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Full Hearings

Hearing: 9th December 2008, day 88

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ROSEMARY NELSON

PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

 

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


on Tuesday, 9 December 2008
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 88

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



1 Tuesday, 9 December 2008

2 (10.15 am)

3 (Proceedings delayed)

4 (10.20 am)

5 MR CHRISTOPHER JOPLING (affirmed)

6 Questions by MR SAVILL

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

8 Yes, Mr Savill?

9 MR SAVILL: Thank you, sir.

10 Could you give us your name, please?

11 A. Christopher Edward Jopling.

12 Q. Thank you very much. You have, Mr Jopling, made

13 a statement to the Inquiry and, as we do, I would just

14 like to confirm that with you. Could we call up,

15 please, RNI-841-408 (displayed)? That is the first page

16 of your statement. Then, please, the final page,

17 RNI-841-413 (displayed). Can we go back to the first

18 page, RNI 841-408, your signature and the date of

19 5 December 2006?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Thank you very much indeed. I hope I am right in saying

22 that you could best be described as a career soldier?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Could you just, please, very briefly, to start with tell

25 us when you actually did join the Army; some

 

 

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1 considerable time ago, I believe?

2 A. I joined the Army in December 1988.

3 Q. And in what capacity, in which regiment, did you join?

4 A. I initially joined the Army in the Infantry, in the Duke

5 of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment, and after almost six

6 years I then transferred into the Royal Military Police.

7 Q. Is it right to say that up until this point you are

8 still in that part of the Army?

9 A. Yes, I am Military Police, now serving in Germany.

10 Q. As far as March 1999 is concerned, a long time ago,

11 I appreciate, could you tell us, please, what your role

12 was and where you were stationed?

13 A. At the time I lived in Portadown and predominantly

14 worked in Lurgan, carrying out a job that was known as

15 spotters, which meant going on patrol with either the

16 Royal Irish Regiment or the six-month roulement

17 battalions, carrying out patrols. My job was to spot

18 people of interest in the local area.

19 Q. Yes. I just want to deal with that in a little bit more

20 detail, if I may. Why was it that you either were

21 needed to do that job or were best suited to do that

22 job, as opposed to the normal members that you were

23 patrolling with?

24 A. Definitely with the roulement battalions, they were only

25 there for six months, whereas I lived in Portadown for

 

 

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1 almost two and a half years and did solely that job.

2 I did nothing but look for those people.

3 With the Royal Irish, some of them had a very good

4 knowledge of people that lived in that area, others

5 didn't. So I was needed in both areas, really.

6 Q. So far as your specialist knowledge was concerned, if I

7 can call it that, how was that built up? Obviously you

8 say you lived in the area, you were there for longer

9 than those people who were posted for short durations,

10 but how else was your knowledge built up?

11 A. Written briefings, word of mouth and being on the

12 ground, seeing people.

13 Q. So it might be the case, if I can give an example, that

14 you might go out on the patrol as a spotter with a group

15 of soldiers who had never been in that area or stationed

16 there in the past?

17 A. That's true.

18 Q. So they would be very much dependent on you?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. So far as briefings were concerned, did you yourself

21 give briefings to the people you went out on patrol with

22 or was that somebody else's department?

23 A. Somebody else's department.

24 Q. Would you be present at those briefings?

25 A. Generally not, but occasionally I was at the pre-patrol

 

 

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1 briefings, yes.

2 Q. Was there any particular reason why you wouldn't be

3 there, or that just wasn't the way it was done?

4 A. It wasn't the way it was done. They would normally be

5 briefed prior to my arrival.

6 Q. Thank you. As far as the members of the Army that you

7 went out on patrol with, what would you describe their

8 attitude to the people of interest, as it were, that you

9 spotted occasionally and mentioned to them?

10 A. I suppose it could vary from having no real attitude at

11 all to being aggressive.

12 Q. And that might manifest itself face-to-face, for

13 example, or in comments to you?

14 A. Yes, in both.

15 Q. I hesitate to use the word, but was there a degree of

16 prejudice evident in those members of the forces that

17 you patrolled with?

18 A. In some of them, yes.

19 Q. What sort of proportion, would you say?

20 A. A small proportion.

21 Q. And as far as the members of the public that you were

22 dealing with on a day-to-day basis, again, prejudice?

23 A. Yes, in some cases.

24 Q. Again, a minority?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. And I'm going to use an expression -- and feel free to

2 disagree with it -- would you say that those two

3 minorities, as it were, gave as good as they got to one

4 another?

5 A. I think it is fair to say that, yes.

6 Q. And that's in terms of oral abuse?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. When you were mixing with members of the armed forces --

9 and also, I believe, the RUC would send a member out on

10 patrol with you as well?

11 A. Yes, that's true.

12 Q. Were you aware of any comments expressed by any of their

13 members towards lawyers generally?

14 A. Generally, no.

15 Q. On occasion?

16 A. Maybe not prejudice, but comments were made regarding

17 Rosemary Nelson.

18 Q. So just so we are careful and fair to you here, did you

19 hear comments about lawyers other than Rosemary Nelson?

20 A. No, not that I recall.

21 Q. And what sort of comments, if I can press you, were made

22 about Rosemary Nelson?

23 A. In my statement I refer to one where somebody said that

24 she worked for "them", "them" being Catholic terror

25 suspects. But that's the only comment that I recall

 

 

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1 really.

2 Q. Very helpfully you have mentioned your statement, and

3 could we call up RNI-841-410 (displayed). We can,

4 I hope, for you highlight paragraph 19. Would you allow

5 me just to read that out, Mr Jopling? That might be of

6 help to all of us:

7 "I knew who Rosemary Nelson was as I had seen her in

8 newspapers and on the television although I had never

9 met her in person. I knew that she was a Catholic

10 solicitor and it was rumoured that she had represented

11 Catholic terrorist suspects. I remember that members of

12 the RIR had stated that she 'worked for them', 'them'

13 being Catholic terrorist suspects. I cannot recall who

14 said this to me, but in my opinion the predominantly

15 Protestant RIR can appear biased against Catholics,

16 especially those suspected of belonging to terrorist

17 groups. I have no religious beliefs and feel that all

18 terrorists, no matter what cause they fight for, are as

19 bad as one another."

20 That's, I think, what you were referring to?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Is there any amendment or addition that you would like

23 to make to that portion of your statement?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Just to summarise the views that were expressed, the

 

 

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1 minority may have mentioned Rosemary Nelson?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And the views expressed, if I can call them this, were

4 perhaps ignorant and uninformed so far as they were

5 saying she had represented people who were perceived as

6 terrorists?

7 A. Yes, possibly.

8 Q. Was she ever equated with the people that she

9 represented? Would you go as far as that?

10 A. How do you mean?

11 Q. Well, for example, did anybody ever say something along

12 the lines of, "She has represented X, he is a terrorist,

13 she is no better than him"?

14 A. No, I can't remember anything like that being said.

15 Q. And subsequent to her death, was any comment made, as

16 far as you can recall -- I'm sorry, I know it is a long

17 time ago -- that she essentially had got what she

18 deserved because she had taken sides, as it were?

19 A. I can't remember any direct comment from anyone saying

20 anything like that, but I would say there are some

21 people that probably weren't that worried about the

22 incident.

23 Q. No. But I think, again, just before we move on, it is

24 right to say that you would be putting these sorts of

25 comments down to the minority and rather infrequent?

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Now, I'm going to ask you one or two questions, if

3 I may, about Monday, 15 March.

4 What I would like to do, please, is divide it into

5 two parts. I would first of all like to just run

6 through with you the incident and what happened on that

7 day, and then I would like to come to the question of

8 identity in relation to a particular individual that you

9 say was involved in that.

10 Now, when you went out to patrol, could you just

11 very briefly tell us what did that involve: on foot, in

12 Land Rovers, on Monday, the 15th?

13 A. From what I remember without looking at my statement, I

14 would say it was a combination of both. We had set off

15 in vehicles and I believe we carried out a number of

16 foot patrols during the day.

17 Q. And as far as a patrol is concerned, with four call

18 signs as there were on this day, how did that break

19 itself down? You were all part of the same patrol, but

20 as far as commanders were concerned?

21 A. Commanders, the overall patrol would be commanded by

22 a senior NCO or an officer, and then there would be

23 three junior NCOs leading the team, either a corporal or

24 a lance corporal.

25 Q. So when these teams were off doing whatever they were

 

 

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1 doing -- in this particular case, they were sent to

2 different parts of cordon, that we will come to -- they

3 would be under the command of the junior NCO?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. But if circumstances warranted it, there might be such

6 an escalation of the situation that the overall

7 commander would take control of the whole patrol?

8 A. He was responsible for the movements of the teams.

9 Q. Thank you. As far as commanders are concerned, you

10 would refer to the junior NCO as a commander of the team

11 or of the patrol? How would they be referred to?

12 A. He would be called a team commander.

13 Q. On the day in question -- I promise that this isn't

14 going to be a test of your memory, so we can look at

15 some documents -- can you recollect who your team

16 commander was that you were attached to?

17 A. I believe --

18 Q. You have a cipher list in front of you?

19 A. -- with the cipher list and having looked at my

20 statement, I believe it was A181.

21 Q. Could we call up on the screen RNI-833-105, please

22 (displayed)? Could we enlarge the middle part of that?

23 We can see -- it is not very easy -- five lines down

24 from the top "0600" in the left-hand column. Do you see

25 that?

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Now, just above "0600" to the right is an unfortunate

3 marking. I think it is probably a highlighter that has

4 obscured the date, which I think you can take from me is

5 15 March, and we can see if we read across there, just

6 the line below "0600: "T-C L Corporal L181."

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. Yes, I can see that.

10 Q. Again, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but that

11 is team commander, A181?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Was there any rhyme or reason to your attachment to

14 a particular call sign, a particular section of the

15 patrol?

16 A. It would just be down to the overall patrol commander.

17 He would sign the Rover that I went into and I would go

18 with that patrol.

19 Q. Did that mean that you were, as it were, tied to that

20 patrol, that particular team, so if they were directed

21 over to one side the road you would have to go with

22 them, or were you floating?

23 A. Generally, I would be tied to the team because each

24 vehicle needed to have four people in and the Royal

25 Irish would drop a person to make room for me. So

 

 

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1 I made up the fourth person in a team.

2 Q. I see. Presumably you were armed?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. So that if the situation did escalate, your role as

5 a spotter would slide away and you would, as it were,

6 become a regular infantryman if required?

7 A. Yes, that's true.

8 Q. On this day, can you recollect, please, what were your

9 instructions, as far as sightings were concerned, of

10 persons of interest?

11 A. I would say that I was given no specific instruction

12 that day because the job I did was the same every day.

13 I went out with a view to spotting people and if I saw

14 someone, I would tell the team commander, they would

15 then pass it over the radio, and it would go into the

16 patrol report at the end of the day; it was a list.

17 Q. Just to be clear, with when you say tell the team

18 commander, you mean the commander of the section, the

19 team that you were allocated to?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. What were the means of reporting any sightings that you

22 may have seen?

23 A. When I told the team commander, he would then report

24 over the radio to the control room back in Portadown.

25 Q. And again, it may seem a stupid question, but why would

 

 

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1 he do that? What was the purpose?

2 A. I imagine it is so that it is real time information.

3 Q. And were there other methods of recording sightings?

4 A. There was a form, I believe, called a Charlie 1, just

5 a bit smaller than A5. Basically you wrote down the

6 details on there and those would then be attached to the

7 patrol report at the end of the patrol and handed in.

8 Q. And also your notebook, I think?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. But that was very much a default position, was it?

11 A. My notebook, other than being copied for inclusion with

12 this statement, would go nowhere other than when I left

13 Northern Ireland, it would be handed in. It was my

14 notebook. The notes I made were purely down to me

15 wanting to make them. Other people in my section would

16 not necessarily have made the same notes.

17 Q. No. And as far as radio reporting was concerned, was

18 that the norm?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And was there any reason ever that radio reporting was

21 not utilised?

22 A. If communications were down, and possibly if the

23 situation was so dire that you didn't have time to use

24 the radio. That's the only thing I can think of.

25 Q. What was the default position for you then?

 

 

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1 A. I was never in that situation, so I wasn't told one way

2 or the other. We just used the radio to pass the

3 sightings.

4 Q. So you can't recollect an occasion when radio reporting

5 was not the first option that was used?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Now, on Monday, the 15th, you have been on, if I can

8 call it this, your general patrol duties?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. But if we look on the screen -- I think I can read it --

11 it is 12.15, halfway down the page -- you were tasked to

12 go to Tannaghmore Primary School?

13 A. Yes, I think it is 12.55, though.

14 Q. I'm sorry, 12.55. I cannot quite read that first word

15 before "explosion"?

16 A. Partial.

17 Q. "Partial explosion of car bomb. Rosemary Nelson

18 involved."

19 We can see again, what time is that you are

20 arriving?

21 A. I think it is 1300.

22 Q. I don't think it really matters, but you arrived at the

23 scene and, I think, set up a cordon. Can you just read

24 that?

25 A. "Arrived at scene. Set up cordon on junction of North

 

 

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1 Circular and Lake Street ..."

2 Q. "... on arrival", I think?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. When you arrived, your fellow teams, not team members,

5 were also deployed to set up cordons?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And as far as you were concerned, I think it is right to

8 say that initially you stayed fairly close to the

9 Land Rover, but as things developed, you moved about

10 observing, doing your job, if I can say that, amongst

11 the crowd?

12 A. That's true.

13 Q. If I'm right in saying that, then is it also right that

14 you were not necessarily at that point tied in the way

15 that you described it to your team and your commander in

16 terms of sightings?

17 A. Yes, that's true. I mean, in the normal situation the

18 patrol would be moving around, as in moving from A to B,

19 so I would stay with that team. But in that situation

20 we were static on a cordon, so I was free to move around

21 within reason.

22 Q. Now, on this occasion, if I can just explain to you, you

23 state that you saw, if we can them this, two persons of

24 interest?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. And if we call up paragraph 27 of your statement, at

2 RNI-841-411 (displayed) -- well to the bottom of the

3 page highlighted, please, you can see:

4 "I also recall that at about 2.04 pm, a [blank]

5 containing two individuals named [blank] and [blank]

6 drove along the North Circular Road and on to

7 Lake Street and out of Lurgan. I remember this as they

8 were believed to be Loyalists and were in a staunchly

9 Republican area."

10 You go on to give some geographical signposts. You

11 then, middle of the next paragraph, say that:

12 "In my statement ..."

13 Which we can look at in a moment:

14 "... I state that I spoke with both men who said

15 they'd been visiting the graveyard. I can't remember

16 this conversation now, but remember that the graveyard

17 was in a Catholic area and, therefore, it would have

18 been strange for them to have been there. I'm surprised

19 that they and their vehicle were not searched at the

20 time, given their explanation, but can't remember why

21 this did not happen."

22 Now, just take it from there, please, once having

23 seen these people, did you in fact speak to them and

24 stop them?

25 A. In other statements I say that I did speak to them and

 

 

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1 asked them what they had been doing, and I assume that's

2 why I say that they had been where they had been. But

3 other than that, I can't explain why they weren't

4 stopped and questioned further.

5 Q. Let's just try and be clear about this and be fair to

6 you. It may not matter enormously, but are you saying

7 that you did stop them?

8 A. Right.

9 Q. So you did stop them, you spoke to them?

10 A. Yes, that's true. I mention that in one of my

11 statements.

12 Q. You do and I'm just trying to avoid having to take you

13 to that. But you are saying you did stop them and speak

14 to them?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. As a result of that, what did you do?

17 A. I then asked a team commander, who I mention as someone

18 in the statement, to pass that sight.

19 Q. And as I explained earlier, we will deal with the

20 identity separately. So whoever it was, you spoke to

21 a team commander -- just leave it like that at the

22 moment -- and asked him to radio it in, or do you not

23 say that? Do you just mention the names? Do you leave

24 it to the commander to do what he sees fit?

25 A. I would have said to him I've just seen X and Y, send

 

 

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1 the sighting. I wouldn't have had to tell him to send

2 it by radio because that is the only opportunity he had.

3 Q. So the names would be mentioned and it would be a given

4 that the reason you were mentioning it was for it to be

5 radioed through?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Can you recollect the reaction of the individual that

8 you passed this on to?

9 A. Having looked at my statement again, his reaction was,

10 yes, you know, I probably won't bother with that, you

11 know, there is no need.

12 Q. What was your reaction to that?

13 A. I would have said that there was a need, but at the

14 time, you know, the situation was quite tense so I

15 didn't push for the sighting to be sent then and there

16 because I was going to put in a paper report at the end

17 of the patrol.

18 Q. Let's perhaps just deal with that at this point, if we

19 can. Obviously without beating about the bush, the

20 point is that potentially you were making a report of

21 persons of interest being present. This was obviously

22 the scene of, at the time, an attempted murder that

23 subsequently became a murder investigation. Persons of

24 interest were seen and somebody seemed, on one version,

25 to be saying, "I'm not going to bother to report them

 

 

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1 through"?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Now, that has the appearance of something quite sinister

4 potentially, but what I think I'm right in saying is

5 that in fact you made a note of the sightings that was

6 subsequently passed through?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. So it would be right, would it not, just so I can

9 understand, that the apparent refusal or disinterest in

10 reporting the sightings perhaps mattered little in the

11 scheme of things because unless you were forced, as it

12 were, not to hand in your sighting on paper, the only

13 effect was that at that precise moment the sighting

14 wasn't passed through, but subsequently it was?

15 A. Yes, that's correct.

16 Q. Had you any experience previously of saying to

17 a commander, "So and so is over there, I have stopped so

18 and so" and you being told, or guided perhaps, not to

19 report the sighting?

20 A. Yes, but not in that sort of situation. It would have

21 been a general, you know, mobile patrol situation.

22 Q. Because of the circumstances?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. So let me rephrase it: this was an unusual occurrence?

25 A. Yes, pretty much.

 

 

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1 Q. In your experience? Is that fair?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. But I think what you told us was that the situation was

4 such that you didn't force the issue at the time?

5 A. Yes, that's true.

6 Q. And in any event, as I have already just mentioned to

7 you, you were going to write them down and pass on the

8 sightings manually, as it were?

9 A. Yes, that's it.

10 Q. Did you in fact hand your sightings to anyone that you

11 had written down at very short time after the incident

12 or did you hand them back to the intelligence cell once

13 you got back?

14 A. I handed a report in the next morning, I believe, to the

15 Int Cell.

16 Q. Now, if we can just have a brief look at this. I'm not

17 sure if it is on the same page -- no, it is the next

18 page, RNI-841-412 (displayed) -- if we could just

19 highlight, please, paragraphs 35 down to the bottom. If

20 we look at, please, paragraph 35, you can say:

21 "Following my report, I recall being contacted by

22 a member of the Int Cell, though I can't remember

23 exactly who. They wanted to know why the sightings of X

24 and Y ..."

25 Shall we say for the same two people:

 

 

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1 "... had not been passed at the time and intimated

2 that I was at fault. I told them that the sighting had

3 been passed to my team commander who had dismissed it.

4 I believe this caused problems and should have been

5 reported at the time. I'm fairly certain that

6 I discussed the sighting in my office, especially the

7 fact it hadn't been passed on at the time and that the

8 Int Cell had tried to blame me. I don't know whether it

9 was discussed anywhere else. I also recall being

10 contacted by the Int officer, a captain ..."

11 And you have got your cipher list there:

12 "... I can't remember what was said, but it was to

13 do with the sightings of the two Loyalists."

14 Yes?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. So it seemed that the incident and the failure to radio

17 these two sightings in didn't just end when you got back

18 in your vehicle. Perhaps a rather heavy word to use,

19 but repercussions did come about once you returned to

20 base?

21 A. Yes, that's true.

22 Q. Presumably you put your position as you have put it to

23 us today, did you?

24 A. Yes, exactly.

25 Q. Now, having dealt with the incident, let's just try and

 

 

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1 deal, if we can, briefly with the identity. If we

2 recollect what you have said to us and have a look in

3 fact at your statement to the Inquiry on page

4 RNI-841-411 (displayed), you said you spoke to a team

5 commander; yes?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Before we look at the statement, I have already dealt

8 with, I think, the fact that you were mobile or at least

9 walking around?

10 A. Yes, that's true.

11 Q. And in your statement to this Inquiry, you say you spoke

12 to, at paragraph 29:

13 "... a team commander who I believed to be either

14 Corporal A620 or Lance Corporal A181 in order to get the

15 sighting reported."

16 Yes?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. "The only reason I can think of for my uncertainty in

19 identifying the team commander is that maybe

20 Corporal A620 had deployed as part of the QRF from

21 Mahon Barracks."

22 Just pausing there, I think I understand that. Are

23 you simply saying that you may be uncertain as to

24 whether in fact Corporal A620 had been there at all, or

25 are you putting a different slant on it? What does that

 

 

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1 sentence mean:

2 "The only reason I can think of for my uncertainty

3 ..."?

4 A. 181, as I said it in my notebook, was the team commander

5 of the team that I went out with. After the incident,

6 extra teams came from Mahon Road, so A620 could have been

7 one of those team commanders. I can't explain the

8 mix-up for one or the other, but the only explanation I

9 can give that A620 could have been there is because extra

10 teams had been drafted in.

11 Q. But it remains the fact that A620 was there?

12 A. I believe so, yes.

13 Q. Yes. Now, as far as you are concerned in your

14 recollection, can I try and help you with some pointers,

15 as it were? After the incident, namely being told, as

16 you saw it, not to bother to radio something through,

17 you discussed that with other people, did you not?

18 A. After the incident, yes, because the next day, following

19 my report going in, I was then summoned to the Int Cell

20 to ask why this sighting didn't happen. And at the

21 time, they were basically pointing a finger at me for

22 that sighting not happening, and in order to defend

23 myself, I said, "I did pass it on. I spoke to ..." and

24 then --

25 Q. Do you happen to remember who you named -- don't name

 

 

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1 him, you have got the ciphers. Do you remember who you

2 name as being the individual that told you not to do it

3 at that stage?

4 A. I'm assuming that it is the person who I mentioned

5 initially.

6 Q. A620?

7 A. No, I would think it was 181.

8 Q. Well, again, just to try and help you, rather than

9 dragging this out, perhaps I can ask you this: do you

10 remember talking to people in the canteen at Lurgan

11 police station about it?

12 A. I have seen the statement or the note --

13 Q. The message?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. From the police officer?

16 A. And I think it is fair to say that probably did happen,

17 but that was days after the incident and after I had

18 been approached by the Int Cell, and I would assume that

19 whoever it was, A181 or A620, would then have been

20 reprimanded. So I would imagine there was talk and they

21 were probably asking me about what happened, but I don't

22 actually recall that conversation.

23 Q. Well, there is no mystery about it and, as I say, I'm

24 trying to assist you with some pointers nearer the time.

25 So let's just have a look at this. RNI-406-270, please

 

 

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1 (displayed).

2 Now, this is a message put into the murder

3 investigation room investigating the death of

4 Rosemary Nelson by a police officer, and it is dated

5 21 April, you can see in the top right-hand corner. I

6 don't think, I hope, we need to highlight it because it

7 is a relatively large manuscript. I'll just read it:

8 "On Wednesday, 21 April 1999 at approximately

9 0825 hours, I was in Lurgan RUC station canteen. I was

10 the only RUC officer present. There were a number of

11 military personnel sitting around the corner of the

12 canteen, but these were members of F Company, 8 Royal

13 Irish. In addition to the three Royal Irish members,

14 there was a member of the Military Police. I overheard

15 a conversation between the RMP and members of the RIR.

16 They discussed G Company and some patrol commanders.

17 The RMP went on to say something to the effect that

18 a soldier by the name of [A620] would not send prod ..."

19 If we can go to the next page, please:

20 "... sightings through. He went on to say this was

21 while at the scene of the explosion at Ashgrove.

22 I heard him mention the name ..."

23 And that is a name of one of the people we are

24 talking about:

25 "... as one of the sightings."

 

 

25


1 So we don't need to read on any further.

2 Again, just to summarise this, this is a report of

3 something you were overheard saying. You say that may

4 well have been the case. I think the gloss, if I can

5 use that word, I hope not pejoratively, is that the

6 reason you may have mentioned A620 is that he was the

7 one that was being disciplined or looked at, shall we

8 say, for the allegation of telling you not to bother?

9 A. Yes, possibly.

10 Q. But logically, I hope you would agree, if that was the

11 case that would be because you had mentioned the name

12 A620 nearer the time?

13 A. Yes, I agree with that.

14 Q. That's all I'm trying to do. As I say, I'm not trying

15 to catch you out. It is just to refresh your memory

16 some ten years on.

17 A. That's fine.

18 Q. Again, to try and assist you, if I may, you went on to

19 make statements to the police about this, and if we

20 could call up on to the screen, please, RNI-833-111

21 (displayed), we have got there a typed version of a

22 statement you made. It is dated 19 June. Can you see

23 that?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. If we can turn the page, please. Again, this is just

 

 

26


1 trying to help you with a statement made much nearer the

2 time. If we start from the second line, we can see:

3 "After our arrival at the scene at 1300 hours, we

4 had been there about an hour, at 1404 hours, I sighted

5 a [registration] coming along the North Circular Road

6 towards its junction with Lake Street. I noted the

7 driver being [blob] and [blob], the front passenger,

8 just the two in the vehicle. I pulled the vehicle over

9 on to a hard standing nearby."

10 I think that should probably be "lay by":

11 "I asked them what they had been doing. They said

12 they'd been to the graveyard at the North Circular Road.

13 I knew both persons from previous experiences. I then

14 let the two persons drive on. I then approached

15 Corporal A620 who was out team commander for that day."

16 Just pausing there, that obviously technically

17 isn't right because A620, in any event, was not your

18 team commander?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. But you do say A620:

21 "I informed him of the two persons that I had just

22 stopped and asked him to send the sighting in over the

23 radio. He told me not to bother doing it. It appeared

24 that he knew who these persons were, but did not want to

25 pass the information on. I thought his actions were

 

 

27


1 strange, but decided not to say anything more as I was

2 making a list of sightings and was going to submit it at

3 the end of the tour of duty anyway. We eventually left

4 the scene of the explosion and returned to Mahon Road.

5 The next morning I submitted my list of sightings in to

6 the intelligence cell through the duty officer."

7 And then we go into what happened. And if we look

8 three lines from the bottom:

9 "I had already told one of the soldiers in the Int

10 Cell about the business with Corporal A620 and the

11 captain wanted to know the full story, so I told him."

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. So again, it looks like at the time you were not

14 confused, not lacking in recollection and you were

15 naming A620 as the person responsible?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Now, as far as you were concerned, that was the end of

18 the matter, was it?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. There was no further problems or allegations made

21 against you. You had resolved it by giving your

22 account?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. As far as A620 is concerned, obviously the suggestion

25 here is that you were told not to bother to radio

 

 

28


1 through a significant sighting. Bearing in mind the

2 individual concerned, A620, did it surprise you that

3 that was something that he had said to you, coming from

4 him?

5 A. Having looked at my statement, I would say no, it is not

6 surprising, but I can't physically recall that now

7 without use of the statement.

8 Q. Certainly. If I may say so, you have been not only

9 accurate but fair in your reference to your previous

10 statement. Let's again try and assist. Could we call

11 up paragraph 39 in your statement, RNI-841-413

12 (displayed)? Can we just highlight paragraph 39,

13 please? If we look at the end of the second line:

14 "I understand that DC [blank] noted that I had

15 stated that Corporal A620 would be more verbally

16 aggressive to residents of Catholic estates than other

17 RIR soldiers that I worked with."

18 Yes, you can see that?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. This paragraph also refers to an interview on 20 June,

21 and in essence you were spoken to by the police. If we

22 can call up again a report that deals with that,

23 RNI-406-269 (displayed), and, sir, if I may say so, at

24 this stage, it should be noted I'm very grateful indeed

25 to Mr Stockwell for his assistance this morning with

 

 

29


1 these documents.

2 RNI-406-269 (displayed), we can see a report dated

3 20 June and I needn't bother with the technicalities of

4 it, I hope, save to say that if we look at the third and

5 fourth paragraphs down -- if we can just highlight

6 those, please -- these are comments you made. We have

7 already dealt with the first one, but the second one:

8 "A620 was always reluctant to pass details of

9 Loyalist sightings and would encourage officers in his

10 patrol to do the same."

11 Yes?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. So again, that was a comment made by you at the time

14 about this person. So as I said I think a few questions

15 ago, it perhaps didn't come as a surprise to you that

16 this was the attitude of this particular individual?

17 A. Yes, that's a fair comment.

18 Q. Can I just ask you this: as I understand it, the

19 reason -- I don't want to be critical -- that you had to

20 give an explanation of what had gone on was because you

21 were asked about it, you were given cause to explain

22 yourself?

23 A. Do you mean the failure to send the sighting?

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. Yes.

 

 

30


1 Q. Can I just ask you: why did you, as it were, not act

2 proactively and, upon your return, raise the matter with

3 a senior officer, for example, by saying, "Look, here I

4 was present at the scene, so and so told me not to

5 bother to report this sighting"?

6 A. I don't know. There was a comment in one of the

7 documents you just showed there about talking to someone

8 when I handed the list in. I may have mentioned that

9 one of the sightings hadn't been sent at the time,

10 but -- I would put my report in at the earliest

11 opportunity because I believe we finished quite late

12 that evening. So I went in the very next day.

13 Q. I think I'm right in saying -- again, we come back to

14 this point -- that in your view whatever had been said,

15 rightly or wrongly, no harm done because you had put

16 your sighting in?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. We have to accept, don't we, that obviously the

19 immediacy of the sighting was lost?

20 A. This is true.

21 Q. But that probably weighed on your mind, did it, as to

22 why you didn't make a fuss about it?

23 A. At the time, as I said in the statement, I didn't push

24 the issue because there was a different situation going

25 on and I then handed in my report at the first

 

 

31


1 opportunity. So yes, the immediacy was lost, but I

2 didn't delay handing those sightings in once I got back.

3 Q. Thank you. Now, as far as the scene was concerned, did

4 you hear some of the abuse that we have touched on at

5 the very outset of your evidence, being hurled around or

6 not really?

7 A. No.

8 Q. You didn't? Just as a matter of interest, what was the

9 atmosphere like at the scene? Tense?

10 A. Yes, it was fairly tense. There was a small crowd when

11 we arrived and the crowd grew as the afternoon

12 progressed.

13 Q. Do you recall at any time being told by anyone in

14 particular, any team commander, not to radio things --

15 that soldiers were told not to radio things through

16 because the situation?

17 A. No.

18 Q. Do you remember being told either at the scene or prior

19 to arrival there that in fact the radio wouldn't be

20 used, hard copies should be made instead?

21 A. No, that was never said.

22 Q. That was never said. Just the final topic I would like

23 to explore with you, we have referred to one pair of

24 persons of interest?

25 A. Hm-mm.

 

 

32


1 Q. There is another pair that you have referred to in your

2 statement. I'm not able to name them.

3 A. Okay.

4 Q. But you were asked about them being present at the

5 scene. I think you recollect?

6 A. Yes. This was with a further statement, wasn't it?

7 Q. Yes. That was a statement made. As you refer to it,

8 I'll tell those who are interested that it was another

9 statement made to the police. I don't want it calling

10 up, but it was a statement dated 21 January 2001 at

11 RNI-833-114, and you were asked if you recalled these

12 individuals. You knew them, and in that statement to

13 the police and in your statement to this Inquiry you say

14 that at no time did you see them at the scene on

15 the day?

16 A. Yes, that's correct. I didn't see them.

17 Q. Again, just to be very fair to you, that's not to say

18 you had eyes everywhere and they may not have been

19 there, but you didn't see them?

20 A. That's correct. I didn't personally see them and I

21 didn't hear that --

22 Q. That was going to be my next question: was anything said

23 to you by anyone to the effect that they had been there?

24 A. No, nothing at all.

25 MR SAVILL: Now, just before I put my final question to you,

 

 

33


1 sir, could I just mention one technical matter --

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly.

3 MR SAVILL: -- which I mention with regret? I have been

4 passed on note by Mr Uberoi to tell you that the

5 LiveNote system has been broken whilst I have been

6 talking, so it has not been possible for us to see any

7 content that has been sent through to him. I'm,

8 therefore, not aware as to whether or not there are

9 other questions that I may wish to put.

10 So what I would propose to do, if I may, is ask this

11 witness the final question. There is a witness that is

12 coming shortly afterwards, so I propose a break anyway.

13 When this witness has left the room, albeit not yet the

14 building, I can consult with the other members of the

15 front bench.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: We will have a break then. Right.

17 MR SAVILL: Yes, as to whether there are any outstanding

18 matters.

19 I'm sorry, that sounded all very confusing, but the

20 effect is this. I very much hope this will be the last

21 question I am going to ask. I need to check one or two

22 things, so when you leave the room please don't leave

23 the building just yet and I'll make sure if there are

24 any other matters.

25 So the final question I want to ask you, please, is

 

 

34


1 this -- all witnesses are asked it: You were very

2 helpful this morning, but is there anything else you

3 would like to tell us or tell the Inquiry that you don't

4 feel you have been asked about at this stage?

5 A. No.

6 MR SAVILL: Thank you very much.

7 Sir, I don't know if you or your colleagues have any

8 questions?

9 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

10 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Firstly, just one point of

11 clarification, if I may.

12 Going way back in your evidence this morning, you

13 were asked by counsel, when you were mixing with members

14 of the armed forces and also, I believe, the RUC, on

15 patrol -- I'm paraphrasing here -- were you aware of any

16 comments expressed by any of their members towards the

17 Loyalists generally. Then you give your answer.

18 Because you are referred in the question to armed

19 forces and the RUC, to which group were you directing

20 your answer in terms of the --

21 A. Both.

22 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Both police and armed forces?

23 A. Yes.

24 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: They were comments that you had heard

25 both groupings make in relation to Rosemary Nelson?

 

 

35


1 A. Sorry, Royal Irish made the comment regarding

2 Rosemary Nelson, but I had not heard any other comments

3 made regarding lawyers in general by either group.

4 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay. So the comment you referred to

5 about she worked for them, that was a comment that you

6 had heard made by members of the Royal Irish?

7 A. Yes.

8 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay. Can I just seek your help

9 because of your particular role in Northern Ireland at

10 the time?

11 At this time, around about the time of the murder of

12 Rosemary Nelson, after the Good Friday Agreement, had

13 you by this time reverted to patrolling with uniform

14 berets?

15 A. I believe so. Most of the time, but depending on the

16 threat assessment we may wear helmets, but I believe

17 generally it was berets by this time.

18 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: What would blue berets mean to you?

19 A. Someone not Royal Irish and not Military Police. It

20 could be another regiment that was part of a six-month

21 roulement, something like that.

22 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Blue beret is a common --

23 A. Do you mean like a dark blue, navy blue?

24 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: We can only assume that.

25 A. Yes.

 

 

36


1 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: We have heard a lot of evidence about

2 the normal type of vehicle checkpoint arrangements.

3 Would it have been common practice whilst on a foot

4 patrol to stop vehicles just as a matter of course?

5 A. Yes, it would be a possibility if, whilst you were

6 moving, you saw a vehicle of interest, you could stop it

7 or if a vehicle did something out of the ordinary that

8 made you want it to stop it, yes, we might do a snap VCP

9 and stop them.

10 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Thank you very much.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: We are going to have a quarter of an hour

12 break now and if you could remain here. You probably

13 won't be asked any more questions, but just in case,

14 could you remain available?

15 A. Yes, sir.

16 MR SAVILL: I'm sorry to interrupt. Can I just say for the

17 second time this morning I am extremely grateful to

18 Mr Stockwell who, on my behalf, has carried out

19 enquiries. I'm extremely grateful. There are in fact

20 no other matters.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much.

22 Thank you very much, Mr Jopling, for coming here to

23 give evidence before us. We have been greatly helped by

24 your evidence. You can go now.

25 A. Thank you very much.

 

 

37


1 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much.

2 We will return in a quarter of an hour.

3 (11.07 am)

4 (Short break)

5 (11.28 am)

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

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

8 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

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

10 screen closed?

11 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

13 and securely fastened?

14 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

16 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

17 of this chamber?

18 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

20 Mr [name redacted], can you please confirm that the two

21 witness cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

22 MR [name redacted]: Yes, sir, they have.

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

24 MR [name redacted]: Yes, sir, they have.

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

 

 

38


1 Bring the witness in, please.

2 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

3 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

4 switched back on.

5 Would you please take the oath.

6 A620 (sworn)

7 Questions by MR SAVILL

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Please sit down.

9 MR SAVILL: Sir, if the witness will just excuse me for one

10 moment, can I make a housekeeping announcement?

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

12 MR SAVILL: The system is still broken and we will proceed

13 with the witness's evidence and deal with it the way we

14 did on the last occasion.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, thank you.

16 MR SAVILL: Could we call up on to the screen, please,

17 RNI-842-069 (displayed)? That is the first page of

18 a statement dated 4 June 2007. And can we call up

19 RNI-842-074 (displayed), the same date, and you can see

20 that your cipher has been applied to your signature.

21 This is a statement that you made to this Inquiry; yes?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And obviously you appreciate that there are a number of

24 other persons who may have received anonymity, and there

25 is in front of you, I hope and expect, a document which

 

 

39


1 gives you the names and the details.

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And I would ask you just to give a moment's thought

4 before you name anybody and consult that list. Thank

5 you very much.

6 You joined the Army part-time in May 1987 and became

7 a full-time soldier in, I think, roughly October 2001.

8 Which branch or regiment did you join?

9 A. It was the UDR.

10 Q. As it then was?

11 A. As it then was, in 1987 and then become the Royal Irish.

12 Q. And we can see, I think, in the time of the statement

13 being made, you anticipating ending your duties on

14 30 April 2007 after 20 years' service. Is that what in

15 fact happened?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Could you cast your mind back to March 1999, please?

18 Tell us what it was that you were doing and where you

19 were based at that time?

20 A. In 1999, I would have been based in Mahon Road,

21 Portadown.

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. I would have been on patrol at the time of the incident

24 here that has happened.

25 Q. And before we descend to the detail of the incident,

 

 

40


1 could you just very briefly, please, tell us what your

2 duties involved as a soldier and, latterly, a junior NCO

3 in the Royal Irish?

4 A. I would have been team commander as a junior NCO, part

5 of may be a section or a multiple, a multiple being

6 12 men, a section being eight men. And it was our

7 duties to go out and carry out random VCPs and various

8 other tasks that would have been handed down to us.

9 Q. Did you operate in conjunction with the Royal Ulster

10 Constabulary?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. What did that cooperation involve?

13 A. Sometimes the RUC would have had various tasks for us to

14 carry out, so we would have carried them out. But most

15 of the time there would always have been an RUC officer

16 present with either the multiple or the section.

17 Q. And I think on occasions you had with you what was known

18 colloquially as a spotter?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Is that right?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. That would be a member of the Royal Military Police?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. It wouldn't necessarily be the same one from one day to

25 another?

 

 

41


1 A. No.

2 Q. But obviously you might get to know one better than

3 another?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And that person was, I hope I'm right in saying --

6 I hope you would agree -- someone with potentially

7 a greater and more in-depth knowledge of the goings on

8 and the individuals involved in the areas that you

9 patrolled?

10 A. Sometimes the RMPs would like to take it upon themselves

11 that they had more knowledge maybe of the area and the

12 individuals involved, but sometimes we might have had

13 one out with us that didn't know the area or maybe had

14 just been brought in to exchange -- I'm trying to think

15 of the word -- for a tour of duty type thing. They

16 would have maybe done six months here and then moved on.

17 Q. But certainly they would be more use to the soldiers who

18 were briefly posted to an area rather than perhaps to

19 yourself and your colleagues who were more local?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Now, would you agree with me that there was at least

22 a perception at the time that the Royal Irish may have

23 had some prejudice as towards one side of the community

24 than the other?

25 A. No.

 

 

42


1 Q. Do you understand what I mean by a perception?

2 A. You are saying one-sided.

3 Q. I'm going to ask you about your views on whether it was

4 or not, but the view that people may have expressed --

5 certain views may have been expressed that the Royal

6 Irish was slanted in some way?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. That view was put forward by some people?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And quite rightly, you offer your opinion on that. Let

11 me just ask you: in your experience, was that the case?

12 A. No.

13 Q. It was, would you say, a professional organisation doing

14 a difficult job to the best of its ability?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And as far as those members of it that you mixed with,

17 either socially or whilst at work, did you ever hear

18 what could be described as prejudicial comments against

19 one side of the community or other being made?

20 A. No.

21 Q. Did you ever hear any views expressed by members of the

22 Royal Irish or, indeed, the Royal Ulster Constabulary as

23 regards lawyers in general?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Lawyers who perhaps secured a good result and got

 

 

43


1 a terrorist off, if I can use that expression; did you

2 ever hear anything said about them?

3 A. No.

4 Q. What about Rosemary Nelson, dealing with her in

5 particular? Was she ever discussed by you or did you

6 hear your colleagues discussing her?

7 A. No.

8 Q. After her death, was she discussed?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Did you ever find yourself in a position that you were

11 out and about on patrol and you perhaps saw either

12 a suspect or someone who had been convicted of a

13 terrorist offence and comment was made, "Oh, look at

14 him" or "That so and so, Rosemary Nelson represents

15 them"?

16 A. No.

17 Q. So as far as you were concerned, on Monday, 15 March,

18 when you attended the scene of the explosion which

19 killed Rosemary Nelson, did you know her at all, know of

20 her?

21 A. No, the only way I knew of Rosemary Nelson was from the

22 TV, that she was a solicitor.

23 Q. That was it?

24 A. That was it, yes.

25 Q. So when the call came through to attend, something

 

 

44


1 clicked in your mind and you knew who she was but that

2 was it?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And certainly neither you nor your colleagues had ever

5 made any remarks about her, good or bad?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Before you went out on patrol, presumably you were

8 briefed as to what you were to do and what you might

9 expect?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And when you went out on patrol, you were the commander

12 of a team?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. As a junior NCO, but there was an overall commander?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And as far as the spotter was concerned, was he attached

17 to a particular team or was he a floating asset, if I

18 can put it that way?

19 A. He would have been attached to a particular team, but it

20 could have been any team that morning, before you'd have

21 went out on patrol.

22 Q. There was no rhyme or reason to that?

23 A. No.

24 Q. I think I'm right in saying that practicality may have

25 played a role in that he had to have a seat in

 

 

45


1 a vehicle?

2 A. Not really. If maybe the commander, the section

3 commander, had a certain task to do and the RMP was

4 relevant to the task, he would have went with his team.

5 If not, the RUC man might have been accompanying the

6 section commander's team, so the RMP would have went to

7 the secondary team.

8 Q. Yes. And in your role as commander, please, in theory

9 and with your experience of the reality of the

10 situation, supposing you had been either at a cordon

11 patrolling, driving along in your vehicle with a spotter

12 and someone of interest was sighted by the spotter, what

13 was the expected course of action, please?

14 A. Well, if it was the RMP had spotted him, he would have

15 passed the information to me. I would have then, on the

16 radio, if it was possible -- at times we would have had

17 dead spots, so we wouldn't have been able to put

18 a sighting through. But I also would have got the

19 person who sighted the individual to make a hard copy of

20 it and write it down. This information then might have

21 been passed on later in the day over the radio or it

22 would have been handed in with a patrol report at the

23 end of that duty.

24 Q. But what was the standard operating procedure? He sees

25 someone, he tells you; yes?

 

 

46


1 A. Yes.

2 Q. He wouldn't need to say, "And, therefore, please can you

3 radio it through" because you would presumably know that

4 that was the purpose of him mentioning the names?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. First port of call was to use the radio?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Second, if the radio wasn't working or the situation

9 didn't allow it, a note would be made?

10 A. Even if the radio wasn't working, a hard copy was also

11 made.

12 Q. Even if it was working?

13 A. Even if the radio was working, a hard copy was made.

14 Q. Who made a copy?

15 A. The person who sighted the individual.

16 Q. So it might not be the spotter, in fact?

17 A. No.

18 Q. And as far as you were concerned, did you issue

19 generally, or on this day in particular, any standing

20 order that, "Let's not use the radio today because we

21 are going to be very busy; let's just write it down"?

22 A. Most of the guys probably would have knew that -- and it

23 links with that incident -- that the radio was going to

24 be busy and, therefore, to block the net up with maybe

25 a minor individual, it is better to make a hard copy of

 

 

47


1 it and hand in with the patrol report that night. And,

2 again, the area that they were patrolling on that day, I

3 can recall that there was dead spots and the

4 transmission was just hard to get through.

5 Q. Thank you. That's very helpful.

6 Can I ask you the question again? Generally, or on

7 this occasion, did you ever issue an order before you

8 embarked on your patrol not to use the radio but to

9 write things down instead?

10 A. No.

11 Q. You didn't?

12 A. No.

13 Q. So it was radio first and if the circumstances didn't

14 allow, you would rely on the hard copy?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Is that fair? Yes?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Did that ever change during a patrol, when you might not

19 have made a point of mentioning it when you went out,

20 but, say, halfway through, you realised things were

21 escalating, there were too many dead spots for the radio

22 and you directed all those under you to write things

23 down and not to bother you?

24 A. Yes, it would have changed, yes.

25 Q. Now, dealing with the day itself, you were instructed to

 

 

48


1 attend and assist, I think, in the main, in maintaining

2 cordons?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And it would be right and proper, would it not, for the

5 spotter at this incident to make himself useful, ie walk

6 about, see whether he could in fact spot anything?

7 A. The situation dictated, you know, a cordon, to stay out

8 of the way, seal the area off. So it mightn't have just

9 been his job just to spot, it would have been to carry

10 out his job that he is trained to do professionally.

11 Q. Yes, because at the end of the day, first and foremost,

12 you would say he was an infantryman, would you?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. But his other job was to spot?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. On this day, at the scene of the explosion, can you

17 recall whether you had a spotter with you or not at the

18 scene?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. You did, and that was Mr Jopling, wasn't it?

21 A. His name now, I'm not sure, but I can recall it from

22 seeing my statement.

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. But what I'm suggesting to you is had the situation

 

 

49


1 allowed it, there would have been nothing wrong and, in

2 fact, nothing surprising about him moving amongst the

3 crowds, as it were, to see what he could see?

4 A. No.

5 Q. No. You have given a statement to the Inquiry that we

6 have looked at and you will appreciate that the names of

7 the individuals are blanked out?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. But you know who they are. And I just want to ask you,

10 do you in fact recall seeing those individuals at the

11 scene?

12 A. Could I have the page up with --

13 Q. Yes, could we call up RNI-842-073 (displayed),

14 paragraph 16?

15 Now, I say it is blanked out, but this is the issue

16 that we are discussing -- and I'll come to it -- the

17 comment made not to radio the sighting through, but you

18 don't recall seeing either individual at the scene, do

19 you?

20 A. No.

21 Q. Now, if we look at this, you say:

22 "I had also advised the RMP in my unit to write down

23 all sightings that were made and pass them to me at the

24 end of the day. At the end of the day, the RMP did not

25 hand any sightings to me, nor did he tell me that he had

 

 

50


1 seen either individual."

2 Yes?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Now, before we deal with that particularly, is there any

5 reason why -- not any sinister reason -- you might have

6 been told of the sighting and used words, whatever they

7 may have been, to reply, "Don't bother, I'm not going to

8 radio it through", or something to that effect?

9 A. No.

10 Q. To be fair to you, let me just ask you this: there might

11 have been occasions when you would not have radioed

12 something through because reception was impossible. Is

13 that not right?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Or because you were being stoned, for example?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. As I say, to be fair to you, there might have been

18 occasions when you would not have radioed something

19 through; yes?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Or you might have said to whoever had told you about the

22 sighting, "I'm not going to radio it through", but it

23 would have been for those proper reasons. Is that your

24 evidence?

25 A. Yes, if we were being stoned or no communications.

 

 

51


1 Q. Yes, I'm just exploring the theory of it. There may

2 have been occasions for proper reasons when you said,

3 "I'm not going to radio that through, stop bothering me.

4 Let's not bother at this stage"?

5 A. I wouldn't have said stop bothering me. Again, I would

6 have said to make a hard copy.

7 Q. Right. But on this occasion, you don't recall seeing

8 the individuals we are talking about?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Again, in fairness to you, it has been suggested that

11 you were told that they were at the scene, they had been

12 spotted, and that you did say to Mr Jopling words to the

13 effect, "not to bother," or that you weren't going to

14 bother radioing the sighting through. What do you say

15 about that?

16 A. No, I never said nothing about not radioing any sighting

17 through and I never seen no individuals that has been

18 named there.

19 Q. Something along those lines of, "No need to pass that

20 through"?

21 A. No, I wouldn't have said that.

22 Q. It has also been suggested that you are perhaps slanted

23 in some way towards one side of the community and were,

24 more often than just this occasion, reluctant, if I can

25 use that expression, to pass through this type of

 

 

52


1 information surrounding individuals of this sort. What

2 do you say about that?

3 A. I was not slanted at all in any way.

4 Q. It has been suggested that you were reluctant to pass

5 details of Loyalist sightings through?

6 A. No.

7 Q. And that you were perhaps more verbally aggressive in

8 Nationalist areas than any others?

9 A. No.

10 Q. So that it may not in fact have been a great surprise to

11 those who knew you were you to have said, don't bother

12 or we are not going to radio that one through because

13 the people we are talking about were Loyalist persons of

14 interest?

15 A. My time within the Army, I have had various sightings of

16 Loyalist persons over the radio and also made hard

17 copies of them myself.

18 Q. As far as the scene was concerned, do you recall there

19 being an atmosphere that was very tense?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. An atmosphere that was possibly -- the situation was

22 going to worsen?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Do you recall there being any abuse directed at the

25 security forces by civilians?

 

 

53


1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Do you recall any abuse being directed at civilians by

3 the security forces?

4 A. No.

5 Q. To the best of your recollection, was there quite often,

6 if I can use the word "banter"? Was there banter

7 between the security forces and the local population

8 that may have been either light-hearted or, on the other

9 hand, rather unpleasant?

10 A. Not to my recollection.

11 Q. What about generally, on other occasions, was there?

12 A. No.

13 Q. There wasn't?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Never?

16 A. Not that I can recall.

17 Q. Now, on the day in question, you have also told us that

18 you did in fact see two other persons of interest at the

19 scene; yes?

20 A. Yes. Could you --

21 Q. Yes, certainly. Paragraph 15, same page (displayed).

22 Again, I'll just read that, if I may. This is

23 a separate pair of individuals:

24 "I have been asked if I recall sighting [blank] and

25 [blank]. I do recall sighting both individuals at the

 

 

54


1 junction of Lake Street and North Circular Road.

2 I advised the RMP who was part of my team on

3 15 March 1999 on that day to make a hard copy report of

4 the sighting as he had also seen both individuals. I

5 did not, however, make a radio report of the sighting.

6 "I recall at the time the cordon was being stoned

7 and petrol bombed. I would have put my life and my

8 team's lives in danger if I'd stopped to note a sighting

9 or radioed it through to base. In addition, I note from

10 my third statement that communications were bad at that

11 time. By this, I mean I was in a dead spot for radio

12 transmission in the same way as you get dead spots in

13 reception on your mobile phone."

14 So this was two other individuals that you say were

15 there, and not only were they there, but you also

16 alerted the spotter to their presence?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Now, again, just something that I should put to you is

19 that it has been suggested by Mr Jopling that he himself

20 was not aware, either by seeing them or being told about

21 them, that these two individuals were at the scene. Do

22 you understand?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. So having been told that, do you stand by the contents

25 of paragraph 15 of your statement?

 

 

55


1 A. Yes.

2 Q. So Mr Jopling is mistaken?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Because you definitely saw these two individuals?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Just finally, if I can just discuss or mention this to

7 you, please, the obvious implication is that you didn't

8 want, for whatever reason, this sighting of the first

9 pair of individuals to be radioed through; yes?

10 A. I didn't see them.

11 Q. I understand that. But if you just bear with me, the

12 implication of what is being said is that, for whatever

13 reason, you didn't want that to be radioed through. Do

14 you understand?

15 A. Yes, I understand.

16 Q. I accept you deny seeing them and deny saying anything

17 of the sort. I'm just trying to help you by putting

18 this to you: even if you had said that, it would be

19 right, would it not, that that wouldn't be the end of it

20 because there would be the Charlie 1 hard copy being

21 filed after the incident?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And it has not been suggested that you have tried to

24 interfere with that in any way?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

56


1 Q. So the only suggestion would be that the immediacy of

2 the sighting, ie radioing it in there and then, that you

3 tried to interfere with that. Do you understand?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. But as far as you were concerned, you had told everyone

6 to make hard copies?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. That was the norm, what was done and to the best of your

9 recollection, these hard copies of all the sightings

10 were handed in at the end of the day?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Yes. Thank you very much. Now, at this point, can

13 I just ask you: is there anything that you would like to

14 mention to the Inquiry which I haven't raised with you

15 or hasn't been said by yourself today?

16 A. No.

17 MR SAVILL: Thank you very much.

18 I don't know, sir, whether you have any questions or

19 your colleagues do?

20 THE CHAIRMAN: No, thank you.

21 Thank you for coming to give evidence before us.

22 Mr [name redacted], before the witness leaves, would you

23 please confirm that all the cameras have been

24 switched off?

25 MR [name redacted]: Yes, sir, they have.

 

 

57


1 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

2 We will adjourn until 2 o'clock.

3 MR SAVILL: Can I just say that the system is now working

4 again and there were no questions.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Good.

6 (11.53 am)

7 (The short adjournment)

8 (2.10 pm)

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

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

11 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

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

13 screen closed?

14 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

16 and securely fastened?

17 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

19 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

20 of this chamber?

21 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

23 Mr [name redacted], can you please confirm that the two

24 witness cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

25 MR [name redacted]: Yes, they have.

 

 

58


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

2 MR [name redacted]: Yes, sir, they have.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

4 Bring the witness in, please.

5 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

6 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

7 switched back on.

8 Please take the oath.

9 C284 (sworn)

10 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Please sit down.

12 Yes, Mr Phillips?

13 MR PHILLIPS: I think it is right that you have made

14 a statement to the Inquiry. Is that correct?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. I would like to get it up on the screen, please, at

17 RNI-842-261 (displayed), and do we see your ciphered

18 signature at RNI-842-268 (displayed) and the date of

19 4 December this year?

20 A. That's correct.

21 Q. Thank you. I would like to go back to the beginning of

22 the statement, and you see that so far as the Inquiry is

23 concerned, you are known as C284 and I hope you have

24 been given a short list of other ciphered names. If in

25 doubt, please consult the list so that the anonymity of

 

 

59


1 those individuals may also be preserved.

2 Now, the first thing I would like to ask you about

3 is Rosemary Nelson herself and what you knew of her and

4 about her before her murder.

5 You tell us in paragraph 2 of your statement that

6 you lived in Lurgan and that you knew her and were

7 friends with her. Can I ask you, please, what was her

8 reputation in the town?

9 A. She had a very good reputation at the time, especially

10 helping womenfolk, more than the men, with her

11 solicitor's practice. She was getting a very good

12 reputation that way.

13 Q. And for how long had you known her before her murder?

14 A. It might be just over a year.

15 Q. Now, I'm not sure whether you can remember, she was

16 murdered in March 1999.

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. So do you think it was just about a year before that?

19 A. I think I knew her before the year, but I was going out

20 with one of the girls in the office for about a year.

21 Q. That's what you tell us about in your second paragraph.

22 You had a girlfriend who used to work for her?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And how much contact did you have with Rosemary Nelson

25 as a result of that?

 

 

60


1 A. Maybe two or three times a week I would have spoke to

2 her, maybe once a week that I maybe lunch or something

3 to get, you know.

4 Q. How did you find her as a person?

5 A. I liked Rosemary. Rosemary was a very pleasant person,

6 very good company.

7 Q. You say that she was very funny?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. A good person to sit next to?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Now, after your relationship with that girlfriend ended,

12 did your contact with Rosemary Nelson reduce?

13 A. Yes, quite considerably.

14 Q. Did you see her at any time after that moment?

15 A. Maybe just in passing, walking up the street or driving

16 past. I had no real reason to see her after that.

17 Q. Yes. I would like to ask you a specific question about

18 this time, which is prompted by your third paragraph.

19 If we look at that together, please, RNI-842-126

20 (displayed), at the top of that page. You say that

21 after you had stopped dating that girl, you didn't see

22 much of her and after that you were not in close contact

23 with her. Do you see that?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And then you give another reason why your contact was

 

 

61


1 reduced. Do you see? And that's because you don't

2 think she would have approved of your politics?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. Can I just ask you to help us. What do you mean by

5 that?

6 A. At that time, there wouldn't have been too many people

7 that would have approved of my politics.

8 Q. Can you explain that for us, please?

9 A. Well, some people regarded it as dissident Republican

10 activity. I have a different view on it.

11 At that stage, Republican Sinn Fein were only

12 getting going up in Lurgan and it was a secret. So

13 Rosemary wouldn't have knew much about it and I wanted

14 to keep it a secret.

15 Q. Right.

16 A. Basically because of who she was and her character, she

17 wouldn't approve of any terrorist organisation.

18 Q. Right. So just to be clear about what you are saying --

19 please keep an eye on the shorthand writer because I

20 think you may be going just a little bit fast for her --

21 as I understand it, what you are saying is you were

22 involved at this stage in what other people would

23 describe as dissident activity. Is that right?

24 A. That's correct.

25 Q. How would you describe it?

 

 

62


1 A. Just Republican activity.

2 Q. Right. And you mentioned in particular, I think,

3 Republican Sinn Fein. Is that right?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Was that a group or an organisation with which you were

6 involved at this stage?

7 A. It was, yes.

8 Q. Now, when we are talking about this stage, are we

9 talking about the second half of 1998?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. After the Good Friday Agreement?

12 A. And before the Good Friday Agreement.

13 Q. And before the Good Friday Agreement.

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Yes. And is it right to say that during this period

16 there was some friction between the various Republican

17 groupings?

18 A. Yes, there would have been, yes.

19 Q. And in particular friction between them in and around

20 Lurgan?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, why do you say that you think Rosemary Nelson in

23 particular would have disapproved of your involvement

24 with that organisation, Republican Sinn Fein?

25 A. Well, she had absolutely no idea I had got involved in

 

 

63


1 it anyway, me personally.

2 Q. Right.

3 A. But I don't think she would have approved of Republican

4 Sinn Fein's whole political outlook.

5 Q. Why do you say that?

6 A. I don't think she would -- well, she wouldn't have

7 approved of any organisation like that, you know,

8 basically because she was a solicitor and a good

9 upstanding member of the community. She wouldn't get

10 herself involved in any political organisation. She

11 wouldn't take sides. She just wouldn't have approved of

12 it and I didn't want her to know that I had any

13 involvement in it.

14 Q. So you think if she had found out, she would have

15 disapproved of your involvement in this sort of

16 activity?

17 A. I would think so, yes.

18 Q. Do you see later the paragraph in the last sentence at

19 the top of this page, you say:

20 "It would have been common knowledge in Lurgan about

21 what I was involved with"?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. So do you think it is at least possible that she knew

24 anyway?

25 A. Yes, I would think it was possible, yes.

 

 

64


1 Q. Just looking at that comment you make, was it the sort

2 of town where people tended to know what other people

3 were up to?

4 A. Other people that would have been in the know, not just

5 the common man in the street.

6 Q. Yes, but within a particular bit of the community,

7 people would be aware of what other people were up to?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And would it be fair to describe that bit of the

10 community as the Republican community?

11 A. Yes, that would be fair, yes.

12 Q. And do you think that would therefore apply about other

13 well-known local Republican figures in that community?

14 A. Yes, that would be correct, yes.

15 Q. That other members of that community would in general

16 have a pretty good idea what they were up to?

17 A. That would be correct.

18 Q. Now, in the next paragraph, you say you don't remember

19 her expressing fears for her safety, and you say:

20 "If she was getting threats, she would have kept

21 them private and did not speak about it."

22 Now, can I assume from that that she never spoke to

23 you about them?

24 A. Yes, she never spoke to me about it.

25 Q. So are you there giving an assessment of her character

 

 

65


1 based on what you knew of her?

2 A. Yes, I have (inaudible), correct.

3 Q. Then you say:

4 "That said, I knew from the clients that she was

5 representing that she would have been under pressure."

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Can you explain that for us, please?

8 A. Well, she would have been under pressure from Loyalist

9 paramilitaries too because of the clients she was

10 representing.

11 Q. Now, by "under pressure", do you mean that she would

12 have been at the very least unpopular with the Loyalist

13 community?

14 A. At the very least.

15 Q. How strong would you put it?

16 A. Well, obviously -- well, they wouldn't have liked her,

17 if you know what I mean. I'm sure there were ones in

18 that community would have wanted her dead, like.

19 Q. The ones who you think would have wanted her dead?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Again, can I just ask you, when you make that comment,

22 is it based on anything that you heard or anything

23 anybody ever said to you, or is it just a --

24 A. No, it is just based upon being involved in the

25 political movement for a few years.

 

 

66


1 Q. Lurgan was a very divided town?

2 A. It was indeed.

3 Q. And feelings ran very high between the two communities.

4 Is that right?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. So that's why you make that comment about how the

7 Loyalists would have felt about her?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Yes. Can I ask you this: the rest of your statement

10 deals with a complaint which arose after your arrest and

11 when you were held on remand in Maghaberry Prison.

12 That's right, isn't it?

13 A. That's correct, yes.

14 Q. Did Rosemary Nelson represent you?

15 A. No.

16 Q. Can you explain to us in your own words why you didn't

17 instruct her as your solicitor?

18 A. Madden & Finucane were recommended to me at the time,

19 plus knowing Rosemary personally and wanting to keep her

20 out of it.

21 Q. You thought that would have made things difficult?

22 A. It might have made things a bit awkward.

23 Q. Now, before we look at the detail of the issues, and

24 particularly those which concern the Inquiry, I just

25 want to ask you some questions about your memory.

 

 

67


1 You have, relatively recently, had to think about

2 these events which took place nearly ten years ago. How

3 good is your recollection now?

4 A. It is not the best in some of the things now.

5 Q. And in your statement, if we just look at paragraph 6

6 together, please, and enlarge that, you say in the

7 fourth line:

8 "I no longer recall the details in that statement

9 ..."

10 The one you made at the time in April 1999:

11 "... as clearly as I did at the time. For example,

12 this statement details three visits from RUC detectives.

13 I now remember only two."

14 A. That's correct, yes.

15 Q. Were there other things which, when you looked at your

16 old statement, you realised you had forgotten?

17 A. Once I read through my old statement they all came back

18 to me when I was reading through it because it was part

19 of my life ten years ago and so I had tried to put it

20 behind me.

21 Q. Yes. So no doubt at the time all of this was very

22 vivid, you were living through it?

23 A. That's correct, yes.

24 Q. But you have tried to move on since?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

68


1 Q. And deliberately, as I understand it, not revisited

2 those events?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Now, just for completeness, let's look together, please,

5 at the statement you made. It is at RNI-235-076

6 (displayed), and this was made on 23 April, as I have

7 said, 1999. It was made, wasn't it, in the course of

8 the investigation of a complaint that you made by the

9 then RUC Complaints and Discipline Branch?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. Yes. Now, starting at the beginning, you were arrested,

12 Is that correct?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And you were charged with a number of offences,

15 including possession of firearms and alleged membership

16 of the Continuity IRA. That's correct, isn't it?

17 A. That's correct.

18 Q. And you were, as I have said, remanded to

19 Maghaberry Prison. I would like to look with you at

20 a later paragraph of your statement to put this in

21 context, please. It is paragraph 13 at RNI-842-264

22 (displayed). Could we enlarge paragraph 13, please?

23 When you arrived at Maghaberry,

24 were there other Republican prisoners in the prison?

25 A. No, not that I was aware of.

 

 

69


1 Q. So in terms of those who had been either imprisoned or

2 held on remand for alleged terrorist offences, were

3 there Loyalist prisoners?

4 A. Yes, I think so.

5 Q. Yes. But as far as you were aware then, you were on

6 your own as a Republican prisoner in the gaol?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Can I ask you what effect that had on you at the time?

9 A. It was very nerve-racking at the time. I basically

10 didn't know what to do, whether I was going to be

11 attacked or what was going to happen inside the gaol.

12 Q. So did you feel vulnerable?

13 A. Yes, I did indeed.

14 Q. And isolated?

15 A. I did feel isolated, and there was a few threats made to

16 me when I went inside, so I basically rarely went out of

17 my cell to socialise because I was told I wasn't

18 allowed to.

19 Q. Yes. In an earlier paragraph of your statement,

20 paragraph 8 on page RNI-842-263 (displayed) -- if we

21 could have that enlarged as well, please, so you can see

22 it -- you describe yourself there as a political

23 prisoner?

24 A. That's correct.

25 Q. Why do you use that term, please?

 

 

70


1 A. Because I was a political prisoner.

2 Q. What do you mean by that?

3 A. I was there for political offences. I wasn't

4 a criminal. I want going to allow myself to be

5 criminalised.

6 Q. That was your view of the matter: the offences with

7 which you had been charged were political offences?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Now, so far as the events which you talk about in your

10 statement and which the Inquiry is interested in, they

11 concern, don't they, visits to the prison paid by RUC

12 officers?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. Are you able to help as to when roughly you think the

15 first of those visits took place?

16 A. I think it happened two or three weeks after I was

17 remanded.

18 Q. Right. Now, we can see from the other statements,

19 statements taken by the officers who did make visits to

20 the gaol and did speak to you, that the first visit took

21 place on 16 December 1998. Does that sound about right?

22 A. Yes, I think so.

23 Q. Right. And where did the encounter between you and the

24 officers take place?

25 A. It would have been in the visiting area of the gaol.

 

 

71


1 Q. Right. Did you expect the visit?

2 A. No.

3 Q. How many officers were present?

4 A. Two.

5 Q. Can you give any estimate now of how long the

6 conversation took?

7 A. It wouldn't have been a long conversation, but I think

8 it was the longest out of all the visits, the first one.

9 Q. Can you put a number on it in terms of minutes?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Five, ten, longer than that?

12 A. It would have been longer than that, around about

13 20 minutes.

14 Q. 20 minutes. Now, as far as you can recall today, what

15 were the things that were said to you by the officers?

16 A. They were looking at me to help them to keep an eye on

17 Republicans on the outside.

18 Q. Right.

19 A. And for information on individuals in the Lurgan area.

20 Q. Did they name the individuals?

21 A. They named Colin Duffy.

22 Q. I don't want you to use any other names, but were other

23 specific names mentioned other than Colin Duffy's?

24 A. No.

25 Q. And what did they want you to do?

 

 

72


1 A. They were looking at me to get information on them, if I

2 had any information on them.

3 Q. Did you know him?

4 A. I did know him, yes.

5 Q. How long had you known him by this stage, by December --

6 A. I didn't know him personally. I knew of him.

7 Q. Yes. Was he a prominent figure locally?

8 A. He would have been, yes.

9 Q. And within the community that we discussed earlier?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. The Republican community? Now, you tell us in your

12 statement that he was known to you but you didn't get

13 on; it was a mutual antipathy?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. So there was a history between you, was there?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Do you think the officers knew that?

18 A. Probably, yes.

19 Q. Did they make that knowledge clear to you in the

20 conversation?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. You think they did?

23 A. They did -- I think they did, yes.

24 Q. Just have a look at paragraph 16 of your statement,

25 would you -- that's RNI-842-265 (displayed) -- because

 

 

73


1 here you deal with the question of Colin Duffy and the

2 mutual antipathy, and you go on to set out various other

3 things that they mentioned to you, which we will come

4 and look at together in a minute.

5 But you don't say there in your statement, do you,

6 that you think they knew about your -- and the fact that

7 you didn't get on with Colin Duffy? Are you sure that

8 that was something they said to you in the course of the

9 discussion?

10 A. I don't know whether they said it, but I think they

11 would have knew it.

12 Q. Right. Now, there is a specific aspect of what you say

13 in this context, which I want to look at with you, and

14 it is at an early part of your statement, paragraph 14,

15 RNI-842-264 (displayed), the bottom of the page. If we

16 can enlarge it, please? Here, you say that the

17 detectives described the circumstances in which you were

18 arrested, so they obviously told you various things, as

19 far as you can recall, which indicated some detailed

20 knowledge of your case?

21 A. That's correct, yes.

22 Q. And you say there how you came to be arrested. You were

23 arrested in what you described as what was not a normal

24 checkpoint?

25 A. That's correct.

 

 

74


1 Q. What do you mean by that, please?

2 A. There wouldn't have been too many normal checkpoints in

3 that part of Lurgan, and at the time of my arrest I was

4 driving up -- in the estate where I was arrested, the

5 police car in front of me stopped and I seen the other

6 police cars moving behind me when tried to get the car

7 in reverse. Police were coming from everywhere, they

8 were hiding behind hedges, hiding behind cars.

9 Q. So you were expected, you thought?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Right. What did the officers say to you about how that

12 had happened, how it had come about that you were

13 expected at that checkpoint?

14 A. They said I was set up.

15 Q. They said you were set up?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Did they say by whom?

18 A. They said I was set up by the Provos.

19 Q. Right. And that was something, as far as you can

20 recall, that was suggested by them, was it?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Had that occurred to you as a possibility before this

23 time?

24 A. That had occurred to me, yes.

25 Q. It had?

 

 

75


1 A. Yes.

2 Q. So that shows us, doesn't it, that there was some

3 antipathy at this stage between you and what you

4 describe as the Provos?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And by that, you mean the local Provos; yes?

7 A. That's correct, yes.

8 Q. And do you think that was something, again, that they

9 were aware of?

10 A. I would think so, yes.

11 Q. Right. Now, why do you think it was that they suggested

12 to you that you had been set up?

13 A. I think they maybe wanted to start a bit of tension

14 between various organisations.

15 Q. Right. And do you think it was for the same reason that

16 they made the comments that they did about Colin Duffy?

17 A. Yes, I would think so.

18 Q. Now, he, as you have explained in this conversation, was

19 the intended target, if I can put it that way, the

20 person on whom they were seeking information. Is that

21 right?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, it has been suggested by the officers -- and you

24 will have seen their statements, I know, in the

25 documents -- that there was no reason for them to

 

 

76


1 mention his name because you were alleged to be a member

2 of CIRA, the Continuity IRA, and he was said of course

3 to be a member of PIRA. What do you say to that

4 comment?

5 A. I think they may have had a better overall view of it,

6 but they maybe tried to stir up a bit of trouble between

7 the two organisations. I think they maybe tried to stir

8 up a bit of trouble between the two organisations.

9 On a personal level, I never thought there was any

10 trouble between the two organisations. They were

11 completely separate, you know, and as far as I was

12 concerned, that was the way it all should have been.

13 Q. It sounds as though from what you said earlier on

14 a personal level, as it were, they didn't need to stir

15 up trouble between you and Mr Duffy because it was

16 already there?

17 A. Hm-mm.

18 Q. Is that fair?

19 A. I wouldn't say that there was trouble between us now.

20 We just didn't like each other.

21 Q. Right. Now, you then go on in your statement to say

22 that further remarks were made in this conversation

23 about him?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And about him and Rosemary Nelson. Doing the best you

 

 

77


1 can for us, what was it that they said to you?

2 A. They believed that Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy were

3 having an affair.

4 Q. Now, when you say "they believed", I should have asked

5 you earlier, who was making these comments in the

6 conversation?

7 A. The two police officers who were speaking to me.

8 Q. Were they both contributing to the discussion?

9 A. There was mainly only one doing the talking.

10 Q. And is this the younger one, as you put it in your

11 statement?

12 A. That would be correct, yes.

13 Q. And so would it be fair then to say that the older one

14 was rather quieter and didn't take the lead in the

15 discussion?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Can I take it from your statement that neither of them

18 introduced themselves to you?

19 A. They introduced themselves as Special Branch officers.

20 They didn't introduce themselves by name.

21 Q. They didn't?

22 A. No, I don't recall them doing that.

23 Q. No. Now, just going back to what you were saying, you

24 said they believed that Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy

25 were having an affair, so can I take it from that that

 

 

78


1 the younger one said, "We believe that ..." Is that the

2 way he expressed it, as far as you can remember?

3 A. I'm not too sure how he expressed it, but that's what

4 they said.

5 Q. Yes. Did they say anything more about the nature of the

6 relationship between them?

7 A. Well, they said that she was providing him with money

8 and taking him on holidays and spending quite a lot of

9 time together.

10 Q. Right. Did they explain why they were giving you all

11 this information?

12 A. No.

13 Q. Were they asking you to obtain information in relation

14 to Rosemary Nelson?

15 A. They were asking me if I kept my eye on Rosemary, then I

16 would be able to get the contact on Colin Duffy because

17 they were never too far apart.

18 Q. So in other words, in order to keep an eye on him, you

19 could simply keep an eye on her because of the nature of

20 their relationship?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Right. Now, just looking at the various points that you

23 say they made to you, at this point in December 1998,

24 had you ever heard it suggested that there was

25 a relationship of this kind between them?

 

 

79


1 A. No.

2 Q. And can I take it, therefore, that as far as you were

3 aware, there were no rumours to that effect in currency

4 in the Republican community?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. And are you confident that if rumours of that kind had

7 been in circulation, you would have heard about it?

8 A. No, I would have heard it.

9 Q. So it came, did it, therefore, as a complete surprise to

10 you to hear this suggested to you in the meeting?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. How did you react in the meeting?

13 A. I just laughed it off.

14 Q. You laughed it off?

15 A. Yes, totally ridiculous.

16 Q. Did you make any comment, for example, saying totally

17 ridiculous?

18 A. I didn't make too many comments throughout the whole

19 time I was speaking to them.

20 Q. You listened?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Why was it that your reaction, as you describe it in

23 your statement, was to dismiss this as untrue? Why do

24 you say you thought it was untrue?

25 A. Knowing Rosemary, she would have never got into anything

 

 

80


1 like that with anybody, never mind Colin Duffy.

2 Q. So that is what you say in paragraph 18 of your

3 statement, is it, if we look at that together? That was

4 your view of her based on what you knew of her. Is that

5 right?

6 A. That would be correct, yes.

7 Q. And can I take it, therefore, that you were taken by

8 surprise by this when it first was mentioned in the

9 meeting?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Did you thereafter seek to find out from talking to

12 friends, from people outside, as it were --

13 A. No, never because -- I knew it was totally untrue.

14 There would be no element of truth in this whatsoever.

15 Q. Thank you. Now, what about the other specific things

16 that were mentioned, about the money and the holiday?

17 Did you regard them in the same way?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And for the same reasons?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Yes. Did they explain to you in this discussion what

22 their grounds were for believing that they were having

23 an affair?

24 A. No, they never made that clear to me, no.

25 Q. And in relation to the question of Rosemary Nelson and

 

 

81


1 keeping an eye on him by keeping an eye on her, which

2 you yourself mentioned, was that something that they

3 said specifically, as far as you can remember?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. It was?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And again, can I take it that that was said by the

8 younger officer?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Yes. Now, there is an aspect of this part of your

11 statement that I want to ask you about -- and I would

12 like you to look at it with me, please. It is at

13 RNI-842-266 (displayed) at the top of the page --

14 because you use this expression "teased"; do you see

15 that?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. "I cannot at this stage remember exactly what they said

18 when they teased me about Rosemary Nelson."

19 What do you mean by that, please?

20 A. They says that I would have knew that Rosemary would

21 have had an affair with Colin Duffy, you know. They

22 basically said you would have known about it, teasing me

23 about it. I said, "Totally ridiculous".

24 Q. Right. So in other words, they were suggesting that you

25 must know. Is that right?

 

 

82


1 A. Yes.

2 Q. You must have known. Yes.

3 Now, I would like to ask you to look back at your

4 statement once more, the statement that you made

5 in April 1999, please, RNI-235-076 (displayed), and you

6 start to give an account of the meeting that you and

7 I have just been discussing about halfway down the page.

8 Do you see there? You talk about the two officers, the

9 younger one, the older one, and how the conversation

10 went. Then moving over to the next page at RNI-842-077

11 (displayed), do you see in the second line, you say:

12 "They also mentioned the relationship Colin Duffy

13 had with his solicitor and they were going through his

14 character. They were teasing about Colin Duffy having

15 an affair with his solicitor and about her giving him

16 money and taking him away on holidays."

17 So the way the statement reads, you don't name her,

18 do you?

19 A. No, not in that statement there, no.

20 Q. Was there any particular reason why you didn't use her

21 name in making this statement?

22 A. No, there was no specific reason at all.

23 Q. Can you think of any reason why you might have held back

24 from naming her in this statement as part of your

25 complaint?

 

 

83


1 A. No.

2 Q. But you are sure, are you, that it was Rosemary Nelson

3 who they were talking about and whom they did mention by

4 name at the time?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. You are sure?

7 A. I'm sure.

8 Q. Thank you. Did you yourself, before the conversation

9 with the officers that you have been describing, know

10 that Rosemary Nelson had been acting on behalf of

11 Colin Duffy as his solicitor?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. You did know that?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Was that something that was well-known in the town?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Yes. Now, the visit we have discussed together, as you

18 say, took place mid December, I think, roughly?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Can I ask you this: can you remember when you first

21 mentioned the conversation about Colin Duffy and

22 Rosemary Nelson to anyone?

23 A. The first time I mentioned it was to my solicitor.

24 Q. Can you remember when that was?

25 A. It was shortly after that visit.

 

 

84


1 Q. Days, weeks, months?

2 A. It would have been probably a number of days after that

3 visit, probably the next time my solicitor was up, I'm

4 not too sure now.

5 Q. Right. In paragraph 22 of your statement at RNI-842-266

6 (displayed), you say:

7 "Following my meeting with the detectives,

8 I discussed the issue with my solicitors. I was advised

9 I did not have to meet with the detectives in future

10 ..."

11 Et cetera. Now, the first sentence there, do you

12 see on the screen, is quite general:

13 "I discussed the issue with my solicitors."

14 Then you say what advice you got. So was your real

15 concern that, as far as you went, this visit had been

16 unexpected and you didn't want it to be repeated?

17 A. That's it.

18 Q. Was that the particular issue that you raised with your

19 lawyer at that stage?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. So how confident are you that in the course of that

22 discussion, getting that advice, you also mentioned the

23 comments made about Colin Duffy and Rosemary Nelson?

24 A. I'm not too sure why I would have mentioned that to my

25 solicitor at the time. I was more concerned with him

 

 

85


1 asking me to become an informer.

2 Q. Yes. So is it at least possible that you didn't mention

3 this specific conversation about Colin Duffy at this

4 point?

5 A. It might have been possible, I can't recall it.

6 Q. It certainly wasn't directly on the point, was it? If

7 the point was do I have to listen to these

8 conversations, do I have to have these visits, then you

9 didn't need to go into the detail of what they had said,

10 did you?

11 A. No.

12 Q. Is that a fair comment?

13 A. I did not need to go into detail. I just wanted to make

14 sure it was documented for my own protection in the

15 future.

16 Q. Yes. Now, you tell us in your statement that there were

17 other visits. Originally, you said there were three and

18 that's what the officers agreed with. Now you can only

19 remember two of them, but I just want to ask you this

20 question about the other visits or visit: was there any

21 further reference to Rosemary Nelson?

22 A. Basically they all went down the same line.

23 Q. They did?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. So you are saying, are you, that there was further

 

 

86


1 discussion about Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy on

2 subsequent visits?

3 A. It was mostly to do with Colin Duffy. Rosemary Nelson

4 was only a small part of what they were saying.

5 Q. That's something that doesn't emerge very clearly from

6 your statement to the Inquiry. Do you accept that?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And if we look back at your original statement,

9 RNI-235-076 (displayed), I have shown you -- if we read

10 over to RNI-235-077 (displayed) -- the account you gave

11 of this first visit and you then talk about the second

12 visit. Do you see? About ten lines down, you say:

13 "The week before Christmas 1998 ..."

14 Do you find that?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And you talk about that visit, which I think was

17 a rather shorter one. Is that right?

18 A. That's correct, yes.

19 Q. And you don't in that statement, do you, make the

20 suggestion that the question of Colin Duffy and

21 Rosemary Nelson came up?

22 A. No.

23 Q. Now, this is in April 1999, much closer to the events?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Do you think it is more likely than not that they didn't

 

 

87


1 come back to this on the second visit?

2 A. I couldn't tell you now. It was --

3 Q. You are not sure?

4 A. I'm not sure at all.

5 Q. Right. What about the third visit? Again, you go on in

6 the same statement on RNI-235-078 (displayed), and

7 concluding on RNI-235-079, to talk about that third

8 visit. Again, I think quite a short visit. Is that

9 right? And again, in this statement you don't suggest

10 that there was further conversation about Colin Duffy

11 and Rosemary Nelson?

12 A. No.

13 Q. And do you think it is likely that's because at this

14 stage you didn't remember that coming up in the third

15 visit?

16 A. I can't remember it coming up, but it could have come

17 up. I think it was just, you know, basically just

18 looking for the same as they said in the first couple of

19 meetings and it was just looking to get information.

20 Q. Now, in relation to the three meetings, would this be

21 fair, that your recollection of the

22 Colin Duffy/Rosemary Nelson conversation is clearest in

23 relation to the first meeting?

24 A. That would be correct, yes.

25 Q. And less clear or much less clear in relation to the

 

 

88


1 second and third?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. That's fair?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you this question: did you see

6 whether notes were being made by the officers on any of

7 these visits?

8 A. I never seen them taking notes.

9 Q. No. Can I ask you this question: did you make any notes

10 of what had been said at the visits at the time?

11 A. I never made any notes of what was said in the visits,

12 I just made a note of the visit.

13 Q. Right. Now, is that a note that you would have made in

14 your diary?

15 A. That would have been a note that I made in my diary,

16 yes.

17 Q. Can I just ask you a few questions about your diary and

18 take you to paragraph 28 of your statement, RNI-842-267

19 (displayed) because you had picked up there -- if we can

20 enlarge paragraph 28, please -- that in your earlier

21 statement, the one we looked at together, you referred

22 to a lost or stolen diary, and there you describe what

23 you kept in it by way of note, which is:

24 "Incidents of prison officer harassment."

25 A. Yes.

 

 

89


1 Q. Which you say took place daily?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And you describe it there, do you see in the third line,

4 as a factual diary?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Now, I think you have just said to me that you think you

7 would have recorded the fact of the visit?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Is that right? But nothing that was said?

10 A. That would have been correct, yes.

11 Q. Right. Given that you had asked your solicitor's advice

12 about it and there were then subsequent visits, despite

13 what you had said at the end of the first visit, wasn't

14 it an obvious thing for you to do, to make a note in

15 your own diary about what they had been saying to you?

16 A. Basically I didn't want anybody to read the diary, any

17 of the prison officers would have been reading it and

18 they would have found out about anything that had been

19 going on in the visit.

20 Q. Right. So you didn't feel able to make notes of that

21 kind -- is this right --

22 A. Because they wouldn't have been secure.

23 Q. Because it was insecure and vulnerable to searching by

24 prison officers, as you saw it?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

90


1 Q. Now, can I ask you a question or so about phone calls?

2 In paragraph 27 -- if we could have that enlarged,

3 please -- you say there that phone calls and letters

4 were monitored by the prison and, therefore, if you had

5 made any effort to contact the officers, Special Branch,

6 the prison would also have known?

7 A. That's right, yes.

8 Q. Now, later in your statement at paragraph 29 on

9 RNI-842-268 (displayed), you say that when you had heard

10 about the murder of Rosemary Nelson, you made a few

11 phone calls. Do you see that in the second to last

12 line?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. So what facilities and opportunities did you have to

15 make telephone calls out of prison?

16 A. You were provided with phone cards. You had to buy them

17 from the tuck shop, which allowed you -- you inserted

18 them in the phone, which allowed you so many minutes on

19 the phone. But all telephone conversations were always

20 monitored inside the gaol and I'm sure mine would have

21 been monitored more than most.

22 Q. Why do you say that?

23 A. Because of the nature of my offences.

24 Q. Now, we have heard, because you explained, that you

25 spoke to your solicitor as far as you can remember

 

 

91


1 shortly after the first visit. So that dates it

2 to December 1998.

3 What about the subsequent visit later that month and

4 then again in January? Did you speak to your solicitor

5 after those visits, as far as you can remember?

6 A. Yes, I'm sure I did.

7 Q. And do you have any recollection of mentioning the

8 discussion that we have been through together about

9 Rosemary Nelson to your solicitor at those points?

10 A. I'm sure I would have mentioned it at some point.

11 Q. Right. And that would be, therefore, would it, in sort

12 of late December or even into January the following

13 year, 1999?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Right. Now, as far as we can see from the files that

16 the Inquiry has received on this, the first reference to

17 the complaint that you made comes in January 1999. Can

18 we look at that together, please, RNI-235-027

19 (displayed)?

20 Although the name of your solicitors has been

21 redacted, please take it from me that it is your

22 solicitor's writing and your cipher appears there, and

23 it says:

24 "We act on behalf of the above-named who is a remand

25 prisoner at HMP Maghaberry. He arrived in prison on or

 

 

92


1 about ..."

2 Then the date has been redacted, but you and

3 I discussed that already:

4 "He instructs us that on at least two separate

5 occasions, he was visited by police officers from Lurgan

6 RUC station and that these visits took place prior to

7 the Christmas period."

8 So you see, by this stage, mid-January, it was being

9 suggested that you had already had two of the visits.

10 Do you see that?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And at this point, questions were being asked, weren't

13 they, about whether it had happened? And do you see the

14 reference there to the preparation of your defence?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Because you were on remand at this point. Now, if we

17 look at the next page in the file, RNI-235-029

18 (displayed), we see the letter which outlines the

19 concerns you had at that point, which were about your

20 security, about your safety. Do you see that?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, it was after this point, wasn't it, that you issued

23 a formal complaint?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And we can see that at RNI-235-051 (displayed) and the

 

 

93


1 date of that letter is 16 February. Do you see just

2 below the numbers:

3 "Our client wishes to lodge a complaint in relation

4 to the unauthorised approach to him by police officers.

5 He will not be available for interview pending other

6 proceedings."

7 So as I say, this is 16 February 1999. So just

8 using that date, 16 February 1999, as a sort of fixed

9 point, do you think that by this point you had mentioned

10 to your solicitors that this conversation that you have

11 described to us about Colin Duffy and Rosemary Nelson

12 had taken place?

13 A. I'm sure I would have mentioned it to him.

14 Q. You see, the difficulty we have in the Inquiry is that

15 the first statement we have from you about this comes

16 in April, two months later?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And obviously after Rosemary Nelson's murder had taken

19 place?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. What would you say to the suggestion that in making your

22 complaint about the unauthorised approach, you included

23 those details about Colin Duffy and Rosemary Nelson, who

24 had recently been murdered, in order to give some colour

25 or force to the allegations you were making?

 

 

94


1 A. No, that would be untrue.

2 Q. What about the suggestion, which some might make, that

3 your complaint -- the comments that you say were made --

4 all of that was made in order to bolster your criminal

5 case, which was pending at the time?

6 A. No, I made the complaint to get them to stop.

7 Q. Right. And that's what you say in your witness

8 statement, isn't it?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. You say there:

11 "Instead, I made the complaint on the basis that it

12 would stop the visits from occurring."

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Did it?

15 A. It did, yes.

16 Q. And what do you say about the suggestion that the

17 complaint was made in order to create trouble for these

18 officers or, indeed, to in some way undermine the RUC as

19 a whole?

20 A. It was basically just to get the -- I made the complaint

21 to get them to stop them coming up to see me.

22 Q. When you made the statement in April 1999, were you

23 clear in your own mind about the conversation that you

24 there describe concerning Colin Duffy and

25 Rosemary Nelson?

 

 

95


1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Now, there is one further question I wish to ask you and

3 what I would like you to do, please, is to look at

4 a piece of paper that Ms McTague is going to hand to you

5 on which there is written a name. And the question

6 I have for you is whether or not -- yes or no -- you are

7 related to the person whose name appears on that piece

8 of paper?

9 A. No, no relation.

10 Q. Thank you. Those are the only questions I have for you.

11 I don't know if you have been warned about this, but at

12 the end of all witnesses' evidence, I always give them

13 a chance to say anything further if there is something

14 that you want at this point to say to the Inquiry Panel.

15 A. No, I think everything has been covered.

16 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you very much.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for coming to give

18 evidence before us.

19 Mr [name redacted], before the witness leaves, would you

20 please confirm that all the cameras have been

21 switched off?

22 MR [name redacted]: Yes, sir, they have.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

24 We will adjourn until tomorrow morning, quarter

25 past ten.

 

 

96


1 (3.05 pm)

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MR CHRISTOPHER JOPLING (affirmed) ................ 1
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Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 34
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A620 (sworn) ..................................... 38
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Questions by MR SAVILL ....................... 38
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C284 (sworn) ..................................... 58
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 58
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