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Hearing: 27th November 2008, day 81

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ROSEMARY NELSON

PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

 

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


on Thursday, 27 November 2008
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 81

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



1 Thursday, 27 November 2008

2 (10.15 am)

3 MR KENNETH LINDSAY (sworn)

4 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

6 MR PHILLIPS: Mr Lindsay, could you give the Tribunal your

7 full names, please?

8 A. Yes, my name is Walter Kenneth Lindsay.

9 Q. I think it's right, isn't it, that you have made two

10 witness statements to the Inquiry?

11 A. I have, that's correct.

12 Q. Can we look at the first one together, please, on the

13 screen, RNI-841-327 (displayed), and your signature on

14 RNI-841-329 (displayed) on 7 December last year. The

15 next one begins on the next page, RNI-841-330

16 (displayed) and we see your signature, don't we, on the

17 same date at RNI-841-337 (displayed)?

18 A. That's correct.

19 Q. Now, going back to the beginning, please, and looking at

20 the first statement, the one we have on the screen, you

21 became the Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary

22 of State in July 1996. Is that correct?

23 A. Yes, that's correct.

24 Q. Then in September 1998 you moved to be Head of the

25 Police Division?

 

 

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1 A. I did.

2 Q. Those are the two roles of interest to the Inquiry, but

3 can I ask you, please, briefly to tell us about your

4 earlier career in the Civil Service up until July 1996?

5 A. Yes. I mean, I will be as brief as I can.

6 Q. Thank you.

7 A. My career was mainly policing, politics and prisons and

8 in the sort of later years, I suppose, I worked in

9 Northern Ireland prisons with John Steele, whom I think

10 you have heard from.

11 Q. Yes.

12 A. And then moved on to the political side of the office,

13 what we call Political Affairs Division, in the early

14 1990s, when Peter Brooke was Secretary of State and he

15 started the talks process really that was continued by

16 Sir Patrick Mayhew.

17 I then became Private Secretary to Sir Patrick

18 in November 1992 and continued there until 1994. And

19 then following the ceasefires in 1994, we had a period

20 of exploratory dialogue with Republican and Loyalist,

21 and I was the Government-side secretary on the Loyalist

22 exploratory dialogue. And then I went to be -- back

23 again to Sir Patrick for his last ten months as his

24 Principal Private Secretary and continued after the

25 election, 1997, when Mo Mowlam became Secretary of

 

 

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1 State. And I think I was probably the longest serving

2 Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State at

3 that point, but I think I have been overtaken since.

4 And then in 1998, as you say, I moved to Police

5 Division and my final posting in 2004 was in Policing

6 Reforms Division, which was formerly the Patten Action

7 Team.

8 Q. Yes, thank you very much. Can I ask you to look at our

9 charts so that we can see where you fit in to the

10 picture, certainly in your two jobs in 1996 and 1998.

11 So can we have the NIO structure chart, please

12 (displayed)? Thank you very much.

13 Now, so far as --

14 THE CHAIRMAN: We have nothing.

15 MR PHILLIPS: I see. Everybody else has. It sounds as

16 though you have been singled out for special and adverse

17 treatment. Perhaps that can be sorted out. (Pause)

18 We are all, I think, reasonably familiar with the

19 charts, but would you mind if we carried on just for the

20 moment?

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Carry on.

22 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you very much. Now, looking at the

23 chart that we can see, do we see your box, if I can put

24 it that way, below the Secretary of State's?

25 A. Yes, that's correct.

 

 

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1 Q. So you were the Principal Private Secretary there, and

2 then there was a private office in both the locations,

3 one in Belfast and one in London?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And as I understand it, was it two, as it were, more

6 junior private secretaries reporting to you, one in each

7 place?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. Thank you. Now, if we turn on to the page -- I do that

10 with some trepidation -- excellent, thank you very much.

11 So far as --

12 A. Sorry, before we leave -- I don't want you to go back to

13 the first page, but it just reminds me when I see this,

14 there is an arrow down to the Permanent Secretary. Just

15 for clarity, my line manager was the Political Director.

16 Q. Right.

17 A. And my countersigning officer was the Permanent

18 Secretary.

19 Q. I see. No, that's very helpful, thank you, because the

20 process of evidence has involved a continuous process of

21 amendment of these charts. So I hope they will be able

22 to reflect that evidence. Thank you very much.

23 But just looking at this slide for the moment, you

24 became the Head of Police Division on the left-hand side

25 in September 1998. Is that correct?

 

 

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1 A. That's right, yes, that's correct.

2 Q. And what we have done is to set out under that box two

3 branches within the Police Division, the police

4 complaints on the left and KPPS on the right.

5 Now, is it in fact correct that there were, I think,

6 in all, five branches within Police Division?

7 A. Yes, that is correct.

8 Q. The others being, I think, structures, resources and

9 personnel. Is that right?

10 A. Well, there was KPPS, which also included explosives.

11 So there was an explosives section; legal explosives,

12 I have to add.

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. Then there was the complaints division -- the Complaints

15 Branch.

16 Q. Yes.

17 A. And then there was a section which was preparing for the

18 new ombudsman's office. Now, it really came out of the

19 Complaints Division, but I think I have listed them in

20 my statement. The first one was police personnel

21 policy, powers and procedures.

22 Q. Yes. Perhaps it would be better just to go straight to

23 your statement -- do you mind? -- so everybody else can

24 see this.

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. RNI-841-330 (displayed). That's where you talk about

2 the five branches and the first is this alliterative

3 one. That's the first one?

4 A. Yes, that is the first one which we in shorthand called

5 PX5, but it was actually the five Ps: police personnel

6 policy, powers and procedures. I'm not sure if you want

7 me to go into any detail. That's fairly explanatory.

8 Q. Indeed it is. It is very clear, thank you. The next is

9 resources?

10 A. Was resources which, as it says here, the police

11 consumed the largest amount of resources of any other

12 part of the Northern Ireland Office at that stage.

13 Q. Yes. Then over the page, RNI-841-331 (displayed):

14 legislation?

15 A. Yes, that's right.

16 Q. And then Complaints and Discipline, and then you say

17 Police Ombudsman's Branch. So would it be right that

18 when the Hayes recommendations were accepted and

19 legislation was being prepared to the Ombudsman, that

20 the original Complaints and Discipline Branch was turned

21 into --

22 A. Correct.

23 Q. -- the Police Ombudsman's?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Thank you very much.

 

 

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1 A. But not everyone in the Complaints Branch became part of

2 the Ombudsman's Branch, and some of them moved off to do

3 other things.

4 Q. Yes. Then KPPS was the fifth one which, as you also

5 point out in the second sentence under that heading,

6 also dealt with firearms and matters of that kind?

7 A. Yes, that's right.

8 Q. Thank you very much. So far, first of all, as your role

9 as Principal Private Secretary is concerned, one of the

10 NIO witnesses has told us -- John McKervill this is, I

11 should say -- that that role would focus on the high

12 level political and security issues. Is that a fair

13 description, do you think?

14 A. Yes, I think that's a fair description. The office

15 worked in -- as you say, we had an office in Belfast and

16 in London. We still had at that stage six

17 Northern Ireland departments who were working on the

18 Secretary of State and the ministers, and so there was

19 a constant feeding of submissions up from those

20 departments. And the private secretaries in each of

21 those offices would then deal with that level of

22 correspondence and the Principal Private Secretary would

23 tend to major on the higher profile, political interface

24 with number 10, you know, if there was a particular

25 problem, and would normally accompany the Secretary of

 

 

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1 State wherever.

2 Q. Yes. Well, you say in your first statement, if we can

3 have that on the screen, RNI-841-327, please

4 (displayed), in paragraph 4 at the bottom of the page,

5 that:

6 "The Principal Private Secretary at senior Civil

7 Service level, who was the travelling Private Secretary

8 ..."

9 So, as I understand it, you in that position moved

10 around with the Secretary of State?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. And the other two more junior private secretaries stayed

13 in their respective places?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Now, you said earlier in your description of the role

16 that one of the things that it fell to you to do was to

17 deal with, I think you said, number 10; in other words,

18 with the relations between the Secretary of State and,

19 in that case, 10 Downing Street.

20 Was it also part of your role to act as a go between

21 between your minister, the Secretary of State, and other

22 officials within the NIO?

23 A. Yes, I think the -- one way of looking at the private

24 office is the sort of lynchpin between the machinery of

25 Government, the large Government departments and

 

 

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1 ministers, and acting as a two-way channel of

2 communication, so that if, you know, Government policy

3 is being developed at all sorts of different levels and

4 comes up through the system, ministers make decisions

5 and it goes through that private office process and then

6 it is filtered back down again. So it is very much

7 keeping that whole process working and making sure that

8 people know what's in the mind, if you like, of

9 ministers.

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. At any point in time.

12 Q. So presumably one of the functions you were able to

13 perform for your colleagues within the NIO was to let

14 them know how your minister was thinking about

15 a particular issue?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And presumably in turn they, on occasion, would approach

18 you for your help on the basis that they thought you

19 might well have the ear, if I can put it that way, of

20 the Secretary of State?

21 A. I think it is fair enough to say that. I mean, I was

22 always very conscious that you are in quite a privileged

23 position, having, as you say, the ear of the Secretary

24 of State or of a minister, but I'm also very conscious

25 that with that comes quite a big responsibility. And,

 

 

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1 you know, I have seen people who have that, you know,

2 temporary power, if you like, and who misuse it and

3 don't actually realise that at some point in the not too

4 distant future they have to come back in to the system

5 and work with those people again at that level.

6 So, I mean, they were certainly what you describe

7 and I think part of the effectiveness of Principal

8 Private Secretary was actually reading the mood at any

9 particular time and reading how, you know, secretaries

10 of state were thinking and what their priorities were on

11 any particular day.

12 Q. So in order to perform that function effectively you

13 presumably had to get to know your boss, your Secretary

14 of State, well and, as you describe in your statement --

15 if we can look together at RNI-841-328 (displayed) --

16 you would, in the case of both Sir Patrick Mayhew and

17 Mo Mowlam, travel with them, you would attend meetings

18 with them and you would, as you say about four or five

19 lines down there:

20 "... be aware of all policy submissions addressed to

21 them."

22 So it was a close working relationship?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Now, in terms of other relationships, relationships

25 outside the NIO, can I just ask you, please: in your

 

 

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1 role as Principal Private Secretary, would you have any

2 form of regular contact with senior RUC officers?

3 A. I would say probably not. By that I mean not in

4 a regular meeting. So, I mean, I know you have heard

5 evidence about SPM, for instance.

6 Q. Yes.

7 A. And I didn't attend SPM although the Secretary of

8 State did.

9 Q. Yes.

10 A. But clearly the Secretary of State would have meetings

11 on a reasonably regular basis with the Chief Constable,

12 and so I would --

13 Q. You would be present?

14 A. To take a note or whatever.

15 Q. So as Principal Private Secretary, as I understand it,

16 you are saying you would not attend SPMs. Is that

17 correct?

18 A. That's correct.

19 Q. Did you attend them as Head of Police Division?

20 A. No, I didn't.

21 Q. No. But in the general run of meetings involving the

22 Secretary of State, you would be present?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Would you ever be present in meetings between the

25 Secretary of State and the DCI concerning warrantry

 

 

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1 matters?

2 A. No, that was strictly one-to-one.

3 Q. Yes, thank you very much. Now, can I just take an

4 example of a document showing the sort of issues with

5 which you were engaged as Principal Private Secretary?

6 It is at RNI-305-051 (displayed).

7 This, towards the end of your time, on 9 July 1998,

8 is a letter to you from the Principal Private Secretary

9 to the Prime Minister, in fact, about Drumcree. So

10 would this be an example of the sort of situation you

11 mentioned a little earlier, where you were acting as, as

12 it were, the contact point between your Secretary of

13 State and in this case the Prime Minister and his

14 private office?

15 A. Yes. I mean, this is probably a good example of the

16 sort of area that you would -- you would be in touch

17 with number 10. I mean, clearly there were other, like,

18 policing or -- or politics. But at this particular time

19 and at this particular year, Drumcree was featuring very

20 heavily and I would have spoken -- I think this is from

21 [name redacted] sorry.

22 Q. It is a redacted name.

23 A. Sorry.

24 Q. No, no, no.

25 A. I would probably have spoken to the Principal Private

 

 

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1 Secretary at number 10 every day about something,

2 although I noticed in one of the documents that I got,

3 which was clearly a number 10 copy, that he had written

4 on it:

5 "Prime Minister, We didn't expect this to come

6 today."

7 And clearly we didn't. We mustn't have spoken

8 that day.

9 Q. Yes. But you were in very regular contact with this

10 official, then?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So far as these documents are concerned, just to get an

13 idea of the extent to which material came to you, I

14 think we can see at the top of the page in handwriting

15 in the copy list:

16 "PS SOS."

17 And that's something that appears again and again

18 and again in the material. Is that a reference to the

19 Private Secretary to the Secretary of State?

20 A. It is really a reference to the office. So, I mean,

21 that eventually would become our office copy in London

22 and Belfast and it would be written -- you know, a note

23 would be put on it by probably the Private Secretary or

24 by me in to the Secretary of State for information or

25 whatever.

 

 

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1 Q. Obviously this letter is actually addressed to you

2 personally, but as material -- copy material or material

3 to the Secretary of State -- came in, how was it

4 filtered? How were decisions made as to which of the

5 secretaries should see what and who should concentrate

6 on which bit of material?

7 A. Just to go back slightly, you know, it was addressed to

8 me but actually the next week it could have been

9 addressed to my successor. So it was really just the

10 office that it was addressed to.

11 And when it came into the office, usually by fax, I

12 think, normally, if it was from number 10, the Private

13 Secretary in London or Belfast would have put that copy

14 list on it and circulated it round the officials who

15 needed to see it quickly, and probably at that point I

16 would have seen it.

17 Q. And you say in your statement, in fact the paragraph we

18 were looking at, RNI-841-328 (displayed) -- this is

19 paragraph 4 -- do you see right at the end of the

20 paragraph where you are talking about your travelling,

21 four lines from the bottom you say:

22 "The need for me to travel and attend meetings with

23 the Secretary of State meant that the private

24 secretaries (Belfast and London) read the detail of

25 every submission, particularly on departmental issues.

 

 

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1 Having said this, unless the matter was strictly routine

2 I would have had some knowledge of it."

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. So although you were focusing, as you said earlier, on

5 the major points, big political issues, you were not

6 just relying on your juniors to read the detail, but

7 actually you kept yourself aware of what was going on?

8 A. Yes. The reason for that is because, when you then left

9 the office and were in the back of the car, the

10 Secretary of State could ask you about anything. And so

11 while you may not have had the detail of potato

12 subsidies or whatever it was, you needed to know that

13 there was something going on that you could refer to.

14 Q. So far as the working style of the Secretaries of State

15 were concerned, you worked for two and we have heard

16 some evidence already, as you probably know, about the

17 differing approaches of Sir Patrick on the one hand and

18 Mo Mowlam on the other. How did Mo Mowlam like to work?

19 A. I think she liked to work with a small number of people.

20 She was more comfortable -- it may have been her

21 experience in opposition, where she had two very close

22 advisers who then came with her to Northern Ireland.

23 But she found -- I think she found, you know, the size

24 of the ship of Government really quite big and bulky and

25 bureaucratic. So she liked to work with, I think,

 

 

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1 smaller numbers. She would prefer to talk about an

2 issue rather than get volumes of paper about it, and you

3 know, that was the big contrast, I think, between her

4 and Sir Patrick.

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. It was almost like a point of honour for him to do his

7 box every night and make sure it was done and, you know,

8 being a lawyer, he always knew that -- when he was

9 writing on a file, that it would end up and historians

10 would pore over what he had written some day in the

11 future. But with Mo Mowlam it wasn't quite like that

12 and a lot of what was in the box really had to be

13 discussed again with her.

14 Q. So, presumably, as issues came up, she would, as it

15 were, work out her views about them by discussing them

16 with you, amongst others within the office. Is that

17 right?

18 A. Yes, I think that's pretty fair, yes.

19 Q. So when you said earlier that she liked to work with

20 a small group of people around her, can I take it that

21 you would have been one of them?

22 A. Well, I would have been there. I wouldn't like to have

23 thought that I would in any way, you know, superimpose

24 myself above anyone -- you know, the Political Director

25 or the Security Director. They had their place in

 

 

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1 advising her and it wasn't my place to do that.

2 Q. We know they had their place in the hierarchy, but we

3 also know from the evidence we have already received

4 that she had likes and dislikes amongst her officials

5 and you were one of the people whom she liked and whom

6 she got on very well with. That's correct, isn't it?

7 A. That's, I think, correct. But I also -- I think I also

8 had a good working relationship with Sir Patrick.

9 Q. Indeed.

10 A. And do to this day with both he and Lady Mayhew and

11 continued a friendship with Mo Mowlam until she died.

12 So I think it is the intensity of the working

13 relationship that creates that.

14 Q. Because there were a lot of heavy issues on her plate,

15 if I can put it that way, from the moment she arrived in

16 Northern Ireland, were there not?

17 A. There were, and actually she also came with a long list

18 of things to be done that she had thought about very

19 carefully --

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. -- when in opposition, and I mean, this list was

22 produced quite frequently and, you know, action was

23 required on everything that was on that list.

24 Q. And there was also considerable energy and impetus being

25 put into Northern Ireland affairs by number 10, was

 

 

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1 there not?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. So that, if nothing else, was going to keep her and her

4 officials up to the mark, wasn't it?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. So as and when issues arose during the course of all the

7 time you spent with her, presumably she would discuss

8 points, take your view on things from day-to-day as the

9 work continued. Is that right?

10 A. Yes. Well, she would discuss -- she might use me as

11 a sounding board from time to time. I wouldn't say that

12 that was, you know, an every day occurrence because,

13 I mean, she also had Adam Ingram and Paul Murphy who --

14 with whom she had a very close relationship, as well as

15 the other ministers. And she also had a -- she also had

16 two special advisers who were there specifically to help

17 her with the politics.

18 Q. Are they the individuals you said came with her?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. Yes, thank you. Can I just move to look very briefly at

21 your next job, which you started in September 1998?

22 Here we move on your second statement again.

23 RNI-841-330, please (displayed). You took over from

24 Christine Collins, didn't you?

25 A. That's right.

 

 

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1 Q. And you reported to David Watkins. Is that right?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And we have looked together at the various branches of

4 Police Division in paragraph 2. Can I ask you in

5 relation to this period, so from September 1998 onwards,

6 what were the main issues facing you when you became the

7 Head of Police Division?

8 A. Just -- I mean, to set a bit of context, policing has

9 always been an area of debate and controversy in

10 Northern Ireland and it has always been, and still is,

11 the last nut to crack, if you like, over the whole

12 process because we are just about getting to that point

13 now.

14 But by this stage, by September 1998, the

15 Independent Commission had been set up and you might

16 think that that would take the -- sort of the spotlight

17 off policing, but actually the spotlight came on in

18 a very big way over the next year until they reported

19 in September of 1999 because, you know, all the groups

20 out there wanted to get their viewpoint across to the

21 Commission.

22 I think we had a little difficulty there because,

23 you know, while the Government stood off from the

24 Commission and wanted them to get on with their work, we

25 were committed to implementing whatever they came up

 

 

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1 with. And so, you know, we had a position to put

2 forward as well on the future of policing and how we saw

3 policing. So I spent quite a lot of time with ministers

4 over the winter just working out, you know, the future

5 of policing and how we would -- how we would handle what

6 we expected to come out of the reports.

7 So that was one area of work. I think probably for

8 me the largest area of work was preparing for the

9 Ombudsman's office because, as you know, it was -- it

10 was provided for in the 1998 Police Act, which came in

11 before I took over. But the Ombudsman was a totally new

12 concept and I don't think there is a similar body

13 anywhere in the world. There are Police Ombudsmen in

14 Australia and various places, but not with the powers

15 that the Ombudsman here has. I mean, the Ombudsman here

16 has the powers of a constable, powers of arrest and so

17 on.

18 But even before we got anywhere to that point, we

19 had to decide the nature of the Ombudsman because

20 Maurice Hayes had talked about perhaps a judicial figure

21 or a judicial-type figure, I think he said. In my first

22 few months, we were trying to wrestle with what sort of

23 person are we looking for, and then we went to

24 a competition early in the New Year and failed to get

25 a candidate and then we had a second competition.

 

 

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1 In the meantime, we had set up a steering group and

2 a whole series of working groups because we needed to

3 look at the powers, the personnel, and actually we went

4 all round the world looking for investigators who

5 weren't local people. You know, they needed a whole IT

6 system, finance, they didn't have a building, they were

7 transitional arrangements for the ICPC, and all of that.

8 So that was quite a big part of the work, and I think --

9 and it took some time, but I think the fact that we then

10 got an ombudsman designate and then proceeded to set the

11 office up in a sort of shadow form -- and to my mind it

12 has transformed policing in Northern Ireland because up

13 to this point it was police investigating the police,

14 and with the best will in the world that was never

15 a satisfactory arrangement.

16 But this was a totally new concept. It is still

17 a pretty unique concept in world policing and it has

18 proved, I think, that, you know, if you have an incident

19 involving a police officer and the Ombudsman is called

20 in to investigate, that takes away all the -- you know,

21 the controversy and the complaints that arise in the

22 press and so on, and it just goes to this one body. So

23 that was the second one.

24 There was quite a lot of secondary legislation that

25 came out of the Police Act. We had a number of

 

 

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1 explosives regulations. We set up an office of

2 intrusive surveillance commissioner at that time. Then

3 we carried out a review of KPPS from October 1998 until

4 the summer of 1999, and I think -- I sat in the back for

5 a few minutes yesterday just to get the feel of the room

6 and I heard you mention about firefighting at one point.

7 And I mean, I think if you look at the press at that

8 time, through that period, there was probably a police

9 story every day on -- if not on the front page, in the

10 first or second page.

11 So policing was very high on the agenda. And we --

12 as well as the normal business that you expect of

13 a Government department or of a division of a Government

14 department went on. So we had the normal Parliamentary

15 questions and ministers' cases and treat official

16 letters that you obviously have come across, and then

17 there was the whole briefing of, you know, foreign

18 visitors and diplomats and other police forces. And so

19 the whole -- it just went on and on. So it was quite

20 a busy --

21 Q. I was going to say -- just interrupting there -- I think

22 what you are saying at this point in your answer is that

23 in addition to a pretty heavy general programme for the

24 Police Division, there was also the press of events, if

25 I can put it that way. That's what you were saying, I

 

 

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1 think, wasn't it, about the reports just about every day

2 in the papers? So you might come in thinking, "Oh,

3 today is the day I'm going to devote to this particular

4 policy question in relation to the Ombudsman" and in

5 fact you were diverted by some new problem, some new

6 crisis breaking out on the policing front?

7 A. Yes, I mean, there weren't the same number of terrorist

8 incidents, if you like, at that point in time or during

9 that period, but policing was certainly high on the

10 agenda. And ministers, if they were out and about,

11 would invariably be door-stepped on some aspect of it.

12 Q. So in that sense you perhaps wouldn't have quibbled with

13 the expression "firefighting"?

14 A. No, in that I have introduced it. There was a measure

15 of firefighting, yes. There was.

16 Q. Indeed. Can I just track back to something you just

17 said in that answer, the original answer you gave about

18 what the Political Division were doing in talking about

19 the setting up of the Ombudsman, which was a process, I

20 think, already underway by the time you began in Police

21 Division -- is that correct? -- in September 1998?

22 A. Some thought had been given to it, yes.

23 Q. Well, the Police (Northern Ireland) Act received the

24 Royal Assent, I think, in July 1998?

25 A. That's right.

 

 

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1 Q. Now, you said in commenting about that that there was,

2 certainly the way you looked at it, an obvious

3 deficiency in the ICPC system because of the police

4 investigating the police. Now, do you think that the

5 Rosemary Nelson cases and what happened to them was an

6 illustration of the defects in that system?

7 A. Well, I think that the police investigating the police

8 in any society is going to be controversial at times.

9 But what we had done with the ICPC was to bring that

10 layer of, you know, clear supervision to it, which I

11 don't think you had in most other parts of the UK at

12 that stage.

13 So from that point of view it wasn't strictly just

14 the police investigating the police -- sorry, can you

15 just remind me of your question again?

16 Q. What you were talking about was the reform of that

17 system, the reform of the ICPC system, so the reform of

18 the system which included the layer of supervision that

19 you have now mentioned.

20 What I was asking you is whether you think that the

21 Rosemary Nelson case and what happened to those

22 complaints was an illustration of the deficiencies in

23 that system, the ICPC system?

24 A. It was -- I mean, the Rosemary Nelson case was quite

25 unique, if you like, because the ICPC, as I understood

 

 

25


1 it -- I wasn't responsible for it at that point -- the

2 ICPC had in just about every case of supervision

3 declared that they were content with the investigation.

4 So I suppose from that point of view, this would have

5 been different.

6 Where it -- where it clearly was different was in

7 bringing in an officer from another force to

8 investigate, and that was always available to

9 a Chief Constable to do that. So, you know, I'm not

10 sure I'm answering your question directly, but I think

11 because of the amount of interest there was in it and

12 because of the -- what went on between the ICPC and the

13 police at that time, it probably was an unusual case.

14 Q. But wasn't some of the interest in it precisely because

15 people believed that the -- this was an illustration of

16 how the ICPC system was flawed?

17 A. Well, I think some people certainly had that view.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. And we were looking forward to the Ombudsman coming.

20 Q. Yes. But in the meanwhile -- as you say, it took a very

21 long time to set the Ombudsman's office up and you have

22 explained to us why exactly that was -- people were

23 stuck with the system that you had?

24 A. I'm not sure I would say "stuck", but, you know, that

25 was the system.

 

 

26


1 Q. There wasn't an alternative?

2 A. There wasn't an alternative. But I wouldn't -- I think

3 "stuck" suggests to me that actually the system wasn't

4 much good, when in actual fact a lot of complaints went

5 through the system and the ICPC thought they had been

6 properly dealt with.

7 Q. Indeed. But if the system had been an excellent system,

8 then presumably you wouldn't have brought in the

9 Ombudsman's system?

10 A. Correct.

11 Q. It was Government policy, was it not, that the system

12 needed to be changed and changed in particular by

13 bringing in the Ombudsman?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. Thank you. Now, I would like to move to a completely

16 different topic, please, which is the topic of

17 intelligence. So far as your position as Principal

18 Private Secretary is concerned, did you receive copies

19 of the NIIRs?

20 A. Yes, that is correct.

21 Q. Thank you. How regularly or frequently would you

22 receive them?

23 A. Probably twice a week.

24 Q. Thank you. And did you continue to receive them when

25 you moved to being Head of Police Division?

 

 

27


1 A. I did.

2 Q. Thank you. Now, can I go back to a point you made

3 earlier in relation to the security policy meetings, the

4 SPMs, because I think you said, didn't you, that as

5 Principal Private Secretary you did not attend them?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. Can we have on the screen, please, RNI-813-199

8 (displayed)? This is an extract from the statement of

9 John McKervill, who was a private secretary, was he not,

10 within the Secretary of State's private office?

11 A. Yes, he was.

12 Q. He says at the end of this paragraph, do you see:

13 "I did not attend security policy meetings. The

14 Principal Private Secretary attended those meetings as

15 an observer with the Secretary of State."

16 Is he wrong about that?

17 A. Yes, he is.

18 Q. Right. So the Secretary of State, in the case of

19 Mo Mowlam, attended those meetings accompanied by ...?

20 A. Well, by -- if I recall, it was PUS and John Steele, the

21 Head of SPOB and the secretary was from SPOB --

22 Q. But not the Head of Police Division?

23 A. -- and DCI. No, not the Head of Police Division and not

24 the Principal Private Secretary. I probably could have

25 gone -- no, I couldn't have gone -- and sat in the back,

 

 

28


1 but I didn't. So I don't know why that's there. I

2 wasn't a member of it at all.

3 Q. Okay. Now, moving on to another aspect of intelligence,

4 I think it is right, isn't it, that you have been shown

5 some documents originating with the PSNI, which contain

6 intelligence in relation to Rosemary Nelson? Is that

7 correct?

8 A. Yes, that's correct.

9 Q. And they show, for example, a suggestion that she was

10 behaving improperly as a lawyer, creating false alibis,

11 and an allegation also to the effect that she and one of

12 her clients were having an affair. You have seen that

13 material?

14 A. Yes, I have.

15 Q. Can I assume first that you had not seen that material

16 before being shown it by the Inquiry?

17 A. I had not seen that material until a few days ago.

18 Q. Thank you. Were you aware during your time in the two

19 positions we have just discussed, before the murder of

20 Rosemary Nelson, that those allegations were being made

21 about her?

22 A. I was not.

23 Q. I would like to look with you, please, at a note you

24 made on 14 July 1998 at RNI-106-250.500 (displayed).

25 Now, this is a document that I took

 

 

29


1 Sir Joseph Pilling to yesterday and I propose to

2 approach it with some caution. Am I right in thinking

3 that it is a document of which you were the author?

4 A. Yes, it appears that I am.

5 Q. Are you sure about that?

6 A. Yes, it is my signature, so I ...

7 Q. Right. It says here:

8 "The Secretary of State took the opportunity of

9 a meeting with the Chief Constable on another subject

10 this afternoon [14 July] to discuss the matters raised

11 in your submission of 10 July."

12 To give you some context, this is part of the

13 ongoing discussion about the need for independent

14 supervision of the Mulvihill investigation. So in terms

15 of your career, you are still in the private office, you

16 haven't moved to Police Division and this is the issue

17 of the day, as it were.

18 You will see the note continues, and in the third

19 paragraph these words appear:

20 "PUS suggested that it might be better to obtain

21 a letter from the Chairman of the ICPC ..."

22 Et cetera. Do you remember this meeting?

23 A. I have to admit that I don't remember it, I am afraid.

24 Q. Using the note as a prompt, are you able to suggest to

25 the Panel who was present?

 

 

30


1 A. Well, I mean, the first thing I would say is that it is

2 not a very good minute, I have to admit. It is like --

3 it is like something that I might have dictated on the

4 way to the airport or over the phone. So I have had

5 time to think about it and look at the context in the

6 other -- with the other papers. Clearly the Secretary

7 of State and the Chief Constable were there. Normally,

8 when you are writing to minute, you start off by saying,

9 "The Secretary of State and the Chief Constable and

10 whoever else was also there".

11 That's what has surprised me about it, that I didn't

12 say "PS was also present", which is why I'm saying it is

13 not a very good minute. So that's as much as I can

14 suggest to you at this point.

15 I don't know what Sir Joseph said, but -- I wasn't

16 here when he answered that question.

17 Q. So you are not able to help us as to whether or not he

18 was present?

19 A. I'm not able to help you with whether he was present,

20 but clearly he had a view, which was either expressed at

21 the meeting or subsequently or before the meeting.

22 Q. Now, what I wanted to go on to ask you -- and it may be

23 the answer you will give is the same -- is whether you

24 can recall whether on this occasion there was

25 a discussion with the Chief Constable and Secretary of

 

 

31


1 State in relation to Rosemary Nelson?

2 A. I honestly don't know. I mean -- you know, I have

3 been -- I have been trying to think of what was

4 happening at that time and I think what would have been

5 foremost in our minds was the murder of the three Quinn

6 children in Ballymoney on 12 July, which was only two

7 days before that and, you know, the other events that

8 were going on in relation to Drumcree and wider

9 throughout the Province.

10 Q. I appreciate there were other very important events

11 going on, not least in relation to Drumcree and those

12 murders, but you can see from the note that the topic of

13 the meeting was rather more specific and about the

14 particular ICPC investigation, the Mulvihill involvement

15 in it. But you are not able to assist as to whether you

16 think there was any discussion --

17 A. I don't know what the primary reason for the meeting

18 was. It was clearly some other subject and -- I mean,

19 as I have seen now from the context of the other papers,

20 you know, this was an issue which was exercising

21 a number of people at the time.

22 Q. Now, you may or may not be aware that in the course of

23 his evidence, David Watkins, who became your boss in due

24 course, from September 1998, said that in the course, he

25 thought, of an SPM, the Chief Constable made remarks

 

 

32


1 about Rosemary Nelson, saying that she was an immoral

2 woman.

3 Presumably, from what you have been telling us

4 earlier, you weren't present at that SPM, the one he

5 mentioned on 10 July?

6 A. I was not.

7 Q. In the meetings you attended between the Secretary of

8 State and the Chief Constable, did you hear discussion

9 of Rosemary Nelson that you can recall now?

10 A. It is difficult to say whether I did or not because we

11 would have -- I mean, we would have touched on so

12 many -- you know, so many subjects. I don't recall any

13 discussions specifically about Rosemary Nelson. That's

14 the best way I can put it.

15 Q. Now, as you also know, I am sure, the Inquiry has now

16 received evidence from senior Special Branch officers to

17 the effect that they regarded her as, in one case, a

18 terrorist and, in another case, somebody who was

19 actively engaged in criminal activity. Did you ever

20 hear her spoken of in those terms when you were

21 Principal Private Secretary?

22 A. I didn't -- I did not. I was Principal Private

23 Secretary before Mrs Nelson's death and I certainly

24 didn't hear anything of that nature.

25 Q. What about when you became the Head of Police Division?

 

 

33


1 A. No, I didn't hear -- I hadn't heard that she was

2 involved in the acts you describe, that is

3 terrorist-type acts, until this week.

4 Q. And did you hear at any point in either of your jobs

5 before her murder the allegation of her relationship

6 with one of her clients, Colin Duffy?

7 A. Not before her murder.

8 Q. No. Now, moving to the more general question of what

9 you did know of her, you touch on this in your first

10 witness statement, paragraph 7 at RNI-841-329

11 (displayed), and you say there in paragraph 7:

12 "I was aware of Mrs Nelson and the allegation of

13 intimidation of defence lawyers."

14 Can I take it that that awareness arose during the

15 course of your work as Principal Private Secretary?

16 A. Yes, that's correct.

17 Q. Now, in relation to one of the cases in which she was

18 involved, were you aware, do you think, that she

19 represented Colin Duffy in relation to the two police

20 officers who had been murdered in Lurgan in June 1997?

21 A. Yes, I think I probably did -- was aware of that.

22 Q. That was a case which had a considerable impact, did

23 it not?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And it came relatively early in the new administration?

 

 

34


1 A. That's right.

2 Q. Now, we know from the material -- and you will have seen

3 reference to this in transcripts of the Inquiry's

4 proceedings -- that a very considerable amount of

5 material was generated during 1997 and 1998 about that

6 case and, indeed, other issues relating to

7 Rosemary Nelson.

8 In general, can I assume that material of that kind,

9 a lot of which was addressed to the Secretary of State,

10 came through your private office?

11 A. Yes, quite a lot of it would have come through the

12 private office because people tended to write to the

13 Secretary of State, and it wasn't always replied to by

14 her or him but it would have come in that route. Now, I

15 wouldn't have necessarily seen it.

16 Q. No.

17 A. But you were certainly aware that there was a large

18 amount and volume of paper in relation to -- well, in

19 relation to the whole Garvaghy Road/Drumcree issue, I

20 think.

21 Q. And also, presumably, in relation to the allegations of

22 harassment or threats and abuse of Rosemary Nelson?

23 A. Yes, but I think to my mind it is to a lesser degree

24 than the whole GRRC/Drumcree issue.

25 Q. And that presumably was a very important political

 

 

35


1 issue, both in 1997, the summer of 1997, and in the

2 subsequent year, 1998?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. Before you moved on, obviously?

5 A. Yes, and it was quite high on the agenda for the new

6 administration when they came in in May of 1997.

7 Q. Can I just take an example of the sort of correspondence

8 we have been talking about? It is at RNI-105-037.500

9 (displayed). It is dated 3 July. Do you have it there?

10 You will see it is on the screen as well.

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. It is from Jane Winter of British Irish Rights Watch.

13 It is addressed to your minister, the Secretary of

14 State, and it begins:

15 "Dear Mo ..."

16 This is a letter early on in the criminal

17 proceedings brought against Colin Duffy shortly after

18 his arrest. What I would like to do, Mr Lindsay, is use

19 this as an example and see what themes emerge from it.

20 We see, therefore, it is addressed to the Secretary

21 of State in those terms. Who would have had the

22 responsibility of processing that correspondence once it

23 came into your office?

24 A. Well, we had a -- we had a -- in each office we had

25 a sort of correspondence clerk.

 

 

36


1 Q. Yes.

2 A. And they would have looked at the subject and they would

3 have then looked to see whether it was -- it justified

4 a minister's case or whatever, and those then would have

5 gone to the Private Secretary to check that that -- that

6 the cc list and that -- and the official to whom it was

7 being sent for reply would have been correct.

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. Yes. And in that case -- sorry, in that case it would

10 certainly have been put in the box for --

11 Q. Why was that, please? Is that because it was addressed

12 to her personally?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And who decided what went to the box so that she would

15 see it herself?

16 A. Well, it was primarily the two static private

17 secretaries.

18 Q. Now, we know that in this case letters went from the

19 Secretary of State or, in fact, one of the private

20 secretaries, John McKervill. We can look at them

21 together. RNI-105-053.501 is a letter to the

22 Chief Constable referring to Jane Winter's letter, if we

23 can see that, please. RNI-105-053.501 (displayed).

24 Then if we can have on the right-hand side, please,

25 RNI-105-053.502 (displayed), a letter of the same date

 

 

37


1 to Ms Winter. Both signed by John McKervill, the

2 private secretary you mentioned earlier.

3 But the letter I want you to look at in particular

4 is at RNI-105-053.500 (displayed), and this is a letter

5 of the same date, 14 July, from the Secretary of State

6 to Rosemary Nelson and it tells us, doesn't it, from its

7 text, that the Secretary of State had spoken to

8 Rosemary Nelson herself. Do you see that?

9 A. I do.

10 Q. Yes. Now, this, as I said to you earlier, is at the

11 beginning of criminal proceedings against

12 Rosemary Nelson's client. Was it usual for the

13 Secretary of State to speak to a lawyer about an ongoing

14 criminal case in this way?

15 A. I think it was exceptional.

16 Q. Yes. Did the Secretary of State ask for your advice as

17 to whether she should speak to Rosemary Nelson herself

18 in this case?

19 A. I have no recollection of her doing so.

20 Q. Had she asked for your advice, what would it have been?

21 A. Well, I might have said one of two things. I might have

22 said, "Don't do it," or equally, I might have said,

23 "Talk to John Steele and he, hopefully, will tell you

24 not to do it". That was my initial reaction.

25 Q. Yes. Because John Steele was somebody whose advice she

 

 

38


1 trusted?

2 A. Correct.

3 Q. And he had the experience and, as far as she was

4 concerned, a sure touch in these matters, did he not?

5 A. I think that's a fair summation of Mr Steele.

6 Q. Thank you. Now, he, John Steele, in his evidence to the

7 Inquiry, said that Rosemary Nelson was one of

8 Mo Mowlam's contacts, one of the people she would speak

9 to. Is that right in your experience?

10 A. Yes, I think before -- when -- when Mo and the other

11 ministers -- well, mainly Mo Mowlam, when she was in

12 opposition, she visited Northern Ireland on a number of

13 occasions and I know she talked to -- she certainly

14 talked to the Garvaghy Road residents and, in that

15 context, would have spoken to Rosemary Nelson, I'm quite

16 sure. She had contacts with Jane Winter and a number of

17 others. I mean, she had contacts with -- with various

18 groups and sometimes it surprised me who she had

19 contacts with.

20 Q. Did it concern you on occasion?

21 A. In that the deed was done and, you know, she had these

22 contacts, there was nothing I could do about it. When

23 we went to the Maze Prison to visit Loyalist prisoners

24 at a very important part in the political process,

25 I noted that she knew a couple of them by name. So, you

 

 

39


1 know ...

2 Q. So she had a pretty wide contact list?

3 A. Clearly that was before she came into office. When she

4 came into office, we tried to dissuade her from contacts

5 that were -- that we didn't know about, let's put it

6 that way.

7 Q. Why was that?

8 A. Well, because the system -- well, the Government and

9 political system is such that -- I mean, for instance,

10 if we are involved in a political process and we are at

11 a particularly difficult part in that process, now, it

12 is fine for the Secretary of State or the Prime Minister

13 or whoever to be in touch directly with people involved,

14 and that happens all the time. But actually sometimes

15 it can work against the process, if you see what I mean,

16 because people don't -- unless there is a good system

17 for reporting back on contacts like that. And

18 eventually we got that system, I think.

19 Q. Now, so far as Rosemary Nelson is concerned -- as we

20 said, this is an example of correspondence and, in this

21 case, contact -- was there, as far as you can recall,

22 subsequent contact between them; in other words,

23 after July 1997?

24 A. I don't ever recall, either before that or after,

25 another letter going out to Rosemary Nelson. I may be

 

 

40


1 wrong, but I don't recall that.

2 Q. And in your discussions with the Secretary of State,

3 were you able to assess what view Mo Mowlam had of

4 Rosemary Nelson?

5 A. I think she -- I mean, it is like she says in her book:

6 she found Rosemary Nelson quite difficult, but actually,

7 you know, would have identified with her in the position

8 that she was in, you know. By that, I mean, you know,

9 a woman dealing with police officers and working in a --

10 quite a difficult legal environment, if you like.

11 Q. So there was an element of sympathy?

12 A. Yes, I think there probably was.

13 Q. Did that, given what you know of Mo Mowlam's character,

14 not lead also to her taking an interest, a particular

15 interest in the cases and problems that were coming

16 across to the NIO?

17 A. I honestly think there were so many other issues that

18 she -- I have to say I don't think she focused on

19 Rosemary Nelson to any great extent at all.

20 Q. Do you remember having discussions with her, with the

21 Secretary of State, about Rosemary Nelson from time

22 to time?

23 A. I don't recall specifically. I recall lots of

24 discussions about Garvaghy Road and Drumcree and what

25 was going to happen there, but not specifically

 

 

41


1 Rosemary Nelson.

2 Q. Not in the context of the complaints and the problems

3 with the ICPC, for example?

4 A. Well, I mean, when an issue bubbles up, then clearly,

5 you know, there could be discussion, but I think in this

6 one, you know, in the particular series of events

7 around -- the summer of June/July of 1998, whenever

8 officials, you know, whenever Christine or Simon or

9 John Steele are dealing with an issue and are clearly

10 linked into the Secretary of State on it, I think, you

11 know, that's where I can take a back seat and not get

12 involved because, you know, I don't -- at that point

13 don't understand all the intricacies of it.

14 Q. Finally, in relation to Mo Mowlam's comments about --

15 and you referred to the book -- the other thing she

16 says, as I am sure you know, is that she,

17 Rosemary Nelson, was disliked by many, I think she uses

18 the words "in the establishment", including civil

19 servants, the legal profession and the police.

20 Now, were you aware of that feeling about her

21 amongst your colleagues?

22 A. I have to say the answer to that is no. You know --

23 I mean, the bulk of my colleagues -- and I can only

24 speak for the civil servants, but the bulk of my

25 colleagues would not have had any connection or contact

 

 

42


1 or need to involve themselves with either

2 Rosemary Nelson or the Garvaghy Road. Those who did, I

3 can say categorically there was no question of dislike;

4 it was an issue to be dealt with and, you know, they got

5 on with it.

6 So, I mean, I have seen that referred to before and

7 I don't know -- I don't think I can -- I would have said

8 that.

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

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, certainly. Quarter to 12. We will

11 break off.

12 (11.30 am)

13 (Short break)

14 (11.46 am)

15 THE CHAIRMAN: I want to announce that tomorrow morning, the

16 sitting will begin at 9.45 am.

17 Yes, Mr Phillips?

18 MR PHILLIPS: Mr Lindsay, I need to go back over what you

19 and I discussed in the light of a helpful correction by

20 the leading counsel for Sir Ronnie Flanagan, who has

21 drawn my attention to something which I put to you which

22 doesn't match up with the transcript.

23 If you remember, we were talking about whether

24 Rosemary Nelson was a contact or not of the Secretary of

25 State and I suggested to you that she, Rosemary Nelson,

 

 

43


1 was a contact to the Secretary of State on the basis of

2 evidence I said had been given by Mr Steele,

3 John Steele. And it has been pointed out to me that in

4 fact his evidence was that he didn't know whether he

5 thought she might have been one of the contacts.

6 Now, your exchange with me was -- I said:

7 "Now, he, John Steele, in his evidence to the

8 Inquiry, said that Rosemary Nelson was one of

9 Mo Mowlam's contacts, one of the people she would speak

10 to. Is that right in your experience?

11 "Answer: Yes, I think before -- when -- when Mo and

12 the other ministers -- well, mainly Mo Mowlam, when she

13 was in opposition, she visited Northern Ireland on

14 a number of occasions and I know she talked to -- she

15 certainly talked to the Garvaghy Road residents and, in

16 that context, would have spoken to Rosemary Nelson, I am

17 quite sure. She had contacts with Jane Winter and

18 a number of others. I mean, she had contacts with --

19 with various groups and sometimes it surprised me who

20 she had contacts with."

21 And so that we are absolutely clear about this, is

22 there any part of your answer you would like to change

23 in the light of the correction I have made about

24 John Steele's evidence?

25 A. No, I think that's fair enough.

 

 

44


1 Q. Thank you. What I would like to do now is touch on one

2 or two of the points the Inquiry has been looking at in

3 the period while you were Principal Private Secretary

4 and to see the extent to which, if at all, you had an

5 involvement with them.

6 We have heard evidence about the visit of the

7 UN Special Rapporteur in late October 1997, when you

8 would be the Principal Private Secretary. Did you have

9 any involvement in the visit?

10 A. I don't think I did. I do not have any recollection. I

11 think I said in my statement that I don't remember

12 meeting Mr Cumaraswamy and I think I'm right in saying

13 that Paul Murphy, perhaps, was the minister who --

14 Q. I think you are right, yes.

15 A. -- who saw them.

16 Q. Now, the next stage of that process was the arrival

17 in February 1998 of the draft report from the

18 Rapporteur, and as I'm sure you know from the papers,

19 there was a certain stir caused by that. Did you, as

20 Principal Private Secretary, have any involvement in

21 dealing with that issue?

22 A. I haven't seen any papers that suggest that I attended

23 a meeting or minuted a meeting in relation to that. But

24 I was certainly aware of it because, as you say, it was

25 quite a stir at the time.

 

 

45


1 Q. Can I take it from that, therefore, that it may be

2 something that you saw material about at the time or

3 discussed with the Secretary of State at the time?

4 A. I may have done.

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. Sorry, we are talking early 1998, is that --

7 Q. Yes, February 1998 is when the draft report came in.

8 A. Sorry, I asked that just to get the context and what we

9 might have been doing at that point.

10 Q. Yes. But do you have any specific recollection of the

11 issues that arose at that point?

12 A. I don't.

13 Q. No. Now, turning on to the question of the ICPC, do you

14 recall that in June 1998, the Chairman of the ICPC wrote

15 to the Secretary of State and, indeed, the

16 Chief Constable on the same day, 19 June, expressing the

17 Commission's dissatisfaction about the Complaints and

18 Discipline investigation into Rosemary Nelson and

19 Colin Duffy's complaints?

20 A. Yes, I recall that from the papers I have got.

21 Q. Indeed. That, I assume, was a matter that was of

22 concern to the Secretary of State and which, in that

23 sense, you would have had some dealings with at the

24 time. Is that correct?

25 A. Yes, though I do not have a clear recollection of what

 

 

46


1 I did. I think because -- I think, just referring back

2 to what I said previously, you know, the officials who

3 dealt with this would have been in the lead.

4 Q. Yes.

5 A. Clearly.

6 Q. Now, there is a specific assessment of this that I would

7 like to ask you about, though, and I think the best

8 thing to do is to get you to look, please, at the copy

9 of the letter, and it is at RNI-106-211 (displayed). It

10 is a three-page letter of 19 June. Do you have that

11 there?

12 A. Yes, I do.

13 Q. Now, in this letter, just to remind you, the extent of

14 the Commission's dissatisfaction with the investigation

15 was set out and the prospect was raised of what you

16 mentioned earlier in your evidence, namely that the

17 Commission would not issue a certificate of

18 satisfaction.

19 Now, what I wanted to ask you about is this: the

20 Chairman of the ICPC, Mr Donnelly, told the Inquiry in

21 his evidence that although there had been no official

22 communication before this of the way the Commission was

23 viewing the matter, there had been a certain amount of

24 what he called signalling to the NIO to the effect that

25 there was trouble brewing. Do you recall any indication

 

 

47


1 or signalling coming to you from the ICPC about this

2 issue?

3 A. I mean, I'm pretty certain that there wasn't. I don't

4 think that I personally had much, if any, contact with

5 Mr Donnelly until I came into Police Division.

6 Q. Yes. So certainly, so far as you were aware, there was

7 no such signalling?

8 A. No.

9 Q. Are you able to assist us in this: what was the

10 Secretary of State's reaction when she received this

11 letter?

12 A. I don't recall what her reaction was.

13 Q. Well, we have heard evidence, for example, from

14 John Steele -- and I hope I'm getting this bit right --

15 that when he received the letter, he remembered

16 hotfooting it down the corridor to speak to the

17 Secretary of State. So you must remember surely that

18 this caused something of a stir within your department,

19 within the NIO?

20 A. Well, I know it caused a stir ultimately, but, I mean,

21 you know, Mr Steele had an open door, I think, to the

22 Secretary of State. It wouldn't have been surprising to

23 see him come in and talk to her about something. I may

24 have been there or I may not. I just don't recall.

25 Q. I ask simply because it obviously stuck in his memory.

 

 

48


1 A. Yes.

2 Q. He didn't pretend to have a perfect recall of all

3 events, but he did remember this prompted him to hotfoot

4 it down the corridor. You don't recall anything about

5 the reaction to this letter?

6 A. I don't. At this point I don't, I am sorry.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Presumably the Secretary of State had her own

8 room and you had your room, did you, probably adjacent

9 to each other?

10 A. Yes, we had an inner office and an outer office and then

11 her office. So, I mean -- you know, John could have

12 gone in without any of us being present, but as I say, I

13 don't recall it.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

15 MR PHILLIPS: Presumably also, you in the private office

16 were in a sense the gatekeepers, were you not? I mean,

17 in order to get to her office, you had to pass through

18 her inner and outer offices. Is that right?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Did you ever remember a discussion with the Secretary of

21 State about the issues raised by the Commission as they

22 developed in June and then July 1998?

23 A. Well, I'm quite sure, having read the papers, that there

24 would have been discussions with officials, and at this

25 point in time I don't recall them because -- well, I

 

 

49


1 think the -- you know, there would have been a number of

2 other things on her mind at that time. Even though we

3 had got the Good Friday Agreement, we had just had the

4 referendum, successfully through, in May, the assembly

5 elections, and we were trying to get an assembly up and

6 running. So I think, you know, politics would have been

7 pretty high on our agenda.

8 Now, John Steele hotfooting it into her office would

9 have clearly identified a problem and she would then

10 have focused on this, but I do not have any recall of

11 the detail of that.

12 Q. You say there were other political issues. I mean, it

13 was John Steele himself who described this issue as it

14 developed as being a hot potato politically. So it had

15 political importance and significance, didn't it?

16 A. He did describe it that way and it did have political

17 significance.

18 Q. Yes. So although, as you were explaining, there were

19 other issues going on, there was a time, surely, was

20 there not, when the Secretary of State's attention was

21 directed to this issue?

22 A. That would be correct.

23 Q. And we know from other evidence that there was some

24 tension in the dealings between her on the one hand and

25 Sir Ronnie Flanagan on the other. And Sir Joseph

 

 

50


1 yesterday, for instance, described them as not seeing

2 eye to eye on the matter. Do you remember that?

3 A. I have to say that I don't remember that.

4 Q. Now, in his evidence, John Steele said that Mo Mowlam's

5 officials were concerned that Sir Ronnie Flanagan was

6 going too hard at it in the course of those discussions.

7 Is that something that you can recall; in other words,

8 were you one of the officials concerned?

9 A. I was not one of the officials concerned. I think what

10 he was referring to was probably the officials in the

11 Policing and Security Directorate. I think had you

12 asked officials in the Political Directorate, they may

13 have had a different opinion.

14 Q. Yes. What I would like to do now is to go forward in

15 time to the time when you were in Police Division

16 yourself and pick up this Mulvihill saga at a much later

17 stage.

18 Perhaps the way to introduce it for you is to take

19 you to a document from early March 1999, and that's

20 RNI-107-002.500 (displayed). If you have got the hard

21 copy there, at the bottom of the second page, which is

22 RNI-107-002.501, you can see that you are one of the

23 copyees?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Perhaps we can have that --

 

 

51


1 A. I just seem to have the first page of it, so I'll stick

2 with the screen.

3 Q. Can we have RNI-107-002.501 on the right-hand side,

4 please (displayed)? Thank you. Do you see your name at

5 the bottom right?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Thanks. Now, this is a note to Adam Ingram, updating

8 him on the current situation and what the latest was in

9 relation to Commander Mulvihill's investigation and

10 report.

11 The point here which I would like you to look at,

12 please, with me on the second page -- what the note

13 discloses is that although by this stage

14 Commander Mulvihill had completed his investigation, the

15 ICPC, the Commission, was determined to repeat and

16 publish the concerns that it had originally expressed in

17 the letter we looked at earlier, in June 1998, about the

18 initial investigation. And you see there about five

19 lines from the bottom:

20 "It is likely to mention their serious concerns at

21 the earlier stage, but otherwise to say that the conduct

22 of the investigation was satisfactory. Although the

23 Commission's concerns were made public at the time

24 Commander Mulvihill was appointed, they will repeat them

25 in their annual report, which will probably be published

 

 

52


1 on 18 March."

2 So although the second investigation was going to

3 get the certificate that no doubt everybody wanted, they

4 were going to repeat their original observations.

5 Now, in fact, as we know from the documents, that's

6 actually what did happen. And, again, just to remind

7 you, we can see the ICPC material at RNI-228-022

8 (displayed) and, at RNI-228-027, the appendix

9 (displayed), which contains the criticisms that

10 Geralyn McNally, the supervising member, had of the

11 original investigation.

12 Now, do you remember that following these events

13 there was a good deal of media interest in

14 Geralyn McNally?

15 A. Yes. I mean, I remember the media interest in

16 Geralyn McNally. I wasn't quite sure what the timeframe

17 of those was, but if you say it was immediately

18 following this, then I will accept that.

19 Q. Well, we can look at an article together, if you would

20 like to --

21 A. No, I'm very happy with that.

22 Q. Thank you. And concern was expressed, was it not, about

23 the campaign, as it was seen, media campaign, against

24 her and also about a rather more threatening element to

25 it, and concerns were as a result expressed about her

 

 

53


1 safety, weren't they?

2 A. That's correct, yes.

3 Q. To what extent were you involved in that?

4 A. Well, I was involved as the, if you like, the sponsor

5 department for the ICPC. Even though the ICPC was

6 independent, they received their funding from my

7 division. So I would have had contact with them from

8 time to time. So I was concerned from that point.

9 Clearly it was a -- I can't remember exactly what

10 the press article said, but they were quite serious, and

11 then I was also involved in the KPPS application.

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. Subsequently.

14 Q. But is it right that you had discussion with

15 Paul Donnelly about this?

16 A. About the ...?

17 Q. About what was happening to Geralyn McNally.

18 A. I noticed that Paul said that in his evidence to the

19 Inquiry and I wasn't -- I wasn't sure whether, I think,

20 to be flattered or flabbergasted at that one because I

21 don't recall having a conversation about that one. I'm

22 not saying we didn't have a conversation about

23 Geralyn McNally. It is quite possible and it is

24 actually quite likely that we did.

25 Why I say that it sort of flattered me was because

 

 

54


1 he seems to suggest that I had some power to stop these

2 stories circulating.

3 Q. Yes. That's exactly what he said. He said he spoke to

4 you and that, following you, the briefings against

5 Geralyn McNally stopped. Now, are you saying you didn't

6 take up that point?

7 A. No, I'm not saying that. What I'm saying is that if

8 Paul Donnelly and I discussed it -- which I don't

9 recall -- and there was anything I could have done, well

10 then, I would have taken -- if it was a matter of -- I

11 don't know what I could have done. I certainly didn't

12 talk to any members of the press to get the stories

13 stopped.

14 Q. Did you talk to any members of the police?

15 A. I'm fairly positive that I didn't. I do not recall

16 speaking to anyone about these stories about

17 Geralyn McNally, and having thought about it, my feeling

18 is that -- or my belief now is that what happened was

19 the press picked up whatever information they picked up

20 and this was run by one journalist or two and was picked

21 up by another one perhaps, as often happens, and perhaps

22 then fed into the Sunday press and -- but it is much

23 more likely to my mind that the story then ran out of

24 steam rather than that I was able to do anything about

25 it because I do not -- I don't think I would have been

 

 

55


1 able to do anything to get it stopped and I don't think

2 I did anything to get it stopped.

3 Q. Do you know where the information came from?

4 A. I don't know where it came from. Mr Donnelly thinks it

5 came from the police authority and I do not know that

6 that is the case.

7 Q. And is this an issue, in relation to what was happening

8 to Geralyn McNally, that you remember discussing with

9 colleagues or with the Secretary of State at this point

10 in March and the following months of 1999?

11 A. I don't recall discussing it with the Secretary of

12 State. I mean, by this stage I had moved, as you know,

13 to Police Division. My relationship with the Secretary

14 of State had changed considerably and rightly so, I

15 think, because I was now in a position of -- a very

16 different position than I had been before. So I was

17 always very careful not to use any previous friendship

18 or relationship that I had with her in my new post.

19 So I'm fairly sure I didn't, but, I mean, I think --

20 I would have met Adam Ingram, you know, maybe once or

21 twice a week and it -- it probably would have come up at

22 some of those meetings. I think perhaps Adam might have

23 written to Paul Donnelly at some point.

24 Q. Mr Donnelly wrote to him, didn't he, on 4 May 1999? We

25 can see that at RNI-228-193 (displayed). If you look at

 

 

56


1 the Secretary of State's response, RNI-228-247

2 (displayed), 19 May, it seems pretty clear that both

3 Adam Ingram and Mo Mowlam were involved in this matter

4 and were concerned about it. Do you see that in the

5 second paragraph?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. But you are saying you were not involved, in your post

8 as Head of Police Division, in any of that?

9 A. I think I could well have been involved with Adam Ingram

10 in relation to it. You know, I can't give you a time

11 and a date when we talked about it, but it is the sort

12 of thing that, because he had responsibility for my area

13 of work, that -- and it was -- you know, it was an

14 ongoing press issue. I think by this stage it had

15 quietened down, but clearly it was an issue; it was

16 something that we didn't like happening and it was

17 something that we thought was malicious. And had we

18 known anything further about it, you know, we might have

19 been able to talk to someone or contact someone, but I

20 don't think that I did at any point.

21 But it says in the letter there again that -- from

22 the Secretary of State -- that the issue seems to have

23 run out of steam and I think actually that's what

24 happened around that time.

25 Q. But you are saying, to be clear then, in summary, that

 

 

57


1 the fact that it ran out of steam had nothing to do with

2 your intervention?

3 A. I don't think it did.

4 Q. No. Can I turn then to consider the position of

5 Rosemary Nelson and the question of the assessment of

6 her safety or security?

7 While you were the Principal Private Secretary to

8 Mo Mowlam, were you aware that threat assessments on her

9 were being undertaken by the RUC?

10 A. I don't think I was.

11 Q. No. And does it follow, therefore, that your first

12 involvement in that issue came when you took over your

13 new post in September 1998?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Now, you explain in your second statement at

16 paragraph 3 -- if I can show you that, please,

17 RNI-841-331 (displayed), bottom of the page -- that you

18 saw the advice from another official, Lesley Foster, to

19 the Minister, 22 September, and the draft response which

20 went out eventually to the CAJ on, I think,

21 24 September. Is that correct?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, you also tell us in your statement at

24 paragraph 5 -- if we could turn over the page to

25 RNI-841-332, please, and enlarge paragraph 5

 

 

58


1 (displayed) -- that by the time of the letter, that's

2 24 September, you think you would have received

3 a briefing on the scheme, the KPPS?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Were you also briefed in relation to the earlier threat

6 assessments that had been undertaken?

7 A. I think the briefing for the scheme would have been

8 separate from -- from any briefing on previous threat

9 assessments. I mean, the briefing on the scheme would

10 have been a fairly technical thing.

11 Q. Yes, but when you were shown the draft letter for the

12 Minister to sign -- I think it eventually went out from

13 his Private Secretary -- were you given the background

14 to it?

15 A. I don't recall. I mean, I think what I got was what

16 went to the Minister and it was copied to me and

17 obviously I read it and took note, but I don't think

18 I went back over the rest of the history of it.

19 Q. So as far as you can recall, you didn't seek to find out

20 the background to it yourself?

21 A. No.

22 Q. No. Looking back to paragraph 4 of your statement,

23 please, RNI-841-332 (displayed), at the top of the page,

24 you indicate that you don't think you would have seen

25 either the pamphlet or the threat note which had

 

 

59


1 originally prompted all of this. Why would you not have

2 been shown those, please?

3 A. Well, because the normal process is -- would be for that

4 correspondence to be together -- the original

5 correspondence to be in what we call the Minister's case

6 file. So it was an actual file that came with the

7 Minister's case.

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. And the people on the copy list would simply get the

10 submission to the Minister and the draft reply.

11 Q. Yes. Now, you also tell us in paragraph 4, which we

12 have on the screen, that neither you nor your staff were

13 in a position to second guess the police's advice, which

14 was based on intelligence held by them?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Was that your general approach then in dealing with KPPS

17 matters in your new incarnation, that the police were

18 the people who were the experts on those matters and you

19 had to rely on their judgments?

20 A. Well, I think that was the general approach as it was

21 given to me in the initial briefing. But actually what

22 that reflects, because it is written in 2007, is what

23 I came to believe as to how the scheme operated.

24 Q. So it wasn't your practice then to ask questions or to

25 challenge assessments that came through to you?

 

 

60


1 A. Well, I don't know on what basis you would do that

2 because the police -- as I say here, the police were the

3 agency that held all of the intelligence. And so that

4 was why we relied upon them to come back with an

5 assessment that we could depend upon.

6 Q. You see, the reason I asked you that was because your

7 predecessor, Christine Collins, who dealt with the

8 earlier threat assessment, said that she believed she

9 had challenged that assessment, had gone back and asked

10 questions, had a discussion about it. But that wasn't

11 something you were prompted to do on this occasion?

12 A. Not on this occasion, and I think -- I would think

13 virtually never, unless you had something which you had

14 seen or heard somewhere else and you just wanted to

15 verify that the police had taken that into account.

16 But, I mean, generally I would say no.

17 Q. So in general, you were relying on them as the experts

18 to produce an objective assessment of an individual's

19 position?

20 A. That's correct.

21 Q. Now, do you think that willingness to rely upon them

22 would have been somewhat diminished had you known that

23 senior Special Branch officers regarded the subject of

24 this assessment as a terrorist?

25 A. I think probably not.

 

 

61


1 Q. Why do you say that, please?

2 A. Well, I mean, what we were asking them for was a threat

3 assessment on an individual, and they came back with the

4 threat assessment.

5 In subsequent years, when the scheme -- I have to

6 tell you just as a bit of background, when I came to

7 Police Division, the Secretary of State thought the

8 scheme was on its way out because we had got the

9 Good Friday Agreement, things were moving on, peace was

10 coming and we could leave it behind.

11 And I am afraid I didn't quite achieve that. In

12 fact, the scheme grew quite considerably in the coming

13 years. But in subsequent years there were people who

14 clearly were protected under the scheme, who had some

15 dubious backgrounds -- let us put it that way -- whom we

16 knew at least had been involved and probably were not

17 involved because they had turned to politics.

18 I don't think it would have made a difference had

19 they told us then or in the future that someone was

20 a member or was active.

21 Q. But as I understand it, what you are now talking about

22 is the NIO's position?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And whether there was a policy reason or a policy at

25 this stage, in September 1998, to exclude those with

 

 

62


1 a terrorist background or who had committed terrorist

2 offences from protection. I wasn't asking you about

3 that, although I'm going to. I was asking you about the

4 police and their assessment, which is a very different

5 matter.

6 What I was asking you is this: if you had known the

7 view that I have expressed to you -- it has been

8 expressed in evidence to this Inquiry -- would you have

9 been so content to rely upon the police as a source of

10 an objective assessment of this particular individual,

11 Rosemary Nelson?

12 A. I'm not sure I quite understand your question, but can

13 I -- sorry, could you just say that again to me?

14 Q. I explained to you earlier that senior Special Branch

15 officers have told this Inquiry that they regarded

16 Rosemary Nelson as a terrorist in one case, and as

17 somebody who was committing criminal offences in

18 another. You told us that you did not know that, you

19 were not aware of that?

20 A. Hm-mm.

21 Q. You also told us that you were in general content to

22 rely upon the police for their objective assessment of

23 someone's safety.

24 What I'm asking you is this: had you been aware of

25 that information, would you have been so prepared to

 

 

63


1 rely upon the police for their objective assessment of

2 this individual's safety?

3 A. I don't see really how the fact that -- if the police

4 knew that, how that would affect their assessment. I

5 think --

6 Q. You do not think it would have had any affect at all?

7 A. I think the assessment stands as to whether there is

8 a threat and whether there is a risk to her safety.

9 Q. You think their approach to the matter would have been

10 the same, do you, whether she was, they believed, an

11 entirely respectable lawyer going about her business on

12 the one hand, or an active terrorist on the other? You

13 think the approach would be the same?

14 A. I think it would, and the reason I say that is because

15 of some of the people who were subsequently brought into

16 the scheme.

17 Q. So far as that is concerned and the NIO's policy, as

18 I understood it, what you were saying was that at some

19 stage, so far as the NIO was concerned, the scheme was

20 extended to include those who, as you put it, had

21 a dubious background. Is that correct?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. At this point in September 1998 was there a policy --

24 and I'm quoting now from the evidence yesterday:

25 "Not to protect people who had committed or were

 

 

64


1 committing terrorist offences"?

2 A. I'm not aware that there was a policy not to protect

3 people. The scheme -- the difficulty with the scheme is

4 it is discretionary, it is not statutory. So there were

5 always -- I mean, I think we always wrestled with it to

6 some extent, and that's why probably there were so many

7 judicial reviews in subsequent years. But the scheme

8 itself was really quite focused and had a list of people

9 and occupations that were able to access the scheme.

10 The fact of the matter is, I think, it would have

11 been extremely unlikely for any -- anyone with

12 a terrorist background to ever apply for the scheme in

13 those days.

14 Q. So just dealing with the first point, the point I put to

15 you about whether or not there was a policy, you say you

16 were not aware that there was a policy not to protect

17 people of that kind?

18 A. Well, in that the scheme was to protect people from

19 terrorist attack.

20 Q. Indeed.

21 A. I mean, it would seem strange to actually protect the

22 terrorists, if you like. But the scheme was drawn up in

23 such a way that the occupational criteria was really

24 quite strict, and I think that was -- it is answering it

25 in a different way. I don't think there was a policy to

 

 

65


1 exclude, but I think the criteria was very strict.

2 Q. And that those sorts of individuals, you say, would not

3 have met the criteria?

4 A. I would have thought probably not.

5 Q. And that's not because of the question of threat,

6 presumably; that's because of their jobs, their roles

7 within Northern Ireland society?

8 A. Yes, I don't think you could say they were contributing

9 to the democratic framework or whatever.

10 Q. Yes. Can I just ask you a question about some further

11 comments you make about the scheme in paragraph 7?

12 Here you deal with various levels of threat: 1, 2

13 and 3. And the specific questions I wanted to ask you

14 are as follows: are these definitions taken from the

15 scheme literature and guidance?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. They are. And does it follow, therefore, that in

18 level 3, the relevant adjective there is "significant"?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. And not "specific"?

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. And as far as you are aware, that was the definition at

23 the time we are considering, was it, in September 1998?

24 A. Can you just give me one second? (Pause)

25 Yes, I'm fairly sure that's the case.

 

 

66


1 Q. Thank you. Now, what I would like to move on to now,

2 please, briefly, is your involvement, such as it was, in

3 the proximity talks. You tell us at RNI-841-329

4 (displayed) in paragraph 7, in relation to the Drumcree

5 talks:

6 "I did not have any direct policy involvement in

7 these matters and I did not attend the proximity talks

8 in 1998."

9 Can I ask you, please, in relation to your time as

10 Principal Private Secretary presumably you were aware

11 of, indeed you attended meetings with, the Residents

12 Coalition?

13 A. Yes. Could I just say that I noticed in his statement

14 that John McKervill thought I did attend the proximity

15 talks, but I'm quite sure that I didn't. And I think if

16 you look at all the minutes of the talks, you will see

17 that.

18 Yes, I went to a meeting in the Garvaghy Road

19 community centre with the Secretary of State, the

20 Minister and John Steele in May/June of 1997 and

21 I also -- when I was Principal Private Secretary, there

22 was a meeting of the Garvaghy Road residents in, I

23 think, Stormont Castle rather than the Parliament

24 buildings in January of 1997, though my colleague, G116,

25 minuted that. So --

 

 

67


1 I also attended a meeting of LOL number 1 with the

2 Secretary of State --

3 Q. For the transcript, sorry, can you give the full words

4 of --

5 A. The Loyal Orange Lodge number 1, which is the Portadown

6 district -- in, I think it was July of that year. It

7 was late in the evening, but I don't remember the date.

8 So, yes, I have attended some meetings.

9 Q. And so far as the following year is concerned, 1998, we

10 saw right at the beginning in fact a letter to you from

11 the Prime Minister's Private Secretary about Drumcree in

12 1998. And as you know, in the file we also have advice

13 from you to him in June that year about the situation,

14 and you expressed the view there that Drumcree may well

15 test the resilience of the security forces and the

16 Government.

17 Is it right that there was a concern in 1998 that

18 there might well be a repetition of the violence of

19 previous years?

20 A. Yes, absolutely there was and there was also -- linked

21 to Drumcree, there was a situation in the Lower

22 Ormeau Road in Belfast, which had a sort of knock-on

23 effect, one to the other.

24 In fact, if you go -- if you happen to be on the

25 Ormeau Road today or next week, you will still see

 

 

68


1 a mural on the wall which links the two, with Mo Mowlam

2 on it, saying something like "Stand off Drumcree. Buy

3 off Lower Ormeau", or something to that ...

4 Q. Yes. We know that you also had some involvement in an

5 issue that arose in relation to the question of

6 protection for the two councillors?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And again, I want to deal with this very briefly. Can

9 I get you to look at your involvement at RNI-305-243

10 (displayed). I say your involvement; this is your memo

11 to Stephen Leach, who was very much in the lead on this,

12 was he not?

13 A. He was, yes.

14 Q. Thank you. And the Inquiry has heard a good deal of

15 evidence about this, but essentially the question had

16 arisen as to whether protection could be afforded to

17 these individuals within the scheme, and you express

18 your view in the last sentence of the first paragraph:

19 "I remain of the view that we should not attempt to

20 act in such a way as might damage or undermine the

21 integrity of the scheme simply by including them when

22 they do not meet the criteria for entry."

23 Is that, in summary, your position and did it remain

24 your position over the next weeks as the issue worked

25 its way out?

 

 

69


1 A. Yes, it was indeed, and having moved from one post to

2 another, you can see that I have embraced the new

3 position. But actually, you know, it was done on

4 advice, but it was good advice because, because it was

5 a discretionary scheme, it was very difficult not to set

6 precedents.

7 Q. Again, in the end, as we know, a solution was found by

8 those who were rather more concerned with the political

9 side of things than you were in your new position,

10 whereby protection outside the scheme on a special basis

11 was provided. Was that, as far as you were concerned,

12 a matter of political expediency?

13 A. Well, I saw it as -- I think I -- you know, I could see

14 it in a much broader context having been where I had

15 been for the past two years and understanding the whole

16 Drumcree issue.

17 So, I mean, I could see it from Stephen Leach's

18 point of view that here we have proximity talks, they

19 are very important, we need to keep them going or get

20 them going again and this might be a confidence-building

21 measure, if you like to call it that, to facilitate

22 that -- the talks starting again.

23 Q. Now, just so far as your own view of the matter was

24 concerned, you are aware that one of the issues here was

25 the question of whether Rosemary Nelson should have been

 

 

70


1 covered in the course of all of this. And the only

2 question I wanted to ask you, because of your earlier

3 job and the knowledge you had acquired there about her

4 and the issues surrounding her, is whether you would

5 agree with the suggestion which was made by Mr McCusker

6 in his evidence, that:

7 "Common sense would have dictated that due to their

8 public profiles, Mac Cionnaith and Rosemary Nelson were

9 both under threat and this would have been the view of

10 the man in the street"?

11 A. I mean, I would have to say that Breandan Mac Cionnaith

12 was the -- he was the primary driving force in the GRRC

13 and he was the person who was normally out front talking

14 to the press and leading in discussions, as I understood

15 it. And if anyone -- because of that profile, if anyone

16 was a target, then he would be.

17 Now, when we come to this -- sorry, is that as far

18 as you want me to go at that point?

19 Q. It is entirely up to you. You don't have anything else

20 to add?

21 A. Well, I thought you were going to go on to say why did

22 we not include Rosemary Nelson in this.

23 Q. It sounds like a good question. What's the answer?

24 A. I will say I think the answer to that is that the two

25 people who were nominated by the committee for this

 

 

71


1 particular action, ie to be brought on to the scheme,

2 were Councillors Mac Cionnaith and Duffy, and that's

3 what we took -- that's how we took it forward. And

4 secondly, at that point Rosemary Nelson was not under

5 a significant threat.

6 Q. Now, so far as the question of discretion in the scheme

7 is concerned, at paragraph 9, RNI-841-333 (displayed),

8 you say in the last sentence:

9 "In exceptional cases it would be a decision for

10 ministers whether protection should be granted."

11 As I understand it, what you are talking about there

12 is protection within the scheme. Is that right?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And were there occasions in your experience of Police

15 Division where that discretion was exercised?

16 A. Well, the discretion -- yes, I think there were cases.

17 Q. In other words, individuals who didn't meet the relevant

18 threat criteria, but who nevertheless received

19 protection within the scheme?

20 A. Sorry, they would receive protection outwith the scheme.

21 Q. Outwith the scheme?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. You see, what you are saying here is something rather

24 different:

25 "Even if they did not meet the threat criteria,

 

 

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1 there could be an element of discretion. In exceptional

2 cases, it would be a decision for ministers whether

3 protection should be granted."

4 I assumed because of the drafting of that paragraph

5 you meant protection within the scheme.

6 A. What I was trying to say there in that paragraph was

7 that there were people who came to us with an

8 application for protection and they may have been

9 referred to us by the police, for instance, and because

10 of the -- at that time because the scheme was tightly --

11 because of the occupation criteria, it was unusual that

12 they would be refused on that basis and because most

13 people who came to us were under threat, so they would

14 have met the criteria.

15 But what I'm saying is that even if they didn't meet

16 the threat criteria, there were exceptional cases where

17 a decision would be for ministers to take.

18 Q. Yes. To protect them within the scheme?

19 A. If they didn't meet the threat scheme, it would usually

20 have been outwith the scheme.

21 Q. So you are saying there were other examples, were there,

22 in your experience, other than the Mac Cionnaith and

23 Joe Duffy cases, where protection was afforded outwith

24 the scheme?

25 A. I can't think of any at the moment, but I think there

 

 

73


1 were, yes.

2 Q. Now, as I am sure you know, your predecessor in post,

3 Christine Collins, told the Inquiry that had

4 Rosemary Nelson applied for protection under the scheme,

5 in her opinion she would have been granted it under the

6 exercise of this discretion, even if she had not met the

7 relevant threat criteria. What is your view of that,

8 please?

9 A. Well, at that time she wouldn't have either met the

10 occupation criteria or the threat criteria.

11 Q. So is the answer no?

12 A. I think it is unlikely, yes.

13 Q. I would like to ask you just a few questions, please,

14 about the period immediately following Rosemary Nelson's

15 murder. The first document I would like you to look at,

16 please, is at RNI-107-030.500.pdf">RNI-107-030.500 (displayed). This is

17 a memo from Mr Leach. On the third page of it there is

18 a very long list of copyees of which you are one, and it

19 says on that page, RNI-107-030.502 (displayed):

20 "Mr Lindsay OR".

21 Does that mean "on return"?

22 A. Yes, it does. I was actually --

23 Q. You were on leave at this time?

24 A. Sick leave.

25 Q. Thank you. So far as this copy is concerned, the

 

 

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1 question has been raised as to the handwritten

2 annotation at the end of the first paragraph. Do you

3 see somebody has put, following the comment that the FBI

4 is going to be invited to assist the process and that

5 that has been well received, somebody has put in:

6 "But not by all."

7 Is that your annotation?

8 A. No, it is not.

9 Q. Thank you. Now, I would like to ask you another

10 handwriting question, please, which has been raised with

11 me and it is at RNI-107-121 (displayed). This is

12 a memorandum from Mr Leach dated 30 March 1999, after

13 the murder, before a meeting with the GRRC. You are one

14 of the copyees, you see there. And someone has written

15 on the front page of the memorandum. Again, can I ask

16 you, is this your handwriting?

17 A. No, it is not.

18 Q. Do you recognise the handwriting?

19 A. No, I don't actually.

20 Q. Thank you. Now, one final matter and that's in relation

21 to the Ombudsman's investigation of the CAJ complaint

22 about the handling of the threat material in August 1998

23 that we looked at together just a little while ago,

24 because you had an involvement, did you not, in advising

25 ministers, advising Adam Ingram, I think it was, about

 

 

75


1 various stages of the Ombudsman's investigation? Is

2 that correct?

3 A. That's right, yes.

4 Q. I would just like to look at some of your notes, please,

5 the first from December 2001, RNI-107-237.505

6 (displayed) from you at the top, 14 December 2001. It

7 is about this complaint and the Ombudsman's report, and

8 following the introduction, if we turn over to

9 RNI-107-237.506, at paragraph 3 (displayed), in dealing

10 with various points that had been made -- you see in

11 paragraph 2 -- one of the things you say is:

12 "In order to ensure that such material is handled

13 promptly, we have introduced revised handling

14 arrangements ..."

15 Et cetera. As far as one can tell from later

16 material, what actually happened was that a specialised

17 unit was set up, I think within Police Division, to deal

18 with matters of this kind. Is that correct?

19 A. No, what we were referring to there is that it was

20 really an administrative decision that we took that in

21 future, if any -- if there was any correspondence

22 relating to a threat to anyone, then it would go to the

23 KPP unit.

24 Q. And was that decision taken as a result of this case,

25 the Rosemary Nelson case?

 

 

76

 

1 A. I think the answer to that is probably no because part

2 of the reason at least was that the people who had been

3 dealing with complaints had moved to other positions and

4 some of them had taken the responsibility for

5 Rosemary Nelson matters with them. But I think we

6 realised at that time that if any further complaints

7 came in, that they really should go to the KPPS, who

8 were the people who dealt with them day in and day out,

9 and it made sense to do that.

10 Q. Can you remember when these changed arrangements were

11 implemented?

12 A. Just looking at the papers, it was probably in late

13 1999/early 2000, I think.

14 Q. Was the Rosemary Nelson case at least one of the

15 considerations that led to the changes?

16 A. Yes. I mean, I think it was.

17 Q. And you were being criticised for the delay in dealing

18 with the matter and for failing to pass on -- that was

19 the allegation -- one of the documents. So presumably

20 what you were doing was trying to learn the lessons of

21 those criticisms and make appropriate changes,

22 wasn't it?

23 A. I think that's fair comment.

24 Q. Yes. Now, the reason I suggested to you that a unit had

25 been set up is because of a later piece of advice that

 

 

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1 you gave on the same topic, which begins at

2 RNI-107-237.513 (displayed).

3 Again, you can see it is written by you to the

4 Secretary of State, and at this point, you see at the

5 bottom of the page, the Ombudsman's report was said to

6 be on the point of release. On page RNI-107-237.517

7 (displayed) are the lines to take for the Secretary of

8 State, and under the heading "Undue delay at NIO in

9 handling CAJ documents" you set out the following steps,

10 which had obviously been taken:

11 "With a view to preventing a similar timescale

12 occurring again:

13 "(a) Highlight to relevant staff the importance of

14 giving special promptness to such correspondence;

15 "(b) In addition, we have centralised the handling

16 of threat material passed to the NIO to a small unit

17 focused on protective matters."

18 Now, that suggests that a change had been made and

19 there was a small unit focusing on these matters. Is

20 that not right?

21 A. Yes. And that was the KPP unit.

22 Q. Right. So I see, your point is not that there was a new

23 unit, but that all these matters were to be directed to

24 an existing unit, the KPPS unit?

25 A. Correct.

 

 

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1 Q. Thank you. Now, moving over to RNI-107-237.518

2 (displayed) in relation to the correspondence on whether

3 or not the material had been passed over, the line to

4 take deals with the letter, the letter we talked about

5 earlier, which went out from Adam Ingram's Private

6 Secretary, and the comment made by the Ombudsman that

7 this had unintentionally misled the CAJ as to what

8 material had been passed on. An expression of regret

9 there.

10 Now, the final document in this series I want to

11 show you briefly is at RNI-107-294 (displayed),

12 5 December that year. This is direct from you to the

13 Ombudsman's office and, as I understand it, this is the

14 same point you are making, is it not? You are drawing

15 to the Ombudsman's attention the point that:

16 "The [NIO] now has a system in place whereby all

17 such threat correspondence is dealt with by a single

18 unit dealing with protective issues"?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. Thank you. Were there any other aspects of the NIO's

21 dealing with Rosemary Nelson before her murder that

22 caused you, as Head of Police Division, to institute

23 reviews or changes after her murder?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Thank you. Those are all the questions I have for you,

 

 

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1 Mr Lindsay, but as I am sure you know, if we haven't

2 covered something but you'd like to draw something to

3 the attention of the Tribunal, this is your opportunity.

4 A. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to be here today.

5 The only thing I would perhaps like to say is that

6 in the period after Mrs Nelson's death I often wondered

7 what happened to the letter that we sent to CAJ, and

8 thanks to the Inquiry we now know that -- what the

9 reaction to it was.

10 The reaction was that it was absurd and it was

11 ludicrous, and it seemed to have been dismissed very

12 quickly. And all I would like to say is that the offer

13 that was made in the letter to come and talk to -- or

14 get in contact with the KPPS was made in a positive way

15 and -- but was never taken up.

16 Q. Thank you.

17 A. Thank you.

18 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

19 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Just one point, if I may. We have

20 a rare opportunity with you moving in to the Police

21 Division and possibly being in a position to audit or

22 gain a view of what had happened in relation to

23 Rosemary Nelson prior to your taking up post there.

24 We have heard from Simon Rogers that on receipt of

25 the letter from the CAJ and the threat letter that he

 

 

80


1 had communicated with the RUC and, as a consequence of

2 correspondence received back, was concerned that the

3 issue of the threat against Rosemary Nelson had been

4 taken down the complaints path and that the issue of the

5 threat had not been looked at thoroughly. And the point

6 I just want to seek your views on really is about NIO

7 intervention in exceptional cases, because we have heard

8 a lot about the constitutional position, which I am

9 aware of, of the operational position of policing, but

10 of course we have heard evidence also that when

11 occasions arose for NIO intervention, in fact that

12 intervention did take place: The Cumaraswamy issue,

13 what was said or not said by the Chief Constable, the

14 ICPC incident with Miss McNally. There was

15 intervention. So it could happen if they chose to

16 do so.

17 And Mr Rogers, in not seeking the satisfaction that

18 he would have wished at his grade, would that have been

19 a matter that you would have taken up with a more senior

20 position in the RUC had it occurred on your watch?

21 A. I mean, I think the relationship that we had with the

22 RUC was -- whether it was before or after or during my

23 time, was sufficiently robust that we could have done

24 what you are suggesting, and we have, as you say. You

25 have given examples of where that has happened.

 

 

81


1 In relation to this specific that you mention, I'm

2 not sure that I'm sufficiently au fait with it that I

3 could answer you directly on it. I don't think, I have

4 to say, that my predecessor would have shied away from

5 talking to the police on any issue. Is that --

6 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Did you ever get a sense that this

7 constitutional position got in the way of the NIO

8 intervening if it was felt -- if it was felt -- that the

9 police response was perhaps not as adequate as it should

10 have been?

11 A. Well, I think that the position of operational

12 independence is very important and that's immutable, I

13 think. But in Northern Ireland, policing is so wrapped

14 up with public affairs and politics that there is bound

15 to be a -- you know, quite a considerable crossover in

16 a lot of areas. And I haven't encountered any reticence

17 on the part of the Northern Ireland Office to talk to

18 the police where they felt it was necessary.

19 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: If not officially, then perhaps there

20 could be unofficial ways in which that could be achieved

21 if the situation arose?

22 A. I was thinking mostly officially. I mean, that would

23 have been my --

24 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So you feel that there was latitude for

25 an official intervention if such situations ever arose?

 

 

82


1 A. Well, it is quite a hypothetical situation. I just

2 think that our relationship with the police was such

3 that we could have approached them and said, "We think

4 there is a problem here", and if they agreed, that was

5 fine and if they didn't agree, then we could discuss it.

6 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Thank you very much indeed.

7 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN

8 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Could I just ask you about the

9 threat assessment, in particular the one that was live

10 when you took over Police Division?

11 How clear were you about the exact process that the

12 police went through in providing that very brief

13 assessment that they did?

14 A. I think I would have been probably less clear at that

15 point. I mean, I knew that, for instance, the

16 assessment was put together in Security Branch and

17 relied on information from Special Branch Headquarters

18 and local Special Branch as well, and that would have

19 probably been the extent of my knowledge.

20 Subsequently, and particularly during the review of

21 the KPPS then, you know, we had representatives from

22 Security Branch on the group and so I would have learned

23 a lot more about it at that point.

24 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Did you realise that what you were

25 being told was simply that they had no record of

 

 

83


1 a specific threat, full stop?

2 A. Yes.

3 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: You knew that?

4 A. Yes.

5 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: And that they would not have taken

6 into account the great wash of correspondence there had

7 been expression concern about her safety?

8 A. I took it to mean that there was no intelligence that

9 they had of a specific threat against this individual.

10 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I see. Thank you.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Lindsay, we are grateful for your coming

12 here to give evidence.

13 MR BEER: Sir, I apologise.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Beer?

15 MR BEER: I was waiting for my moment. We sent across

16 a couple of questions by messenger arising out of one

17 particular answer that Mr Lindsay gave.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Are you familiar with this?

19 MR PHILLIPS: Yes.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: Right, we will rise for five minutes.

21 MR BEER: Sir, we have printed them out in case there is

22 a dispute. One would hope there won't be.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Do you have them yet? No. Well, we will

24 rise for five minutes and see if we can sort it out.

25 If, after five minutes, it hasn't been sorted out, we

 

 

84


1 will have to come back at 2 o'clock, Mr Beer.

2 MR BEER: Thank you, sir.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Sorry about that. I was hoping to say thank

4 you and goodbye.

5 (12.58 pm)

6 (Short adjournment)

7 (1.07 pm)

8 Further questions by MR PHILLIPS

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes?

10 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, I have seen the questions which have now

11 been written out for me by Mr Beer, who represents the

12 NIO. We don't in general receive questions,

13 unsurprisingly, before witnesses give evidence, from

14 their own representatives. But on this occasion, I have

15 agreed to ask these questions put by the witness's own

16 counsel.

17 They are about, Mr Lindsay, the discussion we had

18 earlier about the question of whether those with

19 terrorist backgrounds or convictions, whether there was

20 a policy or not to admit them to the scheme, and you and

21 I discussed that in some detail.

22 The questions are as follows: is it the case that

23 there were times when you received applications to KPPS

24 from individuals that would have known terrorist

25 convictions or be believed to be terrorists?

 

 

85


1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Thank you.

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. Nevertheless, when you asked for a threat assessment

5 from the police, did the threat assessment ever come

6 back in such a case saying, "We are not saying whether

7 the person is at risk because he is known by us to be

8 a terrorist"?

9 A. It would have come back and said, "This is the level of

10 risk".

11 Q. In other words, they produced an assessment as in all

12 other cases?

13 A. They did. Sorry, can I just say, just to emphasise the

14 point, this was the NIO scheme, not the RUC scheme.

15 And -- so that's why there was an element of discretion

16 for us in it. For instance, if someone was involved in

17 a Loyalist feud, then -- and they were one of the main

18 protagonists in that feud, I don't think it would be

19 good stewardship of public money to protect them

20 because they were in -- involved at that point in time

21 in a feud.

22 Q. Indeed. But the police's business was limited to

23 assessing whether or not they were under threat?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. The question of whether or not an individual of that

 

 

86


1 kind should be protected was a matter for the NIO at the

2 next stage?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. So can I ask you, finally: is it the case that you would

5 have received threat assessments from the police about

6 individuals that you knew had terrorist links and/or

7 were believed to be terrorists, but the assessment in

8 such cases still informed you that the person was at

9 threat level 1, 2 or 3 and, therefore, met the threat

10 criteria?

11 A. That's exactly as we would have received it and then we

12 would have taken the decision thereafter.

13 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you very much.

14 Further questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

15 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I ask one supplementary question

16 then, if I may? You received applications from people

17 who were known terrorists. In your knowledge, were any

18 of those known terrorists who had applied ever granted

19 KPPS?

20 A. To my knowledge, yes, on the basis that they had moved

21 to the political side of things, if you like.

22 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So they were no longer active

23 terrorists. Is that ...?

24 A. They were perhaps no longer as active as they were, if I

25 could put it that way. I mean, without giving you a

 

 

87


1 specific example it is difficult to -- it is difficult

2 to answer your question, but certainly people who were

3 known to have had terrorist affiliations were protected

4 under the scheme.

5 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Thank you very much indeed.

6 Questions by THE CHAIRMAN

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Were these cases all after Rosemary Nelson's

8 murder that you are speaking of at the moment?

9 A. They were certainly -- they certainly arose in that

10 period from the beginning of 1999 forward because

11 that's -- sorry, maybe I can correct myself. No, I

12 think that's the period. Probably from the beginning --

13 THE CHAIRMAN: From the beginning of 1999 forward?

14 A. Yes, because that's when a lot of the political -- most

15 people who formerly had paramilitary associations and

16 turned over to politics would have been applying for the

17 scheme.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: You said in answer to Sir Anthony that you

19 received a threat level back 1, 2, 3 or 4 or whatever.

20 Were these threat levels actually on the threat

21 assessment, level 1, level 2, level 3, level 4?

22 A. Yes.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: They were, were they?

24 A. Yes.

25 THE CHAIRMAN: In the case of Rosemary Nelson there was no

 

 

88


1 level put, was there? It was just "no specific threat".

2 What's the explanation for that?

3 A. Perhaps I could say that -- I think after the review,

4 which effectively ended in June 1999, I think at some

5 point after that the police started putting level 1, 2

6 and 3 on it.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: I see.

8 A. Prior to that they were putting "specific",

9 "significant", and so on. But it meant the same thing.

10 Further questions by MR PHILLIPS

11 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, can I just intervene because I think we

12 now really are in danger of getting lost?

13 The threat assessments which came in to the NIO in

14 relation to Rosemary Nelson were not from

15 Security Branch, were they, they came from

16 Command Secretariat?

17 A. They invariably came from Security Branch.

18 Q. We will have to look at them then. The Security Branch

19 assessments in our files all have a number on them:

20 level 1, 2 and 3. Have you recently had cause to

21 consider the documents that actually came in to the NIO

22 from Command Secretariat?

23 A. Sorry, have I ...?

24 Q. Have you looked at the Command Secretariat documents

25 that came to the NIO?

 

 

89


1 A. If you can refer me to them?

2 Q. Yes. RNI-106-199 is the one we are talking about first

3 of all (displayed). Do you have that?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. 1 April 1998. This is the document that came back to

6 the NIO in response to the original Simon Rogers thing,

7 and it is not from Security Branch, is it?

8 A. No, it is not.

9 Q. No. And if we could look next, please, at the one at

10 the beginning of September, for which I hope I will very

11 shortly have a reference, which came in again from

12 Command Secretariat. (Pause)

13 Sir, we have seen this document about 4,000 times.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

15 MR PHILLIPS: It came in on 3 September 1998. It came from

16 Command Secretariat. It did not come from

17 Security Branch. And it came from Command Secretariat,

18 P136, to the NIO.

19 MR BEER: Try RNI-101-340 (displayed).

20 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you.

21 MR BEER: Sorry, RNI-101-346.

22 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you (displayed). (Pause)

23 Sir, I wasn't expecting, I am afraid, this confusion

24 to enter into the evidence.

25 MR BEER: I will try one last time: RNI-101-348 (displayed).

 

 

90


1 MR PHILLIPS: Right, that's the letter. It doesn't come

2 from Security Branch, does it?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. Right.

5 A. But that is because it was dealt with in

6 a different way.

7 Q. Yes, exactly. So the general run of assessments done

8 for KPPS were by Security Branch, D Branch, were they

9 not? Is that correct?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. And those all contained a numbered grading: 1, 2 and 3

12 or, as appropriate, 4, et cetera, et cetera?

13 A. Or they said that there is a serious threat to the

14 subject or a significant threat to the subject.

15 Q. Yes, they have used the terminology --

16 A. But I would have just said the number or "serious" or

17 "significant".

18 Q. And the issue in the cases of the councillors was that

19 the Security Branch assessments were no higher than 4,

20 which led to all the difficulties. Is that correct?

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. But these, as you say, were not produced in the same

23 way; they were produced to the NIO, not by

24 Security Branch but by Command Secretariat?

25 A. No, I'm not saying they weren't produced in the same

 

 

91


1 way; I am saying that -- well, you are saying that they

2 came from Command Secretariat.

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. If the KPP unit were doing it, it would come direct from

5 Security Branch.

6 Q. Exactly.

7 A. But my understanding is that these would have come from

8 Security Branch to Command Secretariat.

9 Q. But that's not something of which you have direct

10 knowledge, is it?

11 A. No.

12 MR PHILLIPS: No. Thank you very much.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, it is thank you and goodbye now and it

14 will be 20 past two we resume.

15 (1.19 pm)

16 (The short adjournment)

17 (2.20 pm)

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Take the oath, please.

19 MR NICK PERRY (sworn)

20 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

22 MR PHILLIPS: Mr Perry, can I give the Tribunal your full

23 name, please?

24 A. Yes, Nicholas Proctor Perry.

25 Q. I think it is right that you have prepared two witness

 

 

92


1 statements for the Inquiry. Is that correct?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. Can I ask you to look at the first one, RNI-841-031

4 (displayed), and do we see your signature on RNI-841-036

5 (displayed) and the date of 25 March last year?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And then the second statement, RNI-847-004 (displayed),

8 and your signature on RNI-847-020 (displayed) and the

9 date, I think, of 12 November this year?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Thank you very much. I would like to start by asking

12 you just a few questions about your career, please.

13 So far as the Inquiry is concerned, you had two

14 posts during the years with which the Inquiry is

15 particularly concerned: First, the Head of the Security

16 Policy and Operations Division, which I think is

17 sometimes referred to as SPOD or possibly SPOB?

18 A. SPOB is how we refer to it.

19 Q. Thank you. You say from 1998 to 2000 -- this is

20 paragraph 1 -- you were the Principal Private Secretary

21 to the Secretary of State. Can you confirm, please, was

22 that the post you took up in September of that year,

23 1998?

24 A. Yes, the very end of August, I think.

25 Q. Yes. And you took over from the last witness,

 

 

93


1 Mr Lindsay?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. Thank you. Now, as I understand it, from the dates you

4 have given in your statement it follows, doesn't it,

5 from August/September 1998, that you would have been

6 working alongside and for Mo Mowlam?

7 A. That's right.

8 Q. Now, we have heard a great deal in the evidence recently

9 about what it was like to work for her. Just to

10 summarise all that evidence, it sounds as though she was

11 a person who liked to discuss issues rather than read

12 about them. Is that fair?

13 A. Yes, certainly.

14 Q. Were you, like Mr Lindsay, often used by her as

15 a sounding board?

16 A. Quite frequently.

17 Q. So that issues would be discussed by her with you to

18 take your view on a particular point as it came up?

19 A. Yes, although I think it is probably also fair to say

20 that she was closer to Ken than she was to me.

21 Q. We have also heard about her likes and dislikes within

22 her officials. So are you, like Mr Watkins, putting

23 yourself in the slightly less favoured category?

24 A. Yes, I think a little further up the scale than David,

25 probably.

 

 

94


1 Q. Right, yes. But not in the sunny part of the street

2 occupied by John Steele and Mr Lindsay?

3 A. Not quite as burningly hot as that.

4 Q. No. Thank you very much. Can I ask you about your

5 contact with other individuals? Were you in regular

6 contact in your private secretary's position with the

7 Security Minister, Adam Ingram?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. You were. Was that contact rather less regular than

10 your contact with your boss, the Secretary of State?

11 A. Considerably less.

12 Q. Yes. Would it be once a week or less than that?

13 A. Probably more frequently than that.

14 Q. Yes. But as far as the Secretary of State is concerned,

15 as I understand it, you would have been the Travel

16 Private Secretary. Is that correct?

17 A. That's right.

18 Q. So you would have gone really wherever she went and

19 attended meetings with her?

20 A. Yes, pretty well.

21 Q. Thank you. Now, I would like to pick up a particular

22 part of your second statement, please, at this stage.

23 We will come back to it, but it relates to security

24 policy meetings and this is in your second statement at

25 RNI-847-016, paragraph 39 (displayed). Because during

 

 

95


1 the course of your statement you address various

2 documents, which have been put to you and from this

3 paragraph onwards, you deal with the minutes of meetings

4 of that kind. The SPMs as I think they were called?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Thank you. What you say there in the second

7 sentence is:

8 "I should make the point that not all the people on

9 the distribution list for the minutes [I think that must

10 be] attended the meetings."

11 A. Yes, that's right.

12 Q. Was it your practice as Principal Private Secretary to

13 attend those meetings?

14 A. Yes, it was.

15 Q. Yes. Now, we have heard from Mr Lindsay his

16 recollection that he did not attend those meetings. Was

17 there some change which occurred on your taking up the

18 role in September 1998?

19 A. I don't think so. I think it was probably Ken's choice

20 not to attend. I think previous private secretaries

21 probably did.

22 Q. So that in that sense he was the exception rather than

23 the rule?

24 A. I think probably is.

25 Q. But you then, we can take it, can we, attended the

 

 

96


1 meetings in general during your period in that post?

2 A. Yes, as I had in my previous post.

3 Q. Exactly. So you had been an attendee as the Head of

4 SPOB, as you point out there, and you simply continued

5 in your new role?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Thank you very much. Now, just returning to the

8 substance of the matters you cover in your statement, I

9 would like to start with the day of Rosemary Nelson's

10 murder, 15 March 1999.

11 As I understand it, on that day the Secretary of

12 State was on her way to the United States of America.

13 Is that correct?

14 A. She was, although I should say I was on leave that week.

15 But she was on her way to the United States.

16 Q. Yes. And it seems as though she discovered about the

17 murder on her arrival in the United States?

18 A. I believe so.

19 Q. Yes. Now, you tell us, as you have just said, in your

20 second statement that you yourself were on leave at that

21 time and I would like to show you the relevant passage:

22 RNI-847-014, the top of the page, paragraph 32

23 (displayed). You say in the fifth line there:

24 "I remember the attack being on TV. I didn't get in

25 touch with the Secretary of State to discuss it."

 

 

97


1 Just to be absolutely clear about this, did you

2 speak to her before you returned from annual leave?

3 A. No, I was in France at the time. I think it may have

4 been 24 hours after the murder that I actually saw it on

5 French TV or possibly a newspaper that I had seen. And

6 until I arrived back in the United Kingdom, I had no

7 direct means of contact. I rang the office when I did.

8 Q. Can you now remember when you returned from your leave?

9 A. I can't. I think it was at the end of the week that

10 Rosemary Nelson was murdered.

11 Q. Yes. But presumably as soon as you heard the news, you

12 realised that this was a potentially significant event?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. In political terms, and potentially also for the

15 progress of the peace process itself?

16 A. Yes, certainly.

17 Q. Now, just to test that in terms of the dates, please,

18 could we look together at a memorandum that was

19 circulated on the day of the murder and that's at

20 RNI-107-013 (displayed)?

21 As I said, this is on 15 March. If we look at

22 RNI-107-020 (displayed), it has a very substantial

23 circulation list. Going back to the first page, can

24 I take it therefore that in relation to the material

25 that was generated at this point in the immediate

 

 

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1 aftermath of the murder, you first saw it on your return

2 to the office?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Thank you. Now, looking at the paragraph we have on the

5 screen, first of all, right at the top you will see that

6 things were obviously moving pretty fast in the sense

7 that Mr Leach was commenting on this memo that the

8 Chief Constable was moving towards the involvement of

9 a senior GB officer in the investigation. But the

10 paragraph I wanted to show you in particular was

11 paragraph 2, which begins with the expression:

12 "Rosemary Nelson's notoriety as a solicitor was down

13 to the fact that she had defended a number of high

14 profile Republicans, for example, Colin Duffy."

15 Now, you tell us in your evidence what you knew

16 about Rosemary Nelson before her murder. Was she, in

17 your view, notorious?

18 A. No, I would take that word to mean prominence.

19 Q. Yes, and in relation to your understanding of her

20 prominence, what were the reasons for her prominence at

21 the time of her death?

22 A. I think, as this paragraph suggests, her association

23 particularly with Colin Duffy was probably the

24 pre-eminent one. She was associated with the

25 Garvaghy Road residents, but I think probably the

 

 

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1 association with Duffy was the main one.

2 Q. Yes. Now, in your first witness statement in

3 paragraph 10 at RNI-841-023 (displayed), you say:

4 "[You] had no contact with Rosemary Nelson. [You]

5 knew of her only as a result of the complaints made by

6 Mr Cumaraswamy. I had also seen her on television and

7 knew she was a defence lawyer."

8 In making those remarks were you describing your

9 knowledge of her during your time at SPOB?

10 A. I think I was probably describing it at the time of

11 Mr Cumaraswamy's visit.

12 Q. Thank you. Because I notice that later in your

13 statement at RNI-841-035 (displayed), you return to the

14 topic. And here, when you were dealing with your time

15 as Principal Private Secretary, you are discussing the

16 question of complaints, and there you say in the fourth

17 line:

18 "Complaints and, in particular, Rosemary Nelson's

19 case in the immediate time prior to her death was

20 a significant political issue and something the

21 Secretary of State took a serious interest in."

22 That's your recollection of the position now, is it?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And so by the time of her murder, her case had become

25 a significant political issue. That's the first point.

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Now, in relation to the Secretary of State's serious

3 interest, was that something that you were made aware of

4 when you became her Principal Private Secretary?

5 A. It wasn't something that she and I discussed very much

6 or, indeed, at all, but -- certainly took a close

7 interest in the handling of the correspondence related

8 to Rosemary Nelson.

9 Q. Just to be clear, is that based on your time as

10 Principal Private Secretary from September or is it

11 something you were aware of before that?

12 A. I wasn't really aware of it before. On reading her

13 autobiography, or at least glancing through it, she does

14 refer to the fact that she knew Rosemary Nelson. It

15 really hadn't crossed my consciousness. And

16 I remembered in the immediate run in to the 1997

17 Drumcree parade, she and the Chief Constable had

18 a meeting about -- the point at which the

19 Chief Constable told her that the march was going to go

20 ahead down the Garvaghy Road, and Mo was clearly very

21 frustrated and upset by that. It wasn't an outcome she

22 had hoped would materialise and she referred at that

23 point to having made a promise to somebody on the

24 Garvaghy Road or connected with the residents that she

25 would give an advance warning on the decision. And in

 

 

101


1 retrospect, having read her autobiography and, I think,

2 John Steele's evidence to this Inquiry, I think Mo must

3 have been referring to Rosemary Nelson, but the name

4 wasn't mentioned.

5 Q. It sounds as though this was something you didn't know

6 at that stage in July 1997?

7 A. I didn't know then.

8 Q. Now, in terms of her serious interest in

9 Rosemary Nelson's case, can I take it, therefore, that

10 when you worked in her private office, that was

11 something that then became clear to you?

12 A. Yes, it did. But it wasn't something that was

13 immediately on the agenda at all.

14 Q. No. Can you remember how you became aware of her

15 particular interest in the case?

16 A. I think simply by the attention she devoted to some of

17 the correspondence relating to Rosemary Nelson. But I

18 should say that that correspondence was largely handled

19 by my deputy in Belfast, John McKervill, who dealt with

20 correspondence in Belfast.

21 Q. Do you have any recollection of having discussions with

22 Mo Mowlam about Rosemary Nelson?

23 A. No.

24 Q. Were you aware of what view Mo Mowlam held of

25 Rosemary Nelson?

 

 

102


1 A. No, not really. I mean, I think she -- my impression

2 was that she held her in high regard as a female

3 solicitor operating in quite a difficult field, but

4 nothing stronger than that.

5 Q. You mentioned a little while ago her autobiography, and

6 again it is something that various witnesses have been

7 asked to comment on, but there she says that on the one

8 hand she found her pushy and difficult -- those are the

9 two adjectives -- but also that she respected her and

10 quite liked her.

11 Now, was that an impression that you received at any

12 point --

13 A. I had the impression that she quite liked her. The

14 pushy point, I don't know, if she was aware of that.

15 Q. Did you have discussions about her after her murder?

16 A. Not at a personal level. It was a political and

17 a confidence in policing issue, but not the personal

18 impact it may have had on her.

19 Q. Now, as I understand it, the effect of your evidence in

20 the paragraphs we have looked at is that you regarded

21 her case as being a significant political issue before

22 her murder, but as something that became still more

23 significant after her death?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Is that correct?

 

 

103


1 A. That is correct.

2 Q. Now, can you just help to explain why you believe it

3 became still more significant after the murder?

4 A. Well, there were a number of reasons. Clearly there was

5 the human tragedy of Mrs Nelson's murder, but in

6 political terms it was the -- the crime encapsulated

7 a whole ring of issues about Nationalist confidence in

8 policing. That was the big issue there. There was also

9 a parallel issue about the handling of requests to

10 protect.

11 Q. Yes. But in fact, presumably based on what you knew of

12 Rosemary Nelson and about her case before her murder, it

13 must have been obvious to everybody that were she to be

14 murdered, those consequences would almost inevitably

15 flow?

16 A. Well, there are a range of individuals whose murder

17 would have precipitated all sorts of consequences.

18 Q. Indeed. But concentrating on her, it was obvious,

19 wasn't it, as Mr Watkins, I think, made clear in his

20 evidence, that if, given all the background you have

21 touched on, she was in fact murdered, the consequences

22 might be very serious indeed?

23 A. Certainly there would be damage.

24 Q. Yes. Let's look at some of the points which immediately

25 arose -- and I'm going to use the same memorandum we

 

 

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1 started with -- on the day of her murder -- because some

2 of them are conveniently summarised there.

3 If we look at then RNI-107-013 (displayed) and

4 starting in the paragraph we looked at just a little

5 while ago, the first point, at the end of this page, the

6 end of the second paragraph, is:

7 "Comparisons will be drawn between her murder and

8 that of Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane ten years ago."

9 And that was one of the points which was obvious,

10 wasn't it?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Now, moving on to paragraph 4 at RNI-107-014

13 (displayed), the report there that:

14 "There have been reports that the security forces

15 had swamped the area around her home prior to the

16 attack."

17 And there were, very shortly after her murder,

18 weren't there, allegations of security force

19 involvement, in short of collusion?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And that came as no surprise either, presumably?

22 A. No, it didn't.

23 Q. Now, the next point comes up in paragraph 5, where there

24 is a reference to Mr Cumaraswamy and his report in

25 relation to her. And again, presumably it was obvious

 

 

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1 that people would bring him up as one of the prominent

2 individuals who has raised concerns about her safety?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And then turning on to paragraphs 10 and 11 at

5 RNI-107-515 (displayed) and over the page at RNI-107-016

6 (displayed), the whole question of how her complaints

7 about threats had been handled and the business of the

8 ICPC investigation, and then Commander Mulvihill?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Again, it was obvious that those points would be brought

11 to the fore, wasn't it?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And then in paragraph 12, the business of protection

14 with specific reference here to the NIO, the pamphlet

15 and the question of whether or not she should be

16 admitted to the scheme or some sort of protection should

17 be given to her.

18 Presumably in the NIO it was also appreciated

19 immediately that questions would be asked about that?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Thank you. Now, that memo, as I showed you, was written

22 on the very day of the murder. Presumably when you

23 returned to your desk, you and your colleagues and the

24 Secretary of State herself were engaged in dealing with

25 the potential implications of those issues as well as

 

 

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1 presumably being concerned with the murder investigation

2 and its establishment?

3 A. Yes, that's correct.

4 Q. In which the Secretary of State herself took an

5 interest, did she not?

6 A. She did.

7 Q. What were her concerns in relation to the murder

8 investigation?

9 A. I think her main concern was to ensure that there was

10 a sufficient independent element in it to attract

11 specifically Nationalist confidence.

12 Q. And did that remain her concern in the weeks and months

13 following the murder?

14 A. It did.

15 Q. Yes. Now, I would like to ask you about some of the

16 lines to take which followed this memorandum. The

17 specific one I want to touch on with you is at

18 RNI-107-017 (displayed) and it is under the heading of

19 "Drumcree".

20 Now, we know that, as you have just mentioned

21 yourself, Rosemary Nelson herself when an involvement in

22 the Drumcree dispute. At the time of her murder is it

23 right to say that the -- what's sometimes referred to as

24 the stand-off, the Loyalist stand-off, was still in

25 progress?

 

 

107


1 A. Yes, it was.

2 Q. So that issue, that very difficult issue, had not been

3 resolved?

4 A. No, it hadn't.

5 Q. Was there any sense in the NIO, something you picked up

6 from the Secretary of State or from your colleagues,

7 that her murder may have been in some way related to her

8 involvement in the Drumcree issue?

9 A. It was a possibility because obviously the Drumcree

10 issue in that Portadown/Lurgan area in particular was

11 very high profile and that could have drawn the

12 attention of the murderers to her. So that was

13 certainly a possibility.

14 Q. Yes. Then under the heading "Decommissioning", the line

15 is:

16 "Underlines the importance of all parties honouring

17 their commitments in respect of decommissioning."

18 So far as that's concerned, was there, in the weeks

19 and months after her murder, a fear that that act of

20 violence would result in retaliatory violence from

21 others?

22 A. There was that fear. Of course, this is a specific

23 reference to the issue that was holding up the political

24 progress at that time.

25 Q. Yes. But that in political terms, with the question of

 

 

108


1 decommissioning, that might also be destabilised or

2 undermined by the impact of the murder?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. In fact, is it right to say that there was no

5 significant return to violence after her murder?

6 A. No, there wasn't, that I recall.

7 Q. Yes. So there must presumably have come a time when it

8 was realised that the concerns officials had had about

9 potential reaction were not in fact being borne out?

10 A. No, although of course there was always the risk of

11 something tipping the place back into violence if there

12 was another incidence of the Rosemary Nelson type. But

13 in terms of the immediate reaction to that particular

14 killing, over a period of weeks it became clear it was

15 relatively calm.

16 Q. Yes. Now, can I just ask you to look at paragraph 33 of

17 your second statement, RNI-847-014 (displayed). It is

18 a paragraph we looked at a little while ago, but the

19 specific section I wanted to ask you to concentrate on,

20 please, begins six lines down. You are referring to the

21 Secretary of State's reaction, and you say:

22 "On a human level she was dismayed and appalled by

23 the attack. She was also concerned about the damage it

24 could cause the political process and the issues it

25 raised."

 

 

109


1 Can you remember now, please, what issues in

2 Mo Mowlam's view did the murder raise?

3 A. I think I probably meant a confidence in policing and

4 the NIO's handling of various letters that had been sent

5 to it, is what I think I meant.

6 Q. Yes. Now, so far as confidence in policing is

7 concerned, could we just go back to the lines to take,

8 please, at RNI-107-019 (displayed). One of the comments

9 which had obviously been anticipated is:

10 "Shows RUC cannot be trusted and should be

11 disbanded."

12 Is that the point you had in mind?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. In other words, that some would see this as a reason for

15 yet further distrust in the Nationalist community about

16 the RUC?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Thank you. Now, I would like to move now, please, to

19 a different topic, which is the question of

20 intelligence, to which a great part of your second

21 statement is devoted.

22 In the first part of the second statement, you

23 address a number of NIIRs, Northern Ireland Intelligence

24 Reports, which you received, I think, both in your role

25 as head of SPOD and as Principal Private Secretary?

 

 

110


1 A. Yes, that's right.

2 Q. Now, as you may have heard, there has been some conflict

3 in the evidence about exactly the sorts of intelligence

4 reporting that NIO officials received.

5 Now, so far as you were concerned, can I just ask

6 you, please: did you receive written intelligence

7 reports other than in the form of NIIRs?

8 A. No.

9 Q. No. Now, I would like to look at an example of a NIIR

10 with you, please. I'm going to choose one at

11 RNI-534-010 in our files (displayed). That's dated

12 20 May 1997. So at this point you were in SPOD.

13 Now, can you just assist us, please, to find your

14 relevant acronym?

15 A. Yes, under "Distribution", "NIOB", I'm in the last line,

16 which says:

17 "Director Info AS SPOB."

18 So Assistant Secretary SPOB.

19 Q. Thank you very much. Do we see under "NIO London" the

20 second entry there:

21 "Private Secretary to the Secretary of State"?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. So is that the acronym we need to look for when we see,

24 from September 1998, your receipt of other NIIRs?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Thank you very much.

2 A. I should just add it appears in both Belfast and London

3 because copies of reports were sent to both offices.

4 Q. Yes. As we heard from Mr Lindsay, underneath you, if I

5 can put it that way, is the Principal Private Secretary.

6 There were two private secretaries, one in each place?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. Thank you. Now, I would like to ask you about what you

9 would do with the NIIRs when you received them, and I

10 think to help you I should show you paragraph 6 of your

11 second statement, RNI-847-005 (displayed). Could we

12 enlarge paragraph 6, please? Because there you say that

13 there was scope on the cover sheet for you to ask

14 questions. And it looks, reading on through that

15 paragraph, as though in addition to writing requests for

16 further information, you would perhaps from time to time

17 ask for clarification, ask a member of the Assessments

18 Group?

19 A. Occasionally I guess I would do that, yes.

20 Q. So presumably that was where you felt you needed more on

21 a particular topic to inform the work that you were

22 doing?

23 A. Yes, to have a better understanding of a particular

24 point perhaps --

25 Q. Yes.

 

 

112


1 A. -- like the direction of travel of a particular

2 terrorist organisation or their likely response to

3 decommissioning, or some of the issues we were currently

4 dealing with at a policy level.

5 Q. Yes. Now, so far as these NIIRs are concerned, would

6 they also be brought in to the Secretary of State

7 herself?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And so she would also have the opportunity, at least, to

10 ask for more, if I can put it that way. Is that right?

11 A. She certainly had the opportunity to do so.

12 Q. Yes. Now, there is one aspect of your treatment of the

13 NIIRs in your statement that I would like to ask you

14 about particularly and it is at paragraph 23, where you

15 are dealing with one from November 1998. And that's at

16 RNI-847-011 (displayed). I don't think we need look at

17 it for the moment. You say:

18 "This report is entitled 'The Red Hand Defenders'.

19 I do not think I saw this NIIR. I'm not listed as

20 someone it was distributed to, which I'm surprised by."

21 First of all, can I ask you, why were you surprised

22 by that?

23 A. Just because it was the kind of analytical NIIR that one

24 might have expected to come to private office, but maybe

25 the briefing was provided in some other form.

 

 

113


1 Q. So that suggests that some NIIRs were, as it were, more

2 analytical than others. Is that fair?

3 A. Some are more detailed than others, yes.

4 Q. And the ones that you thought should ordinarily reach

5 the private office were the more analytical ones. Is

6 that right?

7 A. Well, sometimes there were several different versions of

8 the same NIIR, either because they were developed as

9 more information came in or because some contained quite

10 a lot of detail and then there was a kind of overview

11 piece. And you might expect the overview piece to come

12 to private office because it was shorter and crisper and

13 more concise.

14 Q. Looking on in this paragraph, you say:

15 "Of course, I would sometimes get NIIRs where I was

16 not marked as a recipient."

17 I think that should probably say:

18 "However, I don't think I saw this one."

19 Now, to this point, I must say, we have attributed

20 some importance to the distribution lists and the huge

21 numbers of acronyms on them. But it looks then as

22 though you would occasionally see NIIRs where you

23 weren't a marked recipient?

24 A. I must say I'm surprised that I said that because I

25 don't think it is quite correct. What I think I may

 

 

114


1 have had in mind there was occasionally David Watkins or

2 somebody else who had seen something on a NIIR that I

3 wasn't copied in to might have shown me knowing that I

4 was keen to see that kind of material. But in no sense

5 did I regularly see NIIRs that I wasn't a copy

6 addressee of.

7 Q. Certainly that's the impression that has been given to

8 this point, that the distribution was rather carefully

9 calibrated?

10 A. Yes, it was.

11 Q. And that they were taken in rather careful circumstances

12 to individuals on the distribution list, who were

13 required to hand them back?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. That was the process, was it?

16 A. That was absolutely the process.

17 Q. Right. Thank you. Now, I would like to ask you about

18 some material slightly later than this, in fact in 1999.

19 The first document is at RNI-521-022 (displayed).

20 Now, this is a letter from the Secretary of State,

21 but if we can flick through on the screen to RNI-521-026

22 (displayed), it was in fact signed by you and marked as

23 agreed by the Secretary of State and signed in her

24 absence.

25 A. Yes.

 

 

115


1 Q. Going back to RNI-521-022, please (displayed), the topic

2 here is proscription, and proscription particularly of

3 two Loyalist organisations, the Orange Volunteers and

4 the Red Hand Defenders, and despecification on the other

5 hand, if I can put it that way, of the INLA?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Now, you talked a little earlier about the sort of NIIRs

8 you were interested in and why, because of policy issues

9 and the way in which organisations were moving. This

10 question of proscription was presumably one of the

11 matters that came up in that area?

12 A. Yes, very much and clearly it is a power that only the

13 Secretary of State could exercise, and therefore --

14 Q. Indeed. So were you involved in the consideration with

15 Mo Mowlam of this issue?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And presumably in this, as in no doubt many other cases,

18 there would be other, if I can put it this way,

19 specialist officials who contributed to the

20 decision-making?

21 A. Yes, certainly, although whether there was specifically

22 a meeting on this particular issue, I'm not sure. But

23 certainly there would have been.

24 Q. And in this sort of situation, no doubt, where the

25 question of proscription was raised, the Secretary of

 

 

116


1 State would want to have available the most up-to-date

2 information, including, obviously, intelligence, about

3 the organisations under consideration?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Because in order to recommend something in this way, as

6 she was doing to the Prime Minister, she would no doubt

7 want to feel that what she was acting upon was reliable

8 and up-to-date?

9 A. Certainly.

10 Q. Yes. Now, in terms of that sort of intelligence input,

11 can I take it that it would have come from the RUC and

12 particularly the Special Branch?

13 A. And our colleagues [Redacted].

14 Q. Indeed, and from the security services?

15 A. The security services as well.

16 Q. Yes, exactly.

17 A. But it was a picture that had emerged steadily during

18 the previous autumn to this point, the emergence of the

19 Orange Volunteers and the Red Hand Defenders.

20 Q. That's the next thing I wanted to ask you about. In

21 historical terms, is it right that that came on to the

22 radar in the autumn of 1998?

23 A. They did in this form, I think. The Orange Volunteers

24 was an organisation that had a history going back some

25 time as a kind of doomsday organisation. The Red Hand

 

 

117


1 Defenders, I think, was a label that had been used by

2 Loyalists in the past who didn't want to -- the

3 organisation itself didn't want to claim responsibility

4 for something. But in terms of a series of actions or

5 attacks or activities, they began to re-emerge in the

6 autumn of 1997 -- 1998, yes.

7 Q. Can we look at the detail of the document to see that

8 process being set out? On the next page, RNI-521-023

9 (displayed), there is a heading "The Orange Volunteers

10 and Red Hand Defenders". It says:

11 "The Orange Volunteers came to light last October

12 and a series of attacks on Nationalist targets has since

13 been claimed in their name. They've also issued

14 statements and organised a media briefing, in the course

15 of which they announced 'war on the enemies of Ulster'

16 and reportedly declared a willingness to assassinate

17 those enemies."

18 Then there is reference to the Red Hand Defenders:

19 "... have an even worse record. In particular, they

20 claim the killing of Constable Frank O'Reilly in

21 Portadown last September ..."

22 That was in the context of Drumcree, was it not:

23 "... and one other murder since."

24 Then this:

25 "We have held back from action until now because it

 

 

118


1 was not clear until recently that Orange Volunteers was

2 not merely a nom de guerre for members of other

3 organisations, but it is now clearer that they are

4 a distinct entity."

5 So that presumably was one of the questions that was

6 being asked of the intelligence agencies: is this

7 something real or is it just a cover name?

8 A. Yes, it was also necessary in order to meet the

9 requirements of proscription that there was actually an

10 organisation.

11 Q. To meet the legal test?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Exactly. Then carrying on:

14 "The doubts were even greater ..."

15 Over the page, please:

16 "... in the case of the RHD, but RUC's latest

17 information that they are beginning to coalesce into

18 a distinct organisation."

19 Then:

20 "I believe both organisations now meet the criteria

21 for proscription and we should act."

22 Then in the bracket one sees:

23 "There are difficulties over the defence of the

24 Orange Volunteers which may limit the effectiveness of

25 the provisions, but I believe it is nevertheless worth

 

 

119


1 proceeding."

2 So even at this stage you weren't quite sure about

3 the parameters of the organisation you were dealing

4 with?

5 A. No. Of course, proscription was as much a political

6 signal of disapproval and rejection as it was

7 a practical measure in security terms.

8 Q. Yes, it was a weapon in the armoury of the Secretary of

9 State in the political dialogue, was it not?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. In other words, there were legal tests that had to be

12 met, but whether or not the decision was to go forward

13 might turn out to be a political decision?

14 A. Yes, it was a reflection -- a formal reflection of

15 public revulsion at the activities of these groupings.

16 Q. Indeed. Just moving on to the middle of the page, it

17 says there, just above "INLA":

18 "The Chief Constable is content ..."

19 So is this a matter then that in the ordinary course

20 would be consulted on; in other words, the

21 Chief Constable would be asked for his views?

22 A. Yes, very much so.

23 Q. And the DCI?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Yes. Now, this, as I said at the outset of our

 

 

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1 consideration of the document, is 25 February and would

2 it be fair to say, therefore, that the intelligence

3 agencies, in order to allow the Secretary of State to

4 arrive at this point, had been -- the requirement of the

5 Government to find out as much as possible about these

6 organisations had been made known amongst their

7 intelligence requirements?

8 A. Yes. I mean, they were obviously monitoring these

9 groupings in any event, for security purposes.

10 Q. Indeed.

11 A. But they would have had to be -- generally speaking, in

12 a case like this, one would have asked them for a view

13 particularly in relation to the test of proscription.

14 Q. Yes, and that would require obviously, wouldn't it,

15 a particular intelligence focus for that purpose at this

16 time?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Now, it was some three weeks later that Rosemary Nelson

19 was murdered, and as I am sure you learned, there was

20 a claim of responsibility and the Red Hand Defenders

21 came back into the frame and became a focus of the

22 investigation.

23 Given what we have just discussed, were you

24 surprised from your position in the NIO that no

25 intelligence in relation to the attack had been received

 

 

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1 before it took place?

2 A. No, I wasn't surprised, I am afraid, no. Many such

3 attacks had happened without prior intelligence even

4 when organisations were being very closely scrutinised

5 by the police and the intelligence agencies.

6 Q. Now, so far as this particular attack is concerned,

7 because it is obviously this particular attack and not

8 all the other ones with which we are concerned, one of

9 the features of the history with which you were familiar

10 in both your positions was that over the preceding years

11 a number of organisations and individuals had expressed

12 their concern about Rosemary Nelson's safety?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Now, was that an aspect of concern to the Secretary of

15 State when the news of the murder broke in the middle

16 of March 1999?

17 A. I have no doubt that it was although I don't recall her

18 saying it to me in terms, but I'm sure it was.

19 Q. Because in a sense everything that all the various

20 organisations and bodies had been writing about over

21 these years had come to pass?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And you deal, in your second statement, paragraph 33 at

24 RNI-847-014 (displayed), with the question of whether

25 you -- and I think that must mean the NIO, the Secretary

 

 

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1 of State -- went to the intelligence agencies and asked

2 why there had been no warning, why no intelligence had

3 been identified before the murder. And you say:

4 "During my time in SPOB and private office between

5 1992 and 1998, 350 people were killed. The murder of

6 Rosemary Nelson was an appalling murder, but lots of

7 people were killed. I attended numerous police

8 officers' funerals. I could not go back to the Security

9 Service or Special Branch and accuse them of having

10 failed."

11 Now, do I take it from that part of your evidence

12 that as far as you are aware, the Secretary of State,

13 NIO officials, did not ask questions of that kind of the

14 intelligence agencies in the aftermath of

15 Rosemary Nelson's murder?

16 A. I think that sentence reflects the way the question was

17 posed to me by the Inquiry's solicitors --

18 Q. Indeed.

19 A. -- when they asked did I ring up Special Branch and

20 remonstrate with them over the failure, and that was my

21 response to that.

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. In terms of -- the NIO going back to the police and the

24 Security Service and asking could this have been

25 prevented, I'm sure there was a discussion of that sort

 

 

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1 as we went through the general post mortem after this.

2 Q. But just so I'm clear, is that something with which you

3 were concerned yourself?

4 A. No.

5 Q. No. But is it something that Mo Mowlam was keen should

6 happen?

7 A. I think she wanted to reassure herself probably that

8 everything that could sensibly have been done was done.

9 Q. That's an entirely natural reaction to an event of this

10 particular kind, is it not?

11 A. It is. I mean, both, as I say, at a personal level, but

12 also because of the knowledge of the criticism to come.

13 Q. Yes. What would have been the routes or methods to be

14 used by the Secretary of State in those circumstances?

15 Would she raise it with the Chief Constable?

16 A. I am sure she did.

17 Q. And the DCI?

18 A. I imagine so, yes.

19 Q. Yes. Were you ever made aware of what the answers were

20 to those questions from the Secretary of State?

21 A. I think the -- in a sense the -- I think there is a list

22 attached to one of Stephen Leach's minutes.

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. A summary of what had happened over the previous

25 18 months or whatever it was. I think it was that kind

 

 

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1 of list that she was looking for.

2 Q. The list I think you are talking about there is a list

3 in relation to events concerning the NIO. Do you mean

4 a chronology of events?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. We have got an example: for instance, RNI-107-026

7 (displayed). That's quite a long one actually.

8 A. That's the one I had in mind.

9 Q. Yes, goes on to RNI-107-030, but that's very much the

10 NIO side of things and the NIO's dealings with the RUC

11 Command Secretariat.

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. What I'm focusing on rather more is other parts of the

14 RUC, and Special Branch and the Security Service and

15 other intelligence agencies. Were you aware of how they

16 reported back to those questions raised by the Secretary

17 of State?

18 A. No, and when I say I'm sure she raised those questions,

19 I am sure it is the sort of thing she would have raised

20 in discussion with the Chief Constable or the DCI, as

21 opposed to any formal enquiry.

22 Q. It would have been surprising had she not done so, would

23 it not?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. I would like to move on to another topic with you,

 

 

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1 please.

2 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Before you do, you did talk about

3 a general post mortem. What form did that general post

4 mortem take? That sounds a bit more formal than

5 anything I have seen.

6 A. I think it is probably a discussion around a list of

7 this sort, I think. Us going through -- for everybody

8 to be clear precisely had been done when and to be

9 reassured that proper steps had been taken.

10 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Thank you. Sorry.

11 MR PHILLIPS: Can we look at another document in relation to

12 the political questions concerning terrorist

13 organisations that you and I talked about a little while

14 ago? This is at RNI-521-013 (displayed). The date is

15 11 November 1998. It is a letter from you, as you can

16 see from RNI-521-015 (displayed).

17 Going back to the first page again, please, it is

18 from you to the Prime Minister's Private Secretary --

19 that name has been redacted under our system, I am

20 afraid -- and it refers to a letter from him, I suspect,

21 dated 29 October, recording Mr Trimble's concern that

22 there should be an early move to despecify the LVF. And

23 it looks as though this had prompted a specific

24 assessment delivered to the Secretary of State by the

25 Chief Constable.

 

 

126


1 Do you see that in the second paragraph?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And the assessment is that:

4 "While the raison d'etre for the LVF cessation

5 remains on the release of their prisoners, the LVF is

6 not involved in acts of violence or preparation for

7 violence, is not planning a resumption of violence and

8 is not promoting acts of violence by other

9 organisations."

10 And then this:

11 "Although some individual LVF members may be

12 involved in violence on behalf of the Red Hand

13 Defenders, the clear assessment is that the LVF fully

14 intends to maintain its ceasefire."

15 And to summarise, it looks as though this -- if we

16 look over to the next page, RNI-521-014 (displayed):

17 "The Secretary of State ..."

18 First full paragraph:

19 "... is accordingly minded to issue the attached

20 revised press release tomorrow confirming the intention

21 to despecify the LVF."

22 So this is, as it were, the other side of the

23 process we looked at earlier on proscription and

24 presumably all of the same political considerations were

25 in play here as well?

 

 

127


1 A. Yes, that's correct. It was -- of course, a number of

2 other paramilitary organisations had already been

3 despecified and, therefore, their prisoners could

4 benefit from the early release provisions. But also in

5 security terms they had to have been behaving themselves

6 to a certain degree or any amount of political interest

7 wouldn't have been able to overbear that test.

8 Q. Yes. And I can take it, can I, from the fact that you

9 are involved in signing this letter, that this was

10 another part of this business with which you were

11 yourself concerned?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Now, in relation to the question raised in the murder

14 investigation, the suggestion that the LVF had been

15 involved in the murder, can I ask you exactly the same

16 question I asked you in relation to the Red Hand

17 Defenders: given this focus in political terms, the need

18 to get up-to-date intelligence on all these groupings,

19 were you surprised that there was no advance warning of

20 the attack?

21 A. No, I wasn't surprised. I mean, the nature of the LVF

22 as an indisciplined and rather incoherent group, one

23 never knew what they were going to do next, despite the

24 confident assertions in this letter.

25 Q. Yes. So the confident assertions were made very much

 

 

128


1 with a political background in mind, were they?

2 A. Well, the LVF declared a ceasefire. We wanted to

3 reinforce that by allowing them to benefit -- and we

4 also wanted to get decommissioning in order to move the

5 political process forward and put pressure on others to

6 do so, so there were political as well as practical

7 considerations there.

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. But by early 1999 they started to get flaky again after

10 Mark Fulton had been put in gaol.

11 Q. Put in gaol?

12 A. I think if I am remembering the sequence correctly.

13 Q. Yes. Certainly from your perspective, it would be

14 unwise to rely on the LVF honouring their ceasefire?

15 A. Or all members of it.

16 Q. Or all members of it, thank you.

17 Now, I would like to ask you a question, please,

18 about the question of warrantry application. We have

19 heard some evidence about it already. Did you, as

20 Principal Private Secretary, have any involvement in the

21 warrantry process?

22 A. No.

23 Q. Can I take it that the same answer applies to your

24 position when you were Head of SPOB?

25 A. No, I had no involvement.

 

 

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1 Q. Did the Secretary of State ever discuss any individual

2 warrantry case with you?

3 A. She didn't.

4 Q. No. Now, can we return to the topic of SPMs, which we

5 looked at at an earlier stage, and this is in

6 paragraph 39 and following of your statement,

7 RNI-847-016 (displayed).

8 As I understand it from your evidence, they were in

9 principle held monthly but might be held more often if

10 there were particular problems or crises afoot. Is that

11 a fair way of putting it?

12 A. Yes, that's basically it, usually monthly.

13 Q. And you tell us in this part of your statement that the

14 focus of them was, as I understand it anyway,

15 intelligence and that the lead in briefing the meeting

16 was taken, I think, by the DCI. Is that right?

17 A. Yes. I mean, there is a sort of standard agenda and the

18 intelligence -- overall intelligence view was almost

19 invariably the first agenda item. So we started with

20 that but then went on to politics, the general security

21 situation in terms of policing, military response to

22 that, and then other issues like normalisation or

23 parades or whatever it might be.

24 Q. Yes. Can I just pick up a small point in paragraph 41,

25 just so that the record is straight, as it were. If we

 

 

130


1 look at this paragraph:

2 "The first document you say I'm referred to is the

3 agenda for the meeting on 15 December 1999, incorrectly

4 referred to as November ..."

5 Et cetera, et cetera. With that in mind, can I just

6 ask you to look at RNI-522-001 (displayed), which is the

7 document you are referring to because I think the date

8 here should be December 1998 and not 1999. That must be

9 right, mustn't it; do you see?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Thank you. In other words, before Rosemary Nelson's

12 murder rather than some nine months afterwards?

13 A. Yes, I think my copy says 1998 in both cases, but the

14 months are the wrong way round.

15 Q. Exactly. In your statement --

16 A. I'm so sorry.

17 Q. No, no, I think it is simply a typo. Now, you have told

18 us that it was your practice to attend these meetings,

19 and as you have no doubt heard by now, the Inquiry has

20 received evidence, this week indeed, from David Watkins

21 about a particular SPM in July 1998. What he said to

22 the Inquiry was that in that SPM on 10 July the

23 Chief Constable referred to allegations of

24 Rosemary Nelson's relationship with Colin Duffy and used

25 the term "an immoral woman", in the course of the

 

 

131


1 meeting. Is that something you can recall?

2 A. No, I must say I have no recollection of that and I'm

3 pretty sure I was at that meeting.

4 Q. Yes. Do you have any recollection of Rosemary Nelson

5 being discussed at any SPM you attended before her

6 murder?

7 A. I don't recall it specifically.

8 Q. No. Were you ever present at a discussion between the

9 Secretary of State and the Chief Constable,

10 Sir Ronnie Flanagan, about Rosemary Nelson, again before

11 her murder?

12 A. Again, I don't recall being so.

13 Q. Now, I would like to ask you about Rosemary Nelson's

14 appearance before a Congressional Subcommittee. We know

15 from the material the Inquiry has obtained that in, I

16 think, September 1998 she gave evidence to

17 a Congressional Committee about the history of what she

18 regarded as her harassment, the threats made against

19 her, her assault on the Garvaghy Road in 1997. I hope

20 you have been shown the Congressional record of her

21 evidence, have you?

22 A. Yes, I have.

23 Q. Yes. What I wanted to ask you about was was that

24 something -- her appearance before the committee -- that

25 you were made aware of at the time?

 

 

132


1 A. I think we were aware of her appearance, yes.

2 Q. And the Secretary of State was aware of it, presumably?

3 A. I think so. As a public event, I'm not precisely sure

4 when it entered our consciousness.

5 Q. No. But can you recollect any discussion with the

6 Secretary of State about the evidence that she gave to

7 the Congressional Subcommittee?

8 A. No, I can't.

9 Q. Do you have any recollection of any conversation with

10 the Secretary of State before Rosemary Nelson's murder

11 about Rosemary Nelson's safety or security?

12 A. No, I don't. But as I mentioned earlier, in terms of

13 the handling of correspondence, John would have been

14 dealing with that, so I don't recall a conversation

15 myself, no.

16 Q. No. So if I can put it this way, if she, the Secretary

17 of State, was having conversations about that issue, it

18 would have been with John McKervill and not with you?

19 A. That's correct, and obviously Ken Lindsay.

20 Q. Yes. Now, so far as the matters that we looked at in

21 the memorandum on the day of her murder was concerned --

22 do you remember, we went through the various points

23 together and, indeed, looked at the lines to take -- I

24 would like to pick up with you a further point, please,

25 and this is at RNI-107-021 (displayed).

 

 

133


1 Here we have moved to the next day and Mr Leach is

2 the author. It is sent to the Secretary of State in

3 Washington. I know that you were away at this stage,

4 but the reason I'm showing it to you is because of the

5 second paragraph and the allegation which emerged, as we

6 can see, very shortly after the murder, a suggestion by

7 Breandan Mac Cionnaith that protection had been refused

8 during the proximity talks in 1998.

9 Now, I should have asked you about this before, and

10 appreciating again that you would only have seen this on

11 your return, but was this issue one of the matters which

12 was obviously going to feature in people's consideration

13 of the circumstances of Rosemary Nelson's murder in the

14 days and weeks after it?

15 A. Yes, it was just another issue in the mix, I think.

16 Q. Yes. And I want to ask you specifically about the

17 question of the KPPS scheme, appreciating again that you

18 had no direct involvement with it. Did you, after the

19 murder, discuss the question with the Secretary of

20 State?

21 A. About Rosemary Nelson's -- admittance to the --

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. No, I didn't.

24 Q. No. Now, the next issue in this group I want to look at

25 concerns Mr Cumaraswamy because he, having played a part

 

 

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1 before Rosemary Nelson's murder, then, if I can put it

2 that way, came back on to the scene at exactly this

3 time, 16 March. Can I show you, please, RNI-107-037

4 (displayed).

5 This is a memorandum, again one of the ones that was

6 sent off while you were away, addressed to the Private

7 Secretary for the Secretary of State, again, in three

8 locations but also in Washington.

9 A. Hm-mm.

10 Q. And there is reference there to the second report. The

11 Inquiry has heard a great deal of evidence, as you know,

12 about the one that was published in 1998. There is

13 a discussion there about what's going to be set out in

14 this second report, which is due to be published on the

15 next day or the day after, 18 March.

16 Now, you tell us in your evidence that you met

17 Mr Cumaraswamy on his October 1997 visit. Is that

18 correct?

19 A. That is correct.

20 Q. And you say in paragraph 3 of your first statement, at

21 RNI-841-032 (displayed), that you think John Steele also

22 attended the meeting with you?

23 A. That was my recollection when I made this statement, but

24 the documentation on this timetable appears -- that we

25 met him separately.

 

 

135


1 Q. Yes. I wanted to ask you about that. You say in your

2 statement at the bottom of this page, if we can look at

3 paragraph 5, please:

4 "I already knew of Mr Cumaraswamy's view on matters

5 before I met him."

6 How did you know of his views?

7 A. I think it must have been from -- there had been

8 correspondence before his visit, I think, back

9 in April 1997 probably, and I think -- I think either at

10 that point -- I think there had been some issue about

11 the diplomatic niceties, about setting up the visit,

12 being short-circuited. And also, as I recall it, his

13 actual letter was quite peremptory in tone, but I think

14 perhaps from some other source I had heard that he had

15 quite strong views on these issues.

16 Q. Yes. And did you find him to maintain those views when

17 you met him?

18 A. I did. It is more an impression now than a very clear

19 recollection of the meeting, but he was entirely

20 courteous. By the time he had got to speak to me, he

21 had already seen the Chief Constable, I think, and had

22 talked to the organ grinder. So I suppose I was

23 probably explaining to him the Government's position on

24 recording in the holding centres and that kind of thing.

25 I'm not sure he was particularly interested in it.

 

 

136


1 I was a little surprised that coming from an

2 international organisation, he didn't pay a little

3 more attention to the Government's position and the

4 range of issues that it had to take into account in

5 deciding these sorts of things.

6 Q. Yes. Did you form the view that he had already made up

7 his mind?

8 A. Yes, I think he had, yes.

9 Q. Yes. So that he had in a sense arrived in the

10 United Kingdom with preconceptions which were unlikely

11 to change?

12 A. I think he was looking for confirmation of a view he

13 already held.

14 Q. Now, you then go on to say in this context of

15 the October visit at RNI-841-033, paragraph 6

16 (displayed):

17 "I think Mr Cumaraswamy would have mentioned

18 Rosemary Nelson at my meetings with him."

19 But from what you go on to say there, as I

20 understand it, what you are suggesting is that you

21 believe she would have been mentioned by him as an

22 example --

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. -- of a broader point he wished to make?

25 A. Exactly so. I think -- because what we were talking

 

 

137


1 about was the regime in the holding centres.

2 Q. Yes. So you don't think, do you, that he was concerned

3 to draw your attention to the circumstances of her

4 particular case?

5 A. No, I think in this case he was using her as an example

6 although of course there had been previous

7 correspondence that had raised the issue of

8 Rosemary Nelson's --

9 Q. Yes. Now, we know his concern was about the general

10 question of the alleged police harassment of defence

11 lawyers. Can you remember whether he offered you, gave

12 you, any specific evidence in support of the complaints

13 that he was talking about?

14 A. No, he didn't.

15 Q. No. Now, you tell us that in paragraph 7, which we

16 still have on the screen:

17 "My division ..."

18 That is SPOD:

19 "... drew Mr Cumaraswamy's concern to the police's

20 attention in general terms and reported to ministers how

21 the meeting with him had gone."

22 Can I assume that both of those reports, if I can

23 put it that way, would have been in writing?

24 A. No, I think probably orally actually. We had a police

25 liaison officer who was regularly in the division, so I

 

 

138


1 am sure I would have mentioned to him how the meeting

2 had gone. When I saw reported to ministers, I think

3 I probably mentioned it to Adam Ingram at one of our

4 regular weekly meetings.

5 Q. Which ministers please? Would you be reporting to the

6 Security Minister?

7 A. Yes, the Security Minister and the Secretary of State,

8 yes.

9 Q. Yes, thank you.

10 Sir, would that be a convenient moment? We have

11 very nearly finished, but I just want to check a couple

12 of things.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: We will have a quarter of an hour's break,

14 ten to four.

15 (3.35 pm)

16 (Short break)

17 (3.53 pm)

18 MR PHILLIPS: Mr Perry, there is just one more point to

19 cover. You were the Principal Private Secretary to the

20 Secretary of State in March 1999 when the Mulvihill

21 Report was completed and when the ICPC issued their

22 documents about it, weren't you?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Now, we have again heard a great deal of evidence about

25 this, but we know that whilst certifying their

 

 

139


1 satisfaction with Commander Mulvihill's investigation,

2 the ICPC, through the supervising member,

3 Geralyn McNally, recorded in an appendix to their

4 Certificate dissatisfaction about the original

5 investigation. You are aware of that?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And the Inquiry has heard evidence and seen material

8 which shows that after that moment, which I think took

9 place on -- I think it was about 22 March, just shortly

10 after Rosemary Nelson's murder, there was, if I can put

11 it this way, hostile press coverage about

12 Geralyn McNally. Do you remember that?

13 A. I didn't particularly until preparing to come here.

14 Q. Yes. Were you aware, in your role as Private Secretary,

15 of concern being expressed, not least by Paul Donnelly,

16 the Chairman of the Commission, about the treatment

17 which was being meted out to Geralyn McNally?

18 A. I am sure I was aware of it at the time. Again, I have

19 only just been reminded of it by some of the documents

20 I have just seen, but I'm sure at the time I was aware

21 of that.

22 Q. As you say, you have just very recently seen some of the

23 correspondence and what I would like to do is to show

24 you just a few pieces of material. The first is at

25 RNI-228-193 (displayed).

 

 

140


1 This is a letter from the Chairman of the Commission

2 to Mr Ingram, in fact, and the nub of the point is set

3 out, as you see there, in the second paragraph: that

4 Geralyn McNally has been the subject of gossip, rumour

5 and vilification.

6 Do you remember that, in addition to the press

7 coverage, the suggestion was that the press were being

8 briefed against her?

9 A. Again, I have been reminded of that just recently. I'm

10 not sure I was made conscious of it at the time, I have

11 to say.

12 Q. No. And you will see that the point was reached at

13 which concerns were being expressed about her own

14 security?

15 A. Hm-mm.

16 Q. And you can see that by this stage, which is, I think,

17 in May 1999, action had been taken on that front.

18 Now, if we look on to the response, which in fact

19 came from your boss, if I can put it that way,

20 Mo Mowlam, RNI-228-247 (displayed), the second paragraph

21 again is the key paragraph:

22 "I can well understand your concerns about

23 Geralyn McNally."

24 There is a reference there to security and then

25 towards the end on the rumour mongering:

 

 

141


1 "This is simply not acceptable. I can understand

2 your concerns over this and if there is anything

3 Adam Ingram or I can do, we will. I have not seen

4 anything recently. So let's hope the issue has run out

5 of steam."

6 Can I take it from your earlier answers that you

7 don't recall getting involved with the Secretary of

8 State in this particular issue?

9 A. No, I don't, to be honest.

10 Q. Is it the sort of point, based on your knowledge of her,

11 that the Secretary of State is likely to have taken

12 a personal interest in?

13 A. I think so.

14 Q. Yes.

15 A. And I mean, the phrasing of that sentence, it may have

16 come up on the rumour mongering "this is simply not

17 acceptable", it may have been an original draft supplied

18 to her, but I can imagine her adding in a sentence of

19 that sort.

20 Q. It is the sort of case, the sort of point in which she

21 would have taken a personal interest?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Yes. Now, what I would like to do finally is to show

24 you, if I can put it this way, the next stage in this

25 matter, which is a note of yours on 16 June, and that's

 

 

142


1 at RNI-463-291 (displayed).

2 It is a record by you, we can see -- I hope we can

3 see you anyway at RNI-463-293 (displayed). I think that

4 is in fact you. You were, I think, the private

5 secretary at the relevant time, 16 June.

6 If we go and enlarge paragraph 2, please -- thank

7 you -- you will see the meeting with Paul Donnelly,

8 Geralyn McNally and indeed the Chief Executive of the

9 ICPC, and Mr Rogers, Mr Lindsay, and the Secretary of

10 State as well as you, obviously were, present. And that

11 paragraph introduces the topic and explains what stage

12 of the Mulvihill saga we have got to by this point.

13 But the paragraph I want to look at with you in more

14 detail is at paragraph 6, at RNI-463-293 (displayed),

15 and here Mr Donnelly goes back to the point about the

16 way Geralyn McNally had been treated following the

17 publicity given to her statement, and Miss McNally is

18 recorded by you as expressing her opinion that it:

19 " ... exposed RUC attitudes towards certain sections

20 of the community and towards women."

21 And then at some length you set out the Secretary of

22 State's comments:

23 "The Secretary of State observed that this was

24 a cultural issue which the RUC needed to address, but

25 that it went further than simply the police. The

 

 

143


1 culture of dependency and blame and the willingness to

2 resort to devious tactics was widespread in

3 Northern Ireland within politics and beyond. At the

4 highest level, the implementation of the GFA and the

5 establishment of new political institutions would

6 eventually change attitudes. And at lower levels, the

7 introductions of structures, complaints mechanisms,

8 et cetera would enable problems in particular areas to

9 be more easily tackled, but the process would inevitably

10 take time."

11 Can I take it first of all that you don't have

12 a specific recollection of this meeting?

13 A. I don't.

14 Q. But the view of the Secretary of State which you record

15 here was presumably one which she had expressed either

16 to you or in your hearing?

17 A. It was and -- may I say I think there are probably two

18 aspects to this. The thinking here is familiar to me.

19 I'm slightly surprised I recorded it at such length, but

20 on the cultural point about the RUC, yes, she thought

21 there was a macho culture within the police service and

22 she thought also in the Army, and I was going to say the

23 Civil Service, but perhaps she wouldn't have associated

24 a macho approach with the Civil Service. But also in

25 Northern Irish society as a whole, the domination of

 

 

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1 society by paramilitary organisations, males, but also

2 the political parties were largely male dominated and

3 certainly male-led. And it was something that she felt

4 quite strongly about, the need to change attitudes at

5 that kind of broader level.

6 The second point I was going to make about the

7 culture of dependency and blame and everything else, I

8 think she may have been making a slightly personal

9 statement here. This was June 1999, by which stage she

10 was very tired. She had been trying for months to get

11 the political process to work. Being Secretary of State

12 for Northern Ireland is a very corrosive job, constant

13 criticism from one side or the other. I think if my

14 recollection is right, she was at a bit of a low ebb at

15 this point and people were briefing against her in the

16 press and she was facing a lot of political criticism as

17 well as of these issues, and I think this comment

18 reflects that and, I think, the reason I recorded it,

19 because otherwise it would simply have been something on

20 the side, was I thought, given the audience, that some

21 of that might emerge publicly and I thought we had

22 better have a record of it, would be my recollection of

23 what that particular paragraph.

24 Q. You think there was, certainly to the second point

25 there, a strong personal element?

 

 

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1 A. I think so, a slightly fed-up feel to it.

2 Q. And presumably also, it follows, an element of

3 identification, if I can put that way, between the

4 Secretary of State and Geralyn McNally?

5 A. Yes, I think so. A woman working in a difficult area,

6 a male dominated area.

7 Q. Do you think the same identification would have applied,

8 so far as the Secretary of State was concerned, with

9 Rosemary Nelson?

10 A. I think so to a degree, at a personal level. But of

11 course by definition she was politically also extremely

12 astute and that kind of personal empathy would never

13 have tipped over into, I suppose, a complete

14 identification with someone's personal position whether

15 the politics or the organisational assessment of the

16 Secretary of State's own areas of responsibility.

17 Q. Yes. But do you think it is likely also that the

18 Secretary of State believed Rosemary Nelson's case had

19 exposed RUC attitudes towards certain sections of the

20 community and towards women?

21 A. I am sure she thought it was possible.

22 Q. Yes. Well, Mr Perry, those are the only questions

23 I have for you, but as you have probably gathered,

24 I always offer witnesses a chance to have the last word

25 if there is anything we haven't covered. Is there

 

 

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1 anything you would like to add?

2 A. No, thank you.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for coming. We will

4 adjourn now.

5 We are adjourning until 9.45 in the morning.

6 (4.05 pm)

7 (The Inquiry adjourned until 9.45 am the following day)

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1 I N D E X

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MR KENNETH LINDSAY (sworn) ....................... 1
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 1
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Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 79
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Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 82
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Further questions by MR PHILLIPS ............. 84
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Further questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN ...... 86
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Questions by THE CHAIRMAN .................... 87
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Further questions by MR PHILLIPS ............. 88
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MR NICK PERRY (sworn) ............................ 91
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 91
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