Transcripts

Return to the list of transcripts

Full Hearings

Hearing: 14th November 2008, day 77

Click here to download the LiveNote version

 

 

 

 

 

 


----------------------

 

 

ROSEMARY NELSON

PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

 

----------------------

 

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


on Friday, 14 November 2008
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 77

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Friday, 14 November 2008

2 (10.15 am)

3 (Proceedings delayed)

4 (10.20 am)

5 MR CYRIL DONNAN (sworn)

6 Questions by MS BROWN

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

8 Yes, Ms Brown?

9 MS BROWN: Just before I commence the questioning of

10 Mr Donnan, there is just a short announcement to make

11 and that's regarding the handouts that we distribute

12 periodically regarding where we have got to in terms of

13 the witnesses.

14 There has been an updated copy of witness handouts

15 given out this morning, and to assist the Full

16 Participants we have marked in bold changes on the

17 original copies and there is also two new tables that we

18 have handed out. One is a list of the NIO witnesses and

19 the other is a list setting out the witnesses whom we

20 have grouped as family and friends of Rosemary Nelson.

21 And in terms of the updated figures, the latest

22 numbers -- and this includes Mr Donnan within the

23 numbers -- we have heard evidence from 96 witnesses, so

24 that's 96 witnesses inclusive of Mr Donnan, and the

25 Inquiry has taken into account the written evidence of

 

 

2

 

1 130 witnesses. That's 130 witnesses to date in written

2 evidence.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Ms Brown.

4 MS BROWN: Mr Donnan, could you just give the Inquiry your

5 full name, please?

6 A. Cyril Eric Donnan.

7 Q. Thank you. Could we now turn to your statement, which

8 is at RNI-804-199 (displayed), and the last page of

9 that, which is RNI-804-139 (displayed). You will see

10 there your signature and date. Is that statement true

11 to the best of your knowledge and belief?

12 A. It is indeed.

13 Q. Thank you very much. Now, just to run briefly through

14 your career history, you joined the RUC, I think, in

15 1971 and retired in 2002?

16 A. Yes, that's correct.

17 Q. And the periods that we are concerned with primarily

18 are July 1994 to 5 October 1997, when you were

19 Subdivisional Commander in Lurgan?

20 A. Yes, that's correct.

21 Q. And that means, of course, that you were the

22 Subdivisional Commander, and towards the end of your

23 period was, on 16 June, the murder of Constables Graham

24 and Johnson. That was within your watch?

25 A. That's correct, yes.

 

 

3

 

1 Q. Then October 1997 to November 1998, you worked at Police

2 Headquarters where you were the Deputy Chief Information

3 Officer at the rank of Chief Superintendent. Can you

4 just clarify for me where you were physically located at

5 this time?

6 A. I was located at RUC Headquarters at Brooklyn.

7 Q. Just very briefly what your role is for this just over

8 one-year period?

9 A. Yes, I was the senior police officer in the press

10 office. The chief information officer of the day was

11 a civilian press officer. I had the sort of lead police

12 role within the press and PR office at that time.

13 Q. And then just over a year later from the time you left

14 Lurgan, so November, early November 1998, you came back

15 as Divisional Commander of J Division, which covered

16 Portadown, Lurgan and Banbridge, and you were based at

17 this time in Portadown?

18 A. I was based in the Army camp called Mahon Road in

19 Portadown, which served as the divisional headquarters,

20 the regional headquarters for South Region and the

21 brigade headquarters for the military.

22 Q. And I think you had, looking back in your wider career,

23 over it as a whole, a particularly wide experience, if I

24 can put it like that, in terms of your exposure to

25 different parts of the RUC and, in fact, maybe your

 

 

4

 

1 family background that gave you particular insight.

2 I wonder if you could just expand to the Panel why,

3 I think, you consider that you had a particularly broad

4 overview?

5 A. In career terms, I had 31 year's service, 21 postings.

6 That included postings in CID up to detective chief

7 inspector. I had a wide understanding of crime and CID

8 issues. It included all of the ranks in the uniformed

9 discipline and it included extensive experience in

10 Police Headquarters from inspector rank up to chief

11 superintendent. So I had a broad spread of experience.

12 In the context of Lurgan, I was appointed

13 Subdivisional Commander on 18 July. That was my fifth

14 posting as a superintendent. I had previously been

15 Subdivisional Commander in Belfast and in Larne, so I

16 had extensive experience at subdivisional command level

17 in 1994.

18 Lurgan was a town I was very familiar with. My

19 mother was born and raised in Lurgan. She is now

20 deceased, but at that time in 1994 and, indeed, up to

21 1998, she was still alive. That gave me not only family

22 connections, but friends from the family in Lurgan in

23 both the Nationalist and Unionist community. So I was

24 particularly well acquainted with the feeling and the

25 pulse, as it were, in what was a very, very sectarian

 

 

5

 

1 town.

2 Q. Thank you very much. And turning, as we will deal with

3 principally in your evidence today with your period as

4 Subdivisional Commander, so that is July 1994

5 to October 1997 when you were based in Lurgan, can you

6 just outline the responsibilities you had as

7 Subdivisional Commander? I appreciate they were

8 numerous, but in a brief form.

9 A. Well, I should say at the outset I did receive some

10 statements in the last 24 hours from the Tribunal and I

11 was rather bemused at a very sweeping statement made by

12 a former deputy of mine, Chief Inspector McMullen, which

13 essentially in his evidence to this Tribunal said he was

14 in charge of everything. And I wonder what I spent my

15 years in Lurgan doing, if that was the case.

16 But he was a very supportive and a very loyal

17 officer and, indeed, over my period in the

18 superintendent rank, I had seven chief inspectors

19 working to me and I would have to say that Mr McMullen

20 was probably the best.

21 The Subdivisional Commander has the total

22 responsibility for every aspect of policing in that

23 subdivision. He is responsible to his divisional

24 commander and, in turn, to the regional or the

25 Assistant Chief Constable for the delivery of the

 

 

6

 

1 policing plan, if you like, in that particular area.

2 The one qualification I would put on that -- and it

3 doesn't relate to CID, but I have read some things in

4 terms of transcripts of evidence to this Tribunal and I

5 am afraid I'm at odds with some of my colleagues in that

6 as far as I was concerned, as Subdivisional Commander

7 and Divisional Commander, I was in charge of the CID.

8 And I say that, as I say, with the extensive experience

9 of CID up to chief inspector level.

10 The one qualification I would put on it was

11 Special Branch, in that the Subdivisional Commander did

12 not have access to Special Branch intelligence -- quite

13 rightly so, in my view -- or, indeed, to systems and was

14 in no way, therefore, responsible for the whole

15 intelligence side of policing at that time.

16 Q. And just so that we can try and get our dates as clear

17 as we can, Mr McMullen, whom you were referring to

18 before, he wasn't your deputy, I think, when you came

19 into your post, but he became your deputy

20 in September 1995?

21 A. Yes, Mr McMullen was appointed to Lurgan on

22 4 September 1995 as my deputy. Previous to that, I had

23 a Chief Inspector (redacted) who had been there obviously

24 before I arrived in 1994.

25 Q. Thank you. Now, turning to Rosemary Nelson

 

 

7

 

1 specifically, you say in your statement you first became

2 aware of Rosemary Nelson in the context of a police

3 pilot study relating to domestic violence, and that was

4 in the early 1990s. Did you actually meet

5 Rosemary Nelson in the course of this pilot study?

6 A. No, I didn't. To put that in context, I was the

7 superintendent in charge of policy on the operational

8 side of policing in Police Headquarters 1990. One of

9 the areas that I was leading the development and

10 policing in Northern Ireland on was domestic violence.

11 In the course of that work there was great

12 reluctance on the part of women to appear in courts or

13 to take their issues not only to a criminal court but

14 even to a civil court in terms of protection and issues

15 like that. But we developed a pilot study at each of

16 the three policing regions, which were Belfast North and

17 the north end of Northern Ireland and the Southern

18 Region, which is where Lurgan was based. And three

19 subdivisions were identified to take forward this pilot

20 study to identify a solicitors' office in a town where

21 we would encourage -- "we" being the police -- would

22 encourage women to engage and interact with that

23 solicitor to take forward issues on domestic violence.

24 Obviously I wasn't running that project. I was

25 overall superintendent in charge of it. So, therefore,

 

 

8

 

1 I did not have direct hands-on. But I remember that

2 Rosemary Nelson's office -- and Rosemary Nelson in

3 particular -- was the solicitor chosen to represent the

4 Southern Region, and that obviously was a reflection of

5 her work in the context of domestic violence and taking

6 forward women's issues.

7 Q. And as I say, you have explained that you were at some

8 remove being in charge of it, but did you have

9 sufficient contact to form an impression of

10 Rosemary Nelson from those who were reporting to you?

11 A. No, I didn't. I was just aware that that was the office

12 that the Lurgan police were using for that pilot study.

13 I don't recollect now the out-workings of the study.

14 I certainly never met Rosemary Nelson, but I certainly

15 had the view in 1990/1991 when that was running that

16 there was a working relationship between the police in

17 Lurgan and Rosemary Nelson; otherwise, it would have

18 been fruitless to have pursued a pilot study of that

19 nature with that office.

20 Q. So would it be fair to say -- I don't want to put words

21 in your mouth, but your impression was that

22 Rosemary Nelson and the local police in Lurgan had

23 a good working relationship?

24 A. Yes, at that time in 1991, I think -- it certainly

25 was -- 1990, 1991 was the period we are talking about.

 

 

9

 

1 Q. You go on at paragraph 12 in your statement to say:

2 "The only time I had dealings with Rosemary Nelson's

3 office was to do with the parades."

4 So this is obviously moving on from the domestic

5 violence, but later when you were the Subdivisional

6 Commander. Why was it that the fact of the parades led

7 to you being in contact with Rosemary Nelson's office?

8 A. In policing terms, Drumcree was the poison, if you like,

9 in public order terms, that visited the community in

10 Northern Ireland from 1995, I think. Drumcree 1 was

11 looked upon as 1995 and that was a watershed in policing

12 terms in the context of public order.

13 At that time, it was before, in Northern Ireland, we

14 had a Parades Commission, and at that time as

15 a superintendent I had legislative authority under the

16 public order legislation to impose conditions -- I

17 couldn't ban a parade, but I could impose conditions on

18 parading.

19 There was a pretty immediate response from the

20 Republican community in Lurgan to Drumcree 1; that's

21 in July 1995. And as I say, this was at a time that

22 pre-dated the Parades Commission. So I had the

23 responsibility of determining whether to impose

24 conditions and notify parades or not.

25 My recollection at that time was that Sinn Fein of

 

 

10

 

1 course had no dealings with the police except when it

2 suited -- and it suited their cause very much in

3 1995/1996, the years I'm referring to, to take forward

4 parading issues in Lurgan; to a lesser extent in

5 Portadown, but certainly in Lurgan. And I was left with

6 interactions with Sinn Fein. That gave me the

7 opportunity to impose conditions under the public order

8 legislation on the person notifying the intention to

9 convene or hold a public demonstration.

10 My recollection was then that the people that were

11 engaged in that were Sinn Fein members. When I told

12 them that I was proposing to impose conditions on their

13 parades, they said that they would speak to

14 Rosemary Nelson and that they would visit the station

15 with Rosemary Nelson. I have no recollection of ever

16 Rosemary Nelson visiting the station to speak to me

17 about parades, so my recollection was that I actually

18 did impose conditions -- and these were written

19 conditions -- on the parade organisers without her being

20 present. But certainly her name was always mentioned by

21 these activists on the public order front.

22 Q. When you are talking about Sinn Fein here, are you using

23 that term alongside the GRRC, the Garvaghy Road

24 Residents Coalition, or are you making a distinction

25 there?

 

 

11

 

1 A. No. We need to get that into context. The GRRC, it was

2 an organisation which related solely to Garvaghy Road

3 and was not in any way connected to Sinn Fein. It was

4 a distinct organisation and it had nothing whatsoever to

5 do with Lurgan. It just -- well, I say nothing. It

6 just happened to be that their legal adviser was

7 Rosemary Nelson, but that's where it began and finished.

8 So in the context of Lurgan, which we are dealing

9 with in 1995/1996, it was Sinn Fein activists; it was

10 a Republican response to the Orange Order situation in

11 Portadown. And, of course, in geographic terms we are

12 talking about two towns five miles apart.

13 Going back to the 1960s, that embraced the title of

14 the old Northern Ireland Government of Craigavon, of the

15 new city. This was supposed to be the new city of

16 Craigavon, embracing Lurgan and Portadown. It never

17 properly developed in that context, but there are very

18 strong links between the two towns and certainly

19 Breandan Mac Cionnaith, for example, was born and raised

20 in Lurgan and, as I said, Rosemary Nelson was the legal

21 adviser of the GRRC.

22 Q. So when you are saying it was the Sinn Fein activists

23 who informed you, if you like, to go through their

24 solicitor, Rosemary Nelson -- is the sort of spokesman

25 for Sinn Fein activists, are you referring to

 

 

12

 

1 Breandan Mac Cionnaith or is it someone different?

2 Obviously he was a lead figure in the GRRC, but I think

3 we haven't heard a great deal about Rosemary Nelson

4 being referred to as the Sinn Fein representative, so

5 that is what I'm particularly interested in, making that

6 link.

7 A. I think we need to be careful in making the distinction

8 here. Portadown and Lurgan, the whole part of Craigavon

9 city, were two distinct towns with two distinctive very

10 different communities. What I am alluding to in

11 1995/1996 was a Republican response to the Drumcree

12 situation -- what we talked about in policing terms as

13 Drumcree 1, which was July 1995, and that reaction was

14 that, up until that time -- you know, the issue was

15 clear.

16 Up until that time, Republicans had never, ever

17 demonstrated into the centre of Lurgan, and that was the

18 issue. They were pushing the limits of the parade into

19 the centre of what they saw as their town. The Unionist

20 community was equally resisting and trying to keep

21 Sinn Fein out of the centre of what they considered to

22 be their town.

23 This split very much, in Republican Nationalist and

24 Loyalist Unionist, was pretty much 50/50 in Lurgan and

25 the town centre was virtually 50/50 also.

 

 

13

 

1 Q. I suppose what I'm getting at specifically is who was it

2 who was instructing Rosemary Nelson?

3 A. Sinn Fein were the people who were organising the

4 parades. I could only impose conditions on the

5 organisers of the parade. When I notified various

6 organisers of parades over that period of my intention

7 to serve notices on them, they immediately said that

8 they would have to speak to Rosemary Nelson. And,

9 indeed, it went beyond that and said that

10 Rosemary Nelson would accompany them to the station so

11 that I could serve the notices.

12 The point that I'm making is that she never, ever

13 did accompany them.

14 Q. When we are talking about them, have you got names you

15 can give about the particular individuals in Sinn Fein

16 who you were dealing?

17 A. I can only remember one name now, but the tactic was

18 a deliberate one. Each parade had different organisers,

19 but the one name I remember was a guy called (redacted), who

20 was a Sinn Fein activist at that time. But, as I say,

21 each parade had different organisers and that was

22 a deliberate strategy of the Republican movement. So

23 some of the guys that were notifying parades were pretty

24 young guys, but they were Sinn Fein members and they

25 were just doing essentially what the organisation

 

 

14

 

1 instructed them to do.

2 Q. But a unifying feature, at least certainly from the

3 angle that this Inquiry is concerned with, is that

4 Rosemary Nelson was always the solicitor that they would

5 go to and refer you to?

6 A. I can't say that they went to her. That's what they

7 said. They intimated to me that they would go to

8 Rosemary Nelson and certainly on one, if not two

9 occasions intimated that she would accompany the

10 organisers so that I could serve the conditions on them.

11 Q. And the conditions, which would written conditions that

12 you would serve, they would be sent care of

13 Rosemary Nelson's office, would they?

14 A. No, she was never formally -- she never formally

15 notified me that she was representing these people and

16 she never informally notified me either. There was just

17 no indication that she was actually connected other than

18 the guys themselves saying.

19 So under the legislation, I was empowered to impose

20 conditions and had to serve a notice under the public

21 order and did so to the organiser, and that was

22 a written notice of conditions.

23 Q. So when you say you had dealings with Rosemary Nelson's

24 office, were these dealings any more than her name was

25 mentioned? What were your dealings with the office --

 

 

15

 

1 A. No, the dealings I would have had with the office were

2 few and far between. I think I have a recollection,

3 having been notified as the senior police commander in

4 Lurgan, that she was the solicitor. I have

5 a recollection of contacting the office to indicate that

6 my intention was to serve conditions on the organisers,

7 but the office never, ever took any interest in this

8 whatsoever and, in fact, one of the contacts I had with

9 the office, I was rather rudely cut off on the telephone

10 and never, ever got speaking to Rosemary Nelson.

11 Q. I was going to come to that and maybe, as you have

12 raised it, we will deal with it now.

13 That would seem, on one view, to indicate that there

14 has been a change by this point from the apparently very

15 cooperative stance between Rosemary Nelson's office back

16 in 1991, the domestic violence pilot study, to

17 a situation where someone as senior as yourself was

18 calling a solicitor's office and was being cut off,

19 which is fairly extraordinary behaviour. That would

20 suggest a very different sort of relationship, possibly

21 a breakdown of the relationship. I wonder if you could

22 assist us with that?

23 A. I think the relationship when I arrived, 1994, was very

24 much the same as with any of the other solicitors in

25 Lurgan. It was neither warm nor cosy, nor was it cold

 

 

16

 

1 or in any way frustrating. But I think after -- the big

2 watershed then was Drumcree, that first Drumcree in

3 1995, where things seemed to become much more

4 distinctive in relationship terms. And I would have

5 said close to the time where I was leaving Lurgan that

6 the relationship with Rosemary Nelson in particular in

7 the office was strained.

8 Q. So strained from 1995?

9 A. From 1995, from that first Drumcree. You know, up until

10 the time that the Republicans started to organise

11 parades in Lurgan, I wasn't aware of Rosemary Nelson

12 being connected with either Sinn Fein or, indeed, the

13 GRRC. That first Drumcree, I wasn't actually on duty in

14 the country; I was actually on holiday at the time. But

15 during that first Drumcree I had no recollection of her

16 ever being linked with the GRRC at that stage. I think

17 that was a feature of probably the next year.

18 Q. So just so that I can be clear for the transcript, I

19 have been asked to clarify: you didn't have any direct

20 contact, that is speaking on the phone, exchange of

21 letters or obviously in person with Rosemary Nelson over

22 the organisation of the parades in 1995? And then I'll

23 look to the future after that.

24 A. No, I have never spoken to Rosemary Nelson at all about

25 any issue.

 

 

17

 

1 Q. I'm talking about 1995, but that in fact runs right

2 through --

3 A. Oh, yes, that runs through the whole period of my

4 service. There is nothing particularly unusual about

5 that. You know, there is a huge number of solicitors in

6 Lurgan and Portadown and I can count on one hand the

7 number of contacts or dealings I had with solicitors.

8 You know, they are few and far between.

9 Q. Although perhaps something a little bit more unusual

10 about someone of your seniority, the Subdivisional

11 Commander, ringing a solicitor's firm and being cut off.

12 And I think you never in fact managed to make contact

13 with the solicitor --

14 A. No, I felt -- you know, I rang the office. It was

15 probably a public order issue. It couldn't have been

16 anything else that I would have been contacting her

17 about. I was left hanging on the phone, then eventually

18 a young lady come back and asked who was I waiting for.

19 I said I was waiting for Rosemary Nelson and she said,

20 "Who is speaking?" and as soon as I said who it was, the

21 phone was put down.

22 I phoned back immediately and got a different young

23 lady in the office and asked to speak to Rosemary Nelson

24 and I got through to her colleague, whose name escapes

25 me. It was a male solicitor. I told him what happened

 

 

18

 

1 and he apologised. Now, but I never, ever got speaking

2 to Rosemary Nelson.

3 Q. Do you recall how you managed to convey -- you

4 presumably had something fairly important to convey?

5 A. I think probably what I was wanting to convey was that

6 it was my intention to serve a notice of conditions

7 under the public order legislation and that I would have

8 invited the organiser, whoever that was, to the station

9 at a pre-organised time to do that and that she was very

10 welcome to attend.

11 Q. Now, just going on, still dealing with Rosemary Nelson's

12 contact with Lurgan station, you say at paragraph 12 --

13 this is RNI-804-123 (displayed) -- that:

14 "Rosemary Nelson came into the station a number of

15 times."

16 I just want to get clear, first of all, what period

17 we are talking about here, or over what period we are

18 talking. It is third sentence.

19 A. Yes, that would have been over the period from July 1995

20 right up until the time that I left Lurgan, is that she

21 would have been into the station but not speaking to me,

22 but on sort of parading issues.

23 Q. Why --

24 A. It wouldn't only be parading issues. She would have

25 been into the station about criminal matters, just the

 

 

19

 

1 same as any other solicitor.

2 Lurgan was a designated station under the PACE

3 legislation, police and criminal evidence order, and so

4 that's where criminal suspects were held. And

5 solicitors obviously, if someone was arrested and asks

6 for their solicitor, their solicitor attended. So she

7 would have been into the station on a fairly regular

8 basis because she had a fairly active criminal practice.

9 Q. Was there any reason why you were specifically aware of

10 Rosemary Nelson coming in and out of the station, or

11 would you be able to tell me now about how often any

12 other solicitor visited? Was it that Rosemary Nelson

13 stood out as coming into the station, and why were you

14 aware of that?

15 A. Well, it would have stood out in the sense that the

16 organisation, i.e. Sinn Fein, that was organising parades,

17 had signalled her as their lawyer and as the one person

18 that would be representing them.

19 I guess what I'm alluding to there is that the duty

20 inspector, whoever, would have been notified that she

21 was in and in turn would have said to me. But not --

22 just in passing, just as a casual thing in the sense

23 that I would have been taking the lead on the whole

24 parading issue.

25 Q. Because the Inquiry have heard some evidence that there

 

 

20

 

1 is a suggestion that because of intelligence concerning

2 Rosemary Nelson and concerns about possible paramilitary

3 links, that she was perceived as an IRA solicitor, that

4 in fact communication would have come down to you or to

5 uniformed officers to be wary about Rosemary Nelson, to

6 pay particular attention if she came into the office.

7 Is that anything that you can assist us with? Were

8 you ever given information that Rosemary Nelson was

9 someone that should be looked out for in the sense that

10 she in some sense posed a threat to you or your offices?

11 A. Absolutely not. I'd 31 years' service, serving in five

12 of six counties in Northern Ireland and serving in

13 Belfast and I had never, ever recollected anyone ever

14 been described as an IRA solicitor or a UVF solicitor or

15 whatever, other than by the media. The media dressed

16 people up with these titles or whatever, and certainly,

17 you know, there was another solicitor in Portadown who

18 was pretty active in representing terrorist suspects, or

19 whatever. And you know, terrorists suspects are

20 entitled to legal representation and somebody has

21 to represent them, and in the professionalism of

22 policing, whatever, if it wasn't Rosemary Nelson, it

23 would have been someone else.

24 Q. I have obviously pitched my question at the height,

25 which is IRA solicitor. Pitching it at a much lower end

 

 

21

 

1 would be comments or briefings that you should watch out

2 for her, perhaps suggestions that her behaviour might

3 not be ethical, anything along that line. Was there

4 ever a sort of "watch out for her" sort of comment?

5 A. Absolutely not.

6 Q. Neither officially nor unofficially?

7 A. No, absolutely not. You know, Rosemary Nelson's name

8 would have been seldom ever mentioned to me and

9 certainly there was nothing institutionalised, if you

10 like. The question begs the issue was there some

11 institutional position on the part of the RUC in dealing

12 with solicitors in different fashions. Categorically, I

13 can say that that never was the case and that never was

14 the case in any other area.

15 You know, I worked in West Belfast, which was a very

16 difficult area, in the 1980s, as a subdivisional

17 commander and it was the same there. Solicitors were

18 solicitors and suspects were entitled to legal

19 representation, and Rosemary Nelson was one such

20 solicitor. And, indeed, when I arrived in 1994 I was

21 dealing with a complaint about police inaction. And

22 I remember speaking to the complainant and it was over

23 a domestic issue, and I suggested to the complainant

24 that she contact Rosemary Nelson. And I know other

25 police officers would have suggested people to contact

 

 

22

 

1 Rosemary Nelson.

2 Q. If I can go to Mr McMullen's statement -- this is

3 paragraph 26 of his statement. The reference is

4 RNI-841-142 (displayed). I think we will find his

5 evidence really accords with you. He talks there:

6 "To begin with, I believe Mrs Nelson's relationship

7 with police was generally friendly. She was on good

8 terms with them. My recollection is that some police

9 officers recommended her as a solicitor to use in

10 relation to domestic violence cases."

11 So you are at one with Mr McMullen on that?

12 A. Absolutely, that is fair comment.

13 Q. Then going down to 27, I think we have broad agreement

14 here. He, like you, is noting a change -- you put that

15 change at 95, Drumcree 1:

16 "At some later stage, Mrs Nelson's relationship with

17 the police changed."

18 And I don't know whether you would or wouldn't agree

19 with that. He pitches it relatively high. He says:

20 "I believe that Mrs Nelson became very anti-police

21 and was instead the type of solicitor who did not

22 communicate freely with the police. She communicated by

23 letter ..."

24 And so on. You have marked a -- I can't remember

25 the phrase you use, but a worsening of relationships in

 

 

23

 

1 1995. Would you agree with Mr McMullen that they

2 became, in fact, anti-police?

3 A. No, I wouldn't put it as strong as that. And that's as

4 one who, I suppose -- and the telephone conversation

5 I have alluded to, the telephone call to her office was

6 rebuffed. I wouldn't have described it as anti-police,

7 but certainly -- the big change is nothing in my mind to

8 do with Colin Duffy. Colin Duffy was there before 1994

9 and, indeed, Rosemary Nelson was his legal

10 representative, as I understood it, in, I think it was,

11 the Lyness murder, which was before my time. So I don't

12 link it in any way to do with that.

13 What I do link in is that Rosemary Nelson became

14 involved as the legal representative of the GRRC and

15 that was a very public position. In the context of

16 policing, she became involved, whether directly or

17 unwittingly, but somewhere or other with Sinn Fein in

18 terms of the parading issue in Lurgan.

19 Having got involved in those issues, it pitched her

20 into the public limelight, and to me that was

21 a watershed in terms of the appearance and the views of

22 Rosemary Nelson in the wider community.

23 I said at the outset about the context. As the

24 Subdivisional Commander, Henry McMullen is right when he

25 said that he dealt with everything in the terms of the

 

 

24

 

1 basic administration on a day-to-day basis in the

2 subdivision. I worked at a strategic level, working

3 with the senior command, working with the community,

4 with the councillors in the local council, working with

5 the business organisation in Lurgan, working with the

6 football club, working with the political parties,

7 working at that sort of strategic overview. And, of

8 course, as I said, through my family I had also contacts

9 in the community.

10 Around that time, Rosemary Nelson's name would have

11 come to the fore in the wider community as the GRRC

12 solicitor and, indeed, some very disparaging and

13 damaging comments were made by people in the Unionist

14 community about her. So her profile raised

15 significantly and, of course, she was very vociferous at

16 that time in the media about the parading issue in

17 Garvaghy Road. But that was in Portadown, and I had no

18 responsibility whatsoever for Portadown at that time.

19 But that's where the change came.

20 Q. Just dealing with that, the disparaging comments, can

21 you just give us some detail about exactly what sort of

22 disparaging comments we are talking about?

23 A. Well, the disparaging comments -- Rosemary Nelson had

24 a significant disfigurement to her face and the

25 disparaging comments were that the Unionist community --

 

 

25

 

1 and I'm talking about ordinary, decent, upright

2 people -- honestly believed that she was a bomb maker.

3 And I was getting this not only from community people,

4 this obviously was spreading pretty widely at that time,

5 that Rosemary Nelson was a bomb maker.

6 During the course of making a bomb up, somehow or

7 other it had exploded and disfigured one side of her

8 face. And I can remember actually getting quite annoyed

9 and quite cross with a Unionist politician who was

10 adamant that this had to be the case. I said, you know,

11 I don't know how -- I have an idea how she got the

12 disfigurement.

13 But that was the -- you know, at that time tensions

14 in the community were running very high, and this just

15 wasn't -- Drumcree just wasn't one Sunday in July. As

16 a policing operation, it wasn't just sort of a few days

17 or a week -- one year it ran on for 14 days -- it was

18 the whole year, so it was. It was every week, every

19 month, that issue was a poison, it was a carbuncle, as

20 it were, in the community. And while it slipped off the

21 national headlines and slipped out of the

22 Northern Ireland issue as such, it was still a very live

23 issue in Lurgan and Portadown. And people, ordinary

24 people who should have known better, had a very

25 jaundiced view of Rosemary Nelson.

 

 

26

 

1 Q. And the Inquiry have heard quite a lot of evidence

2 relating to these sort of comments, and that's why I'm

3 going to deal with it just in a little bit more depth.

4 So disparaging comments concerning the fact that her

5 face was disfigured due to her being involved with

6 a bomb. I'm correct, am I, in interpreting that as them

7 saying that she personally had been involved in IRA

8 terrorism; is that the implication?

9 A. Yes, absolutely.

10 Q. Beyond that, other disparaging comments in terms of --

11 that obviously was historical -- her current

12 relationship with paramilitary organisations?

13 A. No, it wasn't in the context of -- it was the background

14 that she had and that this was -- essentially it was

15 saying that she wasn't just a solicitor, she was

16 a Republican and she was an activist in the Republican

17 cause, and that she was taking her work much further

18 beyond the normal course of a solicitor/client

19 relationship.

20 You know, there were damaging comments about her and

21 Duffy as well at that time.

22 Q. Yes, that's what I wanted to get at. There were

23 comments, were there, in the community that she was

24 having a sexual relationship with Colin Duffy?

25 A. I have to be honest and say that that was never, ever

 

 

27

 

1 conveyed to me. I am aware from press coverage and what

2 I have heard since that that apparently was circulating

3 at that time, but certainly I can honestly say it was

4 never, ever brought to my attention.

5 Q. So when you were saying about getting too close to

6 clients, what were you referring to? If it wasn't

7 Duffy, what ...?

8 A. It wasn't Duffy. It was -- I think you can advise an

9 organisation like GRRC without actually becoming their

10 spokesman and I think that that's where Rosemary Nelson,

11 in my view -- and, of course, hindsight is 20/20 vision,

12 but in my view that was foolish on the part of

13 Rosemary Nelson as a solicitor.

14 You know, a solicitor can be very active in advising

15 an organisation over parading issues without actually

16 getting in front of the cameras and articulating views,

17 as she did. And I think it was probably Drumcree 2.

18 That was foolish and that thrust her into the headlines

19 and into the limelight in that community, and I think

20 ordinary decent people who wouldn't be particularly

21 knowledgeable and -- on these sort of matters of

22 solicitors and clients or whatever and who would never

23 have seen the inside of a courtroom in their lives

24 suddenly started to question, you know, what is this

25 woman about.

 

 

28

 

1 And that, in my mind, became a watershed where the

2 number of complaints -- my recollection was that they

3 started to come in from Rosemary Nelson on behalf of

4 clients. They, I don't know, doubled, tripled or

5 whatever. But certainly we got probably more complaints

6 in Lurgan police station from Rosemary Nelson's

7 solicitor's practice on behalf of clients -- and I mean

8 complaints against police; I mean, the formal process --

9 than probably all the other solicitors' practices put

10 together.

11 So suddenly, you know, that's in my book -- you

12 know, I remember my subdivisional office manager, who

13 was on the administration end, the manager in charge of

14 the office, drawing my attention to the amount of paper

15 coming from that office. It seemed to be tantamount to

16 some sort of campaign that just about every interaction

17 between a police officer and any of her clients led to

18 a formal complaint against the police.

19 Q. I very much want to come on to that issue in a minute,

20 but I just want to finish off with this perception of

21 Rosemary Nelson, if I may.

22 You say that was a fairly widely-held perception,

23 increasing perception of her as a spokesman for the GRRC

24 and so on and disparaging comments about her in the

25 Unionist community. Did that spread into the RUC?

 

 

29

 

1 A. No -- well, I never, ever remember any of my officers,

2 other than the Duty Inspector maybe, saying something to

3 me about Rosemary Nelson. I never heard any disparaging

4 comment about Rosemary Nelson. But then, you know --

5 Q. Sorry, you said other than the Duty Inspector?

6 A. The Duty Inspector, as I have alluded to previously in

7 my evidence, would have drawn attention to the fact that

8 Rosemary Nelson was involved in the whole parading

9 issue. You know, I just can't remember precisely what

10 sort of issues, but she would have attended the station

11 or whatever, probably to -- along with an organiser to

12 notify -- you know, under the public order legislation

13 they had to serve a form of their intention to organise

14 a public procession. And I think she would have been

15 in and organising it in that sense, and that sort

16 of thing the Duty Inspector would have been told and

17 he in turn would have notified me.

18 But I remember being asked by the Inquiry's

19 solicitors about the canteen culture and whatever. Now,

20 the canteen in Lurgan was a pretty small place. It

21 wasn't somewhere that I frequented on a daily basis, but

22 from time to time I would have been into the canteen.

23 But a constable or a sergeant or whatever isn't going to

24 articulate views about Rosemary Nelson or anyone else in

25 my presence.

 

 

30

 

1 We have got to be realistic here and say as the

2 Commander, I would be somewhat detached from that sort

3 of thing, but I would be very surprised if -- I guess

4 there would have been individual officers who would have

5 had a view about Rosemary Nelson, but I would have been

6 very surprised in any way that what was going on in the

7 wider community had somehow or other filtered into the

8 police station.

9 Apart from anything else, what we have got to

10 remember is that the vast majority of my officers did

11 not live in Lurgan or anywhere close to Lurgan. So

12 their whole lives and social life or whatever was apart.

13 Q. But it would be right, would it, that it wouldn't be

14 wholly unsurprising, given the sort of comments that

15 were going around the community, if -- I appreciate not

16 to you, not to someone at your senior level and no doubt

17 not formally, but there would be some comments in the

18 canteen that would in some way reflect the view that

19 Rosemary Nelson was now becoming to be perceived as

20 someone who was fighting the cause of the GRRC, had

21 overstepped her legal position?

22 A. I think probably in that context, police officers would

23 have a better understanding of the whole legal processes

24 or whatever and would probably have formed a view maybe

25 not dissimilar to the one that I formed: that this was

 

 

31

 

1 above and beyond, as it were, the call of duty in the

2 context of a solicitor and client. So I wouldn't be

3 surprised at that.

4 Certainly I would be very surprised and shocked if

5 any of my officers were talking about her being a bomb

6 maker or in some way or other a member, a supporter or

7 whatever of the IRA or anything that of nature.

8 Q. And another strand that of course is going along, as

9 well as the fact that she was representing the GRRC,

10 1995/1996 -- 1997, is the murder of Constables Graham

11 and Johnson; obviously a murder that occurred literally

12 around the corner from Lurgan police station, as I

13 understand. And Colin Duffy was arrested and

14 Rosemary Nelson was his solicitor.

15 So we have the background of at least -- you put it

16 in the wider community, the perception of

17 Rosemary Nelson and she is now appearing as the

18 solicitor representing someone who -- maybe you can

19 clarify this for me? -- but who, I think there was

20 a perception within the RUC, was to blame for those

21 murders, at least when he was arrested?

22 A. I think certainly on the briefings that I had and at

23 that time of the murder, I would have attended almost

24 daily the investigation conferences or whatever. And

25 I have to say, I clearly formed a view that Colin Duffy

 

 

32

 

1 murdered my officers and I had no difficulty in saying

2 that.

3 That was my view but, you know, we were

4 a professional organisation and having a view or,

5 indeed, having intelligence indicating something or

6 other, is something wholly different to having evidence

7 to place before a court.

8 Now, in the wider community -- that's my personal

9 view. In the wider community, I think the fact that

10 this was on the back of GRRC and the whole Drumcree

11 issue and the whole sort of tension and feelings in the

12 community being whipped up, wouldn't have helped the

13 fact that she was the legal representative. But I have

14 no recollection that she said or done anything in

15 representing Colin Duffy that was in any way wrong or in

16 any way different to any other of her colleagues or

17 solicitors would have done.

18 Q. But would it or would it not be fair to say that, going

19 back to your comments about the canteen culture, in

20 certainly that time, summer 1997 -- I appreciate not at

21 your level, but at the most junior level -- it would

22 maybe not be surprising if people were making

23 disparaging comments about Rosemary Nelson, given the

24 inevitable heat of the moment following the death of two

25 of her colleagues and the death of Rosemary Nelson?

 

 

33

 

1 A. The only comments that I held -- and I have reflected on

2 this over the past period -- was that, you know, that

3 was a very difficult time because I think it was

4 31 August 1994 that the IRA called its first ceasefire.

5 Then I remember briefing the press in Lurgan some

6 time later that terrorism still rippled on in Lurgan and

7 that, you know, the peace train would be leaving Lurgan

8 station and there would be a significant number of the

9 community wouldn't be on it because they were so wedded

10 to violence and they didn't know anything different,

11 that violence -- that that was their own sort of way of

12 life. And that certainly was my view.

13 There were a number of attempts to attack my

14 officers before the actual murder, so the murder was

15 a big, big shock. And what was going on in the canteen

16 and what was going on in the sections -- I guess other

17 witnesses have explained to the Tribunal the way that

18 the policing was organised and reliefs or sections of

19 duty and, you know, I remember speaking to the section

20 of duty, it was A Section in Lurgan, where the officers

21 were attached to, soon after the murder as they were

22 reporting for duty. I spoke to all the officers at that

23 time.

24 Now, the sense at that early stage was could this be

25 Duffy because I have to say that the widespread view in

 

 

34

 

1 the police in Lurgan was that Duffy was a ruthless

2 terrorist who had taken lives at will, and what he was

3 to the Republican community was very much the same as

4 someone else was to the Loyalist community in Portadown,

5 who has since been murdered. I refer to Billy Wright.

6 So they were -- they were the Godfather figures.

7 You know, in policing terms we knew pretty much what

8 their activities were, we had a pretty clear insight as

9 to their involvement in crime and terrorism and from the

10 intelligence sources, and that would have been the

11 initial view of my officers.

12 After he was charged, then there was no great

13 surprise and I would imagine if there was a straw poll

14 in 2008 of the 160 police officers in Lurgan who were

15 present or stationed there in 1997, I would be surprised

16 if anywhere less than 90 per cent of them would still

17 believe that he was the guy that murdered the officers.

18 But there was never any mention of Rosemary Nelson.

19 She was just a solicitor.

20 Q. She was just a solicitor to you because you have said

21 that you, certainly at that point, weren't aware -- you

22 acknowledge now that there were rumours about the

23 relationship she had with Colin Duffy. You weren't

24 personally aware of them, but to those, if one assumes

25 there were officers who were tapped into that rumour of

 

 

35

 

1 a relationship, one can imagine, can't one, that the

2 feeling about Rosemary Nelson as just his solicitor

3 would be slightly more than just his solicitor if there

4 was a view -- as I say, I won't repeat the background,

5 but you have gone over the background of the perception

6 of Rosemary Nelson, not entirely positive, and then the

7 relationship rumours of and then the fact that she is

8 representing someone who the belief is has killed one of

9 their colleagues, in terms of the canteen culture it

10 would be surprising, would it, if fairly strong comments

11 were made -- obviously not formally -- but at that

12 canteen level?

13 A. Well, I think, life being life, solicitors have affairs

14 just the same as everyone else in every walk of life.

15 So in that context there would have been no great

16 surprise at that.

17 But I can see the point that you are making is that

18 because -- that she was actually representing him in

19 a high profile case, if you like, which was almost

20 exclusively dependent on the evidence of an independent

21 witness. And it would be natural, I think, for police

22 officers to perhaps think that, yes, there was maybe

23 something more going on that sort of meets the eye. It

24 certainly was never expressed to me. I never was --

25 during the time I was serving, I was never aware of this

 

 

36

 

1 alleged sexual relationship, although certainly since

2 I have retired I have read about that.

3 Q. Now, just moving on from that -- and I should maybe just

4 ask you one question. I appreciate I'm somewhat

5 repeating myself. But I have been asked to ask you a

6 very specific question by one of the parties, so I'll

7 ask you to maybe go over the ground, but the question is

8 whether the attitude to Rosemary Nelson from the police

9 changed once she took on the role as defence lawyer of

10 Colin Duffy? Just that very specific question I

11 will ask.

12 A. No.

13 Q. Now, in relation to when you were then transferred back

14 to J Division, you have marked it as sort of from 1995,

15 the change in the perception of Rosemary Nelson. When

16 you came back in 1998, how did your perception of her

17 then -- had it continued to go down? Plateau'd?

18 A. No, it wasn't something that was ever addressed. When

19 I came back to assume command of the division, I think

20 in November 1998, it wasn't -- Drumcree was still a very

21 live issue or whatever. But Rosemary Nelson wasn't an

22 issue and it was never, ever discussed and I had no

23 reason ever to sort of think about her as a solicitor or

24 her relationship with clients or anything of that

25 nature.

 

 

37

 

1 Q. If I can move on to a slightly different topic now,

2 which is threats, you say that when you were the

3 Subdivisional Commander in Lurgan, you don't have any

4 recollection of ever being informed about someone

5 specifically being under threat?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. From an outsider's point of view that seems surprising,

8 given what we know about Lurgan being a very sectarian

9 town, the IRA being very active there.

10 One would, or one might imagine that fairly

11 frequently you would be being informed about people who

12 were under threat and people who you should be

13 particularly giving your attention to. Can you just

14 help with why there seems to be that discrepancy?

15 A. I think there is --

16 Q. Maybe terminology is the problem?

17 A. I think there is a lot of confusion about terminology,

18 particularly this phrase "threat assessment", so it is.

19 A lot of confusion about that in my estimation.

20 If we touch on meetings, first of all -- you have

21 heard from other witnesses undoubtedly, the meeting

22 structure where, on a Monday morning, the

23 Chief Constable met his chief officers at Police

24 Headquarters.

25 It cascaded down then on a Monday afternoon: the

 

 

38

 

1 Regional Commander -- there's three regions and three

2 regional commanders met the divisional commanders on

3 Monday afternoon. On Tuesday morning, the Divisional

4 Commander, who attended the regional meeting then on a

5 Monday afternoon, he met his subdivisional commanders on

6 Tuesday morning, and thereafter on Tuesday afternoon or

7 Wednesday morning, the Subdivisional Commander met his

8 team. So that was the meeting structure.

9 At each of those meetings there was -- people have

10 said a threat assessment given. What was given was an

11 assessment of the threat, and that's different, so it

12 is. And I think it is important that we have

13 a distinction, so it is. The senior Special Branch

14 officer attending those meetings, from the Head of

15 Special Branch attending the Chief Constables meeting to

16 the Regional Head of Special Branch attending the

17 regional ACC's meeting, right down to the Lurgans of

18 this world where I had -- Lurgan is slightly different

19 in that the Divisional Head of Special Branch was

20 co-located with me in Lurgan, which, as I say, is

21 unusual because it is usual for the Divisional Head to

22 be co-located with the Divisional Commander. But that

23 was a historic thing in Lurgan: The Divisional Head,

24 who was a detective inspector, was co-located. That

25 officer would give the brief of the -- of his or her

 

 

39

 

1 assessment of the threat.

2 Now, the threat wasn't about individuals; it was the

3 general threat to society and the threat from the

4 various terrorist organisations and groupings.

5 Occasionally there may have been something mentioned

6 about an individual in the course of that threat. But

7 there word "threat assessment", to me is a process that

8 went on at Police Headquarters about the threat against

9 an individual, and that's different to the meeting

10 structure where the senior Special Branch officer gave

11 his or her assessment or, indeed, the department's

12 assessment of the threat in that policing area.

13 Q. But in terms of occasions where an individual had been

14 marked out as someone being under threat, being on a hit

15 list, to use a term that's used in the media anyway, was

16 that ever conveyed to you at one of these briefings or

17 something that was conveyed to you, that information had

18 come -- one read at the time about lists being issued of

19 certain people who were targets? Was that sort of thing

20 ever conveyed to you, that you have got someone on your

21 patch who was thought to be a future target?

22 A. Yes, when I arrived in Lurgan, I would have been briefed

23 about individuals who were the subject of specific

24 threats.

25 Now, what you have got to remember is the nature of

 

 

40

 

1 Lurgan as a town. The vast majority of these

2 individuals would have lived in a place called Moira,

3 which was part of the Lurgan subdivision but which was,

4 if you like, an affluent suburb down the motorway from

5 Belfast where certainly police officers would have lived

6 because the majority of people, in my recollection, who

7 were under threat -- under threat, I had a judge living

8 in Moira, I had a number of police officers living in

9 Moira. I don't recollect very much beyond that.

10 I would have got that brief initially when

11 I arrived. During the time that I was there, which was

12 a period of over three years, I can honestly say -- and

13 I know that this is at odds with what others may have

14 said -- I can honest say that there was no specific

15 threat against any individual ever drawn to my

16 attention. Now, that's a very deliberate statement:

17 there was no specific threat against any individual

18 drawn to my attention.

19 Undoubtedly there would have been some sort of

20 threats and specific ones during that period of time,

21 but I suggest that they were probably against -- one

22 terrorist organisation against another. And if we could

23 put it -- life is life and life is precious irrespective

24 of whose life it is, but if I could put it that they

25 were a lower level. And whilst I had the

 

 

41

 

1 responsibility, Mr McMullen, as my deputy, would

2 probably have had a better handle on that lower life in

3 the threat context.

4 I realise that these are complex issues and it is

5 not easy -- I can understand them fully, but it is not

6 easy for some police officers to get their head around

7 the whole business of threats. But the threat business

8 given at meetings was a general briefing threat. It

9 seldom ever touched on individuals.

10 A threat assessment was a piece of work, a course of

11 action taken by Security Branch and Special Branch E3 at

12 Police Headquarters to assess the threat, probably on

13 behalf of the Northern Ireland Office, of an individual

14 and that's a wholly different issue and a wholly

15 different process to the threat assessment given at

16 a briefing.

17 Q. I think --

18 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Could you just explain what you mean by

19 the term "lower life", please?

20 A. What I have just said.

21 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: I think you would want to explain that,

22 wouldn't you? A better handle on "that lower life"?

23 A. What I mean there is that in Northern Ireland there

24 would have been a significant number of threats from one

25 organisation, one terrorist organisation, against

 

 

42

 

1 members of another terrorist organisation; in other

2 words, what would have been happening was members of the

3 Provisional IRA, would have been targeted and threatened

4 by members of the LVF and vice versa.

5 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And by the term "lower life", do you or

6 don't you mean individuals that were lower of standing?

7 A. No, I mean terrorists. I mean people who are hell bent

8 on murdering others and causing -- wreaking havoc in the

9 community or whatever, and certainly not doing anything

10 that is constructive for a community or for themselves

11 as individuals.

12 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So just for completeness, can you tell

13 us, please, what your interpretation is of the necessity

14 to assess the threat and take police action against the

15 individuals that you are talking about there?

16 A. Yes. Well, as I said a few minutes ago life is life and

17 life is very precious even if you are a terrorist, and

18 I have interviewed over the years quite a number of

19 terrorists or whatever and they all want to hold on to

20 their lives, so they do. So in a professional sense

21 there was a process and that process was followed and

22 followed closely.

23 But the point that I'm making is that it is not

24 surprising to me that someone would have been

25 knocking -- that no one knocked at my door to say that

 

 

43

 

1 Joe Bloggs, a member of the Provisional IRA, has been

2 subject to a death threat by the LVF, or conversely,

3 that Tommy Smith, a member of the LVF, has been subject

4 to a threat by the Provisional IRA. That was the

5 responsibility of Subdivisional Command and that was one

6 that would have been dealt with by Mr McMullen.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: You are sort of leaving me with an

8 impression that there were two sorts of standards. You

9 know, if you were a non-terrorist who was threatened,

10 then that would be dealt with in one particular way. But

11 this sort of comment about lower life -- are you suggesting,

12 even though this was not brought to your attention, that

13 this was not treated in the same way as a threat, if it

14 was a known terrorist?

15 A. Absolutely not. I'm saying that as a subdivisional

16 commander -- I was Subdivisional Commander in three

17 subdivisions. The previous subdivision that I worked in

18 was Larne. Now, Larne was a completely different

19 environment to Lurgan. There was always a threat of

20 terrorism because it was a port and a port of entry.

21 But it wasn't on the same level whatsoever.

22 As a subdivisional commander in Larne, I was

23 involved in everything, but in Lurgan there was just so

24 much to be involved in that I worked at a strategic

25 level. And what I'm saying is that if there was

 

 

44

 

1 a threat against a lawyer, against a police officer,

2 against a businessman or whatever, that was one thing,

3 and certainly something that I would have expected to

4 have been briefed about. But if there was a threat

5 against Joe Bloggs, who was a member of a terrorist

6 organisation or whatever, that that was something

7 different.

8 It wasn't dealt with -- it wasn't drawn to my

9 attention because of the level I was working at, but it

10 was dealt with by my deputy and by the system every bit

11 as professionally as the threat against the judge,

12 against the senior police officer or against the

13 businessman.

14 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay, thank you very much.

15 MS BROWN: Because maybe it would help just to look at the

16 force orders. If we could have up RNI-101-001

17 (displayed).

18 This is the force order there that goes up to 1991.

19 It was in force up to March 1998 when it changed

20 slightly but to all effects was very similar, and it

21 lays down there at paragraph 2, RNI-101-004

22 (displayed) -- sorry, could we just flick back to the

23 first page, back to RNI-101-001 (displayed)? You will

24 see there it is threats against the lives of members of

25 the security forces, VIPs or others. So there is

 

 

45

 

1 a distinction there between the security forces, VIPs

2 and others. What I want to look at is "others". Could

3 we flick forward again to RNI-101-004 (displayed)?

4 A. Well, if I could say just before you -- that in a sense

5 captures what I'm saying, that the reality is that there

6 is a distinction and if there is a threat against

7 a judge, as there was in my subdivision, I suggest to

8 you that that is something hugely more significant than

9 a threat against an active member of a terrorist

10 organisation.

11 Q. If I can just go and see what the force order says

12 should have happened in relation to the other persons,

13 and it says there -- paragraph 2, subparagraph 7:

14 "Other persons. Local Special Branch concerned will

15 inform the Subdivisional Commander in whose area the

16 subjects resides and works, and the Subdivisional

17 Commander will take whatever action he considers

18 necessary."

19 Then if we flick on to RNI-101-005 (displayed), at

20 paragraph 5, it speaks there about a threat log, and it

21 says there:

22 "As a result of the large number of threats

23 received, Subdivisional Commander should bring into

24 operation a threat log to contain brief details of any

25 threat to individuals in their areas and any action

 

 

46

 

1 taken as a consequence."

2 So what it seems there is there is a system where --

3 and I'm dealing with other persons here, so not the

4 VIPs, not the security forces -- there is a system where

5 Special Branch inform the Subdivisional Commander, the

6 Subdivisional Commander decides what action to take and

7 that action is then recorded in a threat log.

8 Now, as I'm understanding your evidence, you are

9 saying there was nobody that came into that other

10 persons category -- or was there? -- during your time

11 where you would have entered in a name, someone who is

12 not a judge, not a member of the security forces, into

13 that threat log. And I want to come in a minute

14 physically to where the threat log was, who was in

15 charge of it and what form it took. But that's the

16 structure that seems to be in place by the force order

17 that I'm seeking to understand.

18 A. There are a number of very important things here. I

19 have just said five minutes ago that I have no

20 recollection of any threats being made against

21 individuals, and I said that that was probably at odds

22 to what others have said because I'm conscious that

23 there is this perception in a town like Lurgan that, oh,

24 there is a huge number of people under threat and it is

25 down to what a threat is. And a threat in this context

 

 

47

 

1 is where there is very specific and detailed

2 intelligence that there is a threat held by the

3 intelligence agencies that they have picked up against

4 an individual.

5 I'm not saying that there was no one during my three

6 years and three months in Lurgan that wasn't threatened.

7 I'm not saying that at all. What I'm saying is that it

8 is most likely that the people that were subjected to

9 threats were processed and dealt with by my deputy.

10 Subdivisional commander -- if you read the RUC code

11 of 1994/1997, and at least one member of the Tribunal

12 will understand this -- subdivisional commander, every

13 responsibility falls on the Subdivisional Commander. So

14 there is "the Subdivisional Commander will", "the

15 Subdivisional Commander will". In effect de facto, the

16 Chief Inspector and the inspector, who was an officer --

17 considered an officer at that time, operated as the

18 Subdivisional Commander on many occasions.

19 So where it says "the Subdivisional Commander",

20 there is nothing -- nothing should be read in to the

21 effect that if there was a threat, that it wasn't drawn

22 to my attention.

23 What I have said previously was that there is

24 different levels, and certainly if a threat came to the

25 attention of the police, against another police officer,

 

 

48

 

1 a judge or a businessman or something of that nature,

2 a lawyer, I would have fully expected -- and I would

3 honestly believe -- it would have been drawn to my

4 attention and I think that states the obvious.

5 In terms -- in the context of the force order, the

6 thing that I know about the force order is it is a force

7 order issued by Security Branch, and I can determine

8 that from the reference number on the force order. And

9 is underlines the point that I think I made in the

10 statement that the responsibility for threats and threat

11 assessments lay at Police Headquarters, and that was the

12 responsibility of Security Branch in the Operations

13 Department and E3 in the Special Branch Department.

14 Q. But the responsibility for keeping a threat log is very

15 clearly put at subdivisional command level?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And can you tell us about the threat log in Lurgan?

18 What sort of book was it, if it was a book? Where was

19 it held? How many entries did it have in it? As much

20 detail as you can of the threat --

21 A. I have written quite a number of instructions and force

22 orders in my time when I was in charge of policy at

23 Police Headquarters, and when I look at this, I can see

24 that this, in 1991 -- I can't say categorically. I was

25 probably consulted about the drafting of this force

 

 

49

 

1 order, but in 1991 I certainly was actively involved in

2 the writing of the force orders and what that tells me

3 is that there has been a problem in some areas about the

4 logging of these things.

5 What traditionally happened in the RUC, more so than

6 any other police service, was that everything went into

7 the occurrence and complaints book, occurrence,

8 complaints, reports book, and it was very difficult to

9 find things unless you had an idea of the date. There

10 was no -- there was a low level way of trying to

11 categorise things under different headings to aid some

12 later research.

13 So what this is -- this is to address a specific

14 problem that has arisen and the specific problem

15 obviously that in some area there is no proper record of

16 threats other than in the occurrence book. That is

17 where it would have been in.

18 So someone at Police Headquarters determined we

19 needed to have a threat log. To the best of my

20 knowledge there was never any official book. Police in

21 Northern Ireland in the 30 years that I was in it was

22 heavily bureaucratic. There were a huge range of books

23 and records that were pre-printed affairs. My

24 understanding or recollection of the threat log was that

25 it was just an ordinary -- what we would call a standard

 

 

50

 

1 SO book, stationery office book, ruled out to cover the

2 points that are made in this force order.

3 In Lurgan, the threat log was held by the collator,

4 the criminal intelligence offer. That book would not

5 have been a book that was available to the officers in

6 the subdivision because that threat logbook was not the

7 means of briefing or drawing anything to the attention

8 of the officers.

9 So that was kept in the collator's office. Every

10 other month, I think it was, I had a responsibility to

11 inspect books and records, and that would have been one

12 of the books that would have been the subject of

13 inspection in the sense that it was being kept up and

14 kept up-to-date. So it was an official record that in

15 the event -- it is an accountability system -- in the

16 event of any issue arising about a threat, that you have

17 got an official record that logs the threat.

18 The operational side of the threat was the briefing

19 book. The briefing book was held in the briefing room.

20 Every officer in the station had access to the briefing

21 book and that is where a threat would also have been

22 logged, as well as issues that I would have wanted to

23 have brought to the attention of my officers.

24 I made entries to the briefing books and that is

25 where a junior officer would acquaint themselves with

 

 

51

 

1 the detail of threats and everything else in the book

2 that was going on in the subdivision, and that is where

3 the sergeant and inspector would brief the sections

4 going on duty as to what was happening in that area.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: We will have a quarter of an hour break,

6 until five to 12.

7 (11.36 am)

8 (Short break)

9 (11.55 am)

10 MS BROWN: Can we just finish off, I hope briefly, with the

11 threat log in particular. I think it follows from the

12 evidence you have already given that because there

13 weren't any specific threats to individuals communicated

14 to you during your time, you personally weren't

15 responsible for putting any entries into the threat log

16 during your period as Subdivisional Commander. Is that

17 right?

18 A. I can't honestly recall the mechanism. It may have been

19 the collator actually made the entry to the threat log.

20 I'm not absolutely sure who made the entries. But

21 certainly I never made any entries to the threat log.

22 Q. Because it comes across, certainly from this distance,

23 looking at it, that the force order was no doubt drawn

24 up as a good idea in principle, but on the ground it

25 didn't really work like that. There wasn't a system of

 

 

52

 

1 very regular entries in a threat log and it being kept,

2 as one might imagine, as a comprehensive record of any

3 threats that came through. It seems to be a much looser

4 system as it worked on the ground. Is that fair?

5 A. I think you are probably accurate -- is that the

6 objective of force instructions were to try and have

7 a standardised procedure. And for the most part --

8 there were 38 subdivisions at the time. For most part,

9 the majority of the subdivisions would have complied

10 with the policy, but here and there things were done

11 differently. And as I have indicated, I moved around

12 various regions in the Province and not everything was

13 done in accordance with the book, as it were.

14 It's very hard to sit at the centre of Police

15 Headquarters and come up with a system that absolutely

16 fits with every local variation. So the general thrust

17 of the force order would have been complied with, but

18 significantly, as I say, two years -- number 1, this

19 force order 1991, issued -- brought about the creation

20 of a threat log, which was a new book. But yet the

21 force didn't produce a book to my recollection, and

22 certainly in my time there was never a proper

23 pre-printed book with a number and all the rest of it,

24 the way it was done for everything else.

25 It was purely and simply put in as an accountability

 

 

53

 

1 system whereby at some later stage, if there was some

2 enquiry or some research had to be done about a specific

3 individual or a threat, that there was a means or an

4 easy means to identify it rather than going through

5 endless occurrence books to find the information.

6 So consequently --

7 Q. Sorry to interrupt, but that system only works if things

8 are put in the threat log, and it doesn't sound as

9 though that was in fact being done?

10 A. Sorry, say your question again?

11 Q. The system of not having to trawl through another

12 general book only works if one keeps the threat book,

13 and it sounds as if on the ground it didn't really work

14 like that?

15 A. I wouldn't agree with that. I would be surprised if

16 there was a specific threat that wasn't in a threat log.

17 What I'm saying is it was an aid subsequently to

18 identify whether a person was under threat or not. But

19 it wasn't in any way an operational aid. That is the

20 important distinction here.

21 Just as there is important distinctions about

22 threats and threat assessments, there is one here. The

23 threat log in any area where I ever worked was never

24 a means of briefing officers. It was a means of

25 a record administratively and in management terms. The

 

 

54

 

1 significant record for briefing officers was called the

2 briefing book.

3 Q. Just in terms of -- I hope this is the last question

4 I have got specifically on the threat log, but you have

5 made the distinction in answer to Sir Anthony Burden

6 about the distinction between threats to terrorists and

7 threats to non-members of the terrorist community, VIPs

8 and so on, businessmen. Would a threat to a terrorist

9 have made it into the threat log, or would they not have

10 been, if you like, deemed worthy of making it into the

11 threat log?

12 A. No. I also said that life is precious and even the life

13 of a terrorist is precious to the terrorist and to his

14 family. What I'm saying is that all threats would have

15 made it into the threat log and that would be

16 a definitive record of threats in that area.

17 Q. Thank you. Turning just to complaints, you said there

18 was a specific campaign, I think you put it in those

19 terms, by Rosemary Nelson's office because there was an

20 absolute plethora of complaints coming from her and that

21 that was brought to your attention.

22 Was anything done about that, the fact that -- and

23 what it seems to be saying is that her office was

24 drowning your office in paperwork. Is that the effect

25 of what you are saying?

 

 

55

 

1 A. I wouldn't say drowning the office in paperwork. What

2 I said was that there was significantly more complaints

3 from Rosemary Nelson under the official complaints

4 system than any other solicitor in Lurgan. And, in

5 fact, if I recollect, I can't obviously prove this now,

6 but my perception was that there was probably as many

7 complaints from Rosemary Nelson's office as there was

8 from all the other offices -- and there were

9 a significant number in Lurgan -- put together, so there

10 was.

11 So in terms of a campaign, if I use that word, it

12 wasn't in the context that she was driving this. The

13 campaign on complaints was driven by the Republican

14 community, sort of bogged the system and, two, in some

15 sense to identify officers who were particularly

16 effective in complaining against them, as it were, to

17 try and single them out for specific attention.

18 Q. So you are talking about an abuse of the complaints

19 system?

20 A. Absolutely.

21 Q. And that abuse of the system, whether one can identify

22 whether it was Rosemary Nelson or her clients who were

23 driving that, that abuse of the system was coming from

24 Rosemary Nelson's office more than any other office?

25 A. Absolutely.

 

 

56

 

1 Q. And obviously it came to your attention at senior level.

2 Did you take this issue any further?

3 A. Oh, no, there's nothing one can do. If she chooses to

4 make a complaint, she is entitled to do that or, indeed,

5 an individual chooses to make a complaint, they are

6 entitled to do that. There is nothing that we could

7 do -- the subdivisional office manager, a civilian, drew

8 this to my attention in the hope that somehow or other I

9 could do something about it, but there is nothing I

10 could do about it.

11 Q. Could I turn now to a memo? This is RNI-101-031

12 (displayed). This is the memo that was sent to you from

13 Superintendent Magee, and it attaches to it the letter

14 from LAJI talking about threats to Rosemary Nelson. You

15 will see here that it says here:

16 "I refer to my telephone conversation with your

17 deputy, Chief Inspector McMullen."

18 And effectively what it goes on to say is that

19 McMullen has asked that this correspondence be forwarded

20 to you. And if we go forward to RNI-101-032

21 (displayed), the next page, I think, that's the LAJI

22 letter that has been very frequently put up on

23 the screen in this hearing. So everyone is aware of it,

24 I think. You too have seen it in advance.

25 There is also attached was the letter from Senator

 

 

57

 

1 Torricelli broadly in the same terms. What that LAJI

2 letter says is that there were death threats to

3 Rosemary Nelson emanating from an RUC detective at

4 Gough, that they were insistent and ominous, that they

5 were being communicated to her via her clients and that

6 so serious did LAJI perceive this to be that the matter

7 should be going up to the Attorney General.

8 Now, what I want to try and track down is what was

9 done about that. Mr McMullen, your deputy's, evidence,

10 which you have seen in terms of his statement and

11 transcript -- I'm not going to go through all the

12 references in detail now, but in summary is evidence is

13 that he was sure that this letter did come to you, that

14 he discussed it with you and that, indeed, as we have

15 seen with the memo, he asked specifically for it to be

16 forwarded to you. So he would have followed up with you

17 whether you had received the information.

18 Having now looked at the documents in more detail

19 prior to your giving evidence, do you have any

20 recollection now of seeing those letters or dealing with

21 this issue?

22 A. No, I can categorically say that I never saw those

23 letters. The first time I saw them was this year by the

24 solicitors of the Inquiry.

25 Q. How can you be so categorical after 11 years, that that

 

 

58

 

1 one piece of correspondence is something --

2 A. Because as a subdivisional commander -- and, as I say,

3 I worked in three different areas -- I can never

4 recollect ever getting a letter of that nature. And

5 something like that, I'm absolutely certain, would stick

6 in one's mind and be a very significant event that

7 certainly it should have been drawn to my attention, but

8 I'm absolutely certain it wasn't.

9 Q. If I can just run through the things that would point to

10 the other conclusion -- whilst you don't recall it now,

11 it was brought to your attention, just so you have all

12 this in front of you. We have seen the memo that was

13 addressed to you and referred to McMullen. We have

14 heard -- and the Panel have heard -- Mr McMullen's

15 evidence that his recollection is that it was brought to

16 your attention and discussed with you.

17 We also have another strand that suggests it was

18 brought to your attention at the time, which is Chief

19 Inspector P146, and if we can just look at RNI-202-063

20 (displayed). This is a memo from P146, and you will see

21 there in the last paragraph:

22 "In the meantime, I have appraised Subdivisional

23 Commander, Lurgan of the ongoing correspondence ..."

24 That is the correspondence we have just been looking

25 at, and in fact ongoing correspondence. There was

 

 

59

 

1 a further -- in June/July, there was a further LAJI

2 letter again saying that there are allegations about

3 Rosemary Nelson being an IRA solicitor -- I don't think

4 we need to turn to that letter, but that is the ongoing

5 correspondence -- and that this had been brought to your

6 attention for what action he considers necessary for

7 Rosemary Nelson's security.

8 So that's contemporaneous evidence from P146

9 suggesting you were informed. If I can just take you

10 through to another document, RNI-206-010 (displayed),

11 this is the conclusion of a report that was drafted by

12 P146. It was a report that he made to the ICPC

13 suggesting that rule 17 be used in order to dismiss the

14 complaint by LAJI because Rosemary Nelson at that point

15 was not cooperating. It was in fact a suggestion that

16 was never taken up in fact. An investigation did ensue,

17 but at this point he was saying -- we will see at the

18 bottom:

19 "Nevertheless senior officers in CID and the

20 Subdivisional Commander, Lurgan have been informed of

21 the allegations."

22 And those are the allegations in the LAJI letter:

23 "A threat assessment has been made and appropriate

24 action taken."

25 So the fact is that insofar as one can trail through

 

 

60

 

1 the documents, the contemporaneous documents, all of

2 those suggest very strongly -- and no criticism is made

3 of people of not recalling something, but the indication

4 is that in fact you did see this correspondence. Does

5 that alter your evidence at all to the Panel?

6 A. Absolutely not. I'm absolutely certain that I never saw

7 this correspondence.

8 Insofar as P146 is concerned, I know that officer

9 very well and I can also categorically state that he

10 never ever spoke to me at that time or any other time

11 about this case or about this solicitor. When he says

12 the Subdivisional Commander, I also note in his evidence

13 that he names a different subdivisional commander.

14 Now, obviously his recollection isn't clear because

15 he is pointing to Superintendent Chapman, who was not

16 the Subdivisional Commander in Lurgan in July 1997. But

17 that underlines in my mind that his recollection isn't

18 clear. There certainly seems to have been some activity

19 following my departure from Lurgan in October 1997 by

20 P146, and I can only suggest that he is confused and

21 mixing up Chapman with myself.

22 Q. Can you offer any explanation as to why something which

23 I think you have accepted should have come to you,

24 didn't come to you?

25 A. Principally because I was on leave at that time. I just

 

 

61

 

1 can't recollect the dates now, but I have checked the

2 dates and I think the -- the only day -- there was

3 a period of a week after Mr Magee's memo -- which I do

4 not have in front of me.

5 Q. Mr Magee's memo is RNI-101-031. That's 29 May 1997.

6 A. In the subsequent week after 29 May I was only on duty

7 one day and that was 2 June.

8 Q. And your explanation for why there are two references to

9 P146 saying it was brought to the attention of

10 Subdivisional Commander, which I think you accept in

11 principle would have been the correct course?

12 A. Yes, I think it would have been the correct course,

13 although I would have to say I know Mr Magee very well

14 and Mr Magee was the Subdivisional Commander in Lurgan

15 prior to this, but that correspondence should not have

16 been routed directly to the Subdivisional Commander in

17 Lurgan. That correspondence should have been routed

18 within Police Headquarters either to Command Secretariat

19 or to Operations Department.

20 Q. But -- sorry, just to interrupt. But the content of

21 that note is that Mr Magee was asked by your deputy to

22 send it to you and your deputy's evidence is that,

23 having him request that it come to you, and one would

24 imagine the normal human response to that was having

25 asked for something to be referred to one's boss, one

 

 

62

 

1 would then follow up with one's boss that he had

2 received it, whether you are on holiday or not?

3 A. I'm not sure I entirely agree that Mr McMullen or

4 Mr Magee was intending this would go to me.

5 Q. "I refer to my telephone conversation with your deputy,

6 Chief Inspector McMullen yesterday. As agreed ..."

7 One assumes "as agreed between myself and

8 Mr McMullen", I would interpret that:

9 "... I forward herewith copy letters to enable you

10 to consider what action, if any, is required."

11 A. My interpretation of that is that Mr Magee would have

12 put that to Mr McMullen, that he would send it down. I

13 wasn't on duty. I never saw that before and certainly

14 Mr McMullen did not discuss Rosemary Nelson with me.

15 Q. Because, as I know you are aware, in fact we have

16 failed -- and you are aware of the searches we have

17 made -- to see that any action was taken in response to

18 this, and there is no correspondence in return. And we

19 have seen nothing to show that action was taken in

20 response to the allegations and the suggestion of

21 a threat to Rosemary Nelson.

22 Now, one possibility is that somehow this was simply

23 lost in the system. Is that the theory that you

24 propagated?

25 A. Well, it wouldn't have been the first document that got

 

 

63

 

1 lost in the system, but I'm obviously not aware of

2 previous evidence.

3 Are you saying that there is definite proof that

4 this document arrived in Lurgan?

5 Q. We have the document and we have Mr McMullen's evidence.

6 I don't think we have managed to track down in, if you

7 like, a correspondence log -- no, we don't have

8 a correspondence log showing that that came in. As

9 I say, I think I have fairly summarised to you the

10 evidence that we have from Mr McMullen.

11 A. There are a number of things I would say. First of all,

12 at that time in Lurgan there was a correspondence log.

13 Every item of correspondence was logged in a record,

14 which was contrary to the force instruction. The force

15 instruction on administrative systems indicated that no

16 post book, as it was called, would be kept. The post

17 book was kept before my time and I insisted that the

18 post book would be kept thereafter.

19 That is the first thing. The second thing is that

20 not only would it have been entered to the post book,

21 but it would have been logged in the system. And the

22 system was both paper and electronic. The electronic

23 system was called MARS. I don't understand why, but

24 that stood for something or other which escapes me now.

25 And the paper system was a paper filing system.

 

 

64

 

1 So the second point I make is that there should have

2 been a record in that. The third point I would make is

3 that there should also have been a record in

4 G Department Complaints and Discipline as to what the

5 response from Lurgan was. But I would not be surprised

6 that was not recorded because that particular issue that

7 Magee is addressing there is nothing whatsoever to do

8 with Magee, or is nothing whatsoever to do with his

9 department.

10 Q. Maybe I can cut through to the heart of this, which is

11 obviously there is one issue about the correspondence

12 and whether this letter actually reached you.

13 What we do know from Mr McMullen's evidence is that

14 it was raised with him. He recalls it. Regardless of

15 seeing this letter or not, did he discuss the issue

16 with you?

17 A. No. Mr McMullen never at any stage ever discussed

18 Rosemary Nelson with me.

19 Q. Because you are aware that contradicts Mr McMullen's

20 evidence that he did?

21 A. I am, but I'm saying categorically that I have a very

22 clear recollection that had something of that importance

23 been brought to my attention, I would still have

24 recalled it.

25 Q. Because one possibility, given your evidence earlier

 

 

65

 

1 regarding, if you like, a distinction that's taken

2 between the sort of person against whom a threat was

3 made, is that this wasn't dealt with at your level or

4 wasn't dealt with following through the correspondence

5 because Rosemary Nelson didn't come into the category of

6 someone, unlike a judge or a VIP, with whom it would

7 have been meticulously followed up?

8 A. No, if there could have been an issue about

9 Rosemary Nelson, not only should it have been raised

10 with me, whatever, it would have been something that I

11 would have wanted to have known about.

12 Irrespective of whatever view people may have of

13 Rosemary Nelson or any other individual, she was

14 a solicitor and she was in her community held in high

15 esteem by both Republican and Nationalist people in

16 Lurgan, or whatever, and that would have been something

17 that I would not only have expected, but I'm absolutely

18 convinced would have been drawn to my attention.

19 Mr McMullen also in his evidence made very clear

20 that his memory is not what it perhaps could or should

21 have been. I had previously said I had seven chief

22 inspectors and he probably was the top of the seven in

23 terms of support and loyalty and his commitment. But

24 one of the issues that Mr McMullen doesn't shine on is

25 his memory, and I don't say that lightly in 2008. It

 

 

66

 

1 was the same in 1997 and 1995, whenever he arrived.

2 I think he is probably confusing this -- and it is

3 easy to do so -- between two subdivisional commanders,

4 and I have no doubt that the issue did come very much to

5 the top of the pile later in 1997, after I had left and

6 certainly in the early part of 1998.

7 Q. Well, I won't go on and on, Mr Donnan, but what we are

8 looking at here is we are looking at correspondence --

9 and I accept what you say about there is a hole in terms

10 of a correspondence log, but we are looking at documents

11 that are addressed to the Subdivisional Commander at the

12 date when you were the Subdivisional Commander. We are

13 looking at Mr McMullen's oral evidence that he has a

14 clear recollection, and we are looking at P146's

15 documentary record that says that the matter was

16 referred to you and all that against the background of

17 something that, hypothetically, you accept should have

18 been -- and in the normal course of things would have

19 been -- referred to you.

20 Now, we are dealing with something that happened

21 11 years ago. Isn't the more straightforward

22 explanation that this is something that you now don't

23 recall, but that nevertheless did reach you?

24 A. No, absolutely not. I know P146 very well and I have to

25 say if you look at his evidence very closely, he names

 

 

67

 

1 one superintendent and it isn't the one in the witness

2 box today.

3 Okay, he has got his dates wrong, but I think there

4 is some sort of confusion in his mind about dates. He

5 knows me very well and I would say why did he not name

6 me if he discussed this with me? But I'm absolutely

7 adamant that there was no discussion about this with

8 P146 and myself.

9 Q. If we can look then -- just hypothetically, let us

10 assume that this letter did arrive and was dealt with by

11 yourself or by Mr McMullen. What would you have

12 expected to have been the correct procedure to deal with

13 this, given what you said to us about the different

14 attitude towards threats towards different sorts of

15 people? What would you, now looking at it, say would be

16 the correct response to a memo and letters of that

17 nature?

18 A. Well, I think the letter from the organisation isn't

19 very clear. Could we have that up again?

20 Q. Yes, it is the next page, RNI-101-032 (displayed). So

21 the question is, had this been on your desk, what would

22 you have done?

23 A. (Pause).

24 What I would have been enquiring into from the state

25 of that letter -- I see it was addressed to

 

 

68

 

1 Sir Louis Blom-Cooper -- was what further evidence is

2 there to substantiate these complaints -- or rather

3 threats, rather than complaints. Who are these

4 officers? I know that there was one officer in Lurgan

5 who was singled out for action in terms of complaints

6 from, probably, Rosemary Nelson's office and her

7 clients, and my conclusion on that was that he was

8 singled out because he was a particularly effectively

9 detective.

10 Q. Singled out by whom?

11 A. Singled out by Rosemary Nelson's office and her clients.

12 Whether -- singled out to the extent that I concluded at

13 that time -- I can't put a time on it but all I know is

14 it was around this time, I can't say it was precisely

15 1997 -- but singled out in the sense that I concluded

16 that this was all part of a Republican campaign not only

17 to denigrate the RUC but to somehow or other highlight

18 this officer because he was so effective.

19 Q. So you were aware at this time that P146 and formally

20 subsequently Mulvihill were looking into the whole issue

21 of derogatory remarks, threats allegedly made by

22 officers to Rosemary Nelson and complaints about that.

23 That was something you were aware of?

24 A. Yes, I can't say when I became aware of that.

25 I remember when I was Divisional Commander, which was

 

 

69

 

1 obviously later than that period, that P146 was one of

2 my officers and I remember he did say to me something

3 about Mulvihill. My recollection was that

4 Commander Mulvihill was about these issues before 1997,

5 but I can't be precise.

6 Q. The point I'm getting at really is you were aware, were

7 you, that there were complaints by Rosemary Nelson's

8 office concerning officers who were make threats against

9 her? You were aware of that issue?

10 A. Yes, I was.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Donnan, if you were given a piece of

12 paper, would you please write on the piece of paper, the

13 name of the officer who was singled out?

14 A. Yes.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Could you give --

16 A. I have a piece of paper here.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr (redacted), would you collect it and hand it

18 on to the Panel without reading it? Would you fold the

19 piece of paper when you have written it? (Handed)

20 Thank you. I will destroy that piece of paper,

21 Mr Donnan. Thank you.

22 Yes, carry on, Ms Brown.

23 MS BROWN: Could you clarify, please, whether there was any

24 discussion at any point -- and I'm talking now not only

25 when you were Subdivisional Commander, but when you came

 

 

70

 

1 back as a divisional commander, but primarily the

2 Subdivisional Commander period -- as to whether an eye

3 should be kept on Rosemary Nelson's premises because of

4 concerns about her --

5 A. No, I can categorically state that I never had any

6 discussion was Mr McMullen, nor did I have any

7 discussions ever with Mr Chapman about paying attention

8 or keeping attention on Rosemary Nelson, nor did I -- I

9 never understood that Rosemary Nelson was under any

10 threat.

11 Now, when I look at this correspondence, what

12 immediately jumps out at me is that if Rosemary Nelson

13 was under threat, why would you draw attention to the

14 police organisation or any other organisation, or the

15 Government of the day by means of a formal complaint

16 process? That's not the way to highlight that you are

17 concerned about your life or to deal -- or process

18 a threat situation. It is a rather awkward instrument

19 to draw attention -- that you are under threat.

20 Q. And just going back to what we were dealing with, the

21 hypothetical of had you seen that letter, and I think

22 you were starting to say that there is not a great deal

23 by way of detail or hard fact in that letter, which I

24 think would have to be accepted, am I understanding from

25 you are evidence -- and please correct me if I am

 

 

71

 

1 wrong -- that in fact you wouldn't have taken any

2 specific action on receiving that memo in any event?

3 A. Well, I wouldn't agree that I wouldn't have taken any

4 action. What I could have done is enquire, particularly

5 from the complaints system -- is my perception was that

6 there was a campaign, a Republican campaign that was

7 being orchestrated through Rosemary Nelson's office.

8 I can't say -- and this is important -- I'm not

9 saying Rosemary Nelson orchestrated it. It was through

10 her office and I'm sure just as a lot of things went

11 through my office that I didn't know, I'm sure a lot of

12 things went through hers that she didn't know either.

13 Q. Of course Rosemary Nelson was a sole practitioner

14 whereas you were a member of the RUC. There is a slight

15 difference?

16 A. She wasn't a sole practitioner. She had another

17 solicitor working in her office --

18 Q. A sole partner.

19 A. -- that I was aware of, and there may have been others,

20 I'm not sure. The point that I'm making is that having

21 seen that I certainly would have wanted to have been

22 reassured that we didn't have any threat.

23 Now, I was briefed regularly by Special Branch and I

24 can categorically say also, this is as Subdivisional

25 Commander in Lurgan and as Divisional Commander, that

 

 

72

 

1 Rosemary Nelson's name never featured once in any

2 briefing that I got.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: The examination of this witness and the

4 witnessesí answers are becoming somewhat repetitive. I

5 would suggest, sitting as an umpire in the middle, both

6 the questions and the answers could be shorter.

7 MS BROWN: I think I have virtually come to the end of my

8 questions. So just in relation to that, if you hadn't

9 been receiving anything down from Special Branch that,

10 if you like, corroborated this suggestion of threats,

11 and we see that you had got -- well, you do not accept,

12 but that there was a suggestion at that stage from P146

13 that these complaints under rule 17 wouldn't be pursued

14 with, is -- and I appreciate we are dealing with

15 a hypothetical here -- the likelihood that you wouldn't

16 have, therefore, taken any further action?

17 A. The likelihood, other than what I have outlined, I

18 wouldn't have taken any further action on foot of that

19 of letter.

20 Q. Thank you very much. I have no further questions, but

21 the Panel may have.

22 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

23 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I just go back to the answer you

24 gave a moment ago:

25 "In my perception, there was a campaign,

 

 

73

 

1 a Republican campaign that was being orchestrated

2 through Rosemary Nelson's office."

3 I am paraphrasing here: I'm not saying

4 Rosemary Nelson orchestrated it. If she didn't, then

5 what are you suggesting? How are you suggesting that

6 that campaign was being orchestrated?

7 A. I have outlined previously that her office was used by

8 Sinn Fein. We know that she was strongly linked with

9 the GRRC as their legal representative. We know that

10 the office was used to raise a very high number of

11 complaints against police officers, and what I'm saying

12 from my experience in Lurgan and elsewhere is that that

13 system was abused to bog the whole process and tie up a

14 significant number of senior officers in the

15 investigation of those complaints.

16 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: You say in your evidence that you were

17 not saying that Rosemary Nelson orchestrated it. Are

18 you suggesting that she was unwittingly used to

19 orchestrate the campaign?

20 A. That could be. I wasn't in her office, so I couldn't

21 say that every letter -- I can recollect -- the letters

22 that tended to arrive from Rosemary Nelson's office

23 weren't signed as such. There was a bit of a scrawl at

24 the bottom, so it could very well have been staff

25 working in the office that interviewed people or

 

 

74

 

1 whatever. I don't know the systems that she used in her

2 office. So I can't categorically say that she was part

3 and parcel of this, but certainly if she wasn't, her

4 office was being used.

5 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: But doesn't that suggestion then

6 suggest that it would have been a formal operation by

7 the RUC or Special Branch to try and uncover that

8 campaign?

9 A. No, that campaign -- you know, that was part of

10 a Republican strategy and there is nothing that we could

11 do about that. If a complaint is made, it has to be

12 logged, it has to be forwarded to the Police

13 Headquarters and it has to be investigated. And we were

14 powerless to uncover anything about that.

15 I think what the report from P146 outlines is that

16 certain steps -- I think there was a policy -- I was

17 never in the complaints department, but I think there

18 was a policy in terms of how many times or how many

19 attempts they made investigating things. And that is

20 outlined, I think, in part of the report of P146 in the

21 context of Rosemary Nelson. So that was the only way

22 you had of dealing with a significant number of

23 complaints.

24 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay, thank you.

25 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN

 

 

75

 

1 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Can I pursue one further point which

2 arises out of what you said you would have done had you

3 seen the LAJI letter?

4 If I understood correctly, you would have checked

5 whether there was a specific threat against

6 Rosemary Nelson?

7 A. Yes. Well, if there was a specific threat, I should

8 have been told, but I certainly would have

9 double-checked that there was.

10 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right, okay. Now, the allegation in

11 the letter is that the threat was coming from a police

12 officer in Lurgan. How likely is it that Special Branch

13 would have had a record of any such threat if any such

14 threat had been made?

15 A. That's a very good question. You know, I think

16 Special Branch, in my experience, in Lurgan had their

17 finger pretty much on the pulse, but whether that would

18 have extended to a maverick police officer who of

19 himself couldn't have done anything anyhow, he would

20 have had to have linked in -- I think the only way that

21 Special Branch would have picked that up was that

22 a maverick police officer would have had to have links

23 with a terrorist organisation, and in that context some

24 discussion, whatever, would have been made between the

25 officer and the organisation and then Special Branch

 

 

76

 

1 picking it up. I think that's the only way.

2 There wouldn't have been systems in place within the

3 police family per se to enable them to pick that sort of

4 thing up unless another police officer who was

5 present -- you know, these detectives would have always

6 been accompanied. To the best of my knowledge, they

7 would see have always interviewed suspects in pairs.

8 So, again, they could have picked up something from an

9 accompanying officer that PC or DC whoever overstepped

10 the mark and said whatever.

11 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Maybe or maybe not, of course?

12 A. Undoubtedly, maybe not.

13 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: What I'm trying to get at is if such

14 a situation had occurred -- and I emphasise I'm not

15 suggesting that it did -- if such a suggestion had

16 occurred and that is what was being said in the letter

17 from LAJI, looking at the Special Branch records would

18 not help you. You would still have the problem of this

19 woman might be in danger, we had better do something to

20 make sure that we are doing something to protect her.

21 Isn't that right?

22 A. Yes, I understand the point you are making is that it

23 wouldn't have helped because they would have been --

24 I fully expect at the beginning of June 1997, had I gone

25 to the Special Branch in Lurgan and asked the question,

 

 

77

 

1 that the answer would have been no, there is no threat.

2 But equally well, they, as they are apt to do, and

3 myself would have concluded because of her profile that

4 it wouldn't have been a surprise that there was a threat

5 in the Loyalist community because of the attention that

6 she attracted to herself and the representation -- and

7 I'm careful to say not of Duffy -- in the representation

8 of GRRC organisation in the context of parading at

9 Drumcree, that I think they would have been highlighting

10 that, well, we are not really surprised. Whereas, if it

11 was another solicitor in Lurgan, they would have been

12 sort of saying that's a really big surprise. I can't

13 understand what the logic for that would be.

14 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Given that it wouldn't be

15 a surprise, given also what you said earlier that a life

16 is a life and is precious --

17 A. Yes.

18 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: -- would you not, contrary to what

19 you said a little earlier, have taken some action to try

20 to ensure that the police had done what they could?

21 A. No, Rosemary Nelson was a solicitor. If she in any way

22 considered herself under threat, she only had to contact

23 the police. She could contact me. She would have been

24 into the police station on a fairly regular basis in the

25 context of criminal interviews. If she didn't want to

 

 

78

 

1 go to the police if somehow or other she thought that

2 this was somehow an institutionalised threat by the

3 police as some sort of State or Government or arm of the

4 state or whatever, then there are a lot of people she

5 could have gone to: the local politicians on the

6 Nationalist side, the SDLP. She could have gone to the

7 local clergy. These are people that I met on a regular

8 basis and not one of them ever articulated to me that

9 Rosemary Nelson was under any sort of threat.

10 So there were a lot of options that she could have

11 adopted to genuinely draw attention to a real, if not

12 perceived, threat. But she didn't do that to my

13 understanding, and the point that I'm making is that it

14 is a rather awkward instrument to use a complaints

15 system to draw attention to threats or whatever that --

16 at Gough Barracks so and so, under interview by

17 Detective so and so, made a threat against

18 Rosemary Nelson.

19 You know, that's not the proper means of raising

20 a threat if you are absolutely certain that you are

21 fearful of your life.

22 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I see.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you for coming to give evidence before

24 us, Mr Donnan.

25 We will adjourn now until 1 o'clock on Monday week.

 

 

79

 

1 (12.38 pm)

2 (The Inquiry adjourned until 1.00 pm on Monday,

3 24 November 2008)

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

 

 


 

1

2 I N D E X

3
MR CYRIL DONNAN (sworn) .......................... 1
4
Questions by MS BROWN ........................ 1
5
Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 72
6
Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 74
7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25