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Full Hearings

Hearing: 11th November 2008, day 74

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ROSEMARY NELSON

PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

 

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


on Tuesday, 11 November 2008
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 74

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



1 Tuesday, 11 November 2008

2 (10.15 am)

3 (Proceedings delayed)

4 (10.25 am)

5 THE CHAIRMAN: May the witness be sworn.

6 MR JOHN STEELE (sworn)

7 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

8 MR PHILLIPS: Can you give us your full names, please?

9 A. John Martin Steele.

10 Q. Thank you. I think it is right that you have made

11 a single witness statement to the Inquiry, and we can

12 see it on the screen at RNI-820-112 (displayed)?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Do we see your signature at RNI-820-128 (displayed) and

15 the date of 10 October last year?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Thank you very much. Can I ask that we go back to the

18 first paragraph, please? You tell us there, right at

19 the beginning of your statement, that you became the

20 Senior Director Belfast in 1996. Is that correct?

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. Can you, please, give us just a run down of your career

23 to that point in 1996?

24 A. Up to that point?

25 Q. Yes, please.

 

 

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1 A. Well, I have always been an established civil servant. In

2 other words, I switched between departments and did all

3 sorts of menial tasks, and when I reached the level of

4 Assistant Secretary in the Department of Health, having

5 previously been in the Department of the Environment, in

6 the Belfast Development Office, which I enjoyed very

7 much, I was -- it was suggested to me by the then head

8 of the Civil Service that I should put myself forward to

9 be Director of the Court Service in the Lord

10 Chancellor's Department. They had put a number of

11 people forward who hadn't actually been appointed, and

12 I went to London and met the Permanent Secretary in the

13 Lord Chancellor's Department and he offered me the job,

14 which I accepted.

15 Having done five years in as Director of the Court

16 Service, I was again summoned by the Head of the Civil

17 Service and it was suggested to me that I should become

18 Head of the Prison Service, and I thought that was an

19 interesting career move and did it; again, for five

20 years, when I was -- became Director of Security in the

21 NIO and latterly Director of Policing and Security as

22 well as Head of the Belfast office of the NIO, Senior

23 Director Belfast.

24 I should say that at one stage I was a principal

25 officer, I was Secretary to the Gardiner Committee on

 

 

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1 measures to deal with terrorism in Northern Ireland and

2 I had a passing acquaintance with the Chairman.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, of which I was a member.

4 MR PHILLIPS: Can I ask you to look, please, at our chart,

5 the chart of the NIO structure, to see where you fit in

6 on our diagram? Thank you very much. I think we will

7 turn briskly over to the next page, please (displayed).

8 Now, it is not very clear on the screen, I am

9 afraid, but I think your box --

10 A. Is at the top.

11 Q. It is at the top, isn't it?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. So that we are clear about this, Mrs Collins, who came

14 to give evidence a little while ago, helpfully corrected

15 the structures so that they were, I think -- and

16 I hope -- accurate. But it looks from the chart as

17 though, as you say in your statement, you had an

18 associate director who was reporting to you. Is that

19 correct?

20 A. That's right.

21 Q. And is it right that his responsibility was in the

22 Security Policy and Operations section?

23 A. No, it is not right.

24 Q. Right.

25 A. He assisted me generally.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes.

2 A. Across the full range of my responsibilities.

3 Q. Yes. So if we wanted to make another amendment to the

4 chart, it would move his box slightly to the left and

5 put him, as it were, with the reporting line down the

6 middle from you --

7 A. No, I don't think so. I think what you would have was

8 my line going to the boxes beneath, and him to one side

9 reporting to me but with no line management

10 responsibilities.

11 Q. I understand. Thank you very much.

12 Now, the other point I wanted to ask you for your

13 help on, please, is the distinction in terms of areas of

14 responsibility between the Police Division on the one

15 hand and the Security Policy and Operations Division on

16 the other.

17 A. Well, the Police Division dealt with all matters

18 relating to policing. You know, dealings with the -- on

19 police complaints and all that sort of area of activity.

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. Security Policy and Operations really dealt with the

22 police and the Army on operational matters.

23 Q. So it went beyond the police into more general questions

24 of security?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Thank you. Now, can I ask you this question: to whom

2 did you report? You are at the very top of our box

3 here, so who did you report to?

4 A. I reported to the Permanent Undersecretary, but in

5 practice I related directly to ministers.

6 Q. Thank you. And can we go back then to the first page of

7 our chart, and you will see there are two -- the

8 Permanent Secretary has his own box in the middle at the

9 bottom, and then the Security Minister on one side and

10 the Minister of State on the other. To which of those

11 ministers would you report?

12 A. The Security Minister exclusively.

13 Q. So in other words, if we think of the two pages as being

14 a single page, there would be a reporting arrow up from

15 you at the top of the box we have just seen to the

16 Security Minister?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Is that correct?

19 A. It is correct in a sense. I would have worked with the

20 Security Minister, but I reported to the PUS.

21 Q. Right. Now, if we can go back to the second page again,

22 please, and the box on the left, can you help us with

23 some idea of the numbers of staff who were in the Police

24 Division? Are we talking dozens, are we talking

25 hundreds?

 

 

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1 A. No, we are talking dozens, I think.

2 Q. Yes. What of Security Policy and Operations?

3 A. Again, dozens.

4 Q. And did you have your own office, your own staff?

5 A. I had a very efficient secretary.

6 Q. And that was it?

7 A. That was it.

8 Q. Thank you. Now, in paragraph 2 of your statement, if we

9 can put that back on the screen, please, at RNI-820-112

10 (displayed), you tell us that your role as Senior

11 Director and Director Policing and Security was fairly

12 wide-ranging. Can you give us some idea of your main

13 responsibilities in those two roles?

14 A. Yes. As Senior Director, I had a -- Belfast, I had

15 a relationship in a human resources sense to all the

16 staff in Belfast.

17 Q. Yes.

18 A. So appeals and things like that would come to me in that

19 role. As Director Policing and Security, I had

20 a liaison role with the police and the Army, with the

21 Chief Constable and the GOC, and I also advised

22 ministers on security matters. And the marching season

23 was -- indeed, I was kept three months past retirement

24 age to deal with one more marching season and it sounds

25 slight ludicrous, you know, that the marching season

 

 

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1 looms so large, but it actually did loom large and we

2 dealt with community groups and the Orange Order and all

3 sorts of different people to try and stop the marching

4 season becoming too difficult.

5 Q. Yes. Just to be absolutely clear, you are talking, in

6 terms of your retirement, about 1998, aren't you?

7 A. Yes, I am.

8 Q. And you, as I understand it, were due to retire in May

9 and in fact retired in August?

10 A. That's right.

11 Q. By which time the main focus of the marching had passed?

12 A. Exactly, and in addition, you know, in the final months

13 I was very concerned with finding people to serve on the

14 Patten Commission, and that was quite a difficult

15 exercise.

16 Q. Because, again, just to get all this in the right

17 chronological framework, the

18 Good Friday Agreement, April 1998, the establishment of

19 the Patten Commission, June 1998, and obviously the

20 Drumcree focus, July 1998?

21 A. Your recollection is superior to mine, yes.

22 Q. It was a very, very busy time?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. On that topic, you say in your statement that after the

25 New Labour administration came to power in May 1997, you

 

 

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1 became, as you put it, even more strongly involved with

2 this issue; that's marching?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Can you help us, please: what were the changes of focus

5 which occurred with the new and incoming Government?

6 A. With the incoming Government, Patrick Mayhew had been

7 very experienced in Northern Ireland matters as Attorney

8 General and he had been in Northern Ireland many times

9 and he had many contacts. When the new Government came

10 in and Dr Mowlam became Secretary of State, she wanted

11 things done, she expected things to be done, she

12 expected to solve problems; problems which many of us

13 thought were insoluble. But it created a -- quite

14 a frenetic atmosphere of getting out and meeting people

15 and seeing things and doing things. That was the change

16 of focus.

17 Q. And in that, she was backed up, was she not, by

18 Government at the highest level? The Prime Minister

19 himself took a substantial interest in the early years

20 of the administration in Northern Ireland affairs?

21 A. Indeed he did, leading up to the Good Friday Agreement

22 in particular.

23 Q. And even after that, in relation to the marching point

24 you made earlier, we know, for example, that his

25 Chief of Staff dealt with the proximity talks in the

 

 

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1 summer of 1998, didn't he?

2 A. He did.

3 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you some questions about the

4 Secretary of State? How frequent was your contact with

5 her?

6 A. Every day.

7 Q. You saw her every day?

8 A. Yes, several times, probably.

9 Q. Thank you. Now, you have described the change from, as

10 it were, the Mayhew style to her style, the more

11 frenetic style -- that's the word you used -- how would

12 you describe her approach to her work? The Inquiry has

13 received evidence to say that she was rather happier

14 discussing issues than working through mounds of paper.

15 Was that your experience?

16 A. Well, can I contrast Patrick Mayhew with her?

17 Q. Please do.

18 A. Patrick Mayhew was a barrister, read the papers, did the

19 consultation and took a decision. And I thought that

20 was highly admirable.

21 Dr Mowlam didn't read the papers, partially listened

22 to you and found it difficult to make a decision and had

23 to be led into a decision. And that was very

24 interesting for me.

25 Q. It was a very big change?

 

 

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1 A. Yes --

2 Q. For you?

3 A. -- it was.

4 Q. Did it create difficulties in your work, bluntly?

5 A. No.

6 Q. You had to adjust?

7 A. Well, Dr Mowlam, she had likes and dislikes and they

8 were sometimes irrational, in that she liked me and she

9 didn't like some other civil servants, and that put

10 extra burdens on me.

11 Q. So you found yourself taking on an extra range of tasks,

12 did you, simply because you had a good working

13 relationship with her?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Whereas others did not?

16 A. Yes. I should make it clear that I had great admiration

17 for Dr Mowlam. She was a passionate person and she

18 wanted to do well and do good in -- as Minister.

19 Q. Now, can I ask you about your working relationship with

20 Mr Ingram? How frequent was your contact with him?

21 A. Very frequent.

22 Q. Again, on a daily basis?

23 A. Just about, I think, yes.

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. Yes. When he was in Northern Ireland, I would generally

 

 

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1 have seen him at some point in the day, and it was

2 a very good working relationship and leading in my

3 retirement to friendship with Adam Ingram.

4 Q. But it sounds from those answers as though you may in

5 fact have had more regular contact with the Secretary of

6 State than you did with the Security Minister. Is that

7 right?

8 A. Just about, yes.

9 Q. Yes. And getting back to your description of the way

10 she worked and the way she took decisions, did it mean

11 that there would have to be a number of discussions

12 about an issue before a decision was made by her?

13 A. No, not necessarily. She could be decisive when she

14 reached that point, but it was getting her to that point

15 was the problem.

16 Q. And what were the ways that were used to get her to that

17 point?

18 A. Perseverance I think was the main one because she would

19 have had a view to start off with which might not be

20 necessarily the view that the office wanted, and it took

21 perseverance to convince her.

22 Q. But when she had an issue with which she was concerned,

23 about which she felt strongly, was it something that she

24 would ventilate and let everybody know about, so you

25 were left in no doubt what her view and what her

 

 

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1 position was?

2 A. Well, not necessarily. She would have ventilated with

3 me, but I would have been in no doubt about what her

4 opening position was, but --

5 Q. She put her cards on the table?

6 A. But she knew it was an opening position.

7 Q. Yes. But she didn't hold back? She let you know what

8 she thought --

9 A. Absolutely. In no uncertain terms, I may say.

10 Q. Yes. Now, can I ask you about your working relationship

11 with individuals outside the NIO?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And first of all in relation to the police, was your

14 principal point of contact there the Chief Constable?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And can I ask you, please, to describe the nature of

17 your working relationship with Sir Ronnie Flanagan?

18 A. Well, it was a very close relationship with him and with

19 his predecessor, who was more difficult to get close to,

20 but Ronnie was very open, very frank and very willing to

21 talk things through with me. And at the same time he

22 was very, very conscious of police independence and, you

23 know, he was quite sure that the NIO wasn't going to run

24 the police. But he would explain his position fully,

25 and when it came to things like video and audio

 

 

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1 recording and the Police Ombudsman and all of that, he

2 was very open to discussion with me. And the marching

3 season.

4 Q. So that's part of the programme of change that you refer

5 to in your statement?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And you found him, did you, open to the proposals, the

8 changes that were working their way through in this

9 period?

10 A. Absolutely, yes.

11 Q. Can I ask you, please, how regular was your contact with

12 him?

13 A. I guess weekly, but it might have been less than that.

14 Q. And when you say weekly, do you mean in the form of

15 a meeting or on the telephone?

16 A. It could have been on the telephone or him calling to

17 see me or me calling to see him.

18 Q. Yes, and did you have regular contact with any other

19 senior officers at the RUC?

20 A. Not really. I obviously had dealings with some of the

21 assistant chief constables from time to time, but not

22 really.

23 Q. You didn't have regular contact, for instance, with the

24 Head of Special Branch?

25 A. No, definitely not. Head of Special Branch wouldn't

 

 

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1 have liked to talk to me at all.

2 Q. Why do you say that?

3 A. Well, Special Branch in the RUC were very secretive by

4 their nature and they certainly wouldn't have wanted to

5 have an unguarded conversation with the likes of me.

6 Q. Were you aware that they had unguarded conversations

7 with any civil servant within the NIO?

8 A. Not as far as I am aware, and I don't think they even

9 had unguarded conversations with the Army.

10 Q. And what about unguarded conversations with senior

11 officers within the RUC?

12 A. I just can't comment on that.

13 Q. Now, so far as the Army was concerned, again, can I ask

14 you, please, who was your principal point of contact

15 there?

16 A. It might have been the Commander Land Forces rather than

17 the GOC. The Commander Land Forces at that stage, a

18 major general, would have been more concerned with the

19 operational matters. But the GOC from time to time, and

20 certainly at the security policy meetings, the GOC was

21 there, as I was.

22 Q. Again, can I ask you, please, in relation to the

23 Commander Land Forces, how regular was your contact?

24 A. You understand, this is some time ago.

25 Q. Indeed.

 

 

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1 A. But, again, not as frequent as with the police.

2 Q. So perhaps less than once a week?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Yes. Can I ask you finally, based on your experience

5 and observation at this time, what was the working

6 relationship like between the Secretary of State on the

7 one hand and the Chief Constable?

8 A. I think it was quite close. She liked him and

9 appreciated his frankness when he talked to her. So it

10 was -- it was a perfectly constructive relationship.

11 Q. As far as you were aware, they were both frank with each

12 other?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Now, if I can just ask you some questions about

15 documents and recollection in general?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Because in your statement you deal with a number of

18 documents and we will look at some of them in a moment,

19 but as you have already observed, these events now took

20 place some time ago.

21 At the time you prepared your statement and you were

22 interviewed, you were shown copies of documents, can

23 I ask you: what is the state of your recollection of

24 these events without the documents to remind you and to

25 refresh your memory?

 

 

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1 A. Not great, I am afraid.

2 Q. And in relation to a number of the documents, you appear

3 not as an addressee but as a copyee, often in a great

4 long list and nearly always near the very top of the

5 list. In general terms, please, can you help us: how

6 were decisions as to copyees worked out? Presumably by

7 the author of the document in each case. Is that right?

8 A. Yes, that's right, but the NIO was a copy organisation.

9 I got copied in to -- as Senior Director Belfast, I got

10 copied in to almost everything and it was a mass of

11 paper.

12 Q. Presumably you had to learn to be rather discriminating

13 in deciding which of those copy documents really merited

14 your attention?

15 A. Or lazy in my case, yes.

16 Q. Indeed. Now, so far as your day-to-day work is

17 concerned, Christine Collins, I think, told us that you

18 had a meeting every Monday morning?

19 A. I did.

20 Q. With your heads of division?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And the other senior colleagues. And what was the

23 purpose of that meeting?

24 A. The purpose of that was to make them feel they were part

25 of an organisation, rather than independent operatives

 

 

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1 doing their own thing, and it was also to keep me

2 informed of what was important to them for last week and

3 the week coming in and to give me an opportunity of

4 offering advice or whatever.

5 But the Northern Ireland Office was a very busy

6 place, and the grade 7s largely did their own thing,

7 controlled by the grade 5s, the assistant secretaries.

8 And the assistant secretaries would have really done

9 their own thing and gone straight to ministers on most

10 things and would only have really come to me if they

11 needed help or they wanted extra weight or whatever.

12 It operated in that sort of stratified fashion

13 because it was just so busy, you know, I couldn't have

14 dealt with it all.

15 Q. Just to be clear, the grade 7s are the heads of the

16 division?

17 A. They are principal officers. The heads of divisions are

18 grade 5s.

19 Q. I see, thank you very much.

20 Sir, it is ten to 11.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, we will adjourn for 20 minutes.

22 A. Thank you very much, sir.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: We will come back at ten past 11.

24 (10.50 am)

25 (Short break)

 

 

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1 (11.10 am)

2 MR PHILLIPS: We were talking about your Monday morning

3 meetings and the work of your more junior officials, and

4 you described how the heads of division were essentially

5 running their own ships and often taking things direct

6 to ministers.

7 I just want to be clear, in the light of all of that

8 autonomy, where it was precisely that you fitted in,

9 given that they were obviously dealing with their own

10 departments. What sort of issues came to you? Were

11 they issues of political significance, for example?

12 A. I should say also that -- hence the reason for the

13 extensive copy list because people could intervene at

14 any time. You knew what was going on and had the

15 opportunity to intervene and, of course, the heads of

16 division would be aware of the sort of thing that I

17 would be interested in and which might reach ministers,

18 which might reach newspapers and would come to me

19 beforehand.

20 Q. Yes. So presumably on some occasions the heads of

21 division sought your advice, your input, and on others

22 you availed yourself of the opportunity given to you as

23 a copyee and took an interest and took a part in an

24 issue?

25 A. Yes, mostly to help them with something that might be

 

 

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1 difficult for ministers to take.

2 Q. Yes. Now, can I just ask you finally in terms of

3 relationships within the NIO, you said at the outset

4 that you had a line of reporting up to the Permanent

5 Undersecretary. Now, what were the sorts of issues that

6 you would take, as it were, above you to the Permanent

7 Undersecretary?

8 A. I think something that would have repercussions in

9 Whitehall would be one thing because the Permanent

10 Undersecretary would be very much a Whitehall person.

11 Also, something that would be of strategic importance or

12 something that would be politically difficult; those

13 sorts of things I would need to square him, if you like,

14 before going ahead.

15 Q. Yes. Now, so far as other liaison with other outside

16 bodies is concerned, the final area I wanted to touch on

17 was liaison with the Security Service. Did you have

18 regular liaison with the Security Service?

19 A. It depends what you mean by liaison. I saw yellow

20 folders and the Head of the Security Service, when I was

21 Director of Security, had an office just round the

22 corner from me and we chatted. But liaison is a very

23 strong word actually for the sort of relationship I had

24 with him. He, of course, was a member of SPM, as I was,

25 and that's the only bit which I would describe as

 

 

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1 liaison in its proper sense.

2 Q. But is it fair to say that you were in regular contact

3 with him, with the DCI?

4 A. Yes -- it wasn't necessarily about business.

5 Q. Indeed.

6 A. But, yes.

7 Q. Now, so far as the yellow folders are concerned, are

8 those the folders that contain the Northern Ireland

9 intelligence reports?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And so far as that is concerned, we have heard from

12 other witnesses about them, but I would like to show you

13 just an example so we know what we are talking about.

14 Can we have on the screen, please, RNI-534-010

15 (displayed)?

16 Now, this is a report during your time as Senior

17 Director. It is 20 May 1997, "Loyalists: having their

18 cake and eating it", and in the distribution list we see

19 you, don't we, on the first line "SD(B)", Senior

20 Director Belfast?

21 A. This is not --

22 Q. This is not you?

23 A. This is not the sort of thing that appeared in the

24 yellow folders. The yellow folders wouldn't have had

25 a copy list as such, as I remember it. They would have

 

 

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1 a pink piece of paper inside with an intelligence

2 report.

3 Q. Right.

4 A. This is in a sense a public minute.

5 Q. Right.

6 A. The yellow folders were delivered to us by a member of

7 the Security Service who unlocked her briefcase, gave

8 you the yellow folder and then came back and collected

9 it later. This was a minute which you could keep. So

10 it is not quite the same thing.

11 Q. So can you describe for us the pink documents which were

12 in the yellow folders? Were they lengthy? What form

13 did they take?

14 A. Very often brief and not conclusive. I can say now, ten

15 years retired, that I didn't rate them very highly.

16 Indeed, I once said to the Director of the Security

17 Service, who came from England to see if we were

18 satisfied with the service we were getting -- I said

19 that I found the pinks very useful in confirming what I

20 had already heard from journalists, contacts or the

21 newspapers.

22 Q. From open source material in fact? But how regularly

23 did these yellow folders with the pink slips arrive?

24 A. Oh, every couple of days, I think.

25 Q. Would the material in them be at a general level or was

 

 

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1 there specific reporting?

2 A. Well, I'm sorry to say that I can't remember the content

3 of any one of them. They were never earth-shattering.

4 Q. No, but just looking at this document -- because

5 certainly we had understood to this point that the

6 material which arrived at your desk in the NIO was this

7 sort of material -- it looks as though it is addressed

8 to you, is it not?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Now, it is a Northern Ireland intelligence report, as we

11 can see, "NIIR", at the top left. How often would you

12 be in receipt of NIIRs, then?

13 A. I really can't say.

14 Q. Would they be less frequent than the yellow folders?

15 A. Less frequent, yes.

16 Q. This document goes on -- and, again, it is difficult to

17 show you all of it on the screen --

18 A. I have read it over the weekend.

19 Q. Thank you very much indeed -- for several pages. For

20 everybody's note, it ends on RNI-534-017. Can I take it

21 from your answers that this sort of report was a much

22 more substantial document than the pink slips in the

23 yellow folders?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as these documents are

 

 

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1 concerned, what was the purpose of them; in other words,

2 what was the point in copying you in as the Senior

3 Director Belfast to material of this kind?

4 A. Oh, well, this document is really a substantial piece of

5 analysis of where the Loyalists are at the moment, and

6 it was important for me, who had regular contact with

7 Loyalist paramilitaries, to understand that and indeed

8 to try to influence events by my understanding of that.

9 Q. So it was important for you, was it, in your work to

10 understand the intelligence background to the

11 individuals and the issues with which you were dealing?

12 A. Absolutely.

13 Q. Now, we have heard in the material that the Inquiry has

14 collated the NIO described as a customer for

15 intelligence reports of this kind. Were there occasions

16 on which you, having received a document such as this,

17 sought further information?

18 A. There could well have been, but I really don't remember

19 any occasion.

20 Q. But is it likely that there were occasions on which you

21 read an analysis such as this and thought of various

22 points which would be useful to know more about?

23 A. I think that almost certainly was the case.

24 Q. Yes. Can I just ask you, how would you actually go

25 about seeking further information in a case such as

 

 

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1 this?

2 A. I would either do a minute in reply or I would have gone

3 round and saw the head of the office to say, "That's not

4 right" or "I think, you know, it should have reflected

5 something different".

6 I may say that in my job, one of the -- I was a sort

7 of Loyalist specialist, if you will accept that term,

8 and had regular contacts with Loyalist paramilitaries.

9 Q. Was this as part of the negotiations, part of the

10 discussions leading up to the Good Friday Agreement, for

11 example?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. So that was a particular area --

14 A. And in dealing with the marching season and, indeed,

15 successfully arranging that the Drumcree, which created

16 such havoc in Northern Ireland -- that the Loyalist

17 paramilitaries stayed out of it. And we succeeded in

18 that and gradually the problem went away. It was when

19 they were organising the protests with Drumcree that it

20 was really dangerous.

21 Q. Yes. Taking that as an example -- Drumcree -- were

22 there occasions on which you initiated a request for

23 intelligence reporting, for example, where you said to

24 the DCI, "Listen, I need to know more about this topic.

25 Can you do me a report?" or "Can your staff do me

 

 

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1 a report on it"?

2 A. No, I don't think so.

3 Q. So you didn't, to use the modern jargon, task

4 intelligence reporting?

5 A. No.

6 Q. Did it follow, therefore, that the choice of topics,

7 here "Loyalists: having their cake and eating it", was

8 at the discretion of the Security Service?

9 A. I believe so, yes.

10 Q. But presumably they were conscious of the general areas

11 of interest and concern of their customer, the NIO?

12 A. Yes, of course.

13 Q. And sorted presumably --

14 A. Obviously this document would have been very useful at

15 the time.

16 Q. Indeed. So far as the distribution lists are concerned,

17 can I take it that the decision as to who should be

18 copied in -- in this case, you were -- was taken by the

19 Security Service?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the pink slips are

22 concerned -- which we have heard about for the first

23 time this morning, I should say -- can I take it from

24 your early answers that you did not follow up the pink

25 slips and seek for further information in relation to

 

 

26


1 those?

2 A. I don't think so, no. You got snippets of information

3 which you tucked away. And as I have said, it related

4 to information I had with journalist contacts who were

5 very, very good in their -- in the way they worked with

6 paramilitaries in Northern Ireland and were a mine of

7 information, and also with the paramilitaries

8 themselves, and to paint a picture of what was going on

9 to which the office could respond.

10 Q. And again, just to be clear in relation to the pink

11 slips, these were in yellow folders, you mentioned?

12 A. Yes, yellow plastic folders.

13 Q. Is it right that the folder would be physically brought

14 to you?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. You would be invited to read it and then it would be

17 taken away from you when you had read it?

18 A. It was left with you and then collected.

19 Q. Yes. By contrast, as I understood what you were saying,

20 these were, as it were, to keep?

21 A. Just minutes, yes.

22 Q. Yes. Now, can I ask you some questions next about the

23 security policy meetings which you have referred to on

24 a number of occasions?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

27


1 Q. What I would like to do, if I may, is to remind you of

2 a paragraph of your statement. It is paragraph 33 at

3 RNI-820-123 (displayed), and you deal with it -- the

4 question of the meetings -- do you see in the last few

5 lines of that paragraph, beginning:

6 "SPMs were chaired ... "

7 Do you see that?

8 A. Yes. I left out some of the members, I think.

9 Q. That's what I wanted to ask you. You were obviously an

10 attendee and you give the details of some others: the

11 Secretary of State, the Minister, the GOC, the

12 Chief Constable, the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil

13 Service. Who else, please, as a regular attendee?

14 A. Give me those again, please?

15 Q. They are on the screen, do you see? I was simply

16 reading them out.

17 A. Oh, thank you very much. Chaired by the Secretary of

18 State, attended by the Minister of State, the GOC and

19 the Chief Constable. I'm really -- the PUS, the

20 Permanent Undersecretary, was there as well as the Head

21 of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, and I believe

22 that the GOC and the Chief Constable had their staff

23 officers present, although not at the table.

24 But I can't think of anybody else at the moment.

25 Sorry, I beg your pardon, the DCI isn't mentioned there

 

 

28


1 and, of course, he was a main player.

2 Q. Yes, indeed. And the purpose of the meetings was,

3 please?

4 A. So that -- as one GOC put it to me, so that we are all

5 singing from the same hymn sheet. We discussed what was

6 going on. The two security chiefs could be very frank

7 with the Secretary of State and give him a picture of

8 what was going on and the Secretary of State could take

9 that into account in any public utterances that he made.

10 And he could also, of course, make suggestions.

11 Suggestions, I say, because of course the military and

12 the police were not under his direction.

13 Q. You mean the Secretary of State, when you say "he"?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. So in the case of these meetings then, who was

16 responsible for the minutes?

17 A. I believe that Security Policy and Operations Branch

18 was --

19 Q. So officials within the NIO?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. But does it follow then that there was a more junior

22 civil servant from that division also in attendance?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Thank you.

25 A. I'm sorry you had to drag all of that out of me, but it

 

 

29


1 is a long time ago.

2 Q. Indeed. So far as the regular items on the agenda, if I

3 can put it that way, presumably the Secretary of State

4 received a briefing in those meetings from the

5 Chief Constable on the one hand and the DCI on the

6 other?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And also from the GOC? Is that right?

9 A. Yes. The security situation was the agenda.

10 Q. Yes, thank you. And minutes presumably were circulated

11 before the next meeting in the normal way. Is that

12 right?

13 A. I expect so.

14 Q. Indeed.

15 A. I can't remember.

16 Q. If everything had gone smoothly, that's what should have

17 happened?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And presumably filed somewhere. I'm not suggesting you

20 know the detail, but filed somewhere so that they were

21 available to you and others at the NIO?

22 A. That's the purpose of minutes: to be filed.

23 Q. Indeed, exactly. Now, so far as other papers in advance

24 of the meeting are concerned, was there written material

25 generated by the main speakers, if I can put it that

 

 

30


1 way, in advance of the meeting?

2 A. I think on occasions there probably were but, you know,

3 I couldn't tell you a subject of one of them, I am

4 afraid.

5 Q. But it wasn't a regular thing that you would receive

6 a written --

7 A. No, no.

8 Q. No.

9 A. Nor even an agenda, I think.

10 Q. I see. So there was an understood but not written down

11 agenda?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, can I move on to ask you some questions

14 about Rosemary Nelson herself, please?

15 In your statement you clearly set out for us the

16 matters concerning her with which you had at least some

17 involvement in 1997 and 1998. What I wanted to ask you

18 first of all in relation to her is the extent to which

19 you were privy to intelligence -- which, as you know,

20 I'm sure, the Inquiry has seen -- relating to her?

21 I know you have seen various PSNI documents over the

22 last few days. Can I take it from the answers you gave

23 earlier that you would not have seen PSNI Special Branch

24 material during the course of your work?

25 A. You can take it -- that's correct. I saw things at the

 

 

31


1 weekend that I have never seen before.

2 Q. Yes. You will have seen from the selection of material

3 that you were given that various reports about her

4 suggest, for example, that she was behaving improperly

5 as a solicitor in pressurising witnesses, in creating

6 alibis, and thirdly -- and again, I'm giving you the

7 gist of what you have been shown -- that she and one of

8 her very prominent clients, Colin Duffy, were having an

9 affair.

10 Now, can I ask you, please, were those matters of

11 which you were aware, albeit you didn't see those

12 documents, in the period with which we are concerned in

13 1997 and 1998?

14 A. No, I was not aware of them.

15 Q. Of any of them?

16 A. Of any of them.

17 Q. Thank you.

18 A. She came to my notice as legal adviser to the

19 Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition and I knew her in no

20 other capacity, and she advised them at the proximity

21 talks which we held -- the first lot of proximity talks.

22 Q. Would that be in 1997?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Yes, and that's when you first became aware of her?

25 A. That's right. I knew that she had represented Mr Duffy,

 

 

32


1 but nothing more.

2 Q. Yes. Presumably you knew that simply because it was

3 a very prominent case?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And we know from other witnesses -- and I don't want to

6 go over this in great detail with you -- that issues

7 concerning it came to the NIO and were dealt with by

8 officials in Police Division, for example?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And you were aware of all of that?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Can I just ask you about your view of Rosemary Nelson,

13 because you make various comments about her --

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. -- in your statement. And I would like to show you

16 first of all the comment you make in paragraph 8, and

17 that's at RNI-820-114 (displayed).

18 You say, exactly as you just have, that you remember

19 her being involved in the proximity talks as legal

20 adviser to the GRRC and that she was pretty quiet during

21 those talks?

22 A. She never said a word.

23 Q. Thank you. And then you say:

24 "I have been asked by those interviewing me how

25 Ms Nelson was regarded. I did not regard Ms Nelson as

 

 

33


1 a troublemaker."

2 Can I ask you to help us with this. What do you

3 mean specifically by that?

4 A. Well, I didn't think she stirred things up in the

5 newspapers. She didn't make public statements and she

6 didn't really write to the office or to ministers or

7 whatever. She was -- as far as I was concerned, she was

8 the legal adviser to the Garvaghy Road Residents

9 Coalition and she represented terrorists.

10 Now, in my background in the Prison Service, I have

11 talked to a lot worse people than Rosemary Nelson and

12 dealt with them in a constructive way, and that was my

13 attitude to the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition and it

14 would have been the same to Mr Duffy if I had ever

15 met him.

16 Q. Yes. Now, you say that she didn't make public

17 statements, talk to the newspapers. We know that there

18 was a good deal of press interest in the cases with

19 which she was involved over this period.

20 A. Sure.

21 Q. Are you drawing a distinction there between the question

22 of whether or not there was press coverage on the one

23 hand and her provoking the press coverage on the other?

24 A. I'm drawing exactly that distinction, yes.

25 Q. Yes. Thank you. So you say you didn't regard her as

 

 

34


1 a troublemaker. How did you regard her?

2 A. I regarded her as the legal adviser to the Garvaghy Road

3 Residents Coalition and that's the only way I dealt with

4 her. And she didn't advise me, we never had

5 a conversation. She would have advised them and their

6 chairman in particular.

7 Q. Mr Mac Cionnaith?

8 A. Mac Cionnaith.

9 Q. Yes, indeed. But, as you say, just slightly further on

10 in the statement, she was known as a Nationalist lawyer

11 partly because of her role in this and partly because of

12 her representation of Colin Duffy. So it went a little

13 bit wider than the Residents Coalition?

14 A. Well, the whole of Northern Ireland is divided into

15 Nationalists and Unionists, you know. Whether people

16 inside those qualifications accepted they're Nationalist

17 or Unionist is another question.

18 She tended to come from the Nationalist side of the

19 community and to represent Nationalist people. There is

20 nothing more to it than that.

21 Q. You go on to talk about Colin Duffy and you say in the

22 penultimate sentence on the screen:

23 "Mr Duffy was charged and convicted of the murder of

24 a UVF man, but was later acquitted by the Court of

25 Appeal."

 

 

35


1 Do you mean the John Lyness case?

2 A. I don't know, sorry.

3 Q. Was it something you were told about?

4 A. It is a question of names, you know. I sometimes can't

5 remember the name of somebody I met yesterday, never

6 mind somebody a long time ago.

7 Q. And the acronym, UVF, are you sure about that?

8 A. Yes, I believe so.

9 Q. Right. Not UDR?

10 A. Possibly.

11 Q. Yes.

12 A. Sorry.

13 Q. Now, then you say:

14 "Mr Duffy was later charged with the murder of two

15 policemen."

16 That was the murder in Lurgan in June 1997,

17 wasn't it?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Which had a substantial impact, did it not?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Because, presumably, of its timing apart from anything

22 else?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. It was an unexpected adverse development. Is that

25 correct?

 

 

36


1 A. And it was particularly vile sort of crime of coming up

2 behind them and shooting them in the head, if

3 I remember it.

4 Q. Yes. Now, just looking a little earlier in your

5 statement at paragraph 4 -- and that's RNI-820-113

6 (displayed) -- you have been asked in your interview

7 clearly about the incident on the Garvaghy Road where

8 she, Rosemary Nelson, alleged she had been assaulted.

9 You say you don't recall the incident. You say:

10 "Ms Nelson would have had to make a complaint

11 against the police and I believe she didn't trust the

12 police."

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Can I just ask you, please, what is that belief

15 based on?

16 A. It is based on the fact that I was told she would not

17 apply for the Key Persons Protection Scheme because it

18 would involve the police examining her property.

19 Q. Presumably you were told that by your officials,

20 were you?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Can you remember the circumstances in which you were

23 given that information?

24 A. No.

25 Q. No. But that's the basis, is it, for your suggestion

 

 

37


1 that she didn't trust the police?

2 A. Yes. Also the fact that she did not apply for the Key

3 Persons Protection Scheme, and I think I have read

4 papers that confirm that -- read papers in the recent

5 past.

6 Q. More recently?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Yes. But in terms of what you knew at the time, did you

9 ever receive anything direct from her explaining why it

10 was she had decided not to apply?

11 A. No.

12 Q. No. Now, the final comment you make, which I wanted to

13 ask you about -- comment about Rosemary Nelson,

14 I mean -- is in paragraph 14 at RNI-820-116 (displayed),

15 and here, in the context of complaints made by her,

16 which you also deal with in your statement, you say:

17 "The complaint by Rosemary Nelson had a life of its

18 own."

19 There was a good deal of correspondence coming in to

20 Police Division in relation to that as well, was there

21 not?

22 A. From NGOs, yes.

23 Q. Indeed, from third parties?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. "There were those people in Northern Ireland who were

 

 

38


1 anti-police and wanted to embarrass them. We were used

2 to this to some degree. Miss Nelson was not one of

3 those people."

4 A. She didn't seem to me to be particularly stirring it in

5 the public sense.

6 Q. Yes. So that was a judgment, presumably, you reached

7 based on your very considerable experience of these

8 matters?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. But again, can I take it that that experience in

11 relation to Rosemary Nelson was at least at one remove

12 from her?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Yes. Presumably based on your involvement in the issues

15 about which you speak at some length in your statement?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Thank you. Now, I would just like to show you a couple

18 of letters, if I may, in relation to NGOs and their

19 involvement in the Duffy case in relation to the two

20 policemen murders.

21 Now, the first I would like to show you, please, is

22 dated 3 July 1997, and we can see it at RNI-105-037.500

23 (displayed).

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. This is a single page letter, so we can see it all on

 

 

39


1 the screen. We know that Mr Duffy was arrested in the

2 last week of June, so this comes very early in the

3 criminal process. It is addressed to the Secretary of

4 State from British Irish Rights Watch. Can you remember

5 whether you had any involvement in dealing with

6 correspondence of this kind?

7 A. I don't remember this, but I know what I would have done

8 if I had received it or the Secretary of State had asked

9 me about it. I would have said, "This is something you

10 want to pass to Ronnie Flanagan because it is a police

11 operational decision to arrest him. The safeguard is

12 a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions. You

13 are not involved. Don't get involved."

14 Q. So stay away from the criminal process?

15 A. Absolutely.

16 Q. Was it unusual to receive correspondence to ministers

17 about ongoing criminal proceedings?

18 A. No, not necessarily. People outside the system tend to

19 think the Secretary of State -- the system was

20 essentially corrupt and that the Secretary of State

21 could fix things and there were, of course -- it wasn't

22 the case.

23 Q. In this particular case, if you see the date,

24 3 July 1997, it appears that the Secretary of State

25 herself took the step, perhaps the unusual step, of

 

 

40


1 speaking to Rosemary Nelson about the case. Is that

2 something that you can remember?

3 A. The Secretary of State had her own contacts and

4 Rosemary Nelson might have been one of them, and she

5 certainly would have -- could easily have spoken to

6 Rosemary Nelson about it, yes.

7 Q. Yes. Just pausing there, you say that she had her own

8 contacts and Rosemary Nelson might have been one of

9 them. Do you know whether she was in fact one of them?

10 A. No, I don't.

11 Q. You don't. But there were people, were there, to whom

12 the Secretary of State spoke, as it were, outside the

13 formal process of the Government and its machinery?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And did that on occasions cause you, as officials, some

16 concern?

17 A. Occasionally, yes.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. Occasionally, because they tended to be -- I use the

20 word again -- on the Nationalist side rather than on the

21 Loyalist side.

22 Q. So the contacts were on one side of the fence only?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And the concern presumably was at least the appearance

25 of tending one way rather than the other and rather than

 

 

41


1 keeping a neutral stance?

2 A. Yes, and the difficulty then was, if you -- the

3 suspicions of the Loyalist, Unionist, community of her

4 interfered with things so that she might be dealing with

5 the Nationalists and Tony Blair would have to deal with

6 the Loyalists.

7 Q. Yes. And did that in fact happen?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Now, we can see her intervention evidenced at a document

10 at RNI-105-035.500 (displayed). It is a letter from the

11 Secretary of State to Rosemary Nelson:

12 "Dear Rosemary ..."

13 Dated 14 July:

14 "Colin Duffy. We spoke about the case of Colin

15 Duffy and I undertook to write to the Chief Constable

16 about it. I have now done so and also copied

17 Jane Winter's papers to the Director of Public

18 Prosecutions. I have asked to be kept informed in

19 developments of this case."

20 Again, can I ask, were you involved --

21 A. It sounds as if I might have been. But she still wanted

22 to write something, but in substance she would be taking

23 the advice I would have given her.

24 Q. Indeed, and referring the matter on (a) to the

25 Chief Constable and (b) to the Director of Public

 

 

42


1 Prosecutions?

2 A. Yes, and no copy list.

3 Q. And we can see the letters just for completeness on the

4 next pages: RNI-105-053.501 (displayed) to the

5 Chief Constable. Do you see? Signed by the private

6 secretary, I think. And then the next at

7 RNI-105-053.502 (displayed), back to --

8 A. Jane Winter.

9 Q. Jane Winter. And saying again that the copy has been

10 passed to the Chief Constable on the one hand and the

11 Director in Northern Ireland on the other --

12 A. What ministers do very well is give the appearance of

13 activity when actually nothing has happened.

14 Q. And you think this is an example?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Can I take it from these answers that in a case such as

17 this where there had obviously been a conversation

18 between the two -- the Secretary of State on the one

19 hand and Rosemary Nelson on the other -- you would not

20 have been --

21 A. Present.

22 Q. -- present when that took place? Would you in general

23 get to hear of what had been said as a result of what

24 the Secretary of State said to you, if I can put it that

25 way?

 

 

43


1 A. Well, maybe.

2 Q. Yes.

3 A. But I don't know.

4 Q. Were there some cases in which you found yourself

5 confronted with a new idea or a new point which had

6 arisen as a result of conversations with contacts of

7 this kind?

8 A. Yes, I think.

9 Q. Yes. Now, again, you put this in the context of the

10 Secretary of State and her contacts. Was it an unusual

11 thing, even for this Secretary of State, to be talking

12 to the solicitor for a defendant in a criminal case at

13 this early stage of criminal prosecution?

14 A. Yes, extremely unusual.

15 Q. And presumably, if you had been asked, "Do you think it

16 is a good idea for me to speak to the solicitor to the

17 defendant?" you would have said, "No, Secretary of

18 State, it is not"?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Thank you. And again, finally on this, in terms of the

21 range of matters and problems that you were dealing with

22 and the Government was dealing with at this time, it is

23 right, isn't it, that this came just after the Drumcree

24 1997 protest and, indeed, the violence that ensued?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

44


1 Q. Not just at Drumcree, but across Northern Ireland?

2 A. 1997 wasn't a particularly bad year. I have the

3 impression in my mind that things had started to tail

4 off by 1997.

5 Q. Was 1996 the year when there was knock-on violence

6 elsewhere in the Province?

7 A. I believe so, yes.

8 Q. I'm sorry. Now, so far as this is concerned, you said

9 in your answer earlier -- and it is a matter you set out

10 very plainly in your statement -- that your advice to

11 the Secretary of State would have been effectively to

12 keep away from operational matters?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And can I remind you of a passage of your statement,

15 RNI-820-120 (displayed) in paragraph 25, where -- just

16 to remind you of the context, the beginning of the

17 paragraph -- you are dealing with the ICPC issue

18 in June 1998. So it is a year later.

19 But as I understand it, the points you make here

20 about specific comment on the matter to be avoided to

21 ensure ministers didn't go over to operations, that's

22 quite a general point, isn't it?

23 A. Yes, it is.

24 Q. And that would have been your advice throughout this

25 period?

 

 

45


1 A. Absolutely. And constitutionally it is essential.

2 Q. Indeed. Now, so far as the letter we saw in the

3 previous year, July 1997, to the Chief Constable is

4 concerned, where the Secretary of State says here is

5 this material that had been passed on to me, as it were,

6 over to you, you think that, do you, respects that

7 divide between Government on the one hand, the NIO and

8 operational policing?

9 A. Yes, I do.

10 Q. Yes. Can I just ask you in relation to this particular

11 passage of correspondence in 1997 that we looked at

12 together and her conversation with Rosemary Nelson, why

13 do you think it was, based on your assessment of her

14 contact -- that is the Secretary of State's -- that she

15 took an interest?

16 A. She wanted to be hands-on and she wanted to maintain her

17 contacts and her credibility, particularly in the

18 Nationalist community. She never really made inroads

19 into the Loyalists.

20 Q. No. In a case such as this, July 1997, early in the

21 criminal proceedings, she took an interest and expressed

22 it in the way that we have discussed together. Would

23 she then have maintained that interest as the issue

24 developed over subsequent months?

25 A. Certainly, yes.

 

 

46


1 Q. That was her won't, was it?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. So, for example, where, as we know, subsequent

4 correspondence from NGOs and other organisations came in

5 over the course of the summer of 1997 about the Duffy

6 case, you would have been aware of the Secretary of

7 State's overall interest in the issues?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And did that apply to the other issues with which you

10 deal in your statement in relation to Rosemary Nelson,

11 ie that the Secretary of State had a particular focus on

12 those points?

13 A. No, I don't remember her having a particular focus. The

14 officer's position was quite clear and I believe she

15 subscribed to it: that Key Persons Protection Scheme was

16 the Key Persons Protection Scheme and that it couldn't

17 be set to one side in an individual case.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. It was set aside, of course, at a later stage in two

20 individual cases.

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. But the scheme remained the same.

23 Q. But that issue arose in particular late on in your

24 tenure, if I can put it that way?

25 A. Actually when I made the statement I thought it had

 

 

47


1 happened after I retired. I was at probably one office

2 party too many in my last month.

3 Q. Yes. But there were a number of other issues on the

4 table, weren't there, in relation to Rosemary Nelson in

5 the preceding years and months? And in particular --

6 A. There were.

7 Q. -- for example, the complaints that she made, the

8 allegations that her clients had received threatening or

9 abusive comments about her?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Were those matters in which the Secretary of State took

12 a close interest?

13 A. No, I don't think so particularly. And of course the

14 office was on a course to pass legislation to deal with

15 the audio recording as well as video recording of

16 interviews and, going beyond that, to the establishment

17 of an ombudsman. But I would have advised her that, you

18 know, we should react to these in the policy sense that

19 was her responsibility by going forward with reforms in

20 the holding centres, but not to interfere in individual

21 cases. You don't know what is happening out there and

22 you shouldn't interfere. We have a policy

23 responsibility which we are fulfilling, and that would

24 have been my advice to her.

25 I would also have told her that, as we were with the

 

 

48


1 ICPC thing, that we were already ahead of Great Britain

2 in the way we handled police complaints and that when we

3 went to Ombudsman, we would be far ahead of them. And,

4 indeed, they have now moved into the position of the

5 ICPC but not caught up with the rather more stringent

6 system that we have with the Police Ombudsman.

7 Q. Now, the other issue that you touch on in your

8 statement, I believe, and that loomed large in

9 late October 1997 and then again in February/March 1998,

10 is the issue of the Special Rapporteur. And without

11 getting into any of the detail at this stage, can I ask

12 you, was that an issue -- the controversy about the

13 alleged remarks, the content of the draft report, what

14 the Rapporteur was saying about Northern Ireland, was

15 that something in which the Secretary of State took

16 a close interest?

17 A. She would have taken an interest, yes.

18 Q. But presumably that was because of the significance of

19 it, the significance of the Rapporteur and his role?

20 A. A UN rapporteur is a partial figure and, you know,

21 diplomatically had to be handled very well.

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. The fact that he had made up his mind before he arrived

24 in Northern Ireland is neither here nor there.

25 Q. That was a conclusion that you drew, was it?

 

 

49


1 A. That is the firm conclusion I draw from my interview

2 with him.

3 Q. I was going to ask you to. We will come to that in more

4 detail in a moment, but that's a conclusion based on

5 your own meeting with him, is it?

6 A. He didn't want to hear any other possibilities rather

7 than the one he had in his mind.

8 Q. By the time you met him, he had already met the

9 Chief Constable, hadn't he?

10 A. I think so.

11 Q. By that stage -- I think it was 27 October 1997 -- as

12 far as you could see his mind was made up?

13 A. Firmly, and I believe it was made up before he hit

14 Northern Ireland.

15 Q. Was it possible for you to ascertain what material he

16 had relied on in order to make up his mind?

17 A. I think the material was largely Jane Winter.

18 Q. Yes, it was material provided to him by the British

19 Irish Rights Watch. Is that right?

20 A. Yes, that's right.

21 Q. We will come back to that in a moment, if we may. But

22 can we look now at another third party correspondent, if

23 I can put it that way, on the same topic as the Duffy

24 case, and this is a letter from Amnesty International at

25 RNI-105-075 (displayed). This, I am afraid, is a letter

 

 

50


1 of three pages, which creates technical problems for us.

2 A. I read it at the weekend.

3 Q. Thank you very much.

4 A. I have done a lot of reading at the weekend.

5 Q. I'm very grateful, thank you. Just based on that

6 re-reading -- dated 21 August, I should have said, 1997

7 and, again, addressed to the Secretary of State -- are

8 you able to help us with whether or not you would have

9 been involved in advising the Secretary of State about

10 her response to this letter?

11 A. Probably with others.

12 Q. Yes. We have heard from other witnesses how, where

13 letters of this kind, raising a whole series of points,

14 are concerned, specific answers would be sought from

15 different parts of the organisation?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And then drawn together to produce a draft submitted for

18 signature. Is that correct?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. Thank you very much. Now, in particular, if we turn

21 over to RNI-105-076 (displayed), the Amnesty letter

22 moves from points arising out of the Duffy case to a

23 reference -- do you see the last paragraph? If we could

24 enlarge that, please --

25 A. If you could, please.

 

 

51


1 Q. Thank you very much -- to references to the Rapporteur

2 and the expression of concern on his part and the

3 reference in the next sentences to the allegations

4 I mentioned a little earlier concerning comments

5 allegedly made to clients.

6 You see a request is made at the end of the

7 paragraph for information about whether the threats have

8 been investigated and the outcome, and also this:

9 "We also request you provide us with information

10 about the measures being taken to inform all members of

11 the RUC and others that come into contact with detainees

12 that disparaging comments about a detainee's lawyer are

13 forbidden and to ensure that such incidents do not

14 happen in the future"?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Had you been asked to advise the Secretary of State in

17 relation to that, which side of the operational line

18 would it have fallen on?

19 A. Our responsibility in the NIO was to ensure that there

20 was a proper complaints procedure, and I would have

21 advised the Secretary of State that we were already on

22 that course and we were going quite far in ensuring that

23 this could not happen.

24 I would also have told her that this cannot be

25 substantiated because there isn't voice recording in the

 

 

52


1 holding centres, and it could be and might well be that

2 Sinn Fein -- I use the expression advisedly -- were

3 using this as an issue -- one of many sticks they used

4 to beat the Government. It may or may not be true. We

5 are going to ensure that it won't happen, that it cannot

6 happen and that's your responsibility, Secretary of

7 State, functus officio.

8 Q. So just picking up a number of points that arise out of

9 that answer, the first is this: as I understand it, what

10 you are referring to here is the gradual introduction of

11 objectively verifiable ways of recording interviews in

12 the holding centres?

13 A. Exactly.

14 Q. First by silent video and then later by audio?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And the effect of that was presumably, one, that

17 unfounded and malicious allegations against interviewing

18 officers could not, would not, be made, but presumably

19 also, two, to discourage --

20 A. The officers from saying things.

21 Q. Indeed, yes. So that's the first thing. The second

22 thing I wanted to raise with you is the point you made

23 about these points being deployed for political reasons?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Was it your view and, therefore, your advice to the

 

 

53


1 Secretary of State that NGOs such as this were being

2 used by Sinn Fein and perhaps others as part of their

3 political campaigning?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. So you saw letters such as this, did you, as wittingly

6 or unwittingly forming part of a wider campaign?

7 A. Possibly.

8 Q. Possibly.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Was the --

11 A. Part of a pattern.

12 Q. Part of a pattern, yes. We know there are a large

13 number of letters we have seen in our files concerning

14 Rosemary Nelson. No doubt there were many other letters

15 coming in to the office on other topics. Is that right?

16 A. Yes, indeed. And people like Ms Winter were quite naive

17 in their dealings with people in Northern Ireland and

18 could easily be used.

19 Q. Could you give an example of why it is that you say that

20 that particular individual, that NGO, was naive?

21 A. Well, she talks about miscarriages of justice and she

22 has made up her mind that there is a miscarriage of

23 justice and that the police are acting maliciously in

24 having arrested Mr Duffy, and that the DPP will not

25 perform his function objectively. That's naive in my

 

 

54


1 terms.

2 Q. Why do you say that?

3 A. Because I believe now that the police -- the police do

4 not arrest indiscriminately for no reason and I believe

5 the DPP is an independent, objective individual who acts

6 in the best interests of justice.

7 Q. But just to see how far this goes, does it follow that

8 if you received a letter at the NIO alleging misconduct

9 against police officers, your automatic reaction would

10 be that it was incorrect and misconceived?

11 A. No, that would not be the case. My reaction would be

12 there are procedures that a complaint should be made and

13 should be supervised by the ICPC.

14 Q. In other words that the matter should be properly

15 investigated and dealt with under the complaints --

16 A. Make no mistake, the police force in Northern Ireland,

17 the Royal Ulster Constabulary, as it was, were thousands

18 of men and they were men in Northern Ireland and, you

19 know, some of them were contaminated by less than

20 objective reasoning.

21 Q. So it is inevitable in an organisation that of size

22 operating in those conditions, isn't it?

23 A. Of course it is. It would be wrong to claim that they

24 are all infallible.

25 Q. Yes, but wasn't the problem here with saying to

 

 

55


1 correspondents, "Well, you must submit your complaint so

2 that they can find out whether it is substantiated",

3 that the complaints system itself in which the

4 investigation would take place was not one in which huge

5 portions of the community had any confidence?

6 A. That's why we moved forward to an ombudsman. But as

7 I have already said, that was a more robust system in

8 that you could go direct to the ICPC and not to the

9 police with a complaint.

10 Q. But there is a bind here, isn't there, because at this

11 stage we are dealing with the ICPC system and we are

12 dealing with the pre-audio, pre-video days?

13 A. Which we were acting on as quickly as we possibly could.

14 Q. Absolutely. But in these particular circumstances the

15 reality was that it was very, very difficult to see how

16 any such complaint would be substantiated because there

17 was always one defendant being interviewed by two police

18 officers, and the reality was it was very unlikely that

19 their word would not be preferred to his. Isn't that

20 fair?

21 A. Yes, that's so.

22 Q. So can't you at least at that level understand the

23 frustration of some of your correspondents with the

24 constant refrain from Government, "Submit it to the

25 complaints authority so that it can be investigated and

 

 

56


1 if --

2 A. It was well known that we were acting on an Ombudsman

3 and the Ombudsman person would have independent staff

4 and would be -- the complaint would be investigated by

5 them rather than by the police. We were moving. And

6 for the Government, we were moving quickly.

7 Q. Absolutely. But in fact in the meanwhile, in the

8 interim, your answer was, "Use the system that's there,

9 please"?

10 A. Absolutely.

11 Q. And we know that in fact the Ombudsman system, with all

12 of the attributes that you have mentioned, wasn't in

13 effective operation, was it, until 2000?

14 A. That's right.

15 Q. Thank you. After you had left?

16 A. Indeed.

17 Q. Now, so far as the allegations referred to here at the

18 top of the page were concerned, there was by this stage,

19 1997, a substantial body of reporting over the years,

20 wasn't there, raising the general point about the

21 harassment and intimidation of defence lawyers?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. So that when --

24 A. I do notice that Mr Cumaraswamy didn't consult very

25 widely in the legal profession. He consulted a very

 

 

57


1 narrow band of solicitors, I believe.

2 Q. Well, as I remember it anyway, he went to see the

3 Chairman of the Bar, the Chairman of the Law Society.

4 He met the judges, or some of them. He met people in

5 the Court Service, did he not?

6 A. Yes, he did.

7 Q. He visited prisons and holding centres. Which part of

8 the community did he miss out?

9 A. The vast majority of solicitors who had no complaints.

10 Q. Is this the point that we have seen made in

11 contemporaneous material, where people say if there is

12 a problem, why is it that the Law Society and others

13 haven't raised it with Government?

14 A. It is exactly that point.

15 Q. And you were content, were you, to rely on the absence

16 of protest as evidence that all --

17 A. No, I'm not saying that for a moment. I personally

18 believe these things could be happening.

19 Q. Yes.

20 A. But I had no evidence that they were happening and we

21 were taking steps to ensure that they couldn't happen in

22 the future.

23 Q. But at this point, in this, as in fact in a number of

24 other areas, we are in a transitional phase, aren't we?

25 A. Yes, we are in a transitional phase.

 

 

58


1 Q. What I wanted to ask you when I raised the question

2 about that history of reporting from NGOs, some of which

3 is referred to here, is whether you reacted to another

4 letter or another report from them with the "groan

5 factor", as I think it was put by Christine Collins,

6 "Oh, dear, here is another letter on the same old

7 theme". Did you?

8 A. No, I can't say that I did. You know, these letters

9 came in and they have to be dealt with. They go into

10 the machine and are dealt with and that's the way it is,

11 and there is no point in groaning.

12 Q. But do you think that there was at least a danger that

13 because of the background, because of the regularity of

14 the correspondence and your perception of what was going

15 on here, that the merits of the individual complaint,

16 the individual concerned, might be overlooked?

17 A. No, I don't think so. I believe that if we had had any

18 course of action open to us to give substantive replies

19 to these letters, we would have done it. The point is

20 we didn't; nobody had. We were taking all the action

21 that was within our power.

22 Q. Now, can I just ask you to turn to the next page of this

23 letter at RNI-105-077 (displayed), and to the top

24 paragraph of the page:

25 "Amnesty International is also disturbed ..."

 

 

59


1 Do you see that?

2 A. Hm-mm.

3 Q. Because here the allegation is not about abusive remarks

4 or derogatory comments, but rather the suggestion that

5 death threats had been made.

6 Now, you said earlier that your advice would be to

7 ensure that complaints and other issues of that kind

8 were investigated in the proper way under the existing

9 machinery. What about the allegation of death threats?

10 A. Well, again, you know, the NIO didn't investigate death

11 threats.

12 Q. No.

13 A. It would have been for the police to investigate --

14 Q. But that was a rather different matter, wasn't it, to

15 a complaint about misbehaviour in an interview, which

16 could properly be directed to the Complaints and

17 Discipline Department within the RUC?

18 Here, the suggestion at any rate is of something

19 rather more sinister. How would that be dealt with

20 properly, do you think, by your officials?

21 A. Well, what had happened in the end was that we asked for

22 an assessment of the threat to Rosemary Nelson and we

23 received a reply which suggested that it was no greater

24 than normal to people in Northern Ireland.

25 Q. We will come --

 

 

60


1 A. One of the things about the Key Persons Protection

2 Scheme was if you widened it a little bit, it would

3 bring in hundreds and hundreds of people, and that

4 wasn't its purpose. People in Northern Ireland couldn't

5 live in -- all protected from violence.

6 Q. It wasn't possible to establish a risk-free environment?

7 A. If a higher than normal risk was established or if the

8 person was vital in the law or wherever, then protection

9 would be have been provided. But that didn't remove

10 from the individual the possibility of protecting

11 themselves or taking steps to protect themselves, such

12 as not leaving their car in the driveway at night.

13 Q. We will come to those specific issues in a moment, if we

14 may. But can I take it from what you have just said

15 and, indeed, from your statement, that you were aware

16 during your time in this post of the assessment that

17 took place of Rosemary Nelson's safety?

18 A. Yes, I was.

19 Q. Are you aware that there were at least two occasions on

20 which an assessment was undertaken?

21 A. No.

22 Q. No. We can look at documents in a moment, but just from

23 your own memory can you remember when, during those two

24 years, 1997 and 1998, you became aware that an

25 assessment on her was being undertaken?

 

 

61


1 A. I'm sorry, I can't.

2 Q. Can you assist at least with whether it was at the

3 beginning or the end of your tenure, for example?

4 A. I would have thought mid-tenure.

5 Q. Thank you very much. Now, in relation to this letter

6 and the issues it raises, in the context originally, if

7 you remember, of the Duffy case, I would like to show

8 you one more document and it is at RNI-105-111

9 (displayed).

10 This is a document of a rather different kind. It

11 is from an official in the SPOD addressed to

12 Command Secretariat, and I'm not suggesting that you

13 would have been involved in the detail of this. But I

14 show it to you as an example of an interest in these

15 issues being expressed by the Irish side of the

16 Anglo-Irish Secretariat. And can I just ask you this:

17 the Anglo-Irish Secretariat, the Irish side of it,

18 expressed interest in a variety of matters relating to

19 Rosemary Nelson during this period, didn't they?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And presumably that was another aspect of the political

22 significance of some of these issues because you were

23 constantly having to answer questions from the Irish

24 side?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

62


1 Q. And --

2 A. And very often the questions were such as this, that,

3 you know, had originally been raised by NGOs or

4 Sinn Fein or whatever.

5 Q. But they were then taken up by the Irish?

6 A. Absolutely.

7 Q. With the added political significance that that

8 entailed?

9 A. And were treated accordingly.

10 Q. Exactly, and had to be carefully considered and answered

11 appropriately?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Yes. Now, in relation to those questions -- and, again,

14 I'm just using this as an example -- was that the sort

15 of issue, ie dealing with the Irish side on matters of

16 this kind, that you would have had an involvement in in

17 your role?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Yes.

20 A. I frequently briefed the Irish in advance of steps we

21 were going to take or on matters, and I even briefed

22 them on what we saw as the security situation.

23 Q. In Northern Ireland?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Yes. Can I take it that those briefings, your

 

 

63


1 relationship with Irish officials, continued throughout

2 the period of your tenure as Security and Policy

3 Director?

4 A. Yes, indeed.

5 Q. In other words -- and this is the point here -- not just

6 in the period before the Good Friday Agreement, but in

7 the months after it before you retired?

8 A. It was continuous, throughout my time in the NIO, from

9 being in control of prisons on.

10 Q. Yes. Now, presumably in those months after the

11 Good Friday Agreement when you had been asked to stay on

12 in your post, we know there was the referendum for the

13 people of Northern Ireland in relation to the agreement

14 and, as you say, the work that went into the

15 establishment of the Patten Commission.

16 Presumably in political terms at this point the

17 concern was to ensure that the momentum, the political

18 momentum, embodied in the agreement was carried forward

19 and not in any way obstructed or delayed by events on

20 the ground?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And Drumcree was a shining example of that, wasn't it?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And that's presumably why it was the Prime Minister's

25 Chief of Staff who got involved in those proximity talks

 

 

64


1 in 1998?

2 A. Yes, I was not involved.

3 Q. Indeed. Now, can I just take it, finally in relation to

4 your comments on the Irish Government and their

5 involvement, that this was again a familiar pattern?

6 Here it happens to be about Rosemary Nelson, but it was

7 something you had coming in to your department on

8 a range of different issues?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Where they would take up points, sometimes points

11 originally raised by, for example, NGOs?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Yes. Now, so far as NGOs are concerned, again you deal

14 with this matter and the correspondence in your

15 statement and I would like to show you a particular

16 passage, please: paragraph 13, at RNI-820-116

17 (displayed). Here, you say --

18 A. Could you enlarge that?

19 Q. I'm so sorry, yes. Could we enlarge paragraph 13,

20 please?

21 A. Otherwise I need glasses.

22 Q. "By way of general comment, the NGOs were very active,

23 especially Ms Winter of BIRW. In my view, the BIRW came

24 from a certain political direction, was not balanced and

25 did not give credit for the improvements that were being

 

 

65


1 made all the time. I know Sir Ronnie Flanagan also held

2 this view."

3 I think we have sufficiently, or possibly more than

4 sufficiently covered the earlier part of this. I want

5 to ask you about the last sentence. Can I take it that

6 that expression is based on your discussions and

7 conversations with Sir Ronnie Flanagan?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. That he, like you, believed that the NGOs came from

10 a certain -- or this one in particular came from

11 a certain political angle?

12 A. Or were possibly being used --

13 Q. Yes, being used --

14 A. -- in that angle -- from that angle, yes.

15 Q. -- as you say, by Sinn Fein. And presumably that

16 affected the way you regarded them, and must have

17 affected the way he regarded them?

18 A. Yes, in the way we regarded them, but not the way we

19 dealt with them. We dealt with them as we should have

20 dealt with them -- with any organisation that came

21 to us.

22 Q. Yes. Now, in relation to Rosemary Nelson herself, did

23 you have a view as to what her role in all this was? We

24 see many, many letters about her written by other

25 people, NGOs, the Irish Government, many other

 

 

66


1 organisations. Based on your experience, did it seem to

2 you that she was actively involved in this or was she in

3 fact being used or taken up by others for their own

4 purposes?

5 A. No, I didn't know.

6 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you some questions about the

7 complaints system? We have covered, again, a lot of the

8 points already so I'm going to go over them again. But

9 in terms of the overall chronology, the Hayes Report is

10 the beginning of 1997. It is accepted by the then

11 Conservative Government, and then in May that year, as

12 you have said in your statement, the Labour

13 administration comes to power.

14 Was there any change in terms of policy on reforming

15 the complaints system as a result of the new Government?

16 A. I don't believe so.

17 Q. No. They simply took on the recommendations which had

18 already been accepted by the previous regime?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Yes. Now, in relation to this issue of the alleged

21 harassment and complaints, the next topic I would like

22 to look at with you, please, is the visit of the UN

23 Special Rapporteur.

24 Again, we have already touched on this by way of

25 advanced preview. This was the first visit that

 

 

67


1 a rapporteur had paid to the United Kingdom, wasn't it?

2 A. Yes. It was regarded as very significant diplomatically

3 and, you know, while we didn't welcome it, we did

4 everything we could to facilitate Mr Cumaraswamy.

5 Q. With that very frank introduction, this was not welcome

6 but you had to knuckle down and facilitate his visit,

7 did you not?

8 A. Indeed, as with the International Red Cross and other

9 organisations that came to Northern Ireland.

10 Q. Indeed. There was absolutely no question, given his

11 position and given much wider diplomatic relationships,

12 of you doing anything other than cooperate fully?

13 A. You simply have to look at the list of people he saw,

14 the Lord Chief Justice and others, to realise that he

15 got full cooperation.

16 Q. Yes. So far as the background to this is concerned, as

17 far as the Inquiry can ascertain the decision to visit

18 came fairly early in 1997, but the visit, I think, took

19 place at the end of October that year. Do you remember

20 that?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. I would like to show you a part of the warm-up process,

23 if I may, and the first document is at RNI-105-038

24 (displayed). And just a week after that letter from

25 Jane Winter we looked at in relation to the Duffy case

 

 

68


1 comes this, this time headed "Rosemary Nelson", 10 July,

2 and again addressed to the Secretary of State.

3 Now, I should have asked you this question before,

4 but was Jane Winter one of the Secretary of State's

5 contacts?

6 A. Not to my knowledge.

7 Q. So not in the sense that we discussed --

8 A. No, not in the sense of others.

9 Q. Thank you. Now, again this is a letter which covers two

10 pages and I think it would be sensible to get

11 RNI-105-039 on the screen as well, please, on the

12 right-hand side (displayed).

13 It is clear, isn't it, from the opening paragraph

14 that --

15 A. It is not "Dr Mowlam", it's "Mo", yes.

16 Q. Indeed. Yes, absolutely. But the point I wanted to

17 direct your attention to is that Jane Winter is saying

18 that she had sent two reports to the Rapporteur. Now,

19 at this stage he had decided to visit, the arrangements

20 were being made, but he hadn't arrived. That's correct,

21 isn't it?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And it looks as though, if I can show you the next

24 document in the series, which is at RNI-105-061

25 (displayed), the points that were made in relation to

 

 

69


1 Rosemary Nelson were then taken up and addressed in this

2 case to the Ambassador of the United Nations -- if we

3 could have RNI-105-062 on the right-hand side, please

4 (displayed) -- by the Special Rapporteur. And you see

5 the first point, bottom left, is the death threats

6 point. And the second point, top right, is the alleged

7 assault on the Garvaghy Road?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Now, again I have asked you this in relation to other

10 letters, but do you think you would have received a copy

11 of this letter when it made its way eventually to the

12 NIO?

13 A. Yes, I think I would.

14 Q. It was that sort of high level correspondence, wasn't

15 it?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. So it was clear, presumably, to you and your officials

18 by this stage, long before the visit, that

19 Rosemary Nelson and his concerns about her were very

20 much on his mind?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, so far as the immediate preparations are concerned,

23 the briefing document is at RNI-105-134 (displayed) and

24 it is from an official in SPOD. You are one of the

25 copyees, do you see there, fourth down?

 

 

70


1 A. Yes.

2 Q. It is a very long document indeed with many annexes,

3 covering all the various topics that it was thought the

4 Rapporteur was interested in?

5 A. I have not had the opportunity to read this document.

6 Q. Well, can I ask first that we have RNI-105-135 on the

7 screen as well, please (displayed)? Just to remind you,

8 the left-hand side bottom is a reference to the meeting

9 that the Minister -- not, as it were, your minister, not

10 Mr Ingram, but Mr Murphy -- had agreed to have with the

11 Rapporteur. And you see in paragraph 1 at the very top,

12 Mr Perry -- who was at SPOD, was he not, who is head of

13 that division, I think --

14 A. Yes, that's right.

15 Q. -- expresses the hope that those discussions will remain

16 fairly general as the Rapporteur would be receiving

17 a series of detailed briefings over the next few days?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Now, you see terms of reference on the right-hand side

20 and a list there in summary form of all the various

21 individuals who he was going to meet?

22 A. Hm-mm.

23 Q. Very much bearing out the point that you made a little

24 earlier about access. Then at the bottom -- and, again,

25 we will have to do this on the screen -- you see under

 

 

71


1 "Background":

2 "We believe that Mr Cumaraswamy's visit to

3 Northern Ireland may have been precipitated by a report

4 he received from the British Irish Rights Watch group."

5 Can we have RNI-105-136 on the screen now, please

6 (displayed):

7 "They allege that defence lawyers in

8 Northern Ireland who provide legal assistance to

9 detainees are often subjected to abuse by the RUC. In

10 his fourth annual report on the holding centres,

11 Sir Louis Blom-Cooper discusses the BIRW report and

12 mentions the Rapporteur's decision to undertake take an

13 official visit to Northern Ireland.

14 "Sir Louis is of the view that the decision of

15 Mr Cumaraswamy to come is a most useful and welcome

16 contribution towards resolving a troublesome issue. It

17 is likely then that Sir Louis also had a hand in

18 prompting the visit."

19 Was that your understanding as well?

20 A. No, it wasn't my understanding that Sir Louis was

21 involved in prompting the visit.

22 Q. But did you believe that the main prompt at any rate was

23 British Irish Rights Watch?

24 A. Yes. Sir Louis, you know, from his position in relation

25 to the holding centres, if he had made a statement about

 

 

72


1 what was going on in the holding centres, then I would

2 have listened to that most carefully. He was an

3 outstanding individual.

4 Q. So in this respect --

5 A. And had no axe to grind.

6 Q. In this respect you draw a distinction between him on

7 the one hand and the NGO on the other?

8 A. Absolutely.

9 Q. Yes. So it looks then, given your comments about the

10 NGO, that before the visit had even begun you must have

11 feared that the information the Rapporteur had received

12 was somewhat one-sided, if I can put it that way?

13 A. Indeed, and confirmed when he wouldn't listen to other

14 possible solutions, like some mad Loyalist doing it

15 because he had seen it on television, which is what

16 I suggested to him.

17 Q. We will come to your meeting in a minute. Can we just

18 look at one of the lines to take. And one of the topics

19 you see in the great list here on paragraph 4 at the

20 bottom left of the fourth is:

21 "Alleged intimidation of defence lawyers."

22 Can we look at that, please, on the right-hand side?

23 It is RNI-105-148 (displayed). Thank you. Lines to

24 take:

25 "... serious and grave allegation. Those who claim

 

 

73


1 to have evidence should put it to the appropriate

2 authorities in a form capable of investigation.

3 Unsubstantiated allegations serve no useful purpose."

4 That is the line?

5 A. I have seen these lines to take over the weekend.

6 Q. Yes, thank you very much. That was the standard

7 response to allegations of this kind, was it not?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Thank you. Now, under "Background", it says:

10 "From 1995 to date there have been five allegations

11 of intimidation of defence lawyers by the RUC. Four of

12 these originated from individuals who worked for ..."

13 Then a name has been redacted:

14 "None of these has so far cooperated with the

15 police."

16 Then I assume from this that the fifth was

17 Rosemary Nelson. So does that accord with your

18 recollection that in this period of two years or so

19 there had only been five specific cases brought to the

20 attention of the NIO?

21 A. That would have been about right, as far as I was

22 concerned. It wasn't a constant thing. It wasn't huge

23 numbers.

24 Q. So all the material we saw reference to earlier, the NGO

25 material brought up over the years, which you and

 

 

74


1 I discussed, that was in your view raising much more

2 general points, was it, rather than dealing with

3 specific allegations?

4 A. Specific cases and specific individuals.

5 Q. Yes. Now, so far as the visit itself is concerned, can

6 I just show you the schedule, which helps us to date

7 your own meeting with the Rapporteur? And that we can

8 see at RNI-105-165. Could we have that on the screen,

9 please (displayed)? Thank you very much.

10 First of all, if we can see, the Chief Constable's

11 meeting is at RNI-105-166. Can we have that on the

12 screen, please (displayed)? You see on 24 October in

13 the morning. There were lots of other meetings and

14 visits to holding centres, to Gough Barracks, community

15 relations committee, et cetera. But we see you hosting

16 lunch at the top of the next page, RNI-105-167, on the

17 27th -- which has gone up to the left-hand side of the

18 screen -- on 27 October.

19 Now, you have already let us know what your

20 conclusions were arising out of that encounter. Can

21 I ask you, can you recall now whether there was any

22 discussion between you and the Rapporteur about the

23 meeting he had had with the Chief Constable three days

24 before?

25 A. No, there wasn't. Funnily enough, I don't remember

 

 

75


1 lunch or having lunch with him, but I do recollect

2 having a conversation with him in my office, presumably

3 before we went to lunch, and I don't think he mentioned

4 anything about his visit to the Chief Constable or

5 anybody else.

6 Q. And what was it that he said that gave you the

7 impression about him having made his mind up?

8 A. Oh, dear. I can't remember, you know, the details of

9 the conversation, but he clearly indicated to me his

10 belief that the bad things were happening in the holding

11 centres, and also Finucane, the murder of Finucane came

12 up with him and he had strong views on that, about

13 collusion and what have you. He had very strong views.

14 I didn't know how he had acquired them so quickly.

15 Q. Did you seek to give him, as it were, another side to

16 the story in both those cases?

17 A. Yes, you know, I did and -- but perhaps my views were

18 simplistic, but people who are prominent in

19 Northern Ireland put themselves at risk and there are --

20 particularly on the Loyalist side where they do things

21 rather randomly. If somebody takes a notion, they will

22 get a gun and shoot somebody, and I painted it in this

23 sort of term and he just pooh-poohed that completely.

24 Q. Was this specifically in relation to the Finucane case?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

76


1 Q. Was he calling or was he suggesting that there had been

2 collusion and there ought to be an inquiry, or was it

3 just a suggestion --

4 A. Just a suggestion, I think.

5 Q. Yes. And presumably, if that hadn't made it abundantly

6 clear to you, you understood by the end of the month

7 what his likely views in his report would be because he

8 spoke to the press, did he not, at the end of October?

9 A. Indeed, which I thought was a little odd.

10 Q. We can see a reference to that in a minute, which is

11 copied to you at RNI-105-172 (displayed), a reference to

12 an Irish News report. The report says:

13 "Mr Cumaraswamy is calling for an inquiry into the

14 murder of Belfast solicitor, Patrick Finucane, who is

15 claimed to have been a victim of Security Service/UFF

16 collusion. Mr Cumaraswamy is also said to be critical

17 of the RUC's response to complaints made by defence

18 lawyers of RUC harassment and intimidation."

19 So presumably that simply confirmed to you the

20 impression you had had over lunch?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And in turn, presumably it meant that you were braced

23 for an unwelcome, an unhappy, read, when the draft

24 report came in to your department?

25 A. Yes, and normally in diplomatic circles as well as civil

 

 

77


1 service circles, one would have expected to see the

2 report before it hit the newspapers, rather than the

3 other way round.

4 Q. Indeed. Is that a criticism you make of his decision to

5 speak to the newspapers before leaving Northern Ireland?

6 A. Absolutely.

7 Q. You were surprised by that?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And it went against what you would have expected from an

10 official in this position. Is that right?

11 A. That's right, but it is in line with what I detected to

12 be his commitment.

13 Q. Now, at that point, as a matter of interest did you

14 discuss with your colleagues whether there was anything

15 further that could be done to ensure that he considered,

16 as you would see it, more balanced material before he

17 drafted his report?

18 A. No, I think what we then considered was damage

19 limitation.

20 Q. And do you think you began to consider that, as it were,

21 as soon as he left Northern Ireland?

22 A. No, I don't think so.

23 Q. No. But that was presumably something that --

24 A. Where we got to.

25 Q. Exactly. When eventually the draft report came in

 

 

78


1 in February 1998, that was something with which you were

2 particularly concerned. Is that correct?

3 A. I think the whole office would have been involved at

4 that point. I mean, the political side as well as the

5 security side would have been involved in the damage

6 limitation exercise.

7 Q. Yes. Now, we have seen on a number of occasions the

8 relevant passages of the draft, and I don't propose to

9 take you to them provided you have recently had an

10 opportunity to look at them again?

11 A. Yes, I have.

12 Q. Obviously if at any point you prefer to look at the

13 text, please say so and I will get them on the screen.

14 A. Thank you.

15 Q. There were two points in issue, weren't there? Firstly,

16 the alleged remarks made in the meeting with the

17 Chief Constable about solicitors working for the

18 paramilitaries, and secondly the naming of, in fact,

19 three lawyers in the context of alleged harassment.

20 Those were the two issues, weren't they?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, you said that a number of individuals in the office

23 would have been involved, I think. Who was in the lead

24 in dealing with the draft and its ramifications?

25 A. I have no idea at this point, I am afraid.

 

 

79


1 Q. Are you at least confident that you had some

2 involvement?

3 A. Yes, I am.

4 Q. Yes. Did it go up as far as the Permanent Secretary?

5 A. It might well have, yes.

6 Q. And beyond that to the Secretary of State herself?

7 A. The Secretary of State would have seen the completed

8 exercise, yes.

9 Q. But in terms of the day-to-day handling and liaising

10 with the RUC, which we know went on at this stage, was

11 that your responsibility or the responsibility of

12 Christine Collins?

13 A. It would have been in the SPOB part of the organisation,

14 I believe.

15 Q. That's the other division, Mr Perry's division, if I can

16 put it that way?

17 A. That's right.

18 Q. What was the principal concern that and your officials

19 had about this draft?

20 A. Well, it is fairly difficult to deal with allegations

21 such as those and that would have been our concern, to

22 try and find a wording that protected the Secretary of

23 State and the system. The Chief Constable's comments

24 were he denied it and all we could say was that he

25 denied it.

 

 

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1 Q. Well, that obviously goes to the facts of whether or not

2 those remarks had actually been made, and we will look

3 at that --

4 A. And who made them.

5 Q. And who made them, indeed.

6 A. If they were said, who said it.

7 Q. Indeed. We will see how that issue emerges in a moment.

8 Was there any concern within the NIO about the naming of

9 individual lawyers?

10 A. Yes, we wouldn't have wanted to do that.

11 Q. Why do you say that, please?

12 A. Because putting -- naming of individual lawyers in those

13 circumstances could add to the dangers they already

14 faced in the community.

15 Q. Now, wasn't there a simple answer to that potential

16 problem; in other words, you could have gone to each

17 lawyer and said, "The draft has come in. The intention

18 is to mention you by name. Do you have any objection?"

19 A. We thought it better to get the named deleted, and

20 that's what was achieved, I think.

21 Q. And that was on the basis of concerns about potential

22 security ramifications?

23 A. Absolutely.

24 Q. Now, so far as the Special Rapporteur's report was

25 concerned, were you given advice or guidance by the

 

 

81


1 Foreign Office as to whether it was usual to suggest

2 amendments to reports of this kind?

3 A. Yes, we were.

4 Q. What was the advice, can you remember?

5 A. I think the advice was it was unusual, but that they

6 would do it -- it could be done strictly on the security

7 of the individual basis.

8 Q. That, of course, didn't necessarily apply in relation to

9 the alleged remarks of the Chief Constable?

10 A. No.

11 Q. That wasn't a security point, was it? That was a point

12 about accuracy, as he saw it?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. So that fell into a rather different category of

15 proposed amendments?

16 A. It did.

17 Q. And that was a bold step to take, presumably, so far as

18 the Foreign Office was concerned?

19 A. Presumably.

20 Q. Did they continue to give you advice about handling this

21 throughout --

22 A. I have to stop you because I didn't deal with -- that

23 was dealt with in London, those amendments. They may

24 have originated in Belfast, but the whole negotiation

25 with the Foreign Office and Mr Cumaraswamy was dealt

 

 

82


1 with from London.

2 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you to look at a passage of your

3 statement where you deal with this? It is paragraph 12

4 at RNI-820-115 (displayed).

5 Here, you are dealing with a letter, another letter

6 from BIRW, which we will come to in a moment. You set

7 out the alleged remark?

8 A. Hm-mm.

9 Q. The remark which had allegedly been made, and you say:

10 "I don't recall Sir Ronnie Flanagan discussing this

11 issue with me. I also have no recollection of

12 discussing the issue of alleged intimidation of lawyers

13 with Mo Mowlam, either generally or specifically in

14 relation to Ms Nelson."

15 So just dealing with those two points in turn,

16 please, you don't think you had direct discussions about

17 this with the Chief Constable. Is that correct?

18 A. That's right.

19 Q. So you didn't have the opportunity yourself to ask him

20 whether a remark of that kind had in fact been made?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Were you surprised to read the suggestion made by the

23 Rapporteur that a comment of that kind had been made in

24 his meeting with the Chief Constable?

25 A. The Chief Constable was and is a very clever man and it

 

 

83


1 wasn't a very clever remark.

2 Q. Why do you say that?

3 A. Because it is difficult to substantiate it and because

4 it would bring down on him the sort of criticism which

5 followed from the Rapporteur.

6 Q. But presumably if it was a view genuinely held and based

7 on evidence, it was in that sense an entirely reasonable

8 comment to make?

9 A. If it was a view based on evidence, then he should have

10 put forward the evidence.

11 Q. Indeed, and that was the issue here, wasn't it: that the

12 matter was not being dealt with by putting forward the

13 evidence and the suggestion was that an unsupported,

14 unsubstantiated allegation had simply been thrown out in

15 the course of a meeting?

16 A. That was the allegation, yes.

17 Q. So, as it were, neither one thing nor the other?

18 A. That's right.

19 Q. But when you say, "The Chief Constable is a very clever

20 man, it is not the sort of thing he would have said", is

21 that because its political impact in the context of

22 Northern Ireland was so --

23 A. No, just so that -- because he couldn't substantiate it,

24 that he shouldn't have thrown it out. If he did.

25 Q. Yes, indeed.

 

 

84


1 A. And I happen to believe him.

2 Q. Yes. But just getting back to my original question on

3 this, your understanding of his response, namely to the

4 question whether or not he had made the remarks, was

5 based on what was reported to you by your officials

6 rather than what came from him?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And presumably you mean Christine Collins or Nick Perry?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Now, the second comment you made, which we still have on

11 the screen here, is where you say:

12 "I also have no recollection of discussing the issue

13 of alleged intimidation of lawyers with Mo Mowlam,

14 either generally or specifically in relation to

15 Ms Nelson."

16 Now, that's a rather wider --

17 A. That doesn't mean I did not have any.

18 Q. Indeed.

19 A. I just don't recollect.

20 Q. Indeed.

21 A. I discussed many things with Mo Mowlam in the years I

22 was with her and, you know, I just don't recollect this

23 specifically.

24 Q. No. Is it that you don't recall any specific details of

25 conversations --

 

 

85


1 A. I don't recall having a conversation with her, as I have

2 said in the statement --

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. -- relating to Rosemary Nelson.

5 Q. No. But in relation to the question of alleged

6 intimidation more generally, you must have had

7 conversations about that with her on occasions, surely?

8 A. I don't recollect them. That's what I'm saying.

9 Q. Even when you think you were giving advice on the

10 Amnesty letter or on other matters of this kind --

11 A. I think you have to bear in mind the context in the NIO,

12 the business of the place, the frenetic activity that

13 went on all the time. And obviously if there was

14 a letter for her to sign or whatever, then I would have

15 had a conversation with her. I simply, at this stage in

16 my life, do not recollect all that detail.

17 Q. No. Thank you very much.

18 Now, we know that eventually the Special Rapporteur

19 was persuaded to make amendments to his report whilst

20 continuing to say that the remarks had been made, and he

21 changed, didn't he, the paragraph concerning the alleged

22 remark and also removed the names of the three lawyers?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. So far as this emerging in a wider way is concerned, the

25 part of your statement we were just looking at, which

 

 

86


1 indeed we have on the screen here, concerned another

2 letter from the BIRW which came in in the middle of all

3 of this. It was dated 10 March and we can see it at

4 RNI-101-247. Could we have that page and RNI-101-248 on

5 the screen, please (displayed).

6 Now, as I say, you deal with it in your statement.

7 I'm reading it to you because I can't show you that as

8 well, I am afraid:

9 "I don't specifically ..."

10 This is paragraph 11:

11 "I don't specifically recall this letter. If I had

12 seen it, I would have advised the Secretary of State to

13 tell Ms Nelson to make a complaint to the ICPC and

14 notify the police of the matter. It was for the police

15 and the ICPC to investigate the complaints, not the NIO.

16 The NIO was concerned with procedures, policy and the

17 legislative structure for handling police complaints."

18 A. Absolutely.

19 Q. So in relation to that part of the letter which, for

20 instance, you see a reference in the first paragraph to

21 previous correspondence with the Security Minister and

22 the specific allegation that is brought -- if you see on

23 the right-hand side, the penultimate paragraph, another

24 example of derogatory remarks is recorded, and she says

25 at the bottom that the Chief Constable should issue

 

 

87


1 instructions to his officers to stop making remarks to

2 lawyers of this kind.

3 Now, in your advice to the Secretary of State, if

4 you had been asked on this occasion, what would you have

5 said about that issue or that suggestion in terms of the

6 operational independence of the police?

7 A. I would have said that they were operationally

8 independent and if the Chief Constable is insensitive to

9 the problem, then, you know -- then, you know, it can be

10 pointed out to him, but he is still operationally

11 independent.

12 Q. So it wasn't in any circumstances possible for an

13 elected official, the Secretary of State, to direct the

14 Chief Constable --

15 A. No.

16 Q. -- himself to direct his officers?

17 A. I wouldn't think of it for a moment. The problem --

18 what had been said by Jane Winter here could be pointed

19 out to him. The letter could be passed on.

20 Q. Indeed.

21 A. But there is no way of directing a Chief Constable in

22 his operational responsibilities.

23 Q. Well, we know from the documents -- and you have

24 probably, again, had an opportunity to look at them --

25 that the letter was indeed passed on and considered by

 

 

88


1 the Chief Constable. But before we leave it, can I just

2 direct you to --

3 A. I said no way --

4 Q. I'm sorry?

5 A. -- the Chief Constable can be directed by a court, but

6 by no one else, so far as I'm concerned.

7 Q. Not by the Secretary of State with whom we are concerned

8 in this instance?

9 A. No, definitely not.

10 Q. Well, looking again at the letter, if we may, because

11 the body of it is in fact not concerned with those

12 issues directly, but with the specific issues raised by

13 the Rapporteur. Because you see in the third paragraph

14 on the left, there is rather detailed reference to what

15 he said had been said to him in the meeting with the

16 Chief Constable. And you see there it says that:

17 "British Irish Rights Watch had been given a copy of

18 the draft and by those means ..."

19 This is about six lines into that paragraph:

20 "... had become aware that when the Special

21 Rapporteur met the Chief Constable, a senior police

22 officer, possibly Assistant Chief Constable

23 Raymond White, commented that some solicitors 'may in

24 fact be working for the paramilitaries'. In his draft,

25 the Special Rapporteur attributed this remark to the

 

 

89


1 Chief Constable, who has since made it clear that it was

2 not he who made the remark ..."

3 Et cetera. Now, by this stage we know that the

4 decision had already been taken by the Rapporteur to

5 amend his text. Presumably one of the concerns,

6 however, of officials in the NIO, and no doubt others,

7 about this is that the original allegation in the draft

8 had become more widely known, in this case to the NGO?

9 A. Thanks to Mr Cumaraswamy.

10 Q. Indeed. And you must have assumed from this that if it

11 was known to Jane Winter, it was probably also known to

12 others?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. So one of the purposes you had sought to achieve --

15 I don't mean you personally -- in asking for an

16 amendment had been undermined by the wider publication

17 of what had originally been in the text?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. So can you remember your reaction when you saw this

20 letter and what it disclosed?

21 A. No, I can't remember my reaction but I can guess what it

22 was.

23 Q. Could you help us with that, please?

24 A. That Mr Cumaraswamy should not -- that these people

25 should not have seen a draft before the official

 

 

90


1 authorities had seen it and had had a chance to consider

2 it.

3 Q. But of course that, to some extent, was shutting the

4 stable door after the horse had bolted, wasn't it?

5 A. Indeed.

6 Q. Because he had, they had and they were now asking rather

7 detailed --

8 A. He behaved like a NGO rather than a high official of the

9 United Nations.

10 Q. Was that your view of him generally?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Now, so far as other Government officials were

13 concerned, they had a rather different view of him and

14 approach to him, did they not?

15 A. You are talking about the political side of the office?

16 Q. And indeed the Foreign Office, yes.

17 A. The Foreign Office?

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. They didn't think it was right to treat him as an NGO

21 and in the way that you have suggested, did they?

22 A. No, not at all.

23 Q. They thought that the way he was dealt with was rather

24 significant?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

91


1 Q. Diplomatically?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And he had to be handled with very considerable care and

4 sensitivity?

5 A. The Foreign Office would say that, wouldn't they?

6 Q. Presumably, you, given the answers you have been giving

7 me, were rather cynical about that attitude?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. You were?

10 A. Absolutely.

11 Q. Let's look to see some of the documents which came to

12 you in which this is played out, which I don't think

13 we've seen before in this context. The first is

14 RNI-109-180 (displayed), and this comes about a week

15 after the letter he sent saying that he was going to

16 amend his draft.

17 Can we have RNI-109-181 on the screen as well

18 (displayed). I am afraid it is a three-page document.

19 Some of the names have been redacted. It is 12 March, I

20 should say. The "REL" -- do you see the top left-hand

21 corner, the individual's name has been redacted? Can

22 you help us, please: "REL" stands for? I hope you do

23 know the answer to that.

24 A. No, I don't offhand, I am afraid.

25 Q. Rights and European --

 

 

92


1 A. That'll do.

2 Q. It sounds as though it's Rights and European, but it is

3 within the NIO; is that right?

4 A. Yes, London.

5 Q. Now, you see the concern that he expresses. Again,

6 I hope you have had an opportunity to read this

7 recently. He says:

8 "I'm concerned that in our public response to

9 Cumaraswamy we are being pulled in two directions and

10 risk failing to make the points we want to in respect of

11 any of our possible audiences. I understand the need to

12 defend the RUC's reputation against unfair attack and

13 that this is an acutely sensitive time for

14 confidence-eroding allegations to be made."

15 Presumably that was your position from the NIO side:

16 We have got to support the RUC against unfair attack?

17 A. That would be my position, yes.

18 Q. And in particular at this time because it is highly

19 sensitive politically with all the changes going on in

20 Northern Ireland?

21 A. Exactly.

22 Q. So we have to back them up even if it means in a sense

23 taking on the UN Special Rapporteur?

24 A. My own position would have been that you didn't need to

25 take him on to back the RUC. The central points to get

 

 

93


1 over, many of those are incontrovertible and could be

2 subscribed to, and detailed consideration of his

3 recommendations would have been the sort of line I would

4 have taken.

5 Q. But then the other point of view, if I can put it that

6 way, comes next:

7 "But we must also take account of the UK's wider

8 standing on human rights, which the Foreign Secretary

9 has repeatedly emphasised is at the heart of our foreign

10 policy."

11 Again, in brief terms that was the other side of the

12 argument, wasn't it?

13 A. Yes, of course.

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

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly. We will adjourn now until

16 2 o'clock.

17 (1.00 pm)

18 (The short adjournment)

19 (2.00 pm)

20 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

21 MR PHILLIPS: Can we have the memo we were looking at before

22 lunch back on the screen, please? That is RNI-109-180.

23 (displayed).

24 First of all, Mr Steele, I think actually I may have

25 misled you here in relation to the origins this because

 

 

94

 

1 I was focusing on the acronym REL, which I didn't know

2 the answer to and we helpfully got that one, but in fact

3 the source of the document is from another acronym.

4 A. RID.

5 Q. The Republic of Ireland?

6 A. I knew that one.

7 Q. Is that a department within the Foreign Office?

8 A. No, I believe it is in the Northern Ireland Office.

9 Q. Right. If we look on at the document itself, we looked

10 together at the two points of view, if I can put it in

11 that shorthand way, the second being the reference there

12 to the Foreign Secretary's position and a reference to

13 backing Mr Cumaraswamy in his difficulties. And so when

14 it says:

15 "Our private officers asked us to let them have

16 an update on the position for our Secretary of State's

17 weekend box."

18 That is the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland,

19 is it?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Just moving on to the next page of the document, please,

22 RNI-109-181 -- if we can have that on the screen as

23 well, please (displayed) -- do you see here at the

24 bottom of the second page, paragraph 4, there is

25 a reference to the letter of 5 March? I didn't take you

 

 

95


1 to that, but that was one of the documents I think you

2 have seen. It is Mr Cumaraswamy's letter in which he

3 says:

4 "I'm going to amend, but I still stand by my

5 suggestion."

6 A. I have seen that, yes.

7 Q. Thank you. The writer says:

8 "I would favour a measured response. His

9 allegations are serious. If we are to take Cumaraswamy

10 seriously, we should not leave these unanswered, nor

11 should we get into an argument particularly if it were

12 to become public."

13 Now, you, of course, as one of the readers of this,

14 knew by this stage, 12 March, that it had at least to

15 some extent entered the public domain because of

16 Jane Winter's knowledge of it?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. So that if that was a motivating factor, it wasn't

19 a very strong one in this case, or not any more?

20 A. Quite.

21 Q. Indeed. So far as that's concerned, it goes on:

22 "Our line should be that we are concerned that he

23 believed the allegations that the threats to lawyers

24 from the RUC could be well founded."

25 Then there is reference there to the Finucane case,

 

 

96


1 and then it follows a few lines later with this

2 sentence:

3 "It would defy common sense as well as human rights

4 for policemen to be acting in this way against lawyers,

5 especially now with the main terrorist groups observing

6 ceasefires and a better prospect of an end to terrorism

7 than there has been for many years."

8 That obviously is an expression of the view of the

9 writer of this document, whose name has been redacted

10 from RID, but was that a view that you shared: that it

11 would defy common sense for policemen to be acting in

12 this harassing and threatening way against lawyers?

13 A. No, I don't believe it would be against common sense.

14 The police had been fighting what, in effect, was a war

15 against terrorism and there were obviously strong

16 feelings around. So, you know, I don't think this

17 happened in any systematic way, but it could have

18 happened and it would be for those reasons.

19 Q. Certainly so far as you are concerned, you didn't

20 altogether exclude it as a possibility?

21 A. That's right.

22 Q. And that presumably is just based on your judgment of

23 human beings as much as of anything else?

24 A. Absolutely. Certainly not any generalised opinion about

25 the police.

 

 

97


1 Q. Yes. Now, if we go on to the end of the document at

2 RNI-109-182 (displayed), there is a final paragraph I

3 would like to ask you about, please, because the writer

4 continues in paragraph 5:

5 "In the late 1970s, we managed to respond to Amnesty

6 allegations of torture at Castlereagh in a way that had

7 us depicted as anti-Amnesty and, by implication,

8 pro-torture. We should make it our first priority to

9 show that clearly we are with Cumaraswamy in being

10 against harassment and intimidation of lawyers."

11 So that was a reference to an earlier episode. Were

12 you familiar with that episode?

13 A. No.

14 Q. But the danger there --

15 A. But I agree with the conclusion in the paragraph.

16 Q. Because it was a stark issue when put in those terms,

17 wasn't it?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. The danger in seeking to back up the RUC against unjust

20 allegations is that you come across as being supporters

21 by implication of the misbehaviour that was in issue?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. That was the danger, wasn't it?

24 A. It is a danger if you put it in those terms, but if you

25 actually do, as it says, to show clearly that we are

 

 

98


1 with Cumaraswamy in being against harassment and

2 intimidation of lawyers, then you could say that the

3 allegations are unproven because they weren't.

4 Q. That takes us back. If we could have paragraph 4 on the

5 previous page, RNI-109-181, on the left-hand side,

6 please (displayed), we see the continuation of this at

7 the bottom of the page, do you see:

8 "But if there are such allegations, we take them

9 seriously. Those who believe such threats to have been

10 made should file the complaints which will be

11 investigated by the Independent Police Complaints

12 Commission or, in future, by the Police Ombudsman whose

13 creation Cumaraswamy has welcomed"?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. That takes us back to the discussion we had earlier,

16 doesn't it, that the line was if you have got an

17 allegation to make, put it into the system and it will

18 be investigated?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And indeed the Rapporteur himself had encouraged, hadn't

21 he, in his draft and then his final report, lawyers and

22 others to engage with the system, to raise their

23 complaints within the complaints system and to make use

24 of it?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. And presumably that was one of the aspects of his report

2 that you viewed approvingly?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Yes. Now, before lunch you told us that you didn't

5 recall -- and this is what you say in your statement --

6 talking to Sir Ronnie Flanagan about this particular

7 issue of the draft report. That's right, is it?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. I would like to show you just a couple of documents on

10 that. The first is at RNI-106-165 (displayed). This is

11 from a civil servant whose name has been redacted to an

12 officer in Command Secretariat:

13 "Dear Roger, I attach a copy of the Jane Winter

14 letter ..."

15 That is the one you and I looked at earlier,

16 10 March:

17 "Simon ..."

18 That is Simon Rogers of Police Division:

19 "... hopes to have a draft response down to ..."

20 That is the cipher of another officer in

21 Command Secretariat:

22 "... some time on Monday. Christine and John Steele

23 are apparently meeting the Chief Constable next week.

24 Christine thinks the whole Cumaraswamy issue is one

25 which should be discussed then and I think she may give

 

 

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1 ..."

2 That's the cipher of yet another officer, the Chief

3 Superintendent in Command Secretariat:

4 "... a ring on Monday."

5 Then there is a reference to the Internet address at

6 which the Rapporteur's report will be published.

7 Now, as far as you can recall -- perhaps this

8 prompts a recollection -- do you think it is likely that

9 you and Christine Collins did discuss the whole

10 Cumaraswamy issue with the Chief Constable at this

11 meeting?

12 A. We might well have, but I don't recollect it.

13 Q. No. On the face of it --

14 A. It would be natural to. If you were seeing him shortly

15 after the thing was published, it would be natural to

16 mention it.

17 Q. Yes. And would it not also have been natural, given

18 what Jane Winter was now saying -- that the remarks had

19 possibly, I think she put it, been made by another

20 senior police officer and that that letter had been sent

21 down to his office -- would it not also have been

22 natural to discuss that new spin, if I can put it, on

23 the interpretation of events with him?

24 A. No, I'm not sure that it would have been natural to

25 mention that at all. You know, it was either said or it

 

 

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1 wasn't said and, you know, talking to the

2 Chief Constable about it wouldn't have added anything.

3 Q. Well, the issue to this point appears to have been

4 whether he himself had made the remark. The suggestion

5 now put --

6 A. Raymond White.

7 Q. Yes -- was that another officer had made it. That

8 wasn't something that you wanted to clarify with him?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Can I just ask you then, what do you think you would

11 have discussed with him in relation to the whole

12 Cumaraswamy issue?

13 A. It would have been the whole business of intimidation of

14 lawyers and tell him, if it was happening or if it

15 wasn't happening still, get a grip on your people and

16 make sure it doesn't happen.

17 Q. So it would have been a much more general conversation?

18 A. Absolutely.

19 Q. As I understand it, what you have just said is what you

20 would have said to the Chief Constable. Is that right?

21 A. That's what I would have said to the Chief Constable.

22 Q. You have got to get to the bottom of this, find out

23 whether it is happening, and if it is happening, get

24 a grip of it and tell your people to stop it?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. But wasn't that exactly the sort of operational

2 interference that you picked out for us in Jane Winter's

3 letter when she made that suggestion? You were

4 interfering operationally, weren't you?

5 A. I don't think when it comes to misconduct that you can

6 interfere operationally in discussing misconduct or

7 possible misconduct. Indeed, we were in the process of

8 creating the office of the Police Ombudsman.

9 Q. So anyway you think that in the context of

10 a conversation about Cumaraswamy, you would have spoken

11 in those sort of terms --

12 A. I might well have, I might well have.

13 Q. That was consistent with your relationship with him,

14 was it?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Again, there was a frank exchange --

17 A. He and I had a very frank relationship.

18 Q. What was his response to that?

19 A. We are piling hypothetical on hypothetical.

20 Q. Indeed.

21 A. His response probably would have been to say, "Okay,

22 John".

23 Q. In other words, "I am dealing with it"?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. In relation to this general topic --

 

 

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1 A. I think, you know, in relation to misconduct that he

2 would already have been dealing with it, you know, in

3 the sense of providing leadership to the investigating

4 officers.

5 Q. Can you remember anything specific as a result of this

6 conversation or other conversations with him that he had

7 told you he was doing to address this?

8 A. No, I can't.

9 Q. Now, when you and I discussed earlier the issue of the

10 remark itself, before we got on to the interesting

11 question of if it was said, who may have said it, you

12 expressed the view, I think, that it is not a remark

13 that Sir Ronnie would have made in your view?

14 A. In my judgment.

15 Q. In your judgment, indeed. Not least because, as you put

16 it, he didn't have the evidence or wouldn't have the

17 evidence to back it up.

18 Can I ask you another question or series of

19 questions about that? That provides a reason not to say

20 it. Do you think it was a view that he held based on

21 your discussions with him?

22 A. It may well have been a view that he held.

23 Q. Namely, that some solicitors were working for the

24 paramilitaries?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Can I take it from that that it was a view that if you

2 didn't hear him express to you, it was a view you heard

3 other officers express?

4 A. No, I can't say that I did hear officers expressing that

5 view.

6 Q. But if you believed that he may well have held that

7 view, do you think that there may have been other senior

8 officers within the RUC who also may well have held that

9 view?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Can I ask you why it is that you say that in relation

12 both to him and to other senior officers?

13 A. No profession at all, neither the police nor the Army

14 nor the law, are -- were immune from the situation in

15 Northern Ireland. And the lawyers in particular had

16 privileged access to prisoners and they could have come

17 under pressure to use that access in the interests of

18 the paramilitaries.

19 Q. Did you ever see in whatever form any evidence for that

20 in any particular case?

21 A. No, no, pure speculation on my part.

22 Q. So --

23 A. I wouldn't say it outside this Tribunal.

24 Q. That's the point, isn't it? The surprise was simply the

25 suggestion that someone had uttered the opinion rather

 

 

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1 than that the opinion was held?

2 A. And to whom he had uttered it.

3 Q. Indeed. So it was at least, we can agree, unwise?

4 A. If it happened.

5 Q. If it was said.

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Yes. Now, I would like to move to another topic, which

8 is again something you deal with in your statement, and

9 that's in relation to the complaints system and

10 specifically the great storm that broke in the summer of

11 1998, in June, when the suggestion was made by the

12 Chairman of the ICPC that they would not issue

13 a certificate of satisfaction in relation to the

14 Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy complaints.

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Before we look at the detail and your involvement in it,

17 which, as I say, you address in some detail in your

18 statement, can I ask you a few more general. Questions?

19 First of all, in relation to the Commission itself,

20 did you have any form of regular contact with officials

21 at the Commission?

22 A. Not at all.

23 Q. No. So insofar as you were given information about the

24 Commission's work and about complaints, that presumably

25 would have come to you via your own officials in that

 

 

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1 part of Police Division. Is that right?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. In paragraph 14 of your statement you deal with the

4 complaints, and we have looked at this before for

5 a specific purpose, but I would like to show it to you

6 again. RNI-820-116, please (displayed). Can we have

7 paragraph 14 enlarged, please?:

8 "A complaint by Rosemary Nelson had a life of its

9 own."

10 Now, do you mean by that that it, or the complaints,

11 plural, were blown up into a very substantial issue?

12 A. Yes, exactly that.

13 Q. That generated their own momentum?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. In relation to the ICPC itself, you say much, much later

16 in your statement -- and this is paragraph 44 at

17 RNI-820-127 (displayed) -- do you see the penultimate

18 sentence:

19 "There was a view amongst solicitors and others that

20 the ICPC was infective in that they only supervised the

21 police investigating themselves."

22 Is that the point that we discussed a little earlier

23 about lack of confidence?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Indeed, it is the point, isn't it, that Mr Cumaraswamy

 

 

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1 himself fixed on, that we discussed earlier?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Thank you.

4 A. I also brought out earlier that the ICPC was a much more

5 robust system than the police complaints in England.

6 Q. What was its role, in your view?

7 A. It was to supervise -- to make sure the investigation

8 was conducted properly.

9 Q. Yes.

10 A. Within the law.

11 Q. So it was there, wasn't it, to bring an independent

12 element to the investigation?

13 A. Certainly.

14 Q. So that although the investigating officers were

15 themselves members of the RUC, there was this additional

16 layer of supervisory work being done by the Commission?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. You tell us in your statement at paragraph 15 -- if we

19 could go back to that, please, and that's RNI-820-116

20 (displayed) -- that you became involved in the matter of

21 the ICPC and the proposed refusal to issue a statement

22 of satisfaction in about June 1998. Do you see that?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And it looks as though your involvement was prompted,

25 triggered, if I can put it that way, by the letter that

 

 

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1 the Chairman sent on 19 June. Is that correct?

2 A. That's right, to the Secretary of State and to the

3 Chief Constable.

4 Q. Thank you. If we can just look at that together,

5 please, it is RNI-101-276 (displayed). This is the

6 version sent to the Chief Constable, but as you say,

7 there was an identical version, I think, also sent to

8 your Secretary of State, wasn't there?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. In brief, as you can see just by looking at this very

11 first page, the comments made by the Chairman of the

12 Commission were essentially that the investigation had

13 been fatally undermined by flaws in the approach of the

14 investigating officer. I'm summarising a three-page

15 letter. Shall we have the second page on the screen to

16 help you? It is RNI-101-277 (displayed).

17 Do you see at the very bottom of the first page and

18 reading over, which is why I have got it on the screen:

19 "In spite of numerous efforts on the part of the

20 Commission representatives to challenge and redress the

21 situation, the investigation has been obstructed and

22 obscured to an extent that leads us to conclude that the

23 final outcome is irretrievably flawed."

24 Can I ask you this first of all: did you have any

25 inkling before this letter was received that there were

 

 

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1 difficulties with the investigation?

2 A. None, none at all.

3 Q. The Chairman of the ICPC in his evidence to the Panel

4 has suggested that although there was no official

5 communication, there was a certain amount of what he

6 described as "signalling" to the NIO. Is that something

7 that you were aware of?

8 A. No, and I don't believe it.

9 Q. No. You don't believe that it happened?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Now, when this letter arrived, you tell us -- again, I'm

12 just going to read it so that we don't have the problem

13 of the screen. In paragraph 17, you say:

14 "I specifically recall receiving a copy of the

15 letter and hotfooting it down to Mo Mowlam to discuss.

16 This was a serious issue."

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. What was it, please, about the letter and about what the

19 Commission chairman was saying that made it a serious

20 letter and caused you to hotfoot it?

21 A. The possibility of a public dissatisfaction with the

22 investigation.

23 Q. Now, so I have understood this, under the ICPC

24 complaints system there was a requirement for them to

25 certify at the end whether or not they were satisfied?

 

 

110


1 A. That's right.

2 Q. And as I understand it, this hadn't happened -- in other

3 words, the refusal to issue such a certificate -- at any

4 point to this stage?

5 A. That's right.

6 Q. So this was the first time?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. But in trying to understand why it is a serious issue,

9 let me ask you this: presumably, if the independence of

10 the Commission was going to be effectively signalled,

11 there were bound to be occasions on which they would be

12 less than content with the work of the Complaints and

13 Discipline Department?

14 A. Not necessarily, if they were doing the job of

15 supervision properly. They could, for example, have

16 early on asked for the Chief inspector, whose name has

17 been redacted -- they could have asked for him to be

18 replaced by someone else who would do the thing more to

19 their satisfaction.

20 This was springing it at the end instead of working

21 in the system to get the thing done properly, rather

22 than to achieve the first certificate of

23 non-satisfaction.

24 Q. Yes. So your understanding then was if the system was

25 working properly, there would never be an occasion --

 

 

111


1 A. That's right.

2 Q. -- on which a certificate would be refused?

3 A. That's my view.

4 Q. And as I understood your answer, it was therefore the

5 responsibility of the Commission in your view to work

6 with the Complaints and Discipline officers so as to

7 ensure that their concerns were addressed and that the

8 end result was as you think it should be, namely that

9 a certificate of satisfaction could be issued. Is that

10 correct?

11 A. That's my view, yes.

12 Q. Now, presumably there was also operating in your mind at

13 this point the idea that it would be most unfortunate in

14 terms of the overall political situation if there was

15 a public spat, if I can put it that way, between the

16 police on the one hand and the Commission on the other?

17 A. The political situation certainly, but it was also in

18 the context of attacks on the police, and I don't mean

19 physical attacks: the criticism of the police. And it

20 would seem to reinforce that in a political sense.

21 Q. So you saw this, did you, as giving support in some way,

22 no doubt unintentionally, to the campaign that you

23 mentioned before lunch effectively to undermine the

24 police?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

112


1 Q. And did you, in coming to that conclusion, take account

2 of the fact that the Commission included those who were

3 independent of the police, who had their own views and

4 were entitled to express them?

5 A. Certainly. That's what they were there for.

6 Q. Indeed. As I understand it, what you are saying is that

7 that was fine provided they didn't contribute to the

8 campaign being waged to undermine the police?

9 A. No, I'm not saying that they had on every occasion to

10 automatically issue a certificate of satisfaction.

11 Q. Indeed.

12 A. But they needed to work with the investigation, they

13 were supervising the investigation and in a sense if

14 there was dissatisfaction, a certificate of

15 non-satisfaction, it was a failure on their part too.

16 Q. But here, certainly what is being said in this letter is

17 we tried and tried and tried to deal with the

18 inadequacies of the system but those concerns or

19 complaints weren't addressed, so the remedy left to us

20 is to say that we withhold our certificate?

21 A. Yes, although they embraced the remedy rather

22 enthusiastically, I thought.

23 Q. Was that your further concern: that they were intending

24 not only to do this, but also to inform the complainants

25 and, no doubt, thereby the public?

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. You were concerned that this shouldn't reach the public

3 domain?

4 A. I didn't want it to.

5 Q. No, very much in the same way as the Cumaraswamy

6 episode?

7 A. Yes. I may say just in passing that I chaired the

8 panels that selected both Mr Donnelly and

9 Miss McNally --

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. -- for those positions. And I was looking for

12 independence of mind.

13 Q. And you think you got it?

14 A. Yes, I did. And I may actually have shocked some people

15 by appointing somebody who was a member of

16 Amnesty International to the Commission.

17 Q. Why do you think people would have been shocked by that?

18 A. Because of a feeling about Amnesty International.

19 Q. What feeling was that?

20 A. The feeling that is around Amnesty International that

21 they are for the criminals and not for law and order.

22 Q. Was that a feeling that you shared?

23 A. No, obviously I appointed her.

24 Q. But you didn't see her membership of that organisation

25 as a bar to her --

 

 

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1 A. What I wanted was her intelligence, her legal knowledge

2 and her independence of mind, and I think I got all

3 those.

4 Q. But are you telling us that you came to regret that?

5 A. No, I'm not telling you that.

6 Q. No. So far as managing the business is concerned, as

7 I say, you tell us in your statement you specifically

8 recall receiving the letter and going down to see the

9 Secretary of State. Can you help us with this: what

10 strategy or plan did you conceive for dealing with this

11 difficult issue?

12 A. Well, I'm not sure that we had a great strategy or plan,

13 at least initially. I went to see the Chief Constable

14 and the Director of Public Prosecutions about it and

15 from those contacts emerged a plan to treat the

16 investigation as not having been concluded and to

17 appoint an officer from the Metropolitan Police to

18 reinvestigate it, and also look at the -- how the

19 original investigation was conducted.

20 Q. So --

21 A. That was the plan.

22 Q. That was the plan. Indeed. And we will look at some of

23 the material about that in a moment. But was the point

24 or aim of the plan to ensure that the ICPC were not able

25 to pronounce in the way that they say they intended

 

 

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1 to --

2 A. We had hoped that they wouldn't.

3 Q. -- and also to ensure that the matter did not as

4 a result enter the public domain?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And that was a strategy that you conceived or at least

7 agreed with the Chief Constable, was it?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. You tell us in paragraph 20 of your statement -- if we

10 can have a look at that, please, RNI-820-117

11 (displayed) -- that on the evening of 24 June -- do you

12 see there at the bottom of the page? -- you visited the

13 Chief Constable and it looks as though it was on that

14 occasion that he, the Chief Constable, discovered that

15 he wasn't the only recipient of the letter because the

16 Secretary of State had received the same letter.

17 Now, can we look at that letter, please, together at

18 RNI-101-285 in which this is set out? RNI-101-285,

19 please (displayed). This is the third paragraph. If we

20 can enlarge that, please.

21 What he sets out there is that you paid him a visit.

22 Were you on your own in terms of NIO personnel, can you

23 remember?

24 A. I believe I was, yes.

25 Q. And he records you as intimating to him that the ICPC

 

 

116


1 intended by Friday, two days after this letter, to issue

2 letters effectively to the complainants setting out that

3 they would not be issuing a statement. So that was

4 something that you had obviously learnt by this stage.

5 Can you remember the source for that information

6 which you had before the Chief Constable?

7 A. I think it was Christine Collins told me that.

8 Q. Yes, presumably that was based on her own discussion

9 with ICPC itself?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Yes. What was the Chief Constable's reaction to that

12 prospect?

13 A. He wasn't happy.

14 Q. Is that an understatement?

15 A. An understatement?

16 Q. Yes.

17 A. Yes, it is an understatement. He was furious.

18 Q. He was absolutely furious?

19 A. And he became more furious when he discovered that

20 Mr Donnelly had sprung this trap and then gone on

21 holiday, and it began increasingly to look like a trap.

22 Q. Why do you say that?

23 A. The intention to tell others about it very quickly and

24 the Secretary of State letter and one to the

25 Chief Constable coming, and it was going to go ahead

 

 

117


1 very quickly, and the Chairman out of the country.

2 Q. So you are suggesting, are you, that it looked to you as

3 though this was all deliberately arranged --

4 A. Oh, yes.

5 Q. -- in its timing and the various stages of it?

6 A. Absolutely.

7 Q. Why might that have been?

8 A. That would get me into an area of gross speculation, but

9 the Commission -- I will nevertheless do it. The

10 Commission had a limited life ahead of it.

11 Q. Indeed.

12 A. And they had never managed to get a criticism in and

13 this would achieve that.

14 Q. So you thought that they had an aim, did you, to record

15 a criticism of some kind before they were abolished and

16 replaced by the Ombudsman?

17 A. That's what I thought, yes. Probably a totally unworthy

18 thought.

19 Q. Indeed, because it rather discounts all the detailed

20 comment they made and suggests that the criticisms they

21 were putting forward were without foundation?

22 A. As I say, those criticisms could have been aired at an

23 earlier date. I don't believe they were aired in any

24 shape or form and the investigation could have been

25 retailored with a different investigating officer.

 

 

118


1 Q. You thought at the time, did you, that that's what

2 should have happened?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Now, as you tell us in your statement -- and this is now

5 paragraph 18, RNI-820 --

6 A. Sorry, if I can come back and remind the Tribunal that

7 Commander Mulvihill reviewed the investigation and found

8 that it was satisfactory. So just to say that. Never

9 mind all the specifics.

10 Q. That, of course, was after you had left?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. It was, wasn't it?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Just to be clear about this, you didn't have to deal

15 with the fallout from the next stage, which was when he

16 produced his report with the conclusion you have given.

17 But the ICPC nevertheless insisted on having their

18 appendix to their certificate of satisfaction about his

19 investigation dealing with the previous investigation?

20 A. Which again points to the fact that they were very keen

21 to get it out.

22 Q. Indeed. They were determined to make their criticisms

23 known?

24 A. Absolutely.

25 Q. In your view?

 

 

119


1 A. Yes.

2 Q. What I was going to ask you to look at is this paragraph

3 on the screen -- paragraph 18, RNI-820-117

4 (displayed) -- because it looks from the material as

5 though at about the time, on the same day as you met the

6 Chief Constable, your officials, officials in this case

7 in Police Division, were working busily away at

8 producing notes of advice on the issues raised. And I

9 would just Like to look at this first one with you,

10 please. It is addressed to you. It is at

11 RNI-106-217.500 (displayed).

12 It is addressed to you, do you see on the left-hand

13 side?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. From Simon Rogers, 24 June:

16 "Rosemary Nelson case. Attached is a table of

17 options ..."

18 And we will look at those in a minute:

19 "... on the handling of this case ...

20 "The table suggests there are three issues to

21 consider: (1) the investigation of the Nelson

22 complaints; (2) the action or inaction of the RUC

23 investigating officer; and ..."

24 The third bullet is:

25 "... the need or otherwise to act on the cumulative

 

 

120


1 total of material problems in the RUC handling of

2 defence lawyers. The fact that the latest piece of

3 material is from our 'own' Independent Commission for

4 Police Complaints cannot be discounted lightly."

5 Presumably that was another aspect of the thing

6 which was weighing on everybody's minds, that here your

7 own ICPC was joining the chorus of complaint about

8 mistreatment of defence lawyers?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And that takes us back to all the literature that we

11 discussed before lunch and also presumably to what you

12 think you would have said to the Chief Constable?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. So if you hadn't made those remarks to him before all

15 this, presumably there was ample reason to make them

16 after this had happened?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. In other words, you have to find out whether this is

19 going on, and if it is, get it stopped.

20 Now, the way the table works, which is attached, the

21 table of options, we can see on the next page,

22 RNI-106-217.501 (displayed), which is almost certainly

23 going to come up the wrong way round. Thank you. You

24 will see there they are, the three bullet points:

25 Complaint case, action by investigating officer IO, then

 

 

121


1 "wider issues". It says at the top under "wider

2 issues":

3 "Until now we have relied on the fact that the

4 allegations are being investigated."

5 In other words, in response to questions about the

6 alleged misconduct these matters are under

7 investigation?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Then:

10 "We have a body of criticism of RUC treatment of

11 defence lawyers, eg Mr Cumaraswamy. The ICPC letter

12 adds to this."

13 So that's confirmation, isn't it, that when you were

14 looking at the issue, all of the things we have been

15 discussing, the complaints she made, the visit of the

16 Rapporteur and now the ICPC saga, all fit under the same

17 heading, namely the heading in relation to alleged

18 intimidation of defence lawyers?

19 Can I just ask you this question: in the way the

20 matter was handled over the next weeks into July and the

21 appointment of Commander Mulvihill and beyond, was

22 a decision taken not to deal with those wider issues?

23 A. I don't think there was a decision as such.

24 Q. Is it fair to say that the vast amount of the energy put

25 into this by the Chief Constable, you, your officials

 

 

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1 and others at the NIO, went on dealing with the specific

2 issue of these complaints, the specific conduct of them

3 and eventually the appointment of Commander Mulvihill?

4 Is that fair?

5 A. That's fair.

6 Q. What we don't see at the end, alongside

7 Commander Mulvihill, is the setting up of an

8 investigation or some separate way of addressing the

9 wider issues, do we?

10 A. Well, Mulvihill had interviewed a number of officers

11 during his -- and found no evidence of this. I don't

12 see how we would have gone about addressing the thing

13 other than what we were already doing, which was to have

14 audio recording of interviews and an ombudsman

15 appointed.

16 Q. Well, if we look together at a later passage in your

17 statement, paragraph 43, which comes at a point when you

18 are dealing with the end of these events, at the point

19 of your retirement -- that's RNI-820-126 (displayed) --

20 this is part, as I say, of a sort of summary:

21 "Sir Ronnie Flanagan and the NIO looked at

22 Ms Nelson's complaints in isolation. We took the view

23 that the wider issues ... "

24 Exactly the same expression:

25 "... did not need to be examined as they were

 

 

123


1 already being dealt with. For example ..."

2 Then you give your example.

3 A. Exactly what I have just said.

4 Q. Yes. So beyond the measures that had already been taken

5 and were being addressed, there was no further attempt,

6 was there, to deal with Simon Rogers' wider issues?

7 A. No, that's right.

8 Q. Thank you. Now, in your discussion with the

9 Chief Constable at this stage, 24 June, which we saw

10 evidenced in his letter and we discussed earlier, did

11 you get into any of the detail of the criticisms being

12 made by the ICPC?

13 A. No, I didn't.

14 Q. Presumably neither of you was at that stage in command

15 of the detail in any event?

16 A. That's right.

17 Q. Was there any discussion, however, in your meeting in

18 relation to the supervising member, Geralyn McNally?

19 A. Oh, yes, there was. There was a feeling, in fairness to

20 the investigating officer, that some other independent

21 person should do it. But in fact the Chief Constable

22 decided himself. We in the office were prepared to get

23 somebody from London --

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. -- to come and appoint him to the -- on a temporary

 

 

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1 basis to the ICPC so that they could supervise it. But

2 the Chief Constable was satisfied that Geralyn McNally

3 would do it, then that ended that discussion.

4 Q. Can I ask you to have a look at a paragraph in your

5 statement where you deal with this? It is paragraph 22,

6 RNI-820-118 (displayed). This is in the section where

7 you deal with your discussion with Sir Ronnie Flanagan

8 at this meeting. First of all, you say:

9 "No notes of the meeting were taken."

10 So there is nothing written down of the conversation

11 between you. Is that right?

12 A. Many conversations were -- not everything was minuted.

13 Q. Yes. And you then say:

14 "I have been asked by those interviewing me whether

15 Sir Ronnie Flanagan had an issue with Ms Nelson in

16 relation to any of this. In my view, he did not.

17 Rather he saw the problem as the ICPC."

18 A. Specifically Mr Donnelly.

19 Q. I see. So the problem with the ICPC, as far as he was

20 concerned, was not Ms McNally but the Chairman. Is that

21 right?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. You don't recall him making any criticisms of her and

24 the way she had conducted herself?

25 A. No, in fact, the fact that it was he who took the

 

 

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1 decision that she should continue to supervise the issue

2 with Commander Mulvihill.

3 Q. This is at a slightly later stage, isn't it, in July,

4 after Mulvihill had been appointed?

5 A. Yes, of course.

6 Q. We will see that in a minute. You and colleagues were

7 concerned that there wasn't a sufficiently independent

8 element to the supervision?

9 A. That's right.

10 Q. But at this stage, rather earlier, just after the news

11 had broken, you don't recall him making any adverse

12 remarks about the supervising member?

13 A. No.

14 Q. And what about Rosemary Nelson? Was there any

15 discussion between you at the meeting about

16 Rosemary Nelson --

17 A. No.

18 Q. -- that you can remember?

19 A. No, I don't believe there was any discussion about

20 Rosemary Nelson.

21 Q. You said earlier that you don't think that either of you

22 was in command of the detail of the complaints. Was

23 there a discussion about their nature in general terms?

24 A. In general terms --

25 Q. Did he express a view, for example, as to whether they

 

 

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1 were well founded or not?

2 A. No, I can't remember him doing that, but in general

3 terms I picked up the view that Geralyn had said no

4 statements, and the investigating officer had taken

5 statements and some officers also had been truculent

6 during the investigation and one had turned up late

7 smelling of alcohol. Those are the complaints that

8 I picked up on.

9 Q. Yes. But did either of you express a view in the

10 discussion about whether they were likely to be well

11 founded or not?

12 A. No.

13 Q. Now, it looks as though at the time you also had

14 a meeting with the Director of Public Prosecutions. Is

15 that correct?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. It was his view, as I understand it, just trying to

18 summarise a great deal of paper, that insofar as there

19 was a criminal investigation going on here in parallel

20 with the disciplinary, that investigation had not been

21 completed?

22 A. That's right.

23 Q. And so he was saying that it wasn't time for him to

24 become involved. Is that correct?

25 A. Exactly that.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes. So that, as far as your plan is concerned, was

2 a welcome answer, wasn't it?

3 A. Yes, it was very helpful.

4 Q. Yes. Now, so far as the ramifications of all of this

5 are concerned, can we just move on to the penultimate

6 page of Mr Rogers' memo at RNI-106-127.508 (displayed)?

7 This is the same one, 24 June, that we looked at

8 together earlier -- I'm sorry, it is 25 June, I think.

9 Actually this is a memo of the next day, I'm sorry, to

10 the one I showed you before. But at paragraph 14 under

11 the heading of "Briefings", it says:

12 "Contingent arrangements are being made to brief

13 PANI and the Irish if and when the ICPC issue their

14 statement."

15 At this stage it looks as though everybody was

16 expecting the ICPC to go ahead, doesn't it, and issue?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. "Officials will also brief the ICPC and the CAJ. In

19 addition, careful briefing will be required for overseas

20 posts (especially the USA and Geneva) and for the

21 press."

22 This is another indication, isn't it, of the

23 potential political importance --

24 A. Yes, the size of the issue.

25 Q. You were briefing the Irish, you were briefing the

 

 

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1 diplomatic postings abroad and particularly the USA and

2 in Geneva, the UN?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Now, one of the annexes to this very memo we are looking

5 at is a draft letter for the Secretary of State to send

6 to the Chief Constable, and we can see that at

7 RNI-106-217.511 (displayed).

8 We know that a letter in exactly these terms, or

9 indeed very, very similar terms, was sent by the

10 Secretary of State to the Chief Constable on 28 June. I

11 would like, having looked briefly at the draft, to show

12 you the as sent version, if I may. It is RNI-103-114

13 (displayed) and we can see again at the top of the page

14 in rather small handwriting that you are one of the

15 copyees?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Signed by the Secretary of State, addressed to the

18 Chief Constable, and after referring to your discussion,

19 it looks as though Christine Collins may have been

20 involved, do you see that, in the discussion?

21 A. Yes, I see that.

22 Q. She says:

23 "I know we both regard the allegations as serious

24 ones. I understand you are considering how best to

25 address the points made by Paul Donnelly about the

 

 

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1 quality of the investigation. I should be particularly

2 grateful for a report on this case because this will be

3 important to me in considering what action I should

4 take."

5 Now, that was by way of advanced warning, wasn't it,

6 from the Secretary of State to the Chief Constable that

7 she was taking a very close interest in the matter and

8 that there were things that she might decide to do off

9 her own bat?

10 A. Although the next paragraph makes it clear that she was

11 conscious of the need not to impinge on his territory.

12 Q. Indeed, and that's the paragraph, the third paragraph,

13 that at least gives a nod to your point about

14 operational interference, isn't it?

15 But in fact, she was trying to keep something of

16 a grip on the issue, albeit at one remove, wasn't she?

17 A. Yes. Political grip?

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And that was very much the advice that you were giving

21 her, wasn't it?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. That she needed to maintain -- I think the phrase that's

24 used is a discreet but firm grip on the matter?

25 A. Yes. And, indeed, the next paragraph also says --

 

 

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1 unusually says we sent our lines to take to the

2 Chief Constable, so that we could be singing from the

3 same hymn sheet, as it were.

4 Q. Yes, it is the same point you made in the context of the

5 SPMs?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And this was an unusual thing to do, as you tell us in

8 your statement?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. If we look together at the relevant passage of your

11 statement, 27, at RNI-820-120 (displayed), that's where

12 you say this, that sending the lines to take was quite

13 an unusual thing to do:

14 "However, Mo Mowlam wanted to give

15 Sir Ronnie Flanagan a steer of what his letter to

16 Mr Donnelly should be."

17 So this was taking matters about as far as you

18 properly could without going over the boundary,

19 wasn't it?

20 A. I think so, yes.

21 Q. Yes. Now, it resulted in a response from the

22 Chief Constable, which came RNI-103-134 (displayed), and

23 the response consisted of a series of numbered, very,

24 very short numbered paragraphs, didn't it?

25 A. Terse even.

 

 

131


1 Q. Terse, indeed. Concluding with, at paragraph 6:

2 "I see no real role for your office while

3 investigations are extant."

4 And that was a warning, was it not, to the Secretary

5 of State --

6 A. It showed that he had recognised the element in her

7 letter that it was approaching a boundary, and this --

8 pointing out that the office had no real role was

9 a response to that.

10 Q. Yes. And he was stressing, at least impliedly, the need

11 for the police to be independent of interference from

12 Government?

13 A. Absolutely.

14 Q. And I think you would agree with that, would you not?

15 A. I would.

16 Q. Yes. Now, when we look to see why it was that this

17 letter from the Secretary of State, which prompted such

18 a reaction, was couched in the way that it was, with the

19 lines to take, what you tell us in your statement is

20 this:

21 "Mo Mowlam's officials were concerned that

22 Sir Ronnie Flanagan was going too hard at it."

23 What do you mean by that, please?

24 A. I think he was angry about it.

25 Q. He was acting in anger?

 

 

132


1 A. And he might have gone a little far because of that

2 anger, instead of being cool.

3 Q. In what respects do you think had he gone too far?

4 A. No, he hadn't gone too far. We were frightened that he

5 would.

6 Q. So that was why you thought it was necessary to give

7 that warning?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Now, it looks as though, in your view at any rate, his

10 equanimity was further tested when the ICPC issued

11 a press release, and there you deal with that in

12 paragraph 35 of your statement at RNI-820-123

13 (displayed), if we can have that enlarged, please.

14 This is after the Mulvihill route had been agreed

15 and the ICPC in, I think, the letter of 2 July, had

16 accepted it. They issued a press release and you say it

17 would have infuriated him. Why do you say that?

18 A. Because we had worked constructively for a solution.

19 Mulvihill had been appointed. The thing was being

20 reviewed and the conduct of the regional investigation

21 was being reviewed, if I remember.

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. This looked as if they were really, really anxious to

24 get the criticism into the public --

25 Q. Yes. Where you say:

 

 

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1 "He would have perceived this as the ICPC playing

2 games."

3 Was that also your view?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Let's have a look at the press release together, please.

6 It is RNI-101-312 (displayed). Now, perhaps we could

7 enlarge the whole text to help?

8 A. Yes, please.

9 Q. Can you just help us with which parts of this press

10 release you regarded as being the ICPC playing games?

11 A. It was keeping the thing in the public domain really,

12 where it didn't need to be. It was just keeping the

13 thing running.

14 Q. Is it the fact that they have told the public, or the

15 press in this press release, that they had been obliged

16 to bring a number of serious concerns to the attention

17 of the Secretary of State and the RUC Chief Constable?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. So again in this case, the problem for you and the

20 Chief Constable is that in doing this, they were

21 allowing the public, as it were, to see behind what was

22 going on. Is that right?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. It is a bit like that moment at the end of The Wizard of

25 Oz, is it, where the curtain goes up and he is revealed

 

 

134


1 to be a little old man?

2 A. Bearing in mind that this was playing into a context

3 where there was criticism of the police, the RUC, as it

4 then was, was endemic.

5 Q. So you thought that sort of document played into the

6 hands of those who were criticising --

7 A. Yes, having to bring in somebody from London to do an

8 investigation, what sort of police force are you.

9 Q. Yes. And the problem at least in part, therefore, is

10 that in your view, and no doubt the view of others, it

11 would have been much better if these things had been

12 managed satisfactorily and without getting into the

13 public domain?

14 A. If a constructive solution had been found and the

15 investigation brought to the proper conclusion without

16 the waters being muddied all round it.

17 Q. Yes.

18 A. To mix metaphors.

19 Q. Now, there are then subsequent memos, subsequent to this

20 date, 10 July -- again, I don't wish to take you to them

21 in great detail, but this is where the issue is

22 discussed between you and colleagues about whether the

23 Mulvihill investigation, which had been set up, as we

24 see from this, had a sufficiently independent element of

25 supervision to it. Do you remember that issue? I think

 

 

135


1 you referred to it a little while ago.

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And you continued, as I understand it, to be concerned

4 about it and to take the view that this was a continuing

5 political problem?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Can I just take you to some of the documents in that

8 part of the discussion? The first is at RNI-106-250.500

9 (displayed). This is a memorandum from the Private

10 Secretary to Christine Collins, and over the page

11 a great list of list of copyees including you.

12 If we go back -- thank you. So here, 14 July, some

13 days after the press release we have just looked at, the

14 Secretary of State takes the opportunity of a meeting on

15 another subject to raise these points, which are the

16 points about supervision and asking for an assurance

17 from him that:

18 "Everything necessary is being done."

19 So the problem here presumably was that in the end

20 it would be better for you and for your colleagues if

21 the Chief Constable arrived at the right solution

22 himself?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Rather than one having to be imposed by the exercise of

25 the Secretary of State's power?

 

 

136


1 A. That's right.

2 Q. And that was what was going on in this sort of

3 discussion, was it not: the Secretary of State

4 effectively putting the ball back very firmly to him to

5 say that more may need to be done?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Yes. Can I just pick up a reference in the third

8 paragraph here because in this account of the

9 discussion, it says first the Secretary of State pursued

10 her point and the Chief Constable suggested she might

11 write to the Chairman of the ICPC, invited him to meet

12 her to discuss whether he was content with what we

13 proposed. Then it says:

14 "PUS suggested it might be better to obtain a letter

15 from the Chairman to the effect that this was in his

16 view the proper way to address his earlier concerns."

17 So by this stage at any rate the Permanent Secretary

18 was also involved. Is that right?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. To your recollection, had he in fact been involved from

21 an earlier stage, ie from the moment the thing broke

22 in June?

23 A. I think I would have kept him informed about an issue

24 such as this, but it would have been a question of

25 keeping him informed --

 

 

137


1 Q. Because of its importance?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Yes. Now --

4 A. May I also say that I may have been on leave at this

5 point.

6 Q. Yes, I see.

7 A. Terminal leave, although I didn't retire until the

8 end -- sorry, I'm making a mistake. I was still there

9 and still working.

10 Q. I think this was in your final period, if I can put it

11 that way?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Yes. So, so far as the discussions that were going on

14 is concerned, there are exchanges we have seen from

15 Christine Collins to you at this period and I would like

16 just to show you an example, please. It is

17 RNI-106-253.500. If you could just have that on the

18 screen, please (displayed).

19 Here, from her to you, 16 July, two days after that

20 and it refers to the note we have just looked at, do you

21 see Ken Lindsay's note:

22 "I understand the Chief Constable is understandably

23 very sensitive. However, facts ..."

24 Then it sets out the position as she sees it, and do

25 you see about five lines down in referring to the ICPC's

 

 

138


1 letter of 2 July, it says:

2 "The letter also states that whatever the eventual

3 outcome of the reinvestigation ..."

4 Then underlined:

5 "... the ICPC's final statement on the case will

6 reflect the serious concerns which 'events to date have

7 brought about'."

8 So that was Christine Collins stressing in this memo

9 to you, wasn't it, the very point that you have been

10 mentioning, namely that they were determined in your

11 view, the ICPC, to get these points out whatever

12 happened in the Mulvihill investigation?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. The memo then continues and we see over the page --

15 could we have RNI-106-253.501 on the screen as well,

16 please, on the right-hand side (displayed) -- when she

17 posits there in the third paragraph:

18 "The question is, therefore, whether or not in all

19 the circumstances the concerns which the ICPC have in

20 writing [underlined] expressed to the Secretary of State

21 and repeated both in the complaints and now in a press

22 release can constitute a matter which it is in the

23 public interest to have been investigated under

24 independent supervision."

25 So that's what you and she were discussing, wasn't

 

 

139


1 it, this element of independent supervision?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Did you also share her view that, in the second line of

4 the next paragraph:

5 "The Secretary of State's and, indeed, the

6 Government's position must be considered and

7 safeguarded"?

8 A. Sorry, I'm lost.

9 Q. Do you see at the bottom of the page on the right-hand

10 side, paragraph 4?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. "Although I have every sympathy with the

13 Chief Constable's sensitivity, I also think that the

14 Secretary of State's and, indeed, the Government's

15 position must be considered and safeguarded."

16 And that was presumably your view as well, was it?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And then she continues:

19 "The allegation of threats and intimidation by

20 police officers against defence solicitors are

21 longstanding and have been the subject of repeated

22 expressions of concern both within Northern Ireland and

23 by various independent foreign bodies and organisations,

24 most notably perhaps by the UN Special Rapporteur, whose

25 report and whose comments in the draft report on this

 

 

140


1 particular case have underlined the serious nature of

2 those concerned."

3 Then she continues by pointing out that further

4 correspondence, minister's cases as she puts it,

5 continued to come in on this point.

6 Then she says there should be a new member or:

7 "Consideration should be given to appoint a new

8 member to investigate these matters and, if not, the

9 consequences will follow," she says, as illustrated in

10 her paragraph 6.

11 So was it part of your thinking with

12 Christine Collins in relation to the appointment of the

13 independent supervising member that that person might

14 come to a different conclusion to that of the ICPC

15 supervising member as to the way these matters had been

16 handled originally?

17 A. Possibly.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. And in fact Mulvihill did.

20 Q. Indeed.

21 A. By saying that the investigation had been satisfactory.

22 Q. Yes, but as we know, that didn't in the end achieve the

23 end that you wanted because they carried on expressing

24 their view about the previous investigation?

25 A. Indeed. I later found out that the Chief Inspector felt

 

 

141


1 that satisfactory was a very poor thing to say about

2 him. He felt it should have been excellent.

3 Q. Right. That's as a result of your own --

4 A. Later efforts.

5 Q. Yes. In, I think, 2000?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. When you came in a sense to mediate between the two

8 sides: him on the one hand and the ICPC on the other?

9 A. That's right.

10 Q. Yes. And is it fair to say that in summary you found

11 both sides firmly entrenched in their own positions?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And concluded that there was nothing more that could be

14 done?

15 A. That's exactly so. There was nothing that could be done

16 that wouldn't simply reopen the whole business.

17 Q. Yes. Now, you said earlier that it was in the end the

18 Chief Constable who made the decision to take this

19 forward with Mulvihill and without an independent

20 supervising member. Do you think that he was aware and

21 appreciated --

22 A. With Geralyn McNally as independent supervisor, without

23 bringing anybody --

24 Q. Yes, without following the suggestion here.

25 A. Yes, that's right.

 

 

142


1 Q. Do you think the Chief Constable was aware, as you were,

2 that the ICPC were determined to make these points in

3 any event?

4 A. I couldn't honestly say.

5 Q. No.

6 A. Although all the signs were there that they were

7 determined.

8 Q. Yes. Now, if we move on to the slightly later stage in

9 all of this at RNI-106-256 (displayed), we see one of

10 your memos, relatively unusual creature in our files,

11 22 July, from you addressed to the Secretary of State's

12 Private Secretary. And here, under the heading

13 "Rosemary Nelson, allegations of harassment", you are

14 considering the issue about the next steps and the

15 nature of the Mulvihill investigation.

16 You are back to the point about independent

17 supervision and you recommend that the Secretary of

18 State should write along the lines of an attached draft.

19 I would like to show you RNI-106-257 in this please,

20 which is paragraph 4 (displayed). Could we have that

21 enlarged please? There we have that expression

22 I used earlier --

23 A. (inaudible), yes.

24 Q. In other words, your advice was so far as was proper,

25 she should keep a firm grip on the matter and ask for

 

 

143


1 a report, effectively, from the Secretary of State in

2 relation to the next stages of his dealing with the

3 matter. Did you think that that was as far as she could

4 properly go?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Yes. Now, if we look at what was in fact sent,

7 RNI-103-142 (displayed) -- I'm not sure whether the date

8 on this is correct. It looks as though it's taken some

9 time to go, but again you are one of the copyees?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And in fact, as a matter of interest, the next name

12 there, Mr Watkins, he took over from you in your role,

13 did he not?

14 A. He did.

15 Q. Thank you:

16 "Dear Ronnie, thank you for your letter of 2 July."

17 That is the bullet points or the numbered

18 paragraphs, rather, that we looked at together. She

19 says:

20 "I understand that you have since discussed the

21 issue with Joe Pilling and John Steele, and that the

22 next step is for you to agree the terms of reference for

23 Commander Mulvihill's inquiry, with Commander Mulvihill

24 and Geralyn McNally."

25 And at the bottom of the part on the screen:

 

 

144


1 "I understand from John Steele that we share the

2 view that the current members of the ICPC, which has

3 already stated firm views, could not supervise an

4 inquiry into the conduct of the original investigation

5 and that if it is to be supervised, you would prefer

6 a member of the Police Complaints Authority to do so."

7 Now, in the end this didn't happen.

8 A. No.

9 Q. Can you remember why that was?

10 A. No, I think it was the Chief Constable who --

11 Q. Yes, right. Now, in relation to the points she makes

12 along the way, the reference there to Joe Pilling, he

13 was the Permanent Undersecretary, wasn't he?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Was there a meeting between you, him and

16 Sir Ronnie Flanagan?

17 A. Yes, I believe there was.

18 Q. And would it be fair to infer from comments you have

19 made earlier that that meeting was not minuted?

20 A. That's right.

21 Q. As a matter of interest, can I just ask you why that

22 was? You are dealing with an important issue, you are

23 all senior officials discussing important matters?

24 A. It was an informal meeting which took place between the

25 Chief Constable and ourselves. There was no formality

 

 

145


1 to it. There wasn't a note-taker. It was that sort of

2 meeting and those sort of meetings took place quite

3 often. You know, if the Chief Constable called to see

4 me, I didn't call in a note-taker.

5 Q. In the course of that discussion, presumably you dealt,

6 as it suggests here, with the various points being

7 raised by the ICPC problem and the Mulvihill solution

8 to it?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And can I assume that you discussed this idea of having

11 an independent or new independent supervising member?

12 A. Yes, I should think you can assume that.

13 Q. And it looks as though you reported back on that to the

14 Secretary of State. Now, did you in that discussion, as

15 far as you can recall, also discuss Rosemary Nelson?

16 A. I don't believe so.

17 Q. You don't remember any discussion with the Permanent

18 Undersecretary and the Chief Constable focusing on

19 Rosemary Nelson herself?

20 A. No.

21 Q. On the sort of person she was?

22 A. No.

23 Q. And on her role, the sort of individuals she

24 represented, no?

25 A. I don't see why we would discuss who her clients were.

 

 

146


1 Q. Did you get into any discussion of the underlying

2 allegations, the allegations made originally against

3 police officers?

4 A. No, I don't think we did.

5 Q. So it wasn't a discussion, for example, about how these

6 might, and the ICPC's comments about the investigation

7 might, feed into the big problem about --

8 A. That aspect might well have been mentioned, yes.

9 Q. So in that sense, the Rosemary Nelson case was just part

10 of the wider problem that you described earlier, was it,

11 where people were using allegations of this kind to

12 undermine the police?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. But you are saying, are you, that there was no specific

15 discussion about Rosemary Nelson herself and her contact

16 in that discussion with the Permanent Undersecretary?

17 A. No, I never had a discussion with anybody about

18 Rosemary Nelson's character.

19 Q. Right.

20 Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly. 25 to four.

22 (3.16 pm)

23 (Short break)

24 (3.35 pm)

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

 

 

147


1 MR PHILLIPS: Now, can we just look very briefly at your

2 final involvement in the ICPC business? We discussed it

3 a little earlier, but I just want to touch on a couple

4 of points. You deal with it in your statement at

5 paragraph 45. That's at RNI-820-127 (displayed).

6 I perhaps facetiously said that you had been asked

7 to act as mediator between the two sides, but

8 essentially the position was, as you helpfully describe

9 there, that the investigating officer had grievances and

10 he had made them known in relation to the criticism of

11 his investigation.

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And the question that I first wanted to ask you is this.

14 You have expressed frank views today about the ICPC and

15 their determination to get the criticism out before they

16 ceased to exist, if I can put it that way. Do you think

17 that you were a properly neutral person to act as

18 mediator in this dispute?

19 A. Yes, I do, in that I was accepted by all concerned. I

20 wouldn't have done it otherwise.

21 Q. And how did you deal with your own views about the ICPC

22 and particularly the Chairman and his determination to

23 put his points out into the public domain?

24 A. I don't think that arose at all during the

25 investigation. I talked to him and I talked to the

 

 

148


1 Chief Inspector, I talked to the Chief Constable and

2 what I reported in the end was a fair reflection of what

3 I had been told.

4 Q. Yes. In the course of this work -- in other words, the

5 work you did in 2000 after your retirement -- you met, I

6 think, didn't you, the Chairman, Mr Donnelly and also

7 Geralyn McNally?

8 A. No.

9 Q. Not her?

10 A. Not her. She refused to see me. She said it would be

11 improper.

12 Q. And I know you have seen Mr Donnelly's witness statement

13 and he suggests that in his meeting with you, your line

14 to him was to ask him if Geralyn McNally realised that

15 her job was to help the police, an implication being

16 made, he says, in the discussion that she should not

17 have rocked the boat.

18 Now, is that something that you remember saying to

19 him or implying to him?

20 A. It is not something I would have said at all. Certainly

21 I felt that the ICPC had a dual role to protect the

22 public and to protect the police, and I might have said

23 that. But I certainly would not have said she shouldn't

24 have rocked the boat.

25 Q. But based on what you told us earlier about your view of

 

 

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1 the saga, which began in June 1998, at least as far as

2 you were concerned, didn't you think that what the ICPC

3 were doing was rocking the boat?

4 A. Well, yes, I suppose I did.

5 Q. So it wouldn't have been surprising if you had implied

6 as much to him in that meeting?

7 A. No, I really don't think so. The past was the past at

8 that point when I was doing that short exercise.

9 I found it quite easy to detach myself from the events

10 of the past themselves.

11 Q. But would it be fairer to say that this was an example

12 of a view that you held but you were astute enough not

13 to express?

14 A. I certainly would not have said it.

15 Q. No. Rather in the way that you describe the

16 Chief Constable's alleged remarks in relation to the

17 solicitors and paramilitaries?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Now, you say in your statement at the end of the section

20 dealing with matters whilst you were still in post, that

21 in your opinion the whole issue was a storm in a

22 tea cup?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Does that remain your view of it?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes, thank you. So far as the matters dealt with in

2 your statement, there is just one I wish to deal with

3 further and it relates to the question of

4 Rosemary Nelson's own safety and security. And you

5 yourself have touched on it in various answers. You

6 have referred to the KPPS, for example.

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And when we talked about it earlier, I think you said

9 that, as far as you could recall, you were aware of one

10 threat assessment on her. Is that right?

11 A. Yes, that's right.

12 Q. But you couldn't at this stage remember when that had

13 been?

14 A. That's right.

15 Q. Just to try and help you, the Inquiry has received

16 material dealing with three different moments --

17 in May 1997, in February to April 1998 and then

18 in August to September 1998 -- at which the question of

19 her safety came into the NIO and out again to

20 Command Secretariat.

21 We know that the third of those didn't result in

22 a threat assessment until 3 September 1998. Was that

23 after you had retired?

24 A. It was indeed.

25 Q. So can we, given what you talked about was knowing about

 

 

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1 an assessment, together rule out that third one as

2 coming after your time?

3 A. Indeed.

4 Q. So we are down, therefore, to a choice between two:

5 May 1997 and February to April 1998?

6 A. I think I would put my money on the February one.

7 Q. Thank you very much. Right.

8 Well, what I would like to do, just to see how far

9 we get in jogging your memory, is to look at just

10 a couple of documents, in fact just two documents, in

11 relation to that episode and the first is at RNI-101-196

12 (displayed). This is from Simon Rogers in the Police

13 Division, as you see, dated 23 February.

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And referring to a meeting with the Lawyers Alliance for

16 Justice in Ireland. Presumably that was an organisation

17 of whose existence you were at least aware?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Did that organisation fall into the same category of

20 correspondence as Amnesty, BIRW, et cetera?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Thank you. It is addressed to the Chief Superintendent,

23 and P157 is his cipher. It refers to a meeting with the

24 Lawyers Alliance, a delegation, and the concerns they

25 expressed. I just wanted to ask you whether seeing this

 

 

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1 document prompts you and your memory. Do your recall

2 this issue coming across your desk at the time?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. You do? Thank you. Did you have any discussion about

5 it with either Simon Rogers or Christine Collins that

6 you can recall?

7 A. Excuse me for a moment if I just read it.

8 Q. Sorry, please do. Would it help to enlarge it?

9 A. Yes, please.

10 Q. Can we have the whole text, please? Thank you. (Pause)

11 A. Fine, thank you.

12 Q. In the second paragraph there you see that Simon Rogers

13 makes a suggestion, ie that it might be prudent to

14 consider whether or not she needs to be approached and

15 given advice on her security. So that's a suggestion to

16 the police about effectively how to do their job.

17 Now, can you remember this question of whether or

18 not to give a little bit of a nudge to the police in

19 relation to taking some steps to give Rosemary Nelson

20 advice was something you discussed with Simon Rogers and

21 Christine Collins at the time?

22 A. I guess so.

23 Q. Yes. You think it is likely?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. You say in your statement that:

 

 

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1 "In the context of these threat assessments, we were

2 worried about Ms Nelson's security."

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And as I understand it from your statement, although

5 this request came back with a rather brief and negative

6 response from the police, as I understand it, that

7 concern about her security remained. Is that right?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. In other words, whatever the police were saying to you

10 about specific threats or what they had found in

11 intelligence or not, you continued to have those

12 concerns?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And when that answer came back, did you have

15 a discussion with your officials, your colleagues, about

16 what, if anything, further could be done?

17 A. I can't remember anything like that.

18 Q. No. We know at a later stage in August and

19 then September, by which time, as you say, you had

20 retired, a specific steer is given to

21 Command Secretariat in relation to the KPPS scheme.

22 Again, is that something -- the suggestion that the

23 KPPS route might be followed -- that you remember

24 considering in relation to Rosemary Nelson's case at the

25 time?

 

 

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1 A. I did consider it, but everything depended on the threat

2 assessment and without that we could go forward,

3 particularly as she never applied for admission to the

4 scheme.

5 Q. Yes. Can we have a look at the relevant passage of

6 statement at this point? It is paragraph 24 at

7 RNI-106-239 (displayed). I should say that the

8 paragraph begins by making a reference back to the memo

9 we looked at earlier, Simon Rogers' memo on the ICPC

10 matter, where he said that in the light of specific

11 concerns expressed, officials wrote to the police asking

12 him to confirm that they had considered the issue of her

13 safety and were doing everything they thought

14 appropriate. Then the answer: no specific threat. You

15 say:

16 "Remember that in parallel with the ICPC issue ..."

17 So that is June/July 1998:

18 "... was the issue of Ms Nelson's security."

19 So it looks then as though this point was very much

20 in your thinking at the very time we have been looking

21 at in some detail when you are dealing with the ICPC?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Which was of course also the time around the Drumcree

24 protests and marches in 1998, wasn't it?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. In the early part of July. And you told us earlier that

2 you were aware of her involvement, her continuing

3 involvement with the Residents Coalition?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. That was very much a flashpoint in Northern Ireland that

6 year, was it not, as it had been in previous years?

7 A. My recollection is that things were calming down. There

8 were token protests, but very token.

9 Q. But was it not the case, for example, that after

10 Drumcree in 1998 there was a sustained Loyalist protest

11 that went on in fact for years after that? So the

12 issues hadn't been completely resolved by July 1998, had

13 they?

14 A. No, they hadn't. But they didn't lead to the direct

15 violence that there had been in earlier years.

16 Q. Indeed, but what I was getting at was not so much about

17 violence as Drumcree being a focus for people's hatreds,

18 for sectarianism?

19 A. Yes, I suppose so, yes.

20 Q. So those who were involved, whether on one side or the

21 other, were likely, weren't they, to find themselves the

22 object of no little hatred?

23 A. That's not something that has stuck in my mind. My

24 clear recollection is that after the parade was stopped

25 returning by the route they wanted to, that things

 

 

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1 improved in the country. That's not to say that there

2 wasn't still sectarianism. Sectarianism is still there

3 today, but the security situation as such improved.

4 Q. And you date that to this year, 1998, when the march was

5 stopped?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Thank you. Now, you then, going on in this paragraph,

8 deal with KPPS and you say a few lines down:

9 "The KPPS scheme was in place before I arrived ... "

10 And you summarise its purpose.

11 Now, she was not in one of the, if I can put it that

12 way, the protected occupations. She didn't qualify

13 automatically, did she?

14 A. No.

15 Q. And you say:

16 "Although it was not clear that she would qualify

17 under the scheme because of her occupation, I thought

18 that as a defence lawyer she would."

19 In other words, as I understand it, your thinking

20 was that had she met the threat assessment threshold --

21 A. That was my --

22 Q. -- your view was that she would have qualified?

23 A. Yes, as an officer of the court.

24 Q. Yes. Now, at this stage we have heard evidence from

25 various officials within the NIO, some of whom were

 

 

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1 closely concerned with KPPS. The scheme was -- people

2 were beginning to think that the scheme might have to be

3 operated more flexibly, weren't they, to take account of

4 the changes politically that were going on at the time?

5 A. If they were, I wasn't aware of it. The scheme was the

6 scheme and there were developments politically. Mr Mac

7 Cionnaith and Mr Duffy used politics to get themselves

8 protection but it was outwith the scheme.

9 Q. So you were one of those, were you, who was concerned to

10 uphold the integrity of the scheme and not to permit the

11 undermining of its rules?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. So in your view, unless an individual met the threshold

14 on the threat risk assessment, there was no question of

15 admission?

16 A. That's right.

17 Q. In the discretionary category?

18 A. That's right.

19 Q. You are probably aware that Christine Collins discussed

20 this issue in her evidence with me and expressed the

21 view that had there been an application by

22 Rosemary Nelson, even if she hadn't met the threat risk

23 assessment category or threshold, she thinks it is

24 likely or very likely, I think she said, that she would

25 have been admitted to the scheme. Can I take it that

 

 

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1 you disagree with that?

2 A. Yes, I don't know how Christine got to that view.

3 Q. No, in terms of what you could do to protect her or what

4 you could do about your concerns about her security more

5 precisely, did you consider any other options?

6 A. Not really, I am afraid. We drew her to the attention

7 of the police, and apart from that, you know, because of

8 the threat assessment, we stood back from it.

9 Q. Now, in relation to the scheme a number of people have

10 stressed to us that it was a scheme that you had to

11 apply to be admitted to if you were in the discretionary

12 category. And therefore, as you said to me earlier, you

13 know, Rosemary Nelson didn't apply, and obviously as

14 a result there was no question of her being admitted to

15 the scheme?

16 A. Oh, I wouldn't say that. If we had got a very negative

17 threat assessment, I would have tried to find a way of

18 doing it without any application or of convincing her to

19 make an application.

20 Q. How would you have gone about the latter course?

21 A. I might even have gone and seen her myself.

22 Q. But are you saying, therefore, that in the absence of

23 such a threat or threat risk assessment, that -- in

24 other words, going to make direct contact yourself --

25 was not an option that you thought was on the table?

 

 

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1 A. It wasn't, no, because it wasn't open to me at that

2 point to do anything for her.

3 Q. Yes. If we just look briefly together at the assessment

4 which came back at the beginning of April, RNI-106-199

5 (displayed). Thank you very much. It is dated, you see

6 crossed out, 1 April 1998 and it is a response to

7 Simon Rogers' letter, the letter that we looked at

8 earlier:

9 "Whilst police are aware of concerns having been

10 expressed over the safety of Rosemary Nelson, police

11 have received no threats in respect of Ms Nelson. If

12 the US Lawyers Alliance has evidence of a threat, such

13 information should be provided to the police in order

14 that it can be properly assessed."

15 Could we have the full document on the screen,

16 please? Do you remember seeing this reply to

17 Simon Rogers' letter when it came in?

18 A. I believe so, yes.

19 Q. Did you consider the question of whether further

20 information should be sought from the police to get

21 behind this rather brief statement that the police had

22 received no threats?

23 A. No, I didn't.

24 Q. Now, it didn't -- the document -- deal with the history

25 that you were aware of, did it, the history of

 

 

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1 complaints, the alleged assault --

2 A. The police were well aware of, you know, the CAJ views

3 and Ms Winter and all of that. They had that

4 background, the same as we had it.

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. This was no intelligence of a threat.

7 Q. Yes. Well, yes, I mean, it simply says:

8 "Police have received no threats in respect of

9 Ms Nelson."

10 Do you see that?

11 A. It doesn't say that. It says:

12 "If the US Lawyers ... have evidence of a threat."

13 Q. Yes. But do you see, the paragraph in which the actual

14 verdict, if I can put it that way, is expressed simply

15 says:

16 "Whilst police are aware of concerns having been

17 expressed over the safety of Rosemary Nelson, police

18 have received no threats in respect of Ms Nelson"?

19 A. I read that as intelligence about threats because that

20 is what they would have been relying on.

21 Q. So you read in to what they were saying. And as far as

22 you were concerned then, that was their professional

23 judgment and it wasn't something that you could or

24 should question?

25 A. That's right.

 

 

161


1 Q. Yes. Can I just ask you, when you were considering this

2 question of her security, as you put it in your

3 statement, did you consider the next question, as it

4 were, which is whether she, Rosemary Nelson, would have

5 been receptive to offers of help and advice from the

6 police, for example, in relation to her security?

7 A. We believed that she would not be receptive to the

8 police.

9 Q. And what was that belief based upon?

10 A. I think common knowledge at the time is all I can say.

11 Q. Does it take us back to the comment you made in your

12 statement to the effect that you believed she didn't

13 trust the police?

14 A. That's right.

15 Q. Yes. So in that sense did you look at the whole issue

16 as rather a hypothetical one then?

17 A. No, I didn't look at it hypothetically. If I had

18 established that there was a threat to her, I would have

19 tried by any means possible to get her to accept help.

20 Q. Yes. Notwithstanding what you believed to be her

21 attitude?

22 A. That's right, and I believe she wouldn't have fancied me

23 either, you know.

24 Q. Yes. And can I just ask you this question, and

25 appreciating that you had no involvement with the third

 

 

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1 of these episodes, the one that resulted in an

2 assessment sent to the NIO at the beginning

3 of September 1998 and looking back, as you have now had

4 the opportunity to do, at the various documents

5 generated all those years ago, is there anything which,

6 with hindsight, you think could have been done by you

7 and your officials beyond what was done?

8 A. If we had believed there was a threat, a real,

9 substantial threat to Rosemary Nelson, I think there are

10 things that could have been done.

11 Q. Can you tell us what they would have been, please?

12 A. The sort of thing that was done for Mr Mac Cionnaith

13 later on.

14 Q. In other words, to provide some form of protection

15 outwith the scheme?

16 A. That's right, and you know, it might have meant cutting

17 a few corners, of having a look at her house from the

18 outside and then looking at a similar house and how you

19 would protect it. Are you with me?

20 Q. But that decision in relation to the two councillors,

21 which again, I appreciate was going on at the time you

22 were leaving, although you touch on it briefly in your

23 statement, that was very much a political decision?

24 A. Very much so.

25 Q. Was it not?

 

 

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1 A. Very much so. One thing I can't understand is why they

2 didn't use the same political thing to do something for

3 Rosemary Nelson, why she was omitted.

4 Q. Indeed. But there was the same problem, wasn't there,

5 in relation to, as it were, the wrong answer on the

6 threat assessment? But the truth is that a way was

7 found round that problem to deliver a political

8 solution?

9 A. Absolutely.

10 Q. Could that not have been done in Rosemary Nelson's case?

11 A. No, I don't believe so.

12 Q. Why is that?

13 A. Because I referred to it in my statement as opening it

14 to the masses because once you had dropped your criteria

15 you have to drop it for everybody.

16 Q. So it was okay to drop it for those two, was it, but not

17 in her case?

18 A. Yes, but they substituted politics.

19 Q. Was that --

20 A. Lots of things were done in trying to get to a solution

21 in Northern Ireland, pragmatic steps taken notably by

22 the Prime Minister, and this was one such, to get them

23 into the proximity talks.

24 Q. But for whatever reason such steps were not taken for

25 Rosemary Nelson?

 

 

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1 A. That's right.

2 Q. Thank you. Those are all the questions that I have for

3 you, but as I always say to witnesses, if there is

4 anything we haven't covered which you would like to say

5 to the Tribunal, this is your opportunity.

6 A. No, I think I have said quite enough.

7 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you.

8 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN

9 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Could I ask a couple of questions

10 please? One is just a point of detail about your

11 career.

12 You mentioned, I think, at the very outset that when

13 you were appointed to the Head of the Court Service you

14 went to London and you saw, I think, the Permanent

15 Secretary in the Lord Chancellor's department?

16 A. I did, yes.

17 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: You then referred to other

18 appointments where you were seen by the Head of the

19 Civil Service. Was that the Head of the

20 Northern Ireland Civil Service?

21 A. The Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

22 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: That was the Northern Ireland Civil

23 Service, thank you.

24 More generally, one of the things that I'm

25 interested in is how the Northern Ireland Office

 

 

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1 officials were themselves perceived by the communities,

2 if I could put it that way, in Northern Ireland. Would

3 it be true to say that a senior member of the

4 Northern Ireland Office would inevitably be something of

5 a public figure in Northern Ireland?

6 A. Yes, to a degree. That applied particularly to

7 Northern Ireland men and women who got well known over

8 a period. The home civil servants who came into the

9 Northern Ireland Office were, generally speaking, less

10 well known.

11 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right, that's the ones from

12 Whitehall as opposed to the ones who had grown up in the

13 Northern Ireland Civil Service?

14 A. That's right.

15 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right. How easy would it be for

16 someone who had grown up in the Northern Ireland Office

17 and got to a senior position, how difficult would it be

18 for them to avoid being seen as attached to one side of

19 the community or the other?

20 A. By your actions you are judged really, and I tried to --

21 certainly in the Prison Service time, I got pretty well

22 known by a lot of bad men, which I shamelessly used

23 later on when I was in the security side of things.

24 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right. You mentioned that you were,

25 in the course of your job, talking largely to the

 

 

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1 Loyalist paramilitaries?

2 A. No, I mentioned that Mo Mowlam.

3 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right.

4 A. But, yes, I did. Also -- but I also had contacts with

5 Nationalist Republicans.

6 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: So your contacts were with both ends

7 of the spectrum?

8 A. Mine were, yes.

9 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Thank you.

10 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

11 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Could I just take up a few points from

12 that, if I may, with one of your final comments where

13 you said that if we believed there was a real threat, a

14 substantial threat, and just pursue, if I may, the point

15 that Dame Valerie has raised about the culture of the

16 Civil Service in Northern Ireland at this time, the time

17 we are looking at.

18 Do you think in its make-up that the

19 Northern Ireland Civil Service reflected the views of

20 and truly represented the Nationalist community?

21 A. Not very well, no. I think they were predominantly

22 Protestant males.

23 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Was there any sense, do you feel,

24 because of that make-up that the Nationalist community

25 was seen as the problem?

 

 

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1 A. No, I think the problem was they saw the Civil Service

2 as a problem, the Nationalist community, and they didn't

3 join in any numbers. And their best graduates tended to

4 go elsewhere than the Civil Service. It has taken some

5 time of positive discrimination to try and rectify that.

6 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Absolutely. I fully appreciate that.

7 But was there a sense, do you think, that because the

8 Civil Service was mainly Protestant that the problem was

9 perceived as a Nationalist problem?

10 A. I have been called a traitor by a Unionist politician in

11 Parliament and I think that was part of the -- if you

12 are with the Northern Ireland Office, you were suspect

13 in a political sense in Northern Ireland, but not so

14 much so by the Nationalists, funnily enough.

15 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: No. You mentioned this morning that

16 you were alive to the possibility that it may be

17 a tactic on the part of Sinn Fein to encourage

18 complaints likely to embarrass or undermine the RUC?

19 A. Absolutely, they were experts.

20 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Do you think this was a generally held

21 view in the Northern Ireland Civil Service?

22 A. Yes.

23 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: You think it was?

24 A. I do think it was.

25 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Was there then, do you think, any

 

 

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1 possibility that by association both with the

2 Nationalist community and the representations being made

3 by NGOs, which your staff had to deal with, that

4 Rosemary Nelson was herself associated with this

5 Sinn Fein campaign or the complaints being made on her

6 behalf were part of this campaign?

7 A. I didn't see that as being the case. I didn't think it

8 was a put-up job as such. I thought it was latched on

9 to by organisations who had particular standpoint.

10 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So was there any danger, do you think,

11 that the very, very busy people working in your

12 department at that time, with everything else that we

13 have heard that was being handled at this particular

14 stage in the negotiations, that the Rosemary Nelson

15 issue sort of fell through the cracks?

16 A. No, I don't think so. The NIO is certainly the most

17 professional organisation I have ever been in.

18 Sometimes we may not have dealt with things as quickly

19 because of the constant prioritisation going on, but we

20 dealt with everything in a professional fashion,

21 I believe.

22 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Thank you very much indeed.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for coming to give

24 evidence.

25 We will adjourn now until 10.15 tomorrow morning.

 

 

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5 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 164

6 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 166

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