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Full Hearings

Hearing: 11th December 2008, day 90

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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 Thursday, 11 December 2008
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 90

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Thursday, 11 December 2008

2 (10.15 am)

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Currans, the checklist. Is the public

4 area screen fully in place, locked and the key secured?

5 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

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

7 screen closed?

8 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

10 and securely fastened?

11 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

13 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

14 of this chamber?

15 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

17 Mr (name redacted), can you please confirm that the two

18 witness cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

19 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

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

21 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Bring the witness in, please.

23 The cameras on the Panel, the Inquiry personnel and

24 the Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

25 switched back on.

 

 

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1 Would you please take the oath.

2 B651 (sworn)

3 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Please sit down.

5 Yes, Mr Phillips?

6 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, before I ask any questions, can I just

7 say something about the closed hearing in this witness's

8 evidence?

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

10 MR PHILLIPS: You have indicated that there will be a closed

11 session in respect of part of his evidence, and I hope

12 it will be helpful if I now say that the matters which

13 will be covered in the closed session are, first, the

14 sensitive operational details of Operation Fagotto, and

15 secondly, some sensitive operational matters in relation

16 to surveillance of Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy.

17 Now, so far as your evidence to the Inquiry is

18 concerned, can we look at your statement, please, and

19 that's at RNI-846-421 (displayed)? If we flick over on

20 the screen to RNI-846-437 (displayed), do we see your

21 ciphered signature there and the date of 13 August this

22 year?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. Now, you have been given a cipher, granted anonymity in

25 the Inquiry, and the cipher is B651. I hope you have on

 

 

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1 the table in front of you a list of other ciphered

2 names, do you?

3 A. I do.

4 Q. Thank you. I would be grateful if you could consult the

5 list as and when you think appropriate so that the

6 anonymity of those individuals may also be preserved.

7 Now, I would like to ask you first about your career

8 and the work you were doing in particular in the years

9 with which the Inquiry is concerned. You tell us that

10 you were posted to South Region Special Branch in 1996

11 and can I take it that you were in South Region

12 Special Branch at the time of Rosemary Nelson's murder

13 in March 1999?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. Thank you. And you, as I understand it, were

16 a sergeant. Is that right?

17 A. That's correct.

18 Q. And you were part of E4A, and serving, as I understand

19 it, in the rank of sergeant in March 1999?

20 A. Correct.

21 Q. Thank you. What I would like you to do for me, please,

22 is to take a look at the charts we have prepared about

23 the Special Branch's structure. So can we have the

24 pre-Warner chart, please (displayed).

25 Just so you know, we have got two charts and this

 

 

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1 is, we hope, a reasonably accurate statement of how

2 things were before the reforms which came with the

3 Warner Report.

4 Do we see you, therefore, your section, at E4 in the

5 middle of the central line?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. And we see below that E4A surveillance, and that's the

8 department with which you were working at this time,

9 isn't it?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Now, in terms of your base, you say that you were

12 working in South Region, so would it be right to say

13 that you were based not in Headquarters but in the South

14 Region itself?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. Thank you. And where was that, please?

17 A. That was Mahon Road.

18 Q. Thank you very much. Now, going to the next chart,

19 which is the post-Warner chart -- I'm just going to show

20 this for completeness. Special Branch post-Warner,

21 please (displayed). This shows E4 this time rather over

22 to the left, but can I take it as far as you were

23 concerned in this period from the mid 1990s

24 to March 1999, nothing changed in terms of the way you

25 were working and the place in which you were working?

 

 

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1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. Thank you. Now, let's go back to your statement at

3 RNI-846-421 (displayed). Can you describe for us in

4 your own words the role of E4A?

5 A. E4A were a dedicated surveillance facility for the use

6 by the whole of the RUC. It was -- its work was

7 primarily against what would have been prioritised at

8 the time, primarily against terrorists and engaged in

9 national security work. However, there were occasions

10 where we worked against serious and organised crime and

11 the likes of kidnap situations.

12 Q. And what was your role and what were your

13 responsibilities as a sergeant in E4A?

14 A. I was the team leader of the surveillance unit that

15 worked in South Region. I was one of the team leaders.

16 I reported directly to my team inspector who, in line,

17 reported to our line managers in E4 control, which was

18 based in Headquarters.

19 Q. Thank you. Now, you say paragraph 2, which we have on

20 the screen there:

21 "Most of our work was done for department E3 in

22 Special Branch, but we also did some work for the

23 Security Services."

24 So it is right then, is it, that the majority of

25 your work had been done for Special Branch?

 

 

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1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. But some other work, perhaps including the national

3 security-type work you were talking about earlier, would

4 have been done for the Security Service?

5 A. Yes, although that would have came to us via E3

6 Special Branch.

7 Q. From the same place, in other words?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as operations are concerned, you

10 see in the paragraph which we still have on the screen,

11 paragraph 3, you describe there that it was E3 who would

12 identify the opportunities. Now, do you mean by that

13 South Region Special Branch?

14 A. Yes. Predominantly our work would have been South

15 Region, although we were considered a resource for the

16 whole of the Province.

17 Q. So occasionally you would be tasked from elsewhere

18 within the RUC structure?

19 A. Yes, that's correct.

20 Q. And what you tell us right at the bottom of this page is

21 that:

22 "Any request for a surveillance operation would go

23 through the chain of command to the Regional Head of

24 Special Branch."

25 So in the end it was a matter for him. Is that

 

 

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1 right?

2 A. Yes, that's correct.

3 Q. Now, you have told us already that your E4 team had its

4 own chain of command going up to the Superintendent, I

5 think you said, in Headquarters. Is that right?

6 A. Yes, the Chief Superintendent.

7 Q. The Chief Superintendent, thank you very much. And how

8 did that work in practice, then, if you have, on the one

9 hand, the Regional Head giving the go ahead, and on the

10 other hand, you, having your own line management

11 structure up to the Chief Superintendent in

12 Headquarters? Did they have to sort their own

13 differences out together?

14 A. Ultimately the ACC of the department would have refereed

15 if there was any conflict, but we were to be considered

16 a resource for the use of the whole of the police

17 service. The Regional Head as such would have decided

18 when and where he wished to use the tool of

19 surveillance. Our own chief superintendent, the Head of

20 E4, would have been consulted and, on occasion, we would

21 have done presentations to him in relation to our

22 taskings. He would have looked after budget, training,

23 and would have been informed daily of the work that we

24 were doing.

25 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the mechanics for that are

 

 

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1 concerned, as I understand it, what you are saying to us

2 at the bottom of this page is if the Regional Head

3 agreed, he would then -- or probably officers working

4 for him -- inform the TCG and your tasking would come

5 from the TCG. Is that the way it worked?

6 A. Yes, that's correct. TCG were where 99.9 per cent of

7 our tasks would have came from. Even requests for the

8 Drug Squad to use us or any other agency outside of E3

9 to use us, they would have been worked through TCG.

10 Q. Thank you. And as I understand it, the next point you

11 are making here, which we have on the screen, is that at

12 the other end, as it were -- and we are talking about

13 product for an operation -- that would also go through

14 TCG and it would be for them to disseminate it through

15 the organisation. Is that right?

16 A. Yes, that's correct. At the end of each operation or

17 each day's surveillance, product would have been

18 committed to a form. That went to two places: it went

19 to E4 control at Headquarters, which briefed our line

20 management as to what we were getting up to; and

21 secondly, it would have went to TCG who then would have

22 distributed it as TCG saw fit.

23 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the tasking is concerned,

24 what you do for us in paragraph 5, still on the same

25 page, is to look at an example of the sort of

 

 

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1 intelligence which might lead to an operation. I don't

2 want to look at the document with you, but you then talk

3 about what you would have received in general as your

4 tasking for an operation.

5 Now, I think what you are saying is that you would

6 get from the TCG a sheet, a task sheet. Is that

7 correct?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. You would not get what you describe as the raw

10 intelligence obtained by Special Branch?

11 A. That's correct. We would normally have just -- we would

12 have been given the context of what intelligence they

13 deemed fit to enable us to satisfy the objectives on the

14 tasking sheet.

15 Q. Can I ask you, how would you be given that?

16 A. Initially it would have came in the form of preliminary

17 discussion and we would have been summoned to a meeting

18 at TCG and they would have -- in broad terms, they would

19 have discussed what they were hoping to task us on. And

20 if we had agreed that it was practical to achieve, then

21 it would have been committed to a formal tasking sheet.

22 Q. Thank you. So before we get to the stage of the sheet,

23 these discussions take place and only if it looks as

24 though it is operationally viable based on your

25 judgment, as I understand it, would you get the formal

 

 

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1 tasking sheet?

2 A. Yes, the TCG were -- because of the number of

3 surveillance operations they were involved in, they

4 would have a good idea from the word go as to what was

5 a runner and what wasn't, but they would have checked

6 with ourselves that we were happy in case they needed to

7 adjust the tasking.

8 Q. Yes, and as I understand the process, then you check --

9 this is your paragraph 6 -- with your own bosses within

10 E4 to make sure that all of this can be accommodated in

11 terms of resourcing and budgets. Is that right?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. And TCG, as you say in paragraph 7, would deal with the

14 question of prioritisation, and after all of that the

15 task sheet comes out and you then get on with the

16 operation?

17 A. Yes, that's correct.

18 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you about access to intelligence

19 more generally? You tell us later in your statement --

20 paragraph 17, at RNI-846-425 (displayed) -- that you had

21 access to the MACER system but only up to level 14. Are

22 you sure about that number?

23 A. As far as I can recall, it was level 14.

24 Q. Do you think it might have been 19?

25 A. No.

 

 

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1 Q. No.

2 A. No.

3 Q. You are sure it was 14?

4 A. Yes, in South Region it was 14. It may have been 19 for

5 other surveillance units in other regions, but on our

6 computer terminal I don't think we could access -- on

7 our MACER terminal, I don't think we could access higher

8 than 14.

9 Q. You think that was a special regime for South Region,

10 do you?

11 A. It was peculiar to South Region, yes.

12 Q. Now, you are smiling. Is there any particular reason

13 why there was a peculiarity about South Region?

14 A. No, it was just -- that's the way it had been. We could

15 sit down at Headquarters and registry and read up to

16 level 19 or 21, but each regional head had their way of

17 operating, and because we, as such, were an originating

18 Special Branch office, we were restricted to level 14,

19 as far as I can recall.

20 Q. So you were granted a lower level of access within South

21 Region?

22 A. Yes, on the MACER terminal within South Region, yes.

23 Q. Yes, thank you. Now, just returning to the question of

24 the prioritisation, which we looked at earlier, if we go

25 back to paragraph 7, RNI-846-442 (displayed) and the

 

 

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1 question of TCG's decision-making on resource and other

2 grounds, was the effect of that that operations which

3 seemed to be long-running were not continuous; in other

4 words, that you were only deployed from time to time,

5 rather than continuously?

6 A. Yes, deployments on -- once tasked on an operation,

7 deployments would not necessarily have been continuous,

8 depending on the nature of the tasking. We covered an

9 area which stretched from Newtownards, Ards Peninsula,

10 to Ballygawley and there was a large number of

11 operations ongoing in that area, so there wasn't the

12 time to be deployed on them continuously all the time.

13 Q. If you had an ongoing, long-term operation on

14 a day-to-day, week-by-week basis, who would make the

15 decision as to whether to deploy on that operation on

16 a particular day? Would it go through all of the

17 structures you have just been telling us about?

18 A. The Regional Head would hold a meeting each morning with

19 TCG and he would discuss what his priorities were for

20 that day or for the next few days, and TCG then would

21 discuss with us as to what operations they wanted us out

22 on. If there were issues regarding a certain operation

23 which we felt we had run out of time on, then we also

24 had an input into that.

25 Q. Now, I would like to ask you some questions next about

 

 

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1 the question of the logs that were produced, and you

2 deal with this in paragraph 15 of your statement at

3 RNI-846-424 (displayed). Again, I don't think we need

4 to look at the document, but can I just start by asking

5 you this question: Who was responsible for compiling

6 the logs?

7 A. That would have been the intelligence officer or the log

8 keeper that sat beside me on the operations desk.

9 Q. Right. And in simple terms, what was the purpose of

10 the log?

11 A. It was to record the pertinent facts of the operation.

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. I should alter that slightly: record the pertinent

14 transmissions from the officers on the ground.

15 Q. Right. And were there guidelines -- was guidance given

16 to you -- as to the level of detail which should be

17 included in the logs?

18 A. We had our own operational procedures for logs within

19 the department. However, since then log procedure has

20 evolved to a very high evidential standard. We were

21 engaged in intelligence work and, as such, we didn't

22 record them to the same detail and standard that they

23 are recorded now.

24 Q. If we just look briefly at this log, the example you

25 talk about in paragraph 15, RNI-548-321, please

 

 

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1 (displayed), this is the log for Operation Fagotto and

2 we can see "date" and "commenced Sunday, 14 March".

3 If we go to the next page, please, it is a redacted

4 document and I will return to it with you in the closed

5 hearing, but what it records in the space of these few

6 lines is pretty sparse, isn't it?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. So it sounds as though the standard that was applied in

9 terms of recording what you describe as pertinent

10 information was a pretty high standard, only the bare

11 detail is set out here. Is that a fair comment?

12 A. In this particular case, it may be that there wasn't

13 much else happening. In a detailed operation, where

14 there is lots going on, it is hard to get everything

15 down whenever transmissions are coming at you thick and

16 fast. So you pull the bones of it out, the important

17 things out.

18 Our logs were maintained for both operational

19 debrief purposes and intelligence debrief purposes, but

20 in this one, from recollection, there was actually very

21 little of significance happening.

22 Q. That's obviously an important point because you will

23 appreciate that the Inquiry is looking only at very

24 limited parts of your work and, as far as I can

25 recollect at any rate, this is the only document of this

 

 

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1 kind that we have seen. So obviously I'm concerned to

2 make sure that if it is not a typical log, that you

3 explain what a more typical log would look like. Would

4 it be, for instance, much longer and more detailed?

5 A. No, this would be a typical log for an operation, where

6 there is not actually something on the move or, you

7 know, where basically this would -- this was

8 a checking-type scenario, as opposed to one where there

9 is an active service unit actually up and running and on

10 their way to do a job, which there'd be a significantly

11 longer log for it.

12 Q. And it records, as you told us, I think, earlier,

13 messages called in by the various officers on the

14 ground. Is that right?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. And the numbers on the left, does that simply reflect

17 the number of entries; in other words, it is just going

18 on sequentially?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. The time in the next column and the call signs which

21 have been redacted. Now, can you just help -- and in

22 this, as in all aspects of the questions I'm asking,

23 clearly you must only give evidence where you are

24 comfortable about doing so in this open session -- but

25 I want to get a feel with you, or help, if I can, about

 

 

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1 the circumstances in the operations room where you were

2 based, as you have said.

3 You said, I think, that the intelligence officer in

4 the room would be making these entries. Is that right?

5 A. Yes, that's correct. It would be the intelligence

6 officer or whoever I had detailed to perform the duty of

7 log keeper that day. But normally, it would have been

8 the intelligence officer.

9 Q. And, therefore, it was his responsibility, was it, to

10 note down what he thought was pertinent as the calls,

11 the messages were coming in?

12 A. Yes. They were very experienced and good at their job.

13 Initially, we may have influenced that and asked them to

14 record something specific which we wanted to refer to

15 later, but no, by and large they were able to do it off

16 their --

17 Q. Yes, but were there occasions on which you or one of the

18 other officers in the operations room would say, "Put

19 that in the log"?

20 A. Correct.

21 Q. There were?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Were there occasions where you or one of the other

24 officers would say, "Don't put that in the log"?

25 A. Correct.

 

 

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1 Q. There were?

2 A. There were.

3 Q. What were the reasons for those instructions, please?

4 A. The one that immediately springs to mind is if there

5 were Article 2 issues for a certain member of the

6 public.

7 Q. In other words, that names of individuals would not be

8 recorded?

9 A. That's correct.

10 Q. So there was a general policy, was there, not to record

11 names in logs of this kind?

12 A. Not a general policy, only where -- only where we

13 thought it was wiser not to.

14 Q. Right. Can you expand on that answer in this open

15 session?

16 A. I prefer not to.

17 Q. Okay. Now, so far as other reasons -- that's an

18 Article 2 point -- why you might have instructed that

19 matters not be recorded, were there other circumstances,

20 other reasons?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Not that you can --

23 A. Not that I can recall.

24 Q. Thank you. Now, just broadening out this picture that

25 you are painting of what's going on in the operations

 

 

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1 room -- and I would like to continue to talk on, as it

2 were, on an example basis, in general terms. So you are

3 there, we know you have the intelligence officer or

4 somebody who is responsible for keeping the log. In the

5 average surveillance operation, who else is in the room

6 with you?

7 A. There may be one other team member there who would have

8 been there as an admin function or as a relief function.

9 On occasion, a member of TCG would have been present as

10 well and, on occasion, some of our line managers from

11 Headquarters would attend.

12 Q. Right. You talk in your statement in paragraph 19 --

13 and this is at RNI-846-426 (displayed) -- about the

14 question of back-up and that back-up being from HMSU.

15 Would there be somebody in that part of the

16 organisation, an officer from there, in the operations

17 room as well?

18 A. Yes, on occasion there would be. But if it was

19 a routine operation that we'd been out on long-term, as

20 such, there may not necessarily. But we could have

21 reached them by radio.

22 Q. Yes. Can I ask you this question: As the reports, the

23 calls, were coming in, into the operations room, were

24 all of the officers present able to hear what was being

25 said?

 

 

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1 A. If we were running the operation on loudspeaker, yes.

2 Q. Yes.

3 A. But if we were using our headphones, no.

4 Q. Can I ask you specifically in relation to Operation

5 Fagotto, can you recall whether you were running it on

6 loudspeaker or headphones?

7 A. I believe we were running on loud speaker.

8 Q. And just to be absolutely clear, although it may seem

9 blindingly obvious to you, that means, does it, that the

10 messages are transmitted into the room and, subject

11 obviously to the quality of the reproduction, et cetera,

12 all the officers present can hear them?

13 A. Yes, that's correct.

14 Q. And so that means, does it, that whether the calls are

15 coming in from your team or whether they are coming in

16 from HMSU or, indeed, anybody else involved in this

17 operation, they can be heard by the officers who were

18 present in the room?

19 A. Yes, that's correct.

20 Q. Thank you. Right. Can I just ask you now some

21 questions about comments you have made in your statement

22 in relation to local paramilitary units? And I would

23 like to get up on the screen for you, please, your

24 paragraph 18, which is RNI-846-425 (displayed). Can we

25 enlarge the paragraph, please? Thank you.

 

 

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1 You will see that a good chunk in the middle of the

2 paragraph has been redacted. You begin by saying that

3 you would have a particular knowledge of the various

4 Republican units:

5 "... as most of our operations focused on these

6 units."

7 In simple terms, please, can you explain why it was

8 that most of your effort was focused on Republican

9 paramilitaries?

10 A. Basically, it was TCG who would have decided which

11 organisation, which surveillance unit, worked on

12 which -- in which area and against which personalities.

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. And because the Republican units were interlinked, it

15 was important to have a reasonable knowledge of the

16 ground you were working in and of the individuals. So

17 that's why it was allocated to E4A.

18 Q. Yes. But in terms of the point you make that most of

19 your operations were on the Republican side, was that

20 because they were perceived to be more active or more

21 numerous in your area? Did you know what the

22 considerations were?

23 A. (Redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

 

 

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1 (redacted)

2 (redacted).

3 So the TCG tended to use us in areas that wouldn't be --

4 that wouldn't have us working close to (redacted) itself.

5 Q. I understand. And you go on and make the comment at the

6 bottom of the page that there was a concern in relation

7 to some part-time UDR members because they were believed

8 to be related to or associates of Loyalist

9 paramilitaries, and that created particular concerns, as

10 I understand it, in relation to your work. Is that

11 right?

12 A. Yes, that's correct, although we ourselves had no

13 knowledge of which UDR men, et cetera, were related to

14 who. It was deemed best practice to start at the

15 highest level and not even expose the team to that risk.

16 Q. Yes. So if we just carry on with the paragraph on to

17 the next page, please, RNI-846-426 (displayed), you set

18 out very briefly there, do you see at the very top of

19 the page, the first full sentence beginning "for this

20 reason ..."

21 As I understand it, that gives us the gist of what

22 was done as a result, namely that the majority of the

23 Loyalist operations were handled (a) by the Army and

24 then from a different location?

25 A. Yes, although I would like to qualify that slightly, and

 

 

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1 that should be the majority of Loyalist operations in

2 the immediate area.

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. We did perform operations -- Loyalist operations in

5 (redacted) and the (redacted) area.

6 Q. Yes. Going on to the question that you have just

7 raised, you touch on that again in paragraph 19, do you

8 see, where you say you did do a few operations against

9 local Loyalists? Then you say that there was another

10 team from E4A based in Belfast, and you make this

11 comment:

12 "Many Loyalist operations were tracked back to

13 Belfast, so this team would pick some of the operations

14 up too."

15 When you say:

16 "Many Loyalists operations were tracked back to

17 Belfast", do you mean there many paramilitary operations

18 were tracked back to Belfast?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. So you are using "operations" there in the sense of the

21 paramilitaries' operations, not yours?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. Right. If we could keep it on the screen enlarged,

24 please, so we have got it and the redactions very firmly

25 many mind. Thank you. Just to be clear then, as you

 

 

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1 perceived it there were links, were there, between local

2 Loyalist paramilitaries and other Loyalist

3 paramilitaries based in Belfast?

4 A. That's correct.

5 Q. Thank you. Now, finally on the question of local

6 paramilitaries, I would like to look with you, please,

7 at paragraph 23 of your statement at RNI-846-427

8 (displayed).

9 You comment there about the local PIRA unit and in

10 particular you talk about its base, as you saw it, in

11 the Kilwilke Estate. Do you see that?

12 A. I do.

13 Q. Which was regarded as, as you put it, a staunchly

14 Republican estate. Is that right?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. Now, that, as you point out, created difficulties for

17 your work, as I understand it, for at least two reasons:

18 one, because you perceived the residents to be in

19 general hostile to the security forces?

20 A. Yes, that's correct.

21 Q. And secondly, because they were, as you put it -- or

22 some individuals there were surveillance-aware?

23 A. Yes, that's correct.

24 Q. In other words, conscious of surveillance efforts and

25 perhaps even of surveillance techniques?

 

 

24

 

1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. And you also point out that there was, as it were,

3 a second tier -- you describe it as "the youths on the

4 estate" -- who would monitor security force activity and

5 create, as it were, an intelligence network within the

6 estate of their own?

7 A. Yes, that's correct.

8 Q. So that unusual movements, unexpected appearances would

9 be noted and reported back?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. And I think you are saying at the end there, where you

12 talk about bringing Republican activists out on the

13 street, that you perceived the Republican elements there

14 as being capable of their own, as it were, rapid

15 reaction?

16 A. Yes, that was the case.

17 Q. Which presumably could create risk and danger for

18 officers on the ground?

19 A. Yes, very much so.

20 Q. Right. Now, so far as Operation Fagotto is concerned,

21 what I would like to do in this open session with you,

22 please, is to just ask some questions about the broad

23 nature of the operation and to ask you to deal with what

24 you can about a little bit of the detail.

25 A. Okay.

 

 

25

 

1 Q. So I would like to start, please, in paragraph 28 at the

2 bottom of page RNI-846-428 (displayed). This is where

3 you begin to talk about the operation itself, and you

4 start -- and I would like to look at this document with

5 you -- with the tasking sheet, for which the reference

6 is RNI-547-004 (displayed).

7 Now, as with a number of these documents, this is

8 a PRISM document. You have to wade through it to get to

9 the meat, and that's, I think, at RNI-547-006

10 (displayed). Operation Fagotto TCG (South) tasking

11 sheet.

12 This is the tasking sheet you refer to in your

13 statement, isn't it?

14 A. Yes, that's correct.

15 Q. Thank you. And as I understand it from your statement

16 and, indeed, from this document, the objective of the

17 operation was to undertake surveillance on an individual

18 believed to be a significant figure within PIRA locally.

19 Is that right?

20 A. Yes, that's correct. Just to clarify one thing with

21 you, this tasking sheet did not come to us as a PRISM

22 document. We didn't have access to PRISM. The tasking

23 sheet would have been a stand-alone document which -- we

24 very rarely saw PRISM documents.

25 Q. That's very helpful, thank you. So when we started to

 

 

26

 

1 look, using the reference in your statement that the

2 Inquiry has put, at RNI-547-004 -- can I just flick back

3 to that with you, RNI-547-004 (displayed) -- you

4 wouldn't have seen it in this form?

5 A. No, it would have just been the tasking sheet on

6 its own.

7 Q. So what we have seen at RNI-547-006?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. Can we go back to that, please, RNI-547-006 (displayed)?

10 So you would get something that looked like this?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. Thank you. And we see the objectives -- just going back

13 to what I was saying -- in relation to that individual

14 were to identify his associates?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. Yes. Now, I would like to go back to the PRISM document

17 for just one reason, please, if we may -- RNI-547-004

18 (displayed) -- because this is not clear from your

19 statement, but I just want to check your memory of it.

20 It looks as though this operation was launched some two

21 months before Rosemary Nelson's murder, in January 1999.

22 Is that how you recollect it?

23 A. Yes, as far as I can remember.

24 Q. Yes. So in other words, it had been underway for

25 a number of weeks before the weekend with which we are

 

 

27

 

1 concerned, of 14 and 15 March?

2 A. Yes. Just to clarify, this particular individual had

3 been the subject of another operation, which ran for

4 a number of years.

5 Q. Right.

6 A. (Redacted).

7 Q. Right.

8 A. And when his activities then connected him with the

9 Lurgan area, then Operation Fagotto was launched.

10 Q. Yes, and are you able to assist me with this: if, as you

11 recall, it began in January -- and we know we are

12 looking in particular at the weekend of 14 and

13 15 March -- between those two times was it intermittent

14 or continuous?

15 A. Intermittent.

16 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the particular weekend is

17 concerned, and bearing in mind that the next page of

18 your statement -- if we can look together at RNI-846-249

19 (displayed) -- and, indeed, the following two pages are

20 very heavily redacted, I just want to ask you some

21 questions about how this operation that took place that

22 weekend came to be launched.

23 Can you remember now when you first were alerted

24 that weekend to the matters which led to the launch of

25 the operation?

 

 

28

 

1 A. I believe it was some time on Sunday afternoon.

2 Q. Are you able to remember roughly when?

3 A. I believe it was lunchtime. I'm not quite sure.

4 Q. Right. Now, it may help to have a look actually at the

5 statement you made much, much nearer the time, which

6 I hope very much we now have in your bundle because you

7 exhibit it to your statement. That's at RNI-548-348

8 (displayed). You will see that statement is dated

9 29 March. It is a statement of two pages, one and

10 a half pages, and for the purposes of your evidence to

11 the Murder Investigation Team, you were known, weren't

12 you, as "Officer F"?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. Yes. Now, this has the great benefit of being largely

15 unredacted, so I'm going to take this as not only much

16 more like a contemporaneous account, but also easier to

17 follow for everybody in this open hearing.

18 So here you say that at about 12.30 you received

19 a briefing, which you say is "per telephone". Do you

20 mean you were rung up by another officer?

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. And was that an officer within your team or somebody at

23 TCG, are you able to remember?

24 A. It would have been B656 from TCG.

25 Q. Thank you very much. And it looks as though this call

 

 

29

 

1 included a request to monitor what you describe there

2 as:

3 "... the movements of a suspect member of the

4 Provisional IRA in the Kilwilke area"?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. Now, the next thing you say is that you briefed your

7 team at 9 pm and then you continue to give details about

8 what happened thereafter, and we can all read those for

9 ourselves.

10 What are you able to tell us in this open hearing

11 about the hours that transpired between the call at half

12 past 12 and the briefing at about 9 o'clock in the

13 evening? What was the course of events?

14 A. Well, when I was initially contacted then, I had to try

15 and phone round and gather a team together, and it took

16 me a number of hours -- because it was a Sunday it took

17 me a number of hours to contact everybody.

18 Q. So these other members of the team, the other officers,

19 were off duty?

20 A. That's correct.

21 Q. So you were telephoning them presumably at home or

22 wherever you could find them?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. Sorry, and then what?

25 A. Then I gave them the time to parade for duty at

 

 

30

 

1 Mahon Road, which I believe was in and around 1800. I

2 would then have attended TCG and checked if there was

3 any other updates or any further intelligence, and then

4 discussed tactics and an operational way forward

5 with TCG.

6 Q. So is it fair to say that from the moment you first had

7 the call, throughout the rest of the evening until the

8 late evening and the early hours of the next morning,

9 that you were regularly in contact with TCG, TCG

10 officers?

11 A. Yes, that's correct.

12 Q. And you have described earlier, in talking about the way

13 an operations room would generally be run, that there

14 might be a TCG officer present. Was there a TCG officer

15 present on this occasion?

16 A. No.

17 Q. There was not?

18 A. The TCG officer remained in his own office that evening.

19 He was receiving calls from other people. His office

20 would have been their first point of contact for him.

21 So for him to attend our operations room, which was in

22 a separate part of the building, he would not have been

23 available then to his own --

24 Q. When you say he was receiving other calls, can I ask you

25 please, do you mean other calls in relation to the

 

 

31

 

1 operation?

2 A. Yes, I believe so.

3 Q. Right. And was this B656?

4 A. Yes, that's correct.

5 Q. Thank you. So there was another officer then who

6 was from the TCG side involved in the operation, but who

7 was not physically located within the operations room.

8 Is that right?

9 A. Yes, that's correct. B662 would have been B656's line

10 manager as such, and that is who he would have been in

11 consultation with and receiving direction from.

12 Q. When I asked you earlier about the general picture and

13 calls on the loudspeaker coming into the room, the calls

14 that were coming in from officers in relation to B656

15 were not coming in on the loudspeaker system?

16 A. No. To clarify, 656 was in a different office during

17 the operation, so he couldn't hear the transmissions

18 from the ground.

19 Q. Yes.

20 A. All he required was for us to update him if there was

21 anything significant observed.

22 Q. Yes. Are you able in the open hearing to tell us what

23 tasks, what work, the officers who were ringing in to

24 B656 were undertaking?

25 A. The officers that were contacting 656 in his TCG

 

 

32

 

1 capacity as such would have been his line managers

2 contributing direction and intelligence to him.

3 Q. So these were not calls coming, if I can put it this

4 way, from the ground; they were calls coming from above?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. Yes. So in addition to B662, who you described as the

7 relevant line manager, would there be other, more senior

8 officers, senior to B656, involved in the operation?

9 I'm not asking for names, just yes or no.

10 A. Yes, that's correct.

11 Q. And he would then be in telephone contact, as I

12 understand it, sitting in his office with these more

13 senior officers?

14 A. Yes, I would imagine he would have liaised directly with

15 B662, who then would have referred it up to the Regional

16 Head.

17 Q. Right. So are you able to say with any certainty

18 whether or not the Regional Head was involved in

19 telephone calls about this operation that weekend?

20 A. I can't recall specifically.

21 Q. No. Was this unusual, this particular operation that

22 weekend, in that it had the involvement by telephone of

23 these more senior officers with the TCG officer?

24 A. Yes, this wasn't a run-of-the-mill routine operation on

25 this particular occasion.

 

 

33

 

1 Q. Was it unusual, for example, that the TCG officer, 656,

2 should be located in a separate office during the

3 operation?

4 A. No.

5 Q. No. That was a normal thing, was it?

6 A. Yes, that's correct. If something -- if an operation

7 was coming to a climax as such, then TCG may have

8 co-located with us for the final part of an operation,

9 but on this occasion it was a series of checks.

10 Q. Right. So by that, as I understand it, you mean that

11 from time to time during the evening, B656 would come

12 into the operations room?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. But the vast majority of his time was spent in his own

15 office. Is that right?

16 A. Yes, that's correct.

17 Q. Yes. Now, what you tell us in the statement which you

18 made in March 1999 -- I just want to complete going

19 through it with you -- is that there were, in broad

20 terms, two phases to the operation: The first involving

21 the officers that you give letters for about six or

22 seven lines down, and that operation on the ground began

23 from about 10 o'clock, you think. You stayed, you say,

24 in the operations room with Officer L. Was he the

25 member of the team giving you the administrative back-up

 

 

34

 

1 that you mentioned earlier?

2 A. I believe he may have been the intelligence officer or the log

3 keeper.

4 Q. So he may be the person who made the entries we looked

5 at together?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. Thank you. And then you talk about what they did,

8 locating the suspect and his vehicle, receiving radio

9 communications into your operations room about it, and

10 then you say you had a short debrief with the officers.

11 Do you see that at the bottom of the page?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Can I ask you, please, did that take place over the

14 radios or did it take place in the operations room?

15 A. In the operations room.

16 Q. Thank you. So they would return by that point?

17 A. That's correct.

18 Q. And then you say, reading over the page, please, to

19 RNI-548-349 (displayed), that you briefed two further

20 officers to assist in the monitoring. Then the second

21 phase began involving those two and two only of the

22 first team, J and K, as you were referring to them then,

23 and that operation seems to have taken rather longer and

24 you have it down as taking, I think, 50 minutes and,

25 again, there was a debrief on their return?

 

 

35

 

1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. Can I ask you, in relation to these debriefs, would the

3 log be part of the debriefing; in other words, would you

4 have your discussion with them with the log open in

5 front of you?

6 A. On this occasion I didn't need to because there was very

7 little detail on the log, but on other occasions the log

8 would be used both to debrief the intelligence and the

9 tactics.

10 Q. Yes. But on this occasion, with the very short log we

11 have seen before, presumably what you learnt in the two

12 debriefs pretty substantially supplemented the bare

13 detail which we see in the log?

14 A. Yes, that's correct, although we were thinking ahead and

15 discussing tactics and options, as such.

16 Q. Yes.

17 A. And that sort of detail would have been extracted during

18 the debrief.

19 Q. Yes. So in other words, once the particular operation

20 concluded, you were looking at possible further work,

21 further operations?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. Yes. Now, can I just ask you some questions about the

24 concept of out of bounds orders. Again, it is something

25 you talk about in your statement and you begin to do

 

 

36

 

1 that at paragraph 26, which I would like on the screen,

2 please, at RNI-846-427 (displayed).

3 This, you tell us, was something that would be

4 decided in agreement with the TCG in order to assist

5 your work?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. And other witnesses have told us that it would involve

8 informing local police and perhaps military of the

9 existence of the area and of its exact location?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. Was that, the business of informing them, something

12 which was the responsibility of TCG?

13 A. Yes, that's correct. My understanding of it was once

14 the area was agreed and the requirement agreed, they

15 would pass that to the local office in whose -- the

16 local E3 office and they would brief the duty inspector

17 for uniformed police and military.

18 Q. Yes. Now, as you make clear in the next part of this

19 paragraph -- if we go to RNI-548-428 at the top, please

20 (displayed) -- it looks as though one of the effects of

21 telling the local police about an out of bounds area was

22 to alert them that, if I can put it this way, something

23 was going on?

24 A. Yes, that's correct.

25 Q. And you describe rather vividly there what sometimes

 

 

37

 

1 happened as a result.

2 Now, can I take it that this -- what you describe

3 there about local police "sitting on the edges of the

4 OOB area and setting up VCPs to try and work out what

5 was going on out of curiosity", was that something that

6 you had regular experience of?

7 A. Yes, I would broaden it and instead of "for the local

8 police", I would say "for the local security forces".

9 Q. Including Army as well?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. And that presumably created further difficulties for you

12 and your team?

13 A. On occasion, yes.

14 Q. Now, are you able to tell us, how would you deal with

15 those difficulties in terms of setting the out of bounds

16 area?

17 A. Well, being cognisant of the fact that that may be the

18 reaction from the local security forces, you would

19 adjust your out of bounds area accordingly.

20 Q. And presumably I can take it, can I, that that would

21 mean making the area perhaps larger than was strictly

22 necessary?

23 A. That's correct, or setting another out of bounds area.

24 Q. Now, is it possible for you, again, looking at the thing

25 in general terms, to tell us something about the

 

 

38

 

1 circumstances which led to an out of bounds order being

2 made?

3 First of all, were they invariably made for all of

4 your surveillance operations?

5 A. No.

6 Q. What were the factors which led to such an order being

7 made?

8 A. Depending on the tactics that we were going to use on

9 the ground and if we wanted a situation where we could

10 deploy officers without them being checked at vehicle

11 checkpoints or being challenged by uniformed security

12 force personnel.

13 Q. Now, the Inquiry has already heard some evidence about

14 this, but in circumstances, for example, where the

15 officers were going to be in cars driving by, would that

16 usually call for an out of bounds order to be made?

17 A. Not routinely. If it was a routine everyday bread and

18 butter-type surveillance operation, then no.

19 Q. What about a situation where they were going to be on

20 foot?

21 A. Again, if it was a busy city centre or a town centre and

22 it was a bread and butter operation, then no.

23 Q. Now, in relation to this particular operation, you deal

24 with this aspect of it in paragraph 35 of your

25 statement, which is at RNI-846-431 (displayed). You say

 

 

39

 

1 there that you assume that you asked for the usual area

2 to be declared OOB, out of bounds, but you don't have

3 a specific recollection of it?

4 A. That's correct.

5 Q. Yes. Now, so far as that is concerned, given what you

6 do know and remember about the nature of this operation,

7 would you have expected there to be an out of bounds

8 order in place?

9 A. On this particular occasion, yes.

10 Q. Yes. Now, as far as one can tell, there is no record of

11 an out of bounds order being made on this occasion. I

12 think you are aware of that?

13 A. I am.

14 Q. Are you able to assist the Tribunal as to why you think

15 that might not have happened on this particular

16 occasion?

17 A. As regards the surveillance team recording it, this was

18 a long-term operation which we had been out on numerous

19 times. So my request to TCG may have been just,

20 "I require the usual out of bounds for Fagotto".

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. They then may have phoned through to E3 and passed it on

23 in like terms, that we required the usual out of bounds

24 for Fagotto.

25 Q. Yes. Would the usual out of bounds area include the

 

 

40

 

1 whole of the Kilwilke Estate for this operation?

2 A. Yes. The Kilwilke Estate itself, my understanding was,

3 was normally nearly permanently out of bounds to

4 uniformed security force personnel and they had to clear

5 it with Lurgan ops room, the uniformed ops room before

6 they would attend to calls there.

7 Q. Yes. Give me a moment. (Pause)

8 Can we have the new Lurgan map on the screen, please

9 (displayed)? I hope you have seen this map before, have

10 you?

11 A. I have, yes.

12 Q. Thank you very much. What has been done, as you can

13 see, is that somebody has helpfully labelled

14 Rosemary Nelson's own address and, indeed, the school

15 nearly opposite.

16 Now, in terms of the estate that we have been

17 talking about, can you just indicate on the map for us

18 where the Kilwilke Estate is on this map?

19 A. The Kilwilke Estate would have been bounded to the north

20 by North Circular Road.

21 Q. Right.

22 A. To the south and east by the railway line and to the

23 south-west by Lake Street.

24 Q. Thank you very much. So it is all of that area within

25 those three streets. Thank you very much.

 

 

41

 

1 Now, in terms of the usual out of bounds order as it

2 applied to Operation Fagotto, you will see that Ashford

3 Grange is some little distance away from the area you

4 have just outlined. Was that address, Ashford Grange,

5 within the usual out of bounds area?

6 A. Yes, I believe it was.

7 Q. So in other words, saying what you can in the open

8 session, you think the usual out of bounds area extended

9 beyond the Kilwilke Estate?

10 A. Yes, very much so.

11 Q. Are you able, in the open session, to indicate, using

12 this map, how far beyond or does it in fact exceed the

13 area covered by the map itself?

14 A. It exceeds the area covered by the map and would also

15 have taken in the rural countryside as well.

16 Q. Around this part of Lurgan?

17 A. That's correct.

18 Q. Now, sir, I'm just about to move on to another topic but

19 within the open session. In fact, I have two to go.

20 Would this be a convenient moment for a break?

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

22 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you very much.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: We will have a quarter of an hour break.

24 Before the witness leaves, Mr (name redacted), would you

25 please confirm that all the cameras have been

 

 

42

 

1 switched off?

2 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Please escort the witness out.

4 We will resume at quarter to.

5 (11.29 am)

6 (Short break)

7 (11.47 am)

8 THE CHAIRMAN: The checklist, Mr Currans. Is the public

9 area screen fully in place, locked and the key secured?

10 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

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

12 screen closed?

13 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

15 and securely fastened?

16 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

18 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

19 of this chamber?

20 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Mr (name redacted), can you please

22 confirm that the two witness cameras have been switched

23 off and shrouded?

24 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

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

 

 

43

 

1 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

3 Bring the witness in, please.

4 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

5 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

6 switched back on.

7 Yes, Mr Phillips?

8 MR PHILLIPS: Staying with this operation, I would like to

9 look with you, please, at two further paragraphs of your

10 statement, 36 and 37, which are largely unredacted, and

11 I would like to ask you about what you say there at

12 RNI-846-432 (displayed).

13 The first point you deal with in general terms is

14 that the question of routes, the routes taken by the

15 officers on the ground, is something that in general is

16 for them to decide. Is that right?

17 A. That's correct.

18 Q. But you would, as I read your statement, on occasion

19 make a specific request, "Please cover this particular

20 place" or area?

21 A. Yes. What I'm actually discussing in paragraph 36 is

22 how to travel from their base to the area of operations.

23 Q. I see.

24 A. They can choose their own way, they are all trained, and

25 as long as they get there covertly, I don't mind.

 

 

44

 

1 Once they are actually in the area of operations,

2 then I would control them as to where they go.

3 Q. So then they have, presumably, a specific tasking before

4 the operation begins?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. And that would be -- and, again, I'm talking in quite

7 general terms -- updated. You would be able to issue

8 further instructions as appropriate based on the

9 information coming in to the operations room as the

10 operation proceeded?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. Thank you. Now, the next thing I wanted to ask you

13 about is what you say at the beginning of the next

14 paragraph. It begins with the words "I've been asked if

15 ..."

16 Can I take it that this was a question put to you by

17 Eversheds who were interviewing you on behalf of the

18 Inquiry?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. Thank you. You refer there to Officer K. Do you have

21 your cipher list with you, please?

22 A. I have, yes.

23 Q. You are referring to B663?

24 A. I am, yes.

25 Q. Thank you. He was a member of your team?

 

 

45

 

1 A. He was.

2 Q. And the question you were being asked is about the route

3 he took, as I understand it, during the course of the

4 operation that night?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. And what you say is that it was a natural route for him

7 to take. Now, is that based on your understanding of,

8 as it were, the ways in, the ways out of this area and,

9 indeed, of the target area for the operation itself?

10 A. Not so much the routes to and from the area of

11 operation, but more how call signs would have occupied

12 themselves between periods of activity.

13 Q. I understand. And what you go on to say there in your

14 statement is that the officer was very experienced in

15 operations in this area. Do you see that, about ten

16 lines down? And that this route, the route past the

17 house in Ashford Grange, was a through route?

18 A. Yes, that's correct.

19 Q. Now, I don't want to ask you any more details in this

20 open session about specific routes. I think that's

21 something we should pick up, if we may, in the closed

22 session. But I would like to ask you about the next

23 comments you make because you go on in relation to the

24 same officer to say, about six lines from the end of

25 this paragraph, that the team would frequently make

 

 

46

 

1 announcements over the radio. Then you give an example

2 there:

3 "Rosemary Nelson at home [et cetera] so that all of

4 the call signs knew if there was anyone they had to look

5 out for and who may be looking out for them, and who is

6 out of the area."

7 And a little earlier, do you see in the same

8 paragraph, you refer to them driving round so they would

9 inevitably drive past the houses of significant figures.

10 Do you see that?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And so are you saying that your recollection is that

13 such an announcement was made about Rosemary Nelson on

14 this evening?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. And was it to the effect that her car was at home?

17 A. I believe so.

18 Q. Yes. And, again, as far as you can recollect, that was

19 something radioed in by Officer K, was it?

20 A. That's correct.

21 Q. Yes. Now, can I take it from that evidence that she,

22 Rosemary Nelson, was regarded by you and your team as

23 a significant figure?

24 A. That's correct.

25 Q. Why do you say that, please?

 

 

47

 

1 A. Because of her close association with Collie Duffy.

2 Q. So she came into the group, did she, of individuals who

3 you and your team had to look out for or who may be

4 looking out for them?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. Now, I would like to return to the question of what you

7 knew of and about Rosemary Nelson in a moment, but the

8 final document on the operation I would like to look at

9 with you in the open session is at RNI-547-061

10 (displayed).

11 Now, again this is a PRISM document, so it may be

12 that the first thing you will do is to tell me that you

13 wouldn't have seen it in this form. Is that right?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. Thank you. Can we look at the substance, though,

16 together? The first question I wanted to ask you about

17 it -- it is dated the 16th; in other words, the day

18 after Rosemary Nelson's murder -- is it appears to be

19 a brief summary of what happened in the evening

20 14/15 March, the evening we have been talking about. Is

21 that correct?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. Were you responsible for compiling it?

24 A. I didn't compile this PRISM document. However, the

25 content and the summary would have came from the précis

 

 

48

 

1 form which TCG got a copy of at the conclusion of our

2 deployments.

3 Q. So at the conclusion of the deployment, you would have

4 produced a précis of what happened and given it to TCG,

5 as you told us earlier in your evidence?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. And you think, from that, this PRISM document has been

8 created?

9 A. Yes, that's correct. TCG would have extracted the

10 detail from our précis -- we would have had numerous

11 operations on it for different areas -- and they would

12 have then distributed it, the content, to each relevant

13 E3 office.

14 Q. Right. Now, having said there was one more document to

15 see, there is actually a further one. I just want to go

16 back with you to look at the surveillance log and ask

17 you one question arising out of the evidence you have

18 just given. That's the document at RNI-548-322

19 (displayed).

20 We have looked at it together before. What I wanted

21 to ask you is this: you have told us that you recall the

22 officer we call B663 radioing in to say Rosemary Nelson

23 was home and her car there, or something along those

24 lines. Do you remember saying that?

25 A. That's correct.

 

 

49

 

1 Q. Now, you also said in your evidence that there would be

2 calls in of this sort, as it were, from time to time

3 during any operation. Is that right?

4 A. That's correct.

5 Q. Now, as far as one can see looking at this log, it

6 doesn't contain a record of that sort of stream of

7 calling in, does it?

8 A. No, it does not.

9 Q. And so does that help us to understand that this is

10 a very brief record, not a record of every communication

11 by any means but only of what you described as the

12 pertinent points?

13 A. Yes, that's correct.

14 Q. So it certainly doesn't, does it, even in this redacted

15 form, record him calling in saying Rosemary Nelson at

16 home?

17 A. No, but to further qualify that, Rosemary Nelson's

18 association with Collie Duffy was not the subject of

19 Operation Fagotto.

20 Q. Thank you. But what I wanted to ask you is that during

21 the course of any operation, and in one in particular,

22 presumably numerous calls of that kind were coming in?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Is that right?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

50

 

1 Q. In relation to other individuals of the kind you have

2 mentioned, significant figures?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Is that right?

5 A. Not on every occasion, bearing in mind the time of night

6 and what the individual call signs were doing.

7 Q. Yes.

8 A. But yes, on occasions it would not be out of the usual

9 or out of the normal to have information relayed to us

10 about the location of other significant figures.

11 Q. Yes. And was that information, those calls in, ever

12 recorded in the logs?

13 A. Sometimes it was.

14 Q. And, again, were there guidelines as to on which

15 occasions record should be made and on which occasions

16 it should not?

17 A. There was a rule of thumb, bearing in mind that we were

18 operating pre-RIPA here, that if an individual from

19 another -- if you were deployed in one operation and an

20 individual from another operation appeared in the area

21 that we were working, you wouldn't necessarily have

22 recorded his or her appearance unless they then became

23 directly part of the operation that you were out on.

24 So in layman's terms, if somebody from Armagh

25 appeared whilst we were working in Newcastle and they

 

 

51

 

1 weren't part of the Newcastle operation, we wouldn't

2 necessarily have recorded that in the log. It may have

3 been recorded later as a sighting.

4 Q. Is it fair to say that as far as one can tell in here,

5 there is no recollection of observations or sightings of

6 anyone other than the specific target of the operation?

7 A. In Fagotto, yes.

8 Q. Yes.

9 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I just ask, Mr Phillips, please --

10 MR PHILLIPS: Yes.

11 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: -- can you recall, were there any other

12 announcements made about any other persons or addresses

13 during this operation that were not recorded?

14 A. I can't recall specifically. But it would have been --

15 it would have been the norm for there to have been.

16 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: As you pass an address or a location

17 for them to announce?

18 A. That's correct.

19 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Sorry, could I also ask a question?

20 When you were out doing sightings -- from information

21 that we have already seen, you would sight a car with

22 people in it doing something -- would you, having been

23 tasked, say, by TCG to watch out for Rosemary Nelson,

24 simply have reported the fact that at a given time her

25 car was parked outside her home?

 

 

52

 

1 A. Yes, it would have been done for two reasons: for

2 a tactical reason and for an intelligence reason.

3 If she was -- if her vehicle was at home, bearing in

4 mind the knowledge of what we had of who used that

5 vehicle, then it was one less individual we had to worry

6 about inadvertently driving and parking beside one of

7 our call signs.

8 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right. I was thinking that you had

9 been tasked to watch out for Rosemary Nelson generally.

10 A. Yes.

11 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: In the course of Operation Fagotto,

12 you received an announcement that her car was outside

13 her home. Would that have been recorded separately as

14 a sighting in connection with the other task?

15 A. It may have been or it may just have been recorded as

16 a note on the précis, or the individual officer may have

17 put it in as an individual sighting on his return to

18 base. I can't recall what was done on this occasion.

19 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Okay, thank you.

20 MR PHILLIPS: So in other words, there would be occasions

21 where the message which came in of that kind would

22 simply not be recorded anywhere, and other occasions

23 where it would be recorded in some other record for some

24 other purpose?

25 A. That's correct. I would suggest that at the time the

 

 

53

 

1 transmission was given, it was given as a routine

2 operational practice. But after subsequent occurrences,

3 it then became relevant.

4 Q. Indeed. Now, can I just ask you a couple of questions,

5 which I should have asked you at the outset, about the

6 process of joining the E4A, that you belonged to, part

7 of Special Branch?

8 You told us about your earlier career and you said

9 you were posted to South Region in June 1996. Your

10 service in South Region, was it all within E4A?

11 A. It was, yes.

12 Q. Thank you. And was that a unit or a section that you

13 had to apply to join?

14 A. Yes, E4A Department was a -- yes, you had to apply to.

15 Q. Yes. Was that a competitive process?

16 A. It was.

17 Q. And did it require, once successful, as it were,

18 training and that sort of thing?

19 A. It did, yes.

20 Q. Yes. Were you required, before being accepted into E4A,

21 to undergo testing and courses to see whether you were a

22 suitable recruit?

23 A. Yes, that's correct.

24 Q. And presumably there was a substantial level of

25 vetting also?

 

 

54

 

1 A. There was.

2 Q. Yes.

3 A. And a further probationary period as well.

4 Q. Right. So in other words, if you didn't come up to

5 scratch, if I can put it that way, in the probationary

6 period, you would be returned to some other unit?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. Thank you. I would like to ask you finally some

9 questions about Rosemary Nelson. We have touched on her

10 now.

11 As I pointed out to you, you classed her, in talking

12 about the sort of people who would get commented on by

13 members of your team, as a significant figure and you

14 explained why that was. So we can take it, can we, that

15 by this stage in March 1999, very shortly before her

16 murder, you were aware of her because of her association

17 with Colin Duffy?

18 A. That's correct.

19 Q. What else, in general terms, did you know about her and

20 the sort of work she did?

21 A. I didn't really have a detailed knowledge of her prior

22 to her association with Colin Duffy. I just knew that

23 she represented Garvaghy Road residents and she was

24 deemed to be a civil rights -- an active civil rights

25 lawyer, and just the ordinary clip that would have been

 

 

55

 

1 on the media.

2 Q. Yes. Did you see intelligence reporting about her in

3 the period before her murder?

4 A. Yes, as supplied by TCG.

5 Q. Yes. Was that material, so far as you can remember,

6 about her or about her in association with others?

7 A. About her in association with others.

8 Q. Now, in paragraph 39 of your statement, you begin to

9 address this topic. That's at RNI-846-433 (displayed).

10 You talk there about the question of surveillance in

11 relation to her and I want to ask you some questions

12 about that in due course. But on this question of

13 intelligence and what you saw in relation to her from

14 TCG, in terms of her perceived relationship with PIRA,

15 with the Provisional IRA, how would you characterise

16 that?

17 A. That she had represented significant members of the

18 Provisional IRA at trial and on appeal and was deemed to

19 be popular with the Republicans. She would have been

20 one of their first choices as a solicitor.

21 Q. Did you understand her relationship and connection with

22 PIRA to go beyond that; in other words, to go beyond her

23 legal work?

24 A. No, I didn't.

25 Q. You didn't regard her, for example, as an active

 

 

56

 

1 supporter?

2 A. We didn't know at that time.

3 Q. Are you saying that you became aware of things at

4 a subsequent period?

5 A. We became aware of things which may have led you to

6 believe that that was the case with her, but at no stage

7 were we ever briefed that Rosemary Nelson was an active

8 member of the Provisional IRA.

9 Q. Were you ever briefed to the effect that she was an

10 active supporter of the Provisional IRA?

11 A. No.

12 Q. What was the nature of the briefing then about her

13 connection with the Provisional IRA?

14 A. To try and establish the basis of her association with

15 Colin Duffy.

16 Q. Right.

17 A. Whether it was sinister or whether it wasn't.

18 Q. Yes. And by using the word "sinister", do you mean

19 whether her association with him was effectively

20 a Provisional IRA association; in other words, whether

21 they were working together in that sense? Is that what

22 you mean?

23 A. Yes, that's correct.

24 Q. Yes. Now, in this paragraph you have obviously been

25 asked in the interview about whether there were

 

 

57

 

1 surveillance operations where she was the direct or

2 indirect subject of the operation. And you say in the

3 next sentence:

4 "We were tasked on several operations that centred

5 around Colin Duffy as he was a much less controversial

6 subject."

7 You go on to say that there were difficulties in

8 tasking directly in relation to her. What were the

9 difficulties, please?

10 A. Because she was a high profile civil rights lawyer and

11 obviously any activities that we would record in

12 relation to people that she was meeting and locations

13 may be subject to legal privilege.

14 Q. But can I take it, therefore, that the question of

15 whether or not to launch such operations was discussed?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And were you part of those discussions or did they take

18 place at a higher level, if I can put it that way?

19 A. They would have taken place at a higher level. Certain

20 operational tactics and how we approached the tasking

21 would have involved us discussing with TCG issues in

22 relation to Rosemary Nelson like that.

23 Q. How did you then become aware of the nature of those

24 discussions?

25 A. TCG would have briefed me, on very broad terms, as to

 

 

58

 

1 why we weren't directly tasked on Rosemary Nelson.

2 Q. Can you remember whether these discussions took place on

3 a regular basis or on one occasion only?

4 A. As far as I am aware, they just took place at the

5 inception of the operation against Collie Duffy.

6 Q. Is this the one you refer to later your statement?

7 A. Yes, that's correct.

8 Q. Now, you then go on to say in this same paragraph:

9 "As well as monitoring Duffy in terms of possible

10 terrorist attacks, we had the direct tasking from E3 via

11 TCG to identify and facilitate recruitment opportunities

12 in relation to associates of Colin Duffy. This would

13 possibly arise out of monitoring compromising behaviour

14 with Mrs Nelson."

15 So she was encompassed within the scope of that

16 tasking, was she?

17 A. That's correct.

18 Q. Because she was one of the perceived associates?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. And this was a continuing tasking, was it?

21 A. It was.

22 Q. Can you remember roughly when it began?

23 A. I believe the summer of 1998.

24 Q. Thank you. Can I take it from this that consideration

25 was given to the possibility of recruiting

 

 

59

 

1 Rosemary Nelson?

2 A. I couldn't comment to that directly, but any associate

3 of a leading PIRA figure I'm sure would have came on to

4 their radar.

5 Q. Just to be clear, you can't comment because you weren't

6 involved or because you can't comment in an open

7 hearing?

8 A. Because I wouldn't have been involved in the

9 recruitment.

10 Q. But suffice to say you knew that within the category of

11 associates, she was definitely numbered?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. Thank you. So can I take it, therefore, that as

14 a result of that, surveillance took place which included

15 keeping an eye on her, but not in her own right, rather

16 as one of his associates?

17 A. Yes, we were tasked to perform surveillance on

18 Collie Duffy and especially whenever he was in contact

19 with Rosemary Nelson.

20 Q. (Redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted).

24 A. (Redacted).

25 Q. (redacted)

 

 

60

 

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted).

4 A. (Redacted).

5 Q. (Redacted).

6 A. (Redacted).

7 Q. (Redacted).

8 A. (Redacted).

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted).

12 Q. (Redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted).

15 A. (Redacted).

16 Q. (Redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted).

19 A. (Redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted).

24 Q. So it was a balance presumably, as in all such cases,

25 between the perceived intelligence gain and the

 

 

61

 

1 perceived downside should the activities be discovered?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. And it was thought, was it, that the downsides, given

4 her profile, the person she was and the profession she

5 was in, might be very considerable?

6 A. Yes, that's correct. And also we didn't want to alert

7 PIRA or Collie Duffy as to where and what individuals we

8 were looking at.

9 Q. Right. Now, what I would like to do, please, next is to

10 look at the passage of your statement immediately after

11 this, which says:

12 "We would perform surveillance on her when she was

13 not in the company of Colin Duffy if we were looking for

14 him in the hope that she would take us to him."

15 And with that in mind, I would like to look with

16 you, please, at a document you saw I think this morning

17 at RNI-542-227 (displayed). Now, this is a document

18 which, we can see from RNI-542-231, you created. If we

19 can have RNI-542-231 on the screen, please (displayed)?

20 There you are, you see your cipher at the bottom

21 there. Do you see that?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. And going back to RNI-542-227 (displayed), this is

24 Operation Repugnance, and was that the operation that

25 you referred to earlier, which we can see taking place

 

 

62

 

1 here in July 1998?

2 A. Yes, that's correct.

3 Q. The target is Colin Duffy, and just to help us to

4 understand the document, please, it records the

5 observations of your team on a chronological basis

6 through to -- the final page -- just before midnight on

7 this day in July 1998, doesn't it?

8 A. It does.

9 Q. Now, can I ask you, in relation to this operation were

10 you performing the same function, i.e. back in the

11 operations room, or were you out on the ground?

12 A. I believe I was in the operations room.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, just following it through, we see the

14 first reference to Colin Duffy there at 15.16, and what

15 I would like to do with your help, please, is to go to

16 the next page, RNI-542-228 (displayed) because I think

17 you may have -- I hope you have -- to assist us all,

18 access to an unredacted copy of this, do you?

19 A. I have.

20 Q. Thank you. At 18.08, I think the registration number

21 and address of Rosemary Nelson is set out. Is that

22 right?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. And a description under "Comment" of her car "OD".

25 Owner/driver; is that correct?

 

 

63

 

1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. Thank you. Now, the next relevant observation as the

3 log continues is at the bottom of RNI-542-230

4 (displayed), and I would ask you to look at that again,

5 please, in the unredacted version. 21.48, 48 minutes

6 past nine in the evening, does that record the same

7 registration number "not at", and then the home address?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. And then moving on to the next page, please, RNI-542-231

10 (displayed), this time 21.57, does it record the same

11 car; in other words, Rosemary Nelson's car, "mobile on"

12 and then continuing; yes?

13 A. It does.

14 Q. And the comment there:

15 "Nelson driving, Duffy front seat passenger."

16 And their route is followed and eventually it is

17 recorded:

18 "They parked convenient to a derelict building off

19 Church Road at ... "

20 And then a grid reference is given. Are you able to

21 help us, based on what you can see in your document,

22 with where this location was in terms of Lurgan or its

23 environs?

24 A. It was a remote rural location.

25 Q. Some way away from the town?

 

 

64

 

1 A. It was, yes.

2 Q. And the next observation -- again, using your unredacted

3 copy, please -- 23.48, does that record her car

4 registration number and her address?

5 A. It does.

6 Q. And then the comment:

7 "It is believed that ..."

8 Again, is that the car registration number:

9 "... was still at Church Road, Ardmore"?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. That, I assume, is the Church Road referred to a little

12 earlier?

13 A. It is.

14 Q. Thank you. Then we can see:

15 "Some time after ..."

16 This has been redacted:

17 "... 23.50, team lifted off."

18 Now, is this an example then of the sort of

19 surveillance that you are referring to in your

20 statement, where you would be observing her in order

21 effectively to observe him?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. Now, I would like to return to this in a minute, please,

24 but one of the things you say about this sort of

25 surveillance, at paragraph 40 -- if we could go back to

 

 

65

 

1 that, please, RNI-846-433 (displayed) -- is, at the

2 bottom of paragraph 40:

3 "We could not specifically target her given her

4 profession, but she was certainly of interest given her

5 associations with PIRA in the local area and her close

6 relationship with Duffy."

7 Now, what you have told us about her, the way her

8 associations with PIRA were regarded, apart from the

9 question of Colin Duffy, is that as far as you knew, she

10 was the lawyer and she represented alleged PIRA members?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. Is it surprising that if that's all you thought about

13 her associations, you in Special Branch were launching

14 surveillance into a lawyer who was regarded as doing

15 that sort of work?

16 A. Not when it was put in the context of being a close

17 associate of Collie Duffy.

18 Q. So looking at that sentence there, the important aspect

19 is what you say later, namely the close relationship

20 with him?

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. Yes. You go on to say, though:

23 "I should point out that E3 wanted to establish the

24 exact nature of her connections so that we could prove

25 her innocence as well as to inform us of any terrorist

 

 

66

 

1 associations she may have had."

2 Now, what do you mean by establishing the exact

3 nature of her connections so you could prove her

4 innocence?

5 A. Our initial briefing was that they had received

6 intelligence that she was having a close association

7 with Collie Duffy. They wanted to bottom this out to

8 find out exactly what was the nature of the

9 relationship, and if she was having a close

10 relationship, how was Collie Duffy using or manipulating

11 her, if it was happening at all.

12 Q. And is that what you mean when you refer to proving her

13 innocence; in other words, if it had come up with

14 a clean bill, if I can put it that way, she would no

15 longer have been a person of interest?

16 A. Yes, that's correct.

17 Q. So can I take it from your earlier answer that

18 operations continued, that what you did observe, what

19 you did gather in in terms of intelligence did not allow

20 you to, as you put it, prove her innocence?

21 A. Bearing in mind that we were only one strand of the

22 intelligence gathering energies that were deployed in

23 this. From what we saw on the ground, it led us to

24 believe that it was more than a professional

25 solicitor/client relationship.

 

 

67

 

1 Q. Yes. You talk about that in your statement and we will

2 look at it together in a minute, but you say from what

3 was observed by your team that it was a romantic

4 relationship, a sexual relationship and not

5 a lawyer/client relationship?

6 A. I didn't go as far as that.

7 Q. Right. How would you have described it?

8 A. I think the term used from the call signs coming off the

9 ground was "cosy".

10 Q. Right. But in relation to any sinister relationship --

11 and you used that word, I think, yourself, a little

12 earlier -- did your observations lead you to think that

13 the connection between them, those two individuals, was

14 sinister?

15 A. Yes, there were elements of what we saw which led us to

16 believe that she was certainly a very close associate of

17 Collie Duffy's and other significant PIRA personnel,

18 outside of normal office hours.

19 Q. Yes. So in other words, looking back at the sentence we

20 looked at before, based on your observations -- and

21 I appreciate you were only part of the machinery -- you

22 were not, to use your terminology, satisfied of her

23 innocence, and that applies not just to her relationship

24 with him but to other alleged members of PIRA?

25 A. Yes, from the intelligence that we gathered from the

 

 

68

 

1 ground, that was one conclusion that could be read from

2 it without having detailed knowledge of what was going

3 on in her liaisons.

4 Q. Yes. But your function, as I understand it, is to get

5 into position, to make the observations, to feed the

6 observations back into the system?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. And it would be for others in due course to analyse, to

9 collate all the various bits of information and take

10 subsequent tasking decisions?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. You were simply gathering in the information?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. And you were, in your surveillance team, one of a number

15 of different means available within Special Branch of

16 gathering in information?

17 A. That's correct.

18 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the nature of their

19 relationship is concerned, that you deal with beginning

20 in paragraph 41 and that's at the very bottom of this

21 page and going over to the next page, please,

22 RNI-846-434 (displayed), and you say at the top:

23 "It appeared to our team that Rosemary Nelson and

24 Colin Duffy were having an affair. Such conclusion can

25 easily be drawn from their body language and from the

 

 

69

 

1 remote rural locations they visited together."

2 So was the example we looked at together an example

3 of such a visit?

4 A. Yes, that was an example of one such occasion.

5 Q. Yes. Were there other examples which were being

6 observed by you or your team?

7 A. Yes, there was.

8 Q. And are you able to estimate how many such occasions

9 were observed?

10 A. I know in relation to the one that you have just

11 described, taking us out on the rural location, there

12 was one other incident like that which I am aware of,

13 where in fact it was very similar. They met up in

14 Lurgan and then drove out to a remote rural location,

15 only this time Collie Duffy drove her car; they swapped

16 round. There were other instances which I'm not able to

17 comment in this session.

18 Q. Right. And so far as the comments you make about this

19 issue in your statement are concerned, can I take it

20 that these comments are based on your understanding of

21 what was reported to you in the operations room by the

22 surveillance team on the ground?

23 A. Yes, from what they reported led me to believe that they

24 were having an affair.

25 Q. What do you mean by "body language"?

 

 

70

 

1 A. At no time did we see them embrace or kiss or engage in

2 any sexual activity, but the -- from what the call signs

3 would describe of how they conducted themselves in each

4 other's company when they did meet, I think one operator

5 used the term "they are certainly very cosy".

6 Q. Yes. That business of somebody saying that they were

7 certainly very cosy, is that what led you to believe

8 that, as you put it, they were having an affair?

9 A. That, coupled with the locations that they visited and

10 the length of time that they stayed there, the time of

11 night that they went and what the locals would have used

12 those same locations as, basically courting couples'

13 spots.

14 Q. Yes. But these were out of the way places?

15 A. Correct.

16 Q. And presumably it must have occurred to you even at the

17 time that there might have been quite other reasons why

18 individuals might go to out of the way places to have

19 private discussions?

20 A. Yes, that's correct.

21 Q. And other than the comment from one of the call signs

22 that they appeared to be cosy, you are saying, are you,

23 that there was no observation of physical contact of

24 a sexual nature that was reported?

25 A. That's correct.

 

 

71

 

1 Q. Thank you. Now, you also say that in general terms,

2 there would be surveillance logs of this incident, the

3 particular one where they were there for a couple of

4 hours?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Now, if we just look back to RNI-542-231 (displayed) --

7 thank you -- the observations appear to be about two

8 hours apart. Is that right?

9 A. Yes, that's correct.

10 Q. Do you think this may have been the occasion that you

11 had in mind when you made your statement?

12 A. It was.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, going back to your statement at

14 RNI-846-434 (displayed), you say there:

15 "If there were things of note, for example, if they

16 appeared to be amorous or he gave her his mobile phone,

17 these would be added into the log."

18 A. Yes, that's correct.

19 Q. And one can take it in the context of recruitment

20 considerations that that sort of point could be very

21 significant?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, we know that there is no such note in the log we

24 went through together, don't we?

25 A. That's correct.

 

 

72

 

1 Q. So one can take it, can one, that on this particular

2 occasion, the two hours in Church Road, Ardmore, there

3 was no pertinent observation of this kind?

4 A. Yes, that's correct.

5 Q. Thank you. Would you give me a moment? (Pause)

6 What I would like you to deal next with, please, is

7 the question of the extent to which there was knowledge

8 of the alleged relationship between them outside your

9 team or, indeed, outside Special Branch. This is

10 a topic you deal with in the final section of your

11 statement, paragraph 48 and following at RNI-846-435

12 (displayed).

13 Do you see at the beginning of paragraph 48 you pose

14 that question, or you record the question having been

15 posed to you, I should say:

16 "I have been asked how widely it was known that

17 Mrs Nelson was having an affair with Colin Duffy."

18 Then we go on to the next page, RNI-846-436

19 (displayed). Now, your comment at the beginning is

20 a reference, isn't it, to Operation Indus?

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. And to be clear, that's a matter that I intend to return

23 to with you briefly in the course of our closed hearing,

24 but I don't wish to ask you anything about it now.

25 So just continuing, you talk then about your own

 

 

73

 

1 team and what you regarded as the watertight nature, if

2 I can put it that way, of your team; in other words,

3 that they, in your experience, would not have discussed

4 matters outside the team?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. Yes. Can I assume, therefore, that what you are talking

7 about in terms of being a watertight team is the

8 particular observations that your team made about the

9 relationship during the operations that we have

10 discussed?

11 A. Yes, each surveillance team would have kept their work

12 very much sacrosanct and it was totally taboo to discuss

13 what you were working on or the product that you had

14 achieved with other units.

15 Q. Yes. Now, that's at that very detailed operational

16 observations level. I think the other issue, and the

17 issue you were being asked about in your statement,

18 which you go on to talk about, is at a much more general

19 level, do you see: the question of whether there was

20 knowledge or there were rumours going round about the

21 relationship? And that, I think, you are talking about

22 in paragraph 49 because there, you see, you say that:

23 "The relationship ..."

24 That is the relationship between him and

25 Rosemary Nelson:

 

 

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1 "... made him unpopular."

2 Do you see that?

3 A. Yes, that's correct.

4 Q. And that suggests, doesn't it, that you believed at any

5 rate that there were some people, perhaps within the

6 Kilwilke area, who were aware of the relationship?

7 A. Yes, that was my understanding.

8 Q. Yes. Where did that understanding come from, please?

9 A. E3.

10 Q. It came from E3. By that, do you mean local

11 Special Branch?

12 A. Yes, that's correct. It would have came through TCG,

13 but would have been briefed by E3.

14 Q. Yes. Right. And you remember then, do you, being told

15 about the local perception of the relationship by

16 Special Branch officers based in Lurgan?

17 A. I would have been told by TCG who would have been

18 briefed by local Special Branch officers in Lurgan.

19 Q. And to be clear then, you were told, were you, that the

20 nature of the relationship was known about in that

21 particular area?

22 A. Yes, they suspected that.

23 Q. Yes. And are we referring then, just to come to the

24 point here, to the rather tight knit Republican

25 community that you talked about earlier in your

 

 

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1 evidence?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. Yes. Were you told that the relationship was known

4 about more generally in Lurgan?

5 A. No.

6 Q. You see, we have heard some evidence in the Inquiry to

7 the effect that it may have been known about more

8 generally in the town. But that's not something that

9 you picked up. Is that right?

10 A. No. Because of the nature of our work, we would have

11 had very little contact with other police units or other

12 military units. So we wouldn't have been exposed to the

13 same grapevine and gossip.

14 Q. Yes. That's helpful, thank you. But just looking on to

15 paragraph 50, to clarify something you say there, if we

16 get that up on the screen, please (displayed), you say:

17 "I would be shocked if the relationship between

18 Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy was something that was

19 known about more widely in SB".

20 Now, based on what you have been telling us, you

21 were at least being told that it was more widely known,

22 i.e. it was within the Republican community. That's the

23 first thing. Do you accept that?

24 A. I think it was in response to a question they had

25 asked me.

 

 

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1 Q. Right. And in terms of it being known more widely, you

2 have made it clear that Lurgan reported to TCG, who told

3 you about the relationship at the time?

4 A. That's correct.

5 Q. Yes. So when you say that information was to be held

6 tightly, it wasn't held so tightly that it didn't in the

7 end reach you in terms of the briefings that you have

8 mentioned earlier?

9 A. I think, because we were actively engaged in the

10 operation and were part of it, they felt that they

11 needed to tell us that to put the operation and its

12 direction in perspective.

13 Q. Yes. And in the course of those briefings about the

14 relationship in order to put the operation in its

15 perspective, what view about Rosemary Nelson was

16 expressed to you?

17 A. That in worst case scenario, if she was or had been

18 recruited by Collie Duffy to actively assist terrorists,

19 then she would have been an excellent resource for them

20 and she was well placed to present a very serious threat

21 to members of the judiciary or the police service.

22 Q. Was it suggested to you that she may well have been so

23 recruited?

24 A. It was one of a number of options that were considered.

25 Basically until the thing was bottomed out, everything

 

 

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1 had to be considered.

2 Q. Are you aware of what conclusions were reached, after

3 your operations, on that question?

4 A. I'm not aware of any definitive conclusions, but there

5 was an indication that they were leaning towards -- her

6 relationship was extending further than a romantic or

7 solicitor/client relationship.

8 Q. Extending to the point of regarding her as an active

9 supporter of the Provisional IRA?

10 A. Possibly.

11 Q. Now, just talking about the wider knowledge of these

12 matters, there is one further point in your statement I

13 should just take up with you briefly, and that is at

14 paragraph 45, RNI-846-435 (displayed) because there in

15 the context of some comments about Operation Indus, you

16 say:

17 "I heard all sorts of reports about the state of

18 their relationship, who was leaving whose partner first

19 and who was reluctant to leave who."

20 Now, that suggests, if you don't mind me putting it

21 that way, that you were receiving rather gossipy reports

22 about what was going on. From whom would these reports

23 derive?

24 A. I wouldn't have used the term "gossipy". They were

25 assessments as to the state of the relationship and the

 

 

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1 potential for any longevity. I would have received

2 those from E3 and TCG.

3 Q. In other words, as part of the similar sort of briefing,

4 similar to that you were talking about earlier?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. Right. Sir, those are the questions I have for the open

7 session. I think anything else we need to explore in

8 the closed session.

9 Sir, it is quarter to one. I don't know what you --

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Quarter past two will be the earliest time, I

11 think. Yes.

12 We are going to adjourn now until quarter past two,

13 when we will go into a closed hearing.

14 Mr (name redacted), before the witness leaves, would you

15 please confirm that all the cameras have been

16 switched off?

17 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out. Of course,

19 only the people entitled to be at the closed hearing

20 will be there.

21 We will adjourn until quarter past two.

22 (12.45 pm)

23 (The short adjournment)

24

25

 

 

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1 (2.15 pm)

2 THE CHAIRMAN: I have been handed a written checklist, duly

3 signed. Bring the witness in, please.

4 Yes?

5 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, can I just begin by apologising to

6 everybody, and particularly for the representatives of

7 the family for the fact that they have had to come back

8 because I am afraid on this occasion I forgot to ask

9 this witness whether he has something he wished to add

10 after all the questions I had asked him because I

11 understand that he does.

12 A. Yes, thank you very much for the opportunity.

13 I just wanted to set the work of our department in

14 context. I would like to thank the Board for this

15 opportunity to give evidence. All the members of

16 surveillance unit were vetted to DV standard by the

17 Security Services because of our national security work.

18 Our department operated an ethos of need to answer and

19 any loose talk would not be tolerated, and would result

20 in dismissal at least from the department.

21 My unit worked on surveillance subjects from both

22 Loyalist and Republican backgrounds and we had notable

23 successes against both allegiances of criminal or

24 terrorism. Our unit's motto, sine metus aut favio,

25 meaning without fear or favour, embodied how we carried

 

 

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1 out our operations. Had it not been for the dedication

2 and bravery of E4A and HMSU officers, there are leading

3 Republicans who may not be alive or in politics now.

4 We undertook our taskings with equal vigour, and I

5 can recall on occasion when Collie Duffy himself was

6 protected by our work against Loyalist paramilitaries.

7 To suggest that our unit in any way contributed or were

8 implicit in Rosemary Nelson's murder is offensive. I

9 can understand the pain of Mrs Nelson's family in losing

10 a loved one and would sympathise with their loss, but I

11 can assure them and the Board we have cooperated fully

12 in order to assist them and have nothing to hide.

13 I thank the Board for this rare opportunity to

14 explain the work of E4A, which has frequently been

15 wrongly and maliciously portrayed as some sort of dark

16 force.

17 Thank you.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. I wouldn't have thought there is

19 much point in us leaving other than, of course,

20 Mr O'Hare has to leave and be escorted out.

21 MR CURRANS: Sir, I think it would --

22 THE CHAIRMAN: You think it would be better if we did? All

23 right.

24 MR PHILLIPS: I think the witness may need to go first.

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. Would you please escort the witness

 

 

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