeting at the beginning of July, wasn't

12 it?

13 A. Yes, I think it must have been that meeting.

14 Q. Yes.

15 A. And with Miss McNally and, indeed, with Paul Donnelly.

16 Miss McNally outlined the reasons for her feeling that

17 she would not be in a position to issue what has become

18 colloquially known as a certificate of satisfaction, but

19 how the investigation into the complaints by or on

20 behalf of Mrs Nelson were conducted. And she outlined,

21 as far as I can recall, a number of reservations and she

22 used a phrase -- I'm not certain whether it was

23 a document; I think it was much more likely to have been

24 used verbally -- that police officers in their reports

25 were questioning the moral conduct of Mrs Nelson. It

 

 

125

 

1 didn't go any further than that as to what the

2 explanation of moral conduct meant.

3 There was another indication where she expressed

4 concerns that one of the officers to be interviewed by

5 the investigating officer appeared to smell of drink, or

6 some phrase like that. So I asked Miss McNally at this

7 meeting what was done about that because it is in the

8 Police Discipline Code that it is a clear offence to

9 take drink whilst on duty. One doesn't have to be

10 drunk. So what I wanted to know was what did she do at

11 the time? Did she draw it to the officer's attention?

12 Did she draw it to the investigating officer's

13 attention? Did she draw it to the officer's

14 supervisor's attention?

15 In relation to this question about the phrase of

16 Mrs Nelson's moral conduct, I don't think we had any

17 further discussion at that time about what that might

18 mean, but I do think I started to ask questions about

19 why would any investigating officer, or why would anyone

20 involved in the investigation question the moral conduct

21 of Mrs Nelson.

22 I recall that the answer -- and this was all verbal,

23 nothing documented. I recall that the answer was rather

24 more about the chain of evidence, so that if the chain

25 of reporting of allegations starts with one of

 

 

126

 

1 Mrs Nelson's clients making an allegation about what has

2 been said to them during interview, is passed to

3 Mrs Nelson, is passed by Mrs Nelson to, let's say, the

4 Lawyers Alliance for Justice in Ireland, and then they

5 report that to us, my recollection is that there was

6 some discussion around phraseology that related to it.

7 Just because, as an officer of the court, Mrs Nelson

8 herself is in that chain of reporting, it does not give

9 that report any additional credibility and that somehow

10 that may have been misconstrued or used in

11 Miss McNally's definitional terms to take on the phrase

12 "moral conduct".

13 Q. So --

14 A. Sorry, in the process of asking those questions -- and I

15 cannot be sure from whom or in what form or at exactly

16 what time, but I think it was in the course of asking

17 questions about what is this, who on earth is

18 questioning Mrs Nelson's moral conduct, that I think I

19 was told of some rumours, some suggestion -- no hard

20 evidence and nothing was ever put to me in document

21 form -- that there was a relationship between Mrs Nelson

22 and Duffy.

23 Q. So you think that in the context of this question raised

24 by Geralyn McNally arising out of the dispute on the

25 investigation, you think that it was at that point that

 

 

127

 

1 you were made aware -- not in documents, as you say --

2 of the allegations that there was this relationship?

3 A. Made aware of the rumour, something I didn't pay

4 particular attention to. In fact, as I reflected back,

5 I couldn't be sure if I was made aware of that rumour

6 after Mrs Nelson's murder or before the murder. But I

7 think it is as a result of the -- the phrase used in

8 this statement is "moral integrity". I'm not sure if

9 that is the exact wording or rather is it "moral

10 conduct".

11 Q. Can we look at the next paragraph of your statement, if

12 we can get that enlarged on the screen, 121, it is on

13 the same page (displayed). There, you say:

14 "If I was aware of the alleged relationship, this

15 could have been ..."

16 And then you go on to say in broad outline what you

17 have just been saying: that it was in that context, the

18 P146 report, that you think the matter may have come up.

19 And there you refer to the then Head of Special Branch,

20 don't you, in the third line?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Do you think it is possible or probable that he would

23 have been the source of that information?

24 A. I think simply because in terms of the frequency of

25 contact, it is more likely to have been him than others.

 

 

128

 

1 Q. Yes, but is it something, do you think, that you would

2 have sought to find out more about from him in the

3 course of your exchanges with him?

4 A. No, I did not.

5 Q. Can I just ask you this question about it? The rumour,

6 the allegation, was that again this lawyer, who had

7 become reasonably prominent by this stage, the summer of

8 1998, was having a relationship with somebody regarded

9 by you, no doubt, and your force, as a prominent

10 terrorist. Was that not something that you would have

11 expected to be informed about in the course of these

12 briefings you have described for us by the Head of

13 Special Branch?

14 A. Not necessarily. At that time Mrs Nelson was not

15 someone, to my knowledge, in whom Special Branch had

16 a particular interest. Obviously Duffy was someone in

17 whom Special Branch would have had an interest.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. And therefore, this rumour passed on to me isn't

20 something I would have paid particular attention to.

21 Q. Looking at the next paragraph -- can we have the

22 paragraph, 122 -- it is almost impossible to read it

23 because of the number of document references. Could we

24 have that and then the next part of it, please, if it is

25 possible, which is the top of the next page, there.

 

 

129

 

1 As I understand it, you having been shown all of the

2 various reports, sightings, surveillance reports, of

3 contact between the two of them, as I understand it, you

4 are saying you weren't aware of the detail of that

5 reporting. Is that correct?

6 A. Absolutely correct. And I have to say, bearing in mind

7 all that we have discussed earlier, in terms of all that

8 was going on, all that was going on right across the

9 scene in terms of changes the organisation was going

10 through, changes in Northern Ireland, I don't think that

11 is necessarily something that I would have expected to

12 have been brought to my attention. I think that's

13 something that would have been considered quite a local

14 issue.

15 Q. Just putting it in a slightly broader context, the

16 reporting that is referred to in your statement on this

17 topic was generated during surveillance operations about

18 which the Inquiry has now heard a certain amount of

19 evidence, because there was obviously an intelligence

20 effort, if I can put it this way, at about this

21 time, July 1998, which resulted in these reports.

22 In that context, is it not something that you would

23 have expected to be made aware of?

24 A. Not necessarily. Again, putting it in the much wider

25 context, in terms of all that was going on, I would

 

 

130

 

1 consider that quite a localised issue.

2 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you a question about the

3 chronology of all of this, appreciating that it is, of

4 course, a very long time ago.

5 The meeting you mentioned with Geralyn McNally and

6 Paul Donnelly was, as I suggested to you, I think, on

7 1 July 1998. And I think it is right from your

8 statement that at this distance of time you can't now

9 remember with any clarity when you were first made aware

10 of the rumours about the relationship. Is that right?

11 A. I think it was after that --

12 Q. You think it was after that?

13 A. To the best of my recollection it was as a result of me

14 asking questions about this phrase and who on earth

15 would be making any suggestions about moral conduct,

16 moral integrity. Why would this phrase apply?

17 Q. Yes. You don't think it is possible that you were

18 briefed about it, informed about it, earlier than that?

19 Earlier, in other words, than the beginning

20 of July 1998?

21 A. I certainly do not think so.

22 Q. Finally on this matter, the Inquiry, as I am sure you

23 are aware, has also heard evidence from David Watkins --

24 we talked about him earlier; he was a very senior NIO

25 official -- that at one of the SPMs in July 1998, in

 

 

131

 

1 other words at about this time, he remembers you stating

2 in that meeting that Rosemary Nelson was an immoral

3 woman.

4 Now, do you recall making that comment in the course

5 of an SPM?

6 A. Absolutely not, and I have read the evidence given by

7 the person -- the witness you describe, and it seems to

8 me at complete odds with the statement that he provided.

9 It seemed to me a very strange recollection.

10 SPM seems a very strange forum for such matters to

11 be discussed unless, again, it was in the context of

12 that phrase and perhaps if the Secretary of State was

13 saying, "Well, why is Miss McNally concerned about

14 officers questioning Ms Nelson's moral conduct?"

15 Q. So do you think it is at least possible that following

16 your meeting with her and your subsequent discussion

17 with B542, in the course of the SPM meeting, which, as

18 I recall, was in the middle of July, I think about

19 14 July, it is possible that in briefing the meeting on

20 the continuing saga of the ICPC, you will have passed on

21 the rumour that there was this relationship?

22 A. I very much doubt that. SPM would not have been the

23 forum for that. There could have been some discussion

24 about the phrase. I certainly do not recall it and I

25 don't see any other witness who recalled it. And as

 

 

132

 

1 I referred earlier, SPM meetings, to my knowledge, were

2 fairly well and comprehensively minuted, and I'm not

3 aware of any minute of that having been discussed.

4 Certainly it wouldn't be the case that I would deal in

5 rumour or pass on rumour gratuitously. I would not do

6 that.

7 Q. Now, in relation to the briefing you have received, or

8 the information received from B542 --

9 A. Sorry, I have to say what I have said about that is

10 that's the most likely -- I don't recall any briefing

11 from B542, but he is the person with whom I would have

12 had the most frequent contact.

13 Q. Assuming that he was the source of the information, how

14 confident are you that it was put by him as a rumour

15 rather than some -- a view, a conclusion, that

16 Special Branch had reached based on observations?

17 A. I cannot be sure that he put anything to me. What I can

18 be sure was that I treated it as a rumour.

19 Q. Can I finally ask you this in relation to the SPM: do

20 you have any recollection of Rosemary Nelson's name

21 being mentioned at any SPM that you attended?

22 A. I don't, but it would be most likely -- depending -- if

23 I turn my mind back, I had received the letter from the

24 Chairman of the ICPC outlining the position that

25 Miss McNally found herself in.

 

 

133

 

1 Q. Yes.

2 A. If I can describe it like that. It was, as I indicated

3 earlier, caveated as a confidential matter. So I felt

4 that I was not at liberty to discuss it with anybody.

5 I was subsequently contact by John Steele, who

6 visited me to show me the exact same letter

7 word-for-word had been sent to the Secretary of State.

8 Nowhere in mine did it say "copied to Secretary of

9 State" and nowhere in the Secretary of State's copy did

10 it say "copied to Chief Constable". But what

11 John Steele told me -- in addition, all I had done was

12 receive the letter and I was holding it until I got the

13 opportunity to discuss it with Mr Donnelly.

14 What John Steele told me was that it was their --

15 ICPC's -- intention to go public with this fact. Now,

16 the legislation governing the issue of these

17 certificates, bearing in mind that even though I would

18 say the ICPC was more advanced than the PCA, the Police

19 Complaints Authority, which existed for England and

20 Wales, it was a matter of supervising investigations; it

21 wasn't a matter of conducting investigations. And this

22 certificate related to the satisfaction about how the

23 investigation was conducted.

24 But the legislation said that that certificate

25 should be issued at the end of the investigation. When

 

 

134

 

1 John Steele told me what was planned publicly by the

2 ICPC, I was frankly aghast and I wanted this meeting,

3 which presumably at my request was arranged for

4 early July, to make it clear that I did not consider

5 this investigation to be at an end, and what I now

6 intended to do was to have it externally, independently,

7 investigated.

8 So all that of was going on. The Secretary of State

9 had had exactly the same letter as I had had, and

10 therefore, it would not be unusual that at that SPM,

11 which I think you have described as 14 July --

12 Q. I may be wrong about the date, but roughly then, yes.

13 A. I'm not certain. I was trying to recollect, but there

14 was some mention of proximity talks. I'm not sure of

15 the exact date. But it would not be unusual because it

16 was an issue that would have meant quite a bit to the

17 Secretary of State. It was certainly an issue that

18 meant quite a bit to me the first time ever that such

19 a certificate was not issued.

20 So discussion in a sense would not be surprising to

21 me, and in that context, it quite well could be the case

22 that in terms of the grounds for Miss McNally's

23 dissatisfaction, discussion of the phrase "moral

24 conduct" could have arisen.

25 Q. In that SPM?

 

 

135

 

1 A. Could have. I certainly have no recollection of it.

2 Q. Thank you.

3 A. But, again, had it arisen, I would be surprised if it

4 were not somewhere in the minutes of that meeting.

5 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you. Sir, would that be a convenient

6 moment?

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. We will adjourn until tomorrow morning

8 at quarter past 10, Sir Ronnie.

9 (4.47 pm)

10 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)

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