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Full Hearings

Hearing: 4th November 2008, day 70

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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, 4 November 2008
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 70

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



1 Tuesday, 4 November 2008

2 (10.15 am)

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

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

5 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: The fire doors on either side of the screen

7 closed?

8 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: The technical support screens in place and

10 securely fastened?

11 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

13 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

14 of this chamber?

15 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

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

18 witness cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

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

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

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

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

23 Bring the witness in, please.

24 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

25 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

 

 

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1 switched back on.

2 May the witness affirm, please.

3 S703 (affirmed)

4 Questions by MR SKELTON

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

6 Yes, Mr Skelton?

7 MR SKELTON: For the purposes of this Inquiry, you are known

8 as witness S703. I would like to look at your statement

9 first of all, please, which we can find at RNI-844-153

10 (displayed). If we go through to the final page of

11 that, which is at RNI-844-163 (displayed) -- sorry, we

12 are already on the final page -- you can see that your

13 statement is signed on 14 February 2008 and your

14 signature is being covered by your cipher there, S703.

15 Is that correct?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Going back to the first page of your statement, which we

18 can find on page RNI-844-153 (displayed), you say, I

19 think, you joined the Security Service back in 1981?

20 A. That's right.

21 Q. And the period with which we are concerned is the mid to

22 late 1990s. Initially, I think you say in paragraph 1,

23 you were in the Loyalist investigative team from the

24 period 1995 to 1997?

25 A. That's right.

 

 

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1 Q. What was that team?

2 A. That was based in London, part of the Security Service

3 section in London that was involved in carrying out

4 counter terrorist investigations.

5 Q. Was its focus Great Britain or did it also look at

6 Northern Irish issues?

7 A. It was primarily on the mainland and overseas, but also

8 we had a site of activity and reporting from

9 Northern Ireland as well.

10 Q. So did you liaise with your colleagues in the

11 Assessments Group, the Loyalist desk there?

12 A. We did, yes.

13 Q. And you then, I think, moved to become a desk officer in

14 the Assessments Group and that is from the

15 period August 1997 to August 1999?

16 A. That's right.

17 Q. Did you, therefore, take over from witness S519, who we

18 heard from yesterday?

19 A. Yes, I did.

20 Q. And I think he had gone to become a secondee at the IMG?

21 A. That's right.

22 Q. Because of yesterday's evidence there is no need to ask

23 you in great detail about the role of the Assessments

24 Group because the Inquiry is already fairly well

25 appraised of that, but there are a few things in your

 

 

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1 statement that I would like to ask you about, one of

2 which is the Joint Intelligence Group, which I think you

3 mention in paragraph 7, which is on page RNI-844-155

4 (displayed).

5 I think you say that that was chaired by the Head of

6 the Assessments Group. Could you just describe to us in

7 a bit more detail what the Intelligence Group did?

8 A. Right. I think that was a group of representatives from

9 Assessments Group, the police and the Army and I think

10 there were one or two others as well. Met, I think it

11 was once a month, just to discuss general headlines or

12 intelligence issues and to discuss what assessments that

13 we were working on in Assessments Group and to hear if

14 there were requirements for further assessments that our

15 customers needed.

16 Q. Now, we heard from the witness yesterday that the RUC's

17 focus is to some extent more tactical than the Security

18 Service's?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. In a meeting like this, would you be looking at both

21 strategic and tactical reporting and discussing those

22 collectively?

23 A. Not tactical, no. This was very much strategic, looking

24 at what the leaderships of both the Republican terrorist

25 groups and the Loyalist terrorist groups -- what their

 

 

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1 thinking was, what their strategy was and particularly

2 towards the political process and their ceasefires, the

3 respective ceasefires at the time.

4 Q. Did the group also have a role in tasking the handlers

5 from both services to get more intelligence about

6 particular issues that were of interest?

7 A. Yes, it would have done, as is part of general

8 requirements to produce our assessments. We would have

9 sent requirements to the source units, asking specific

10 questions, asking if the sources could provide answers

11 to strategic questions that we wanted answers to, yes.

12 Q. Were memos kept of these meetings?

13 A. I think there were minutes, but I couldn't recall for

14 certain, I am afraid.

15 Q. They wouldn't have been kept by the Security Service,

16 would they? They would have been kept by another

17 agency?

18 A. No, most of the meetings, I believe, were held in

19 Stormont.

20 Q. So probably the NIO would have kept a note --

21 A. It may have done or our office may have done, but I

22 can't recall for certain.

23 Q. In paragraph 6 of your statement, which we find on

24 page RNI-844-154 (displayed), you mention that you kept

25 up contact fairly regularly with the RUC, and one of the

 

 

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1 means you did so was by a secure telephone several times

2 a day, I think you said?

3 A. That's right.

4 Q. Who was your main point of contact? I don't wish you to

5 use a name, either their rank or department?

6 A. It would have been quite often with S519 who was over

7 there, or with either the detective inspector or the

8 detective chief inspector who was based over at

9 Headquarters.

10 Q. This is with the IMG, is it?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. What sort of matters would you have been discussing with

13 them?

14 A. It would have been both things in terms of what our

15 requirements were for further reporting and to clarify

16 particular reports that we had received that day,

17 probably just to confirm the sourcing of the reporting

18 or to clarify particular details contained within

19 a report, or to talk about other issues going on that

20 perhaps we had read about in the newspapers or other

21 broader reporting, just to get their views on things.

22 Q. S519 told us that while the RUC would have been apprised

23 of all of the Security Service's source reporting, it

24 would not necessarily have been the case the other way

25 round; in other words, the Service would not necessarily

 

 

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1 have received all of the Loyalist reporting from the

2 RUC. Was that your understanding?

3 A. That would be correct, yes, because the RUC had the role

4 as the intelligence lead in Northern Ireland. They had

5 primacy and we -- all reporting, as you say, went to

6 them. The RUC chose what reporting came to us and

7 usually that was reporting that met our general

8 requirements, which was for strategic-type intelligence.

9 Q. But in order to keep abreast of the Loyalist activities,

10 didn't you also need to get further down into the detail

11 of what the individuals were up to and where they were

12 positioned and what their plans were?

13 A. No, that was very much a sort of tactical day-to-day

14 type of intelligence which didn't have any bearing on

15 our role in Assessments Group and was of no interest to

16 our customers of our reports, which were

17 Northern Ireland officials and Whitehall officials.

18 Q. Was all the reporting that you saw filtered through the

19 IMG or did you also have a relationship with the regions

20 more directly?

21 A. Most of it came through the IMG. I did have occasional

22 contact with the regions, particularly Belfast and South

23 Region occasionally, but any related reporting all came

24 through the IMG. I did not receive anything directly

25 from anybody else.

 

 

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1 Q. In what form did you receive the reports?

2 A. I think they came to our building electronically and

3 then they were printed off in hard copy, I believe, and

4 then I looked at them. I certainly sort of read them

5 and looked at them in hard copy.

6 Q. Did you have access to a database which would contain

7 RUC intelligence?

8 A. No.

9 Q. When you receive a report from one of your own handlers,

10 how do you know that this is reliable intelligence?

11 A. We would know sort of the identity of the source, but

12 each source would be given a number of a specific

13 identifier which would be specific to that particular

14 source. The agent runner would give their own

15 assessment of that agent's reliability in terms of their

16 access to the people they were talking about, or the

17 subject they were talking about, and a general

18 reliability that has been tested over a period of time.

19 Plus we would look at that -- the reporting for that

20 particular source and compare it to other reporting we

21 may have got from different sources to see how it

22 compared or contrasted.

23 And if there was any doubts or concerns about the

24 nature of a report, we would go back to initially the

25 IMG and ask them to clarify particular sourcing of

 

 

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1 a report and then they would refer back to us with those

2 details.

3 Q. So the initial assessment of reliability would be done

4 by those handling the sources?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. But you also would do some form of assessment of their

7 reliability based on corroborating intelligence and your

8 overall picture of what was being reported?

9 A. Absolutely right, yes, and we could sort of build up

10 a general picture from receiving a number of reports

11 from that same source as to their general sort of

12 reliability on the relevant issues, yes.

13 Q. I was focusing my question primarily on the Security

14 Service's own reporting, but I think you did mention the

15 IMG.

16 From your recollection, did the IMG themselves go

17 back to the regions to assess reliability or was that,

18 again, an issue which was left to the regions to do

19 themselves?

20 A. Yes, the IMG was more of an assessment -- had

21 an assessment role as well in terms of -- and collation

22 role in terms of collating the reporting. The actual

23 agent running would have been done by the regions police

24 officers out in the regions like Belfast, North Region

25 or South Region, and that reporting would have been fed

 

 

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1 into the IMG at Knock and from there, to us.

2 So if there was any concerns either from us or from

3 the IMG about the nature of the reporting or the

4 reliability of a particular source, the question would

5 have to go back out to the agent runners in each region.

6 Q. So it would go from you to the IMG to the regional

7 runners?

8 A. Correct, yes.

9 Q. May I turn now to the issue of your recollection of

10 Rosemary Nelson in this period? You mention her in

11 paragraph 21 of your statement, which is on

12 page RNI-844-158 (displayed).

13 Could you give us an overall view of how well-known

14 she was to the Assessments Group by the late 1990s?

15 A. Well, she was a known -- quite well-known sort of public

16 figure at the time. She was quite heavily involved in

17 the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition and came to

18 prominence sort of through -- during the protests over

19 the Drumcree parades. Also she was quite a prominent

20 solicitor at the time, so she was quite known publicly

21 and would have featured in sort of reporting in

22 newspapers and so on and so forth.

23 So she was a known name.

24 Q. Did the Security Service have an interest in her as

25 a subject?

 

 

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1 A. Not a specific interest, as far as I understand.

2 I mean, she wasn't a member of any terrorist group, as

3 far as I understand. She wasn't somebody that I sort of

4 saw very much reporting on because I was the Loyalist

5 desk officer and I didn't see -- any reporting that

6 would be relevant to her would primarily be of interest

7 to the Republican assessments team.

8 Q. You said in your statement at paragraph 21 that her name

9 would have come up in the context of Assessment Group

10 discussions?

11 A. Correct.

12 Q. Can you remember the context of that?

13 A. Only as much as my sort of opposite number on the

14 Republican assessments desk would have seen some

15 reporting that mentioned her and her name would have

16 been talked about, amongst others, in the room as we

17 were discussing assessments and our own views on

18 intelligence.

19 Q. Well, the Inquiry has received a number of reports from

20 the RUC which refer to Rosemary Nelson specifically, and

21 the kind of matters that come out from that reporting

22 are that she was perceived as producing false alibis for

23 the Provisional IRA, that in one instance she had

24 pressurised a prosecution witness in relation to

25 a murder prosecution against a suspected IRA member. Is

 

 

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1 that kind of thing that you recollect being mentioned in

2 the Assessments Group?

3 A. No, I can't recall that. In fact, I have only seen that

4 from the reports you showed me this morning. I hadn't

5 seen them prior to this.

6 Q. Well, what was it that was mentioned in the Assessments

7 Group?

8 A. I can't remember specifics, I am afraid, but her name

9 would have come up in terms of, as I say, her role and

10 involvement with the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition,

11 her relationship with Colin Duffy was quite well-known

12 and her sort of involvement in terms of representing

13 Republican individuals in legal proceedings.

14 Q. What do you mean by the "relationship with Colin Duffy"?

15 A. Well, it was relatively well-known at the time she had

16 a sort of very sort of close friendship with Colin Duffy

17 at the time.

18 Q. Are you using that euphemistically?

19 A. Well, I understand it was very close, yes.

20 Q. Where had that reporting originated from?

21 A. I can't recall specifically because, as I say, it is not

22 reporting that would have come to my desk, being the

23 Loyalist desk officer, but it seemed to be quite

24 well-known from round and about and just general

25 conversations that were going on at the time.

 

 

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1 Q. When it was discussed, can you remember the basis on

2 which that had been a conclusion? For example, was

3 there surveillance of them together or do you remember

4 reporting coming in from the RUC to support that

5 conclusion?

6 A. I think there had been a range of things. I can't

7 remember anything specific, but I believe there would

8 have been some secret reporting that would mention the

9 fact that this relationship was going on. But I think

10 it was quite well-known across the general community,

11 not just from intelligence sources.

12 Q. The Inquiry has received a statement from an officer who

13 was the Head of the IMG during the period in which you

14 were in the Assessments Group, and one of the

15 conclusions that he reached was that she was very

16 sympathetic towards the IRA. In other words, she was

17 more than just a solicitor representing clients; she had

18 a personal interest in their objectives. Was that

19 something that you picked up from your discussions

20 either with the IMG or with your colleagues in the

21 Assessments Group?

22 A. Well, she was clearly sort of sympathetic to their cause

23 because -- and she associated with -- as I say, she

24 associated with Colin Duffy, who was a leading member of

25 the IRA at the time. But I can't say anything further

 

 

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1 than that, whether that sort of sympathy went any

2 further or whether it was just some physical attraction

3 that was the reason for their relationship.

4 Q. When you refer to her in the statement, you use the word

5 "associated" as opposed to "represented". She was

6 a solicitor, so ordinarily one would say she represented

7 the GRRC or represented North Armagh IRA suspects as

8 opposed to being associated with them, which is a bit

9 more of a loaded term. Do you accept that?

10 A. I think what I was trying to imply there was the fact

11 that she didn't only have contact with these individuals

12 in formal legal proceedings and formally through her

13 work as a solicitor. I think it went sort of slightly

14 broader than that, not least because of the personal

15 relationship she had with Colin Duffy, and I think -- I

16 can't recall specifically, but I believe she was known

17 to a range of Republican individuals at the time.

18 Q. Do you remember whether or not you were aware of

19 complaints she had made about allegations that RUC

20 officers had threatened her through her clients while

21 they were being interviewed?

22 A. No, I'm not aware of any of that, I am afraid.

23 Q. What about complaints by her that her client,

24 Colin Duffy, had been harassed by the security forces?

25 A. No, no, I don't recall anything to that effect.

 

 

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1 Q. In your statement at paragraph 22, you mention that

2 Loyalists would have regarded her as being sympathetic

3 to the Nationalist or Republican cause. Why do you

4 think the Loyalists would have seen her in that light?

5 A. Well, largely, I think, because of her quite prominent

6 role in the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition, which was

7 very prominent at the time. And it was a big issue for

8 the Loyalists, the Drumcree parade, and their ability,

9 or lack of, to march down the Garvaghy Road during part

10 of that parade.

11 It was a very emotive issue at the time. The fact

12 that she was quite heavily involved in that, she would

13 have been quite prominent in the sort of Loyalist

14 thinking and discussions at the time.

15 Q. So that conclusion is based more on sort of, as it were,

16 open source information about her and her role publicly?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. As opposed to reporting specifically on her?

19 A. That's right, yes.

20 Q. Did you have any reporting to show that the Loyalists

21 were interested in her specifically?

22 A. I don't recall any specific intelligence reporting that

23 I saw to suggest that she was anything of particular

24 interest to the Loyalists, no.

25 Q. What about those people that she may have been

 

 

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1 associated with, such as Colin Duffy or

2 Breandan Mac Cionnaith?

3 A. Again, they were quite well-known figures at the time,

4 quite sort of publicly known figures at the time and,

5 again, Loyalists would have discussed those sorts of

6 individuals. And, again, I can't recall anything

7 specific now, but they would have been people that they

8 would have taken umbrage against and sort of had strong

9 feelings against.

10 Q. Do you think that it would have been fairly obvious,

11 looking at her position in the late 1990s, that she

12 would have been seen as a target for Loyalists?

13 A. I can't really comment on that. I mean, I didn't see

14 any reporting to suggest she was a specific target of

15 the Loyalists. In terms of a target, if we mean

16 a terrorist -- a target for a terrorist attack, I don't

17 recall seeing any reporting to that effect. But she

18 would have been somebody who, as I say, Loyalists would

19 take umbrage against and her involvement in these sorts

20 of issues would cause some concern or upset, I think.

21 Q. May I turn now to the paramilitary groups that you were

22 looking at during this period, the Loyalists? Who were

23 the main group in North Armagh during this period?

24 A. It was primarily the Ulster Volunteer Force, the UVF.

25 They had a mid-Ulster brigade that was active in that

 

 

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1 area. The Loyalist Volunteer Force, the LVF, was very

2 prominent in the area at the time. The Ulster Defence

3 Association, UDA, were less prominent then, a few

4 members in the area. But it was essentially the UVF and

5 LVF that were most active.

6 Q. Your colleague yesterday said that the UVF, its

7 particular unit in that area had transmogrified into the

8 LVF through Billy Wright's departure, and that he

9 subsequently, I think, became replaced, when he died, by

10 Mark Fulton. Is that your recollection?

11 A. In terms of the leadership change, yes, that's correct,

12 Mark Fulton took over from Billy Wright and a lot of the

13 former UVF members did join the LVF when that was set up

14 by Billy Wright. The Mid-Ulster UVF did still exist in

15 name and did have some members, but quite a few moved

16 across to the LVF at that time.

17 Q. In paragraph 15 of your statement, which is on

18 page RNI-844-157 (displayed), you mention the focus of

19 the LVF and I think you focus particularly on Drumcree

20 and what they perceived to be Irish interference in

21 Northern Ireland affairs. Could you explain that a bit

22 further, please?

23 A. That's correct. It was very much their focus. It was

24 the Drumcree issue which really sort of was the basis of

25 the beginnings of the LVF. It was in their home area,

 

 

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1 if you like, on their patch. They felt very strongly,

2 particularly Billy Wright and his sort of fellow

3 associates, felt very strongly about the Drumcree issue.

4 That is really where he sort of rose to prominence, was

5 his stand during the sort of Drumcree parades stand-offs

6 with the local residents and with the police. So that

7 was very much an issue.

8 And the LVF also took very strong views on what they

9 saw, as I say in my statement, as interference in

10 Northern Ireland's political affairs by the Irish

11 Government. The LVF thought and felt that the Irish

12 Government shouldn't have any view -- have any

13 involvement in Northern Ireland affairs, and they felt

14 very strongly about that whole issue.

15 Q. Specifically in relation to Drumcree, you say they were

16 focused on it, what were they actually doing in relation

17 to it?

18 A. There was a range of things. They were involved -- very

19 much heavily involved in the Orange Order parade. But

20 in terms of the sort of paramilitary-type activity, if

21 I recall correctly, they wanted to carry out a number of

22 attacks and I remember at one point they were trying to

23 manufacture or stockpile pipe bombs and other devices

24 that they might use during a Drumcree stand-off.

25 Q. Is that what you mean by "low level attacks and

 

 

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1 murders", which is the phrase you use in paragraph 15?

2 A. Well, yes. I mean, it was part of that sort of general

3 environment at the time. There was a lot of emotion at

4 the time. The LVF saw themselves as sort of centrally

5 involved in representing the Loyalist people at the

6 time, and they took their views on to a violence level.

7 And, yes, initially it was pipe bombs and explosions and

8 it did lead to a number of murders at the time.

9 Q. Pipe bombs are one of the least sophisticated forms of

10 explosive device. Did you see the LVF as being capable

11 of more sophisticated attacks at this period?

12 A. No, my assessment of their capability was that it was

13 relatively limited at the time, that it was -- they were

14 capable of producing pipe bombs, they were believed to

15 have a range of ammunition and weapons, firearms, at

16 their disposal, but we weren't aware of anything sort of

17 further and more complicated than that.

18 Q. Although they themselves may not have been capable of

19 producing more sophisticated bombs, would they have had

20 access to people who did have that capability?

21 A. It is quite possible because there were people within

22 sort of the Loyalist paramilitary community, the

23 terrorist community, that were capable of producing

24 those sorts of devices and had access to wider

25 munitions, including explosives and grenades and so on.

 

 

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1 Q. You say in your statement that Mark Fulton was

2 considered to be more a criminal than a trained

3 paramilitary. What do you mean by that?

4 A. Essentially, his sort of background, as far as I recall,

5 was very much from a criminal sort of level. When

6 I said he wasn't a trained paramilitary, I don't think

7 anybody had any sort of formal paramilitary training,

8 but I don't think he had very much experience in

9 carrying out terrorist-related attacks, as far as

10 I recall.

11 Q. Would you consider the LVF to be a dissident group?

12 A. It was in terms of the political process, and it wasn't

13 in favour of the political process at all. It wasn't

14 represented in the political process. It had no

15 political representatives at the time so. From that

16 point of view, it was outside of that process, so it

17 was, you know, regarded as a dissident Loyalist group,

18 yes.

19 Q. But it did go on ceasefire at some point?

20 A. That's correct, yes, it did.

21 Q. Isn't that part of the peace process?

22 A. Well, it is to a degree, but their main motivation at

23 the time was the prisoners issue and obtaining release

24 or early release for its prisoners.

25 Q. So they aren't, as you say, interested in maintaining

 

 

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1 a ceasefire for the purposes of participating or

2 assisting with the ongoing political discussions?

3 A. No.

4 Q. There are a number of other smaller groups which I think

5 you are interested in, and we are going to come on in

6 a moment to the specific reporting on those, but how

7 important were those splinter groups to you and the

8 Assessments Group in this period?

9 A. It was very important because one of my key roles was

10 trying to assess the stability of the various ceasefires

11 and how the activities of dissident Loyalists or

12 militant Loyalists may impact on those ceasefires and

13 the Loyalist representation in the peace process. So it

14 was important for me to understand those sort of

15 activities and what the individuals involved in those

16 sorts of groups were thinking and, as I say, how that

17 might impact on the stability of the situation at the

18 time.

19 Q. Your interest was then more at a strategic level to

20 advise the politicians, presumably, about that?

21 A. That's correct, yes, that's absolutely right. Its focus

22 at the time was very much on -- from our point of view

23 in Assessments Group -- was looking at the Loyalist

24 groups' ceasefires, their paramilitary leaderships'

25 strategy for the peace process and what they wanted to

 

 

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1 get out of the peace process, and what their thinking

2 was in terms of the ceasefires and what might lead them

3 to break off their ceasefires, including what activity

4 there was on the fringes from dissident groupings and,

5 indeed, what the Republican groupings were doing that

6 might have an impact on that situation.

7 Q. Alongside that, did you, the Service, have interest in,

8 as it were, what was happening on the ground, as in

9 whether violence would flare up? I can see the

10 strategic consequence of it, but were you also

11 interested in whether Drumcree could become a flashpoint

12 for violence against citizens there?

13 A. Again, not on a tactical on the ground level, as you

14 mentioned there, but in terms of one of our roles was,

15 again, to advise Northern Ireland Office, particularly

16 on what we thought was the Loyalist leadership's

17 attitude towards the parades issue, Drumcree in

18 particular, because it was a particularly emotive

19 occasion.

20 But, again, it wasn't -- weren't involved if any

21 sort of tactical decisions. That was very much between

22 the police and the Army at the time to take that sort of

23 reporting into account and make plans accordingly. Ours

24 was to, again, see how tensions at the time and views at

25 the time might impact on the political situation more

 

 

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1 generally.

2 Q. Now, alongside your interest in the Loyalist side of

3 things and the splinter groups and the Drumcree issue,

4 was the other side of the Assessments Group interested

5 in the Republican interest in Drumcree?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And specifically the GRRC and its intentions?

8 A. When you say "interested", again, it is a similar view.

9 It is a case of what the Republican groups -- their

10 attitudes towards the Garvaghy Road Coalition and

11 Republican and Nationalist sort of involvement in the

12 Drumcree issue was, and looking at it, again, from

13 a strategic point of view and what impact that might

14 have on, again, the political process or the ceasefire

15 situation.

16 Q. Well, the Coalition during this period was engaged with

17 I think what was termed as proximity talks, which

18 involved the very highest levels of Government including

19 the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff?

20 A. Right.

21 Q. Would that have led to the Security Service being

22 interested in the GRRC specifically?

23 A. Not specifically, no, but we would have been interested

24 in any leading PIRA members that were associated with it

25 or involved with it, or any influence that the

 

 

24


1 Republican paramilitary groups were trying to put on the

2 GRRC to represent its view by proxy.

3 Q. Well, the Inquiry has heard previously that Mr Mac

4 Cionnaith had formerly been a member of the IRA --

5 A. Who, sorry?

6 Q. Mr Mac Cionnaith had formerly been a member of the IRA,

7 and he was the principal spokesperson for the GRRC. Was

8 he someone that was of interest to you?

9 A. Not to me because I was on the Loyalist desk and it was

10 not an issue that -- he wasn't an individual that was of

11 particular interest to me. He would have come to notice

12 on the Republican assessment desk, again, through his

13 involvement in the GRRC and, as you say, his association

14 or his associationship with the IRA. But I couldn't

15 comment any further than that.

16 Q. Rosemary Nelson, as we know, was representing the GRRC

17 and she was also representing Colin Duffy. And to that

18 extent, combined with the perception that she was

19 sympathetic towards that cause, would she herself not

20 have become of interest to the Security Service?

21 A. Not specifically, I would have thought, no.

22 Q. And you are certain that she would not have been raised

23 in the context of the GRRC and the possible involvement

24 of the IRA in the Drumcree dispute?

25 A. Well, her name would have featured in reporting, I am

 

 

25


1 sure, at the time but, as I say, it wasn't reporting

2 that I would particularly have seen on my desk.

3 Q. May we start to look at the specific reports that you

4 were involved in? The first of these we can find at

5 RNI-534-026 (displayed). This is a Northern Ireland

6 intelligence report. We can see from that that the

7 contact point there is S703, which is you, and I think

8 that means that you were the author of it?

9 A. That's right, yes.

10 Q. And the title has been partly redacted, but the bit that

11 we can see says "The Red Hand Defenders" and the

12 distribution list we can see goes through towards the

13 NIO, the RUC, the Security Service, the Army and the

14 Cabinet Office. Does that imply that there was a pretty

15 wide interest in the formation of such a group and its

16 activities?

17 A. Yes, there was very much at the time because around

18 about this time this grouping, or individuals claiming

19 to be members of this grouping, first appeared in

20 Northern Ireland and we were asked to give an assessment

21 on what we thought this was, whether we thought it was

22 a group, the membership and its strategy and, again,

23 what impact it might have on the peace process.

24 Q. If we look overleaf, we can see the text or the detail,

25 and then we can see your comments on it. One of the

 

 

26


1 things of importance is the membership structure of the

2 Red Hand Defenders. What was your understanding of

3 that?

4 A. Well, as I put in my comment there, at this particular

5 time we hadn't received any reporting on its membership.

6 I felt at the time -- or assessed at the time that it

7 was a flag of convenience and actually it wasn't a group

8 in its own right, that it was a term being used, a flag

9 of convenience being used by militant Loyalists who

10 either were already members of other Loyalist groups or

11 wanting a flag of convenience to cover their activities.

12 Q. And at this stage you assessed their capability as being

13 pretty low, did you?

14 A. That's right, yes.

15 Q. And that they were distinct at this stage, again, from

16 the LVF?

17 A. I couldn't say distinct. Only as much as -- we have got

18 theirs -- at the time no intelligence to indicate the

19 LVF were involved in the Red Hand Defenders.

20 I think subsequently there was reporting to suggest

21 that LVF members did use this banner to claim some

22 attacks, but there are other members from other groups

23 who were using the term as well.

24 Q. Did you direct the IMG to find out more about this

25 group?

 

 

27


1 A. Yes, because, as you said earlier, it is of quite key

2 interest to our customers across the

3 Northern Ireland Office and Whitehall and elsewhere.

4 They were keen to know what this was, who is behind it

5 and, as I say, what impact it might have on the

6 political process.

7 So we would have asked the IMG to send out tasking

8 briefings to sources across the police regions and,

9 indeed, we would have done the same to our agent running

10 unit in Northern Ireland as well, asking questions

11 through our own sources as to the Red Hand Defenders and

12 who they were and what capability they had.

13 Q. And you were reliant on the RUC to give you all the

14 intelligence they may have had on the individuals who

15 may have been involved, and their intentions?

16 A. Not all the intelligence. It would have been any -- the

17 sort of relevant intelligence that was specific, again,

18 to the general membership of the group. We wouldn't

19 need to know specific names and -- et cetera. But it

20 would be just a general idea of who was involved and

21 what their strategy might be. It wasn't just the RUC,

22 as I say, tasked our own sources as well.

23 Q. Did you really not know the names of the individuals?

24 Given that a lot of them are coming from the larger

25 groups as individuals to form under flags of

 

 

28


1 convenience, would it not have assisted you to have

2 known exactly who they were?

3 A. We did actually know a couple of leading members, we

4 did, but we didn't need to know all the names of all the

5 individuals. That wasn't necessary for our assessment.

6 But what we needed to see and the reporting we needed at

7 the time was to get a flavour of who was involved and

8 a general understanding of their capability.

9 Q. And you mentioned they used it as a flag of convenience.

10 What sort of number of people are we talking about that

11 would form the Red Hand Defenders for that particular

12 reason?

13 A. I can't recall. I think at the time we were talking

14 sort of tens of people, but I don't recall ever seeing

15 a specific number because, as I say, it wasn't a group

16 as such with a coherent membership that, say, there is

17 however many. I think it was a fairly sort of moveable

18 feast.

19 Q. May I turn to another report that we have in relation to

20 the Orange Volunteers, which were a similar group

21 emerging at this period? This can be found at

22 RNI-534-029 (displayed).

23 Again, the cover sheet shows us that you are the

24 author of this. The title is "Loyalists: reemergence of

25 the Orange Volunteers", and the distribution list again

 

 

29


1 is very similar in that it is going widely within

2 Government and within the security forces?

3 A. That's right.

4 Q. May we look at the detail overleaf, please?

5 Now, there are a few points which I would just like

6 to discuss with you. The first is that this appears to

7 be a slightly different group from the

8 Red Hand Defenders, and this report, I think, is based

9 on a press conference which has a religious theme to it,

10 at least initially?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. Could you explain in a bit more detail a bit of the

13 background that we can see there, please?

14 A. Well, there is two things. First of all, there was

15 a group -- had been a group called the Orange Volunteers

16 that were active in Northern Ireland some years

17 previously to this, but it had been defunct for some

18 time. It hadn't been active at all, and as far as we

19 were aware, the membership had dissipated.

20 This reporting relates to primarily a press

21 statement that was issued, and I think there was an

22 actual appearance by a number of individuals claiming to

23 represent the Orange Volunteers at the time, which

24 produced a statement setting out their sort of aims and

25 objectives. And, as you say, it had a very sort of

 

 

30


1 strong sort of religious overtones and essentially they

2 were -- claimed to represent the Loyalist people and

3 were there to ensure the Loyalist people weren't, as I

4 think they refer to, sort of sold down the river and to

5 take action against what they quote to be the "enemies

6 of Ulster", unquote.

7 Q. In your assessment, which we can find on

8 page RNI-534-032 (displayed), you describe the source of

9 these individuals as being a:

10 "... murky pool of various individuals from the

11 mainstream paramilitaries."

12 In that sense they were very similar to the

13 Red Hand Defenders, were they?

14 A. In that regard, yes, because, again, we were trying to

15 establish at the time whether this was actually

16 a cohesive group that had properly come together to form

17 a new paramilitary group or whether it was just this

18 loose coalescence of like-minded individuals who would

19 have come from both the established Loyalist groups, and

20 other individuals who were Loyalist sort of sympathisers

21 who saw this as a good opportunity to show their

22 colours.

23 Q. Now, overleaf on page RNI-534-033 (displayed), you make

24 the point that the Orange Volunteers may have

25 connections with another group, which we will come on to

 

 

31


1 in a moment, called "Justice for Protestants" and with

2 the Red Hand Defenders. Did you have difficulty at this

3 point extricating the ebb and flow of the individuals

4 and the individual groups?

5 A. Very much so, and I remember quite specifically it was

6 the subject of quite a few conversations that I had with

7 members of the IMG at the time and with our own agent

8 running unit in Northern Ireland, trying to work out

9 what we were dealing with here and what we were looking

10 at here in terms of its membership and the crossovers

11 between the various groupings and between the Red Hand

12 Defenders and the Orange Volunteers.

13 And, as you say, it was a very murky pool because

14 there didn't appear to be clear membership of either

15 group. There did seem to be sort of a lot of crossover

16 and I believe there was reporting at the time to suggest

17 that individuals were claiming to be members of both

18 groups.

19 Q. Well, two points you make in paragraph 7, which we can

20 see on page RNI-534-033 (displayed), are that it is too

21 early to judge whether they constitute a new threat and

22 that their capabilities aren't at that stage known. So

23 those are the points which you were asking for further

24 information on?

25 A. Absolutely right, yes.

 

 

32


1 Q. The other point you make is that they could mount

2 indiscriminate attacks?

3 A. Correct.

4 Q. So was it your understanding at this stage -- and we are

5 still talking towards the end of 1998,

6 3 December 1998 -- that they hadn't yet focused their

7 intentions on specific individuals, that they were

8 looking at potentially a wide range of people they could

9 attack?

10 A. That's right. I think both these sort of groupings --

11 the Red Hand Defenders, Orange Volunteers -- had quite

12 a range of individuals that they would regard as, to use

13 their language, enemies of Ulster. And, yes, we were

14 concerned that -- about the capability to carry out sort

15 of attacks against those sorts of individuals and,

16 again, what the -- with primarily -- primary reason of

17 understanding how that might impact on the ceasefires,

18 both the Loyalist ceasefires and the Republican

19 ceasefires, and how that might impact on the peace

20 process.

21 Q. The phrase "enemies of Ulster" isn't very well defined.

22 When you pick up such a phrase, do you start to think,

23 "Who are they talking about?" or does it sit in sort of

24 this is pretty predictable that they just don't like

25 anybody that is against the Union?

 

 

33


1 A. Well, it is the latter really. It was -- our view is

2 very, very broad. We wouldn't have necessarily seen any

3 reporting about any specific individuals that might have

4 been named as -- as a focus of their sort of hatred.

5 Any sort of information like that, that might be sort of

6 a threat to life-type-related intelligence, would have

7 been handled by the police at this time.

8 Q. Now, the third group that you mentioned in this period

9 is the Justice for Protestants group, and I would like

10 to look now at another NIIR, please, which is at

11 RNI-534-039 (displayed) and this is dated

12 8 September 1998. The contact point and author, again,

13 is you, and the title is "Loyalists: Justice for

14 Protestants group, future activity". And, again, we can

15 see the usual distribution list within the security

16 forces and within the Government.

17 Who were Justice for Protestants?

18 A. Again, this was actually more of a protest group, or at

19 least that's our understanding at the time, that again

20 it was focused on the parades issue, that it wanted

21 Loyalists and -- well, Protestants to get a fair hearing

22 during sort of the parades issues when they were being

23 talked about in legal proceedings about whether the

24 marches could or couldn't go ahead, and whether they

25 needed to be diverted or not. And they put themselves

 

 

34


1 forward as a voice for the Protestant people, as I say,

2 particularly the parades issue.

3 Q. If we look on the next page, which is page RNI-534-040

4 (displayed), we can see a bit more of the detail of this

5 report. Before we look at that, can I ask you, this is

6 the third group we have looked at. Where were these

7 groups based? Where were the individuals from?

8 A. I can't recall specifically at this stage, I am afraid,

9 but I think a lot were in the mid-Ulster area. I think

10 there were some in Belfast as well.

11 Q. So the Loyalists who were interested in Drumcree

12 wouldn't necessarily have been from Drumcree?

13 A. No, it was a very emotive issue and it was an emotive

14 issue for Loyalists across the Province, not just in

15 mid-Ulster.

16 Q. So the RUC would have been reporting across the regions

17 on this issue and not simply focusing on the South

18 Region?

19 A. I should imagine so, yes.

20 Q. Looking at the detail, paragraph 2 on page RNI-534-040

21 (displayed), we can see references to other mainstream

22 groups, including the LVF, UDA and Ulster Resistance.

23 Who were Ulster Resistance?

24 A. Again, that was an old Loyalist group that had been

25 active some -- quite a few years previously. Again,

 

 

35


1 along similar lines to the Orange Volunteers in terms of

2 they regard themselves as what they referred to as

3 a doomsday group, ie if the British Government withdrew

4 from Northern Ireland and the people were left to fight

5 for themselves as such, that they would step in and

6 represent the Loyalist people and fight their cause.

7 Q. Is it right that they aren't themselves active in

8 murdering people, but rather they were more of a

9 behind-the-scenes group that supplied munitions and

10 so on?

11 A. I can't recall. They were quite active at the time.

12 This was prior to my working in the Province in my role.

13 But, yes, they had obtained quite a significant number

14 of munitions some years previously and were believed to

15 have stockpiled those and hid them away for use, as

16 I say, in a doomsday situation, ie if the British

17 Government withdrew and left the people of

18 Northern Ireland to fend for themselves.

19 So I think they were very much there in reserve, as

20 I say, rather than being an active paramilitary group.

21 Q. There is a section below the detailed bit called "RUC

22 comment". Who in the RUC would have made that comment?

23 A. That would have been primarily the IMG themselves, based

24 on possibly a comment made on the original source

25 reporting that they would have received.

 

 

36


1 Q. Yes, we can see on this page at the top that the origin

2 of the text is from RUC Special Branch. So can you just

3 talk us through, very briefly, the process by which

4 a NIIR comes to be constructed which contains both RUC

5 and Security Service comment? Who gets it first and who

6 comments later?

7 A. Right. How it used to work was a couple of different

8 ways. If it is just a specific report and it is an RUC

9 source report, that would come to us, the assessment

10 staff. If we felt it met one of our requirements to be

11 turned into a NIIR, we would have drafted a report.

12 Quite often the original RUC report would come with

13 a comment on it, which we would use, or if we couldn't

14 use the exact comment itself, we would paraphrase that

15 comment and then clear the draft back through the RUC to

16 ensure that they were happy with what we were saying.

17 So usually the report, main report, would come with

18 the content and some RUC comment originally. We would

19 add our Security Service Belfast comment once we had

20 received that report and, as I say, if we had changed

21 the content at all or needed to clarify any of the

22 content, we would discuss the draft or, indeed, send the

23 draft or, indeed, take it over in hard copy to the IMG

24 and discuss it with them to ensure that it was an

25 accurate reflection of the intelligence.

 

 

37


1 Q. Now, moving further through the report, one of the RUC

2 comments is that:

3 "There is no reporting to confirm that the LVF, UDA

4 or Ulster Resistance have supplied the JFP group with

5 any munitions."

6 So at this stage, again, their capability was

7 assessed as being low by you, was it?

8 A. That's right, yes.

9 Q. Was this, alongside the Orange Volunteers and the

10 Red Hand Defenders, something that you wanted to carry

11 on looking at and investigating?

12 A. That's right, yes.

13 Q. Your comments we can find overleaf on page RNI-534-041

14 (displayed). They are reflecting what you just said.

15 You say there was limited targeting ability on the part

16 of this group, but you also make the assessment that:

17 "The attacks that they will carry out will probably

18 be claimed under another name, the Red Hand Defenders or

19 the Orange Volunteers."

20 Again, we are seeing a merging of the groups?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. What made you reach that conclusion?

23 A. Again, I think it was because around this time there

24 were one or two individuals whose names featured in

25 reporting, who claimed to be involved in all three of

 

 

38


1 these at any entities, particularly the Justice for

2 Protestants group. They were quite keen, as I said in

3 the last sentence there, to distance their overall role

4 in terms of representing Loyalists and Protestants over

5 the parades issue with any violence that they might

6 carry out, because they were members of the group that

7 were genuinely -- were generally just supporting the

8 parades issue and Loyalist views on the parades issue

9 and weren't supportive of any kind of terrorist

10 violence.

11 Q. Did you receive reporting in this period that these

12 groups, either of the three groups, had received any

13 munitions in the form of explosive devices?

14 A. Not specifically explosive devices, but one of them, I

15 think it was the Orange Volunteers, did do a press

16 conference where they displayed a number of munitions on

17 a table and invited the press in to take photographs.

18 And there was a number of hand grenades and things were

19 shown, amongst other things on this table. So clearly

20 they had access to that sort of weaponry.

21 Q. But as far as you were concerned, your assessment at

22 this point in late 1998 was that these splinter groups

23 didn't have access to the kind of munitions which

24 eventually killed Rosemary Nelson?

25 A. Not as far as we were aware at the time.

 

 

39


1 Q. I would like to look at another NIIR, please. We have

2 two more documents to look at before we get to the point

3 of Rosemary Nelson's death. The first is RNI-534-043

4 (displayed). The title of this is "Militant Loyalists

5 engaged in targeting". Again, this is written by you

6 and the date of this is 22 November 1998?

7 A. It is December.

8 Q. Sorry, you are quite right, December.

9 Now, again, I think the origin of this intelligence

10 is the RUC, as we can see from page RNI-844-044 overleaf

11 (displayed). The detail of that we can see in

12 paragraph 1 on page RNI-534-044, I'll read it out:

13 "The newly-formed Orange Volunteers has a number of

14 'units' some of which are believed to include ex-RIR

15 members and UVF members."

16 Now, the first point there about ex-RIR members, was

17 that something the Assessments Group was interested in,

18 whether or not security force former members were

19 forming part of these groups?

20 A. Not that issue specifically, but as I mentioned before,

21 we were interested in the overall membership of this

22 group and, therefore, what capability it might have to

23 carry out attacks. And it is, therefore, what sort of

24 capability individually or collectively they might have

25 to, say, carry out an attack. That was of concern.

 

 

40


1 Q. One of the issues which one may think arises from

2 information such as this is that there are connections

3 that still exist between the Army, RIR and dissident

4 splinter groups, and that is obviously something which

5 the Inquiry is interested in.

6 A. Right.

7 Q. Is that something which you were interested in or the

8 RUC was interested in in this period?

9 A. No, that wasn't something we were particularly focused

10 on at the time. It was not an issue that we -- was part

11 of our remit in Assessments Group. No, it would have

12 been of concern -- more concern to the police.

13 Q. Did you have discussions with them about this kind of

14 reporting, that seemed to indicate connections between

15 dissidents and the military?

16 A. I can't recall specifically. We would have discussed

17 generally -- as I said, there is quite a number of

18 discussions I had with members of the IMG about the

19 membership of these entities, about the time -- trying

20 to establish general sort of numbers and who roughly was

21 involved and, as I say, in terms of their capability and

22 strategy. But I don't recall specifically focusing in

23 on any sort of security force/Army involvement, no.

24 Q. You have told us that you were interested in their

25 capability, and I think in the context of the previous

 

 

41


1 NIIR that we have seen, you said that they had

2 possession of hand grenades, which one must assume were

3 military munitions.

4 So was there not a concern that they still had

5 contacts that were providing them with explosives or

6 munitions that could lead to a strategic problem for

7 you?

8 A. Well, there was an issue -- I can't recall where the

9 grenades came from specifically. That was really

10 a matter for the RUC to pursue in terms of obtaining

11 intelligence on their actual access to physical

12 munitions and taking action to recover those munitions.

13 As I say, our remit was to talk to the RUC generally

14 about this issue and get a more general sort of view as

15 to what sort of things they might have physical

16 access to.

17 Q. We can see in the rest of the detail of that document

18 that the first sentence in paragraph 1 is:

19 "It intends to mount further attacks against

20 'Nationalist targets' in the north Armagh and Antrim

21 areas and has engaged in targeting in the South Derry

22 areas."

23 And paragraph 2:

24 "Militant Loyalists in the Belfast area are

25 currently targeting Catholics with a view to

 

 

42


1 'assassination'. Any such attacks will be claimed in

2 the name of the Red Hand Defenders."

3 That word "assassination" in its ordinary sense

4 would mean that the murder would be of a key or high

5 quality target; is that right?

6 A. I can't comment specifically on that. I can't recall at

7 the time, but that was exact wording as used in the

8 report that we received at the time.

9 Q. Well, the use of the word "assassination" in its

10 ordinary context would normally mean someone like the

11 Prime Minister or a figure such as the President of the

12 United States or something like that, rather than the

13 word "murder" which may just mean the death of anybody?

14 A. Right, yes.

15 Q. When you receive a report like this with the word

16 "assassination", does it make you think that this could

17 be a high level target that they're thinking about or

18 not?

19 A. Not necessarily at the time, no, because these are quite

20 emotive terms that were used by the Loyalists

21 occasionally to big themselves up, to make out they are

22 a greater threat than perhaps they were. But, as I say,

23 that would have been pretty much the wording used in the

24 original reporting.

25 Q. And connecting that with the intelligence that we have

 

 

43


1 just seen in the previous paragraph, which is that there

2 is a particular geographical focus to the murders, do

3 you think that either you or the IMG would have had an

4 interest in finding out exactly what they were talking

5 about, given that they are starting to narrow the target

6 range?

7 A. That sort of thing, that's clearly threat to

8 life-related intelligence, that would be for the RUC to

9 pursue and investigate accordingly, and isn't something

10 that we at Assessments Group were involved with or

11 needed to be further aware of.

12 Q. As far as you were concerned, looking at this kind of

13 report, do you think that gets to the point where one

14 could identify potential targets or was it still too

15 vague?

16 A. As I say, I wouldn't have seen any detailed reporting

17 that -- where it gives any further details on this

18 targeting. That is very much a matter for the police to

19 pursue.

20 We wouldn't need to know who individual targets

21 were. Not unless or until it was a very prominent

22 member of, say -- somebody involved in the peace process

23 that might have a major impact on the situation.

24 Q. Did you receive any subsequent intelligence that their

25 thinking or targeting had coalesced into particular

 

 

44


1 targets?

2 A. Not that I'm aware, no.

3 Q. I think your own assessment, similar to the assessments

4 we have seen previously, is that the Orange Volunteers

5 and Red Hand Defenders remain flags of convenience to be

6 used by the Justice for Protestants group and other

7 militant Loyalists to claim attacks?

8 A. That's right, yes.

9 Q. So still by late 1998 the thinking hasn't evolved that

10 they are separate entities with their own targeting

11 capabilities; they are just individuals?

12 A. That's right, individuals of a like mind who are using

13 these terms, particularly the Red Hand Defenders and

14 Orange Volunteers, as I say, as a flag of convenience to

15 cover their activities, particularly at this time when

16 the main Loyalist groups were on ceasefire.

17 They didn't want to -- they wanted to carry out

18 activities, but they didn't want to formally breach the

19 ceasefires.

20 Q. Picking up that theme, there is a specific source report

21 that you receive shortly before Rosemary Nelson's death

22 on 4 March 1999, and that we can find at RNI-531-121

23 (displayed).

24 As I say, this is 4 March. It comes directly to

25 you, S703, from the handler S966, whom we will be

 

 

45


1 hearing from on Thursday. The title is

2 "Red Hand Defender". We can't then see the comment

3 after the colon, but the two bits of text there are

4 firstly in paragraph 1:

5 "The Red Hand Defenders did not exist as an

6 organisation."

7 And secondly:

8 "The title of Red Hand Defenders was used as a flag

9 of convenience by the Orange Volunteers and other

10 dissident Loyalist groups to claim attacks that

11 ordinarily they would not want to own up to."

12 So three months on, four months on, that's

13 reflecting the same thinking from your perspective as

14 back in December?

15 A. Absolutely right, yes.

16 Q. If we look at page RNI-534-123 (displayed), we can see,

17 I think, a handwritten comment. If you could highlight

18 that, please. Now, that's by you, I believe?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. And it states:

21 "This is further corroboration for our view that the

22 Red Hand Defenders is not an actual group (although the

23 Chief Constable takes a different view)."

24 Focusing on that first of all, what were you aware

25 of in terms of the Chief Constable's view of this group

 

 

46


1 at this period?

2 A. I think my comment there related to a statement he had

3 made to the press about this sort of time. I can't

4 remember the specific wording, but along the lines of

5 this is a new force to be reckoned with, and I don't

6 know whether it was the Chief Constable himself or

7 others who were calling for this group to be proscribed

8 as a terrorist organisation. And our view, as

9 Assessment Group, is actually this isn't an organisation

10 as such, it is not a cohesive group that you could

11 usefully proscribe because it doesn't have a formal

12 membership.

13 Q. Does it follow that the RUC were more concerned about

14 this group than the Security Service at this time?

15 A. I think they were more concerned in terms of the lower

16 levels or tactical activities of the group, and as you

17 say in the previous reporting there about some of its

18 plans to target individuals. So there was a lot of

19 concern from both the tactical point of view.

20 And my concern and the concern of my sort of

21 customers was what impact this sort of activity of the

22 this group or these individuals involved in this group,

23 would have on the general situation.

24 Q. You go on to make the comment that the UDA has used the

25 Red Hand Defenders to claim a number of sectarian

 

 

47


1 attacks. What sort of attacks are you referring to

2 there?

3 A. I can't remember absolutely specifics, but there were --

4 there was quite a range of low level attacks around this

5 time, quite a string of violence. I think there were

6 pipe bomb attacks and shooting attacks on Catholic bars

7 and building workers and so on. And that comment would

8 have referred to a specific reporting I would have seen

9 that said -- from a reliable source saying along the

10 lines of the UDA carried out that attack but claimed it

11 under the Red Hand Defenders.

12 Q. And none of those attacks involved the use of an

13 undercar booby trap?

14 A. Not that I can recall, no.

15 Q. In the three months prior to Rosemary Nelson's murder,

16 did the Security Service receive any intelligence either

17 from its own sources or from the RUC or military

18 reporting, that Rosemary Nelson was going to be

19 targeted?

20 A. Not that I have seen or recall, no.

21 Q. Can you be certain that if the RUC had received such

22 reporting, you would have been told about it?

23 A. No. Because it was -- it would have been a tactical

24 threat to life intelligence, which was of no direct

25 interest or relevance to my role in Assessments Group

 

 

48


1 and should have been acted on by the RUC themselves.

2 Q. Putting that question more broadly, did you receive any

3 intelligence from any source during this period that

4 someone connected to the GRRC would be targeted?

5 A. Not that I recall, no.

6 Q. Or that a Nationalist or Republican solicitor in North

7 Armagh or anywhere else would be targeted?

8 A. Again, not that I can remember, no.

9 Q. We have looked at the development of the three groups,

10 the Orange Volunteers, the Red Hand Defenders and the

11 Justice for Protestants group. Did you receive any

12 intelligence that they had gained possession of

13 explosive devices of the kind that we see killed

14 Rosemary Nelson on 15 March?

15 A. Not that I recall, no.

16 Q. Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, we will have a break of 20 minutes. We

18 will return at quarter to 12.

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

20 please confirm that all the cameras have been

21 switched off?

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

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

24 (11.24 am)

25 (Short break)

 

 

49


1 (11.48 am)

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

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

4 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: The fire doors on either side of the screen

6 closed?

7 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: The technical support screens in place and

9 securely fastened?

10 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than inquiry personnel and

12 Participants's legal representatives seated in the body

13 of the chamber?

14 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr [name redacted], can you confirm that the two

16 witness cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

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

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

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

20 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

21 Bring the witness in, please.

22 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

23 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

24 switched back on.

25 Yes, Mr Skelton?

 

 

50


1 MR SKELTON: Just before the break, I asked you a series of

2 questions about intelligence in advance of

3 Rosemary Nelson's murder, that she may have been

4 targeted, and you answered, I think, that there were no

5 such reports that you received or were aware of either

6 from your own reporting or from the RUC.

7 A. That's right.

8 Q. Would you have expected, in a murder like this -- of

9 a prominent solicitor with prominent clients and

10 political connections -- to have received such advance

11 intelligence of an attack on her?

12 A. Again, I wouldn't have expected to myself. Again,

13 anything reported like that, threat to life, would have

14 been dealt with by the RUC, so I wouldn't have expected

15 it, no.

16 Q. Why wouldn't your agents report on such a thing if they

17 knew about it?

18 A. They would report about it if they knew about it, but

19 that sort of reporting, being a threat to life, would go

20 to the police.

21 Q. But if they had reported on it, a Security Service agent

22 did know that she was going to be targeted, you would

23 have been told as someone in Assessments Group receiving

24 that reporting?

25 A. Had the reporting come to me, then yes, I would have

 

 

51


1 seen it, but I don't recall seeing any intelligence to

2 that effect, no.

3 Q. Were you surprised that there is no intelligence either

4 from the RUC or from any of your own agents about this

5 sort of attack?

6 A. As I say, I can't really comment because we wouldn't

7 ordinarily have seen that sort of tactical threat to

8 life intelligence on a regular basis anyway. So, no, I

9 wouldn't be surprised. But as I say, I don't know if it

10 existed because I don't recall seeing any such

11 intelligence.

12 Q. Well, to clarify, the Inquiry hasn't received any

13 intelligence that there was any targeting of her

14 specifically in advance of her murder.

15 A. Right.

16 Q. And you have told us that you were not aware of any such

17 reporting either.

18 A. That's right.

19 Q. But this was nevertheless a large target. She was, as

20 I say, a prominent person within the Northern Ireland

21 community. Would you, as an expert in Loyalists during

22 this period, have expected some source to have reported,

23 whether technical or human, on targeting of such

24 a person prior to their murder?

25 A. In general terms, then, yes, it would be quite, you

 

 

52


1 know -- quite likely that if there was a plan being put

2 together on an attack of that sort of nature, that some

3 source or other, as you say, either human or technical,

4 would get -- become aware of it and that would be

5 reported on to the police.

6 Q. Do you think there may have been a failure here to

7 gather such intelligence from sources?

8 A. I don't know whether there would have been a failure.

9 That sort of reporting would be a general part of any

10 briefing to a source. Any source, human source, would

11 naturally, I would have thought, be briefed to report

12 that sort of intelligence immediately. As I say, if it

13 was threat to life, say if it was a technical report,

14 again the people dealing with that sort of intelligence,

15 would be -- it would be -- one of their key objectives

16 would be to report that sort of intelligence through

17 immediately to the relevant authorities, and in this

18 case that would be the police.

19 Q. We do know that after the murder, intelligence does come

20 in in relation to the alleged perpetrators and there is

21 some intelligence reporting, both from the RUC side and

22 from the Security Service side, about that issue.

23 When you received this intelligence, did you

24 question whether or not those particular sources could

25 have provided the intelligence before the murder?

 

 

53


1 A. No, as I say, because it was -- the actual murder itself

2 wasn't an issue that ourselves in the Assessments Group

3 were concerned with specifically. That was a, you

4 know -- because of the nature of it, it was clearly

5 a matter for the police to deal with and vet. We

6 weren't -- we didn't have any kind of investigative role

7 in Assessments Group. Ours was very much an assessment

8 role to understand how that murder impacted on the peace

9 process.

10 Sorry, I don't know if that answers your question.

11 Q. Not entirely.

12 A. No, sorry.

13 Q. You are interested, I think, in who did it, who did the

14 murder?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Because that's part of your ongoing assessment of their

17 capability and intentions as part of your strategic

18 role?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. Doesn't that necessarily mean that you have to get into

21 the tactics of these groups and get to know who the

22 individuals are, what their individual plans are, who

23 their individual connections are with possible bomb

24 makers, before you can reach that view?

25 A. No, that's where we rely on a collation of a range of

 

 

54


1 reporting, and in discussions with the police at the IMG

2 and Security Service secondees at the IMG, getting

3 a general view. As I say, we didn't need to know -- to

4 fulfil our remit, we didn't need to know the tactical

5 day-to-day activities of the groups or who was planning

6 what. We just needed a general view of what was going

7 on.

8 So even if there was reporting about specific plans

9 or associations between individuals or targeting, again,

10 that would be very much for the police to deal with. It

11 wouldn't necessarily come to us in Assessments Group.

12 Q. But to be confident that you have reached a proper

13 assessment, you need to know the detail of the evidence

14 on which such an assessment is based, just as a lawyer

15 may do in bringing a case. You need to be familiar with

16 the facts, don't you?

17 A. Generally familiar with the facts, yes. We wouldn't

18 need to know all the detail.

19 Again, this comes back to understanding the

20 reliability of the sourcing. If we had faith in the

21 sources that were providing that reporting and we had

22 had good reason to believe that their reporting was

23 accurate and had been corroborated through other

24 reporting and so on, there would be little reason to

25 doubt the accuracy of that and, therefore, no need to

 

 

55


1 delve into the background any further.

2 If there were any concerns or sort of unanswered

3 questions, then that is where we would speak to the

4 police, to the IMG and they themselves would speak to

5 the agent handlers or, indeed, if it was our own agent

6 sources, we would speak directly to our agent running

7 unit here, and ask them to provide further context and

8 details. But, again, it wasn't the day-to-day nitty

9 gritty of what was going on; it was more general sort of

10 atmospherics and leadership sort of thinking at the

11 time.

12 Q. Was there an anxiety within the Service to avoid trying

13 to get involved in the tactical things because that

14 would lead you to having to take responsibility, for

15 example, to warn individuals who may be targeted, to

16 thwart terrorist operations and so on?

17 A. There was no anxiety at all because that wasn't our

18 role. Our role was quite clear in Northern Ireland.

19 The police had the lead -- the intelligence lead

20 throughout that period of time. Our role was quite

21 clear.

22 If any of our sources reported any sort of threat to

23 life intelligence, that would immediately be passed to

24 the police to take appropriate action. As I say, we

25 wouldn't necessary see such reporting in the Assessments

 

 

56


1 Group.

2 Q. I would like to look, if I may, at a loose minute which

3 is written on 16 March 1999, ie~the day after the

4 murder. We can find this at RNI-532-005 (displayed).

5 Now, a lot of the detail of who wrote it and where

6 it went to has been redacted, but I can assure you that

7 it was written by a member of the Service, by

8 definition, because it is a loose minute. And you can

9 see there that it goes to the Head of the Assessments

10 Group, who is your senior manager, and to you yourself.

11 You can see that in the box at the top right there?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. The subject matter is "Murder of Rosemary Nelson,

14 composition of device". We can see there quite a lot of

15 detail about the composition of the murder device, which

16 is coming directly into the Security Service. Where is

17 this information emanating from?

18 A. The top line says there that all that information came

19 from the RUC. And there is something redacted there. I

20 don't know whether that says -- I can't speculate where

21 that is, but it is most likely the police forensics team

22 and the bomb experts literally piecing together all the

23 bits and pieces they would have found at the murder

24 scene.

25 Q. It is extremely detailed, this analysis in the loose

 

 

57


1 minute, of the murder device?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Given what you have previously explained to us in

4 considerable detail about your strategic overview and

5 your assessment of the general impact on the peace

6 process and so on, why did the RUC consider that you in

7 the Assessments Group, your boss and yourself, needed to

8 know the very detailed explanation of what was in

9 Rosemary Nelson's device?

10 A. They didn't. This loose minute came from our own

11 service. It was just copied to us for information.

12 Q. The same question applies from within the Service. If

13 your own colleagues thought you needed to see that

14 information, why did they think you needed it?

15 A. It would have been of general interest and background

16 context for us to understand, particularly when it gives

17 an idea of where the device may have come from. That's

18 the key for us.

19 We didn't need to know all the details about the

20 batteries and diodes, et cetera. But in terms of where

21 this device may have come from, who would have provided

22 it, therefore would have given us an indication of

23 possibly who was involved or the nature of the attack.

24 Q. But it is tactical detail, isn't it?

25 A. This is, yes.

 

 

58


1 Q. So this is an example where the Security Service is

2 interested in tactical details, in very detailed

3 details, in order to make a strategic assessment?

4 A. Well, yes. I mean, this would have been of great

5 interest to colleagues in the Security Service who had

6 an investigative role, based in London. Their

7 particular role would have been to understand very -- in

8 very detailed terms the bomb-making capability of all

9 the terrorist groups, and this is sort of an example of

10 that understanding.

11 But as you see, the original information that they

12 would have received came from the RUC and, again, it is

13 particularly of interest to the RUC, who can understand

14 how the terrorist groups got hold of these sorts of

15 components and would have given them an indication of

16 where it may have come from and how it was put together.

17 That in itself isn't of particular relevance or

18 importance to us in Assessments Group; it is more about

19 the comment there about the -- that this had been used

20 in similar devices by Loyalist groups in the past, and

21 the comment there about it is far beyond the capability

22 of other devices used by the Red Hand Defenders and

23 others.

24 So it is that sort of comment, that context, that we

25 would be interested in in the Assessments Group, as

 

 

59


1 opposed to the actual detail.

2 Q. So your colleagues in the Service, who were more

3 interested in the munitions side of this kind of work,

4 would have done an assessment, would they, of the

5 composition of the device with a view to attributing it

6 to a particular bomb maker and a particular group?

7 A. Not a particular bomb maker necessarily; possibly to

8 a group, again, based on the composition of it and the

9 sort of elements used to put the device together.

10 Like they have got there in their comment, they've

11 come up with a view that gives some context to where

12 they have seen these sorts of devices before and who may

13 have used them. And as it says there, some of those

14 components have been used by Loyalist groups in the

15 past.

16 Q. As you say, they do identify that, but do they come to

17 a longer conclusion or a more important conclusion about

18 where this device had come from?

19 A. I think there is further on that same document -- there

20 may be comment about who they thought may have provided

21 it. I can't recall --

22 Q. I think if we go overleaf, in fact, the sentence just

23 completes fairly briefly:

24 "... made available by one or more members of the

25 one of the larger Loyalist terrorist groups."

 

 

60


1 So not particularly helpful at this stage.

2 A. No.

3 Q. Did they subsequently attribute the device to anyone?

4 A. They didn't, no, but I think there was subsequent

5 reporting from different sources that actually did give

6 an indication where they thought the device came from.

7 Q. At this stage the assessment by this person is that this

8 appears to be a sudden increase in the

9 Red Hand Defenders' capability?

10 A. Absolutely.

11 Q. And you accepted that as an assessment, did you, based

12 on the detailed analysis of the device?

13 A. No, it wasn't on the detailed analysis of the device, it

14 was just on what our understanding of -- or in fact our

15 knowledge of the various attacks that had taken place up

16 until that point, which, as I say -- I said earlier --

17 was sort of pipe bomb attacks and shooting attacks and

18 so on. This was different. This was quite usual.

19 Q. This is their first UCBT, is it?

20 A. Loyalists had used undercar devices before. So it

21 wasn't the first use of an undercar device, but I don't

22 think any had been used for a little while before this.

23 Q. Just below the subject section, there is an italicised

24 comment:

25 "Caveat. Because of the political sensitivity of

 

 

61


1 the attribution of the Nelson murder, [blank] must be

2 consulted before any of the details quoted below are

3 used externally."

4 This is the day after the murder. At that stage

5 what was the political sensitivity relating to the

6 murder?

7 A. Well, I can't recall specifically, but I should imagine

8 it is a case of -- with regard to her relationship with

9 the IRA and what the IRA's response might be to the

10 murder of somebody who had represented them in court and

11 was associated with them, what sort of response there

12 might be, and therefore would that breach the ceasefire

13 and, if so, what impact that would have on the political

14 process so. So in those terms.

15 Q. As far as you were aware, were there, fairly swiftly

16 after the murder, allegations that there had been State

17 involvement in the killing?

18 A. I don't recall anything to that effect.

19 Q. Do you think this might be referring to such

20 sensitivities, that there had been allegations -- and

21 the Inquiry has seen these and obviously that has led to

22 the Inquiry itself -- that there had been collusion, as

23 it were, between the State and the Loyalists who may

24 have killed her?

25 A. Not that I am aware of, no.

 

 

62


1 Q. You yourself produced a report in relation to the

2 murder, and that, again, is on 16 March. We can see

3 that at RNI-534-055 (displayed). The date of that, as

4 I say, is the day after the murder. The contact point

5 is yourself, and the circulation is very, very widely

6 within the Government. It includes the NIO, the RUC,

7 the Security Service, the Army, the Cabinet Office, the

8 Foreign Office, the Home Office and the Ministry of

9 Defence?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. Why did you circulate it this widely?

12 A. Again, it was quite a significant sort of attack at the

13 time. It was quite different. As I say, there had been

14 a number of pipe bombs, shooting attacks, relatively low

15 level type attacks. This was quite different, quite

16 unusual and against somebody who wasn't a terrorist

17 themselves, as far as anybody was concerned.

18 Therefore, it was therefore very unusual -- outside

19 the sort of usual mould, plus, as I say, because of the

20 obviously quite high level interest in the political

21 situation in the Province at the time, it was concern

22 about what impact this attack might have on the

23 stability of the ceasefires.

24 Q. So it appears to have gone to the Prime Minister as

25 well --

 

 

63


1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. -- as you can see. Were you aware of that high level

3 interest in the murder from the word go?

4 A. Not from the word go, but the distribution would be

5 something that myself and my management -- managers

6 would have decided upon. And we felt that it was -- it

7 was an important issue that necessitated that sort of

8 high level distribution.

9 Q. Now, presumably you wrote this pretty swiftly?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. When you wrote it, what did you have available to you?

12 A. Not very much, I don't think.

13 Q. Did you have the loose minute that we have seen just

14 a moment ago?

15 A. I can't recall specifically, I am afraid. I may have

16 done.

17 Q. In responding to such an attack, who are your resources?

18 Who do you speak to and what documents do you look at?

19 A. Well, it is the police first and foremost, to gather

20 from them if there is any reporting that -- actually in

21 the pipeline or whether they have been able to speak to

22 their sources about the attack and get any information

23 about it. Also speaking to our own agent running unit

24 in the Province for the same reason, to see if any

25 sources have -- can provide any light on the situation.

 

 

64


1 Q. Now, you say in the background section of this document,

2 which we can see on page RNI-534-056 at paragraph 2

3 (displayed) -- thank you -- if you could highlight the

4 background section, please -- that Rosemary Nelson was

5 a well-known solicitor from Lurgan representing

6 prominent Republicans. And you go on to say that:

7 "She was associated with high profile campaigns for

8 Nationalist and Republican causes. She acted as legal

9 adviser to the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition and was

10 legal representative of the Hamill family whose son

11 Robert was beaten to death by Loyalists in 1997."

12 That is just going overleaf just, to clarify the

13 page reference, to page RNI-534-057 (displayed).

14 A few of those things we have already touched upon

15 earlier.

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. The Hamill death, how did you come by your awareness

18 that she was involved with that?

19 A. This would have been in discussion with the police and

20 with my colleague on the Republican desk to get an

21 understanding of her activities and background.

22 Q. And your assessment, which we can see at paragraph 4 of

23 page RNI-534-057, appears to pick up some of the wording

24 that we have seen in some of the documents earlier

25 today:

 

 

65


1 "The Red Hand Defenders' claim of responsibility for

2 this attack is consistent with its stated objective to

3 assassinate the 'enemies of Ulster'."

4 Where did you derive that conclusion from?

5 A. Sorry -- oh, I see.

6 Q. Paragraph 4.

7 A. Thank you. Well, that was from its own press statement

8 released a while earlier, as far as I can recall.

9 Q. Now, you going on to say that:

10 "The Red Hand Defenders is likely to have considered

11 Nelson a legitimate target because of her role in

12 representing prominent Republicans and acting as legal

13 adviser to the GRRC. Her high public profile will have

14 given the Red Hand Defenders the desired impact in terms

15 of damaging the peace process."

16 Earlier in my questioning I asked you about whether

17 or not she would have been seen pre-emptively as

18 a legitimate target, and you said possibly not?

19 A. I don't recall saying --

20 Q. I think you said specifically that she wouldn't be

21 someone who would be specifically targeted for these

22 kind of things?

23 A. I think I said I had not seen any specific reporting

24 suggesting that she was a target. But as I said in my

25 comment there, it is -- the Loyalist groups tended to

 

 

66


1 have quite a wide range of individuals that they would

2 consider to be legitimate targets.

3 Q. You come to the conclusion that she was a legitimate

4 target afterwards, obviously with the benefit of

5 hindsight because she had been targeted?

6 A. They would regard her as a legitimate target, yes.

7 Q. Could you not have reached that conclusion beforehand?

8 A. I wasn't aware that she was being targeted.

9 Q. But having seen the intelligence that we have seen that

10 you were aware of, that they were intending to

11 assassinate someone in that region, and using the word

12 "assassination", which you then pick up in the report,

13 in retrospect, do you not think that you could have

14 thought more carefully about whether or not she herself

15 could have been targeted?

16 A. Possibly, yes. But had there been any specific

17 reporting to suggest that she was a targeted, again,

18 that would be a matter for the police to deal with and

19 wouldn't ordinarily come to us.

20 Q. Your comment in here mentioned that the desired impact

21 for the Red Hand Defenders would be to damage the peace

22 process. Did you think that was their reason for

23 murdering Rosemary Nelson or did you see it more as

24 a tactical murder to inflame the Drumcree dispute, or do

25 they interchange again?

 

 

67


1 A. Again, I couldn't be certain exactly what their motives

2 were, but it was something that was clear from their Red

3 Hand Defenders sort of statements and previous attacks,

4 that they -- they had no representation in the peace

5 process. The general sort of nature of their sort of

6 statements was very much against any involvement in the

7 peace process, it was anti the peace process, and their

8 comments reflected the fact that they would generally

9 have thought the peace process to be a bad thing as

10 opposed to a good thing.

11 Q. Did this murder impact on the peace process?

12 A. Not specifically, as far as I can recall, because there

13 were a number of subsequent attacks. But it seemed to

14 be Loyalists fighting amongst themselves. I think the

15 Republican ceasefires held. I don't recall any

16 Republican terrorist attacks directly in response to

17 this murder.

18 Q. Now, as we progress through the document, you raise

19 various questions and attempt to answer them. The first

20 is, "Who are the Red Hand Defenders?" and I think at

21 that point you are really reflecting back on the

22 previous kind of reporting and analysis we have seen

23 earlier?

24 A. That's right, yes.

25 Q. Did this particular murder develop your thinking about

 

 

68


1 who they were?

2 A. No. Again, it is really -- was in line with what we

3 felt, that the Red Hand Defenders was a flag of

4 convenience being used by others, militant Loyalists

5 from a range of backgrounds.

6 Q. And did you consider that this sort of attack would have

7 been done without the sanction of the leadership of an

8 organisation like the LVF or the UDA?

9 A. Well, the leaderships had quite different sort of

10 strategies and viewpoints. The LVF was very much

11 focused on the prisoner issue, as was the UDA at the

12 time. I don't recall seeing any intelligence to suggest

13 that the leaderships had actually sanctioned this attack

14 or, indeed, whether they had any prior knowledge of it.

15 Q. One of the points you make in paragraph 6, looking back

16 over the reporting on the Red Hand Defenders, is that

17 the name had been used as a flag of convenience for

18 other militant Loyalists, including members of the UDA

19 and LVF acting without leadership sanction?

20 A. Right, yes.

21 Q. Did you bring that to bear on this assessment? Did you

22 apply that conclusion to this?

23 A. Exactly right. As I say, we had no reporting to suggest

24 the leadership were aware of this attack or were aware

25 of any prior planning. And, therefore, the assessment

 

 

69


1 that we drew from that, the conclusion that we drew from

2 that was actually that it hadn't been sanctioned by the

3 leadership itself.

4 Q. You ask the question, "Where did they get the device

5 from?", and we can see the question's actually at the

6 bottom of page RNI-534-057 (displayed). But your

7 speculative answers, if I may put it that way, come on

8 page RNI-534-058 in paragraph 7 and paragraph 8

9 (displayed). You look at a recent device deployed or

10 supplied by the UDA in relation to the home of somebody

11 called [name redacted]?

12 A. That's right.

13 Q. Why did you consider that particular device in the

14 context of the Rosemary Nelson murder?

15 A. I think because of the fact it was an undercar booby

16 trap device -- they aren't that commonly used in attacks

17 in the Province -- so quite unusual -- and therefore

18 going back over records and speaking to the police.

19 That's why I highlight those particular attacks because

20 that is where similar devices had been used before.

21 Q. In your concluding sentence, you say:

22 "We assess, therefore, that there is a significant

23 possibility that individual UDA members provided the RHD

24 with the device which was used against Rosemary Nelson."

25 A. That's correct, yes.

 

 

70


1 Q. That's based on the comparison with the device which we

2 have just talked about. Is it also based on the UDA's

3 engagement with the Red Hand Defenders?

4 A. It is, because we have seen reporting to suggest that

5 the UDA -- members of the UDA had used

6 Red Hand Defenders as a flag of convenience to claim

7 attacks, which sources had confirmed were actually

8 carried out by the UDA members themselves. So -- and

9 given the nature of this particular device, and I think

10 an individual was named as possibly the bomb maker, is

11 firmly connected to the UDA, I believe. That is where

12 we drew that conclusion from.

13 Q. In the next section, you talk about whether the LVF were

14 involved and your preliminary conclusion was that they

15 probably weren't because the leadership wouldn't want to

16 jeopardise the release of Mark Fulton, who was in prison

17 at this stage?

18 A. That's right. That was our understanding at the time,

19 yes.

20 Q. Were there any other issues which would have borne upon

21 that assessment in relation to the LVF's previous

22 history in relation to the Red Hand Defenders?

23 A. Only inasmuch as we knew that there were some LVF

24 members who were involved in and around

25 Red Hand Defenders, and I believe probably the Orange

 

 

71


1 Volunteers as well. But just as part of this, as I say,

2 amorphous grouping as opposed to anything to suggest

3 they were actually planning any kind of specific

4 attacks.

5 Q. One of the points you make in paragraph 9 -- and we can

6 see in the second sentence -- is that your assessment

7 was that none of the individuals within the LVF had the

8 capability to manufacture a viable UCBT device?

9 A. That's correct.

10 Q. How did you know that those individuals were incapable

11 of doing such a thing?

12 A. Well, again, this is based on a build-up of reporting

13 and our understanding of the membership of the LVF

14 generally and its general capabilities. And, again, in

15 speaking -- you know, previous conversations with police

16 to compare and contrast our understanding of the

17 situation. There was nobody that we were aware of that

18 had that sort of capability.

19 Q. Were you aware of the individuals that made up the LVF?

20 A. Some of them; not all.

21 Q. But presumably that's, again, getting into tactical

22 detail which you would have picked up from the RUC,

23 presumably?

24 A. Well, the RUC would have that sort of detail from their

25 own sources, and that sort of detail -- sort of trying

 

 

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1 to understand the full membership and who is involved

2 would have been a matter for the RUC to look at. Again,

3 it is just understanding the general capability and

4 direction of the group would have been our concern in

5 the Assessments Group.

6 Q. If they aren't capable of manufacturing a device, could

7 they have purchased one or been given one by another

8 group?

9 A. That's exactly right. That's why I have come to that

10 conclusion: that we thought that they either were given

11 it, obtained it, bought it, procured it, from somewhere

12 else, yes.

13 Q. So in a way, their capability is meaningless in terms of

14 an assessment of their previous activities because the

15 fact that they are incapable of manufacturing the device

16 is neither here nor there if they can be given one by

17 somebody else?

18 A. Yes. Something we were looking at is the relationship

19 between the groups, and around this time there were

20 indications that there was sort of strong feelings among

21 sort of militant members of the groups that they were

22 keen to help each other out, work together. But that

23 was distinct from any kind of formal agreement between

24 the LVF, UDA or UVF, to cooperate with each other at

25 a sort of strategic level.

 

 

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1 Q. If they didn't have the capability to manufacture

2 a device, would they have had the capability to have

3 deployed it?

4 A. Quite possibly, yes.

5 Q. Why do you say that?

6 A. Well, I don't know exactly what is involved in deploying

7 such a device, but I don't think it is necessarily that

8 difficult to do it. But as I say, I don't know how you

9 actually go about carrying it out. But I don't think

10 you need any -- would need any particularly detailed

11 knowledge of the device to deploy it.

12 Q. Would that be something which your colleagues would have

13 been interested in within the Service?

14 A. The people who looked at the details about the explosive

15 device and weaponry, then, yes, but only in terms of the

16 device itself.

17 Q. In relation to the wider ramifications of the murder,

18 you conclude, I think, towards the bottom that of page

19 that the leadership of the Provisional IRA would be

20 likely to come out against escalating violence beyond

21 rioting?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. How did you reach that conclusion?

24 A. Again, that was through a discussion with the police,

25 speaking to my colleagues on the Republican desk and

 

 

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1 generally sort of knowledge and understanding of PIRA at

2 the time.

3 And again, as it says there, it's an assessment as

4 opposed to anything specific. It is based on the fact

5 that, as it says in that paragraph, there were strong

6 overriding political gains for the Provisional IRA to

7 maintain its ceasefire and not overreact to the -- to

8 this incident.

9 Q. You also make the point, as we go overleaf, that it

10 would sort of bolster their support for their position

11 on decommissioning. Is what you mean by that that they,

12 having had an attack against someone from their side of

13 the community, it would make it easier for them to

14 justify retaining munitions in defence of their side of

15 community?

16 A. Absolutely right, yes.

17 Q. And the final point that you make on page RNI-534-059,

18 is the need for RUC reform.

19 What relevance did the need for RUC reform have to

20 Rosemary Nelson's murder?

21 A. I can't recall specifically, but it was something that

22 was very -- a key issue for PIRA at the time, was those

23 issues, and I don't know -- I can't remember anything

24 specifically, but it was something they were calling for

25 quite specifically at the time, both PIRA and Sinn Fein,

 

 

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1 that they wanted to reform the RUC.

2 Q. From one perspective, the fact that Rosemary Nelson, the

3 solicitor, had a difficult relationship, if I may put it

4 that way, with the RUC and had made complaints against

5 the RUC that some of their officers had threatened her

6 through her clients and had harassed one of her clients

7 specifically, and then we have seen after the murder

8 that there are allegations of collusion, are those the

9 types of things that are feeding into this short

10 comment?

11 A. No, because I hadn't seen any of that reporting.

12 Q. Well, in what way do you think the murder would push

13 towards the need for RUC reform then?

14 A. Sorry, I don't follow the question.

15 Q. What you say in this final sentence is that one of the

16 opportunities that arises from the murder for the

17 Provisional IRA or for the Republican movement is to

18 push for RUC reform. What was it about

19 Rosemary Nelson's murder which would allow that push to

20 be made?

21 A. I can't recall specifically, I am afraid.

22 Q. Did it occur to you or to any of the other members of

23 the Assessments Group that the murder may not have been

24 carried out by Loyalists?

25 A. There is nothing to indicate that, no.

 

 

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1 Q. Whether or not you had reporting to that effect, was it

2 something that could have crossed your mind, given, for

3 example, the sophistication of the device which we know

4 that the IRA would be well adept at planting?

5 A. Yes. I mean, that's why we were keen to establish sort

6 of the nature of the device and had something similar

7 been used before. As we were looking at in the previous

8 report, Loyalists groups had used a very similar device

9 with similar components. There was no reason to believe

10 that -- or understand that anybody other than a Loyalist

11 group or militant Loyalists had carried out the attack,

12 and nothing to suggest that it was carried out by

13 anybody else.

14 Q. Just over a week after the murder, on 23 March 1999, you

15 produce a further NIIR. This time we can find it at

16 RNI-534-061 (displayed). The title of that NIIR is "LVF

17 responsible for the murder of Rosemary Nelson".

18 We can see on the cover sheet that in manuscript is

19 the word "IMAGIR". Does that mean that this NIIR

20 derives from an IMAGIR?

21 A. That's correct, yes.

22 Q. Would that have been written by your colleague in the

23 IMG?

24 A. I don't know specifically my colleague, but either him

25 or some of his colleagues, yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Can you just describe how that process works? You

2 receive an IMAGIR directly from the RUC as a recipient?

3 A. That's correct, yes.

4 Q. What determines whether you are going to send it up

5 towards the Government?

6 A. We wouldn't send that particular report. That's

7 a Northern Ireland intelligence report based on a report

8 from IMG. We would always turn it into this format you

9 see here.

10 The way it would work is we would receive a report

11 from the IMG. As I say, that would give the content of

12 the report and usually some sort of IMG/RUC comment

13 on -- provide some sort of context. Then that would

14 form the basis -- we would use that as the basis of

15 producing a NIIR. We occasionally edited the report to

16 put it into language which would be understood by our

17 audience, but we would usually clear that -- any changes

18 with the police directly.

19 Q. You can see from the distribution list that this goes to

20 the NIO in both Belfast and London. Did you retain

21 personal contact with members of the NIO, with civil

22 servants, that you could discuss matters like this with?

23 A. Yes, we had sort of people in -- I think it was the

24 security director there, particularly that we had sort

25 the regular contact with -- either physically at

 

 

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1 meetings or we could speak to them on secure phones.

2 Q. So when you produced a report like this, would you also

3 have a chat with them about it?

4 A. Not necessarily. Not unless they had a particular

5 question or -- to ask about the report. We wouldn't

6 routinely discuss reports with them, no.

7 Q. We can see again from the distribution list that a copy

8 of the report went also straight to the private

9 secretary of the Prime Minister. Had the Assessments

10 Group had any contact with the private secretary of the

11 Prime Minister in order to ascertain what interest he

12 may have had in this?

13 A. Not that I recall, not directly. I think that was

14 possibly a reflection of the interest within sort of

15 senior members of the NIO locally in Belfast, and I

16 can't recall whether it was their suggestion to pass it

17 further or whether my management decided that.

18 Q. Now, in the content of the report, which we can find on

19 page RNI-534-062 (displayed), there is a section

20 entitled "Detail" and there are three paragraphs to this

21 which provide a short summary of three different aspects

22 of the intelligence reporting on the murder.

23 The first is that:

24 "Intelligence indicates that prominent LVF members,

25 [blank] and [blank], played an active role in the murder

 

 

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1 of Rosemary Nelson on 15 March."

2 Then it says:

3 "The murder was claimed in the name of the

4 Red Hand Defenders. Secondly, the undercar booby trap

5 device used in the advice was constructed by [blank], an

6 experienced Loyalist bomb maker. Thirdly, [blank]

7 indicates that two people have met in the period

8 preceding the Nelson murder and were present in Lurgan

9 shortly after the attack."

10 A. That's right.

11 Q. Now, that is all based on some form of reporting from

12 the RUC?

13 A. Correct.

14 Q. And it is not apparent from this what kind of reporting

15 that is?

16 A. No, not from this, no.

17 Q. You would have derived this from the IMAGIR, would you?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Now, the Inquiry has received what we think is the

20 originating intelligence that forms the basis for these

21 three comments, and I will give the references for

22 everyone's note. They are at RNI-544-180, RNI-544-182

23 and RNI-544-188.

24 Now, each of those is a Special Branch report.

25 Would you have seen the original intelligence in that

 

 

80


1 form?

2 A. Not necessarily, no, not at the time. But it is quite

3 possible I might have seen it subsequently to receiving

4 the IMAGIR.

5 Q. Can you be a bit more precise? Do you remember seeing

6 those three reports, which I think you have seen now

7 today?

8 A. I can't recall seeing these specifically at the time.

9 But we did occasionally receive these sorts of reports

10 from -- this style of report from the RUC. But these

11 would have been used to compile the IMAGIR at police

12 headquarters which was then sent to us.

13 Q. So it is likely, is it, that your colleague, your

14 predecessor in the IMG would have seen the reporting on

15 which these comments are based?

16 A. Absolutely right. This is exactly the sort of format

17 that some of the reporting would have been sent to the

18 IMG headquarters and then -- exactly right, as you say,

19 they would use that as the basis to produce their IMG,

20 which then in turn would have been sent to us in

21 Assessments Group.

22 Q. Would you have discussed the reliability of this

23 intelligence with someone in the RUC?

24 A. Yes. I mean, again, there would have been -- on the

25 document, RNI-544-180, there is reference to an SB

 

 

81


1 source code. There would be a number or some sort of

2 specific designator there, which would be specific to

3 the source who provided this intelligence, and --

4 although if we didn't know the individual, we and the

5 IMG would have a knowledge or understanding of their

6 reliability.

7 Q. And what was the answer?

8 A. I think, if I recall correctly at the time, that this

9 was from a reliable source.

10 Q. I don't want to go into any detail about exactly whether

11 the source was technical or human or how this reporting

12 came about, but I would like to establish whether you

13 were assured by the RUC that this was reliable?

14 A. Yes. I mean, this would have been a sort of standard

15 part of my role, is to ensure that any reporting that we

16 put out from the Assessments Group was based on reliable

17 reporting and that wasn't just speculation or erroneous.

18 Q. Now, from the way this NIIR progresses, it does appear

19 that this intelligence changes your view about the LVF's

20 potential involvement in the murder.

21 We have seen your original assessment was probably

22 not, because of the leadership issue with Mark Fulton.

23 You then receive intelligence from the RUC. Were you

24 content to conclude that in fact they were, based on

25 that reporting line?

 

 

82


1 A. Yes. I mean, we -- you know, we discussed this at the

2 time. Obviously, you know, the nature of the

3 intelligence -- you don't -- rarely have a full

4 comprehensive picture of any situation at any given

5 time. My previous assessment was based on my

6 understanding and knowledge at that time, and this

7 report or the series of reports gives some quite

8 specific details from what I think was, you know,

9 reliable sources, which clearly gave a firm attribution

10 to this particular attack.

11 Q. Would you have asked your counterpart in the IMG to get

12 more information about this to confirm whether this was

13 the case?

14 A. I probably would have asked for further reporting on the

15 LVF's involvement, but in terms of exactly who was

16 involved and how they did it, that would a matter for

17 the police to pursue as part of their standard

18 investigation into the murder.

19 Q. Can you recollect whether you in fact received any

20 further reporting about the LVF's involvement?

21 A. I can't recall, I am afraid.

22 Q. Does that mean you can't recall because there probably

23 wasn't any or because your memory doesn't help?

24 A. Probably a bit of both. I really can't recall whether

25 there was anything further on this. I think that was --

 

 

83


1 in fact, the only reporting I can recall seeing, plus --

2 my memory is not infallible.

3 Q. Did the IMG themselves direct that intelligence should

4 be gathered about this murder?

5 A. I don't know. I wouldn't want to speculate what the

6 RUC did.

7 Q. You may have had contact with your counterpart who,

8 again, was your predecessor within the IMG. Was this

9 the kind of thing that you would discuss: are they

10 trying to find out who killed her? It is a very high

11 profile murder, so it would be very surprising if the

12 IMG didn't want to ensure that every road was pursued?

13 A. Again, I can't recall any specific conversations. It

14 was very much from our -- from my point of view, this

15 was very much a situation for the police to pursue as

16 part of a murder enquiry, and I think I made that point,

17 either on that report or a subsequent report, that those

18 sorts of lines of enquiry would be followed up by the

19 police. Certainly I can't recall having any specific

20 conversations about it.

21 Q. That's the RUC side of things. There is also the

22 service's own access to intelligence. Did the

23 Assessments Group task its handlers to find intelligence

24 about the murder?

25 A. I think it would have been a standard briefing to

 

 

84


1 sources asking them to report any details or any

2 understanding about the murder and who may have been

3 involved.

4 Again, I can't recall any specific briefing that

5 I gave at the time. I may well have done. But, again,

6 I don't recall receiving any reporting to that effect.

7 Anything that was thought to be relevant, that came

8 through our agent running section would have been fed to

9 the -- passed directly to the police.

10 Q. Was there a desire within the Security Service to steer

11 clear of police investigations if possible?

12 A. It was not so much a desire to steer clear, it just

13 wasn't our business to be involved in them. It was very

14 much a police matter.

15 Obviously, if any of our sources had information

16 that would be relevant to this or any other police

17 enquiry, then it would be our duty to pass that

18 reporting to the police to assist with their enquiries.

19 So I think again the sort of remit, our remit and the

20 police's remit were quite clear.

21 Q. But there is a difference, isn't there, between passive

22 involvement and active involvement? I think what you

23 were talking about was if you received some intelligence

24 from one of your agents, you would pass it on. What I'm

25 interested in is whether you would be a bit more

 

 

85


1 proactive in trying to find out if you did have any,

2 given that you had assets, potentially, in the Loyalist

3 camp?

4 A. As I say, I don't recall asking -- you know, providing

5 a particular brief on this issue. Again, it would be

6 something which sources themselves would be generally --

7 know that we would be sort of interested in. I don't

8 recall either specifically asking these sorts of

9 questions or receiving any reporting in response to

10 those.

11 Again, it was -- it would be much more -- that would

12 be very much sort of tactical sort of intelligence

13 which, again, would be very much a matter for the RUC.

14 Q. There is a particular source report which I would like

15 to look at, which is at RNI-532-027 (displayed). We can

16 see the date of that is 24 March 1999 and it is to you

17 from 255, who is a member of the Security Service. If

18 you could highlight the text there, please, the title is

19 "Loyalist [blank] on Red Hand Defenders and Nelson

20 murder". We can see it is to do with the activities of

21 the Red Hand Defenders.

22 It appears in this instance that you are receiving

23 intelligence about Rosemary Nelson's murder from one of

24 your sources and the text includes reference to the fact

25 that:

 

 

86


1 "It is believed that the recent murder of

2 Rosemary Nelson has been carried out by militant

3 activists using the Red Hand Defenders as a flag of

4 convenience for the operation ... [Blank] suspected that

5 former members of mainstream Loyalist groups such as the

6 UDA, who had transferred their allegiances to groupings

7 such as the LVF and Orange Volunteers, were the most

8 likely candidates to have carried out the attack on

9 Nelson."

10 Then it goes on to say:

11 "The Nationalist lawyer had become a hate figure for

12 many Loyalists in Portadown because of her close links

13 with Colin Duffy and involvement with the Drumcree

14 affair and the Hamill murder. While a number of senior

15 Loyalists were critical of the murder of a soft target,

16 most young militants had expressed support for it."

17 So this appears to be a Security Service agent who

18 does know something about the murder and is reporting

19 about it?

20 A. Yes, that's right.

21 Q. Now, having received something like this, would you then

22 have passed that on to the Murder Investigation Team?

23 A. I would have thought that sort of thing would have been

24 passed directly to the police by the agent handling

25 unit.

 

 

87


1 Q. So when you say the police -- and at this stage we know

2 that there was an independent murder investigation team

3 that was set up fairly rapidly after the murder -- do

4 you mean the police as in the SIO, or do you mean the

5 RUC for them to take a decision as to whether or not to

6 pass it on?

7 A. Ordinarily I would have thought that sort of information

8 would be passed on Special Branch channels. So it would

9 be passed in to Special Branch and then for them to take

10 appropriate action with it.

11 Q. You yourself would not consider that you had

12 a responsibility to ensure that occurred --

13 A. I would expect that to happen automatically, yes.

14 Q. So the responsibility for that was with the manager of

15 the handlers, was it?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. The content of the report, is there anything you can add

18 to that based on the previous discussions we have had

19 about the activities of the Red Hand Defenders and the

20 LVF?

21 A. Only inasmuch as it sort of seemed to fit with our

22 general understanding that the Red Hand Defenders was

23 not a cohesive group and that, as it says there, its

24 members or former members of the other groups were sort

25 of using it to -- as a -- you know, as a cover term for

 

 

88


1 their activities.

2 Q. Did the Security Service receive any other reporting

3 from this agent or from other agents that had

4 significance in the context of Rosemary Nelson's murder?

5 A. Not that I can recall.

6 Q. Would you have expected to have received such reporting

7 had there been any?

8 A. I would have thought so, yes. A bit like this report,

9 we would have been an addressee for it, but I don't

10 recall seeing further reporting. There may have been,

11 but I don't recall seeing it.

12 Q. So far as you were aware, did any members or former

13 members of the security forces, which would include the

14 Service, the RUC or the military, facilitate

15 Rosemary Nelson's murder?

16 A. Not as far as I am aware, no.

17 Q. Sir, I have no further questions.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: We will have a ten-minute break now.

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

20 please confirm that all the cameras have been

21 switched off?

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

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Would you please escort the witness out.

24 We shall return in about ten minutes.

25 (12.44 pm)

 

 

89


1 (Short break)

2 (12.53 pm)

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

4 area screen fully in place, looked and the key secured?

5 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: The fire doors on either side of the screen

7 closed?

8 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: The technical support screens in place and

10 securely fastened?

11 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

13 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

14 of this chamber?

15 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

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

18 witnesses cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

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

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

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

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

23 Bring the witness in, please.

24 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

25 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

 

 

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1 switched back on.

2 Yes, Mr Skelton?

3 MR SKELTON: May we have back on screen the NIIR which this

4 witness completed just after the murder, which is

5 document RNI-534-055 (displayed)?

6 Now, there are a couple of questions which I would

7 like to ask you about the origin of this. Who directed

8 you to write it?

9 A. Well, it probably would have been my management, plus it

10 would have been a standard part of our remit was to try

11 and attribute sort of particular attacks to a

12 paramilitary group.

13 Q. So would the Head of Assessments Group have asked you to

14 provide a report -- and I presume he must have signed

15 off on it, given that its circulation is to very high

16 levels?

17 A. Absolutely right. That's right, yes.

18 Q. When would you have been directed to write it? Straight

19 after the murder?

20 A. Yes, I can't remember the actual days of the week that

21 it was, but this is obviously the day after the attack

22 itself.

23 Q. This is, I think, a Tuesday and I think the murder

24 occurs at mid-morning on the Monday?

25 A. Right, yes.

 

 

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1 Q. So would you have heard about the murder immediately it

2 occurred?

3 A. Would have done on the sort of intelligence news and so

4 on, the same as sort of anybody else would, that Monday

5 and then would have asked to provide sort of an initial

6 view on it the very next day or as soon as possible,

7 which in this case was the next day.

8 Q. When you first heard about the murder from the press the

9 previous day, what was your initial reaction to it?

10 A. Sort of shock and surprise and concern, like any other

11 member of the public, really.

12 Q. Did you start to think about who may have done it, what

13 their motivations were, what the strategic impact was,

14 just as we can see developing in writing in this report?

15 A. Yes, I would have thought that it is a possibility that

16 it's a Loyalist attack, given the fact that, as you say,

17 she is quite prominently well-known within Republican

18 circles.

19 It was -- I thought it was likely to be connected to

20 the Loyalists in one way or another.

21 Q. Would you have made contact with a particular person

22 within the NIO to discuss it and its potential impact

23 and the kind of analysis that the NIO or the senior

24 Government ministers would want?

25 A. I don't recall doing that, no. It would have been --

 

 

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1 most likely the first people I would have spoken to

2 would be the RUC, IMG colleagues, again, to see if they

3 had seen any reporting on it. But I can't remember the

4 timings, as I say, exactly when I would have known about

5 the attack. But we did have Teletext or Ceefax on in

6 our office at the time and I should imagine it would

7 have been a headline, you know, reasonably soon after

8 the attack. If that was the case, I would have spoken

9 to the police, first and foremost, to see if they had

10 any further details.

11 Q. Had you previously produced an assessment report on

12 a prominent murder of this nature?

13 A. I can't recall, I am afraid. Well, I mean, not this

14 specific nature, but I produced reporting on the murder

15 of Billy Wright in the Maze, in December 1997.

16 Q. A similar type of report for high level ministerial use?

17 A. Yes. And there had been, presumably, others.

18 I produced all sorts of assessments in between that one

19 and this.

20 Q. I appreciate you can't recall, in the context of this

21 particular NIIR, who you may have spoken to within the

22 NIO, but I think you described earlier that it was the

23 Security Branch that you had particular contact with.

24 Can you remember if it was a particular individual

25 that you would have maintained more regular contact

 

 

93


1 with?

2 A. I think there was an individual, who happened to be head

3 of the team, that we spoke to most. I can't recall that

4 name now, I am afraid.

5 Q. It maybe that's something you can assist us with outside

6 the context of this oral evidence because I would not

7 want you to say the name even if you could remember it.

8 But if you can turn your mind to that and assist us on

9 that through your legal team, that would be helpful.

10 A. Okay.

11 Q. Your predecessor gave evidence yesterday about reporting

12 in relation to Colin Duffy, that he was being targeted

13 in the earlier period in the 1990s by particular

14 Loyalist groups, including Billy Wright and the LVF.

15 A. Right.

16 Q. And he had on one of those reports written a manuscript

17 comment to the effect that it would be sad if the RUC

18 were unable to warn Mr Duffy in time of that attack.

19 And I questioned him yesterday about whether or not that

20 was indicative of a culture of, at best, indifference

21 towards the death of suspected members of the Republican

22 movement and, possibly more widely, against their

23 associates.

24 Are you aware of such a culture within the Security

25 Service more widely?

 

 

94


1 A. No, not that I'm aware of. These sorts of individuals,

2 terrorists, weren't very nice people. But people had

3 their own sort of personal views on individuals, but as

4 far as I was concerned, there was no cultural view on

5 something like this, which was -- an attack like this or

6 any sort of terrorist attack was regarded as a criminal

7 act and should be pursued in the normal way.

8 Q. Now, earlier in your evidence you talked about

9 Rosemary Nelson and the perception of her as being close

10 to the Republican movement, and I mentioned to you

11 evidence that we have from the Special Branch to the

12 effect that they were very firmly of a view that she was

13 an active supporter, and there is particular reporting

14 to support that.

15 Now, when someone like Rosemary Nelson is killed, do

16 you think, from your knowledge of and connection with

17 Special Branch, they may have had a view that that was

18 a good thing?

19 A. I couldn't speculate on that. I wouldn't have thought

20 so because, again, it was a murder of an individual.

21 Particular individuals may have had their own personal

22 views on others, but I don't think there was any that I

23 was aware of, any kind of inherent sort of corporate

24 view.

25 Q. Do you think that their view of her within

 

 

95


1 Special Branch was more widely shared within the RUC

2 generally?

3 A. I really don't know, I am afraid.

4 Q. Do you think, when it comes to investigating the murder

5 of someone like Rosemary Nelson, that the perception of

6 her as being allied with a terrorist movement could lead

7 to some lack of effort in relation to the investigation

8 of her murder?

9 A. I couldn't possibly speculate, I am afraid.

10 Q. Is there anything else you would like to add?

11 A. No, I think if that covers all your questions ...

12 MR SKELTON: Thank you.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for coming before us to

14 give evidence.

15 Before the witness leaves, would you please confirm,

16 Mr [name redacted], that all the cameras have been

17 switched off?

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

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

20 We shall adjourn until 2 o'clock.

21 (1.02 pm)

22 (The short adjournment)

23 (2.04 pm)

24 MR THOMAS CRAIG (sworn)

25 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

 

 

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1 THE CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

2 Yes, Mr Phillips?

3 MR PHILLIPS: Mr Craig, can you give us your full name,

4 please?

5 A. Thomas James Craig.

6 Q. I think it is right, isn't it, that you have made

7 a single statement to the Inquiry; is that correct?

8 A. That's correct, yes.

9 Q. Can we have it on the screen, please, at RNI-803-031

10 (displayed)? Do we see your signature at RNI-803-044

11 (displayed) and the date of 25 April last year?

12 A. That's correct, yes.

13 Q. Thank you. Can we return to the first page, please?

14 I just want to ask a couple of questions about your

15 career. You tell us in paragraph 3 on this page that

16 you became the ACC for the South Region in January 1998.

17 Can I ask you first, please, when did you first join the

18 RUC?

19 A. On 3 January 1966.

20 Q. Thank you. You refer, in the paragraph we have on the

21 screen there, to the fact that you had been working in

22 Headquarters since 1996 before going to the South

23 Region. Can I ask you, please, to tell us what you were

24 doing at Headquarters?

25 A. I was the Assistant Chief Constable responsible for

 

 

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1 management support.

2 Q. Thank you. I would like to show you the RUC

3 organisation chart that we have, please. It is headed

4 "RUC organisation chart 1998 to 1999" (displayed).

5 Thank you very much.

6 Do we see the job you have just mentioned at the

7 bottom right-hand corner?

8 A. That is correct, yes.

9 Q. So in January 1998, as I understand it, you transferred

10 from that post to ACC South Region on the left-hand

11 side?

12 A. That's correct, yes.

13 Q. What was your role as ACC management support?

14 A. It was -- I can't remember all the responsibilities now,

15 but it was computers, quality of service, that type of

16 thing. The administrative and management support end

17 of -- there were no operational dimensions to that.

18 Q. Thank you. Now, I would like to ask you next in terms

19 of our charts to look at another chart entitled

20 "Uniformed police, late 1990s" where your region, the

21 South Region, I hope, will be displayed for us. It may

22 be slide 3 (displayed).

23 Right. I had understood there to be an amended

24 slide. Is there a newer version of it, please?

25 (displayed) Thank you very much.

 

 

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1 Now, does that show the structure of the region in

2 simple form?

3 A. Yes, it does, with the exception of the subdivisions

4 below J Division.

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. There should be three subdivisions, not four. Craigavon

7 was not a subdivision, it was a sector of Lurgan to my

8 recollection.

9 Q. Thank you very much. So four divisions and three

10 subdivisions of J Division?

11 A. That's correct, yes.

12 Q. Thank you very much. We will make a yet further

13 amendment. Thank you very much for that.

14 So far as your role as ACC South Region is

15 concerned, you in your statement say that you were

16 responsible for practically everything within the

17 region. Can you give us a simple description of the

18 nature of your responsibilities there?

19 A. Well, I was the Regional Commander for the South Region,

20 and in that sense I was responsible to the

21 Chief Constable for the implementation of force

22 policies, strategies and in a sense for the operational

23 running of the region.

24 Q. Can I ask you, please, you mention your responsibility

25 to the Chief Constable, but what was the regularity of

 

 

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1 your contact with him?

2 A. Well, it was uncertain to a degree in terms of informal

3 things or special issues, but there was

4 a Chief Constable's meeting each week in the

5 Chief Constable's office, that would have started the

6 week.

7 Q. Was that attended by you and your fellow ACCs?

8 A. Yes, all the heads of department for operational

9 commanders.

10 Q. And to what extent in the course of your work would you

11 liaise with or be in contact with your fellow ACCs in

12 other departments?

13 A. I don't think I would have been in routine contact with

14 them except through the meetings, but there may have

15 been special conferences, there may have been a reason

16 why I would have worked with one of the other ACCs.

17 There could have been events or other matters that

18 crossed boundaries. So there was -- I mean, I suppose

19 there was a working relationship. We were friends, if

20 nothing else. So, therefore, we did work together quite

21 closely.

22 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you to look at paragraph 2 of your

23 statement at RNI-802-031 (displayed)? Now, there in the

24 fourth line you say:

25 "My command included responsibility for all

 

 

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1 uniformed personnel and operational matters together

2 with a general responsibility for crime and

3 Special Branch, subject to the additional command

4 structure established for each of those branches."

5 To what extent then were you actually responsible

6 for the Special Branch officers who worked within your

7 region?

8 A. Well, I would have maintained that I was responsible for

9 operational command of the region, and therefore that

10 all matters relating to the policing of the region were

11 my responsibility. It was a personal opinion of mine

12 that where the command structure allowed for at least --

13 in fact, I think regularly, for the Special Branch and

14 CID going direct to the ACC in charge of those

15 respective departments. But that created something of

16 a dilemma for me as the Regional Commander. I think you

17 can have only one line of command and I disagreed with

18 that, but obviously the force did not agree with me.

19 Q. It was your personal view rather than the way the

20 structure actually operated?

21 A. That is correct.

22 Q. Did that, from time to time, particularly in relation to

23 Special Branch chain of command, cause you difficulties

24 as ACC of your region?

25 A. I don't think particular difficulties. I had a good

 

 

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1 working relationship with my Head of Special Branch. I

2 think the situations might have been where issues were

3 going up to Headquarters and being looked at and then

4 coming down and I was getting the end product, but I

5 don't believe that it seriously hampered my relationship

6 with the Head of Special Branch.

7 Q. So what extent, may I ask you, were you kept in the loop

8 in relation to Special Branch operations in your region?

9 A. In relation to operations in my region?

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. I think I would have been very well kept in touch. In

12 fact, I would have made sure of it, I think.

13 Q. And can I ask you this, again, very general question: to

14 what extent was Special Branch intelligence shared with

15 you?

16 A. I had, well, the Chief Constable's meeting we have

17 mentioned on Mondays, then fortnightly meetings, the

18 regional meetings -- I think there are papers there --

19 the Head of Special Branch would have been a member of

20 my meeting, and therefore would have briefed me and all

21 the commanders, heads of departments, within my region,

22 fortnightly.

23 I would also have been briefed by the Head of

24 Special Branch in relation to operations being

25 undertaken or serious issues, threats, coming in.

 

 

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1 Q. Are we talking then, in the context of the meetings,

2 about oral presentations?

3 A. Yes, indeed we are, yes.

4 Q. We are not talking about the regular supply to you of

5 written intelligence reports?

6 A. No, there may have been briefs on occasions, but that

7 meeting was a verbal report.

8 Q. Yes. Now, can I ask you something about the various

9 types of meeting because, as you say, you have been

10 shown, I know, minutes of regional management committee

11 meetings. Can we just look at one of those at

12 RNI-837-218 (displayed) because I don't think we have

13 seen these before.

14 Now, these then, as I say, are the minutes of a

15 Regional Management Committee meeting for the South

16 Region, which took place on 15 February, we can see,

17 1999. You are listed there as the first of the

18 participants and it looks as though these were meetings

19 which you chaired; is that correct?

20 A. That's correct, yes.

21 Q. And the various other officers are listed as being

22 present, including your divisional commanders, the

23 regional head of traffic. Is that the deputy regional

24 head of CID?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Thank you.

2 A. If the regional head or any other commanders were not

3 available, then there were two that would have been

4 present.

5 Q. The regional head of Special Branch and then RMC. Who

6 is that, please?

7 A. The Regional Management Coordinator, he would have been

8 responsible for resources, public order resources and

9 that sort of thing.

10 Q. Just if I can ask you this, again, general question,

11 please: was that the standard cast list of attendees at

12 meetings of this kind?

13 A. Yes, it would indeed.

14 Q. Thank you very much. We can see at the bottom of the

15 page, looking under A, under the heading "Terrorism":

16 "The regional head of Special Branch provided a

17 compendium as to the current threat, emphasising

18 particularly the activities connected to various

19 dissident groupings."

20 Was it a standard feature of these meetings that the

21 regional head of Special Branch would brief the

22 attendees about the situation in relation to terrorism

23 within the region?

24 A. That is correct.

25 Q. Thank you very much. Now, can I ask you about the other

 

 

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1 types of meeting? Is it right that there were meetings

2 at lower levels than this; in other words, at divisional

3 and subdivisional level?

4 A. That is correct, yes.

5 Q. Can I take it that you were not present at those

6 meetings?

7 A. No.

8 Q. They would have been chaired presumably by the

9 Divisional Commander and the Subdivisional Commander?

10 A. That is correct, yes.

11 Q. Now, in addition and, if you don't mind me saying, above

12 this, were you an attendee at intelligence review

13 committee meetings?

14 A. No, not in general, no.

15 Q. What about the Province Executive Committee meetings.

16 Did you attend those?

17 A. No, not of routine, no.

18 Q. Would you attend them from time to time?

19 A. I think there may have been, when there were things like

20 Drumcree or the force planning for that that I might

21 have been, but I genuinely cannot recall. The term

22 actually threw me a little at first.

23 Q. Can I just show you an example where it looks as though

24 you may have attended, at RNI-837-190 (displayed)? This

25 is the minutes of the meeting, the same meeting Regional

 

 

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1 Management Committee meeting on December. Do you see

2 at A, again, the second paragraph:

3 "The Assistant Chief Constable made reference to the

4 recent PEC meeting"?

5 That, I think, is the acronym for that committee?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Then you go on to give a report in relation to

8 de-escalation. So it follows, doesn't it, that you must

9 have attended a PEC meeting in order to make this report

10 to your committee?

11 A. Yes, indeed, yes.

12 Q. Was that a committee which you attended from time to

13 time?

14 A. I think that's correct, yes.

15 Q. And what were the topics discussed in meetings of the

16 PEC?

17 A. I would think they were probably matters of force issue.

18 I see in that particular one, it is a discussion --

19 obviously it was organised around de-escalation of

20 security operations.

21 Q. Was that all part of the normalisation process?

22 A. It was indeed, yes.

23 Q. Can you remember how often such meetings took place?

24 A. No, I'm sorry, I can't.

25 Q. Can you remember the other attendees who would regularly

 

 

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1 be at those meetings?

2 A. I would have thought it would have been a similar

3 attendance to the Chief Constable's meeting, but I would

4 have also thought that military commanders would have

5 been -- and I think that is the case, yes, that military

6 commanders always accompanied their -- in terms of

7 security matters, the military commanders would have

8 accompanied the Regional Commander, ie being co-located

9 with the brigadier, for instance, in South Region.

10 Q. Can I just take you back to that paragraph of your

11 statement where you mention that, RNI-803-031 in

12 paragraph 2 (displayed)? Do you see there in the last

13 sentence you refer to relations with the Army?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And:

16 "The brigadier for 3 Brigade was co-located with

17 me"?

18 So he was your opposite number as far as the Army

19 was concerned?

20 A. That's correct, yes. It would probably be more correct

21 to say that I was co-located with him, in that I was in

22 his camp.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: It was Mahon Road?

24 A. Mahon Road, sir, yes.

25 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you very much. So far as liaison with

 

 

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1 Special Branch is concerned -- you have helpfully told

2 us about your relations with Head of Special Branch --

3 was there a similar pattern of liaison further down the

4 command chain with the equivalent Special Branch

5 officers in South Region?

6 A. Sorry, I'm not quite -- you mean in other areas of the

7 region within divisions or subdivisions?

8 Q. And at lower levels, yes.

9 A. I would have thought so. I would hope so.

10 Q. Were there structures to ensure that that took place?

11 A. At the meeting, yes, the local Special Branch officers

12 would have attended the divisional action committee

13 meeting and the subdivisional action committee meeting.

14 Thank you very much. I would like to ask you a specific

15 series of questions prompted by a comment much later in

16 your statement at RNI-803-043, and this is paragraph 56

17 (displayed). There you say:

18 "There was occasionally the odd complaint of a lack

19 of interaction between CID and Special Branch relating

20 to certain information not being shared."

21 Now, can I ask you first of all, what form did

22 complaints of that kind take?

23 A. My recollection would be probably -- and it is merely

24 a recollection -- and it was during the course of my

25 statement, I suppose I would have to say that I was --

 

 

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1 in the structure of the interview, I was attempting to

2 be as helpful as I could with recollection, and perhaps

3 the interview, which took place really by way of

4 a question and answer interview --

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. -- maybe wasn't as well coordinated as it might have

7 been and perhaps I, in my retirement, was not as well

8 coordinated as I might have been. So I was attempting

9 to help to fill in the questions asked at that time.

10 My recollection -- and the reason for the statement,

11 I think -- was that at times in my meetings or if there

12 were specific things, there may have been a discourse

13 between the two heads of branches as to whether or not

14 information was supplied quickly enough or whether it

15 went, for instance, up to Headquarters and back down

16 again, or whether, indeed, the Special Branch were

17 attempting to, for instance, protect a source in

18 relation to information.

19 I would hasten probably to add that I don't believe

20 that that was to the detriment of the information. It

21 was merely an opinion as to whether or not the CID

22 needs. I would probably also say that I think on

23 occasions that it went the other way: that CID also

24 would have had some information coming in and the branch

25 might have thought that it would have been useful to

 

 

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1 them. So I think it could have went both ways.

2 Q. So there were concerns expressed to you as the Commander

3 of the region, were there, about something less than

4 a full exchange of information between CID on the one

5 hand, and Special Branch on the other?

6 A. Yes, but I think I would emphasise there probably the

7 "occasionally". It was not a major issue, and I think

8 if it came to me, it might have been to apply my skills

9 as a referee between the two departments and not that it

10 was a significant or unsolvable issue.

11 Q. Did more of the complaint come from CID?

12 A. I really -- it would be impossible for me to say that

13 now, but I suspect that it might have been the case.

14 Purveyors of information were generally more

15 Special Branch than CID, but I could not say that that

16 was a fact.

17 Q. Were there any guidelines or force orders in place which

18 governed the sharing of Special Branch intelligence with

19 CID?

20 A. Oh, dear. I'm sorry, I cannot recall. I would think

21 that there were arrangements, and in fact I would be

22 certain that there were, but I do not remember now.

23 Q. If there was such guidance, would it have been written

24 down?

25 A. I would have thought that it probably would, but it is

 

 

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1 the "if" section of that. I just do not remember if

2 there were. I genuinely do not have any recollection.

3 But I would have thought that there must have been

4 protocols of sorts, if not forces instructions.

5 Q. Now, were you in post at the time of Rosemary Nelson's

6 murder?

7 A. I was indeed, yes.

8 Q. And at the time of the murder investigation which

9 followed it?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Did any such complaints come to your attention in

12 relation to the murder investigation?

13 A. No, I do not recall it, but then I was only very

14 marginally involved at the outset in the murder

15 investigation and not following the investigation team

16 involved thereafter. And for the most part I kept my

17 liaison to support of the team, rather than involvement.

18 I thought it would have been inappropriate for me to

19 have been involved. So, no, I don't believe there were

20 any issues like that raised with me.

21 Q. Thank you. So far as the Army is concerned, you touched

22 on that briefly a little earlier and you said that you

23 were based, in a sense, on Army territory. You say in

24 your statement at paragraph 2, back to RNI-803-031

25 (displayed), that you worked closely with the brigadier.

 

 

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1 Again, can I ask you, would there have been a similar

2 structure going down from your level in your region

3 whereby there was contact and liaison between your

4 officers and Army personnel?

5 A. Yes, indeed there would.

6 Q. And I think you have said Army officers of one kind or

7 another would be present at the various meetings that we

8 have discussed?

9 A. I think as a routine they would. Sorry, at meetings,

10 the Army would not as a rule have been represented at my

11 meeting nor at the subdivisional or the divisional

12 action subcommittee meetings, except if they were

13 arranged for a purpose. To my knowledge, the Army did

14 not have a representative ...

15 Q. But they were, I think you said, at the PEC meetings?

16 A. Yes, that was at the Headquarters level. I am pausing

17 there, but I don't believe the Army were represented at

18 the local meetings. There would have been planning

19 meetings, operational planning meetings, I think, at

20 which stage then the results of the meetings would have

21 been implemented. That way there was a coordination

22 and, in a sense, I suppose, a police command element to

23 the operations being run. At least that was the theory,

24 I think.

25 Q. Yes. Now, can I just ask you finally in relation to the

 

 

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1 Security Service, did you have any regular contact or

2 liaison with Security Service officers?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Now, in relation to the statement that you have

5 prepared, you have already indicated, I think, that the

6 interview may have found you a little less coordinated

7 than you would have wished to be. Does that suggest

8 that your recollection of the events you talk about in

9 your statement is, at this stage, not very good?

10 A. No -- well, I think I would probably have to say that it

11 is better now than at the time of the interview perhaps,

12 but then you have supplied me with considerable material

13 which has refreshed my mind in a number of ways. Well,

14 at least that of it that I could digest.

15 Q. So you feel slightly better coordinated now?

16 A. Well, hopefully I am, yes.

17 Q. Yes, good. Now, one of the paragraphs that prompted me

18 to ask about that is paragraph 5 at RNI-803-032

19 (displayed), because you say:

20 "I have no direct recollection of threats against

21 Rosemary Nelson arising. I'm sure that some form of

22 correspondence or passing of documents went on around

23 the time. I remember there being a furore and a number

24 of issues being raised in public about her not being

25 under protection, but I can't remember whether that was

 

 

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1 before or after her death. I think the issues that

2 arose were dealt with before my arrival."

3 Could I just pause there and ask you, do you mean by

4 that before your arrival at the South Region?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. You then say:

7 "There was a lot of debate in relation to her

8 protection taking place directly with RUC Headquarters."

9 Can you help me with that? What do you mean "a lot

10 of debate taking place directly with RUC Headquarters"?

11 A. This is probably part of my problem in recollecting the

12 sequence of things, and as I have said at the origin of

13 my statement, when I went to speak and volunteered

14 myself to speak with the people who were interviewing

15 me, I really could not, at that stage, remember what

16 I knew at the time, what I had read afterwards, what

17 I heard in the news or, indeed, then, when they started

18 producing documents, what was being thrown into my mind.

19 I would assume that I think -- about issues, for

20 instance, the complaints in relation to the police were

21 almost a year -- well, in the previous year to when

22 I assumed command. But because I was a member of the

23 chief officers' group, it may well be that I was aware,

24 in addition to public knowledge in the media or

25 whatever, I was aware of some matters being referred to.

 

 

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1 Q. Can I just stop you there -- sorry to interrupt you --

2 are you saying, therefore, you think that there may have

3 been reference at the chief officers' meeting, the

4 Chief Constable's meeting, to the complaints?

5 A. I would merely be speculating that that could have been

6 the case. I have no recollection of it actually

7 happening.

8 Q. Can you think of any other way that you would have

9 learned about these matters while you were ACC

10 management support?

11 A. In general public knowledge? I mean, there was media

12 coverage in relation to it.

13 Q. Indeed.

14 A. And I mean, I probably, I suppose, was aware to that

15 extent. Portadown and, indeed, I think, the murder of

16 the RUC officers in Lurgan was quite widely reported at

17 the time.

18 Q. Now you have read back into the material a bit more, and

19 to be as clear about this as we can, please, while you

20 were at Headquarters up until January 1998, other than

21 what you read in the media or saw on the television, are

22 there any other ways, other than the chief officers'

23 meeting, that you would have learned about the

24 complaints and about other issues involving

25 Rosemary Nelson?

 

 

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1 A. No, I don't believe so.

2 Q. No.

3 A. I say there that I do not have a -- my recollection may

4 be wrong, but there is surely nothing in my mind which

5 actually tells me what I did or didn't know. When the

6 previous Regional Assistant Chief Constable, for

7 instance, would have briefed me into my job, there are

8 a number of way that I could have received information,

9 but I am sure I had -- I mean, from my retirement, I can

10 assure you I tried very hard not to remember what had

11 gone on in the previous 35 years. So this interview

12 probably was putting something of a strain on my

13 recollection and on my mind. I can't say that I had any

14 considerable desire to start looking at it again.

15 Q. No. Can I then ask you some much more general questions

16 about what you found when you started as ACC South

17 in January 1998, at that point, just a few months before

18 the Good Friday Agreement, when the process of

19 normalisation begun?

20 A. You referred to the PEC minutes or whatever, and indeed

21 I have read a number of my own reports or the minutes.

22 I'm slightly confused that -- can't recollect why 1994

23 is in my mind. That was the origins, I think, of the

24 ceasefire and what have you. And therefore I, as the

25 Divisional Commander, for instance, in Londonderry, I

 

 

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1 had already initiated, I suppose, for want of a better

2 word, de-escalation measures in my own policing

3 division. And therefore, yes, I'm assuming that when

4 I took up command, and reading from the minutes, that we

5 were attempting to normalise policing. As I read, I was

6 reminded again of an operation called Revert which

7 essentially meant that we were trying to normalise

8 policing on the one hand, but maintaining a position

9 where, if things went off the deep end again, that we

10 were in a position to actually respond and deal with

11 those.

12 So it was making progress, but looking both ways in

13 a sense. So, yes, your question was had things started

14 to move. I would have thought at that stage at a very

15 slow pace, and it was a question of actually looking at

16 what options were available and how we could make

17 progress.

18 Q. In terms of your knowledge as the Regional Commander of

19 local police stations, do you think you had a good

20 working knowledge, for example, of the police stations

21 at Lurgan and Portadown?

22 A. I would have thought so, yes, but I would also have been

23 very careful not to have encroached on the divisional

24 and subdivisional command.

25 I took my responsibility to be to represent the

 

 

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1 Chief Constable and then to direct and assist. If I had

2 become more closely involved with running the local

3 stations or subdivisions or whatever, then I think I

4 would have been encroaching on their autonomy.

5 So yes, I would have had a knowledge -- but I'm not

6 sure what you mean maybe by knowledge -- but, yes, I

7 would have visited the stations frequently for the

8 purposes of, I suppose, meeting with those in the

9 stations and discussing issues or whatever.

10 Q. And is it right to say that at that point, in 1998,

11 Lurgan in particular was still a tense and difficult

12 place so far as policing conditions were concerned?

13 A. That's correct, yes. There were -- there were probably

14 identified areas. From reading the minutes, the border

15 area in South Armagh, the Lurgan area and East Tyrone

16 would have been the most problematic areas within the

17 region. And therefore, efforts would have been made not

18 only to, I suppose, deal with the potential problems

19 within those, but to protect the rest of the region from

20 the impact of those and, indeed, the rest of the force

21 area for that matter.

22 Q. What impact, if any, did you see that having on the

23 local officers who were based in Lurgan?

24 A. Sorry, impact on the ...?

25 Q. What was the effect on them in working in those

 

 

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1 difficult and --

2 A. Sorry, yes. The security pressures would have been

3 stronger, but then I don't think in early 1998 that even

4 the hope of de-escalation in the future would have

5 changed the working situation for most police officers

6 in Northern Ireland, and in actual fact in many ways

7 they were more vulnerable then.

8 Q. Why do you say that, please?

9 A. They were attempting to actually do things in a less

10 paramilitary way and with less military support, and

11 therefore they were crossing the boundaries in a way in

12 terms of their own safety.

13 Q. And so there were particular dangers and uncertainties

14 which were themselves a product of the gradual

15 normalisation?

16 A. That's correct, yes.

17 Q. What impact did that have on morale in local stations

18 such as Lurgan? Can you remember?

19 A. I can't remember a problem. I think at the outset it

20 would be reasonable to say that there was perhaps more

21 tugging than running in terms of making changes in

22 command, and I accepted that.

23 But, I mean, in terms of an attitude or problems

24 with it, I don't recall that there were. I am sure

25 there was hesitancy after 30-odd years of violence. In

 

 

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1 fact, I'm certain there was; I had it myself.

2 Q. Do you remember noticing, as the Regional Commander, any

3 effects on those officers who were stationed in Lurgan

4 of the murder of the two officers in Church Walk in

5 Lurgan at the end of June the previous year, 1997?

6 A. Well, I think I would probably have to say that the

7 impact in those things is generally sudden, in terms of

8 morale and in terms of the fear factors and what have

9 you.

10 I was then some six months after that, so I didn't

11 actually perceive a problem with that, no. I don't

12 think it was ever raised with me. But I would have

13 recognised that it would have been an impact on morale

14 having officers murdered doing their duty. And I think

15 if I recollect, the officers were doing

16 a community-related duty at the time, and therefore were

17 perceived to be someone vulnerable.

18 Q. So it was an example, was it, of precisely the more

19 normal policing that you indicated was one of the

20 features of gradual normalisation?

21 A. I would think so, but I'm not talking from direct

22 personal experience. I wasn't there. I am sure I would

23 have been briefed in relation to it, but I cannot

24 remember personally the circumstances.

25 Q. Yes. Now, can I ask you some questions in relation to

 

 

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1 Rosemary Nelson, and I appreciate you have put up very

2 clearly your warning about the nature of your

3 recollection. But can we start by looking at your

4 paragraph 7 at RNI-803-032 (displayed)? You say there:

5 "I was aware of Rosemary Nelson because of her high

6 profile. She acted in a number of controversial cases."

7 Can I ask you, please, which are the cases that you

8 are referring to there?

9 A. I would have assumed that in fact it was the murder of

10 the police officers.

11 Q. Her representation of Colin Duffy?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And any others?

14 A. No, I don't recall direct knowledge at least of it.

15 I mean, that's one of phrases perhaps, "high profile".

16 I'm not even sure that I would use the term "high

17 profile", but it is in the statement. So, therefore, I

18 didn't object to it at the time.

19 Q. It comes in again, if we can look at it together, at

20 paragraph 28 of your statement at RNI-803-027

21 (displayed), where you say:

22 "Rosemary Nelson was a high profile character who

23 was well known to local officers in her capacity as a

24 solicitor engaged in criminal defence work."

25 Again, presumably that's something you learned as

 

 

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1 soon as you took up your post in South Region?

2 A. Yes, although I would have to say, as I reflected on the

3 information and the material that I was given, that I

4 could not say -- I say high profile. She was obviously

5 active in the local courts and what have you.

6 Therefore, she would have been known.

7 But Rosemary Nelson was not, as it were, a feature

8 of my working life in Portadown, in that I wasn't aware

9 that she was high profile every week or whatever

10 activity. So that's why I hesitate slightly with the

11 high profile. I am sure it depends on what your

12 definition of high profile might be. But, yes, she was

13 obviously a known person. She was a local active

14 solicitor and evidently involved in the Garvaghy Road

15 and Drumcree as well.

16 Q. And the Garvaghy Road and Drumcree, were those examples

17 of the sort of issues you mention in the final sentence

18 of paragraph 28, which had occurred before you took

19 over?

20 A. No, I think what I was probably referring to there -- or

21 may have been raised -- is the complaints in respect of

22 the police officers. I'm not aware of any other issues

23 in relation to her prior.

24 Q. No. Well, imagine that you are arriving in South Region

25 and you are being told about high profile or important

 

 

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1 issues of the previous year. You have learned perhaps

2 in that way about the complaints, alleging that officers

3 had threatened her?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Did you not also learn that she had been involved in the

6 Garvaghy Road protest that year, 1997, and alleged that

7 she had been assaulted by police officers?

8 A. No, strangely I do not have a recollection of the

9 allegation of assault. I think I probably would have

10 been aware of her involvement because prior to my taking

11 over in South Region, I had gone to -- as a Headquarters

12 Assistant Chief Constable, I had gone to Portadown to

13 act as an aide to the ACC who was then in charge.

14 Q. Was this in 1997?

15 A. 1997, yes. But that was for a few days over the initial

16 impact of Drumcree. So it was a fleeting visit, as it

17 were.

18 Q. So you are saying you didn't know in January 1998 that

19 she had been involved in those events the previous year?

20 A. I think I would have been aware, yes, that she was on

21 the Garvaghy Road, as were many. But I do not have

22 a recollection of knowing that she had alleged assault,

23 no.

24 Q. And of course Drumcree was a continuing problem and one

25 which you had to deal with as the Regional Commander in

 

 

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1 the following year, wasn't it?

2 A. That is correct, for three years, yes.

3 Q. Indeed, because the problems which were triggered in the

4 summer of 1998 continued for a substantial period

5 thereafter?

6 A. Yes. I believe some would say they still continue, but

7 yes, they were still active when I left, yes.

8 Q. And it was that year, 1998, a massive public order issue

9 for you as the Regional Commander presumably?

10 A. It was, yes.

11 Q. Can I just ask you about the next paragraph of your

12 statement, which we also have on the screen, where

13 a question was posed to you in your interview? You were

14 asked whether she was perceived as a supporter of the

15 Republican cause, and you say:

16 "Certainly she represented Republican clients, but

17 whether people thought of her as a supporter of the

18 Republican cause is a different matter. I suppose it

19 was the impression held by some people with the RUC. It

20 was definitely not what I would describe as the

21 impression of 'the police'. I was probably aware that

22 people within the RUC held that view of her, but it was

23 certainly not what could be described as the view of the

24 RUC."

25 Can I ask you, please, how did you become aware that

 

 

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1 there were some people within the RUC who had that view

2 of her?

3 A. Well, I'm not sure actually that I did. In fact, in the

4 third line -- sorry, the fourth line, I think I could

5 probably substitute there:

6 "I suppose that it could have been the impression

7 ..."

8 But I have no knowledge of anyone ever saying to me

9 that that was the indication, that she was a supporter

10 of the Republican cause.

11 Q. Yes. Well, you go a little further than that, don't

12 you, in the last sentence because there you say:

13 "I was probably aware that people within the RUC

14 held that view of her"?

15 It looks as though it was something you were aware

16 of at the time?

17 A. Well, it is something that the person with whom I was

18 having the interview assumed that I had, but, I mean,

19 I could have been aware. I just don't know that I was.

20 I mean, there probably is no reason to assume that

21 in actual fact if there were problems in Lurgan, as you

22 have pointed out, in relation to the trials, what have

23 you, that maybe some people didn't regard her with

24 Republican clients and what have you and there was quite

25 a lot of discourse in the newspapers. But I genuinely

 

 

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1 cannot say that.

2 Q. So are you saying you have no recollection of hearing

3 her described in that way or views being expressed about

4 her in that way?

5 A. No, I most definitely have not -- no recollection of it

6 and I do not believe that I did.

7 Q. Just to ask you a general question, because you have now

8 made a number of comments about the way your statement

9 is expressed: however unwelcome the interview and the

10 going back over matters you didn't want to go over, can

11 I assume that you saw the statement in draft?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And had at least the opportunity to read it and check it

14 before you signed it?

15 A. I did indeed, yes. I think there were three drafts

16 where I made various changes, and I accept that

17 I have -- that's why I did not challenge, once I signed

18 the first statement, and had not challenged. There was

19 little point in me two and a half years later sitting

20 down and deciding that the words did not actually suit

21 what I realised within my thoughts. So yes, I have

22 accepted that the statement was mine.

23 Q. Thank you. Moving on with this question of perceptions

24 or views of Rosemary Nelson, in your dealings with the

25 Chief Constable do you recollect him ever expressing

 

 

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1 a view of any kind about Rosemary Nelson?

2 A. No, I do not.

3 Q. You do not?

4 A. No.

5 Q. Now, we have been over the comments you made in your

6 statement saying you were probably aware that people

7 within the RUC held a particular view of her.

8 A. Could have, yes.

9 Q. Could have held a view of her. Do you think that would

10 be something of which other senior officers within the

11 RUC were themselves aware: that there could be such

12 views held about her in the ranks?

13 A. I suppose it could be, yes, but I have no knowledge that

14 it was the case.

15 Q. But as you, I think, have indicated earlier, it would

16 perhaps not be surprising, would it, particularly at

17 a local level, in the light of the murders of the two

18 police officers in Lurgan and her successful

19 representation of the man accused of their murder,

20 Colin Duffy, that some officers would take that view, an

21 adverse view of her?

22 A. I mean, it is the same question put in a slightly

23 different way, isn't it? I suppose all I can say is it

24 could have been. Again, I do not know that anyone

25 actually held that view, but if you were making an

 

 

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1 assumption that people did because of knowledge and

2 because of the circumstances, that is possible, yes.

3 Q. Well, as a matter of human nature, it is pretty likely,

4 isn't it?

5 A. Well, I don't say it is pretty likely. I say it is

6 possible, which is a different thing, I think. But,

7 I mean, I'm now talking outside my knowledge, in

8 a sense. So what other people thought I really don't

9 know.

10 Q. Okay. Can we just look at another topic, which is an

11 aspect of Drumcree, and in particular the following

12 year. And to help you, you deal with this in

13 paragraph 40 and following in your statement at

14 RNI-803-040 (displayed).

15 Now, you have already told us about your involvement

16 as the Regional Commander with that public order problem

17 in 1998, and presumably in that context you encountered

18 Breandan Mac Cionnaith who was the leader of the

19 Residents Coalition?

20 A. Yes, encountered. I met -- I suppose I knew of him all

21 of the time, but I met him on several occasions.

22 Q. Yes. So far as that is concerned, what was your

23 understanding in 1998 of Rosemary Nelson's role in

24 relation to the Residents Coalition?

25 A. I really can't remember, but I would believe that in

 

 

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1 actual fact she had been involved. I think there was

2 information. There is now information surely in

3 relation to some of the papers or the interviews that

4 she was involved with Colin Duffy and

5 Breandan Mac Cionnaith in relation to organising on the

6 Garvaghy Road.

7 If I had been aware, as I might have been, that she

8 was there in 1997, her alleged assault, then I think it

9 is probably a reasonable assumption in any event, yes.

10 Q. So what are you saying in relation to 1998, your

11 understanding at the time, about what you knew of her

12 role at the time, not based on what you have seen

13 subsequently?

14 A. No, I probably was aware, but I don't recall being aware

15 of it now. But then again, in the overall scheme of

16 things, if the information had been passed to me that

17 she was there and she was helping Breandan Mac Cionnaith

18 or whatever, that would not have been a major issue

19 for me.

20 Q. But did you think, for instance, that she was acting as

21 the lawyer to the Residents Coalition?

22 A. If she had been. I don't remember it being put that way

23 to me, but if she had been, I would not have considered

24 it unusual, or in actual fact I wouldn't have seen

25 anything wrong with it, I'm quite sure.

 

 

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1 Q. Can we just look at one of the intelligence documents

2 you have been shown, and this is at RNI-542-250

3 (displayed)?

4 The first thing to ask you is, I assume from your

5 earlier answers that you would certainly not have seen

6 this document at the time, in 1998; is that correct?

7 A. No.

8 Q. So what I'm concerned about, if we turn over to the next

9 page, RNI-542-251 (displayed), is not the document but

10 the substance of what is set out in it, which is

11 a suggestion that Mr Duffy, Rosemary Nelson and

12 Breandan Mac Cionnaith were all involved in organising

13 the residents and others in relation to the protest, and

14 the suggestion there that Colin Duffy and

15 Rosemary Nelson had private meetings with

16 Mr Mac Cionnaith in relation to the situation.

17 Now, do you think you were aware of this sort of

18 information and suggestion about her role at the time,

19 when you were involved as Regional Commander?

20 A. I don't recall it having been the case. I do recall the

21 meeting where she and Mr Mallon came to the

22 Garvaghy Road and had quite a difficult time. But I

23 don't recall being briefed that Colly Duffy or

24 Rosemary Nelson were involved or responsible for it.

25 I do know that it was quite difficult for Seamus Mallon.

 

 

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1 Q. Did you not receive intelligence briefings in relation

2 to Drumcree before and during the events?

3 A. Yes, daily briefings, yes.

4 Q. It was absolutely vital presumably to have as much

5 information as you could possibly have?

6 A. It was, yes.

7 Q. Because you were constantly having to take very

8 difficult decisions on the ground, weren't you?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And your officers were caught, in a sense, weren't they,

11 between the various factions?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And you needed absolutely all the intelligence you could

14 get your hands on in order to make those very difficult

15 decisions?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Now, so far as the other intelligence documents you have

18 been shown, I don't want to take you through the detail

19 of them, but you see the suggestions are that

20 Rosemary Nelson had been behaving improperly as

21 a lawyer, pressurising witnesses, she had been working

22 very closely with the Provisional IRA, essentially

23 misusing her position to that end, and the third strand

24 of the material is the allegation that she was having

25 a sexual relationship with one of her clients, with

 

 

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1 Colin Duffy?

2 A. Yes, that is in the current documents.

3 Q. Indeed. The ones you have just been shown.

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Can I ask you in relation to those allegations -- again,

6 assuming that you will tell us you didn't see the actual

7 documents -- were you made aware of those matters, that

8 intelligence, at the time, do you think?

9 A. I don't recall. I surely had no -- prior to reading

10 some of this, no recollection of, for instance, the

11 allegations in relation to Colly Duffy. I don't recall

12 them. Nor indeed as an individual would I have had any

13 interest in such a thing.

14 I am sure that if the information was there and

15 collated, then I would have been briefed about it at the

16 time. But is that in respect of Drumcree or overall?

17 Q. Quite generally.

18 A. Quite generally. Well, I could have been briefed as

19 part of a routine briefing, for instance, by the Head of

20 Special Branch.

21 Q. And do you include within that a briefing to the effect

22 that Rosemary Nelson was acting effectively as a PIRA

23 lawyer?

24 A. No, I have no recollection of that being raised with me,

25 no. I mean, the reason I say that I haven't -- I think

 

 

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1 that something like that would most definitely have

2 informed my thinking about her.

3 Q. Yes, indeed.

4 A. And quite obviously if she was actively involved in

5 Republicanism to that extent, then it would have been

6 a concern for me.

7 Q. Yes.

8 A. Whereas, for instance, if she was reported as acting for

9 the Garvaghy Road residents, I think that that was quite

10 a normal function.

11 Q. It would indeed have had an impact on anybody who had

12 learned that information, wouldn't it?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And in their subsequent dealings with her?

15 A. Yes, although I had no subsequent dealings -- sorry,

16 personally or directly had no subsequent dealings.

17 Q. No. But you can see the point: if you had been made

18 aware of that, it would have affected the way you

19 perceived her?

20 A. That's correct, it would.

21 Q. But you are sure, are you, as far as you can be, that

22 you were not made aware of the allegations that she was

23 acting improperly as a solicitor in order to assist the

24 IRA?

25 A. I do not have any recollection of that, no.

 

 

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1 Q. You think it is something you would have recalled?

2 A. I do think it is something that I would have remembered,

3 yes. Maybe not now, but at the time.

4 Q. Yes. Now, can I just ask you some questions about

5 threat assessments because that's something you spend

6 a little time in your statement dealing with.

7 Based on your account as given to us so far about

8 your earlier career, can I ask you this: had you had any

9 experience before arriving at the South Region of

10 working on, preparing, threat assessments?

11 A. No.

12 Q. In paragraph 8 of your statement, you refer to the

13 system which was in place for dealing with threats, and

14 that's at RNI-803-032 (displayed). You say in the

15 second sentence of this paragraph:

16 "The system was not, as I recall, as formalised then

17 as it has later become since there are now forms and

18 various other documents to fill out."

19 So, again, I appreciate that you didn't have access

20 to the material at this stage, but your recollection is

21 that there was a change and an increasing formalisation

22 in the way in which threats were dealt with; is that

23 right?

24 A. That is, yes. And I probably would emphasise that

25 that's one of the paragraphs where I think I was

 

 

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1 probably straining to be of assistance to the

2 interviewer and my recollections were not in any way

3 coordinated. Although I think the basis probably for

4 the system and then review of the system maybe is in the

5 two force orders that I have now been shown.

6 Q. To cut this short, you have now, I think, been shown,

7 haven't you, the first force order which was in place

8 until March 1998? And we can look at that at

9 RNI-101-001 (displayed). You see the first paragraph:

10 "When a member of the force learns of a threat to

11 the life of any person, details of the threat will be

12 passed forthwith to local Special Branch."

13 Just flicking on on the screen, if we go to

14 paragraph 7, RNI-101-004 (displayed), which deals with

15 the category of "other persons", and that's where

16 Rosemary Nelson fits in:

17 "Local Special Branch concerned will inform the

18 Subdivisional Commander in whose area the subject

19 resides and works. The Subdivisional Commander will

20 take whatever action he considers necessary. Local

21 Special Branch will also inform Special Branch

22 Headquarters."

23 Then the subsequent order, RNI-101-228 (displayed),

24 20 March 1998:

25 "When a member of the RUC or reserve learns of

 

 

135


1 a threat to the life of any person, details of the

2 threat must be passed forthwith ..."

3 Then the relevant parts are slightly different now.

4 At 6, RNI-101-230, the requirement there on -- can we

5 have RNI-101-230, please (displayed) and enlarge

6 paragraph 6:

7 "Other persons."

8 And then a slightly more elaborate provision in

9 relation to what happens thereafter, including at (b),

10 you see, the case of somebody who is informed of the

11 threat and a form of words to be used. Do you see at

12 the end of (b):

13 "The local Special Branch will also inform

14 Special Branch Headquarters. The latter will pass the

15 details to Security Branch, D12, D Department at RUC

16 Headquarters."

17 Now, presumably I can take it that even though you

18 had forgotten them by the time of your interview, you

19 were well aware of these orders at the time you were in

20 post?

21 A. I would presume so, yes.

22 Q. Yes. Now --

23 A. I'm sorry, I may not have been dealing with them daily.

24 The system in actual fact did not directly link with the

25 ACC. There was not a functional responsibility for me

 

 

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1 to perform within the instructions, but I'm quite

2 certain that there would have been quite a number of

3 threats, they were an everyday occurrence. So I would

4 have been aware of the process, yes.

5 Q. Thank you. That is the next matter I wanted to raise

6 with you because you deal with the threats at various

7 different points in your statement in various different

8 ways.

9 Can I ask you how often, as ACC South Region, did

10 you actually have to deal with the processing of

11 a threat assessment?

12 A. I would say deal with might be the -- probably the

13 central element there, in that I would not have normally

14 been dealing with, but I would have been informed of

15 occasions, for instance -- I mean, there were quite

16 a lot throughout the region. I would have been

17 notified, for instance, it was -- I'm sorry, I hesitate

18 almost to say it -- kind of a standing joke that on

19 a Friday evening at 5 o'clock you normally got

20 a clearout of all the threat assessments for the week,

21 and therefore there was an awful lot of work to be done

22 by the people operationally. And I say that

23 respectfully.

24 But, yes, I would have been notified that a large

25 number of, for instance, threat assessments had been

 

 

137


1 issued because of information being analysed. And there

2 was an effort made to make sure that people were

3 notified. I would not have had a direct involvement in

4 notifying people, but if it became necessary to

5 coordinate or provide resources in relation to that,

6 then the divisions or the subdivisions would have been

7 coming to me. But I would not have had direct --

8 a direct input to it or actual involvement in it.

9 Q. So in the vast majority of cases then, to what extent

10 would you be involved in this process at all?

11 A. Very rarely. In terms of active hands-on involvement?

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. Not very often, no.

14 Q. So the case that we see dealt with in your statement,

15 where you are involved in the passing of material up and

16 down the chain in February and then again in August of

17 1998, was unusual?

18 A. It was in the sense -- yes, I think that probably it is

19 correct to say that the force instructions in relation

20 to threats took the shortest possible routes in relation

21 to information and action, and that was obviously for

22 the purposes of making sure that people who might be the

23 subject of the threat were warned as quickly as

24 possible.

25 The others were not threats that had been received

 

 

138


1 by police officers or, indeed, by Special Branch. They

2 were matters that had been processed through

3 Headquarters, and therefore that would have been the

4 conventional way to transmit information or enquiry from

5 the Chief Constable's office to the local subdivisions

6 would have been through the command chain. It was

7 somewhat laborious at times, but that's the way it

8 worked.

9 Q. It certainly looks like it in the paper trail we will

10 look at briefly in a minute. It is a fantastically

11 hierarchical system, isn't it?

12 A. Yes, indeed it is.

13 Q. So there is no jumping of ranks, as I understand it,

14 that in order for a person at sergeant level to

15 communicate eventually all the way up to you, his

16 material has to go through two, three or even four

17 subsequent stages up the chain?

18 A. That's correct, yes. I'm not sure that was the case in

19 every situation. There were some systems that were

20 designed to -- but that was generally the paper trail,

21 yes.

22 Q. And presumably, in theory at least, one of the points

23 there was that it might be that the more senior officers

24 would add something of value to the material as it went

25 up the chain?

 

 

139


1 A. It could be, yes.

2 Q. But it obviously didn't always happen, did it?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Now, in terms of the terminology of threats, which we

5 have heard a good deal of evidence about in the Inquiry,

6 can I ask you to look, please, at RNI-803-044

7 (displayed)? In paragraph 57 in the first line, you

8 there say:

9 "A serious threat would be something that was backed

10 up with intelligence from the agencies. We would get

11 the information and it would be supported by serious

12 intelligence."

13 At other points in your statement you talk about

14 a specific threat. Were these terms of art, as far as

15 you were concerned, with a particular meaning?

16 A. No, I don't think so. That seems like I have been asked

17 a question about a serious threat and I have attempted

18 to explain it. I mean, I could not see a distinction

19 between -- if a threat is a threat, therefore I couldn't

20 see a distinction between a serious threat or another

21 word. Just in the same way as I'm talking about direct

22 threats or whatever. I'm not sure what the difference

23 is between a direct and an indirect threat.

24 So it is a terminology that must have been induced

25 for the purpose of describing what was to come.

 

 

140


1 Q. Presumably also, if it was a term of art used by those

2 who produced these assessments, it is not necessarily

3 something you would have known about anyway because you

4 hadn't experience yourself of preparing them?

5 A. No, but -- I mean, I would -- if I were receiving

6 a threat, I am sure -- a serious threat would have been

7 explained to me, the content and what have you. So I

8 would have had knowledge of severity of threats and what

9 have you, but definitely not in the making up of the

10 material. I would not have been involved in any way

11 with threat assessments for the analysing of

12 intelligence. I mean, I was the recipient of the end

13 product rather than a participant in it.

14 Q. Yes. So when you tell us -- and this is paragraph 25 at

15 RNI-803-036 (displayed) -- about the procedure for the

16 threat assessments, ie that they would be done at local

17 level, that was something you presumably learned by

18 receiving the material, but you had no personal

19 experience of doing it yourself?

20 A. That is true. I wouldn't have been directly involved,

21 and in general I suspect that I wouldn't have known

22 about the specifics of it.

23 Q. No. What about Security Branch? Because at other

24 points in your statement you refer not to Special Branch

25 assessments, but to Security Branch assessments. What

 

 

141


1 was your understanding about when Security Branch came

2 into play?

3 A. I think if there was a question of additional security

4 measures having to be employed or if there were issues

5 of moving house or things of that nature.

6 Q. So in those circumstances, your understanding -- this is

7 the KPPS, for example?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And so where in paragraph 11 -- if you can look at that,

10 RNI-803-033 (displayed) -- in the last sentence, you

11 talk about the matter being passed to D Department,

12 Security Branch, you would often have been involved in

13 assessing the need for physical protection, it is in

14 that context, is it, of KPPS?

15 A. That is correct, yes.

16 Q. Thank you. And in relation to what they did by way of

17 assessment, can I take it also that you had no

18 experience and direct knowledge of what work went into

19 their assessments?

20 A. No, it would be the same with the Special Branch, I

21 wouldn't be the recipient, if involved, in the end of

22 product.

23 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as threats generally are

24 concerned, can I ask you to have on the screen, please,

25 RNI-803-034 (displayed)?

 

 

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1 The first thing, just picking up a comment you made

2 a little while ago, it sounds as though the processing

3 of threats or alleged threats, although not something

4 you personally did was something that was a big feature

5 of work on a weekly basis for others within your region?

6 A. Yes. I mean, I would have been aware of that because

7 quite obviously the policing plans that were put into

8 effect throughout the region could quite often -- needed

9 to be coordinated for the purposes of protection of

10 individuals or groups of individuals. Indeed, whole

11 areas perhaps.

12 Q. Yes, and one of the aspects of that presumably was that

13 there were at any one time a very large number of people

14 who felt, personally who felt, that they were or might

15 be under threat?

16 A. There could have been, yes.

17 Q. Police officers, Army personnel and no doubt others?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Now, in paragraph 16 you make the comment about this,

20 that it was a high profile issue -- that is

21 protection and threats -- because threats would raise

22 the tension between the two sides:

23 "The receipt of threats would be widely reported

24 across both sides of the divide whether they were made

25 publicly or not."

 

 

143


1 Can I ask you what you mean by that?

2 A. Well, I think I mean that in actual fact the threats or

3 potential threats were actually used within the

4 communities and would have been spread for the

5 consolidation of support for local feeling, for any

6 sorts of reasons, that yes, they would have been, I

7 think, made use of by either side.

8 Q. Do you mean in this case that where somebody was

9 informed by police that he or she was under threat, it

10 would be used for political purposes by one side or

11 another?

12 A. It could be, yes.

13 Q. We have heard from other witnesses how it was a big

14 thing to tell an individual that he or she was under

15 threat because obviously of the anxiety and concern that

16 would inevitably result, and how you had to be very

17 careful then to make sure you were only doing so in

18 appropriate cases. Does that fit with your

19 recollection?

20 A. Yes, I think that's the -- in the force order, the

21 introduction of the phrase to be used.

22 Q. Yes, exactly.

23 A. So that it was neither misused politically or created

24 the wrong impression for individuals.

25 Q. But were you also concerned, based on the answers you

 

 

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1 have just given, that to tell some individuals that they

2 were under threat was to run the risk of political

3 capital and media coverage being made out of the fact

4 that a threat warning had been given?

5 A. Yes, I think that was accepted as a reality, yes.

6 Q. And did that on occasions make you and your colleagues

7 hold back before issuing warnings of that kind, lest

8 there should be those political movements and that media

9 coverage?

10 A. No, I have no knowledge that that was the case.

11 I surely have no personal involvement in such

12 a situation. And I think it would probably have been

13 untenable if there were a current threat risk in

14 relation to an individual to hold back on the chance

15 that something of that nature could happen. I think it

16 would have been an unacceptable risk to the individual.

17 Q. So the fear of adverse coverage or political capital

18 being made didn't influence decisions as to whether an

19 individual should be informed?

20 A. I do not believe so. Adverse reporting was a fact of

21 life, so I don't think that would have been deemed

22 a justification in any sense.

23 Q. Can I just ask you finally one further general question

24 about threats and that's about confidentiality. You

25 deal with that in paragraph 49 of your statement at

 

 

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1 RNI-803-041 (displayed), because here the issue is

2 raised with you, I suspect in the interview, as to

3 whether you should talk to person A about threats to the

4 life of person B.

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And how did the question of confidentiality enter into

7 the picture in threat cases?

8 A. Well, I'm dealing with this specific one in relation to

9 this, but I would have thought that in the general -- if

10 that's the question -- it would have been unacceptable

11 to have discussed the security of one individual with

12 another individual, unless there was a specific request

13 that it be done. And I'm thinking of a solicitor case

14 or perhaps an MP, something that of nature.

15 Q. And that was a general rule, was it, operated, as far as

16 you were aware, within the police?

17 A. I would have believed so, yes, but I can't say that

18 I have a recollection of it. I'm dealing with

19 a specific here, but surely that would have been my

20 stance. I would not have believed that the security of

21 one individual should be discussed with another.

22 MR PHILLIPS: No. Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly. We will have a 20-minute break.

24 Mr [name redacted], before the witness leaves -- oh, sorry.

25 It's becoming a standard mantra within the last few

 

 

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1 days.

2 MR PHILLIPS: Yes.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Twenty minutes, Mr Craig.

4 A. Thank you.

5 (3.15 pm)

6 (Short break)

7 (3.35 pm)

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

9 MR PHILLIPS: You were telling us earlier about the number

10 of people who felt they were under threat, and I should

11 have taken you at that point to paragraph 15 of your

12 statement, which I would like to do now, RNI-803-034,

13 please (displayed). Because there you say:

14 "There are no individuals who particularly stand out

15 in my memory in relation to protective issues. The

16 people applying for physical protection were like names

17 passing across my desk. I do not recall knowing any

18 personally. This is not to suggest that such matters

19 were not taken seriously, because they were, especially

20 personal protection. It was representative of the sheer

21 volume of work in this area at the time."

22 As I say, I should have asked you about this before,

23 but can I just see whether you can help us with some

24 clearer idea of the volume of cases of this kind that

25 were passing across your desk?

 

 

147


1 A. I think -- and I'm struggling a little bit again, but I

2 think the sheer volume of work in this area at the time

3 was the sheer volume of total work in the region because

4 it was in many ways a very challenging time with --

5 I mean, the normal policing, the administration

6 management and then the change. So I believe that's

7 what I was referring to.

8 Q. Yes, so threats were one of a very large number of

9 issues with which you were concerned?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And the names across the desk, is that because you, at

12 your level, were simply being told from time to time,

13 "This person is under threat and we need to do something

14 about it"?

15 A. Yes. I mean, I didn't mean to be disrespectful or

16 underestimate the severity or the seriousness of the

17 situation, but I did not at any stage, to my

18 recollection, know any individual personally who was --

19 sorry -- I suppose I should exclude police officers in

20 that situation because I knew many of those.

21 Q. Would it be fair to say that the vast majority of cases

22 that you came across were individuals either working for

23 the police, the Army or other parts of the state

24 apparatus, if I can put it that way?

25 A. Probably, yes.

 

 

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1 Q. So that the non-state employee individuals were a very

2 small minority; is that fair?

3 A. I mean, to say a very small minority, I am not sure that

4 I would, but it wouldn't have equalled, I would not

5 think, the number of police officers and -- well, to

6 a lesser degree, soldiers, et cetera.

7 Q. Was the balance not clearly in favour of the police

8 officers?

9 A. Yes, I would think so. It was indeed, yes.

10 Q. Can I ask you about another aspect of all this which you

11 tell us about in your statement, and that's crime

12 prevention advice? That I think you are talking about

13 in paragraph 11, at RNI-803-033 (displayed). Because

14 you see in the first sentence there, you say:

15 "In some instances we would also provide advice

16 about how to lead their lives."

17 Presumably limiting yourselves to the protection

18 aspect of that:

19 "... changing their daily routine, their route to

20 the office and so on."

21 Is that crime prevention advice? Is that what you

22 mean?

23 A. Yes, it was in a crime prevention sense, yes.

24 Q. How would that be given, that advice?

25 A. To my knowledge it would have been arranged through the

 

 

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1 subdivision, and the trained crime prevention officers

2 would have, I think, delivered it.

3 Q. They were officers with special responsibility and

4 knowledge of those issues?

5 A. Yes, I believe it was the same officers who would have,

6 for instance, visited business premises or given general

7 security advice in relation to crime or whatever.

8 I believe they had that responsibility.

9 Q. Was that a measure that was sometimes taken whether or

10 not it was felt that there was intelligence of

11 a specific threat?

12 A. I would think that it was probably, if it was felt

13 helpful to the individual, yes, that it could have been

14 a threat, I would feel sure -- well, I know personally

15 it is actually something which is quite devastating.

16 And therefore, I would have thought that advice and

17 assurance in that sense would have been a reassurance to

18 the individuals who might not normally have any

19 experience of that type of thing.

20 Q. Because we talked earlier about the impact on

21 individuals, the anxiety created by being told that they

22 were under threat?

23 A. Yes, I would think so, yes.

24 Q. Now, if you were in a situation where your message was

25 not, "You are under threat" but rather, "We would like

 

 

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1 to talk to you about crime prevention, about ways of

2 protecting yourself," would that have been a less

3 controversial, a less difficult message to get across?

4 A. Than, for instance? Sorry, less controversial --

5 Q. Well, you told us, you see, that in order to tell

6 somebody that they were under threat was a very big step

7 because of the anxiety and concern that would naturally

8 result.

9 What I'm suggesting to you is this: in a situation

10 where what you were saying is, "We think it would help

11 you to give you a few tips about the way you live your

12 life and the way basic steps you could take to protect

13 yourself," was that sort of approach something which had

14 the same impact in terms of anxiety or concern, as far

15 as you were aware?

16 A. Well -- I mean, I would have thought that it would have

17 been an offer that would probably have been welcomed by

18 the vast majority of people, yes.

19 Q. Indeed. Can you help me with a further general

20 question, please? In the sort of case I have mentioned,

21 where the assessment comes back and says that there is

22 no specific or serious, is the word you have used,

23 serious threats, were there cases of which you were

24 aware where the police would still have a concern and,

25 in those cases, crime prevention advice would be an

 

 

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1 option?

2 A. I am sure it could be the case, but I have no knowledge

3 of it being the case.

4 Q. But it sounds a sensible approach to you, does it?

5 A. Yes, I suppose in a sense -- I'm wondering, in the

6 circumstances that you are actually describing, where

7 there is no intelligence, no information, then where

8 does the threat come from? Why would you be in those

9 circumstances?

10 Q. Well, that's the question I'm asking you. Did it ever

11 happen that you are aware, that, despite the assessment

12 by Security Branch or Special Branch, the local

13 commander thought, "What we will do is just go along and

14 have a quiet word about crime prevention"?

15 A. It could be, yes, it could be. I have no knowledge of

16 it taking place unless -- I'm not quite sure, if there

17 were no circumstances, why the situation would have

18 arisen.

19 I mean, if it is dealing with the pamphlet or the

20 letter or whatever, then there is a slight difference

21 there, in that the origin of the threat is actually

22 coming from the person who is threatened, not the other

23 way round.

24 Q. Do you mean that the information came to the attention

25 of police as a result of it being brought to their

 

 

152


1 attention by the person who was under threat?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Well, you see, what I had in mind was a comment you make

4 in paragraph 156 your statement, which is at RNI-803-034

5 (displayed), because there in the penultimate sentence

6 you say:

7 "The decision whether to provide physical protection

8 or not was always based on the strength of the

9 intelligence. This was not my decision."

10 That, as I understand it, is where you are talking

11 about a KPPS case; is that right?

12 A. Yes, I believe that is, yes.

13 Q. So in the case of KPPS and the provision of protective

14 measures at state expense, as far as you were aware,

15 that decision was always based on the strength of the

16 intelligence case?

17 A. I would have thought so, yes.

18 Q. Yes. But where we are looking at something rather

19 different, we are not looking at an application for

20 protection measures, presumably it was possible,

21 although, as you say, you don't recall such a case, that

22 the local commander could take a view that whatever the

23 specific intelligence report or assessment, he would ask

24 his officers to go and give advice of the kind we have

25 discussed about crime prevention?

 

 

153


1 A. Yes, that is possible and, indeed, I would have thought

2 that probably similarly so, if there was a request made

3 by the individual for crime prevention having received

4 a threat, then we would have been very keen to have

5 actually received that advice.

6 Q. Exactly, whether or not objectively the report came back

7 that there was a real threat to that person?

8 A. That's correct, yes.

9 Q. Yes. Now, so far as the process is concerned, the

10 process of dealing with threats, can I just ask you to

11 look, please, again at paragraph 8 of your statement,

12 RNI-803-023 (displayed)? That's the paragraph we looked

13 at a little earlier when we then turned to the specific

14 force orders.

15 But the passage I would like you to look at now,

16 please, begins in the third line:

17 "Initially the local RUC officers would have passed

18 on the threat from subdivision to area command and this

19 information may have been added to and passed on to

20 Headquarters."

21 Now, do you mean by that Special Branch Headquarters

22 or do you mean RUC Headquarters?

23 A. No, I think I'm referring to my fading knowledge of what

24 was essentially in the force order.

25 Q. Yes, because it doesn't quite fit, does it --

 

 

154


1 A. No. I mean, I think I was attempting to explain the

2 process that actually took it --

3 Q. The process you describe there goes from the ground, if

4 I can put it that way, from the local officers, up to

5 Headquarters.

6 Now, what happened in the two cases with which you

7 were involved in February and August 1998 happened in

8 reverse, didn't it, because it came down to you from

9 Command Secretariat?

10 A. That's correct, yes.

11 Q. What I would like to do, please, to save looking at

12 a lot of documents which I know you have seen, but to

13 save everybody else who has seen them on many, many

14 occasions, is to ask you to look at some charts we have

15 prepared showing the way the threat assessments

16 proceeded.

17 So can we have first, please, the February 1998

18 threat assessment chart (displayed)? There you are.

19 You are the third box down, do you see?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And it shows how the letter came in originally from the

22 NIO -- as I say, we won't look at that -- to

23 Command Secretariat, to the Chief Inspector, P136, who

24 passes it to you, and then in the manner you described

25 before, this hierarchical manner, you pass it down to

 

 

155


1 the division, it goes to the subdivision, to the local

2 Special Branch officer and then the angled arrows on the

3 left-hand side show the solemn procession back up to

4 Command Secretariat and thence to the NIO?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Can you remember another case involving a threat to the

7 life of an individual which went through a process such

8 as this?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Other than the one in August, obviously?

11 A. Yes. I mean, I probably, in qualifying that, would have

12 to say that I have no occasion to attempt to remember

13 it. And in fact, when I was first interviewed in

14 relation to this, I would not have remembered this

15 process either. So it was only when papers were shown,

16 or at least part shown to me by the interviewing people

17 that this came back to my mind again.

18 Q. Thank you. Now, just looking at your role in this and

19 the documents with which you were involved, and limiting

20 ourselves to that, we see you coming into the picture

21 first of all as the recipient of a letter from

22 Command Secretariat of 25 February at RNI-101-197

23 (displayed). It is addressed to you, ACC South:

24 "Please see attached most recent correspondence from

25 the NIO concerning alleged death threats against

 

 

156


1 Rosemary Nelson.

2 "I'm aware that the matter of death threats against

3 Ms Nelson was referred to the Deputy Subdivisional

4 Commander, Lurgan in May of last year. However, I would

5 appreciate your views/comments on any further action

6 that could be taken in this matter, so that I may

7 respond to the further correspondence appropriately."

8 I just wanted to ask you, when you received that in

9 late February 1998, so far as you can remember, were you

10 at that stage aware that death threats had been

11 investigated, death threats against Rosemary Nelson, the

12 previous year?

13 A. I honestly could not say that I was. I had arrived in

14 the region the previous month, as I said. I probably

15 was briefed in relation to Mrs Nelson in the same way

16 that I was briefed about other things, and that may have

17 been an issue. I don't know whether it was still

18 running at that time, but -- I can't say, but it could

19 be, yes.

20 Q. But assume for a moment that you hadn't been so briefed

21 at this point, end of February, perhaps a month or so

22 after your arrival on the scene. Receiving

23 a communication like this from the Chief Constable's

24 office, the Command Secretariat, what do you think you

25 would have done to find out?

 

 

157


1 A. To find out?

2 Q. About the death threats in May the previous year?

3 A. I would have probably -- I mean, I could have made an

4 enquiry there and then, but I think I would have done

5 what I did, which was ask the local people what the

6 circumstances were.

7 Q. And we'll come to see what you did in order to pass the

8 matter down, but can I, just before going to that stage,

9 take you to the second sentence of that same paragraph:

10 "I would appreciate your views/comments on any

11 further action that could be taken in this matter so

12 that I may respond to the further correspondence

13 appropriately."

14 So Command Secretariat were asking for your input on

15 further action so that that officer, P136, could deal

16 with the NIO correspondence?

17 A. Hm-mm, yes.

18 Q. And presumably that was something then that you wanted

19 your junior officers down the chain to help you with?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Right. Let's look at the next stage, RNI-101-201

22 (displayed), where you, two days later, send to your

23 divisional commander this:

24 "To see the attached, forwarded for your

25 views/comments as indicated, please, by 12 March 1998."

 

 

158


1 So you weren't raising with the Divisional Commander

2 any of the specific points raised with you, were you,

3 you were simply passing on the material?

4 A. Yes, I was saying report on the document as received,

5 yes.

6 Q. But if I can put it this way, you didn't add anything at

7 this stage?

8 A. No.

9 Q. Of your own?

10 A. No.

11 Q. And in summary, would it be fair to say -- and we will

12 follow the chain as it comes back to you -- that at no

13 stage did you add anything to what was going out or what

14 came back to you and you passed on to

15 Command Secretariat?

16 A. No, I don't believe I did, no.

17 Q. No. Now, can I just ask you one question about the NIO

18 letter that came to you from Command Secretariat? And

19 that's at RNI-101-198 (displayed). This was what had

20 initiated the whole question, because here you see in

21 the second paragraph:

22 "The NIO ..."

23 Not the police:

24 "The NIO raised the question of whether it would be

25 prudent to consider whether or not she [Rosemary Nelson]

 

 

159


1 needs to be approached and given advice on her

2 security."

3 So that was the sort of crime prevention idea that

4 you and I were discussing earlier?

5 A. I think so, yes.

6 Q. Again, you didn't highlight that, did you, in passing

7 the matter down to the local commanders who would

8 normally take decisions about that?

9 A. No, I'm not sure -- if it was already in the papers,

10 then I'm not sure why I should, but I see what you are

11 saying, yes. No, I didn't. I did not add anything to

12 the papers, no.

13 Q. So you were relying on those officers down the chain to

14 do their jobs effectively?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And to deal with the issues raised by the correspondence

17 and by P136 in their responses coming back to you?

18 A. Hm-mm, yes.

19 Q. Now, as I understand it, your knowledge about what they

20 had assessed, what their views were, was entirely based

21 on the memoranda that came back up the line to you?

22 A. I believe so, yes.

23 Q. There was no further discussions, no requests for

24 further information by you?

25 A. If there were, I have no recollection of them.

 

 

160


1 Q. No. And so far, then, as the actual assessment which,

2 if you remember from the chart, took place at the local

3 Special Branch level at the office in Lurgan, again, can

4 I take it from what you said earlier that you had no

5 means yourself of forming an expert view on whether that

6 was an adequate threat assessment or anything of the

7 kind because you had when no experience of doing

8 assessments?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Is that correct?

11 A. I suppose I had knowledge of the results of assessments

12 or whatever, but I had no -- I had no training in

13 respect of -- or no experience in it, no.

14 Q. And no access, as you have explained to us, to

15 intelligence reporting?

16 A. No, not to the ground level of reporting, no.

17 Q. So no means yourself of checking the work that had been

18 done?

19 A. No.

20 Q. No.

21 A. I'm sorry, if I had asked the question, yes, I would

22 have had.

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. But I didn't.

25 Q. But you didn't.

 

 

161


1 A. No.

2 Q. So far as what work had gone into that assessment and

3 the types of material and data that had been considered

4 by local Special Branch, again you had no information

5 yourself?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Can I ask you this question: so far as the reports that

8 come back to you are concerned, we will see at

9 RNI-101-204 (displayed) the Deputy Subdivisional

10 Commander's report going to the Divisional Commander and

11 giving his view on the matter and referring to the

12 Special Branch assessment at Appendix A. Do you see

13 that in the fourth paragraph he makes that reference?

14 Do you see that?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. The paragraph I wanted to ask you about, because this is

17 one of the documents that came back to you, is this:

18 "Police at Lurgan do not have details of any threat

19 there may be against Rosemary Nelson, nor do they know

20 the nature of or reasons for the deep concerns the

21 US Lawyers Alliance have about her safety."

22 This is, if we look back to the page, please,

23 11 March 1998. Do you think at the time you received

24 this, when it came back to you later that month, that

25 you knew about the complaints and the alleged threats

 

 

162


1 that had been made by police officers to

2 Rosemary Nelson?

3 A. I believe I probably would have, yes, but it wasn't

4 specified --

5 Q. No.

6 A. -- in the material coming down.

7 Q. No, indeed it wasn't. And it looks as though this

8 officer, the Chief inspector, was not particularly well

9 informed about it.

10 A. No --

11 Q. If you look at that second paragraph?

12 A. Yes, but I think what he is saying there, that the

13 nature of the reasons for the deep concerns, he doesn't

14 know. I think that is a reasonable question to ask by

15 the Subdivisional Commander.

16 Q. But do you think then that you had more information

17 about the complaints or alleged threats that had been

18 made than this officer?

19 A. No, I wouldn't be in a position to know, but I would

20 assume that -- in fact, he would have known, if

21 anything, more than me. He would have been in the area

22 at the time.

23 Q. Indeed. That's the way this seems to have worked,

24 doesn't it: that you assumed that the people nearer the

25 ground at local level and then subdivisional and

 

 

163


1 divisional level would have a much better grasp of all

2 of the relevant factors in relation to Rosemary Nelson

3 than you because you were operating at a higher level?

4 A. I think that is reasonable, yes.

5 Q. And you were relying on them?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. We can see the next document at RNI-101-209 (displayed)

8 coming back to you, and here the report is made direct

9 to you by the Divisional Commander of J Division and he

10 supplies the missing detail about the complaint. Do you

11 see?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. In the second paragraph. So if you hadn't known about

14 it yourself, here is some information and not only about

15 the initial Lawyers Alliance complaint but also about

16 the complaint arising out of the arrest of Colin Duffy

17 that we talked about earlier.

18 And the rest of this page is directed until the last

19 paragraph, isn't it, to the issues of complaints made

20 about and by Rosemary Nelson?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And then he refers to the assessment from the local

23 officer, which we talked about earlier. And if we look

24 over the page, he then talks about Appendix B and says:

25 "In the light of the enclosed documentation, the

 

 

164


1 Deputy Subdivisional Commander is taking precautionary

2 measures in respect of Rosemary Nelson and her office at

3 William Street. See Appendix B."

4 Now, the next thing:

5 "Mrs Nelson has been given no advice as there is no

6 advice presently to give."

7 So that was the answer provided to you by the

8 Divisional Commander, wasn't it?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. To the question of whether she should be given crime

11 prevention advice?

12 A. Sorry, could you repeat the question?

13 Q. Do you remember I show showed you the NIO letter?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Which raised the question of whether she should be given

16 advice about her security?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And although you didn't make a specific reference to it

19 yourself, you said, "I would expect the commanders on

20 the ground to deal with it." And this looks like the

21 answer, doesn't it: she hasn't been given that sort of

22 advice as there is no advice presently to give?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. What did you understand by that?

25 A. What I understand, I think, from the Chief inspector's

 

 

165


1 report is that what he was really saying is what is the

2 situation in relation to the threat. Why does

3 Mrs Nelson feel a threat. And I think it is

4 a reasonable question in the circumstances to ask. What

5 do you want me to react to? And in fact, I think that

6 probably would have been reasonable to have passed down

7 in the outset.

8 Q. So what the Subdivisional Commander or the deputy and

9 the Divisional Commander were saying to you was, "Look,

10 there is no specific intelligence of a threat.

11 Therefore, the question of advice doesn't arise"?

12 A. Sorry, what type of advice?

13 Q. Indeed.

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. That's what you understood to be the views coming back

16 to you from the commanders nearer the ground?

17 A. Yes. Tell us what the problem is and we will try and

18 sort out a solution.

19 Q. Yes, because as you say, what the last sentence sets out

20 is in fact a request for further information, so that it

21 can be properly assessed and appropriate security advice

22 given to Mrs Nelson, if necessary?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Now, can we look together, please, at Appendix B, which

25 is at RNI-101-205 (displayed)? This was, as we have

 

 

166


1 seen, appended to the reports coming back to you. What

2 did you understand it to be?

3 A. When I was shown this, I had no knowledge of this. I

4 think I was shown it during the interview.

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. My belief would be that that was a briefing note to

7 personnel in Lurgan.

8 Q. Yes. Well, it is a written briefing note. Where would

9 you have expected it to be filed?

10 A. I would have thought that probably it would -- well, it

11 may well have been attached to the Chief Inspector's

12 minute or whatever --

13 Q. Yes, it was.

14 A. -- if that were the file, yes. Other than that, I would

15 have thought probably in the criminal intelligence or

16 the briefing in the local collator's office.

17 Q. So that would be in the collator's office?

18 A. I would have thought.

19 Q. Would it have been more generally available in the local

20 police station, this sort of briefing?

21 A. The purpose would have been to actually brief the

22 individual sections going on duty, so I would have

23 thought, yes, that it was either used by the collator

24 and then, I mean, retained by the collator or used as

25 a briefing note.

 

 

167


1 Q. Yes. So far as this sort of briefing is concerned, as I

2 understand it, you didn't remember the document at the

3 point you were interviewed?

4 A. No. Well, I would not have seen it and probably, yes,

5 it was in the back of the file. I didn't remember the

6 file, you know, the papers, so I didn't remember the

7 briefing document --

8 Q. No. You had at least the opportunity to see it when it

9 came back up?

10 A. I presume so, yes.

11 Q. In your statement at paragraph 21, RNI-803-035

12 (displayed), you talk about briefing meetings. And is

13 this then, as far as you can see, in written form the

14 sort of briefing that would be given to local officers

15 effectively about keeping an eye on an individual's home

16 and business?

17 A. Yes, I have underlined -- "meetings" would be the wrong

18 phrase there. I would have thought that this was

19 section or duty briefings before personnel were going on

20 duty.

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. To be honest, I have no idea what type of document might

23 have been used for the briefings. I would have thought

24 that probably a brief would have been prepared by the

25 collator, and I mean, when the duty section were going

 

 

168


1 on duty, then the sergeant or inspector would probably

2 have secured information from the local books and what

3 have you, whatever was relevant or current, and would

4 have briefed a section according to that.

5 Q. And you say later in this part of the statement, about

6 six or seven lines down -- sorry, a bit more than that,

7 eight or nine:

8 "I suspect the officers would have been briefed to

9 pay special attention to Rosemary Nelson's home and

10 business addresses at this time."

11 Before that, you say in the fifth line:

12 "Because Rosemary was a high profile individual, any

13 information relating to her security that might have

14 been received would have been mentioned in the

15 briefing."

16 So can I just ask you, is this an example then of

17 what we have been discussing earlier, where although the

18 threat assessment comes back, no specific intelligence

19 of a threat, nevertheless at local level a lower level

20 of measure is taken just to keep an eye on an individual

21 and her security?

22 A. Yes, I think it is probably true that the Subdivisional

23 Commander was saying, tell me -- "Give me the

24 information on which I can take action", but in the

25 meantime he is doing something.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes. So far as the next stage of the process is

2 concerned, we can see what you did at RNI-101-206

3 (displayed), when you send a note to the Superintendent

4 in Command Secretariat:

5 "The background to this issue is comprehensively

6 outlined in the attached documentation from Divisional

7 Commander J."

8 So effectively you are saying, "Look at his note",

9 aren't you?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. "No threats have been received in respect of Mrs Nelson,

12 but because of her high profile, attention is being paid

13 to her home and business."

14 That is very much what you say in your statement,

15 isn't it?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. With a high profile individual, you would take this sort

18 of precautionary measure at a local level?

19 A. Yes, I think that's reasonable.

20 Q. That reflects, that very brief memo, what you said to us

21 earlier, doesn't it: that essentially you are saying,

22 look at what the local commander is saying and then

23 giving a very brief summary of what's being done on the

24 ground?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. But beyond that, your role, as you saw it, was simply to

2 pass the answer back to Command Secretariat?

3 A. Yes, I presume that I was satisfied at the time that he

4 was asking the right question and that he was doing

5 something in the meantime.

6 I did not have, I don't believe, any other threat

7 information, so I wasn't asking for any addition. I

8 think that I was probably supporting what he had said,

9 yes.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Would you yourself have drafted this note to

11 Command Secretariat, the Superintendent, or one of your

12 staff?

13 A. I would think it was one of my staff, sir.

14 MR PHILLIPS: So your actual input into this was pretty

15 minimal, wasn't it?

16 A. Well, yes, but I had -- I'm not disregarding the fact

17 that I did have knowledge and was required to have

18 knowledge and would have wanted to have knowledge.

19 Q. Yes. You see, the officer from Command Secretariat,

20 P136, has made it clear in her evidence that as far as

21 she was concerned, she expected you, the ACC, the

22 Regional Commander, to have ensured that all the

23 necessary steps were taken to satisfy yourself that the

24 right things had been done.

25 So she was relying on you, and what you have told us

 

 

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1 is that you were totally reliant on the officers beneath

2 you in the structure?

3 A. Well, when I say totally reliable, if there had been

4 something evident to me, I would have asked the

5 questions, I presume. I believe, I would, yes. But it

6 seemed a reasonable response that was coming from the

7 subdivision, "Give us the information and we will act on

8 it", and I think that's outlined in the subdivisional

9 report.

10 Q. What do you think you would have done to satisfy

11 yourself about that?

12 A. In what sense?

13 Q. When the material came in to you to ensure that the

14 right steps had been taken?

15 A. I believe from the basis of the report that he was

16 taking the right steps, that he was already paying

17 attention to the house. But he was asking, "Give me

18 information about the details of this and I will act on

19 it", and I would think that was reasonable.

20 Q. If we look at paragraph 34 of your statement, you deal

21 with this point head on at RNI-803-038 (displayed). You

22 say -- if we could enlarge paragraph 34, please -- this

23 is in connection with the August case, the later case,

24 but you say in relation to that:

25 "Since there was no direct threat, I was merely in

 

 

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1 this correspondence responsible for passing on the

2 information. I had no reason to make any sort of value

3 judgment in respect of the information or, indeed, the

4 evidence behind it."

5 So do I understand that if the local officers had

6 come back to you and said, "Look, there is a direct

7 threat," you would then have felt an obligation to

8 exercise a value judgment?

9 A. Well, I could have done, yes, but I suspect that it

10 would already have been evident in the papers, and

11 I probably would have forwarded them on for action as

12 seemed necessary.

13 Q. So even in that case, your role, as you saw it, was to

14 leave it to the local officers and the experts and

15 simply to make sure that their views got to

16 Command Secretariat?

17 A. Yes, I believe that would have been the case, yes.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. But if I believed that there was something amiss, then

20 I believe it would have been my responsibility to have

21 acted on it.

22 Q. Yes. But can I take it, therefore, that in the time you

23 gave to this, you didn't believe that there was anything

24 amiss?

25 A. No. Sorry, amiss in respect of?

 

 

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1 Q. Yes, in respect of the material coming back to you from

2 the region?

3 A. No, I believe -- I haven't now looked at what was there,

4 but I believe that the pamphlet was there for

5 investigation and what they were saying was that, no,

6 this doesn't affect the threat in relation to

7 Rosemary Nelson. There is not a threat contained -- by

8 Special Branch, and I think that was telling me that in

9 actual fact the pamphlet was not connected

10 to paramilitary organisations and I would have probably

11 believed that had it been, Special Branch would have

12 been in possession of information which verified that.

13 Q. Now, that is probably my fault for taking you to this

14 paragraph. You are now talking about the August threat

15 assessment?

16 A. Yes, I assumed that it was this paragraph.

17 Q. Absolutely. But if we just look at the chain of

18 information in August on the diagram -- that is

19 the August 1998 threat assessment, please (displayed).

20 Again, it will cut short looking at all the material.

21 We can see that this exercise was a much more

22 complicated one and that you are at the head of just one

23 of the chains of information on the right-hand side, do

24 you see, going down to the Subdivisional Commander and

25 then to a Special Branch officer in Portadown? And

 

 

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1 there is another chain on the left-hand side from the

2 Head of Special Branch down to you?

3 Now, can I take it from what you have been saying

4 from that part of your statement that, again, in this

5 case you saw nothing in the material coming back to you

6 which prompted you to question what was being said or to

7 ask for further information from the Subdivisional

8 Commander and, below him, the officer at Portadown?

9 A. No, I presume so. I haven't looked again at the minute,

10 but I presume that that minute doesn't indicate that

11 I raised any questions.

12 Q. Yes. Let's have a look at the material so you can be

13 sure about that, and in particular the memo that comes

14 to you at RNI-101-345 (displayed), addressed both to you

15 and to the Head of Special Branch, talking about the

16 leaflet and passing on the NIO's comments about

17 Rosemary Nelson's distress and asking for whatever

18 information you can provide on the matter, an assessment

19 of whether or not you consider those named -- there were

20 a number of individuals named in the leaflet -- to be

21 the subject of any threat.

22 Now, we can see the chain going down. The next

23 stage goes from the Subdivisional Commander at

24 RNI-101-344 (displayed), to the detective sergeant at

25 Portadown. And the report, such as it is, is at the

 

 

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1 bottom of the page. Do you see that there?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. In relation to your input, that having come back to

4 you -- it is at RNI-101-342, on 28 August, RNI-101-342

5 (displayed), back to Command Secretariat:

6 "I would refer you to the attached papers which were

7 forwarded for your information as requested per your

8 minute."

9 So in this case, you didn't even summarise what they

10 were saying, you simply passed on to Command Secretariat

11 the memos that had reached you from the region?

12 A. That's correct, yes.

13 Q. And can I take it from that that you didn't see any need

14 to draw any specific points to the attention of

15 Command Secretariat?

16 A. No. Well, I didn't on that occasion. Whether or not --

17 and I can't recall because there is no paperwork in

18 relation to it -- whether or not I made any enquiries in

19 relation to the criminal investigation, in relation to

20 the pamphlet is another thing, because essentially I

21 would probably have regarded this as a criminal offence

22 when there was no Special Branch intelligence to link it

23 to any of the paramilitary organisations. I can't

24 recall whether I did that or not. But I do believe even

25 though it came to the local police by an unorthodox

 

 

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1 route -- and it is unusual for the person who was the

2 subject of a threat like that to actually go by post in

3 relation to it. I would have thought that in fact it

4 would have been brought directly to the local police in

5 that situation, but I would expect that in fact

6 a criminal investigation was initiated.

7 Q. But is there any specific recollection that you have

8 about checking on the progress of any criminal --

9 A. No, I can't say that I did, no.

10 Q. And there is no evidence in the file, is there, to

11 suggest that you raised those questions?

12 A. No, but I would have taken it as being -- I mean --

13 a given almost that it was a criminal investigation. I

14 would have regarded it as a criminal matter when there

15 was no organisational involvement.

16 Q. Do you think it is fair to suggest that you may simply

17 have assumed that such a criminal investigation was

18 taking place?

19 A. That could be, yes.

20 Q. Yes. Just as you had assumed that the right steps had

21 been taken down the chain to assess the matter properly

22 and report carefully back up to you?

23 A. That is probably correct, yes.

24 Q. Again, do you think that this short note was drafted by

25 a member of your staff?

 

 

177


1 A. It could be, yes. In fact, it was almost certainly,

2 yes.

3 Q. And is it fair to suggest that the time you devoted to

4 this question may have been relatively brief in the

5 context of all the other work you were doing at this

6 stage?

7 A. It is possible, yes. And I would have taken the "no

8 threat" from Special Branch as actually meaning no

9 threat, no imminent danger or direct, physical danger.

10 Q. That takes us back to the paragraph I showed you in

11 relation to this assessment at August. If we could have

12 that on the screen again, please: paragraph 34,

13 RNI-803-038 (displayed). Can we enlarge it, please?

14 Is the point this: that when you saw from the papers

15 that there was no direct threat, as far as you were

16 concerned, this was simply a matter at that point of

17 passing the information back to Command Secretariat?

18 A. Well, yes, sending that part of the information back,

19 yes.

20 Q. Indeed. Now, one further question, if I may, about this

21 question of Rosemary Nelson's protection, which is

22 raised by another paragraph of your statement, 37, at

23 RNI-803-039 (displayed), because here in the last

24 sentence of the paragraph, you say:

25 "I recall that there was activity at the

 

 

178


1 Chief Constable's office at one time and this may have

2 related to the letter".

3 This is the threat note which you didn't see at the

4 time, but which you were obviously asked about in the

5 interview. Do you see? You refer to it at the top:

6 "A threat letter written in a style with childish

7 handwriting."

8 Would it help to have another look at the threat

9 letter?

10 A. No. Although it was indistinguishable, but I think

11 I know the gist of what it said.

12 Q. Anyway you say:

13 "I recall there was activity at the Chief

14 Constable's office at one time and this may have related

15 to the letter, but I can't be sure."

16 What sort of activity do you mean?

17 A. I really don't have an idea.

18 Q. Something clearly --

19 A. There must have been --

20 Q. -- sprung up in your recollection at this point of your

21 interview. What was it?

22 A. I don't know. I have to say I have no idea.

23 Q. Do you mean some sort of discussion with the

24 Chief Constable's office at this stage? What do you

25 mean?

 

 

179


1 A. Yes, or whether there was an enquiry. I am unsure

2 whether Rosemary Nelson contacted the Chief Constable

3 directly about this or made an application for

4 protection. What I'm really saying is if there was

5 something there, I don't know about it. But there must

6 have been something which actually raised this. Either

7 that or it totally --

8 Q. I think at that point I will say I haven't got any more

9 questions for you, but as you know I always offer

10 witnesses a chance to add anything that we haven't

11 covered. Is there anything that you would like to add?

12 A. I'm uncertain whether or not to make a statement because

13 obviously I'm on the periphery of this, but I do feel

14 that a certain obligation in one sense, and -- as it

15 were, some notes -- I don't know what the rules of

16 evidence --

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Say whatever you like.

18 A. -- in relation to putting matters to -- and my knowledge

19 of what has gone on in the hearings has been limited.

20 I did make an attempt at my age to screen some of

21 the material on the Internet, but that was a very quick

22 phase and I'm not that au fait.

23 There has been a lot of deliberations and discussion

24 about words and the meanings of words and what have you,

25 and I think that probably in the circumstance that is

 

 

180


1 understandable. I was probably more involved with

2 actions at the time and I think a lot of the environment

3 in which this set of circumstances take place may well

4 go unnoticed, although you have related some of those,

5 which, in normal policing, never mind the public order

6 or the terrorism, they were a feature. And surely the

7 political and the community and the policing environment

8 and all that went with this and a very volatile

9 situation, surely made it a case of exceptional times.

10 I think it would probably be remiss of me if I

11 didn't actually give a sense of feeling about the

12 special circumstances in a wider perspective,

13 particularly about selfless performance of duty by the

14 police officers on the street and even, in a sense,

15 the -- I suppose an appreciation of the risk involved by

16 Special Branch officers in gaining what information was

17 available.

18 The regional minutes, I think, if referred to -- and

19 they are there in bulk, as I found out in the last few

20 days -- do give a sense of scale and scope to what was

21 being undertaken at a time of great change.

22 And I think it is probably difficult under such

23 pressure, when you are trying to look forward and at the

24 same time look back, to focus on everything that is

25 going on.

 

 

181


1 There is no doubt that the widespread disorder on

2 occasions and the continuing terrorism were still very

3 much a fact of life.

4 I suppose I could say that a lot of people have been

5 involved in gathering the information and a lot of time

6 has actually been spent in relation to what essentially,

7 I suppose, are a single set of circumstances. But the

8 police officers who were on the ground did not have such

9 a luxury in dealing with things at that time.

10 I have to confess that I had some concerns, when

11 I read the opening remarks by counsel in relation to

12 this Inquiry, that -- and I was fearful that perhaps

13 things were a foregone conclusion in relation to the

14 force. So I feel that I have said this in an attempt

15 to, I suppose, bring about an equal sense of clarity to

16 the force position, and my own position that I do not

17 believe that officers under my command were guilty of

18 wrongful acts or omissions or, indeed, negligent in any

19 wilful way.

20 Thank you, sir.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mr Craig.

22 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN

23 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: This possibly arises from what you

24 have just said, Mr Craig. Mr Phillips has asked you

25 a number of very detailed questions on matters where, as

 

 

182


1 I understand it, you were one or two or more stages

2 removed from the substantive action; the substantive

3 action was elsewhere.

4 Now, I suspect that that may have given me in my

5 ignorance a very skewed view about your own role and

6 what you did as the Assistant Chief Constable, and I

7 would be grateful if you could give me a better idea of

8 your role in the round, where you were, as it were, in

9 the centre of the action. What were the things that you

10 were very personally, directly involved with, which took

11 your time?

12 A. Not in terms specifically of these matters, but in

13 terms --

14 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Not in terms of this particular --

15 it is context that I'm trying to get.

16 A. Well, my responsibility to the Chief Constable was to

17 ensure implementation of the strategies and policy

18 matters relating to the force. It was also very clearly

19 my responsibility -- and given, I think, the -- at that

20 time and in that environment, Drumcree was very much an

21 issue of contention. And in the previous years, there

22 had been, I suppose, circumstances which generated

23 considerable disorder and tension within the wider

24 community.

25 And that, I think, probably was a major focus in my

 

 

183


1 work, in that I was determined that the lawful decision

2 of the Parades Commission, for instance, would be upheld

3 regardless. And I did that at that time, I suppose, in

4 a situation where I was fully aware that the policing of

5 Drumcree, for instance, dictated how successful I might

6 be in relation to other policing matters within the

7 region.

8 I mean, my recollection would be that in the period,

9 the week or two around Drumcree, I think, in South

10 Region, we dealt with something like 270 parades in

11 a period of 10 or 12 days. And when you have finite

12 resources, then you focus a lot of your attention on how

13 you use and utilises those resources. And, indeed, in

14 enabling the commanders who were under my command to

15 succeed in terms of the local communities was a very

16 important element of my work and my attention at that

17 time.

18 So I believe that I probably was focused on the

19 major issues. I was also trying at that time to

20 generate a situation where commanders would embrace the

21 change to policing, particularly in relation to security

22 matters because I believed genuinely that if there was

23 a hope for the future, that we should grasp it.

24 I'm not sure if that is sufficient to --

25 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: It is very helpful.

 

 

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1 A. It most definitely was a full-time job.

2 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Thank you.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: I'm sure it was, Mr Craig. Thank you very,

4 very much for coming here and giving your evidence. We

5 are very, very grateful.

6 A. Thank you, sir.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: We will adjourn now until quarter past ten

8 tomorrow.

9 (4.31 pm)

10 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)

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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 95
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Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 181
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