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Full Hearings

Hearing: 24th November 2008, day 78

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

on Monday, 24 November 2008
commencing at 1.00 pm

Day 78









1 Monday, 24 November 2008

2 (1.00 pm)


4 Questions by MS BROWN

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

6 Yes, Ms Brown?

7 MS BROWN: Yes, if you could give the Panel your full name,

8 please.

9 A. David James Watkins.

10 Q. Could you turn to your statement, which is at page

11 RNI-824-123 (displayed)? And then go forward to

12 RNI-824-151 (displayed), which is the final page, we see

13 there your signature. If you can just confirm that that

14 is your witness statement and the evidence is true to

15 the best of your knowledge and belief?

16 A. It is on both points, yes.

17 Q. Just turning briefly to your career history. 1992 to

18 11 August 1998, you were the Director of Central

19 Secretariat where part of your role was to act,

20 I believe, as a link between the Northern Ireland

21 Departments and the NIO. And in that role, I think you

22 were part of the political development team and that was

23 looking at political settlement between the parties. Is

24 that correct?

25 A. Yes, that's correct. The Central Secretariat was in law





1 part of the Department of Finance and Personnel. I was

2 a Northern Ireland civil servant. I was not, therefore,

3 in law part of the Northern Ireland Office, but we

4 worked de facto as a team in relation to political

5 development. And I was responsible for certain aspects

6 of political development and as such was part of the NIO

7 team.

8 Q. I think I'm right in saying that that involvement with

9 the political development team was what brought you into

10 contact with the Drumcree issue and that was the reason

11 you would be copied into Drumcree papers?

12 A. There were two aspects. That was certainly one because

13 Drumcree had the capacity to poison the ground on which

14 the Good Friday Agreement was to grow. But there was

15 a second reason and that is that one of my

16 responsibilities in Central Secretariat was

17 for community relations. Tony McCusker, whom you have

18 met, had been the Head of the Central Community

19 Relations Unit and had worked to me, as did his

20 successor. But that meant that any issue which could

21 have a disturbing effect on -- a poisoning effect on

22 community relations was of interest, and so we were

23 copied in for either of those reasons.

24 Q. So when you succeeded John Steele on 12 August 1998 as

25 the Senior Director -- Director of Policing and





1 Security, you already had -- I mean, you would have had

2 a general awareness anyway -- but a professional

3 awareness, as it were, of the Drumcree issues?

4 A. Yes, that's a fair description.

5 Q. Now, as I say, you succeeded John Steele and in terms of

6 your role then as the Senior Director, my understanding

7 is that it was really split into two principal parts.

8 One was that you were responsible for the Security

9 Policy and Operations Division, SPOD?

10 A. SPOB.

11 Q. SPOB, sorry. And under that, that would cover counter

12 terrorist legislation, relations with the police and

13 Army, security incidents, cross-border security,

14 decommissioning, normalisation, and then the other

15 aspect was the Police Division, which would be covering

16 police legislation, resources, pay and so on, and also

17 moving forward to the Police Ombudsman?

18 A. Yes, that's correct. I mean, that is a description of

19 the two divisions which reported to me. I also had

20 other responsibilities clearly as a member of -- a

21 senior member of the departmental board. But I also had

22 responsibility as the department's most frequent

23 interface with both the Chief Constable on the one hand

24 and the GOC on the other. And although those

25 responsibilities flowed out of SPOB and POB -- Police





1 Division, as it were -- they also overarched them; that

2 responsibility also overarched both divisions.

3 Q. So you were the Government's senior interface with both

4 the Chief Constable and the GOC?

5 A. Yes. Clearly the Permanent Undersecretary, Joe Pilling,

6 would also have had frequent interface as well, but mine

7 was the one which dealt with business issues, as it

8 were, and it was particularly important, for example, in

9 relation to the implementation of the Patten Report,

10 where a lot of policy issues were cleared between the

11 NIO and the RUC through me and the Chief Constable,

12 first Sir Ronnie, then Colin Cramphorn and then

13 Sir Hugh Orde.

14 Q. You started in that post in 1998?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. But in fact I think you were really responsible for the

17 proximity talks from slightly earlier, from July 1999?

18 A. Yes, John Steele was to retire in April or May, but

19 Mo Mowlam, the Secretary of State, wanted him to stay

20 because of his experience -- in order to follow through

21 the implementation of aspects of the

22 Good Friday Agreement, setting up the Patten Commission,

23 and also because of his experience of previous marching

24 seasons which I had not had in a direct sense.

25 But he was clearly very occupied at the end of June





1 with Patten, the broad issues in relation to the

2 marching season and also the ICPC report on -- in

3 relation to threats against Rosemary Nelson. So they

4 asked me -- he asked me and the PUS asked me if I would

5 take de facto responsibility for organising and

6 arranging and advising on the Drumcree proximity talks

7 process.

8 Q. And how long did you stay in that post?

9 A. Formally, from 12 August 1998 until I took early

10 retirement at the end of October 2004.

11 Q. What do you do now?

12 A. I'm self-employed with my own company. I often act as

13 an adviser to Government departments in Belfast and

14 Whitehall. I am an adviser to the Northern Ireland

15 Affairs Committee of the House of Commons and I advise a

16 local arm of a multinational corporation.

17 Q. Thank you. And just to set it in political context of

18 obviously what I imagine would have dominated certainly

19 when you immediately took over, I think it was three

20 days after you took over your post that it was the Omagh

21 bombing?

22 A. It was indeed.

23 Q. Just moving on with that theme in terms of the range of

24 issues you were dealing with -- I think you set these

25 out in your statement -- in 1998/1999, there was, as





1 I say, obviously the Omagh bombing immediately you took

2 over, Drumcree and the proximity talks, which you have

3 mentioned. And just in terms of that, did you remain in

4 charge, as it were, of the proximity talks or was it

5 just for that first year you were in office?

6 A. Well, the person who was in charge of the proximity

7 talks was Jonathan Powell.

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. I was his chief adviser and the head of the team that

10 supported him in the Northern Ireland Office, and

11 I continued to do that throughout the life of

12 Jonathan Powell's talks, then Frank Blair's talks,

13 Adam Ingram's talks and then we -- there was another

14 adviser called Brian Curran who was active. And, again,

15 the role changed throughout. It was much less an active

16 role towards the end. And of course Drumcree itself as

17 an issue became much less prominent by 2002, perhaps.

18 Q. So through 1998/1999, which obviously is the period we

19 are particularly interested in, if one can give

20 a percentage, how much was the Drumcree issue taking up

21 of your time?

22 A. It was dominant at various times. In terms of

23 1998/1999, I suppose it took 10 per cent of my time,

24 very roughly. That is, frankly, not a very viable

25 qualification, but say 10 per cent through the winter of





1 1998/1999, but come the summer, as

2 I say, June/July 1999, then I would have been devoting

3 probably 40, 50, 60 per cent of my time because the

4 Prime Minister was engaged at that point. We had the

5 operations room open and manned in 1998 and 1999, not,

6 I think, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but not far

7 of it. So it was utterly dominant at some points and

8 less dominant at others.

9 Q. And pretty dominant in the summer of 1998, and

10 I presume --

11 A. Certainly in that fortnight, whenever I took over the de

12 facto responsibility, it would have been sort of

13 75 per cent of my time. After that it probably was

14 something of the order of, on an average basis,

15 10 per cent at a guess.

16 Q. Then just to sort of list out other issues --

17 I appreciate this isn't entirely comprehensive -- but

18 also normalisation, say, in particular with the Army's

19 role, the Patten Commission, setting up the Police

20 Ombudsman and police finance, they would be the other

21 big issues?

22 A. Yes, and of course Omagh, which completely dominated

23 most of August both in terms of the aftermath of the

24 bombing, briefing ministers -- well, establishing to the

25 best of our ability what had happened, briefing





1 ministers from the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott

2 to junior ministers in the Northern Ireland Office. And

3 then the Prime Minister decided he wanted to recall

4 Parliament, which was an absolutely extraordinary -- I

5 mean, exceptional step to take because he wanted to

6 promote a bill for further measures for counter

7 terrorism, and therefore the development of that bill,

8 briefing ministers, et cetera. So it was really very

9 dominant throughout, I guess, most of August 1998.

10 Q. Because the point that I want to come to is that

11 obviously we in this Inquiry look at everything through

12 the prism of Rosemary Nelson, but what I want to try and

13 establish is how prominent or otherwise, or maybe not at

14 all, the issue of Rosemary Nelson and her security was

15 amongst obviously the vast portfolio of responsibilities

16 you had?

17 A. Well, the key -- I think there were two key points here.

18 I mean, one is the CAJ letter of early August, which

19 certainly came to my office. I mean, I guess it came to

20 my office in the new role of Director of Police and

21 Security -- around 13 August -- I guess. I doubtless

22 saw that, but I mean, as I imagine you will appreciate,

23 when you are starting a new job in actually effectively

24 a new department, there is an enormous amount of paper

25 to read -- in order to read oneself in. So I do not





1 have a clear recollection of reading it, but I doubtless

2 did.

3 The next -- I did --

4 Q. Sorry to stop you there, Mr Watkins. I am going to go

5 in detail through the documents.

6 A. Okay.

7 Q. I'm just trying to get a feel at this time as to had it

8 not been for the murder and this Inquiry, in a sense

9 would Rosemary Nelson even have stuck out in your mind?

10 A. Oh, yes, it would unquestionably because I was aware

11 through 1997/19989 there had been quite unusual

12 allegations that had been made in respect of her, being

13 threatened through clients by the RUC. I was conscious

14 of that. I was conscious of Cumaraswamy. I was

15 conscious of the American lawyers' visit. I was

16 conscious of the CAJ. So I certainly -- it was

17 certainly on my radar screen, and had she not been

18 murdered, it certainly would have been on my radar

19 screen throughout the winter of 1998/1999.

20 Q. Thank you very much. I just want to go through a few

21 more general issues before we look more specifically at

22 some documents. First of all, your relationship with

23 Mo Mowlam. You took over from Mr Steele in the summer

24 of 1998. How would you describe your relationship with

25 Mo Mowlam?





1 A. The background to this is probably John Steele was the

2 official with the best relationship with Mo Mowlam in the

3 Northern Ireland Office. There might have been one or

4 two others in the political directorate, but certainly

5 in Belfast her relationship with John was probably the

6 best. I did not have that.

7 If it is true that a success in your job is to

8 choose your predecessor, I didn't do very well and I did

9 not have that relationship. I had a business

10 relationship with her. She was -- her private

11 secretary -- can I illustrate this perhaps by just one

12 account? Her private secretary was Ken Lindsay who

13 later, shortly afterwards, became Head of Police

14 Division. She rightly had an extraordinary amount of

15 confidence in Ken. They stayed in touch after she left

16 office. And she said of me to Ken, "Watkins was okay".

17 Now, that is a quote as Ken told me subsequently. I

18 think that is pretty accurate and actually I was quite

19 pleased. It meant she trusted me to do business and she

20 had confidence in me while I wasn't part of her inner

21 cabinet, as it were. I think that sums it up as best

22 I can.

23 Q. How often did you report to her?

24 A. There were always weekly meetings of ministers and

25 senior officials on a Monday, and I would have seen her





1 in addition to that two or three times a week, maybe

2 many more, maybe many more times than that. It wasn't

3 linear, but fairly frequently.

4 Q. In terms of how -- you described how she found you. How

5 did you find her to work with?

6 A. Well, I had experience of dealing with a lot of

7 secretaries of state, to one of whom I was Principal

8 Private Secretary. I think it would be fair to say that

9 she was probably the most difficult to work with.

10 I mean by that that all ministers need handling -- well,

11 we all need handling, but all ministers need handling

12 and one always thought about what was the best way to

13 get one's business through a minister. I don't mean

14 that in a cynical or manipulative sense.

15 I think it would be fair to say that in Mo's case

16 one had to maybe give rather more thought to that than I

17 had to with others. I think that would be a pretty

18 common experience in the NIO. Having said that, we owe

19 her a great deal. We would not have had the

20 Good Friday Agreement had Mo not been there.

21 So in making some qualified remarks, I would want it

22 to be seen in the context of generally a very positive

23 assessment of her achievements.

24 Q. Just moving to a related topic, your relationship with

25 the Chief Constable. You said that you were in effect





1 the Government's senior interface with the

2 Chief Constable. The same questions really in terms of

3 frequency of meeting and the sort of relationship you

4 had with him?

5 A. I had a very good relationship with Ronnie Flanagan, as

6 I had with Hugh Orde. One of things that struck me when

7 I arrived was that apart from SPM, of which you are

8 aware, the monthly security policy meeting, and meetings

9 of a policy kind where the Secretary of State would --

10 or the Minister of State, Adam Ingram, would meet with

11 Ronnie and some other ad hoc issues, there was no

12 structure, there was no structural means by which I

13 could meet Ron or the GOC.

14 So from about the autumn of 1998, I instituted what

15 I called I think fortnightly or three-weekly stock takes

16 with Ronnie and I would meet him in his office and we

17 would discuss topical issues of the time. I think that

18 cannot have started before around probably

19 late October 1998. It certainly wasn't in August, I

20 think not September either.

21 Q. Those were informal meetings, the two of you present, or

22 were they minuted --

23 A. They were informal meetings. His staff officer would

24 sometimes be there. If there was a particular issue

25 I might sometimes take a colleague. I always dictated





1 a note afterwards of what was discussed. I didn't

2 dictate a note of everything that was discussed, but I

3 don't think it will surprise you to know that some

4 issues were of such sensitivity about security that it

5 would have been unwise to note them. But, again, that

6 is not suspect or manipulative; it was simply a matter

7 of protecting security of information.

8 Q. Now, I want to just move on to, in some ways related,

9 access to intelligence. You have spoken about the SPMs,

10 the security policy meetings, which would have been

11 attended by yourself and others, the Chief Constable and

12 the GOC certainly. Can you just tell us a little bit

13 more about those meetings, the purpose they served and

14 what they were intended to convey to you in particular?

15 A. What they were intended to convey to me?

16 Q. Yes, why you attended, why they were so important for

17 your job?

18 A. SPM had, I think, probably been instituted in the early

19 1970s. It was certainly of good vintage, as it were.

20 They were monthly. I think there were either 10 or 11

21 a year, not usually, certainly, in August. They were

22 chaired by the Secretary of State and she was

23 accompanied by the Minister for Policing and Security,

24 the Permanent Secretary, myself as Director in Policing

25 and Security and, in my time, Stephen Leach, who was the





1 Associate Director of Policing and Security and his

2 successor in due course, the head of SPOB, and the

3 Secretariat was from about the late 1980s drawn from


5 On the other side of the table there was the

6 Chief Constable, who sometimes brought his staff officer

7 or somebody from Command Secretariat, I think, the GOC,

8 who was often accompanied by his military -- his MA,

9 military assistant, and there was the DCI, the Director

10 and Coordinator of Intelligence. This was the set,

11 formal monthly exchange when the Secretary of State's

12 principal security advisers had an opportunity to advise

13 her on security. And that was its formal purpose.

14 It always followed a very broad format: security

15 developments first in the agenda, political

16 developments, often then normalisation or another issue

17 which might be topical, like, for example, the marching

18 season. And that was a formal meeting where the

19 Secretary of State's security advisers could advise him

20 or her about current issues.

21 Q. And in terms of Rosemary Nelson, was her name ever

22 brought up pre-murder at any of these meetings?

23 A. I do not have any clear recollection. I do have

24 a recollection of a reference which I think must have

25 been in the SPM in about the middle of July.





1 Q. Sorry, what year?

2 A. 1998.

3 Q. Thank you.

4 A. I went to SPM -- I think it was on actually 10 July. I

5 had forgotten this until I saw recent papers, but since

6 I was about to become the Director of Policing and

7 Security and since I was involved de facto in Drumcree

8 and much of the discussion was about Drumcree and the

9 12th, I went to it and I do vaguely remember her name

10 being mentioned. But I have trawled my memory many

11 times in the last while and I do not recall anything of

12 substance being said. Nor do I recall why her name

13 would have arisen, though if that meeting is as I think

14 it was on 10 July, it will have been in the context of

15 the preparations for the forthcoming Drumcree.

16 Q. And other than that recollection, July 1998, nothing

17 else pre-murder that would link in to Rosemary Nelson?

18 A. No, I have no recollection of any kind of discussions

19 with -- either with Ronnie Flanagan on a one-to-one

20 basis or at SPM. That is not to say there weren't. All

21 I'm saying is I have no recollection of any kind.

22 Q. And post-murder, discussions -- would it have reached

23 that level --

24 A. It might have done, it might well have done not least

25 because the impact that would have potentially on





1 security in the Portadown area or more widely or, for

2 example, the impact it might have on the forthcoming

3 marching season. Marches traditionally started at

4 Easter. She was murdered, I think, 15 March. So we

5 might have had some discussion at SPM of that kind, but

6 I think much of the discussion would have been outside

7 SPM.

8 Q. Nothing you can now recall that this Inquiry should know

9 about?

10 A. Do you mean in SPM itself?

11 Q. Yes.

12 A. Nothing that I recall -- have a crystallised memory of

13 at all in SPM itself, no.

14 Q. There were also Northern Ireland intelligence reports to

15 which you would have been circulated, as I understand.

16 Again, a similar question: do you recall Rosemary Nelson

17 being featured in those?

18 A. Again, I don't. My rough guess is that I would have

19 received about 30 NIIRs, Northern Ireland Intelligence

20 Reports, every week at a very rough guess over

21 a six-year period and I have no memory of any.

22 That is unlikely to be the case. I admit that.

23 I admit that it is unlikely that there was no reference

24 to her in any of those reports, but I do not have any

25 recollection of it.





1 Q. And I just want to understand a little bit more, if you

2 like, about how tapped in you were to the security

3 situation. So in a sense how aware you were of the most

4 sensitive intelligence in relation to the NIIRs, but

5 also in terms of whether there was a two-way process.

6 So whether, for example, you would proactively request

7 reports on certain issues -- you know, "This has come to

8 my attention. I would like the intelligence on this."

9 I appreciate that's a rather convoluted question,

10 but can you just expand on that aspect of your job,

11 please?

12 A. I certainly, I think, got all the NIIRs and other

13 intelligence material that was produced. You may

14 already have been advised, there was a -- the

15 intelligence that we got was called strategic

16 intelligence. In other words, we did not get

17 operational intelligence, namely that proscribed

18 organisation X was expected to attack target Y. We did

19 not get that. That was a matter for the police and the

20 Army and the security services to deal with. That would

21 never have come to us.

22 What we did get was information that might have

23 a bearing on the overall threat level in

24 Northern Ireland, the overall -- the posture of

25 [ redacted ] paramilitary





1 organisations. We would get analysis of that and

2 reports on that, but we did not get what was called

3 operational intelligence. So far as I am aware -- and I

4 can't prove a negative, but so far as I am aware,

5 I received everything that was produced.

6 Q. As I say -- my second part of the question, which was

7 whether it was in a sense a two-way street -- would you

8 ever request a specific briefing on a certain matter?

9 A. Yes, there were two ways of doing that. At least once

10 a year the Security Service would come and say our

11 priorities in reporting over the past year have been 1,

12 2, 3, 4, 5 by way of targets. I mean targets in the

13 intelligence-gathering sense. And they would ask

14 customers what are -- do you think those requirements

15 will remain in place, remain valid for the incoming

16 year, and one would say, "I would like a bit more on

17 this or, frankly, a bit less on that" and I would almost

18 invariably have said, "I want you to continue the stream

19 of reporting on Drumcree and public disorder surrounding

20 marching as a whole".

21 There was also at the end of each NIIR -- there was

22 a section where you could ask questions and I did from

23 time to time, say, please -- you know, “have you anything

24 on X above?”, or something of that kind, but very rarely.

25 But it did happen.





1 Q. And specifically on Rosemary Nelson, do you recall ever

2 make making --

3 A. I don't remember -- I probably did, but I have no

4 recollection of receiving any on Rosemary Nelson. So

5 I have no recollection of asking any questions there.

6 Q. Can we just look at a few documents, moving on, jumping

7 right ahead to post-murder just while we are on the

8 topic of intelligence. It is RNI-532-072 (displayed).

9 This is a briefing on the Red Hand Defenders and the

10 Orange Volunteers that you can see, and at paragraph 1,

11 addressed to yourself, it says:

12 "Thank you for your note ..."

13 That is the note from you:

14 "... in which you asked for some details of what the

15 RUC is doing to penetrate the RHD and OV."

16 Was that request, if you can recall, related

17 specifically to Rosemary Nelson's murder? Was that what

18 prompted this request?

19 A. I would think -- first of all, I have no recall of this

20 note or of my note of 20 May in which I had apparently

21 asked for some details of what the RUC is doing to

22 penetrate the Red Hand Defenders and Orange Volunteers.

23 I think that's two months after her death. I think it

24 is unlikely that I would have been asking that at that

25 point. I think it is probably more likely -- and this





1 is -- this is based on memory of a long time ago,

2 clearly. I think it is more likely that I had been down

3 to the Anglo-Irish Secretariat and had been asked

4 questions about the Red Hand Defenders and -- who were

5 alleged to have murdered Rosemary Nelson and I wanted to

6 know a bit more about what the Security Service and the

7 Special Branch knew about it. I think that's more

8 likely to be in the context. So if it is linked to

9 Rosemary Nelson's murder, it would have been indirect.

10 Q. I think you have probably answered my next question on

11 this already, but it was just to confirm whether having

12 seen that document, whether those sort of requests about

13 specific groups or, more specifically, threats to

14 certain people -- obviously we are concerned with

15 Rosemary Nelson -- whether you would have been sending

16 those sort of letters in relation to that -- whether you

17 did before -- we haven't seen documents that would

18 indicate -- but it is whether --

19 A. I would have from time to time, but it would have been

20 a particular issue which would have prompted my request.

21 I did -- although I think not by the time of 1999 --

22 1998/1999 -- I did eventually have

23 fortnightly/three-weekly meetings with the Director

24 of -- Coordinator of Intelligence. Actually I would

25 have got a lot of that sort of information from him in





1 that way. I cannot recall other instances, but there

2 certainly would have been, though infrequent.

3 Q. Can we just flick on to the next page, RNI-532-073,

4 paragraph 7 here (displayed), just while we are on that

5 document, you can see there you were informed of the

6 priorities of Special Branch and you talk about that and

7 the number of competing priorities.

8 Just to get a feel for whether you were involved in

9 advising on how the priorities should be directed, the

10 priorities of Special Branch?

11 A. No, not at all, categorically not, save through the

12 mechanism that I have already described of the Security

13 Service approaching us on an annual basis and saying,

14 "What should the priorities be?" And that would have

15 presumably fed back to Special Branch. But no,

16 certainly not directly.

17 Q. Can we just go to another document, RNI-532-082

18 (displayed). Now, this is incorrectly dated

19 8 June 1998. It should be 1999, which is clear from the

20 attached documents which refer to the murder of

21 Rosemary Nelson. In that paragraph, 4, you can see

22 there, talking about:

23 "You will recall the reaction to the information on

24 Nelson at the meeting this morning."

25 If we go over to page RNI-532-084 (displayed) --





1 this is my assumption on reading the document that this

2 is what the information was that people were reacting

3 to -- it is the comment there:

4 "The LVF was responsible ..."

5 It is the third bullet point under paragraph 6?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Oh, sorry, second bullet:

8 "The LVF was responsible for the murder of

9 Rosemary Nelson in Lurgan. Once again the attack was

10 claimed in the name of the Red Hand Defenders."

11 It is just a general question on the document,

12 whether there is anything else you feel you ought to

13 add, save what is in that document, any of the

14 background to that document?

15 A. I have no recall of the background. Could you just go

16 back two screens to the beginning of the document?

17 Q. RNI-532-082 (displayed).

18 A. I mean --

19 THE CHAIRMAN: You are saying 1998 should be 1999?

20 MS BROWN: It should be, yes.

21 A. I can't construe the background of this. This is

22 presumably from the [ redacted ], and I don't

23 understand what originated the document and I'm puzzled

24 by reference to the Chief Constable:

25 "... feeling, at a meeting that morning, that their





1 assessments should not make any specific recommendation

2 ..."

3 Sorry, the title makes it clear:

4 "Specification of the LVF."

5 The question must have arisen as to whether we

6 should de-specify the LVF.

7 Q. That was the context. I think there was an issue of

8 when it was going to happen?

9 A. Indeed. Sorry for not picking that up. Do you want me

10 to explain the specification and de-specification?

11 Q. I don't think we need to go into that.

12 A. Good, thank you.

13 Q. Just one more document on this -- and I can take it very

14 shortly -- it's RNI-532-206 (displayed). As you will

15 appreciate, part of my exercise is just to put documents

16 where you are clearly copied in or mentioned. That is

17 really just to show the following page, RNI-532-207

18 (displayed). You will see that you are in the copy

19 list. That shows that, still in 2002, you were being

20 regularly copied in regarding the investigation, you

21 were receiving regular updates. Is that an accurate --

22 A. Yes, I was. I think this didn't actually end until 2002

23 or, indeed, 2003 when -- certainly the point at which

24 Colin Port effectively withdrew or reduced his profile,

25 we would get -- Ken Lindsay would get occasional reports





1 from him about the investigation because Paul Nelson and

2 the family and their representatives continued to make

3 representation about the way in which the RUC/PSNI at

4 that time were conducting it.

5 Q. Can I just turn to another topic now, which is your

6 knowledge and perception of Rosemary Nelson. And I'm

7 going to deal with this in two sections: first of all,

8 before June 1998. So before we get any correspondence

9 concerning the complaints. Had you had any personal

10 contact with Rosemary Nelson prior to June 1998?

11 A. No, I met her on 11 July for the first time.

12 Q. Did you, despite not meeting her personally, have

13 a perception and, if so, what was that perception?

14 A. I clearly saw -- was being copied into papers like the

15 first round of correspondence with the CAJ, the

16 Torricelli correspondence probably -- it rings a bell,

17 at any rate -- Cumaraswamy. I was conscious of both the

18 allegations. I was conscious that the police disputed

19 those allegations and I was conscious of what was being

20 reported in the media.

21 That, I think, is my predominant memory. I probably

22 was aware that she was also the legal adviser to the

23 GRRC at that time, but I don't recall that. What I do

24 have an absolutely clear recollection of, crystal clear

25 recollection of, is that about the time I started the





1 job, I think in early July, when I was taking over de

2 facto responsibility, I remember thinking to myself,

3 "I must set aside what I have heard by way of

4 allegations about Rosemary Nelson, about her relations

5 as a solicitor with Colin Duffy and other of her

6 clients". I remember saying to myself I have no

7 evidence that those allegations, those attempts to

8 impugn her, were true because I realised that I might

9 have to deal with this person quite frequently and I did

10 not want to have that baggage in my mind in doing so.

11 That I have an absolutely clear recollection of.

12 So in a sense I'm a bit schizophrenic about it. I

13 was aware of the allegations, but was quite clear as to

14 the approach I wanted to take.

15 Q. I just want to be as clear as we can now, just to spend

16 a little bit of time on what exactly were those

17 allegations, the perceptions you had and, as far as

18 possible, where you had picked those up from?

19 A. Mainly -- well, the perceptions were that clearly she

20 was a defence lawyer, and that's a statement of fact.

21 I don't mean anything more than that. She defended --

22 she represented Colin Duffy. There were certainly

23 allegations in the media that her relation -- I think

24 that her relationship with Colin Duffy was not merely

25 professional.





1 Q. To stop there so we can try and take it stage by stage,

2 in relation to that, you are referring to media

3 allegations that she was having a sexual affair with

4 Colin Duffy?

5 A. That's what I understood to be allegations.

6 Q. Had you gained any information about that from anywhere

7 else, from your professional role as opposed to as

8 a member of the public?

9 A. Not that I recall from the Northern Ireland Office.

10 I do recall that the then Chief Constable in SPM -- and

11 this is the one recollection I have of Rosemary Nelson

12 being discussed -- referring to her in untoward terms by

13 referring to the allegations of her relationship with

14 Duffy. And it was at that point -- and this is why

15 I remember this so absolutely clearly -- and I think

16 this was the SPM on the day of 10 July 1998, the day

17 before the proximity talks -- it was then that

18 I remember thinking, "I must keep that -- you know,

19 anything that is not proven in relation to

20 Rosemary Nelson or, indeed, anybody else -- out of my

21 mind in dealing with her".

22 Q. So we have got to the issue of the relationship or the

23 alleged relationship with Colin Duffy. Were there

24 suggestions that that relationship -- obviously one can

25 have a personal relationship with someone, and then





1 there is another issue about whether one takes on their

2 views and beliefs and, indeed, works for the

3 organisation that they're considered to be working for.

4 Did it extend to that? That she was, well, at the

5 extreme, a PIRA lawyer, for example. Was that part of

6 the baggage that you were hearing?

7 A. Well, I did not -- I do not recall hearing that and I do

8 not think that I did hear that. I suppose that was the

9 inference that might be taken from what was being --

10 what I had read about allegations about her, but it was

11 not stated, that I recall, in those terms.

12 Q. And about what you read, not stated, I just want to get

13 the distinction here between what you were hearing in

14 your professional capacity and what you might be reading

15 in the press?

16 A. The only thing I recall about SPM on 10 July -- I think

17 it was 10 July. It should have been later, but I think

18 that is the most likely time. I do not have any

19 recollection of anything beyond that. I don't recall,

20 for example, office chat. I was not in the

21 Northern Ireland Office. I was in Central Secretariat.

22 So I think there was very little reason for me to hear

23 any such things should any such observations ever have

24 been made in the Northern Ireland Office, which would be

25 a bit surprising.





1 Q. You have been shown, I know, before coming to give

2 evidence, some various documents concerning intelligence

3 that related to, for example, allegations of improper

4 conduct, for example, false alibis and so on. Was that

5 material that ever came to your attention as far as you

6 can recall?

7 A. No.

8 Q. So no, not officially in terms of those documents --

9 A. Correct.

10 Q. -- and also no, not through the media?

11 A. Correct.

12 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Is it possible to remember the actual

13 words used by the Chief Constable at the SPM?

14 A. I think he used the term "an immoral woman".

15 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And in the context?

16 A. That's what I do not recall. The reason why I have an

17 absolutely clear recollection is because I thought

18 afterwards, "I have to separate this in my mind when I'm

19 dealing with her". That is why I remember it because

20 I actually went through a mental process thereafter,

21 immediately thereafter, at the meeting.

22 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Was it because you were about to go

23 into the proximity talks again? This was passed to you

24 as information relating to Rosemary Nelson and her

25 potential role?





1 A. This was at SPM. So the remark would not have been

2 addressed -- well, it might have been addressed to me,

3 but I don't think it was. It would have been addressed

4 to the Secretary of State and the meeting as a whole.

5 In what context, the wide context must have been

6 security force, police and Army preparations for

7 Drumcree and us briefing the Chief Constable and GOC on

8 the proximity talks process that we were about to embark

9 on. That must have been the context, I think.

10 But what the -- what the immediate surrounding

11 discussion was, I have no recall. Partly because

12 I switched off to go through that mental process that

13 I described to you. Why did I go through that mental

14 process? Because I was conscious that there were

15 allegations about the RUC's attitude to defence lawyers.

16 I didn't know whether -- I was inclined to disbelieve

17 them, but I could not be certain that the allegations

18 were untrue and I did not want to find myself in

19 a position where I was approaching her in a non--- what

20 I would regard as a non-professional way. By which

21 I mean her role in advising the Garvaghy Road Residents

22 Coalition had nothing whatsoever, in my view, to her

23 private life.

24 MS BROWN: We don't have any recollection of you saying this

25 in your statement, this particular recollection of the





1 Chief Constable's words. When did you first recall

2 this? Is it now as you are sitting here?

3 A. In the course of preparing. I mean -- simply.

4 Q. In the last few days before you came here?

5 A. Before that.

6 Q. And you then did come into direct contact with

7 Rosemary Nelson obviously at the proximity talks, in

8 that you were sitting round the same table, I presume?

9 A. I met her on the way in. Jonathan Powell and I and

10 Stephen Leach arrived quite early and I think from

11 recollection we met the Garvaghy Road Residents

12 Coalition delegation as I would imagine we met the

13 Orange delegation. And I remember being introduced, in

14 the gardens outside, to her and simply passing the time

15 of day courteously on both sides. I do not recall any

16 further conversations or contact with her at all.

17 Though, as you say, I must have been at meetings with

18 her in that proximity talks process at some point.

19 Q. And did you form your own independent impression of her

20 during the course of those proximity talks?

21 A. No, because I -- I don't recall her saying anything at

22 all. I mean, she doubtless said some things, but I

23 think, as other witnesses have said to you, the person

24 who dominated the conversation on the residents' side

25 was Breandan Mac Cionnaith. She may have said some





1 things in support, as others did, but predominantly the

2 interlocutor was Breandan.

3 Q. We have also heard from other witnesses, as you are

4 probably aware, a spectrum: at one extreme her being

5 very much part of the GRRC, very much part of them and

6 their cause, if one can put it like that, and the other

7 that she was very clearly defined as their legal

8 adviser, a distance between her and them. Can you put

9 her somewhere on the spectrum?

10 A. She was their legal adviser. Because she didn't --

11 I have no recall of her making any interventions in the

12 course of the proximity talks -- discussions. I wasn't,

13 incidentally, at all of them because there was a sort of

14 variable geometry arrangement. So some discussions I

15 would be at, others I would not be. But because I have

16 no recollection of her making an intervention, I have no

17 basis on which to form an opinion as to whether she was,

18 dare I say it, merely a legal adviser or whether she was

19 actually, as it were, a fully paid-up member of the

20 Coalition. And I am afraid I was mentally too lazy at

21 the time to make any sort of distinction in those terms.

22 Q. So you were talking about this exercise you went through

23 in your mind to, if you like, consider Rosemary Nelson

24 from a neutral standpoint. Was there anything that

25 occurred between that July SPM, when you now say there





1 was this comment brought to your attention by the

2 Chief Constable -- was there anything that either

3 confirmed or repudiated that view by the time of her

4 murder?

5 A. No. I would have met her -- there were two other

6 occasions when I might have met her. I went down for an

7 introductory meeting to both the Orange Order and,

8 separately, obviously, the Garvaghy Road Residents

9 Coalition in the Garvaghy Road in early September. It

10 was for an introduction in effect outside the hothouse

11 of the proximity talks. She may have been there. I'm

12 pretty sure -- Breandan Mac Cionnaith was certainly

13 there and did most of the talking. I think Joe Duffy

14 was there, I'm pretty certain he was, and there were

15 others. But I have absolutely no recollection of

16 whether Rosemary Nelson was.

17 There were also then proximity talks at Nutts Corner

18 just before Christmas 1998, which I attended most of but

19 not all of, and she must equally have been there and

20 I may have met her, but not on a face-to-face basis and

21 I formed no opinion of her contribution or I have no

22 recollection of her making any.

23 Q. Save for this one comment from Sir Ronnie Flanagan at

24 this meeting that you recall, although you didn't recall

25 it at the time you were making the statement, but have





1 subsequently recalled, any other comments in that vein

2 in any of your other meetings with him? Your informal

3 meetings or, indeed, formal meetings?

4 A. None that I recall. It is very likely -- it is hard to

5 imagine in fact that we didn't discuss the issue of

6 Drumcree. We did discuss the issue of Drumcree, but

7 I have no recollection of her name or the issue of the

8 security of the Coalition members coming up at any point

9 in those one-to-one meetings or at any other meetings.

10 Q. Paragraph 58 of your statement -- this is RNI-824-142

11 (displayed) -- you say there:

12 "I knew the police to have a pretty dim view of her.

13 I think Ronnie Flanagan probably did as well although I

14 do not recall him ever commenting on her to me."

15 That is slightly different now because you do recall

16 a specific comment?

17 A. It wasn't to me. I did recall -- I have reported the

18 SPM, but I don't recall him ever saying anything to me

19 in those discussions I had with him that was of the same

20 kind at all.

21 Q. So can you just expand a little on why it was that you

22 knew, first of all, the police to have a pretty dim view

23 of her? Why do you know that? What is your knowledge

24 based upon?

25 A. I think simply by the discussions that we had with the





1 police around the issue of Drumcree, the proximity

2 talks, how to resolve the issue, or it may have been

3 simply issues in the media. I learned at some point --

4 my impression was, though I don't recall the source of

5 the impression, that the police did take generally a dim

6 view of her.

7 Q. So where you are saying there:

8 "I think Ronnie Flanagan probably did as well

9 although I do not recall him commenting on her."

10 Is there anything you want to change in that

11 statement now?

12 A. I think probably because of what he said at SPM.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: If I might interrupt for a moment, Ms Brown,

14 you mentioned in discussions about Drumcree you gathered

15 that the police had a pretty dim view of

16 Rosemary Nelson. Did you meet other police officers

17 over the issue of Drumcree, sort of

18 assistant chief constables or subdivisional commanders?

19 A. I certainly did later. I met Superintendent -- Chief

20 Superintendent Donnan in 1998. I met

21 Assistant Chief Constable Tom Craig in 1999. I knew

22 ACC [redacted], who was in Headquarters, and

23 Stephen Leach had had lots of interface with him.

24 One of the things that I did in the job was to get

25 out and meet police officers, go to stations, go to





1 Headquarters, and it was probably in something of that

2 context that this impression arose, but actually I

3 cannot tie it down to any particular conversation.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: It was in general conversation with officers

5 when you were out and about?

6 A. Possibly, possibly. But I mean, I just had a general

7 impression that it was so.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

9 Yes, Ms Brown?

10 MS BROWN: And the basis of Sir Ronnie Flanagan's comment --

11 you said you recall it was that she was an immoral

12 woman. We have been talking about that in the context

13 of the alleged affair with Colin Duffy, but I just want

14 to be clear: if it was clear to you and, if so, why?

15 What was the basis of his comment, whether it was an

16 off-the-cuff comment or whether it was backed up with

17 intelligence, for example? I need to get a feel of the

18 context.

19 A. It was an off-the-cuff comment. If he had given

20 evidence for it then, I would not have gone through the

21 mental process that I described, which is that, "I have

22 no evidence for this. I must therefore not allow an

23 unevidenced aspersion to contaminate my impression of

24 Rosemary Nelson." So by definition I would suggest it

25 was an isolated comment.





1 Q. And the immorality was linked to the marital infidelity

2 rather than anything else?

3 A. I don't recall that it was. I think I'm making an

4 inference from subsequent knowledge that that is what it

5 must have been. I don't think there was a wider set of

6 observations than that. Otherwise -- I mean, had there

7 been some sort of evidence offered, as it were, I might

8 have taken -- I would not have gone through -- or I

9 would have been less likely to go through the thought

10 process that I have described to you.

11 Q. Did you ever come to the view that it was a police view

12 that Rosemary Nelson in some way in fact posed a threat

13 to them? We have heard a lot about threats posed to

14 Rosemary Nelson, but if she did -- if the allegation is

15 or the suggestion is that she had paramilitary links,

16 that in fact in some ways the police were wary of her?

17 A. I never had that impression. I don't think I recall any

18 suggestion that she was a member of the Provisionals or

19 a Provisional activist. I don't believe I ever heard

20 anything of that kind and I have no evidence to this

21 day -- not that I have sought it, but I have no evidence

22 to this day -- or any plausible information to this day

23 that that was so.

24 Q. Did it occur to you in your time in post that this dim

25 view that you say you knew the police held and that you





1 suspected Flanagan held in some way was likely to affect

2 their attitude to her security?

3 A. I did not believe that was at all likely. We can all --

4 if I may say so, we can all have private opinions about

5 all sorts of things, but when it comes to doing one's

6 business -- and civil servants are adept at this, they

7 are required to do this. We are required to set aside

8 our personal opinions in order to implement Government

9 policy. I expected the police to do the same, and in my

10 six years of dealing with them, I believe that they did.

11 Q. Because I think -- I hope it is a fair paraphrase of

12 Mr Donnan's evidence, and I think you have had an

13 opportunity to read through -- that he talked about

14 protection of terrorists -- I'm not putting for one

15 moment Rosemary Nelson in that category, but he was

16 talking about the different levels of protection

17 depending on whether that person was -- at one extreme,

18 he used the example of a judge and the other example of

19 a terrorist. So I'm drawing that there was a range of

20 protection he was talking about and, as I say, whether

21 Rosemary Nelson somehow didn't reach the top end of that

22 scale, I suppose.

23 A. I took his evidence to mean -- and it is perhaps not for

24 me to construe another witness's evidence. I took that

25 to mean that what was on his direct responsibility,





1 direct day-to-day, week in, week out responsibility was

2 that group of people, effectively people who were in the

3 Key Persons Protection Scheme. That's the way I read

4 it: That the issue of protection of others was not

5 dealt with at that level.

6 I don't, therefore, accept -- it is simply wrong to

7 suggest or to believe, if one did, that the police took

8 less account of threats to terrorists. They did go to

9 many hundreds of people in my time in the job, beginning

10 in 1998 -- my job beginning in 1998 -- to tell people,

11 including alleged terrorists of Loyalist and Republican

12 kinds, that there were threats against them. And they

13 did that dutifully. They may have found it

14 distasteful -- I don't know -- but they did it.

15 So I would be very slow to believe that they allowed

16 their professional judgment to be coloured by their own

17 personal opinions.

18 Q. I should say I think I have probably strayed wrongly

19 into trying to interpret Mr Donnan's evidence. That is

20 neither your role nor my role, but the Panel's role.

21 Just in relation to looking, again, at the extent to

22 which Rosemary Nelson was discussed prior to her murder.

23 We have talked about the Chief Constable. What about

24 with Mo Mowlam? Did she express concerns to you about

25 Rosemary Nelson or her safety or her morals or anything





1 else, come to that? Was Rosemary Nelson a subject of

2 discussion between you --

3 A. I have no recollection of her ever making any reference

4 to her private life. None whatsoever. It wouldn't have

5 been like Mo to do that.

6 Q. What about issues of her safety?

7 A. I don't recall having discussions with the Secretary of

8 State. There had been a series of allegations made

9 affecting Rosemary Nelson's safety in 1997 and 1998. In

10 my time, starting on 12 August 1998, the only point at

11 which the question of Rosemary Nelson's safety arose in

12 specific terms of Rosemary Nelson was in the CAJ letter

13 of, whatever it was, 5 August. And I have described in

14 my statement how I handled that, namely I saw the

15 submission from Lesley Foster through to Adam Ingram.

16 Thereafter, the issue of Rosemary Nelson's safety

17 was one that in my consciousness was raised only

18 generically by the GRRC. So actually there was very

19 little scope in my term -- in the period between my

20 appointment and her murder, at which her security was

21 a matter in front of ministers. So I don't think there

22 was any discussion with either Adam Ingram or Mo. If

23 there was, I have no recollection of it. There wasn't

24 and there must have been a record of it otherwise it

25 would have been shown to me.





1 Q. I'm going to turn now to a little bit more detail of

2 documents. Can we look at a document of 25 June 1998,

3 which is when you were copied into a confidential note

4 from Simon Rogers in the Police Division to the

5 Secretary of State? This is a letter from the ICPC

6 about its dissatisfaction with the RUC investigation

7 into the complaints by Rosemary Nelson regarding police

8 alleged harassment and intimidation that, as you are

9 aware, were allegedly made through the medium of her

10 clients. That's a document at RNI-106-217.504, if we

11 could have that up on the screen (displayed)?

12 A. I have it in front of me.

13 Q. RNI-106-217.504. Anyway, if the witness has got it, we

14 can flick back to it in a moment. You refer in your

15 statement -- and this is RNI-824-125, paragraph 6. I

16 don't think we need to go back to the statement or we

17 will get lost in the documents, but in your statement

18 you refer to an awareness of the fact that there were

19 regular complaints against the police for harassment and

20 intimidation and you say usually made by Republicans.

21 We have heard from Mr Steele, your predecessor,

22 about concerns about allegations and complaints against

23 police officers being used as part of a campaign to

24 undermine the police. Can you comment generally on the

25 suggestion that there was a campaign and then we will





1 move specifically on to whether you consider that

2 Rosemary Nelson's complaints were part of that campaign?

3 A. I was in the Central Secretariat at this point, so not

4 involved directly in policing and security. I would

5 have been aware of it because it was a matter which was

6 reported in the media. It was a matter that was

7 reported in -- when ministers had discussions with

8 representatives of Nationalism, Republicanism and NGOs.

9 So I was aware that there were a number of --

10 a series of complaints and I was aware that -- my

11 impression was that most came from Republicans. But it

12 was a general knowledge of simply seeing papers and

13 being involved as an official in political development.

14 Q. And did you hold a view either way of whether

15 Rosemary Nelson's office was part of a Republican

16 campaign?

17 A. No.

18 Q. To complain --

19 A. No, and I want to say I have no evidence that that was

20 the case; not then, not now.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: In paragraph 6 of your statement, you say:

22 "I remember Christine Collins and John Steele met

23 Ronnie Flanagan at the time to discuss the issue that

24 was of threatening remarks allegedly made."

25 What did you learn about that?





1 A. This is one of those strange fragmentary memories one

2 has. I remember going out to the car park at lunchtime,

3 or just after lunch, to go to a meeting and going out of

4 the office were John and Christine. And I think in sort

5 of gallows humour, as it were, John said to me, "We are

6 going to have a meeting with the Chief Constable of this

7 terribly complex issue. I wish you well with it."

8 I mean, it was something of that kind. And I remember

9 thinking wryly to myself, "Was I really wise to apply

10 for this job?" That is actually the sum and substance

11 of that recollection.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

13 MS BROWN: Just dealing with paragraph 6, you say there that

14 Rosemary Nelson's case would have resonated in the

15 political arena. So you have talked about the fact that

16 there was this general view in terms of a Republican --

17 complaints coming mainly more from the Republican side

18 of the community, but that Rosemary Nelson's ones would

19 have resonated in the political arena and that was why

20 you were copied in. Can you explain your comment there?

21 Why is it that once you got a complaint from

22 Rosemary Nelson as opposed to any --

23 A. Because she was a defence lawyer.

24 Q. Just because she was a defence lawyer?

25 A. Because she was a defence lawyer and there had been





1 history, since Pat Finucane's murder, of anxiety about

2 relations between the police and defence lawyers.

3 I had been -- it wasn't long after I had left

4 private office, about a year after I had left private

5 office, that Finucane was murdered. I was still

6 interested in keeping close contact through the media,

7 through the press with what was happening and I was

8 clearly aware that there were issues, allegations about

9 the police's handling of and relationship to defence

10 lawyers. And for that reason I would have realised that

11 that would have registered on the political agenda, as

12 it did.

13 Q. So had it being another defence lawyer, you think one

14 would have still got to the stage of a memo to

15 Mo Mowlam's level or do you think it was because it was

16 Rosemary Nelson?

17 A. Well, you are referring to the memo of 25 June?

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. Well, the memo of 25 June I think was enabling the

20 Secretary of State to respond to a letter from the

21 Independent Commission on Police Complaints. So had

22 there been a -- had there been an allegation that

23 David Watkins, a defence solicitor, had been the subject

24 of threat but that that threat alleged against me was

25 not the subject of an ICPC letter to the Secretary of





1 State, no, I possibly would not have known about that.

2 But I did know about it simply because of that

3 submission replying to the ICPC letter.

4 Q. Because one of the unusual features, it seems, is that

5 we are on one side seeing an issue that is considered so

6 significant in terms of political importance that one is

7 getting up to, as I say, the level of Mo Mowlam and her

8 having a memo presented to her about that -- and we will

9 get into the Mulvihill Report and so on -- but there

10 isn't a strand that goes along the line of actually

11 looking about what actually is going to be done for

12 Rosemary Nelson's protection in practical terms; is she

13 going to be protected. I just wonder if you can assist

14 on that? It seems to have gone ahead on one strand,

15 which is the management of the correspondence, if one

16 can look at it like that, and the political response,

17 but it doesn't seem to have gone ahead in aspects of

18 what, in fact, are we going to do about the seriousness

19 of the alleged threats?

20 A. Can I point out first of all that I was not then

21 responsible for policing and security. That wasn't

22 until 12 August, six weeks after this letter. But the

23 fact is that -- and I was aware of this at the time --

24 Simon Rogers had sought from the police an assessment of

25 the risk to Rosemary Nelson's life as early





1 as February/March 1998, after a meeting, I think, with

2 the American lawyers. So the issue of her security had

3 been dealt with quite properly and professionally along

4 the established channels. So I think that's the way

5 that matter had been handled already.

6 Q. But isn't there running through all that a fundamental

7 flaw in that the people who were doing the assessment

8 and looking at the threat to Rosemary Nelson were the

9 police and yet, in Rosemary Nelson's case, the threat

10 was coming from the police?

11 A. Yes, that is quite so.

12 Q. Allegedly coming from the police?

13 A. Allegedly coming from the police, thank you. That is

14 quite so. The threat allegedly came from local police

15 in Portadown, as I understood it. Threat assessments,

16 as I later understood -- although I'm not sure I would

17 have understood this until I was some time into my job

18 as Director of Police and Security. Threat assessments

19 were undertaken by Security Branch of the RUC and they

20 took the advice of Special Branch Headquarters,

21 Headquarters of the RUC.

22 Her security, the assessment of her security was not

23 in the hands of officers in Lurgan or Portadown, would

24 not have been in the hands of those who had allegedly --

25 and I underline again "allegedly" -- issued those





1 threats.

2 I had seen -- as Private Secretary to the Secretary

3 of State in the mid 80s, I had seen the police under

4 immense pressure and under great threat from Loyalists

5 after the Anglo-Irish Agreement and I had seen what they

6 had suffered. I had seen the way they had suffered in

7 1996 in terms of serious injuries, in terms of defending

8 Nationalists on the Garvaghy Road. The question wasn't

9 as simple as that, of course, but what I'm saying is

10 they did maintain their discipline in handling

11 Loyalists. And I knew the Chief Constable and many

12 senior officers, and I knew then as I know now that they

13 would have had no truck whatsoever with the sort of

14 threats that were alleged to have been made against

15 Rosemary Nelson. And since threat assessments were

16 undertaken by RUC Headquarters, I had confidence that

17 had there been any grounds for anxiety about the conduct

18 of RUC officers amounting to a threat against

19 Rosemary Nelson's life, that would have been objectively

20 and professionally taken into account. I believed that

21 then and I believe that now.

22 Q. Can we just turn to RNI-106-217.505 (displayed)? That's

23 the summary of the UN report that was attached to the

24 Simon Rogers memo. That's suggesting that the

25 Government should provide protection to the solicitors





1 or barristers who are the recipients of threat, so

2 actually provide concrete protection. And it is also

3 commenting about the need for independent and impartial

4 investigation of threats.

5 Now, obviously at this time the Police Ombudsman was

6 in the footing, so it seems that in principle the

7 Government had accepted, hadn't they, that what one did

8 need was an impartial, independent look at police

9 complaints, i.e. investigations of the police from someone

10 outside the police?

11 A. Yes. That, again, pre-dated my time but that is so,

12 yes.

13 Q. And your last answer was saying you were very confident

14 that because there was this HQ regional divide that any

15 problems, any threats for Rosemary Nelson, would have

16 been thrown up. But that seems to be at odds with the

17 fact that in fact you were implementing a system that

18 was a new system, presumably, because you considered the

19 old system was flawed?

20 A. But with respect, the Ombudsman and the ICPC process

21 were about investigating complaints about the conduct of

22 police officers. What I thought we were talking

23 about -- and forgive me if I'm wrong about this -- was

24 the process by which threat assessments were derived.

25 Those were two different processes, and I think -- you





1 know, I think it is important to keep the two discrete.

2 Q. In a sense, you have got to the heart of one of the big

3 problems in this case we are looking at, because in fact

4 what we are looking at here -- and in fact what the

5 concern was being expressed by the UN, the Cumaraswamy

6 Reports, by the various NGOs -- that Rosemary Nelson was

7 in fact facing threats coming via the police officers.

8 Now, the way that was pursued by Rosemary Nelson was

9 via the complaints system. Obviously the Ombudsman

10 wasn't in place, but do you -- and I take it you weren't

11 in role at July, but you became in August under that,

12 and what I'm looking at is not a, well, these were the

13 rules but what actually was being done then by yourself

14 or others to actually address the fact that

15 Rosemary Nelson was allegedly, in substance, saying she

16 was being threatened by police officers and no one was

17 investigating those threats by police officers?

18 A. Well, I was doing nothing. I wasn't responsible. I was

19 in Central Secretariat. It was not my responsibility to

20 do anything of the kind. It would have been wrong for

21 me to do so.

22 Q. But when you came into post from August and the issue

23 remained ongoing, did you not consider at that point --

24 as I say, having recognised the need for an ombudsman --

25 that something needed to be done at that stage?





1 A. I'm at a bit of a loss as to what this something is.

2 Are we now talking about complaints or are we talking

3 about threat assessments?

4 Q. I'm talking about the reality of the situation. I'm

5 trying to avoid being taken down either complaints or

6 threats. I'm talking about allegedly police officers --

7 and it is allegedly -- had made threats to

8 Rosemary Nelson and that had come to your attention and

9 what was being done about that?

10 A. I would immediately construe that in terms of a threat

11 to her life and that's what we are talking about. That

12 therefore, I think, takes me not down the avenue of the

13 process of lodging complaints and how they are

14 investigated, but how a threat against somebody's life

15 was to be assessed.

16 The way that was handled before my time was that

17 Simon had referred the information available to the NIO

18 to the police for an assessment of the threat

19 in February/March 1998 and we did the same when we -- in

20 the course of -- as you know, in August 1998 in the

21 light of the letter from the CAJ. We referred the

22 information that we had to the RUC, who were the

23 legitimate constituted body to conduct threat

24 assessments. And I have already explained to you that I

25 had confidence in those threat assessments because of





1 the bifurcation, if you wish, between the Lurgan and the

2 Portadown officers on the one hand, who may or may not

3 have been involved in the threats, and Headquarters, who

4 were conducting the threat assessments, on the other.

5 Q. Did you take any steps to enquire as to how Headquarters

6 had gone about considering whether the alleged threats

7 from police officers at local level had any substance to

8 them?

9 A. No, because the issue of those threats as an issue of

10 complaint was not current in that period.

11 Can I then just take you up actually on a line of

12 questioning that you put to Tony McCusker, and that is

13 a suggestion that we could have or should have developed

14 an independent view of the threat to Rosemary Nelson and

15 steps that might be taken?

16 I would want to say very clearly that I think we

17 neither could nor should have done that. Why couldn't

18 we? Because we didn't have the information. The

19 information we had on threats to Rosemary Nelson came

20 from the allegations made by -- in reports by

21 Cumaraswamy, the CAJ, et al. That was the information

22 we had. Then in August we received the pamphlet and the

23 note. All of that was referred to the RUC, but that was

24 the only information we had about a threat to

25 Rosemary Nelson.





1 The police had, one might reasonably expect, a much

2 wider range of information, which had a bearing on

3 Rosemary Nelson from intelligence held by Special Branch

4 down to, if they wished, sector reports on -- you know,

5 on matters that might have affected where she lived,

6 et cetera, et cetera.

7 So it was the police who had both constitutionally

8 the responsibility and the information to conduct

9 a threat assessment. We did not. Nor had we the

10 training or the expertise to do that threat assessment.

11 This is an art and not a science, as somebody said to

12 me. This is a matter of weighing up and put --

13 attaching a weight to the reliability of pieces of

14 information.

15 We had no -- there was no way in which we could have

16 done that. There was -- we didn't have the training and

17 we didn't have the information. And I suggest to you

18 that if we had -- if the line of questioning was put to

19 Tony on the basis that if we had had an independent view

20 we could and should have substituted it for the police's

21 view, my reaction if that proposal had been put to me at

22 the time would have been to reject any such proposition.

23 We would have faced serial judicial reviews, which would

24 have been impossible to defend, as to whether we had met

25 the Wednesbury test of reasonableness and consistency





1 about the basis on which we had adopted an independent

2 review.

3 And lastly -- and I will stop at this -- independent

4 views cut both ways. If we had an independent view in

5 one case that the police were not attaching sufficient

6 weight to certain information and that the threat

7 against him was greater, then in principle as well we

8 could have taken an independent view that the

9 information -- that the police's assessment was

10 exaggerated. Cartographers in the Middle Ages used to

11 describe the area west of Gibraltar as "here be

12 monsters". Well, here be monsters. That is not an area

13 we could or should have got into, and we didn't.

14 Q. What you did have -- and it is up on the screen -- is

15 the report from the UN talking about threats to defence

16 lawyers, talking about protection of solicitors or

17 barristers and the need for independent and impartial

18 investigation where there are threats. Now, was that

19 given detailed consideration in the case of

20 Rosemary Nelson, that there should have been protection

21 provided for her and independent, impartial

22 investigation of those threats? That proposition in the

23 UN, was that actually given consideration in relation to

24 Rosemary Nelson?

25 A. Could you remind me of the date of that document,





1 please?

2 Q. Well, this is in fact an extract that is annexed to the

3 Simon Rogers's memo of 25 June. I will have to get

4 someone to check the date of the report, but it preceded

5 that --

6 A. Cumaraswamy certainly preceded my time in office and I

7 do not know whether that was done or have any comment to

8 make on it. It was simply before my time in office.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: I think the stenographer and, indeed, you,

10 Mr Watkins, deserve a 20-minute break.

11 (2.20 pm)

12 (Short break)

13 (2.40 pm)

14 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Before you start asking further

15 questions, perhaps I could just ask you, Mr Watkins,

16 reverting to the subject of the police doing threat

17 assessments, how exact do you reckon your knowledge was

18 of the process which they went through?

19 A. I wouldn't overclaim for it. I have a broad -- if I may

20 say so, as a deputy secretary, I wouldn't necessarily

21 have precise information. It wasn't as if on my

22 appointment, or at any other point, somebody said, "Now,

23 here are the detailed steps". I was very conscious

24 because I had been in private office before, because I

25 was in the KPPS scheme and because I had worked in





1 Central Secretariat, I was aware that it was done by

2 Headquarters, that they consulted with the regional

3 Special Branch. But within Headquarters it was done by

4 Headquarters Special Branch and by the security

5 department. I mean, that's it. What they then did in

6 terms of precise steps thereafter, I would not claim any

7 knowledge.

8 I mean, clearly over six years I got an

9 understanding and -- a much better understanding than I

10 had in August 1998 of how the police went about their

11 work and how the Security Service went about their work

12 in terms of evaluating, attaching weight to, pieces of

13 information, then assessing whether organisations or

14 individuals had both the intent and the capability to

15 commit a crime, a terrorist attack. But that is

16 something that I sort of learnt osmotically in the

17 course of six years. I would not say that if you asked

18 me to do a 10-page essay on the steps involved to make

19 the threat assessment, I'm not saying I could do more

20 than the sort of section headings.

21 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right, so you wouldn't then have

22 known particularly what value got added at each stage of

23 the Rosemary Nelson threat assessment?

24 A. No, but one point that I keep coming back to is that

25 because Headquarters was involved, not just





1 Portadown/Lurgan/Craigavon, I was content to rely on

2 that.

3 Could I just add -- I don't know this. You will

4 doubtless have an opportunity to test this for

5 yourselves, if I may say so -- I would be surprised in

6 retrospect if Ronnie Flanagan himself had not, as it

7 were, signed off on that. But I don't know that.

8 I say that because Rosemary Nelson was clearly such

9 an important person in terms of her perception in the

10 Nationalist community, point (a). Point (b), Ronnie was

11 very aware at all points of the damage that could be

12 done to Nationalist confidence in policing, which was

13 always very qualified, to put it no higher that. But he

14 would have been extremely aware of the damage to the

15 reputation of the RUC had Rosemary Nelson been killed,

16 as of course happened.

17 His reputation and, more so, the RUC's was very

18 severely damaged. So let me say, it wouldn't surprise

19 me at all if Ronnie had himself signed off on that. If

20 that was the case, that sort of thinking was the sort of

21 assurance that I would have drawn from my knowledge of

22 the process.

23 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I see, thank you.

24 MS BROWN: I just want to clear up some matters that other

25 people have assisted me with in the break we have had.





1 You said in relation to the SPM on 10 July that you

2 weren't sure of the context in which the comment you now

3 recall from Sir Ronnie Flanagan came up. I think two

4 possibilities I'm just going to put to you -- it may be

5 that these don't prompt your memory, but just in case

6 they do. One is that there is correspondence -- I don't

7 think we need to actually going to it specifically --

8 but it refers to Rosemary Nelson, in correspondence to

9 the Attorney General, seeking an injunction in relation

10 to the marching and whether that may have been the

11 context in which her name was raised. I don't know in

12 that helps you at all?

13 A. Thank you for the prompt. I do recall that there was an

14 injunction was sought and since it would have been in

15 the favour, as it were, of the Coalition, then

16 presumably Rosemary Nelson would have been the one who

17 would have sought it. That may well be the case.

18 It doesn't -- I do remember that happening. Whether

19 that was the proximate cause of the discussion, I don't

20 know. I'm inclined still to think it was simply

21 a discussion preparation for Drumcree and our attempts

22 to mount proximity talks.

23 Q. It may be the other possibility won't prompt you either,

24 but I'll take it to you for completeness. I will show

25 you this document. It is RNI-106-234 (displayed).





1 Now, this shows two things, I think. It first shows

2 that your recollection about the 10 July and SPM is

3 correct because it says there:

4 "The Secretary ... speaks to the Chief Constable at

5 the SPM -- this afternoon's SPM."

6 We see there under "Timescale", so it helps us there

7 with the date. It also refers there to the issue being

8 raised about the ICPC there and does in fact relate --

9 if we look down at the bottom, these include

10 Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy as well as the Lawyers

11 Alliance for Justice. So it is talking about the ICPC

12 concerns there, but one does have, for what it is worth,

13 Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy's names put together,

14 obviously because that's in the context of complaints

15 and nothing else. But that was my other question to

16 you: whether you thought that that topic was in fact

17 discussed, whether that maybe was the prompt for the

18 comment if, indeed, there was a comment?

19 A. It might have been. My -- I did see that and I also saw

20 Ken Lindsay's, who was then Mo's private secretary,

21 record of the conversation. And I inferred from that --

22 and it is only an inference; I may be wholly wrong --

23 that the discussion was in the margins of SPM, which did

24 frequently happen. Quite frequently, if there was an

25 issue, for example, which did not involve the Army --





1 and this did not involve the Army -- then the Secretary

2 of State might have said -- and other secretaries of

3 state did the same. She might have said to Ronnie, "I

4 want to discuss this with you privately afterwards".

5 And I rather inferred that from Ken Lindsay's note, that

6 that -- but I do not recall. I cannot be confident

7 about either of those possibilities.

8 Q. Just so that everyone can follow the two-way discussion

9 you and I are having, which is page RNI-106-250.500

10 (displayed). That is the document you were shown in the

11 break that you are referring to. And there we see --

12 well, we can read it:

13 "The Secretary of State took the opportunity of

14 meeting with the Chief Constable on another subject

15 this afternoon to discuss the matters raised in your

16 submission of 10 July."

17 So that's the submission we have just seen about the

18 ICPC point, and that's, I think, the informal discussion

19 and that's one that you think you would have been at?

20 A. If it was an informal discussion, I would not have been

21 at it. If it had been at SPM in full, then I would have

22 been at that. My inference -- and it is only an

23 inference after ten years and reading the papers -- is

24 that there was a side meeting either before or, much

25 more likely, after SPM where Mo and maybe John Steele





1 and Mo's private secretary would have discussed

2 it privately. But I'm not absolutely

3 confident.

4 Private secretaries didn't normally attend SPM in my

5 recollection, and I think if it had been SPM, Ken would

6 have said so rather than at a meeting to discuss another

7 subject. That doesn't sound like SP characterisation.

8 But that's an inference after ten years. It is not

9 based on memory and my memory doesn't elucidate

10 anything, I am afraid.

11 Q. You were at the SPM, but not informal meeting --

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. -- so if your recollection is correct, the comment was

14 made at the SPM?

15 A. That's undoubtedly right, but there were other reasons

16 why SPM -- as I've explained, why the SPM could have

17 been discussing Drumcree and the proximity talks. It's

18 quite conceivable in that context that, for example, the

19 injunction point may have arisen in that context, the

20 meeting SPM concluded and then Mo and Ronnie would have

21 gone into a private conclave on the ICPC issue.

22 I'm merely putting a possible set of circumstances

23 to the Inquiry. I'm not saying which it was. I don't

24 have any recollection.

25 Q. We also see, while we have that document on the





1 screen -- I was talking before about when steps were

2 taken and putting to you the UN document referring to an

3 independent investigation.

4 Now, there was an investigation by a policeman, but

5 a non-RUC policeman, of the complaints by

6 Commander Mulvihill. And we see that there in the

7 middle paragraph that in fact we know -- I don't want to

8 go through this in detail with you, but presumably you

9 were aware that Commander Mulvihill was appointed to

10 investigate the matters and that he was supervised by

11 the ICPC?

12 A. I am indeed, yes, and of course to revert back to the

13 document you showed me about Cumaraswamy, it is worth

14 just pointing out again that we were well advanced in

15 establishing the office of the Police Ombudsman. I

16 think we had got statutory backing for that in around

17 the same time and we appointed her, the Police

18 Ombudsman, I think the following summer. And her office

19 went live some time in 1999/2000, and took us, if I may

20 say so, in my estimation, well ahead of anything in the

21 UK then and arguably still.

22 It is not as if we were insouciant, ignorant or

23 careless about criticisms of the RUC complaint handling

24 process. We had actually adopted a pretty radical model

25 and were well in progress through putting it in place.





1 So we were not negligent or insouciant about the issue.

2 Q. I think that's exactly the point I was coming on to

3 because I think you are accepting there that there had

4 been a reaction to the concerns about, if you like,

5 police investigating police in the broadest terms.

6 There had been -- as you say, a lot of your work was

7 devoted to the Police Ombudsman. But looking back

8 now -- and I appreciate with the advantage of

9 hindsight -- one view could be that Rosemary Nelson was

10 someone who fell through the gaps. She fell in the

11 period before the Ombudsman was there, even though one

12 is looking here at a complaint about police officers

13 that would have, if you like, have been the ideal

14 complaint to be dealt with by a Police Ombudsman. It

15 wasn't set up at that time and, as I say, she in effect

16 fell into that gap. Is that something you would accept

17 now? I appreciate with hindsight but ...

18 A. With respect, I think it is the sort of remark one might

19 make with hindsight. Parliament had established the

20 ICPC. Parliament then accepted that the ICPC should be

21 replaced by the Police Ombudsman. We had completed that

22 Bill, I think Police Division had, in June or July 1998.

23 We were going as quickly as we could to establish -- to

24 give expression to Parliament's intentions. That, I

25 think, is, if I may say so, a rather more dispassionate





1 way of describing the way in which Rosemary Nelson was

2 handled.

3 We couldn't say, gosh, Rosemary Nelson or anybody

4 else of particular concern, let's ignore the body that

5 Parliament has established, the ICPC, and bring into

6 play, urgentissimo and by some magical process, a body

7 that did not exist.

8 She was dealt with by the means which Parliament had

9 put in place to do so. That's in terms of her

10 complaint. In terms of the threat, she was dealt with

11 by the mechanism also that constitutionally was provided

12 for, namely the RUC making a threat assessment, with the

13 possibility, had a request been made, that she could

14 have been admitted to the KPPS. But I'm sure you will

15 take me on to that.

16 Q. Where you left with residual concerns about Mrs Nelson's

17 security, even after the threat assessments came back?

18 A. I think I said in my statement that when I went into the

19 job, I had what Tony McCusker described as the opinion

20 of the man in the street, that, you know, surely there

21 was something to all this. But that was before

22 I understood the nature, albeit the broad nature, as

23 I have described, of the way in which the police

24 conducted their processes. And there is a very big

25 difference between -- and, again, I think Tony's





1 statement says this and I agree with him. There is

2 a world of difference between generalised -- a threat of

3 the kind contained in the leaflet and in the note posted

4 to her on the one hand and a police assessment taking

5 into account all the -- in the round, the information

6 that is available to them. There is a very big

7 difference between the two.

8 Lots of people were at threat, lots of categories of

9 people were at threat. There were individual threats

10 made to many, many -- to scores if not hundreds of

11 people in Northern Ireland. It was the job of the

12 police to sift out those that they believed were

13 material.

14 Q. If we can just go back then to the Simon Rogers' memo,

15 RNI-106-217.507 here (displayed).

16 A. Sorry, Simon Rogers' memo of which date, 25 June?

17 Q. Yes. So this is looking at the Government handling of

18 the situation.

19 We have looked at the fact that parts of the UN

20 report and so on were annexed to it, and we see there

21 at 11:

22 "Against this background there are three aspects to

23 consider.

24 "The current allegations against the officers ..."

25 Which were being investigated and, as I have said,





1 went on to the appointment of Mulvihill and that's how

2 that was addressed:

3 "The actions or otherwise of the police interviewing

4 officer in the investigation ..."

5 So the initial investigation, internal RUC

6 investigation which was also looked at by Mulvihill.

7 And then the other aspect is whether wider aspects need

8 to be examined. And if we go on to annex F, which is

9 RNI-106-217.516 (displayed) -- this is a document that

10 is going to have to be rotated so we can read it -- in

11 the third column we look at the wider issues:

12 "Until now we have relied on the fact that the

13 allegations are being investigated."

14 Then it goes on to point out:

15 "We have a body of criticism of RUC treatment of

16 defence lawyers ... Mr Cumaraswamy. The ICPC letter

17 adds to this."

18 Then it sets out three possible options. Now,

19 Mr Steele's evidence on this point was that these wider

20 issues, the wider issues of threats to Rosemary Nelson

21 as a defence lawyer in the wider sense, were not

22 addressed at this stage, and I presume in relation to

23 your answer about the Ombudsman being in place but not

24 by then, you would agree with that answer, would you?

25 A. Yes. Yes, but bearing in mind I was not at that point





1 responsible, so I'm not authoritative as to whether

2 anything was done, but I am quite sure John was right --

3 Q. Perhaps my question should have taken it into the

4 future. Those wider issues weren't addressed prior to

5 her murder in fact. They weren't addressed then and

6 they weren't addressed ...?

7 A. The wider issues in terms of the three options that

8 Simon's annex enumerates weren't, no. They were after

9 her death.

10 Q. Turning now to Drumcree and the proximity talks in

11 a little bit more detail, paragraph 8 of your

12 statement -- and this is RNI-824-126 (displayed) -- you

13 use very strong imagery, saying that:

14 "Drumcree was the septic sore poisoning Northern

15 Ireland [and] having the potential to destabilise the

16 Good Friday Agreement."

17 Now, without going into a history lesson, can you

18 just expand a little bit on how central Drumcree was to

19 the political situation overall?

20 A. Well, Drumcree had become ---a problem in the 80s,

21 although I wasn't really aware of that. But it became

22 a very big issue from 1995 onwards. 1996 -- I happened

23 to be abroad on leave at the time, but 1996 was a period

24 of some weeks when there were serious questions asked

25 about the rule of law in Northern Ireland. It was -- we





1 were very close to breakdown. I think as close to

2 breakdown probably as I ever recall, in terms of the

3 widespread nature of violence on both sides with, often,

4 the police in the middle.

5 1997 was pretty bad, but not quite so bad. Then

6 in April -- and these are very crude characterisations.

7 Then in April 1997 we had the Belfast Agreement with the

8 Good Friday Agreement. Now, that was an extraordinary

9 achievement by the Prime Minister after a quite

10 exceptional investment of the Prime Minister's time in

11 the matter. There was then very great concern both

12 amongst ministers in the Northern Ireland Office and in

13 Downing Street that, as I said before, the soil in which

14 they expected the Good Friday Agreement to grow could be

15 poisoned if there were another very serious and

16 acrimonious stand-off. And there was a serious and

17 acrimonious stand-off.

18 And I hesitate to quibble with the evidence of my

19 predecessor, but 1998 was a bad year. I think it was

20 1999 when it was started to decline. 1998 was a bad

21 year because it was the first year when the Parades

22 Commission had statutory backing for its work and it

23 was -- it was sufficiently bad for the Prime Minister to

24 authorise his Chief of Staff to invest a great deal of

25 his time in the first two weeks of July and thereafter





1 to the issue. And if you read, for example,

2 Jonathan Powell's book that was published in the

3 Springtime, you will see there just how alarmed on his

4 account -- and it chimes with my inside knowledge, how

5 alarmed Downing Street and the Prime Minister were about

6 the risk of the -- possibly even the collapse --

7 certainly the deferral of the implementation of the

8 Good Friday Agreement on account of Drumcree.

9 One last point if I may, just to symbolise the

10 importance of this. The Prime Minister authorised

11 Jonathan Powell to come to the talks in Nutts Corner

12 in December and we could not quite understand why he was

13 clearly slightly on edge until later that night. It was

14 the night when the Anglo British bombing attacks on Iraq

15 took place.

16 For the Prime Minister to authorise his

17 Chief of Staff to be away from Downing Street on the day

18 of an international military operation I think is a very

19 good emblem of the importance that the Prime Minister

20 gave to the issue. I hope that helps.

21 Q. Yes, it does. And what I want to draw from that is how,

22 as you very graphically describe -- the importance of

23 Drumcree, how that led on to, if you like,

24 Rosemary Nelson's profile and bringing her to the

25 forefront. So the question really is: how and whether





1 Rosemary Nelson's profile was increased, and if so and

2 in what way over this period?

3 A. Well, it was increased. I was -- it is very difficult

4 for me to measure -- to recall now to what extent it was

5 increased. Cyril Donnan, I think, told you last week

6 that she did interviews on behalf of the Coalition, and

7 I have no reason -- I just do not recall that's the

8 case. I have no reason to doubt that's so.

9 Her public profile certainly was raised through the

10 issue. Whereas, I think, most people would not have

11 known who Rosemary Nelson was, they might have heard of

12 her in relation to, you know, the reports from

13 Cumaraswamy, et cetera -- they might have done. But I

14 think the average man in the street would have -- the

15 average person in the street would have recognised who

16 she was on the back of her role in relation to the

17 Coalition.

18 Q. Thank you. And did it lead her to being associated with

19 the Republican Nationalist cause, the fact that she was

20 being brought to the forefront in the context of the

21 GRRC?

22 A. It depends what audience you are talking about. Clearly

23 both the leaflet and the threat note suggests rather

24 strongly that in the mind of some people she was. I

25 would say that in my mind I never associated her with





1 that, as I did not associate Breandan Mac Cionnaith,

2 incidentally. And I think it is worth -- just worth

3 bringing out.

4 Unionists and Loyalists and the Orange Order

5 constantly said that Mac Cionnaith was a Provo and he

6 took his directions from the Provos and from Sinn Fein.

7 I never believed that to be the case and I do not

8 believe that to be the case. He was his own man. He

9 was -- without the pejorative sense, he is a maverick.

10 He joined the Borough Council as an independent. He

11 then aligned himself with Sinn Fein, and a couple of

12 years ago he became an independent again. I do not

13 believe him to be a -- subject to the Republican

14 movement and -- nor did I believe, nor do I believe,

15 that Rosemary Nelson was either.

16 Q. That was in fact one of questions that I have been asked

17 to ask you. You have answered it. But it was whether

18 your perception was that the GRRC was being controlled

19 by Sinn Fein or PIRA?

20 A. No, not at all. And I have a recollection of a senior

21 Sinn Fein official -- I think it might have been a

22 politician -- I think it might have been

23 Martin McGuinness coming down and actually attracting

24 a lot of criticism from the Coalition.

25 I also remember being asked this question





1 in September 1998 by a Unionist politician and

2 I remember saying to him that I thought it was

3 a misapprehension about Mac Cionnaith that he was a sort

4 of cat's paw for the Provisionals or for Sinn Fein.

5 I believed, and I believe now, that he was his own man

6 and a maverick in the best possible sense.

7 Q. Obviously one of the issues we are concerned with is the

8 raising of Rosemary Nelson's safety in the context of

9 the GRRC during the proximity talks, and you refer at

10 paragraph 15 in your statement -- this is RNI-824-128

11 (displayed) -- that the GRRC was raising issues as to

12 their safety then.

13 I think that you were in fact on holiday at this

14 time. So this is reporting what you know rather than

15 what you --

16 A. I went on holiday -- yes -- yes, just before the 21st --

17 about the 14th, I think. Sorry, the 18th, I think.

18 Q. I think it is right to say though that at this point we

19 have certainly, in terms of your evidence, got to

20 a point where you are aware in around July 1998 of, if

21 you like, the two strands: one, the ICPC aspect, their

22 dissatisfaction with the police investigation of the

23 complaints and threats to Rosemary Nelson and the

24 appointment of Mulvihill and so on; and the other

25 aspect, which was the concerns about the GRRC safety and





1 that Rosemary Nelson was one of the people included

2 within that group?

3 A. Yes. I have some hesitation about the concept of two

4 strands, but yes, I was conscious of all that, yes.

5 Q. Can we just go to RNI-305-144 (displayed)? This is

6 a memo from Steven McCourt and it refers at the last

7 paragraph to the fact that Mac Cionnaith raised

8 permanent security in respect of his other Coalition

9 partners. I hope we can deal with this very briefly

10 because you have had an opportunity to see Mr McCusker's

11 statement and evidence.

12 Would you accept that Rosemary Nelson was referred

13 to as -- maybe you can give no evidence one way or the

14 other, but that Rosemary Nelson was referred to as an

15 example by Mac Cionnaith at the proximity talks as

16 someone who had been in receipt of threats?

17 A. I was not at those proximity talks so I can't comment.

18 I was no reason to believe that she wasn't. I've no

19 evidence makes me believe that she necessarily was. I'm

20 silent on the issue. If Mac Cionnaith said she was, I

21 would accept that as I have no basis on which to

22 challenge that.

23 Q. Just in relation -- and I don't think there is any

24 particular issue -- you say certain documents you would

25 not necessarily have seen at the time, but in terms of





1 the documentation, presumably documents that we see now

2 that are copied into your name, you may not have seen

3 them at the time but presumably they would have been

4 filed so that you had access to them? Should you have

5 needed it, they would have been in your files?

6 A. I think that's right. I don't see the copy list of that

7 immediately, but it probably went to John Steele, in

8 which case his secretary would have filed it and it

9 would, therefore, have been available to me, yes. I do

10 not, however, recall seeing it at that stage.

11 Q. At paragraph 34 of your statement -- and I am afraid I

12 don't know the page number for this.

13 A. I will have it shortly. Yes, I have a now. Page 12.

14 Q. RNI-824-134 (displayed). You refer at paragraph 34 to

15 the fact you were a little surprised that

16 Breandan Mac Cionnaith was assessed at threat level 4.

17 The impression being you thought he would be assessed at

18 a greater threat.

19 Were you privy to the information on which the

20 police in fact made their threat assessments?

21 A. No, nor would we ever have been.

22 Q. Can you just expand a little bit on the surprise? Why

23 did it cause you surprise?

24 A. I think I may have made some passing remarks about this

25 before the break. My perception was based on the media





1 reports at that stage, the media reports of the threat

2 to her and threats to Mac Cionnaith as well.

3 So yes, at that stage and, as I explained before the

4 break, before I became familiar with the way in which

5 the police did their assessments, I was not a lot

6 better, frankly, than the man on the Clapham omnibus.

7 Q. Was that surprise something that you also felt in

8 relation to Rosemary Nelson not being considered to be

9 at threat?

10 A. I don't recall crystallising it, but that's probably the

11 case, yes.

12 Q. And Mr McCusker said that he talked about a common sense

13 view that:

14 "... in general terms Mac Cionnaith and Nelson were

15 both people who were both at risk due to their profile

16 and involvement in the GRRC."

17 He was putting that as a common sense view, not as

18 a technical view. I'm forming the impression that you

19 would agree with that?

20 A. Well, I think before -- on 12 August, as it were, on the

21 day that I started, if you'd asked me I probably would

22 have responded in a very similar way. But we, having

23 referred the matter of the information we had about both

24 Rosemary Nelson and having referred the cases of

25 Mac Cionnaith and Duffy to the police, they came back





1 with a different assessment. They were the ones, as I

2 think I tried to explain before the break, who were

3 responsible for -- and trained to make -- threat

4 assessments and they came to a different view.

5 Q. And paragraph 35 -- if we can just move on just down one

6 paragraph. You refer there to Mac Cionnaith's tactics

7 in raising security as an issue. What are you referring

8 to specifically in terms of tactics there?

9 A. I think probably the perception that most of us had on

10 the Government side was that Breandan was very adept

11 indeed at finding -- at extending the agenda for

12 discussion and finding issues which he -- which he

13 erected as pre-conditions to re-engagement in proximity

14 talks. He was very adept at doing that, and to the

15 point actually where I had some admission for his skill

16 in doing it. I found it rather frustrating, but

17 actually he was very skilful at doing it. This was one

18 of the issues that we perceived and I think there is

19 minuting from Stephen Leach which actually expresses

20 that in terms.

21 Q. Paragraph 46, you talk about the GRRC's tactics being to

22 have pre-conditions to talks in effect to block them.

23 You talk about the security issue.

24 Are there other points specifically that you are

25 referring to there in terms of trying to block the





1 talks, or pre-conditions?

2 A. I think one of the issues was an economic package.

3 Another endemic issue was the basis on which the talks

4 would be held. Would they be held with pre-conditions

5 or without pre-conditions. All these issues were ones

6 that Breandan presented to us as having to be clarified

7 and resolved before re-engagement. And we understood

8 why he was doing that, but I think it was a phenomenon

9 that we all perceived. That might have been an unfair

10 perception but it was certainly a very strong

11 perception.

12 Q. Did you consider that there was nevertheless a genuine

13 threat to Breandan Mac Cionnaith and other members of

14 the GRRC?

15 A. I think I refer you back to my answer before that as

16 a man in the street, I realised that they had a high

17 profile, that Breandan in particular had a high profile

18 in the media, that that was likely -- given the febrile

19 and chaotic state of Loyalism, that that was likely to

20 attract unwelcome attention from some quarters. But

21 when the police assessed the two of them at four, that

22 was accepted.

23 I may say that, I mean, in the six years of -- in

24 the post, I came actually -- partly because of the

25 murder of Rosemary Nelson, more actually because of the





1 impact of politics and the Human Rights Act, the KPPS

2 became a major priority of mine. And at no point -- at

3 no point did -- I mean, I dealt with it every --

4 regularly, probably on a weekly basis. At no point save

5 one did I ever challenge the police assessment, and that

6 was when a proscribed organisation had details about

7 police officers and their identity had come into the

8 possession of a proscribed organisation. Scores, if not

9 hundreds, of them. And the police assessed those people

10 to be at risk and I challenged them on that -- the ACC

11 very vigorously on that because I simply thought there

12 was a conflict of interest.

13 Q. Another point that I think you made fairly plain in your

14 statement, but would it be correct to assume that your

15 view was that the driving factor for providing

16 Mac Cionnaith and Joe Duffy with security was in effect

17 a political one? I mean by that to get the proximity

18 talks back on track?

19 A. Yes, Stephen Leach, much to his credit, if I may say so,

20 came up with the idea of removing the issue of security

21 for Mac Cionnaith and Duffy by admitting them to

22 parallel arrangements. And that's in his submission of

23 late October 1998 and he discussed that with me and

24 I supported him on that. So, yes, we wanted to remove

25 the -- a possible blockage to re-engagement in political





1 talks.

2 Can I just say that I'm not quite sure -- although

3 actually I did in my statement, perhaps rather

4 carelessly, describe Drumcree as a political problem.

5 It wasn't merely a political problem. People had

6 already died as a pretty direct result of Drumcree and,

7 indeed, one of the documents you put up on the screen

8 earlier on referred to a Mrs Elizabeth O'Neill who was

9 murdered by Loyalists in June 1999. That was pretty

10 much as a result of the Drumcree poison.

11 So Drumcree actually wasn't -- and I was rather

12 careless and I apologise for this. It is not just

13 political problem. It went to people's right to life as

14 well and to their health in terms of injuries.

15 Q. I think my point was that dealing with Mac Cionnaith and

16 Joe Duffy outside the KPPS, which is what was eventually

17 done, was for the reason of getting the talks back on

18 track --

19 A. Correct.

20 Q. -- whether one calls that political or something else?

21 A. Correct.

22 Q. I want to turn now to a chronology that was drawn up

23 post-murder, but is a helpful document. It is

24 RNI-107-026 (displayed). I think this was drawn up by

25 Stephen Leach?





1 A. Oh, yes.

2 Q. I presume that the reason for such a chronology was that

3 it was thought it would be helpful to draw together the

4 concerns that had been raised over time regarding

5 Rosemary Nelson and to look at what steps had been taken

6 in response.

7 A. Yes, I think was this attached to Stephen Leach's

8 submission of 16 March 1999?

9 Q. Yes, it was.

10 A. That would have been very good staff work by Stephen.

11 In other words, he wanted to remind the Secretary of

12 State -- although actually I'm not sure she would have

13 needed a lot of reminding, but he wanted to remind the

14 Secretary of State of the history of issues relating to

15 Rosemary Nelson and in particular in terms of her

16 personal safety.

17 Q. It is a powerful document because it draws together the

18 concerns that were coming -- I think you didn't like my

19 analogy of strands, but coming in from different areas:

20 from the ICPC, their concerns, the issue of the police

21 officers' threats, the NGOs, the UN report. It draws

22 all that together.

23 What's striking, when one sees it put like that

24 post-murder, is that we don't see a document like that

25 pre-murder. That you were aware of all the issues was





1 the answer you gave before, but there doesn't seem to

2 have been a drawing together of all those aspects so one

3 can maybe assess it more fully.

4 A. I think -- if I may say so, I think that goes to the

5 issue of the who was responsible for the threat

6 assessment. I would have expected the police would have

7 had a document of that kind saying here are the known,

8 or alleged, threats against her. It was for the police

9 to look at her, holistically, if you want to use that

10 term. We had played our part in that by ensuring that

11 such information as had come to us -- Simon Rogers

12 in March 1998, Lesley Foster, August 1998 -- had been

13 passed to the source of those responsible for making

14 threat assessments, namely the RUC, with the

15 responsibility, though she didn't make the request, of

16 her making an application or a request to be admitted to

17 the KPPS.

18 So that, I think, is, as it were, for them to assess

19 in terms of risk. This is simply a history so that Mo

20 could -- would be reminded for interview purposes of --

21 and for her own thought purposes of the background.

22 Q. As Director of Policing and Security, wasn't it more

23 really within your role to draw those together, because

24 we are looking at interests from NGOs, we are looking at

25 the UN report, we are looking at the role of the ICPC,





1 so all those aspects would tend to point more towards

2 your role rather than -- the RUC has an aspect obviously

3 in the threat assessment, but the drawing together, did

4 that not fall more within your role?

5 A. Well, I would dispute that it did because these were

6 points where people had drawn our attention to reports

7 of threats against Rosemary Nelson. The only people

8 constitutionally in a position and equipped to assess

9 whether that amounted to a significant or serious threat

10 against her were the RUC, and I get back to the point

11 that I made before the break that I do not believe that

12 we could have or should have attempted to develop

13 anything of an independent view.

14 Q. If we just go in a little bit more detail with that

15 document, we see the steps the NIO took. 15 April 1997,

16 following the letter from Senator Torricelli, and of

17 course there was a LAJI letter in similar terms that

18 slightly preceded that concerning the threat from the

19 police to Rosemary Nelson coming via her clients,

20 allegedly.

21 What was done there, the NIO wrote to

22 Command Secretariat, a request was made to the police to

23 consider whether she needed advice on her security.

24 Now, the potential problems there seem to be, one, the

25 point I have already put to you, that you are asking the





1 police about the safety of Mrs Nelson when the threat

2 was said to come from the police. I understand your

3 answer to be you consider that was solved by the fact it

4 was police HQ that had an involvement. Is that right?

5 A. Yes, yes, from the point of my responsibility

6 in August 1998.

7 Q. And we also heard evidence from Mr Steele. It is

8 Day 74, page 162 for the note:

9 "We believed she [Rosemary Nelson] would not be

10 receptive to offers of advice from the police."

11 First of all, do you agree with Mr Steele's

12 assessment or is that something you can assist with

13 at all?

14 A. Yes, it is on the public record. She said so in

15 evidence she gave to the US Congress in September 1998

16 and I paraphrase that she would not be happy with

17 entering a process which would involve RUC officers in

18 her house, or words to that effect. So it is on the

19 record that it was so.

20 Q. Because when one looks at this then, it seems that in

21 fact the action taken, the referring the matter to the

22 police, could be said to be not a particularly effective

23 response?

24 A. It could be said. What's the alternative?

25 Q. Were alternatives considered, I suppose is the question?





1 A. It was for the RUC to make the threat assessment. We

2 did not have an alternative police force. There is one

3 constabulary in Northern Ireland. It's not like in

4 England where you have a multiplicity of constabularies;

5 there is one constabulary. There was one

6 Special Branch. It was the only body to which we could

7 refer the matter.

8 Q. I suppose we have seen an example of someone being

9 considered, if you like, outside the system where we see

10 Joe Duffy and Breandan Mac Cionnaith who were in fact

11 given security down the line, not under the KPPS but,

12 exceptionally, outside that. I suppose the question is

13 was that sort of thinking applied to Rosemary Nelson?

14 A. No, because there is a difference between -- at least

15 not by me and I'm not aware of it being applied by

16 anybody else, the distinction being that Mac Cionnaith

17 and Duffy actually requested to be considered.

18 Rosemary Nelson was asked through the CAJ -- was

19 informed by Adam Ingram's office through the CAJ how she

20 could make the request. We know, because the BIRW

21 report of November 1999 confirms it, we know that she

22 saw the letter, but she hadn't actually made such

23 a request. I use the term "request" because although we

24 used the word "application", I think "application" is

25 a slightly misleading notion because it rather implies





1 that you fill in a form and so on ... But she didn't

2 make the request. Mac Cionnaith and Duffy had done so.

3 Q. 5 March 1998, we have got Mr Cumaraswamy's report. So

4 we have got a layer of concern coming in from the UN,

5 and his conclusion: harassment and intimidation of

6 defence lawyers and that independent investigations is

7 needed.

8 I just want to confirm -- I think your evidence is

9 that you weren't involved in a response to that

10 UN report in any way?

11 A. No, I imagine I would have seen it. I think I probably

12 saw the report coming in from a division -- I think it

13 was called IPL at the time. I had no involvement

14 whatsoever in -- that I recall -- and I am confident I

15 had no involvement whatsoever in preparing the reply,

16 nor did I ever meet Mr Cumaraswamy.

17 Q. If we then go over the page, 1 April 1998 underlined.

18 There the police stated that they were aware of concerns

19 about the safety of Mrs Nelson but had received no

20 threats in respect of her. And that was something that

21 was accepted by you at the time? There was no ...?

22 A. I did not see that correspondence, so I assume it must

23 have been. Again, that's before my appointment.

24 There is an important point to make here and that is

25 that correspondence between the police and the NIO about





1 people's protection was actually held within a very

2 small circle of people for the very best possible

3 reasons. It went to people's safety and right to life.

4 So although I saw a very wide range of correspondence

5 dealing with policing and security, I would not have

6 seen individual -- the correspondence particular to

7 individuals for very good and responsible reasons.

8 Q. And then we see on 24 July, we have got the

9 GRRC/Mac Cionnaith concerns coming in. 6 August, the

10 NIO writing to the police to ask them about the leaflet

11 that we have discussed, the "Man Without a Future"

12 leaflet, and it is at this stage that the KPPS issue

13 really comes to the fore?

14 A. It is.

15 Q. So days before you come into post, and that KPPS

16 triggered a police threat assessment. And 3 September

17 in fact is the date -- I don't think we need to go to

18 the document -- that the police say they were not aware

19 of any specific threat against Rosemary Nelson, which is

20 what you have been referring to in your evidence?

21 A. That's so, but it is not a document that I saw at the

22 time.

23 Q. But from then onwards -- I have traced through the

24 build-up -- we have got to a point where the KPPS has

25 come into play, albeit there is a lot of issue about





1 whether there was an actual application, but the KPPS as

2 an issue is in play. We have also got in

3 early September the fact of the police saying they are

4 not aware of any specific threat against

5 Rosemary Nelson. It is a foregone conclusion from then

6 onwards, isn't it, that Rosemary Nelson's KPPS

7 application, if there was one, i.e. her to be covered

8 under the KPPS, is doomed; it is not a reality?

9 A. No, it wasn't and I think I say so much in my statement,

10 if I have understood your question correctly.

11 Lesley Foster did not write for the purpose of

12 a KPPS assessment because no request had been made.

13 That would have been a precursor. Had Rosemary Nelson

14 requested to be admitted, Police Division, I believe,

15 would have commissioned a fresh assessment. It is in

16 principle possible -- I point it no more highly than

17 this -- it is in principle possible that the police

18 might have had information in the meantime that would

19 have given -- justified a different assessment. It is

20 in principle possible that if there were a conversation

21 between the police and Rosemary Nelson about her pattern

22 of life, for example, she might have disclosed things to

23 the police which would have justified the police giving

24 a different outcome. One will never know.

25 It is also the case that -- of course I have been





1 talking so far about the first test for the KPPS. There

2 was a second test, what I loosely call the professional

3 test. At that stage, it wasn't self-evident that she

4 would have met it, but there was one subsequent case

5 that I recall, and I acknowledge -- admit that this was

6 after the introduction of the Human Rights Act, which is

7 not probably without significance. But there was a case

8 where somebody had come in at, I think, level 3 and

9 where, on closer examination with the police and our

10 political affairs colleagues of the role that this

11 person played, we decided that although it wasn't at all

12 evident from -- on the face of it that he met the second

13 test, we decided that he did actually and admitted him

14 to the scheme.

15 So it is entirely -- it was entirely possible in

16 principle -- and I'm not claiming anything more than

17 that -- it was entirely possible in principle that if

18 a request had been made, there could have been

19 a different outcome.

20 Q. If we can just now go to the CAJ letter -- this is

21 RNI-106-287 (displayed) -- this is the letter from

22 Paul Mageean of 10 August. To some extent this letter

23 pulls the points together, not in as comprehensive a way

24 as the chronology we have looked at before, but it

25 refers to intimidation of defence lawyers, admittedly





1 not the specific complaints by Rosemary Nelson of the

2 fact that it came through her clients and so on, but

3 intimidation of defence lawyers. It refers to the

4 UN report and also to the GRRC aspect, the "Man Without

5 a Future" pamphlet and the threat note and the issue of

6 providing security. So broadly it has all the elements

7 in it.

8 I think it is helpful just to look at what response

9 was made when all those aspects were put together in one

10 letter, and the response is at RNI-106-324 (displayed).

11 Now, if one just takes the time to analyse that letter,

12 it says that the Government won't tolerate harassment of

13 lawyers, nor will the Chief Constable and refers to the

14 UN Special Rapporteur. So I accept what you say about

15 the UN report not, in a sense, coming in in your time,

16 but it was still being referred to in responses during

17 your period?

18 A. Yes, it was.

19 Q. And it makes the point that solicitors generally fail to

20 lodge complaints, which undoubtedly was in that report,

21 but the fact is that here we are dealing with a response

22 to someone who had very much raised a complaint, albeit

23 through other organisations in some cases, but here we

24 are dealing -- that's a general response, but it is not

25 specific to the point of Rosemary Nelson, where the





1 complaint had specifically been raised.

2 If we then go on, it says that the documents, the

3 pamphlet and the threat note, had been passed to the

4 police. I don't want to go into that as I think you are

5 probably aware there is a whole raft of issues about

6 whether the threat note went missing?

7 A. Yes, which emerged much later.

8 Q. But one assumes that at the time that letter was written

9 that was what was generally understood.

10 It then comes to the suggestion that we touched on

11 before that Rosemary Nelson could be considered for

12 KPPS -- and this is the point I just want to pick up

13 once again. This is against the background that,

14 3 September, the police had assessed that

15 Rosemary Nelson did not meet the criteria for inclusion.

16 This is the quote:

17 "Police were unaware of any specific threat against

18 Rosemary Nelson."

19 I accept you are talking about in principle things

20 could have changed, but on the surface that seems like

21 a rather empty response?

22 A. Well, I wasn't claiming very much for it. That's why

23 I emphasised that it was in principle.

24 All I'm saying is that it is possible that things

25 could have changed. I agree that it was not very likely





1 that they would change and, indeed, I think, if I can

2 refer you to the minute from G115 to Lesley Foster, he

3 makes that very point. So you know, that is clearly the

4 case.

5 Q. And I think you have accepted this, but just for the

6 record it then goes on to the issue of her seeking

7 advice from her local crime prevention officer. And as

8 you have mentioned, it is a matter of record that she

9 had said that was a course she would not go through, she

10 didn't have confidence?

11 A. I don't think she was referring in Washington to the

12 issue of the crime prevention officer. I took her to be

13 referring to the possibility that police officers, in

14 assessing the vulnerable points of her house in order to

15 make recommendations for physical measures for her

16 house, would have to be in her house. I did not

17 construe what she said as a discussion of the crime

18 prevention officer.

19 Q. My question was too precise; I think you are right. I

20 don't think there was ever a mention of a crime

21 prevention officer, but that she was not someone who

22 would prima facie be willing to have people coming in

23 and assessing her house?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. So we are seeing there at that point that whereas we





1 have got a letter that is written in, pretty

2 comprehensively raising the issue, we have got

3 a response which, whilst it addresses in

4 a correspondence sense the question, doesn't really get

5 to the heart of the concern about Rosemary Nelson?

6 A. Well, this is a fundamental point and it is the one that

7 I have mentioned before, and that is the separation of

8 the roles of the executive in Government and law

9 enforcement in relation to a threat assessment.

10 I think that's an extremely important separation of

11 powers. It is one which is probably much more respected

12 and applied in Northern Ireland from 1968 onwards than

13 is the case in Great Britain. My understanding is that

14 the Home Office -- there is of course a doctrine of

15 operational independence, and I hesitate to say this in

16 the presence of at least one member of the Tribunal, but

17 we were, I think, a great deal more scrupulous in

18 observing the doctrine of operational independence, for

19 obvious reasons, than I think was the case in the rest

20 of the UK.

21 Why do I say for obvious reasons? One of the

22 Nationalist criticisms of the RUC prior to -- behind the

23 civil rights movement was that the police were seen as

24 the instrument of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the

25 Unionist Government. One of the reforms that was





1 introduced in the 70s was to introduce for the first

2 time a police authority, so there was always a strand of

3 criticism of the Government being too close to the

4 police.

5 I think the NIO, when it was introduced -- put in

6 place in 1972 was always scrupulous in observing that

7 distinction, and ministers -- and I observed one

8 minister, Tom King, to whom I was Principal Private

9 Secretary at the height of the Troubles, scrupulously

10 observing that distinction. So this is an absolutely

11 crucial point.

12 I hesitate to say this amongst so many eminent

13 lawyers, but I was conscious in 1998 of the outcome of

14 the Osman case before the European Court earlier that

15 year, which I understood -- and I'm a rusted hulk of a

16 modern linguist rather than a lawyer, but I understood

17 suggested that the Government was entitled to look to

18 the police as the first means and the principal means of

19 compliance with Article 2 of the ECHR. I may have

20 misconstrued that, but I was certainly conscious of that

21 at the time and it underlies this important -- I think,

22 very important -- constitutional separation of powers

23 point.

24 Q. But in the situation where we were looking at the

25 proximity talks and there was a very real need --





1 I won't use the word "political", but a need to get

2 those talks back on track and security was one of the

3 issues, we do see an example of what was a fairly rigid

4 system of a threat assessment, did one make the

5 requirements under the threat assessments to be

6 considered for the KPPS and then entry into it. So

7 there was a thinking outside the box, an imaginative

8 solution in order to unblock the proximity talks.

9 It could be argued that here we have another unusual

10 situation. We have got a situation where we have got

11 a lawyer who -- the Ombudsman has been accepted in

12 principle but is not in place. She is said to be at

13 threat due to her particularly high profile in terms of

14 the GRRC and is also embroiled in an issue with alleged

15 police complaints, police threats made to her via

16 clients and, albeit that Mulvihill had gone on with the

17 blessing of the ICPC, there had at least been issues

18 around the investigation into those complaints.

19 So one has another unusual set of circumstances,

20 rather like one had an unusual set of circumstances with

21 Duffy and Mac Cionnaith, and yet that thinking outside

22 the box, not being hide bound by a threat assessment and

23 security being provided. Now, why was that thinking not

24 applied to Rosemary Nelson?

25 A. Well, I think the answer to that is why was it applied





1 to Mac Cionnaith and Duffy? And it was applied to

2 Mac Cionnaith and Duffy for two reasons. One was they

3 were absolutely lynchpins -- and Mac Cionnaith in

4 particular in the Residents Coalition's decision as to

5 whether to engage in proximity talks.

6 Those proximity talks to resolve Drumcree, as

7 I said, went to politics and security and I pointed to

8 the amount of time that the Prime Minister and his

9 Chief of Staff invested in it. This was a very major

10 issue for HMG in relation to Northern Ireland. So the

11 key people in terms of having a decisive influence on

12 whether the GRRC would engage or would not engage again

13 in proximity talks were those two.

14 Secondly -- I have three points. Secondly, they had

15 raised their own security in the end of July and

16 Steven McCourt's minutes record that they had raised

17 their own security in terms of making an "application",

18 quote unquote, to the KPPS. And thirdly, we knew that

19 by definition they did meet one of two tests; not the

20 threat assessment test, but we knew that by definition

21 they met the second test. So we thought there was a way

22 here of, without greatly undermining the integrity of

23 the KPPS -- we thought there was a way of resolving --

24 removing a potential blockage to the re-engagement in

25 talks which might then help HMG resolve a major problem





1 for the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State. So,

2 I mean, I think the context was completely different.

3 Q. If I can just move on to a different topic and that's

4 the reaction within the NIO, the Northern Ireland

5 Departments post-murder.

6 Given the extent of concerns that had been raised

7 about her safety during Rosemary Nelson's lifetime --

8 the Senate, UN Rapporteur, NGOs and so on -- one might

9 expect there to be in the documents a fairly full-scale

10 review of what steps were taken, a paper on lessons to

11 be learnt and so on. In that form -- we have seen the

12 chronology obviously, we have seen certain briefing

13 papers; it is clear there was discussion, but we don't

14 see any full-scale internal review. Is that something

15 that in fact did happen but maybe wasn't documented?

16 A. No, it didn't happen. Why did it not happen?

17 Essentially because there was a vast number of other

18 things that were happening, both in relation to Nelson

19 and in relation to other things.

20 I mean, I'm -- there will have been lots of others

21 things going on. In fact, I recall one very clearly.

22 On 30 March and 31 March, there were talks at

23 Hillsborough between the Prime Minister -- involving the

24 Prime Minister, the Taoiseach and all the

25 Northern Ireland parties, which went on from early





1 morning on the Thursday of the 30th, I think, right

2 through to 4 o'clock, through the night until 4 o'clock

3 on the Friday. So we were extremely pre-occupied with

4 a number of other things. And whilst there might indeed

5 have been a case in retrospect for some sort of review,

6 there wasn't one.

7 And I'm not actually sure -- yes, the review might

8 have asked questions about the KPPS, which actually were

9 answered not long afterwards because, for example, I

10 think it was in June or July of that year that ministers

11 agreed that defence lawyers should become a recognised

12 qualifying category. So there wasn't, yes, a full-blown

13 review, but the sort of changes one would, I think, have

14 expected to emerge from that review, from such a review,

15 were actually taken and the Ombudsman, of course, was

16 already in train.

17 Q. If we could just look at RNI-835-012 (displayed), and

18 this is your paper of 20 May to advise the Secretary of

19 State about independent non-police involvement in

20 investigations, that the RUC may have colluded in

21 Rosemary Nelson's murder. And if we go to RNI-835-514,

22 paragraph 7 (displayed), your view there is that, given

23 the complaints by Mrs Nelson and others about the RUC

24 conduct against her and what Miss McNally had been

25 saying -- commenting on, that there were options that





1 should be looked at in terms of strengthening the

2 investigation of collusion, I think to summarise your

3 concerns really seem to be three principal concerns:

4 that the allegations from Rosemary Nelson is that the

5 threats against her life and intimidation came from the

6 police themselves and so there is an aspect that it

7 could be said it is unsatisfactory that police look into

8 these issues.

9 The second concern that builds upon the first is

10 that the concern is heightened by the fact that it is

11 a matter of record that the ICPC voiced concerns about

12 the way the police in fact went about the investigation,

13 Mulvihill and so on. And that, thirdly, even following

14 the ICPC concerns, there was a further police

15 investigation into the police, albeit by a police

16 officer but obviously someone outside of

17 Northern Ireland, by Inspector Mulvihill.

18 Now, the points that you are then making post-murder

19 rather echo the points that I was making to you

20 pre-murder, in that those aspects that suggest that

21 post-murder there should be an independent aspect to the

22 investigation, were they not just as valid pre-murder

23 and should have -- just as they were pushed by you

24 post-murder, be pushed by you pre-murder -- I appreciate

25 the Ombudsman wasn't in place, but to have some form of





1 independent investigation into the threats as they were

2 then?

3 A. There was an independent investigation under ICPC

4 supervision, in the form of Mulvihill, into the

5 complaints aspect of it. I remain, I am afraid, at

6 something of a loss to imagine who else could have

7 undertaken a threat assessment. We were not in any

8 position to do so. The information, as I have

9 explained, that we had about Rosemary Nelson amounted to

10 the information that had been passed to us by the

11 various NGOs and, to adopt your two-strand analogy,

12 although I -- information coming to us on both strands,

13 to adopt that. That is the -- that was, as far as

14 I recall, the sum and substance of the information that

15 we had and that was no basis on which to make a threat

16 assessment, even if we had been equipped to, and it

17 would have been, I think, constitutionally objectionable

18 were we to do so. So I do not -- I'm sorry, I come back

19 to this point, which I stand on.

20 Q. And, just so that we finish the story, so to speak, in

21 fact an independent, non-police figure, although in

22 these documents you were arguing for that, was not

23 appointed in relation to the collusion (inaudible).

24 There wasn't an advisory Panel -- Colin Port -- in fact

25 after debates went on?





1 A. That's right. Can I -- can I -- can I, just before I go

2 into that, I mean, can I just make the point, somewhere

3 in these papers there is a reference to me saying that

4 I thought it was perverse that less was being done after

5 her murder than before her murder. So in a sense, in

6 terms of complaints and in terms of issue -- in terms of

7 response to engender confidence in the police, I think

8 in a way our position is the reverse of the one that you

9 were suggesting.

10 Then, to answer your last question,

11 yes, there was -- there was then quite

12 a long-running saga, where various options were looked

13 at for supplementing the police enquiry in a way which

14 was acceptable to those -- to police officers

15 conducting -- Colin Port in particular -- conducting

16 a criminal investigation, but at the same time

17 engendering greater confidence in the Nationalist

18 community in particular in that investigation. We

19 looked at various ways of the Secretary of State

20 appointing somebody, Ronnie appointing an adviser,

21 a Panel of advisers. It then became clear that,

22 although the family, if I may say so, seemed to us to be

23 divided on the issue, it then over time became clear

24 that -- in a meeting which Peter Mandelson had with

25 Paul Nelson and Barra McGrory that what they wanted at





1 that stage was somebody who would -- to whom in effect

2 Port would work, on whose directions Port would work.

3 When it became apparent that that was not possible,

4 then it all transmuted, in the course of early 2001,

5 into a demand for a public inquiry, and at the

6 Weston Park political talks between the Prime Minister,

7 the Taoiseach and the Northern Irish parties, which I

8 was at -- in Shropshire, I think it is -- in July 2001

9 it was agreed that in effect Judge Cory, although he

10 wasn't then -- hadn't then been identified, would be

11 brought into play. So that's the way it -- by

12 (inaudible) it has been a rather frustrating process

13 (inaudible) it developed. But I'm sorry, if that

14 truncate -- if you wish to go into history in greater

15 detail --

16 Q. That's fine. There are just a few specific questions,

17 because sometimes my role is to ask questions that other

18 people ask me to ask as well, so I will just go through

19 them. You say at paragraph 65, in relation -- this is

20 when David Phillips was still involved -- that he had

21 indicated to Ronnie Flanagan that he would rely on RUC

22 officers and -- if you feel able to comment on this. Is

23 that something that you agreed with, that there was

24 a need to rely on RUC officers for local knowledge?

25 A. Can I just read this again, please?





1 Q. It is 82 --

2 A. Yes, I have it.

3 Q. -- RNI-824-144, paragraph 65.

4 A. Well, the "they" is clearly a reference to the minutes,

5 and the minutes said that David Phillips had indicated

6 to Ronnie Flanagan that he, David Phillips, would rely

7 heavily on RUC --

8 Q. Yes, the question I am asked to ask you is whether that

9 was something, if you feel able to comment on, that you

10 agreed with, that you --

11 A. I think I took no view on it. Frankly, whether I had

12 a view on the matter was neither here nor there. It was

13 a police criminal investigation. The last thing -- I

14 mean, if operational independence means anything, it

15 means do not let the executive get involved in the

16 interstices of a criminal investigation, for reasons

17 which I need scarcely explain.

18 So I would not have had a view on that. I have to

19 say I -- that I do think he was right. Since I have

20 taken early retirement, I have done quite a lot of

21 investigations for Whitehall departments and for

22 Northern Ireland departments and for public bodies,

23 and -- I mean, not of a criminal nature, obviously, but

24 having somebody who can explain the culture and the

25 meaning of words and the meaning of relationships is





1 absolutely indispensable. But, frankly, my view on that

2 in 1998 was neither here nor there.

3 Q. Paragraph 82 -- this is RNI-824-149 (displayed) -- there

4 is a reference there to Colin Port objecting to an

5 independent person to oversee an investigation, and

6 again just to put to you whether you were aware of any

7 efforts that were made by Colin Port himself to identify

8 someone. I'm not sure it is something you can assist on

9 but --

10 A. I don't recall that, and having read the papers fairly

11 recently, unless my memory is -- my short-term memory is

12 getting even worse, I don't recall that. I do recall

13 him raising doubts about one of the persons mentioned as

14 a possibility but I don't recall him actually

15 proactively suggesting, you know, X, Y or Z. He may

16 have done so to Ronnie Flanagan without my knowing

17 but I'm not -- it's --

18 Q. You are not aware of it?

19 A. -- not to my knowledge, no.

20 Q. Fine. The other question -- related question is whether

21 you were aware of any efforts by the NIO to suggest

22 judges from other jurisdictions who might be able to

23 provide an independent supervisory role -- whether that

24 was something you were in any way involved in.

25 A. I don't think we were. I mean -- and in fact I think





1 probably we shouldn't have been. I mean, Nationalists

2 didn't have any more love or confidence or trust in the

3 NIO than they had in the RUC -- well, maybe slightly

4 more but, you know, it wouldn't have been materially

5 more. So, frankly, if we had gone -- I think, if we had

6 gone to Paul Nelson or anybody else saying, "What about

7 A, B or C," I think they might have been a bit

8 suspicious. So actually -- you will see in the papers

9 that we were actually much keener to make sure that

10 suggestions from the Irish Government were considered

11 because the Irish Government would, almost by

12 definition, I mean -- I don't mean to impugn them in any

13 way. Almost by definition they would have chosen people

14 who have taken the trick of enhancing Nationalist

15 confidence in the investigation. If we had done so, I

16 think that wouldn't have been the case, and I don't

17 think we did.

18 Q. Thank you. At various points while you have just been

19 giving evidence people have communicated with me

20 questions they have got to ask, and I know certainly

21 some questions have been communicated that I haven't yet

22 asked, so could I just ask you to wait for a moment

23 while I scoop up the questions I have missed? (Pause)

24 MR BEER: I hesitate to rise. I have a series of questions

25 that I would ask Ms Brown to ask. They are in fact too





1 long to fit on -- or have been too long to fit on the

2 MSN messaging service. So if we took five minutes,

3 could I talk to her face to face?

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Beer, as a gardener some of the

5 questioning reminds me of double spit digging.

6 MR BEER: Yes.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: We will adjourn for a quarter of an hour.

8 (3.55 pm)

9 (Short break)

10 (4.20 pm)

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Ms Brown and Mr Watkins, it is fairly late in

12 the afternoon and the stenographer has had some

13 difficulties because on occasions there has been what is

14 described as "overtalking"; that is, one or other of

15 you, or both of you, have been talking at the same time.

16 So would you be careful not to do that because it

17 creates a bit of difficulty for the stenographer.

18 A. I apologise, if I may.

19 MS BROWN: Likewise.

20 Just, I hope, a few more questions, Mr Watkins. In

21 relation to the questions I was asking you before about

22 an involvement of someone independent in discussions

23 with Colin Port, I have been asked to put it to you

24 rather more specifically, as to whether you were aware

25 that Colin Port in fact identified Professor Waddington





1 as a potential independent person, and I'm told that

2 that was in fact someone who was not acceptable to the

3 Nelson family and to Paul Nelson and it therefore did

4 not go ahead. Is that something you are aware of or

5 not?

6 A. My recollection, based on the papers, is the absolute

7 opposite of that. I said there was one person whom

8 Colin Port had misgivings about and it was

9 Tank Waddington. So my understanding is actually the

10 diametric opposite of that. Now, I may -- my memory may

11 be faulty or we may have got the wrong end of the stick

12 in the NIO, but that is my recollection.

13 Q. Well, I'm sure, if the full participant that is

14 concerned with that aspect needs to bring further

15 documents to our attention, they will, but that was the

16 question.

17 The other question that I probably didn't put

18 specifically enough was whether you were aware or not as

19 to whether Colin Port was provided with a specific list

20 of judges from outside jurisdictions who might be able

21 to perform an independent supervisory role.

22 A. I think from recollection he was provided with the list

23 that the Irish had drawn up and which they either passed

24 through us or conceivably directly to either the

25 Chief Constable or the RUC. I don't think they were all





1 -- the names that I recall were not all judges, although

2 I do remember a South African judge's name, for example,

3 on the list.

4 But I -- that's the extent of my recollection and,

5 as I explained, we would -- our concern was to ensure

6 that the RUC investigation commanded as much confidence

7 as possible in the Nationalist community. Who that was,

8 provided the terms of reference were acceptable to the

9 criminal investigators, was close to a matter of

10 indifference, I would have thought, to us.

11 Q. And a more general question: were you satisfied that --

12 we have seen your submissions before, but that in fact

13 the appropriate procedures, with the proper safeguards,

14 were instituted for the investigation of the murder of

15 Rosemary Nelson?

16 A. The Government's interest in this was that there should

17 be a proper investigation and that that investigation

18 should command the confidence of the population at large

19 and notably the Nationalist population in particular.

20 We were not in any position to make an assessment as

21 to the competence and professionalism of the criminal

22 investigation. It would be an extremely foolhardy civil

23 servant to venture any observation on that, save in the

24 case of egregious failure of some kind, which didn't

25 seem to us to be the case. So our interest was in the





1 Chief Constable, Ronnie Flanagan, making arrangements to

2 supplement his team, with the purpose of engendering as

3 much confidence as possible in the Nationalist community

4 in particular, and that was the extent of our role.

5 Q. Thank you.

6 And the other area that I'm asked to put to you is

7 that, when I was looking at the issue that

8 Mr Mac Cionnaith and Joe Duffy were provided with

9 security outside the KPPS and we were looking at the

10 issue of whether in a sense that thinking outside the

11 box could have been applied to Rosemary Nelson, what I

12 didn't make clear -- to give you an opportunity to speak

13 about was the fact that there was, of course, the offer

14 of protection for the other coalition members through

15 the involvement of the Rowntree Trust, which the Panel

16 have heard a lot of evidence about. But maybe I can

17 just take it like that. Were you aware of the Rowntree

18 offer of protection?

19 A. Yes, this was at a stage, late

20 October/early November 1998, when we were working up to

21 proximity talks that actually took place about a week

22 before Christmas 1998. It was far from certain that

23 either party would participate. Downing Street were

24 extremely keen that the issue -- that there should be

25 re-engagement. One of the issues, as I said, was that





1 the -- that Mac Cionnaith raised was the security of the

2 Coalition. We had concluded that the most that we could

3 do was in relation to Duffy and Mac Cionnaith, who had

4 applied. We've -- you and I, if I may put it that way,

5 have been through the issue of Rosemary Nelson.

6 We were pretty certain, given the difficulty we'd

7 had in persuading ministers to accept our thinking

8 outside the box in relation to Duffy and

9 Mac Cionnaith -- that that being so, there was precious

10 little hope of being able to persuade them to go several

11 steps beyond that and take into the scheme (a) people

12 who had not applied, despite being asked twice; people

13 who probably were at -- probably, though obviously this

14 was never tested -- were not at -- would not meet the

15 threat test and pretty certainly wouldn't meet the

16 professional test.

17 So Tony McCusker, to his credit, came up with this

18 idea, which he discussed with me and Stephen, and we

19 encouraged him because we could see that this was

20 a possibility, a possible way, of providing reassurance

21 to the Residents Coalition, thereby unblock -- about

22 their safety, thereby unblocking a potential impediment

23 to proximity talks without the time that it would have

24 taken to go through a KPPS application.

25 Q. And again I think I can put a lot of these points to you





1 because they are now, I don't think anyway,

2 controversial -- that it is clear when we have looked at

3 this in detail with Mr McCusker amongst other witnesses

4 that Rosemary Nelson was clearly in that Coalition group

5 that would be considered under the Rowntree Trust?

6 A. I don't recall her name either being included or

7 excluded. But I wouldn't -- if the list had included

8 Rosemary Nelson, I would have been utterly happy with

9 that. As I say in my statement -- I mean, we were here

10 being very pragmatic because we wanted to remove

11 a blockage to talks. The last thing we were going to do

12 was to say, "We will accept all these people but one."

13 Why on earth would we have done that? It would have

14 been a complete reversal of -- frustration of our own

15 objective.

16 May I just say, if I may, in relation to this, that

17 I think the fact that we were prepared to think outside

18 the box and support Tony's initiative in that does

19 suggest that we were -- we had no animus, as it were,

20 against any of the people who could have been involved

21 in that, whether it be Rosemary Nelson or anybody else.

22 There was no mindset against Rosemary Nelson or against

23 anybody else; otherwise, why would we have done what was

24 never envisaged in relation to any of the other hundreds

25 of people in the KPPS in my time?





1 Q. And in fact that didn't go ahead. In fact protection

2 wasn't pursued under the Rowntree Trust, but -- I'm not

3 going to take you through all the documents, but the

4 reason that that didn't happen was because it wasn't --

5 and I take this shortly -- pursued by Mr Mac Cionnaith

6 ultimately in terms of the documents that he was going

7 to provide to Mr Pittam from the Rowntree Trust, that in

8 fact that that -- it wasn't pursued from that end,

9 rather than from the other end. I don't know if you can

10 assist with that --

11 A. I can't -- I can assist by confirming that that is the

12 case. The offer was made by Steve Pittam, the ball was

13 left in the GRRC's court and, as I understood it, they

14 didn't, for whatever reason -- and I have never known

15 what that reason was. They never actually made the

16 application to the trust.

17 Q. Yes, those are -- I think I can just catch the eye of

18 the counsel who asked those questions. I think that

19 covers the issue.

20 The Panel may have some questions now.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Watkins, thank you very much for coming to

22 give evidence before us.

23 We will adjourn now.

24 Thank you very much.

25 We will adjourn now until quarter past ten in the





1 morning.

2 (4.30 pm)

3 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)



























2 I N D E X

MR DAVID WATKINS (sworn) ......................... 1
Questions by MS BROWN ........................ 1