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Full Hearings

Hearing: 29th October 2008, day 67

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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 Wednesday, 29 October 2008
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 67

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Wednesday, 29 October 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: Mr (name redacted), can you please confirm that the

17 two witness cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

18 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

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

20 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

22 Bring the witness in, please.

23 The cameras on the Panel, the Inquiry personnel and

24 the Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

25 switched back on.

 

 

2

 

1 Please may the witness take the oath?

2 G105 (sworn)

3 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Please sit down.

5 Yes, Mr Phillips?

6 MR PHILLIPS: Could I ask you, please, to look at the

7 statement you have made to the Inquiry, and on the

8 screen it begins at RNI-840-187 (displayed). Do we see

9 your ciphered signature at RNI-840-197 (displayed) and

10 the date of 17 January this year?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Now, you have been granted anonymity and a cipher, G105.

13 So far as other anonymous names are concerned, anonymous

14 witnesses, I think you have been provided with a list of

15 those, have you?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And could I ask you, please, to be careful and to check

18 the list before naming names?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Now, looking at the very beginning of your statement,

21 you tell us that from June 1998 until January 2001 you

22 were one of the Minister of State Adam Ingram's private

23 secretaries. Is that correct?

24 A. Yes, it is.

25 Q. As I understand it, there were two: the travelling

 

 

3

 

1 private secretary and the departmental one. Is that

2 correct?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. And you were the travelling one?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Travelling, presumably, mostly between London and

7 Belfast?

8 A. And at times overseas.

9 Q. Yes. Can I ask you, please, to look at the NIO chart we

10 have? It should come on the screen. Can we have the

11 NIO chart on the screen, please? (displayed) Thank you.

12 So if you look on the left-hand side of the diagram,

13 we see security minister; that was Mr Ingram, wasn't it?

14 A. It was.

15 Q. And it is divided there into two private offices, one in

16 Belfast and one in London, and then a single box for

17 private secretary. So can I take it from your answers

18 that there were two civil servants discharging that

19 role?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Thank you. Now, you tell us in your statement about the

22 role as you understood it. What was your principal

23 function as the travelling private secretary?

24 A. Well, I accompanied the Minister of State to all events,

25 generally outside the department. I also was the link

 

 

4

 

1 between the NIO and the other departments that he -- was

2 in the minister's portfolio, which for most of the time

3 was the Department of Economic Development as was. And

4 then at some stage in his tenure he had responsibility

5 for five additional departments. So I was the main link

6 between the minister and the departments.

7 Q. What did your day-to-day work consist of?

8 A. Well, obviously it varied greatly. If the minister was

9 attending Parliament, then I would be with him. If he

10 was on outside visits, I would be with him.

11 In the office, between the departmental private

12 secretary and myself, we would sit in various meetings,

13 minute or note those meetings as accordingly, look at

14 the paperwork, filter the paperwork going to the

15 minister and then, on receipt of a minister clearing the

16 paperwork, we would action it and advise the relevant

17 divisions and departments of his thoughts or

18 recommendations.

19 Q. So when the minister was working in Belfast, for

20 example, would both the private secretaries be working

21 there with him?

22 A. In Belfast, both private secretaries.

23 Q. Yes. So if he wasn't travelling in that sense, you

24 would both be based in Belfast working for him in his

25 office?

 

 

5

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Now, in your statement at RNI-840-188, paragraph 8

3 (displayed), you say:

4 "My role was concerned with process. Due to the

5 wide range of current issues across both departments, I

6 did not have, nor was I expected to have, detailed

7 knowledge of a specific policy."

8 I just want to ask you some questions about that.

9 So did that mean you didn't have a detailed knowledge of

10 any specific policy? Is that what you are saying?

11 A. I think it would be fair to say that that was true. We

12 had teams of experts in policy divisions who prepared

13 and researched policy issues for the minister. Anything

14 that came to me would be in a self-contained submission

15 that should contain the information that a minister

16 needs to know to make -- carry out a recommendation.

17 Q. When you say your role was concerned with process, it

18 suggests that at least your principal function was to,

19 as it were, move things around, move paper around, make

20 sure it reached the right places within the organisation

21 and make sure that your minister had access to the right

22 material in order to do his job?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. That gives an impression of you as, if you don't mind me

25 putting it this way, a somewhat glorified paper shifter.

 

 

6

 

1 Presumably you were also available to discuss issues

2 with him to decide with him or give him advice on how

3 matters should be addressed?

4 A. I wouldn't have given him advice on any policy matters,

5 but I would have had access to the policy officials who

6 would be able to provide such advice. There was such

7 a broad range of issues came through, I wouldn't have

8 been expected to know the detail. So if the minister

9 raised any issue on any subject matter, then either I or

10 the departmental private secretary would contact the

11 relevant official and ask for clarification or further

12 information.

13 Q. So in the general run of cases then, it was your job to

14 make sure that he received the right advice from other

15 parts of the organisation?

16 A. It was the private secretary's job to ensure he had the

17 necessary information to make the decision.

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

19 correspondence because in the Inquiry's files there are

20 various letters addressed to Mr Ingram, and the question

21 arises of what happened to them when they were first

22 received. So can you just take us through stage by

23 stage?

24 Imagine a letter comes to the NIO addressed to

25 Adam Ingram. What happens to it?

 

 

7

 

1 A. The minister was also supported by an administrative

2 team in the Belfast office. The letter, upon arrival in

3 the office, would have been date stamped by the

4 correspondence section, they would have input the

5 details of such a letter into an internal computer

6 system that would generate a template that would detail

7 a unique reference number for that particular case.

8 The correspondence clerk would then decide, either

9 using a functionary directory or her own knowledge or,

10 if necessary, referring to one of the private

11 secretaries, to whom the submission or the letter should

12 be addressed. They would then decide on a return date

13 when it would be expected back in the private office and

14 they would also list the number of people who they felt

15 it was necessary for the letter, correspondence, to be

16 copied to, side copied to for info.

17 Q. Right. Let's pursue this example. Can I take it that

18 once those decisions had been made, a copy of the letter

19 would then be sent to whosoever was required to provide

20 input?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And presumably, in due course, back it would come?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. At that stage would there then be a note or advice to

25 the minister dealing with the proposed response?

 

 

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1 A. There would be -- the normal way that a submission would

2 be returned, it would include the original

3 correspondence and a covering paper from the policy

4 official suggesting how the correspondence should be

5 answered.

6 Q. Yes. And at that point it would come back to your

7 office. Is that correct?

8 A. That's correct, yes.

9 Q. And would it then be your job to make sure that it and

10 the supporting material was drawn to the attention of

11 the minister?

12 A. Yes, submissions coming to the minister would be

13 generally self-contained insomuch as they would include

14 relevant back papers. So given that -- the amount of

15 correspondence that went through a private office in

16 a year, and I think during my tenure in any year there

17 could have been in excess of 4,000 bits of

18 correspondence to do that, so time was at a premium. So

19 you expected the letters to -- the submissions to come

20 back ready to be presented to the minister. Apart from

21 maybe stylising it a little bit, you wouldn't actually

22 change the substance of the letter.

23 Q. Right. I want to come back to that in a minute, but

24 just taking this process to its final stages, would it

25 then be the responsibility of the private secretary or

 

 

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1 secretaries to ensure that the submission and the

2 proposed letter should be put in front of the minister?

3 A. It would be, yes.

4 Q. How would that be done?

5 A. Well, normally it would be put into a minister's red

6 box, overnight box, unless there is an occasion during

7 the working day to show papers to a minister. But that

8 would have been rarely because the day was normally

9 filled with meetings.

10 Q. Because their diaries were so busy?

11 A. Yes, indeed.

12 Q. Now, so far as the process that you have just described

13 is concerned, does it follow from what you have said

14 that the first time the minister would have seen the

15 original letter coming in to him would have been when he

16 was considering the reply to that letter put before him

17 in draft?

18 A. Yes, generally, although there may be occasions when

19 a minister might have seen it before that. For example,

20 if a minister got a bit of correspondence from another

21 MP or a Northern Ireland political party leader and

22 there was the chance that he may bump into him in

23 Westminster, then you would draw it to his attention in

24 case it was raised.

25 Q. But in the general run of cases then, a letter addressed

 

 

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1 to Adam Ingram would not in fact be seen by Adam Ingram

2 until he was considering the response to that letter?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Going back again to the general picture that you have

5 described, when you were dealing with the question of to

6 which parts of the NIO the letter should be directed for

7 input for a reply, as I understood it, you were saying

8 that those decisions, who should receive it, were

9 sometimes made by the administrative staff. Is that

10 correct?

11 A. Mostly always.

12 Q. Mostly always?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. But were there occasions on which you or your colleague,

15 the other private secretary, became involved in those

16 sorts of decisions?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And what sort of occasions would they have been?

19 A. Well, it may have been a letter that covered several

20 subject matters, maybe not all for the NIO, maybe for

21 another department, maybe not to do with the NIO at all,

22 and they would ask advice, what we should -- how we

23 should handle it.

24 Q. So cases where external input was required?

25 A. Generally.

 

 

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1 Q. Is that what you mean?

2 A. Generally that would be the case, yes.

3 Q. And in those cases the administrative staff would come

4 to you for your views, for your guidance on decisions of

5 that kind?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Now, in terms of the bulk, volume, of the

8 correspondence, you said, I think, that in excess of

9 4,000 letters were received by the private office during

10 your time. Is that correct?

11 A. Well, I think in any one year that would be the average.

12 Q. In any one year?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And presumably in addition to letters coming in, the

15 minister was also having to deal with all sorts of other

16 notes, briefing material, where there might not have

17 been an incoming letter?

18 A. That is true, yes.

19 Q. And those would also have either gone to him in a free

20 moment or in his boxes overnight?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. At the end of the process you have described in relation

23 to correspondence, as I understood what you were saying,

24 again, in the vast majority of cases it wasn't your

25 practice to, as it were, review and amend the draft that

 

 

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1 had been produced by the various policy officials. Is

2 that correct?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. Now, what about the minister and his role in that? You

5 have told us that in general he would see letters for

6 the first time at that stage. Was he in the habit of

7 making changes or suggesting amendments to proposed

8 correspondence?

9 A. Not usually, unless he felt that a point could be

10 clarified more than the wording in the particular

11 letter, but in general most of the letters issued as

12 drafted by policy officials.

13 Q. So in general, then, both the minister and the officials

14 in his own private office, including you, relied upon

15 the material that came back to you from the policy

16 officials?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Thank you. Now, we also have cases -- and in your

19 statement you deal with one -- where the minister did

20 not sign the letter and the letter went out from you or

21 perhaps from one of your colleagues.

22 At what point in the process that you have described

23 to us would that sort of decision be made, namely that

24 this letter should be answered not by the minister

25 himself but by a private office official?

 

 

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1 A. There are not comprehensive guidelines on what level

2 a letter is responded to. There are very general

3 guidelines and most cases can easily be put into them.

4 If a cabinet minister writes to the Secretary of

5 State, he or she would reply. If an MP or an MLA

6 writes, a minister would reply. If it is a chair of a

7 council or a member of a political party, it would be

8 deemed appropriate for a PS to reply, and then there

9 would be those that would be treated officially and go

10 to the related division or departments.

11 But each case was taken on its merit, and it may

12 well have been that while something may be appropriate

13 for a PS to reply, there may be -- a Secretary of State

14 or a minister may have known someone personally and

15 would have preferred to reply to them.

16 Q. At what point would that decision be taken?

17 A. Upon receipt in the department, in the private office,

18 the correspondence clerk would set it up using the broad

19 general guidelines for a response either for PS,

20 minister or treat official.

21 If it comes back in to private office and, when

22 reviewing the letter, we know through our own knowledge

23 and experience that it would be more appropriate for

24 a minister to sign or a Secretary of State to sign, at

25 that stage we would intervene and ask for a redraft or

 

 

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1 suggest to a minister that it may be appropriate for him

2 to sign.

3 Q. So it would have been possible, for example, if the

4 minister had seen a draft -- on the basis that it would

5 be signed by you or one of your private office

6 colleagues -- to say, "Actually no, I think I ought to

7 do this letter because of my pre-existing relationship

8 with X or because he or she is a very important person"?

9 A. It would have been possible, yes. It rarely would have

10 happened.

11 Q. Can you remember a case where it did?

12 A. I can't. A PS responds on behalf of a minister and

13 a minister would clear all the cases.

14 Q. That was the next question I wanted to ask you. Imagine

15 the hypothetical situation of you writing as the private

16 secretary. For a letter such as that, where everybody

17 knows this is going to be written or signed not by the

18 minister but by the private office official, when the

19 material comes back in to the private office, what

20 happens? Does it still get put into the box?

21 A. Yes, for -- I beg your pardon, just so I'm clear. When

22 a submission comes back in from a division to private

23 office, even if it is for a PS signature?

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. Yes, it would go into the minister's box.

 

 

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1 Q. So that in the minister's box he would have a draft of

2 the letter which was not in fact to be signed by him,

3 but, in the example, to be signed by you?

4 A. Yes, he would.

5 Q. And in that instance the same opportunity to consider

6 the background material and, indeed, to evaluate the

7 draft letter?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just ask you one final question

10 about the way the office worked? Because Mr

11 Ingram told us yesterday about the process by

12 which intelligence reporting, the NIRs, the

13 Northern Ireland intelligence reports, came to him. He

14 said that the delivery to him of these reports was one

15 of the responsibilities of his private secretary.

16 Now, were you the relevant private secretary for

17 those purposes during this period?

18 A. Either I or my departmental colleague.

19 Q. It could have been either of you?

20 A. It could have been, yes.

21 Q. And as I understood it from him, it was the private

22 secretary's responsibility to hand over the relevant

23 reporting to him and then, when he had considered it, to

24 take it away again?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Is that correct?

2 A. That's correct, yes.

3 Q. We know that only some of the NIRs that we have seen

4 included him, or rather his private secretary, on the

5 distribution list. Who was responsible for deciding

6 which documents should go to his private office?

7 A. The intelligence services.

8 Q. Right. That was not a decision made by you?

9 A. No.

10 Q. And they were therefore responsible, were they, for the

11 distribution list of those documents?

12 A. They were.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, looking at the material you cover in

14 your statement, can I ask you first a question about the

15 way the statement proceeds, which is by reference to

16 a number of documents, mostly letters?

17 You were interviewed and signed the statement

18 earlier this year, and you had the benefit obviously of

19 looking at all the material. How good is your

20 recollection of the events that you describe in your

21 statement?

22 A. Sorry, I'm not quite sure what you mean.

23 Q. Well, you had the documents?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Put it this way: if you hadn't had the documents, would

 

 

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1 you have had any actual recollection of the events?

2 A. No, not the detail of the papers, no.

3 Q. Now, you have helpfully told us something about the

4 overall volume of correspondence coming in to the

5 private office every year. Within that there was

6 obviously a good deal of correspondence coming in in

7 relation to Rosemary Nelson between the time you began

8 your work and the time of Rosemary Nelson's murder.

9 Did the number of issues in which she was concerned

10 and the amount of time, ministerial time, taken up with

11 those issues, was that something you discussed with the

12 minister or with your colleagues at the time?

13 A. No. Any cases, if they merited a minister's attention,

14 are deemed urgent. So it would have been dealt with

15 urgently, sensitively, and would have gotten to the

16 minister as soon as it comes in to private office. We

17 didn't actually discuss how long we spent on any

18 particular case.

19 Q. So urgency was important, was it?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Well, we know -- and I'm not going to take you to all

22 the documents because certainly everybody in the room

23 has seen them many, many, many times before, but a lot

24 of these letters took three or four months to respond.

25 Is that urgent?

 

 

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1 A. Urgent when it came in to private office. Once it

2 leaves private office, it is outwith our gift in many

3 ways. We would have monitored the response and got in

4 touch with the relevant policy division as to when we

5 would expect a reply.

6 Q. So you would chase them up?

7 A. We did.

8 Q. Because obviously you may have dealt with them urgently,

9 but so far as the original letter writer was concerned,

10 three to four months doesn't sound very urgent. Is that

11 a fair comment?

12 A. That's a fair comment, yes.

13 Q. Presumably that was guidance for civil servants for the

14 turnaround of correspondence coming in to departments?

15 A. Yes, there was.

16 Q. And that presumably provided for a response within weeks

17 and not months?

18 A. Generally that was the case, yes.

19 Q. So were these examples that we have in our files unusual

20 or were you regularly having to chase up departments to

21 get prompt responses to your questions?

22 A. I would say on average we answered 80 per cent of the

23 correspondence that came in to private office within

24 deadlines, and I know -- and certainly my mind has been

25 refreshed from reading these papers -- that when we were

 

 

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1 waiting for input from outside agencies who were not

2 bound by the same response guidelines as we, it

3 certainly frustrated our response times.

4 Q. Well, in the case we will look at in more detail in

5 a minute, the August correspondence from the CAJ and

6 your letter to Mr Mageean of 24 September, the letter

7 comes in on 12 August, the response time stipulated in

8 the minister's cases documents is the 31st. The police

9 come back to you on 3 September, but you don't write to

10 Mr Mageean until the 24th. So you can't ascribe all of

11 that time to outside agencies, can you?

12 A. Well, I'm not sure what the process within a particular

13 division was doing or what other information they

14 sought. I would not have been privy to that.

15 As I said earlier, anything that came to a private

16 office would have been a complete draft and

17 self-contained. The process before that I would not be

18 aware of.

19 Q. So you are giving the impression rather that there was

20 not much you in the private office could do?

21 A. No, not if a division had said they were waiting on

22 information to give a complete response to a minister.

23 I could understand that there wasn't much point in

24 providing a minister with an incomplete draft.

25 Q. Just looking at some of the issues you touch on in your

 

 

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1 statement, can I ask you to look, please, at

2 paragraph 16 first of all, RNI-840-190 (displayed).

3 Here you deal with a letter passing from the Prime

4 Minister's private secretary to the Secretary of State's

5 private secretary. This is in the context of the

6 Proximity Talks. Do you see that?

7 A. Yes, I do.

8 Q. Now, as I understand it, what you are telling us in your

9 statement in this and other paragraphs is that this was

10 something, the Proximity Talks, where the Secretary of

11 State was in the lead and you and your minister were not

12 directly concerned. Is that right?

13 A. The Secretary of State was in the lead, the minister

14 would have been certainly aware and -- I can't actually

15 recall the extent of his involvement. My role as

16 support staff, I would not be involved because the

17 Secretary of State's staff would be present at anything

18 that she would be and there would have been no need for

19 me to be there.

20 Q. Can we just then move on in the statement to

21 paragraph 29, RNI-840-194 (displayed), which is at

22 a later stage of this process, where the question of

23 security measures for the two councillors was being

24 considered. You say about halfway down the paragraph:

25 "Both responses were copied to the private secretary

 

 

21

 

1 and to Adam Ingram ..."

2 i.e. you:

3 "I can recall no involvement or discussion on this,

4 but assume that either I or the departmental private

5 secretary would have brought the papers to the

6 minister's attention."

7 Then you go on to say that you can't recall having

8 any involvement in the meetings, and as you have just

9 said, if the Secretary of State chaired any such

10 meeting, then her staff would have been present and not

11 you?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. So far as the ICPC/Commander Mulvihill incident is

14 concerned, again you tell us in paragraph 17 at the top

15 of RNI-840-191 (displayed) that, as far as you can

16 recall, your minister was not involved in that issue

17 either?

18 A. As far as I can recall, yes, that's right.

19 Q. Right. Well, that leaves us with one matter to deal

20 with, therefore, which is the question of

21 the August/September threat assessment. It will help

22 you, I hope, to have on the screen RNI-840-192

23 (displayed) initially where you begin to deal with this

24 topic.

25 Now, what you do there for us is to set out the

 

 

22

 

1 history of the matter, which, as I understand it, you

2 have reconstructed effectively from considering the

3 documents. Is that correct?

4 A. I don't quite understand "reconstruct".

5 Q. You didn't have any actual memory of the history of

6 these events so you have reconstructed what must have

7 happened by reconsidering the documents which you

8 originally saw at the time?

9 A. Yes, that's right.

10 Q. Thank you. Can I take it that when this letter came in,

11 as far as you know -- that is the 10 August 1998

12 letter -- it would have been dealt with in the normal

13 way in accordance with the process that you have

14 described?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. So it is very likely, therefore, that the minister did

17 not see it at that stage?

18 A. It is likely that he didn't.

19 Q. Is it also very likely that you did not see it at that

20 stage?

21 A. It is likely I may not have seen it either.

22 Q. And you had had no involvement in or knowledge of

23 earlier threat assessments or considerations of

24 Rosemary Nelson's safety?

25 A. No, and part that of was due to the newness that I was

 

 

23

 

1 to the department.

2 Q. Yes, you had arrived in June and you had not been

3 involved in any of those earlier events?

4 A. No.

5 Q. So far as the way in which this was dealt with, what you

6 have done for us in the next paragraph is -- I think

7 possibly uniquely of all the witnesses -- to reassemble

8 the minister's case file as it would have come back in

9 to the private office in or about 22 September 1998.

10 And do you see all those references on the side, which

11 we can see on the screen, show which documents -- with

12 the Inquiry bundle references -- had their place in the

13 file.

14 Now, what I would like to do with you, please, is to

15 look at just some of the documents, and first the letter

16 of 5 March 1998 from the CAJ to the minister, and that's

17 RNI-106-114 (displayed)?

18 A. May I look at the hard copy that I have?

19 Q. Of course. Please do. Perhaps we can have the second

20 page on the screen for everybody else, RNI-106-115

21 (displayed).

22 So this, in chronological terms, is the first

23 document in the box and can I assume, from what you have

24 told us, that you would never have seen it before when

25 it came in in September that year, 1998?

 

 

24

 

1 A. No, I wouldn't have done.

2 Q. And I'm not going to go through the content of it with

3 you. I did want to ask you this, though: when the

4 minister's case came in to the private office, did you,

5 as a matter of general practice, consider all the

6 material that was in the file?

7 A. Yes. The case that come back from the division?

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. So it would have been your practice, would it, to go

11 through all the supporting material as well as the

12 submission and the draft letter?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. So as you say, you think you would have seen this for

15 the first time in September.

16 The next document chronologically is RNI-106-226

17 (displayed), and this was the memorandum which led to

18 and produced a proposed draft for the private

19 secretary -- I think the other private secretary -- to

20 sign in answer to the CAJ letter of March. It is

21 a four-page document, so we can't have it all on the

22 screen, I am afraid. But, again, this looks as though

23 it was something that was dealt with by your colleague

24 rather than you?

25 A. That's right.

 

 

25

 

1 Q. Is that correct?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. So, again, it probably came fresh to you, did it,

4 in September 1998?

5 A. I may have seen it. I may have seen it at the time in

6 the course of going through papers, but I don't actually

7 recall specifically when I did. I presume when I --

8 when it was attached to the September draft.

9 Q. And if we just flick over to RNI 106-228 (displayed), we

10 see the draft letter at that stage, the first page of

11 it, of course, because it is on the screen, which went

12 out in that form in July, and that was also in the file.

13 The next document chronologically is RNI-106-286

14 (displayed). Can you please tell us what this is?

15 Well, it has already disappeared, unfortunately. There

16 you are, on the left-hand of the screen, please.

17 A. This is the template that would have been produced by

18 the internal computer system upon receipt of a case

19 within private office. The correspondence clerk would

20 have input about who the letter was from and what the subject

21 was and had decided when the response dates should be,

22 who should be the lead in the case and also who it would

23 be appropriate to circulate it to.

24 Q. So this is what gives the deadline that you and

25 I discussed earlier. It is 31 August, isn't it?

 

 

26

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And it says it was referred to the lead official,

3 Mrs Collins, on 12 August and that she was in charge of

4 coordinating the response?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And if we can just turn over to RNI-106-287, please,

7 RNI-106-287 (displayed), there behind that form was the

8 original CAJ letter with its enclosures.

9 Just before moving from that, I can take it then

10 from your earlier answer, can I, that this letter, which

11 was the origin of all of this work, came to your

12 attention for the first time at this stage in

13 late September 1998?

14 A. Yes, I assume so, yes.

15 Q. Thank you. RNI-106-308 (displayed) was also in the file

16 and that is part of the underlying process of obtaining

17 information, in this case a letter going out from an

18 official within the Police Division to

19 Command Secretariat.

20 As I understand what you say in your statement, you

21 had, in this case and generally, no involvement in the

22 process of obtaining the information which produced the

23 proposed reply?

24 A. That's right.

25 Q. So, again, you would have seen this for the first time

 

 

27

 

1 when it came in the file in late September 1998?

2 A. I wouldn't have seen that at all.

3 Q. Right.

4 A. It would not be the practice to put these sort of papers

5 into a submission that came back to a minister. What

6 would come back is the original correspondence and the

7 advice and draft reply.

8 Q. Right. Let's move this document to the left-hand side

9 of the screen, please, RNI-106-308 (displayed), and can

10 we have again your paragraph 23, RNI-840-192

11 (displayed)?

12 Do you remember what I said to you, which is that

13 when you attached the minister's case files to your

14 statement, all the documents in it were given page

15 reference numbers? Do you see that?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And one of them on the left-hand side is RNI-106-308?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Because that's certainly what the Inquiry believed, on

20 the basis of disclosure from the NIO, was in the

21 minister's case file.

22 Now, are you saying that a document such as this

23 would not have been in the file?

24 A. Well, it is certainly my experience that such a document

25 wouldn't be in the file because the detail of that

 

 

28

 

1 minute has been summarised in the advice to the

2 minister. I'm not 100 per cent certain that it wasn't,

3 in this case, in it, but we wouldn't normally have seen

4 the background work that went into producing the advice.

5 Q. So it would have been unusual to see the underlying

6 documents?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Was there any particular reason that you can think of

9 why underlying documents might have been put into the

10 file in this case?

11 A. It wouldn't -- had it been in the file, I wouldn't have

12 reacted to it.

13 Q. No.

14 A. But ...

15 Q. But as far as you are concerned, you wouldn't have

16 expected to see a document of this kind in the file. Is

17 that what you are saying?

18 A. Yes. Well, my recollection would be it wouldn't, that

19 the information that would go to the minister would be

20 succinct. It may be that it did go and I have no

21 specific recollection of the actual papers, but it would

22 be unusual for the other documents to be.

23 Q. So does it follow from that then that in the vast

24 majority of cases there would be the draft letter with

25 the advice from officials, the original letter to which

 

 

29

 

1 the draft was a reply? What about the earlier

2 correspondence we saw? Do you remember the letter

3 in March and your colleague's response in July?

4 A. Hm-mm.

5 Q. That's earlier correspondence. Would that have been

6 included simply because it was part of the chain of

7 correspondence?

8 A. It might well have been included and it might well have

9 been, if a private secretary was reading it and thought

10 it was relevant, that we would have taken it from our

11 records and attached it if it wasn't already in the

12 information that come up to a minister.

13 Q. But in general you wouldn't expect to see the working

14 documents, if I can put it that way, and if the minister

15 or private office officials wanted to see anything more,

16 it would be for you to ask for them?

17 A. Yes, if he knew they existed, yes.

18 Q. So other than what was summarised in the official's

19 advice, therefore, you wouldn't, from the material you

20 ordinarily saw, be aware of what steps had been taken

21 and what advice from external agencies -- in this case,

22 the RUC -- had been received?

23 A. No.

24 Q. So you, in that respect in particular, were entirely

25 reliant on the policy officials in the particular parts

 

 

30

 

1 of the NIO who were furnishing the reply?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Now, in dealing with this in your statement -- and we

4 have got it on the screen at paragraph 24 -- please

5 don't enlarge it; I hope you can see it -- you say in

6 the penultimate sentence:

7 "As far as I am aware, neither Adam Ingram nor

8 anyone from his private office requested a threat

9 assessment on Mrs Nelson."

10 That's a very general statement. Do you mean at

11 this particular time in August/September 1998?

12 A. I meant that we wouldn't, as part of instructions to

13 a division, have asked them to do that. We would have

14 sent the correspondence from Paul Mageean down with the

15 template as was shown earlier, and they would have

16 taken -- they would have done whatever actions were necessary.

17 Q. So if anything was to be done of this kind, requesting

18 a threat assessment, that would be done by the division,

19 in this case the Police Division?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Can you ever remember an example during your time in the

22 private office of a minister or, indeed, an official in

23 your office requesting a threat assessment?

24 A. No. I don't recall any.

25 Q. Now, in the light of the terms of the original CAJ

 

 

31

 

1 letter, the 10 August letter, is it something that you

2 would have expected to be done; in other words, that the

3 Police Division would initiate a threat assessment from

4 the RUC so as to get to the bottom of the concerns

5 raised about Rosemary Nelson's safety?

6 A. I would say I wouldn't know what Police Division were

7 doing. I was relatively inexperienced. I wouldn't have

8 known what procedures they would have been going through

9 in order to respond to this letter. I wouldn't know the

10 criteria to ask for a threat assessment.

11 Q. You have no experience of that at all?

12 A. No.

13 Q. And presumably -- if we can look at the next document on

14 the left-hand side of the screen, please, RNI-106-314

15 (displayed) -- I can take it, can I, from your earlier

16 answer that you wouldn't have expected a document such

17 as this from the RUC to be in the minister's case file?

18 A. I wouldn't have expected it. And normally if you had

19 additional information, it would be flagged in the

20 course of the submission. So I don't think it would --

21 I don't think it would be normal practice to put it in,

22 but I'm not 100 per cent sure whether this was in.

23 Q. That's the issue for us because we are doing what we can

24 ten years later to reconstruct what came to the

25 minister, what came to you, because you eventually

 

 

32

 

1 signed the letter.

2 Are you saying that you can't be sure, but you think

3 it unlikely that this underlying material was in the

4 file when it came in to your office?

5 A. I think it was not -- I know it was not the normal way

6 of presenting information to a minister, but no two

7 cases are the same. Everything is dealt with

8 individually and on its merits, and it may well have

9 been in the bundle. I really do not remember whether it

10 was or not.

11 Q. But from what you have just said to me, if it had been

12 there and you had read it, when it said:

13 "Police are unaware of any specific threat against

14 Mrs Nelson ... "

15 You would have had no experience or knowledge to

16 enable you to form an assessment of what that meant

17 at all?

18 A. I would have relied on the information that was in the

19 draft from an official.

20 Q. Indeed. You had no means of independently checking,

21 assessing, evaluating, what was being said?

22 A. No.

23 Q. Now, looking again on the left, RNI-106-318 (displayed),

24 this is a single-page memo from another official to

25 Lesley Foster, the Police Division, dealing specifically

 

 

33

 

1 with the KPPS angle because that was the point raised

2 by Mr Mageean. This falls into a slightly different

3 category obviously because it is not information to and

4 from an external agency, but is this the sort of thing

5 that you would have expected to see in the minister's

6 case file?

7 A. If an official thought it was a relevant document and

8 wanted to highlight the passage of how they got to their

9 decision, it would be up to them to decide if it was

10 part of it or not.

11 In general, as I said, we wouldn't normally see the

12 background work that went on in producing a final draft.

13 Q. Now then, moving to the advice itself -- that is

14 RNI-106-320 (displayed) -- and, again, can we just have

15 the first page on the left-hand side, please. I think

16 we can both agree this is the sort of thing you can

17 expect to see because it is the advice with the proposed

18 response; is that correct?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Let's have the second page on the screen, please,

21 RNI-106-321, on the right-hand side (displayed). Thank

22 you very much.

23 Now, it told you on the left, didn't it, that it had

24 been signed off by Lesley Foster's line manager,

25 Simon Rogers. It is addressed to you or your colleague,

 

 

34

 

1 Mr Ingram's private secretary, and with it we know there

2 was a draft text, which, if we can have that on the

3 screen, please, at RNI-106-322 and RNI-106-323

4 (displayed) -- here is the draft, and somebody at the

5 top left-hand corner has pointed out correctly that it

6 was sent out in this form.

7 You tell us in your statement at paragraph 26 -- if

8 you have got the hard copy there, you can check -- that

9 you don't recall checking the detail of the letter:

10 "... nor would it have been normal practice to do so

11 as I would have assumed that the information contained

12 in it was correct."

13 Do you see that?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. That, as I understand it, is your recollection today?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. We know that the letter went out under your signature.

18 Can you recall whether there was any discussion between

19 you and the minister about the proposed letter?

20 A. I can't recall.

21 Q. Now, so far as the system that you mentioned earlier is

22 concerned, usual practice would suggest that the case

23 file went into his ministerial box. Is that right?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And that he would, therefore, at least have the

 

 

35

 

1 opportunity to consider and approve its terms?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. So can I take it that even though you have no specific

4 recollection of it, you learned one way or another that

5 he was content for it to be issued?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Is that likely to have been by some note by him on the

8 file? How did he work?

9 A. Normally, if you gave a minister a red box and it was

10 completed overnight, then you would -- he would give it

11 back to you the next morning and he would either tick it

12 or write "noted" or "agreed", something to that effect,

13 to show that he was happy with it to issue.

14 Q. There is some suggestion, I think, that he thinks he may

15 have approved it on the telephone. Is that possible?

16 A. It may be possible, yes.

17 Q. For instance, if he were away at this time in September,

18 was it ever the case that approval would be given simply

19 by telephone?

20 A. Yes, there had been occasions when we would have cleared

21 papers by telephone, yes.

22 Q. But according to the system you have described, even if

23 approval came in that way, he would at least have had

24 the chance, would he, to see the draft responses?

25 A. He would have done. Well, he would have -- if it was by

 

 

36

 

1 the telephone, then whoever spoke to him may have read

2 it out over the telephone, but he would have been made

3 aware of the contents.

4 Q. So, again, thinking of the evidence you have given about

5 the circumstances in which some letters were answered by

6 you and others by -- or your fellow private secretary,

7 and some by him, this letter from an NGO was at that

8 level, was it, that you weren't surprised that you were

9 the person who was to sign it, as opposed to the

10 minister?

11 A. No.

12 Q. That's what had happened with the previous letter we

13 looked at?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. It had been signed by your colleague?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Do you have any recollection whatever in relation to

18 this correspondence of it being treated in any way other

19 than in accordance with that usual practice that you

20 have described for us?

21 A. No, I presume it was treated as we would treat any

22 urgent correspondent case.

23 Q. Now, in connection with this, you know that after the

24 event, indeed after Rosemary Nelson's murder, an issue

25 arose about what information, what material, had been

 

 

37

 

1 considered by the police at this stage and whether they

2 had been provided with both enclosures to Mr Mageean's

3 letter. Do you remember that arising?

4 A. I was reminded of it when I went through the papers,

5 yes.

6 Q. Can I ask you to look at a particular part of your

7 statement? It is paragraph 27, RNI-840-193 (displayed).

8 At paragraph 27, at the bottom of the page, you say:

9 "I have been told by those interviewing me that the

10 police carried out their threat assessment without both

11 the pamphlet and the threatening note to hand."

12 There is a certain ambiguity in that drafting. The

13 issue was whether they had the threat note. I don't

14 think there is any issue about whether or not they had

15 the pamphlet. You are not suggesting there, are you,

16 that the threat assessment took place in the absence of

17 both of the documents enclosed by Mr Mageean?

18 A. No, I'm not suggesting that at all. I mean, this was

19 a response to those who asked me the questions, and that

20 was that the police carried out the threat assessment

21 without both the pamphlet and the threatening note to

22 hand. I wouldn't have known whether they did or didn't.

23 Q. It is just it has caused a bit of a flurry, this.

24 I just want to check you are simply playing back here

25 something you think was suggested to you in the

 

 

38

 

1 interview. Is that right?

2 A. Yes. It is certainly not meant to be ambiguous.

3 Q. Now, so far as the later part of your statement is

4 concerned, can I just ask you to look at paragraph 31,

5 and that's RNI-840-195 (displayed), because here you

6 deal with the immediate aftermath of Rosemary Nelson's

7 murder.

8 The first thing I wanted to ask you about it is

9 where you were when you heard the news. Where were you?

10 A. My recollection is we were on our way back from a visit

11 abroad, from the United States.

12 Q. When you say "we" --

13 A. The minister. I accompanied the minister.

14 Q. You mean Mr Ingram?

15 A. I do, yes.

16 Q. You see, he has told us in his witness statement, as I'm

17 sure you know, that he was, as he put, holding the fort

18 in Belfast at the time of the murder, whilst the

19 Secretary of State and others were in Washington.

20 A. I actually didn't know that, but I -- I presume what has

21 happened, because neither the minister nor the Secretary

22 of State would have been out of the country at the same

23 time, is we were travelling back as the Secretary of

24 State left. So we came back on the 15th and she maybe

25 travelled out on the 15th.

 

 

39

 

1 Q. Let's have a look. If we keep that document on the

2 left-hand side and put RNI-809-019 on the right-hand

3 side (displayed), do you see? It is paragraph 44. He

4 begins by saying:

5 "I recall I was holding the fort in Belfast when

6 Ms Nelson was murdered. Others were way with

7 St Patrick's Day events."

8 Do you see that?

9 A. I do, yes.

10 Q. And it is certainly clear that the Secretary of State

11 was in Washington, from the material we have. But are

12 you saying then that you and the minister were in fact

13 flying back from -- was it from Washington or from

14 another part of the States on that day?

15 A. New York perhaps. We recollect differently, but

16 I thought that was where -- maybe the minister has

17 a better recollection of the events than I have, but

18 that's my recollection: that we were actually on

19 a visit, coming home when we heard that -- when we heard

20 the news.

21 Q. Those are all the questions I have for you. I always

22 say, however, to all the witnesses, as I'm sure you

23 know, that if there is a matter we should have dealt

24 with in your view which you would like to mention to the

25 Inquiry Panel, this is your opportunity?

 

 

40

 

1 A. No, thank you.

2 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN

3 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Could I just pursue for a moment the

4 question of your function as a private secretary?

5 A. Yes.

6 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I appreciate that at the time of the

7 Mageean letter you were new in to private office and I

8 wouldn't expect someone who was brand new necessarily to

9 be trying to second guess anybody, particularly not, as

10 Mr Ingram has described them, trusted and competent

11 civil servants in the policy division.

12 But more generally, my experience of private offices

13 is that when a policy division sends in a submission

14 with a draft letter, they do actually apply some sort of

15 critical function to the letter just in order to watch

16 the minister's back, and they might go in to the

17 minister and say, "Look, minister, you ought to look at

18 paragraph 23, I'm not at all sure about this, you might

19 want clarification" or "This may not accord with what

20 you want". Did you never do that?

21 A. I don't recall doing it in this instance.

22 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I'm asking for generally. Did you

23 do that? I just think you may be underplaying what your

24 normal role would be.

25 A. I would have done with experience, as I got more

 

 

41

 

1 familiar with the role and more familiar with particular

2 subject matters. If I thought there was information,

3 additional information that the minister may have needed

4 and I was aware of, then I would have brought it to his

5 attention. But in general, as Mr Ingram had said, we

6 worked with very competent people who were much more

7 experienced and were experts in the field than I. So my

8 post was much more of a generalist one than a policy

9 official.

10 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Okay. My second question relates to

11 chasing-up of replies.

12 Again, drawing on my own experience, private offices

13 were not loathe to push quite hard if they thought that

14 the minister was being given an unduly delayed response,

15 and could be quite assertive in saying, "We must hasten

16 this, you must get a reply to this."

17 Your answers rather suggested that it wasn't in your

18 gift; you couldn't do anything about it. Is that really

19 the case?

20 A. I wasn't suggesting that. I was saying we would follow

21 up on BF cases. It wasn't actually my responsibility

22 because it was the department -- my colleague would

23 have, in managing the department, been much more

24 rigorous than this because my role was out of the

25 department most of the time. But we would have followed

 

 

42

 

1 up and chased up on replies.

2 But if someone had given us a credible excuse for

3 a delay, or a credible reason, I beg your pardon, for

4 a delay, we would have accepted it.

5 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I see.

6 A. I think.

7 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Thank you.

8 Questions by THE CHAIRMAN

9 THE CHAIRMAN: In June 1998, for how long had you been in

10 the civil service?

11 A. 14 years.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Thank you very much for coming

13 here to give evidence. We are very grateful, thank you.

14 A. Thank you.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: We will adjourn now until 2 o'clock.

16 Mr (name redacted), before the witness leaves, would you

17 please confirm that all the cameras have been

18 switched off?

19 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

21 (11.25 am)

22 (The short adjournment)

23 (2.00 pm)

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

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

 

 

43

 

1 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the fire doors on either side of the

3 screen closed?

4 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

6 and securely fastened?

7 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

9 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

10 of this chamber?

11 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr (name redacted), can you confirm, please, that

13 the two witness cameras have been switched off and

14 shrouded?

15 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: And all the other cameras have been

17 switched off?

18 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

20 Bring the witness in, please.

21 The cameras on the Panel, the Inquiry personnel and

22 the Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

23 switched back on.

24 Please will you affirm.

25

 

 

44

 

1 G115 (affirmed)

2 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

4 Yes, Mr Phillips?

5 MR PHILLIPS: I think it is right that you have made

6 a single statement to the Inquiry; is that correct?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. Can we have it on the screen, please, at RNI-842-033

9 (displayed)? Do we see your ciphered signature at

10 RNI-841-051 (displayed) and the date there, I think, of

11 13 June 2007. Is that 4correct?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. Thank you. You have been granted anonymity in the

14 Inquiry and given the cipher G115. Do you have in front

15 of you a short list of further ciphered names?

16 A. I do.

17 Q. Thank you. I would ask you, please, to be cautious in

18 naming names and, as necessary, consult the list.

19 Looking back to the beginning of your statement, I

20 think it is right, isn't it, that you took over the

21 position of deputy principal within the Key Persons

22 Protection Scheme, KPPS, in July 1998. Is that right?

23 A. That's correct, yes.

24 Q. And held that position, I think, until April the

25 following year?

 

 

45

 

1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. Can you look, please, at the chart we have of the NIO

3 structure and organisation (displayed)? That's the

4 front page, if I can put it that way. Can we go on to

5 the next page, please (displayed), security and

6 policing? Do we see your part of the structure on the

7 right-hand side of the left-hand box?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And that's you, deputy principal. Is that correct?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. So does the chart accurately represent the chain of

12 command going up from you to the grade 7, Head of the

13 KPPS, and then up to Head of Police Division?

14 A. Yes, it does.

15 Q. Thank you very much. Now, keeping the chart on the

16 screen, please, we can see the two sides of Police

17 Division, if I can put it that way: complaints on the

18 one hand and KPPS and firearms and explosives on the

19 other. How close was the working relationship between

20 the two sides?

21 A. Physically they were located across a corridor from me.

22 The working relationship would not have been that close.

23 We weren't in and out of each others' offices all the

24 time.

25 The KPPS was a discrete unit and we were dealing

 

 

46

 

1 with sensitive security matters, so we did not encourage

2 colleagues or others to routinely come into the office.

3 Nor, indeed, had we any particular reason to move across

4 the corridor and engage in conversations over there.

5 Q. So far as your contacts outside the NIO are concerned, I

6 think it is right, isn't it, that your principal contact

7 was with the Security Branch of the RUC; is that

8 correct?

9 A. That's correct.

10 Q. D Branch, I think it was called. Is that right?

11 A. I can't recall which branch it was. It was

12 Security Branch of the RUC, though.

13 Q. If we can have this on the screen please at RNI-842-037

14 (displayed), you tell us in paragraph 10 of your

15 statement that you had a very good working relationship

16 with that branch. Can I ask you, please, how regularly

17 would you be in touch with officers in the

18 Security Branch?

19 A. I would have been on the telephone with them perhaps two

20 or three times a week, mainly to check if security

21 clearances -- where they were in the system or to ask

22 about some details in relation to particular security

23 recommendations that had been made.

24 Q. And your department or section was in receipt on,

25 obviously, a regular basis of what you call the threat

 

 

47

 

1 risk assessments, which they prepared. Is that correct?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. And you describe later in your statement the process in

4 some detail, where an application to the scheme was

5 successful, of visits to the relevant house.

6 Just so we have got an idea of the size of your

7 section or staff, how many others were there working

8 within the KPPS branch of the NIO?

9 A. Directly above me was a grade 7 and below me there

10 were -- there was an executive officer -- two executive

11 officers and an administrative assistant.

12 Q. And which of those officials were the people who used to

13 go out to the houses, as you describe in your statement?

14 A. Both of the executive officers, and on occasion I would

15 also go.

16 Q. Thank you. Now, in your statement you set out for us,

17 beginning at paragraph 2, an account of the scheme. If

18 we could have that at RNI-842-033, please (displayed).

19 As I understand it, the "S" in KPPS stands for

20 "scheme"; is that right?

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. So really we should be saying the KPP scheme. Is that

23 right?

24 A. It is generally called the KPPS scheme rather than the

25 actual literal -- but whatever you want to use is fine.

 

 

48

 

1 Q. Let's stick with KPPS. Now, you describe there the

2 scheme. As I understand it, this is the scheme as it

3 was at the stage with which we are concerned, namely in

4 1997, 1998 and up to March 1999. Is that correct?

5 A. That's correct, yes.

6 Q. Thank you. There was an automatic category where, as

7 a result of individuals' position, protection was

8 afforded and extended, and then the discretionary

9 category, which you deal with in much greater detail

10 obviously in your statement because that is the one with

11 which the Inquiry is concerned. Again, is that, broadly

12 speaking, a fair summary?

13 A. That's correct, yes.

14 Q. Thank you. What I would like to do, please, is to show

15 you various paragraphs in documents which have a later

16 date, but which the Inquiry has obtained on disclosure,

17 relating to the scheme.

18 First can I show you, please, RNI-307-208

19 (displayed)? Now, this is a document generated by the

20 NIO for the Inquiry's benefit and it has found its way

21 into this part of the bundle. I'm not going to dwell on

22 the detail, but can I ask you, please, to look at the

23 next page, RNI-307-209 (displayed) and paragraph 4,

24 first of all:

25 "The scheme has always been voluntary and no one can

 

 

49

 

1 be compelled to accept protective security measures."

2 And then this sentence:

3 "Individuals apply directly or through their legal

4 representatives. Civil servants, police officers and

5 prison staff may be referred to the unit by their

6 employers."

7 Can I ask you this question, please: there is

8 a suggestion in at least one statement obtained by the

9 Inquiry that it was possible for an individual to be

10 admitted to the scheme as a result of an application

11 having been made by a third party. Is that correct?

12 A. I have no knowledge of that whatsoever.

13 Q. No. In your experience then, you would expect

14 individuals to apply themselves or, as it suggests here,

15 through their lawyers?

16 A. My experience was that individuals applied themselves

17 or, in the cases that I dealt with, they were usually

18 civil servants, police officers or prison staff. I'm

19 not aware of any case where someone applied through

20 their legal representatives.

21 Q. You are not?

22 A. No.

23 Q. Right. Can I ask you the question I probably should

24 have asked you at the beginning: Have you seen this

25 document before?

 

 

50

 

1 A. I have been given it with a bundle of papers, but that's

2 all.

3 Q. You took no part in its preparation?

4 A. Absolutely not, no.

5 Q. Thank you very much. So the civil servants and others

6 who came across your desk, they were brought to your

7 attention as applicants by the relevant employers. So

8 in that sense, there was a third party element. But for

9 other individuals, you always had applications direct

10 and not through lawyers, I think is what you are saying.

11 Is that right?

12 A. Yes, I can't recall any time when I had an application

13 come to me which was anything other than a police

14 officer or a prison officer or someone -- within, if you

15 like, the civil service or the security forces or the

16 Prison Service. I don't recall any from individuals,

17 other than those mentioned in my statement, where they

18 came through to me.

19 Q. So in the period -- admittedly a short period --

20 July 1998 until April 1999, as I understand it, other

21 than the two councillors whom you talk about in your

22 statement, there were no applicants from categories

23 other than civil servants, police officers and prison

24 officers?

25 A. I can't recall any.

 

 

51

 

1 Q. No. Now, so far as the documents are concerned, can I

2 take you down, please, to paragraph 5, the same page:

3 "The scheme was internally reviewed in 1998."

4 Was that something of which you were aware?

5 A. Yes, I was aware of that review, yes.

6 Q. Did you take part in it?

7 A. Yes, I took part in discussions as to how the scheme

8 worked and whether there was a need for an automatic

9 category.

10 Q. Yes, and it looks as though the result of the review was

11 a change; in other words, that the automatic category

12 was abolished. Is that, again, something you can

13 remember?

14 A. I can remember the review, I can remember the

15 recommendation in relation to the automatic category

16 being abolished and the threat risk analysis process

17 being introduced, but I cannot actually recall the

18 scheme change in my time.

19 Q. So it is possible, is it, that if there was a change, it

20 came after your time?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Thank you. This paragraph goes on to deal with the

23 question of financial limits being introduced, and there

24 is a reference there to the level -- do you see, above

25 that -- to the level of threat using the scale of 1

 

 

52

 

1 to 6, 1 being the highest and 6 being the lowest, and we

2 will come on to that in a moment.

3 But can I ask you in relation to the size of the

4 scheme at this point, are you able to tell the Panel how

5 many individuals were covered by the scheme in 1998,

6 when you joined the section?

7 A. No, I cannot recall that. I think I mentioned that in

8 my statement. I cannot recall the number at the time.

9 Q. I will see if I can help you with another document. It

10 is RNI-308-213 (displayed).

11 Again, this is long after the events with which we

12 are concerned, but you will see again another review was

13 going on as recently as 2006. If you turn over the page

14 to RNI-308-214 (displayed) on the screen and

15 paragraph 5, it says:

16 "KPPS was last reviewed in 1998 following the

17 signing of the Belfast Agreement at a time when

18 ministers were hopeful that the need for home protection

19 would soon be a thing of the past. At that time,

20 membership stood at 1,102 individuals plus 101 advice

21 centres, with an annual expenditure of around

22 4 million."

23 Then do you see again at the end of this paragraph

24 there is a reference to financial limits being imposed?

25 Does that fit with whatever you can recall about the

 

 

53

 

1 numbers, i.e. that there were about 1,100 people in the

2 scheme?

3 A. I can't recall the number. The only figure there that I

4 can recall was the annual expenditure of around

5 4 million.

6 Q. And you were responsible for that budget, were you?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Now, looking at the first sentence and what it says

9 there, you say you remember the review but you don't

10 think you were around for the result. It looks as

11 though the political changes and, in particular, the

12 Belfast Agreement in April 1998 had led to suggestions

13 that that might be the moment for changes to be

14 introduced to KPPS. Is that something you can recall?

15 A. My recollection is that it wasn't the signing of the

16 Belfast Agreement that initiated these changes; there

17 was concern about the level of expenditure within the

18 scheme, which was effectively demand-led.

19 You could limit the number of people coming forward

20 who were recommended through a threat risk assessment

21 for protection and my recollection was that each year we

22 were running over budget. There was a sense that the

23 biggest piece of the expenditure was in the automatic

24 category and that somehow this needed to be limited.

25 And one of the ways of looking at that, particularly

 

 

54

 

1 when we were coming up to what we hoped to be the

2 Belfast Agreement and the new dispensation, was to

3 introduce the threat risk assessment to the automatic

4 category.

5 Q. So that even where people had occupations, roles, which

6 in the past would have automatically entitled them to

7 protection, there would be an evaluation, as there would

8 be for every discretionary case?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And that was driven by budgeting and finance?

11 A. It was driven by two things. It was driven by, first of

12 all, the sense that the amount spent on the scheme was

13 rising and that we were coming to a new place where

14 hopefully this scheme would not be needed, so that the

15 two, if you like, were in conjunction. It was the right

16 time to have a review.

17 Q. So far as the discretionary part of the scheme is

18 concerned, can I ask you, please, to look at your

19 statement at RNI-842-034 (displayed) because here -- it

20 is the middle of paragraph 2 -- perhaps it would help to

21 have RNI-842-032 on the left-hand side of the scheme as

22 well so that you can see the beginning of this paragraph

23 (displayed). Thank you.

24 You see you begin to talk about the discretionary

25 category at the bottom of the left-hand side. You say:

 

 

55

 

1 "There was then a discretionary category dependent

2 upon the level of risk to the individual and their

3 occupation. Only persons assessed at threat risk

4 level 1 to 3 by the Royal Ulster Constabulary were

5 eligible."

6 Then you go on to tell us what level 4 meant:

7 "No police intelligence of any risk against the

8 individual concerned. As such, they didn't qualify for

9 protection under the scheme."

10 Now, presumably these risk levels 1 to 3, et cetera,

11 were defined in some document which you had at your

12 disposal?

13 A. I can't recall a document which defined the threat risk

14 levels. I knew that -- I recall -- I was certainly told

15 that the threat risk levels 1 to 3 would result in

16 protection and a 4 meant that there was no intelligence

17 to suggest a risk. I think I was also told that there

18 may have been another category beyond 4, but I didn't

19 see the relevance of that if 4 did not get you

20 protected.

21 Q. Indeed. But are you saying you weren't provided with

22 a written definition of the risk levels?

23 A. I have absolutely no recollection of that whatsoever.

24 Q. No. And presumably you would also say that in a sense

25 the people who had to consider this rather more

 

 

56

 

1 immediately than you were the police officers who were

2 doing the threat risk assessments?

3 A. Yes, I mean, I came in to the KPPS with an existing and

4 established system for dealing with risk.

5 Q. Indeed.

6 A. The levels, I have to say, I thought came from the RUC

7 and were the RUC's levels, and on that basis we could

8 sort of look at the risk and say where it fell within

9 the categories 1 to 3.

10 Q. Obviously if you have a report saying, "This person is

11 level 2" or "This person is level 4", then no doubt the

12 writer assumed that you, the recipient of the letter,

13 would know what he meant?

14 A. Yes, insofar as categories 1 to 3 suggested that there

15 was a threat to the individual, and the severity of that

16 threat was highest at 1, running down to 3 and below 3

17 there was no threat. And, therefore, in terms of the

18 KPPS, we would not initiate, if it was 4, measures

19 relating to security.

20 Q. Well, let's have a look together to see if we can find

21 what sounds like the right definition because in another

22 document the Inquiry has recovered, which begins at

23 RNI-307-104 (displayed), we seem to have a written

24 definition.

25 Now, RNI-307-104, as you can see from the date,

 

 

57

 

1 looks very much like the conclusion, the report, of the

2 review that you and I talked about earlier, and you can

3 also see that it is indeed dated after you left the

4 KPPS, as you had recalled.

5 I don't want to take you through the detail of it,

6 save to ask you to look with me at a couple of

7 paragraphs within it. First of all, at RNI-307-107,

8 please, (displayed), where it describes the

9 circumstances in which the review took place. And,

10 again, it seems to reflect very much what you have said

11 because of the Secretary of State's expressed concern

12 about the scheme's present scale. Then also, in her

13 thinking apparently, her wish to see normalisation in

14 this area, as in many others.

15 So, again, that seems to fit very much with what you

16 were saying to us earlier, doesn't it?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. So far as the issue that we were talking about, namely

19 the levels, we can see those described, beginning at

20 RNI-307-102 at annex A to this report which sets out the

21 detail of the scheme itself. Perhaps we could have

22 RNI-307-133 on the right-hand side, please (displayed).

23 So reading from the bottom left-hand side:

24 "If the job occupation criteria are satisfied, the

25 person concerned will be admitted to the scheme if the

 

 

58

 

1 RUC confirm that ..."

2 Then there are three levels set out, although

3 curiously the third one doesn't get defined within the

4 paragraph as being threat level 3.

5 But just taking a little time to read the text

6 there, is that consistent with your understanding of the

7 three relevant levels, i.e. those which would allow

8 a person to be admitted to the scheme?

9 A. Yes, that would have been my understanding, that threat

10 level 1 was -- there was a specific threat to the

11 individual. I would almost have said a specific and

12 immediate threat was my understanding of it.

13 I was not aware that there was no financial limit.

14 I felt there was -- each case was looked at on its

15 merits in relation to that. There was no financial

16 limit, only in the case of the automatic category. And,

17 again, threat level 2 would be my understanding there,

18 although I did not realise there was no financial limit,

19 and exactly the same for subparagraph (c), which would

20 have been threat level 3.

21 Q. And that is:

22 "General intelligence, circumstances and/or recent

23 events indicate a significant threat to the subject"?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. As I understand it, you were not responsible at any

 

 

59

 

1 point of the process for admission to KPPS that you

2 describe in your statement, for evaluating or deciding

3 whether an individual applicant came up to any one of

4 those three levels?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. That was and remained the exclusive province of the

7 Security Branch?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. Now, so far as the level outside these three and,

10 therefore, on the way you have expressed it, outside the

11 eligibility categories, level 4, how would you describe

12 that?

13 A. My description of it would be that there was no

14 intelligence to suggest that the threat existed to the

15 individual. I don't know what the RUC's definition of

16 category 4 would be, but that was my understanding

17 of it.

18 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you this question: In relation to

19 the discretionary part of the scheme, because obviously

20 that's the only relevant one for present purposes, do

21 you recall an example of any individual being refused

22 entry to the scheme when they had been assessed at one

23 of the levels 1 to 3?

24 A. No, I don't recall that at all.

25 Q. Thank you. Do you recall anyone being admitted to the

 

 

60

 

1 scheme when assessed below that level, i.e. from 4 down?

2 A. The only people I recall having protection in

3 exceptional circumstances outside the scheme would have

4 been the two councillors mentioned in my statement.

5 Q. Indeed. But the question I posed was within the scheme

6 were there cases, and can I take it, therefore, that

7 your answer was no?

8 A. You can. I cannot recall any cases where there would

9 have been anyone protected in the scheme if they had

10 fallen below threat level 1 to 3.

11 Q. Thank you. Am I right in thinking that in the end in

12 the discretionary category responsibility for the

13 decision-making was with ministers?

14 A. Yes, ultimately, yes, responsibility lay with ministers,

15 yes.

16 Q. And thus it is in the case of the two councillors you

17 deal with in your statement, that in the end the

18 exceptional case that they presented involved the

19 decision by the Secretary of State?

20 A. It did, yes.

21 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you one or two questions

22 about the situation in Northern Ireland at the time?

23 You set this out for us in paragraph 4 of your

24 statement, RNI-842-034 (displayed), at the bottom of the

25 page. Perhaps we could have RNI-842-035 on the other

 

 

61

 

1 side of the screen, please (displayed).

2 The first point you make here is that you tell us

3 that a lot of people within Northern Ireland at the

4 time -- presumably, therefore, 1998/1999 you are talking

5 about. Is that right?

6 A. I'm not specifically 1998, 1999.

7 Q. No.

8 A. I think there were a lot of people at the time or around

9 the time -- when I said "at the time", I was talking

10 particularly about in the time coming up to perhaps the

11 end of the Troubles and the beginning of the peace

12 process -- or the end of the peace process, I should

13 say.

14 Q. But the distinction, as I understand it, you are making

15 there is between what people believe, i.e. their

16 subjective concerns, and whether or not there was actual

17 intelligence to suggest that they were under threat?

18 A. Yes, that's correct.

19 Q. And at this part of your statement and at the end of the

20 statement, the position you take, as I understand it, is

21 that in the end these questions were matters for

22 individuals?

23 A. Sorry, I didn't understand the question.

24 Q. Well, the point you make in your statement on a number

25 of occasions is in the end personal security is an

 

 

62

 

1 individual matter and it is a matter for an individual

2 to take responsibility for?

3 A. What I'm saying, or what I mean by that is that there

4 is -- individuals cannot absolve themselves from matters

5 of their own security, and there are sensible and

6 reasonable things that any individual can do to mitigate

7 the circumstances of an attack on them, if they believed

8 that such an attack was going to happen.

9 Q. Indeed. And you give examples of that at the end of

10 this paragraph?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Thank you. Can I then just touch on a final question

13 about this issue of admission to the scheme? You have

14 answered some questions about whether it was possible or

15 within your experience that applications were made by

16 third parties. Can I ask you this question: Did you

17 ever deal with a case in the discretionary category

18 which was proceeding to admission of the individual

19 where no application had been made?

20 A. No.

21 Q. No. Was there ever a case where an individual received

22 protection under the scheme in circumstances where that

23 individual had refused access to his or her house to the

24 police or to your officials?

25 A. No.

 

 

63

 

1 Q. And so can we take it slightly further: that in your

2 view an application on the one hand, and cooperation

3 with the survey, the visit, were both pre-conditions of

4 admission to the scheme?

5 A. Yes, that's correct.

6 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the assessments were

7 concerned, we have touched on them briefly. You say in

8 your statement, on the paragraph we still have on the

9 screen, paragraph 5, RNI-842-035, that they were carried

10 out solely by the police and not by you and your

11 colleagues, the civil servants. And can I take it then

12 that where you give a general description of what was

13 involved, that was based on what you learned during your

14 time in the section, rather than any personal experience

15 or involvement in undertaking such an assessment?

16 A. Sorry, I don't quite understand what you are asking me.

17 Q. You didn't undertake these assessments yourself, did

18 you?

19 A. No, the RUC undertook them.

20 Q. But you have given evidence about them in your

21 statement, and therefore I'm asking you how you come to

22 know what you say there?

23 A. I knew broadly the process that was being followed from

24 my conversations with police officers within

25 Security Branch.

 

 

64

 

1 Q. Exactly. So the information that you set out,

2 therefore, for us in paragraph 5 is based on what you

3 were told by those who did undertake those assessments?

4 A. That's correct.

5 Q. Is that correct?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. Thank you. And as I understand it, in no particular

8 case, no individual case, did you ever ask for any of

9 the detail of the process of assessment that had been

10 undertaken by the Security Branch?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. So to be clear then, if the report came back from

13 Security Branch that the individual was at level 4 or

14 below, nothing further would have happened so far as

15 KPPS was concerned, and only if the result was 3 or

16 above would you proceed to the next stages which you

17 describe in your statement?

18 A. Yes, that's correct. That's my recollection of it.

19 Q. Now, you then go on to tell us in paragraph 6 and

20 following, the next stages, and I don't want to go over

21 that in any detail save to ask you a question about

22 paragraph 7, RNI-842-036 (displayed), and the first

23 sentence of it, where you say:

24 "Home visits were an anxious time for the individual

25 concerned."

 

 

65

 

1 Can you help us with a little more detail of what

2 you mean there?

3 A. By the time we got to carrying out a home visit, an

4 assessment had been made by the RUC. That assessment

5 was coming back to say there was a threat at levels 1

6 to 3. The person involved was aware that there was

7 a threat to them, so subsequently they were having --

8 they were experiencing, I think, the natural anxiety

9 that people do, knowing that potentially they are under

10 threat and having that in a sense confirmed to them by

11 KPPS, then starting this process of coming to the house

12 to look at security arrangements.

13 Q. So far as the particular case of the two councillors is

14 concerned, that's something you deal with in some detail

15 in your statement, beginning at paragraph 11 -- if we

16 could see have that on the screen, please -- at

17 RNI-842-037 (displayed).

18 It looks from your evidence as though the first

19 stage of this, so far as your section was concerned,

20 took place before you arrived on the scene because the

21 first letter appears to have been written by Mr McCourt.

22 Is that correct?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. So by the time you took his chair, as it were, the

25 request had already been made. If we could just look at

 

 

66

 

1 that together briefly, please, it is RNI-305-152

2 (displayed).

3 Now, we have discussed this question of application,

4 so when you talk about the need for an application for

5 the scheme, there wasn't a formal piece of paper that

6 individuals had to complete; it was enough, was it, as

7 in this case, for the councillors to say to an official

8 in the NIO, "I want to join the scheme", for that to be

9 treated as an application and for the rest of the

10 process to be triggered?

11 A. My understanding of this was that both councillors had

12 made aware their concerns about their own security to

13 members of the NIO and other members involved in

14 proximity talks and parades, and that had triggered this

15 request.

16 Q. But you didn't have, did you, a standard form that

17 people had to fill in?

18 A. No, I don't recall a form like that at all.

19 Q. It was enough that some sort of notification came in for

20 that to be treated as an application?

21 A. In that case, it was a direct notification.

22 Q. Yes. Exactly.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Now, so far as the next stage is concerned, the reply

25 comes back some six weeks later, RNI-305-184

 

 

67

 

1 (displayed), and we can see, 31 August, the heading

2 "Security Branch" and the Superintendent -- who I think

3 was the senior officer within that branch, wasn't he?

4 A. That was my understanding, yes.

5 Q. Yes -- writing this time not to your predecessor but to

6 you on the topic, and in the second paragraph saying:

7 "A Headquarters Special Branch intelligence report

8 shows there is no current intelligence held which would

9 indicate a specific threat to either of the

10 councillors."

11 Now, it looks, therefore, doesn't it, as though in

12 this case Security Branch had gone to Special Branch HQ

13 to get an intelligence report?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And was that something that they did in every case?

16 A. I couldn't say that that happened in every case. It was

17 entirely up to the police how they dealt with these, but

18 I would be surprised if it wasn't the case.

19 Q. In the course of your dealing with the various

20 applications in your time in the KPPS section, was that

21 comment in a report or letter from Security Branch one

22 that you saw on a regular basis? "We have been to

23 Special Branch Headquarters and this is the result"?

24 A. I can't recall that.

25 Q. You don't?

 

 

68

 

1 A. I don't recall it. I don't recall that being the

2 specific wording because I don't recall other letters.

3 Q. So you are not saying that this was exceptional, you

4 can't recall anything like it; it is just you can't

5 recall the terms of other letters?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. Yes, thank you. And in terms of the use there of the

8 phrase "specific threat", again presumably based on what

9 you have told us, it wasn't your job, as you saw it, to

10 interpret or assess what that indicated so far as

11 Special Branch or Security Branch were concerned; your

12 concern was what was coming at the end of the letter,

13 namely which level did the application reach?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. Now, can I ask you in relation to the work of

16 Security Branch, you refer in your statement to what

17 they did as being "threat risk assessments"?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. In other words, not, as it were, threat assessments on

20 the one hand and not risk assessments on the other, but

21 both. What was your understanding of that; in other

22 words, the differences between the threat on the one

23 hand and the risk on the other?

24 A. The threat, as I understood it, was a threat broadly in

25 the categories 1 to 3, either specific or general, and

 

 

69

 

1 then on top of that there was a risk of whether that

2 threat may or may not be carried out.

3 Q. In relation to the particular individual?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Again, can I ask you, was that something -- what that

6 particular expression meant, "threat risk assessment" --

7 that was defined in any material that you held in your

8 section?

9 A. I don't recall seeing a piece of paper with that on it.

10 What I do recall is that it was a very specific

11 terminology. We used that; we talked about a threat

12 risk assessment.

13 Q. So you used the terminology, but again, was it a term

14 that originated with the police?

15 A. I couldn't tell you that.

16 Q. You couldn't? Thank you.

17 The background to this, of course -- which, again,

18 you set out for us in your statement -- was the

19 Proximity Talks that had been going on in relation to

20 Drumcree, and you must have been at least in general

21 terms aware of that. Is that right?

22 A. Yes, I was, yes.

23 Q. And this was a time of very considerable political and

24 other change in Northern Ireland, wasn't it?

25 A. Yes, that's correct.

 

 

70

 

1 Q. And as he says at the bottom, whoever it was who signed

2 this letter:

3 "Being mindful of the current political climate

4 within the Province, particularly with respect to

5 ceasefires, it is assessed that ..."

6 Then he says:

7 "... should the ceasefire situation collapse, the

8 level of threat subject to review could be assessed at

9 level 3."

10 So what was being suggested there to you was that as

11 things stood, the position was level 4, but change,

12 deterioration in fact, could not be ruled out, and in

13 those circumstances the threat level would be reassessed

14 and go up to 3?

15 A. Yes, it could be reassessed at level 3.

16 Q. It could be, exactly. So in other words, the assessment

17 was being conducted with the changing political and

18 security situation very much in mind?

19 A. Yes, I would agree with that.

20 Q. And is that something that you encountered in other

21 cases at this time; in other words, where the

22 uncertainty as to whether the normalisation process

23 would continue meant that caveats such as that were

24 being entered in to the effect of, "We may need to

25 reassess this if things take a turn for the worse"?

 

 

71

 

1 A. I don't recall seeing any other caveat like this in

2 a letter. It was a very clear level given and there was

3 only one level given in the assessment that came back.

4 This is the only case where I saw a caveat in place.

5 Q. Of course, as you have already explained, it was

6 a unique case for you because these were the only

7 applicants you experienced of this kind, i.e. non-civil

8 servants, non-police officers, non-prison officers?

9 A. That's correct.

10 Q. And the application arose in an acutely political

11 context, didn't it?

12 A. Yes, it did.

13 Q. And in very brief summary, the history that you later

14 set out in your statement is a history in which the

15 political imperative of progress in the Drumcree

16 negotiations was being brought into play in considering

17 their application for protection?

18 A. Are you talking about by the police or by --

19 Q. By officials within the NIO.

20 A. Initially, I think this was a request for protection

21 within the Proximity Talks, which I understand was

22 directed at Jonathan Powell and other -- there would

23 have been other NIO officials there, which came through

24 in the normal course of events to KPPS to look at.

25 But it very much was within the context of the

 

 

72

 

1 Belfast Agreement and the potential for another summer

2 of disorder in relation to parades. So I think we were

3 into a new place here and everyone was sensitive that in

4 a sense we needed to make sure that what had been

5 achieved, this endgame, as some people called it, could

6 continue and that nothing was going to get in the way.

7 Q. You were in a section dealing with the operation of the

8 scheme?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. But officials who were involved in the Proximity Talks

11 were obviously looking at it with a completely different

12 perspective because they were concerned above all with

13 the political process?

14 A. I don't think the people who were involved in the

15 Proximity Talks understood the mechanics of the scheme,

16 and it was a case of, "Let's just get on with this.

17 What's the problem?"

18 Q. Yes, because you knew, didn't you, when this came back,

19 that this was not the right answer as far as they were

20 concerned?

21 A. Yes, I felt this was not the answer that they would want

22 to hear.

23 Q. Indeed. And that's why, presumably, your note at the

24 bottom of the page on the right-hand side says:

25 "I want to take advice on this before preparing

 

 

73

 

1 a submission to the minister"?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. Now, in the ordinary run of cases, as you have explained

4 to me, if you had received a report saying level 4,

5 there would be no question of a submission to the

6 minister; that would simply be the end of the process.

7 That's right, isn't it?

8 A. Yes, but I would take you back to the letter from

9 Security Branch, where you have noted that there was

10 a caveat here.

11 This is a letter which I think has been carefully

12 drafted. First of all, it has let me know -- and we

13 have covered this in questioning -- that Headquarters

14 Special Branch intelligence report was sought, that

15 there was an awareness of Councillor Duffy's position

16 within the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition, that there

17 was heightened tension surrounding Drumcree. There was

18 a very clear set of contextual circumstances set out

19 around that.

20 So my reading of the letter that I received from

21 Security Branch was saying, "We know this is a sensitive

22 issue, we have carried out our threat risk assessment"

23 and I would say they have carried out the threat risk

24 assessment thoroughly. That is the message I'm getting

25 back from the letter. And also it took six weeks, I

 

 

74

 

1 think, to come back.

2 Given all of these circumstances that this was

3 a level 4, but if the ceasefire situation should

4 collapse, which is another -- in other words, the

5 political situation might collapse, then that may be

6 reassessed.

7 Subsequently, on reading that letter and knowing

8 about the Proximity Talks and the importance of the

9 place we were in at that time politically, I felt this

10 was something that I should take further advice on.

11 Q. Thank you. Just picking up on a couple of things you

12 have said in that answer, first of all about the period

13 it took to report to you. You said six weeks. Can

14 I take it that reports generally came back rather more

15 speedily?

16 A. To be honest, I can't recall how quickly reports came

17 back, so I don't know whether I can say six weeks was

18 average, longer or, indeed, shorter. However, I believe

19 that this was not a rushed assessment.

20 Q. Well, if what you have told us is right, namely that

21 these were the only cases outside, if I can put it, the

22 establishment individuals that you dealt with, it must

23 follow presumably that they were the only such cases, at

24 this time at any rate, that the Security Branch was

25 dealing with because you were simply referring people to

 

 

75

 

1 them?

2 A. Yes, the vast majority of my time was taken up -- I have

3 to say this -- not referring new cases, but actually

4 dealing with the -- and you have told me -- over 1,000

5 people on the scheme and the maintenance and supervision

6 of those.

7 Q. To deal with existing cases, in other words?

8 A. Yes, that's the bulk of, if you like, the daily grind.

9 So new applications were not something that were coming

10 through the door in great numbers and, indeed, these

11 would have stood out as being particular and I don't

12 recall any others like it.

13 Q. No.

14 A. And I presume -- and that's all I can say -- that

15 Security Branch were not dealing with any others.

16 They're the only ones that came through the scheme.

17 Q. Can I also take it from various comment you have made

18 about the drafting of this letter that in general the

19 reports coming back from Security Branch were rather

20 shorter and less detailed than this one?

21 A. Yes, that's my recollection.

22 Q. You tell us that after receiving this -- and now I'm

23 taking your statement up at paragraph 16, RNI-842-039

24 (displayed) -- shortly after you received it, you spoke

25 to an official in -- is that "political affairs"?

 

 

76

 

1 A. Yes, that's correct.

2 Q. Thank you very much. About the outcome. Now, as far as

3 you can remember, was that a conversation initiated by

4 you or by him?

5 A. I initiated that conversation.

6 Q. Presumably you felt it sensible to warn him that the

7 threat risk assessment had come back at a level below

8 that which would allow for admission to the scheme?

9 A. Yes, that's correct.

10 Q. And as I understand it, it was at that point, if you

11 hadn't already worked it out for yourself -- I'm sure

12 you had -- that you were told by that official that this

13 was not the result which had been expected.

14 Now, thereafter you tell us in your statement that

15 you went back to the Superintendent. Presumably that

16 was a course of action that you discussed in this

17 conversation with G116?

18 A. I discussed with that official the result and there was

19 no pressure put on me to say, "Oh, this is entirely

20 wrong, let's go back and get this changed". But clearly

21 there was a sense of, look, if there is any possibility,

22 perhaps if there is a caveat there, that this might be

23 a level 3, is there any other way we can have this

24 reassessed or thoroughly reviewed to make sure that the

25 boundaries between what was considered level 4 and what

 

 

77

 

1 might be a level 3 had been thoroughly investigated.

2 Q. Yes. Presumably you were made aware -- again, if you

3 weren't already aware of it -- that these negotiations

4 were being conducted on behalf of the Government by the

5 Prime Minister's Chief of Staff?

6 A. Yes, absolutely.

7 Q. And they were a very high political priority at a level

8 way above the NIO; in other words, with the Prime

9 Minister himself, and therefore that there was

10 a considerable amount of political investment riding on

11 their success. Presumably after this conversation you

12 were left in little doubt about that?

13 A. That was not part of the conversation. I was in

14 absolutely no doubt about that --

15 Q. Anyway.

16 A. Anyway.

17 Q. Yes.

18 A. That the parades issue had gone on for a number of

19 years, had caused significant civil disorder and divided

20 communities, and that shortly now after the Good -- the

21 Belfast Agreement, we were going to be entering into

22 this period of marching again and there needed to be,

23 from the Government's point of view, some resolution of

24 this to keep the stability of the peace process.

25 And I believe that in those proximity talks, when

 

 

78

 

1 the issue of security was -- personal security was

2 raised by one or both councillors, this was not seen as

3 an obstacle and certainly would have been viewed as bad

4 news by those in the Proximity Talks, if I can put it in

5 that way.

6 I just need to make this absolutely clear: within

7 that context, there was no pressure put on me by my

8 colleagues in PAB or anywhere else to say that's not the

9 right answer, go and change it. All they were looking

10 for was to ensure that there was a thorough review and

11 that we were absolutely sure that that's where we were.

12 Q. We know from your statement that after this

13 conversation, you made contact, I think on the

14 telephone, with the Superintendent. Is that correct?

15 A. I thought I wrote to him.

16 Q. You certainly did write to him. That's the question

17 I have, whether you -- sorry, it is the problem of the

18 screen again. If we go back to paragraph 16 on the

19 screen, please (displayed) -- we can enlarge that -- do

20 you see about five lines down in 16, you say:

21 "I telephoned ... and then followed up with

22 a letter."

23 So it looks as though you did both?

24 A. Yes, I did.

25 Q. Are you able to tell us what you would have mentioned or

 

 

79

 

1 discussed with the Superintendent on the telephone?

2 A. I can't recall what I discussed with him on the

3 telephone, but it would have been to reflect the

4 political circumstances in which this was taking place.

5 And my call to him, I do -- in saying perhaps we could

6 have another look at this, if there was any other

7 evidence there, was to be absolutely clear with him

8 that, as the words of my statement say:

9 "I was neither seeking to challenge the police's

10 independence in operational matters for any political

11 reason or asking [him] to change the assessment on the

12 basis of no new information."

13 I worked with my colleagues in Security Branch and

14 the RUC on that basis of complete integrity, in that we

15 submitted applications, they come back and told us the

16 risk. It was not my place or anyone else's place within

17 the scheme to say we think you have got it wrong, for

18 whatever reason, could you change that, please. And

19 I wanted to be absolutely clear in this case that that

20 had not changed.

21 Q. And what enabled you to do that, of course, was to have

22 in your hand new information. That's right, isn't it?

23 A. Yes, I had a copy of -- I think a pamphlet called "Man

24 Without a Future".

25 Q. Yes, you refer to that later in your statement and we

 

 

80

 

1 can see the letter that you wrote on 7 September at

2 RNI-305-216 (displayed).

3 This is addressed to the Superintendent, it refers

4 to his letter that we have already looked at, 31 August.

5 There is no reference in it to your preceding telephone

6 call, is there?

7 A. No.

8 Q. But you go straight to the point and you say:

9 "Following receipt of your assessment, I spoke to

10 a senior NIO colleague."

11 Now, is that G116, do you think?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. "... who is directly involved in the discussions around

14 the Garvaghy Road parade. He asked me that the issue is

15 still very much alive and that Mac Cionnaith had been in

16 touch earlier in the day to voice his concerns about his

17 own safety. When Steven McCourt visited Mac Cionnaith,

18 he was particularly concerned about the circulation of a

19 leaflet (enclosed) ..."

20 And that is the "Man Without a Future" pamphlet that

21 you mentioned in your statement, isn't it?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. So it looks as though your colleague at a much earlier

24 stage was aware of the leaflet and of

25 Breandan Mac Cionnaith's concerns about it, doesn't it?

 

 

81

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. But it looks also from this as though that information

3 and the leaflet and his concern about it had not, before

4 this letter, been passed on to Security Branch,

5 doesn't it?

6 A. Yes, that was my understanding.

7 Q. Because otherwise it wouldn't be new information,

8 would it?

9 A. That's correct.

10 Q. Thank you. And what he says is:

11 "... he was concerned about the circulation of

12 leaflets in Loyalist areas of Portadown (enclosed),

13 which made an attack both against him and his

14 solicitor."

15 Who you knew was Rosemary Nelson, didn't you?

16 A. Sorry, Mac Cionnaith's solicitor was Rosemary Nelson?

17 Q. Yes.

18 A. I can't say for sure at the time of writing this that

19 I knew that Rosemary Nelson was Mac Cionnaith's

20 solicitor.

21 Q. It was referred to in the pamphlet, wasn't it?

22 A. I can't recall what the pamphlet said or if it

23 registered with me that Rosemary Nelson was his

24 solicitor.

25 Q. What do you think led you to make the comment?

 

 

82

 

1 A. Obviously it was there and I just wrote it down.

2 Q. Sorry, what was where?

3 A. Sorry, if it was in the pamphlet -- can I see the

4 pamphlet? Is the pamphlet available to see?

5 Q. Yes, absolutely. It is at, I think, RNI-116-040; it's

6 one place to see it anyway (displayed). There. It is

7 very bad copy of course.

8 A. No, what I wanted to just clarify in my own mind was was

9 this mentioned to me by Steven McCourt or did I see the

10 name Rosemary Nelson in the pamphlet.

11 Q. You certainly did, yes.

12 A. Well, that's where I would have picked up the reference

13 to Rosemary Nelson.

14 Q. Thank you. Anyway, you were presenting this to the

15 Superintendent as further information on the issue of

16 safety. That's right, isn't it?

17 A. Yes, this had been raised with me and I was passing it

18 then back in the light of the last sentence of

19 Superintendent McAuley's first letter to me.

20 Q. Can we have your letter back on the screen, please,

21 RNI-305-216 (displayed), because you then go on to say:

22 "On the basis of Councillors Mac Cionnaith and

23 Duffy's key role in the ongoing talks to find a solution

24 to Drumcree, I thought it best to keep you up-to-date

25 with Mac Cionnaith's concerns particularly with regard

 

 

83

 

1 to the last sentence of your letter of 31 August."

2 Now, presumably, just looking at the points you make

3 to him there, what you would have expected was -- based

4 on what you told us earlier -- that he would take the

5 information you gave him, the pamphlet and these

6 concerns, and check on the basis of the intelligence

7 record whether there was substance in them; in other

8 words, whether there was evidence of an actual threat to

9 these two individuals?

10 A. Yes, I expected him to action the information given to

11 him.

12 Q. So in a sense you were asking for a reassessment of the

13 position in the light of this new information?

14 A. I was not directly asking that.

15 Q. No.

16 A. I was asking him -- I was putting in front of him other

17 information which had come to me, and in the light of

18 his last sentence, saying he -- that, you know, it was

19 important, given the roles of both Mac Cionnaith and

20 Duffy, that all of the information available to us was,

21 you know, there and available. And I was keeping him

22 up-to-date also with Mac Cionnaith's continuing concerns

23 about his own safety. So what I wasn't going back and

24 asking him was to say, "Please do a review".

25 Q. In the last sentence of his letter he raised the point

 

 

84

 

1 that if there was a deterioration in the situation and

2 the ceasefires came to an end, the level of threat could

3 be assessed at level 3. Do you remember that?

4 A. Yes, if the ceasefire didn't hold.

5 Q. Yes. And that's the sentence that you referred him

6 to --

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. -- in this letter. Now, of course the information you

9 were giving him didn't directly relate to that

10 eventuality at all, did it?

11 A. No.

12 Q. So this was a somewhat oblique way, using that last

13 sentence where he had left an opening for you, of asking

14 him to have another think, wasn't it?

15 A. That was my hope.

16 Q. Yes, thank you. What happened, as you tell us in your

17 statement --

18 A. Sorry, I need to be just clear about this. This was

19 a carefully drafted letter by me. This was -- why was

20 it a carefully drafted letter? It was because I did not

21 at any time want to go back and say, "Look, there is

22 a political imperative here, change your assessment". I

23 was simply presenting him with other information and

24 leaving it with him to see what he did with it.

25 Q. And presuming he would work it out for himself?

 

 

85

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. When you say it was a carefully drafted letter, by the

3 way, was it entirely your work?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. So far as his response was concerned, RNI-305-223

6 (displayed), he tells you -- it is the same signature

7 above his name -- that the matter had indeed been

8 considered once more, and he expresses the point that it

9 may not be prudent to be speculative in the current

10 political climate:

11 "And, of course, Councillors Mac Cionnaith and Duffy

12 were placed in vulnerable situations particularly with

13 regard to Drumcree, but no more so than that applicable

14 to others involved in such contentious issues. In the

15 absence of intelligence to indicate a specific threat to

16 the councillors we have again analysed the risk of any

17 potential threats taking all matters into consideration.

18 My letter to you dated 31 August remains extant,

19 including the assessed level 4 threat."

20 So did you take it from that that in addition to

21 considering the concerns that you have mentioned to him,

22 as expressed by Councillor Mac Cionnaith, he had already

23 considered the terms of the pamphlet?

24 A. Yes, I did because he said in his second paragraph:

25 "We have again analysed the risk of any potential

 

 

86

 

1 threat."

2 My assumption is that he had taken any new

3 information such as I had given him into account.

4 Q. Indeed, but based on what you have told us before, you

5 wouldn't have gone back to check; you would have just

6 taken his assessment on its face?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Thank you.

9 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Mr Phillips, I'm sorry, can I just

10 interrupt.

11 Can you just clarify one thing for me? The

12 application from Mr Mac Cionnaith and Mr Duffy you

13 considered came through Jonathan Powell?

14 A. Yes.

15 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: In your view, that was a legitimate

16 application?

17 A. It came through the Proximity Talks in conversation with

18 Jonathan Powell and there would have been other NIO

19 officials in the room.

20 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So if those sorts of issues are brought

21 to the notice of NIO officials and subsequently come

22 through to your department, that's a legitimate

23 application?

24 A. In this case that is exactly what happened.

25 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And there is no reason why that

 

 

87

 

1 shouldn't apply in any other case, then?

2 A. Where someone directly gets in contact with the NIO --

3 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: With an NIO official, that, if it came

4 to your department, would be a legitimate application?

5 A. We would certainly respond to it, yes.

6 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So if an NGO wrote to senior civil

7 servants in the NIO raising concerns of the safety of an

8 individual, that would be a legitimate application?

9 A. No, what happened in this case was that both Councillors

10 Mac Cionnaith and Duffy personally raised the issue of

11 their own security with Jonathan Powell and officials of

12 the NIO, and on that basis it came through.

13 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Hm-mm.

14 MR PHILLIPS: Just to clarify, if an individual had raised

15 concerns about his or her safety with an official within

16 the NIO and that official had passed the matter on to

17 you in the KPPS section, that would have been treated by

18 you as a legitimate application under the scheme. Is

19 that right?

20 A. If that person fell into the automatic category or

21 perhaps into the discretionary category, yes, we would

22 have looked at it. I think we were in, at this time,

23 new territory. I think we had the Belfast Agreement, we

24 had a lot of proximity talks and others trying to keep

25 the -- keep paramilitaries from both sides on board and

 

 

88

 

1 to ensure that the fledgling peace process bedded in,

2 and that what we had seen in terms -- what we saw in

3 terms of the Mac Cionnaith and Duffy application, for

4 want of a better word, in coming forward and saying I

5 would like to get protected, was a case where those who

6 were in proximity talks felt perhaps here was

7 a legitimate reason for protecting someone if it was

8 going to continue to develop the fledgling peace process

9 and keep it on the rails. And I think that's where we

10 started to run into difficulty.

11 Secondly, I think those who were involved in the

12 Proximity Talks in this case had no understanding of the

13 KPPS and simply felt that if this was one of the things

14 you needed to do to get on with what needed to be done

15 in the peace process, then you just got on and did it

16 and didn't realise some of the issues that it threw up

17 at the time.

18 Q. What tipped the balance eventually in this case was

19 politics?

20 A. In the sense that there was a new imperative to keep

21 this in place, yes.

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. Tipped the balance in what sense?

24 Q. So that in the end, in extraordinary circumstances, by

25 special provision, protection was afforded?

 

 

89

 

1 A. Yes, outside of the scheme, yes.

2 Q. Yes. Because on what you have told us, you either get

3 into the scheme at level 3 and above or you don't?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. That's the way the scheme had been operated, isn't it?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Would that be a convenient moment, sir?

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly. We will have a quarter of an hour

9 break.

10 Before the witness leaves, would you confirm that

11 all the cameras have been switched off, Mr (name redacted)?

12 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Please escort the witness out.

14 (3.15 pm)

15 (Short break)

16 (3.33 pm)

17 THE CHAIRMAN: The checklist, Mr Currans? Is the public

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

19 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the fire doors on either side of the

21 screen closed?

22 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

24 and securely fastened?

25 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

 

 

90

 

1 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than the Inquiry personnel

2 and the Participants' legal representatives seated in

3 the body of this chamber?

4 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Mr (name redacted), can you confirm,

6 please, that the two witness cameras have been switched

7 off and shrouded?

8 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: And all the other cameras been switched off?

10 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

12 Bring the witness in, please.

13 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

14 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

15 switched back on.

16 MR PHILLIPS: Can we have on the screen, please, your

17 statement at RNI-842-040 (displayed), and in

18 paragraph 18 there you tell us that you think you would

19 have probably telephoned the official in the Political

20 Affairs Division following your receipt of the second

21 letter from Security Branch.

22 Given what you have told us about your own

23 understanding of this business and of the expectations

24 of those involved in the negotiations, it is inevitable,

25 isn't it, that you would have wanted to tell your

 

 

91

 

1 colleague that the answer had again come back level 4?

2 A. Yes, what I mean by the first sentence in paragraph 18

3 is that I can specifically recall telephoning my

4 colleague for the first time, I just can't recall the

5 second time. But I agree with what you say.

6 Q. And you say there you believe you told him that you had

7 put his concerns -- I mean, the concerns you actually

8 put in the letter were, of course,

9 Councillor Mac Cionnaith's concerns, weren't they?

10 A. They were Councillor Mac Cionnaith's concerns as related

11 to me by my colleague, G116.

12 Q. Indeed, but they were Councillor Mac Cionnaith's

13 concerns about his safety. That was the relevant point

14 as far as you were concerned, wasn't it?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. I mean, you have just made very clear to us that it

17 wasn't your business to express to the Superintendent

18 the concerns of the negotiators. That was the last

19 thing you wanted to do, wasn't it?

20 A. Yes, I put the concerns that had been relayed to me

21 about -- that Councillor Mac Cionnaith felt.

22 Q. Yes. Anyway, you told him that the result was as

23 before. What was his reaction?

24 A. Well, I can't recall the conversation so I can't answer

25 that question.

 

 

92

 

1 Q. Well, you have already said in your statement you

2 probably would have telephoned him and you can't recall

3 that telephone conversation. So why don't you have a go

4 at telling us, using your experience and what you think

5 is likely, what his reaction was?

6 THE CHAIRMAN: You are being asked to second guess.

7 A. We know what his reaction is because of subsequent

8 events.

9 MR PHILLIPS: Indeed.

10 A. And it clearly was not helpful to the political process

11 and the Proximity Talks.

12 Q. Yes. Now, you tell us in the next paragraph, the first

13 sentence, that:

14 "He wouldn't have told the two councillors of the

15 outcome of the threat assessment; it was not appropriate

16 at that stage."

17 Can I take it that you had had no communication with

18 them at all at any point of the process to this stage?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. Thank you. Now, as I read the next part of your

21 statement:

22 "The issue was very politically sensitive. It was

23 now a matter for politicians and others dealing with the

24 political dimension of the parades issue to decide if

25 and how protection was going to be given to the

 

 

93

 

1 councillors bearing in mind the threat risk assessment."

2 Essentially you believed that you had done all you

3 could so far as your KPPS section was concerned, and if

4 any further steps were taken they would have to be taken

5 by other people?

6 A. Yes, this was essentially going to be a political

7 decision.

8 Q. Yes, so it moved out of your hands and above your head,

9 if you don't mind me putting it that way, into the realm

10 of the higher civil servants and the politicians; is

11 that right?

12 A. Yes, that's correct.

13 Q. Thank you. You go on to tell us that the matter

14 remained in issue, and in paragraph 20 on the next page,

15 RNI-842-041 (displayed), that you were involved in some

16 of the discussions to reach a solution.

17 Presumably in this you were concerned about the

18 integrity of the scheme and also about the operational

19 independence, as you put it there, of the police

20 officers -- in other words, Security Branch -- who had

21 reached their conclusion on the assessment?

22 A. Yes, that's correct. I think the case is really at the

23 end of paragraph 19.

24 Q. Exactly. And so far as you were concerned, presumably,

25 you were also worried that if it was decided to give

 

 

94

 

1 them protection under the scheme, that might set

2 a precedent for future cases?

3 A. Yes, that's correct and may well have opened up reviews

4 of previous cases.

5 Q. In other words, that other people who had been refused

6 in the past would come along, point to their cases and

7 say, "Why was I not treated in the same way"?

8 A. There was that potential, yes.

9 Q. So that was your position, as it were, with your

10 interests -- namely, the scheme -- in mind, but clearly

11 there were other points of view in play, no doubt

12 deployed by those who were involved in the political

13 discussions. Is that right?

14 A. Yes. I mean, we were -- we were in the place where, as

15 I set out in paragraph 19, we either had to -- if

16 ministers resolved to give councillors protection under

17 the KPPS, despite the police threat assessment, how

18 could this be done and what damage would it do to the

19 integrity of the scheme. And, you know, that was

20 essentially the tenor of discussions.

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. And I think that's -- you know, that's as I recall it.

23 Q. Yes. Well, we know that in the end the solution which

24 was arrived at was a different solution, different to

25 that. But can I take it from what you are saying and

 

 

95

 

1 from what you say in your statement that serious

2 consideration was being given at this stage to admitting

3 them to the scheme, notwithstanding the fact that they

4 were still only at level 4?

5 A. I think the assessment at level 4 -- I don't think

6 I know. It caused a problem, a big problem, and there

7 was a discussion around how could we deal with this

8 problem, which was sensitive and serious, and without

9 compromising the integrity of the scheme. How could we

10 get a solution around this?

11 That was, you know, the tenor of the debate and I

12 don't recall colleagues advocating that, you know, we

13 simply just changed the risk assessment or carried on

14 for a political outcome. There was a real serious

15 debate as to how we kept the integrity of the scheme.

16 Q. But did you at one stage of these discussions think that

17 it was possible that ministers would decide to admit

18 them to the scheme, notwithstanding the level 4 threat

19 assessment?

20 A. I think at this particular time the detail of how the

21 scheme worked was not in the minds of ministers, senior

22 officials or, indeed, the Chief of Staff at number 10,

23 and that we perhaps, further down the pecking order,

24 were dealing with the issue of integrity of the scheme

25 and, indeed, the integrity of the -- and operational

 

 

96

 

1 independence of the RUC and that we needed to set out

2 all of this to senior officials.

3 Q. So that they were much more clearly aware of the

4 considerations which were confronting you at your level?

5 A. Absolutely right. If there were decisions to be taken

6 at a senior level within the civil service, within

7 number 10 or by the Secretary of State or

8 Northern Ireland Office ministers, then they had the

9 full context within which to take those decisions.

10 Q. So that any such decisions were at least fully informed?

11 A. Absolutely.

12 Q. Thank you. Now, looking on to the stages of this, we

13 can see the draft submission which was copied to you at

14 RNI-305-243 (displayed). This is from the Head of

15 Police Division, and we see your cipher at the top. Do

16 you see there?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. There is a note there to you, I think from a colleague

19 within KPPS, and do you see the last phrases there:

20 "I have spoken to Ken and he has seen and heard

21 nothing more from Steven."

22 That is Mr Leach, I assume, is it?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. "Let sleeping dogs ..."

25 What did you take him to be meaning by that

 

 

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1 expression?

2 A. Let the issue take its course, let's not push it along.

3 Q. In the hope perhaps that it might go away?

4 A. I don't think it was going to go away, but it was

5 perhaps not one that my colleague relished facing.

6 Q. No, because in the documents, as we will see them,

7 Mr Leach was very much one of those on the political

8 side of things, wasn't he?

9 A. Yes. Erm -- yes, he was clearly in a place where he

10 realised the political imperative of getting some form

11 of resolution to the parades issue, which was -- had

12 pretty much dominated discussions for the previous two

13 years and was still very live in 1998.

14 Q. Yes. Looking down at the text, this is a memo addressed

15 to Mr Leach. The second paragraph:

16 "We agree that it is for ministers to decide if it

17 is worthwhile to protect Mac Cionnaith and Duffy albeit

18 exceptionally and outside the scheme."

19 And I should have said in the earlier paragraph at

20 the end:

21 "I ..."

22 That is Mr Lindsay:

23 "... remain of the view that we should not

24 [underlined] attempt to act in such as a way as might

25 damage or undermine the integrity of the scheme simply

 

 

98

 

1 by including them when they do not meet the criteria for

2 entry."

3 Can I take it that in that sentence Mr Lindsay was

4 very much expressing your view and, no doubt, that of

5 your colleagues in KPPS about the need to uphold the

6 integrity of the scheme?

7 A. Yes, that's correct.

8 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the document which went with

9 it is concerned, we can see that at RNI-305-245

10 (displayed) and that's a draft for Mr Leach to send to

11 the Secretary of State and her private secretary. And

12 this draft, prepared, as I say, by Mr Lindsay, is also

13 copied to you, and we can see that at RNI-305-248

14 (displayed).

15 Were you involved -- just going back to

16 RNI-305-245 -- in the drafting of this memorandum?

17 A. I would certainly have seen a draft before it went to

18 Mr Leach and also a draft of the attached submission to

19 the minister -- draft submission.

20 Q. Yes. Now, we know from the documents that by the time

21 it was completed and went to the minister, Mr Leach had

22 done a good deal of redrafting. You smile. That is

23 because presumably that's something you remember; is

24 that right?

25 A. I remember my colleague liked to redraft.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes. Let's look at it together, please, at RNI-305-252

2 (displayed). I'm not going to weary you with all the

3 changes that were made, but the one I would like to draw

4 to your attention is this in the summary:

5 "Issue. Breandan Mac Cionnaith has asked

6 for protection for himself and other members of the

7 Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition."

8 We know, just for you to check, that at RNI-305-256,

9 this was also copied to you. Would you flick that on

10 the screen, please (displayed)? Thank you. Then go

11 back to RNI-305-252 (displayed).

12 Now, the question of protection for other members of

13 the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition, was this the

14 first that you knew that that wider request for

15 protection had been made?

16 A. I can't say this was the first I knew. My understanding

17 was that Councillor Mac Cionnaith had raised the general

18 issue of other members of the Garvaghy Road Residents

19 Coalition but had named none, and that the only people

20 who were subsequently discussed in relation to

21 protection were himself and Councillor Joe Duffy.

22 Q. So far as your personal involvement was concerned, were

23 the names of any other members of the Coalition, indeed,

24 anybody else involved with it other than

25 Mr Mac Cionnaith and Mr Duffy -- were any other names

 

 

100

 

1 ever provided to you for consideration?

2 A. No, I didn't -- I wouldn't even have known who were

3 members of the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition.

4 Q. Now, can I take it that if a name or names had been

5 raised with you in the same way that the names of these

6 two individuals had been raised, that you would have

7 asked for an assessment in the way that we have seen

8 that you did in relation to the two councillors?

9 A. I really couldn't speculate on that. The issue here is

10 that both Councillor Mac Cionnaith and Councillor Duffy

11 raised this issue in person with Jonathan Powell and

12 other members of the NIO. I'm not sure how that would

13 have been dealt with if there was a wider list of names

14 put forward.

15 Q. But imagine it had come through the same channel, from

16 Jonathan Powell via the NIO officials with a little list

17 of further Garvaghy Road Residents members, would you

18 then have processed it in the same way as the

19 councillors' cases?

20 A. Again, I don't know. I would be speculating. I mean,

21 if a list came through with a number of names simply

22 handed over, I think there would have had to have been

23 a discussion about that and it would probably have been

24 a discussion outside of my hearing.

25 Q. Well, it would have been in the same context, wouldn't

 

 

101

 

1 it? They were involved in this political negotiation

2 that you have described and which was obviously very

3 important at the time. Why would they have been treated

4 in any different way?

5 A. I don't know because, you know, we are both

6 speculating --

7 Q. Indeed.

8 A. -- on what would have happened, and I'm not in

9 a position to comment how a long list of people would

10 have been dealt with.

11 Q. I'm not saying it would have been a long list. I don't

12 think anybody is saying it would have been a long list.

13 Imagine another list coming in to you of names. It

14 could be four, it could be 10, it could be 20, I don't

15 know. Is any reason to think that you wouldn't have

16 addressed it and dealt with it in the same way that you

17 dealt with the councillors' cases?

18 A. It would have been extremely unusual for a list like

19 that to come through. I don't think it is a case of

20 saying, look, here is a list, go off and do threat risk

21 assessments about them. There would have been some

22 detail or background to that because we are into a place

23 here where Councillor Mac Cionnaith and Councillor Duffy

24 were saying, "We personally believe there is a threat

25 against us".

 

 

102

 

1 It would then have been a case of saying here is

2 a list of some other people who we think there are

3 threats against. I'm not sure how that would have been

4 followed up. We were into new territory, as we were

5 indeed with Councillor Mac Cionnaith and

6 Councillor Duffy.

7 Q. Exactly. As you say, these cases themselves were quite

8 exceptional, unprecedented. What I'm asking you is if

9 you had had a name or names with indications of why

10 concerns or threats were believed to have existed in

11 those cases and they came out of the same political

12 context as the councillors, why would you have treated

13 them differently?

14 A. I'm not saying I would or wouldn't have treated them any

15 differently. What I'm saying is that it would have been

16 difficult -- I would have wanted to know, and I think

17 Ken Lindsay and others would have wanted to know, the

18 background in which this came about.

19 In the case of Mac Cionnaith and Duffy,

20 Councillor Mac Cionnaith and Councillor Duffy were

21 extremely prominent in the parades arena and the

22 Drumcree dispute, and had been for a number of years.

23 And I think most or all of the discussion with the

24 Proximity Talks officials were with

25 Councillor Mac Cionnaith and Duffy, and I'm not aware of

 

 

103

 

1 ever hearing about any other names or even wondering --

2 I wonder were other members of the Coalition there, and

3 if a list of names had come I would have presumed they

4 had been present at those meetings.

5 Q. Well, as you rightly say -- and said some time ago --

6 all of this is hypothetical because you never received

7 any further names, as I understand it, of members of the

8 Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition coming through to your

9 section. Is that correct?

10 A. That's right. I wouldn't have known who was in the

11 Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition.

12 Q. Indeed. Now, can I ask you, please, to look at

13 paragraph 22 of your statement at RNI-842-042

14 (displayed). Here, you deal with the submission we were

15 looking at, the draft sent up to Stephen Leach, the

16 point about concern for the safety of the fellow

17 Coalition members, and you say:

18 "I was aware that the councillors had raised this

19 ..."

20 That is presumably the safety of their fellow

21 Coalition members:

22 "... with Steven McCourt ..."

23 How did that information come to you from your

24 predecessor?

25 A. In the handover period, as I recall, it was mentioned to

 

 

104

 

1 me. I think that was the case. I can't honestly be

2 sure.

3 Q. Was it written down?

4 A. I can't recall if it was written down.

5 Q. No. But anyway you think you would have been briefed

6 about it in July 1998?

7 A. Yes, if Steven McCourt had briefed me, then it would

8 have been around the time that he left and I took over.

9 Q. So it follows, therefore, that the question of raising

10 protection for fellow Coalition members in your view had

11 been to the table, if not on your table, for about three

12 months. Is that right?

13 A. It depends -- no, that is not my view, that the issue of

14 protection for GRRC members had been on the table for

15 a few months. It was mentioned in a conversation with

16 Steven McCourt, it was never followed up, and as I

17 understand it, it was mentioned again at proximity

18 talks. It was not something which was continually

19 coming up as a matter to be dealt with.

20 Q. It must be my phraseology. I didn't suggest that it was

21 on your table. What I meant was that the issue of the

22 safety of fellow Coalition members was obviously

23 something known about by your predecessor and, as you

24 have told us, mentioned in the handover in July 1998.

25 So when you saw the submission that you and I were

 

 

105

 

1 looking at a little earlier, in October, you had known

2 about it for about three months. Is that correct?

3 A. Yes, I would have been aware that it had been raised

4 prior to that, yes. That's right.

5 Q. Thank you. And you say:

6 "I believe Steven McCourt asked

7 Councillor Mac Cionnaith to fax details of the other

8 members to him."

9 So he had said to the councillor, had he, "Well, if

10 you want to advance this question of protection, you had

11 better give me some details of who you are talking

12 about"?

13 A. That's what Steven McCourt had asked -- I understand

14 that he had asked Councillor Mac Cionnaith to do, to fax

15 details. What he was going to do with those details,

16 I really don't know.

17 Q. Presumably it was something he told you about when you

18 were taking over his job, "By the way, you may get some

19 details coming in from other members of the Coalition"?

20 A. If he had asked for a fax to come through, yes, that

21 would have been the case, I would have expected that fax

22 to come through, but it didn't.

23 Q. It never happened?

24 A. No.

25 Q. You then say a few lines down:

 

 

106

 

1 "My impression was that Councillors Mac Cionnaith

2 and Duffy were only interested in securing protection

3 for themselves."

4 What is that impression based upon?

5 A. It is based upon conversations with

6 Councillor Mac Cionnaith in particular, not so much

7 Councillor Duffy. I had very little to do with

8 Councillor Duffy. Almost all my conversations were with

9 Councillor Mac Cionnaith.

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. But, you know, he was only interested in his own

12 security and that of Councillor Duffy. He didn't raise

13 with me the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition, any

14 member of it, or express any general concern about them,

15 about their security to me during the time that I dealt

16 with him.

17 Q. You then say in your statement what you haven't been

18 quite so keen to say in your evidence, which is what you

19 would have done if the further names had come to you,

20 and what you say there is:

21 "I would have asked them ..."

22 That is the members:

23 "... to get them to write to me or telephone me in

24 order for them to be considered under the scheme."

25 So can I take it, therefore, that in these cases

 

 

107

 

1 what you are saying would have happened is that you

2 would have sought direct contact from the individuals,

3 whether in writing or on the telephone, so that you

4 could consider their cases?

5 A. Yes, I would have wanted some direct contact with them

6 to first of all verify that what I was hearing from

7 other people was in fact correct and that they would

8 initiate that conversation.

9 Q. But at this stage, as far as you were aware, the contact

10 between the councillors, which had led to their cases

11 being considered, hadn't been direct with KPPS section,

12 had it; it had been with other officials within the NIO?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. But assuming, therefore, the hypothesis you are talking

15 about, in the case of the other member, you would

16 nevertheless have wanted individual and direct contact

17 between those people and your section, would you?

18 A. Yes, I would have wanted them to verify, corroborate to

19 me that they did in fact feel under threat and that they

20 did feel that they wanted some form of protection.

21 Thus far, all I had was that

22 Councillor Mac Cionnaith and Councillor Duffy had said,

23 "We are concerned about our own security" and a general

24 catch-all about the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition,

25 saying that they were included in the piece, but they

 

 

108

 

1 didn't continue to be discussed during my time.

2 Q. And what you tell us at the top of the next page, just

3 so we can see it on the screen, is that none of the

4 relevant individuals, Mr McCourt or the two councillors,

5 ever mentioned Rosemary Nelson to you during these

6 discussions. Do you see that?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Then you say:

9 "I did not associate her with the GRRC."

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Now, presumably, from what you told us earlier, you were

12 aware of the Drumcree dispute and its impact in

13 Northern Ireland, not just this year but in a number of

14 earlier years?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. Were you not aware that Rosemary Nelson acted as the

17 solicitor to the Residents Coalition?

18 A. No, I wasn't.

19 Q. You had never read about her or seen her on television

20 acting in that capacity?

21 A. No.

22 Q. You weren't aware that she had been assaulted on the

23 Garvaghy Road, or said she had been, the previous year?

24 A. No.

25 Q. You weren't aware of her involvement in potential legal

 

 

109

 

1 proceedings to try and stop events on the Garvaghy Road

2 the previous year?

3 A. No, I wasn't aware of any of those incidents or

4 happenings.

5 Q. So you are saying, are you, that you had no knowledge in

6 1998 at this point, summer, and then through to the

7 autumn, that she had any connection with the

8 Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition?

9 A. The only connection that I had made -- and it comes back

10 from the pamphlet obviously -- was that she may have

11 been, from that pamphlet, Councillor Mac Cionnaith's

12 solicitor.

13 Q. Indeed. That's what you told the Superintendent, wasn't

14 it, in the letter that we looked at together? You say

15 that the pamphlet made an attack both against him and

16 his solicitor?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. You are saying you worked that out from the pamphlet?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And you didn't have any other general knowledge of her

21 acting in that capacity?

22 A. No, none at all.

23 Q. Now, you then, in your statement, go on to explain, by

24 reference to the documents, how the Secretary of State

25 initially turned this proposal down. That's in the next

 

 

110

 

1 paragraph you can see. And then how she changed her

2 mind. I would like you to look at that paragraph, the

3 next paragraph, please, 24, on the same page

4 (displayed). Do you see the fifth line:

5 "I don't know who spoke to the Secretary of State,

6 but I knew somebody would."

7 Why do you say that?

8 A. Because I think that Stephen Leach's submission to the

9 Secretary of State set out a way of perhaps providing

10 protection outside of the scheme, exceptionally, and

11 that it did not breach the scheme, the KPPS, or the

12 integrity of the scheme, that it was purely a political

13 decision. And it could have been a way out of -- I

14 wouldn't call it political impasse, but a way of

15 actually oiling the wheels, of trying to find some

16 resolution to the Drumcree dispute.

17 I felt that the Secretary of State was almost

18 certain to agree to that, knowing the gravity of the

19 Drumcree situation; in fact having been personally

20 involved herself around it.

21 Q. Yes. Well, all of those factors were of course in play

22 and in place when she was asked to consider it the first

23 time, weren't they?

24 A. Hm-mm.

25 Q. And the comment you make in your statement here, in

 

 

111

 

1 paragraph 24, concerns not the first decision, but the

2 second decision when she changed her mind. So can I

3 just ask you again: why is it that you say in your

4 statement:

5 "I don't know who spoke to the Secretary of State,

6 but I knew somebody would"?

7 A. Because the Secretary of State had been given a way

8 perhaps to deal with this issue and that it was not

9 expected that she would refuse a package. And

10 I, therefore, expected someone to have a conversation

11 with her and to perhaps make sure that she fully

12 understood all of the implications, consequences, call

13 it what you will, sitting around this, and I felt that

14 for sure that was going to take place.

15 Q. So as far as you were concerned, the first decision,

16 i.e. not to accept the recommendation, was a surprise?

17 A. Yes, I think I put in my statement, frankly, I was

18 amazed.

19 Q. Yes. Now, can we just follow this through to the end,

20 so far as you were concerned? This is in relation to

21 the two councillors. I just want to show you one more

22 document on it. It is at RNI-306-007 (displayed).

23 It is your note of 13 January 1999, addressed to

24 various others in the NIO as copyees, but principally to

25 Susan Schofield. In paragraph 3, you say that:

 

 

112

 

1 "Mac Cionnaith raised the question of both his and

2 Councillor Duffy's personal protection as well as the

3 personal protection of Coalition members.

4 Jonathan Powell ..."

5 And you go on to say:

6 "It was made clear to him ..."

7 That is the councillor:

8 "... at that time, should any members of the

9 Coalition feel the need for protection, they should

10 submit details to the NIO and these would be considered

11 on an individual basis."

12 Again, that suggests what would have happened had

13 individuals come forward to the NIO:

14 "To date, no members of the Coalition beyond

15 Mac Cionnaith and Duffy have approached us for

16 protection."

17 Then just turning the page in your note, RNI-306-008

18 (displayed), paragraph 7:

19 "Mac Cionnaith has not raised the issue of

20 protection for other Coalition members at any visit or

21 during any conversation I have had with him."

22 Because by this stage you and your colleagues had

23 been actively involved in taking forward the issues

24 relating to his protection, hadn't you?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

113

 

1 Q. "Since he appears content with the progress on his own

2 personal security measures, I suspect if protection is

3 an issue he wishes to raise with the PM, it will concern

4 Coalition members."

5 Now, this is in the days preceding a meeting to take

6 place at 10 Downing Street between the Prime Minister on

7 the one hand and the Residents Coalition on the other.

8 That's right, isn't it?

9 A. Yes, that's right.

10 Q. And as I understand it from your statement, following

11 that meeting you heard nothing further in relation to

12 the protection of individual Coalition members?

13 A. Yes, that's right.

14 Q. Now, the next topic and final topic to deal with is your

15 involvement in the question of Rosemary Nelson's

16 security specifically. You deal with it in the next

17 part of your statement, which begins at RNI-842-046 and

18 paragraph 31 (displayed).

19 You say there that you weren't aware, but you

20 learned, that about the same time as the assessment was

21 going on for the councillors, a separate threat

22 assessment was being done on Rosemary Nelson. Do you

23 see that?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Now, the assessment you have told us about in relation

 

 

114

 

1 to the councillors was a threat risk assessment

2 conducted by Security Branch, wasn't it?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. When you came to know about it, was the threat

5 assessment on Rosemary Nelson conducted by

6 Security Branch?

7 A. I don't know, I don't know -- it wasn't conducted

8 through me, so I don't know who conducted it.

9 Q. So you don't know whether it was Security Branch,

10 whether it was a threat risk assessment or, indeed, as I

11 understand it, any of the details of the assessment

12 which took place?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. Thank you. Now, how did this issue come to your

15 attention?

16 A. A colleague. I described earlier the proximity of other

17 colleagues working in the NIO. A colleague came across

18 the corridor to discuss this with me.

19 Q. And it was Lesley Foster, I think, wasn't it?

20 A. That's correct, yes.

21 Q. What did she tell you?

22 A. I can recall her coming to see me and I can recall her

23 showing me a letter from the Committee of the

24 Administration of Justice.

25 Q. Yes.

 

 

115

 

1 A. Well, I assume she showed it to me because when I wrote

2 to her, I mentioned, I think, the final two paragraphs

3 in it.

4 Q. Yes.

5 A. But, frankly, I cannot recall in any detail any

6 conversation I had with her at the time.

7 Q. Can you remember what material, what written material,

8 she showed you?

9 A. Well, I can't remember what written material she showed

10 me, but I know when I wrote subsequently that

11 I mentioned the letter -- the final two paragraphs, I

12 think, from the -- the letter from the CAJ. So clearly

13 I must have been aware of those, if not the entire

14 letter.

15 Q. Yes. Well, let's have a look, please, at the note that

16 you prepared and addressed to her. It is at RNI-106-318

17 (displayed), dated 16 September. The first thing you

18 say is:

19 "I am aware of the leaflets which have been

20 distributed in the Portadown area concerning

21 Breandan Mac Cionnaith and Ms Nelson."

22 Now, that is presumably a reference to the leaflet

23 that you had sent to Superintendent McAuley of

24 Security Branch in connection with Mr Mac Cionnaith and

25 Mr Duffy's threat risk assessment. Is that correct?

 

 

116

 

1 A. That's correct, yes.

2 Q. So does it follow that she must have told you, as was

3 obvious from the CAJ letter, that the same pamphlet or

4 another copy of it was in issue so far as Lesley Foster

5 and the CAJ correspondence was concerned?

6 A. Yes, it follows that she was aware of it as well.

7 Q. Yes. And you had described the pamphlet and its effect

8 already, hadn't you, in your correspondence with the

9 Superintendent as making an attack both on him -- that

10 is Councillor Mac Cionnaith -- and his solicitor?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Because it described her, amongst other things, as

13 a "former bomber", didn't it?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. What else can you recall you were shown by

16 Lesley Foster?

17 A. I can't recall seeing the CAJ letter or any other

18 details, but -- I'm just going from my reply to

19 Lesley Foster -- it is clear that I was aware of the CAJ

20 letter.

21 Q. Did she consult you specifically with the KPPS angle in

22 mind?

23 A. I can't recall the conversation, but she -- it would --

24 if she had come to talk to me about it --

25 Q. Sorry?

 

 

117

 

1 A. -- and in the detail of my note it is clear that -- you

2 know, to me, reading it, that we had a discussion about

3 how the scheme operated and how she might apply to it.

4 Q. And it is obvious that the point that Rosemary Nelson

5 was indeed acting for the Coalition had at least come

6 home to you by this stage because, indeed, you rely on

7 it in the second paragraph and say:

8 "As a result, [you] would be surprised if she didn't

9 know of these events:"

10 Namely of the threat risk assessment and security

11 assessment of their houses?

12 A. For Councillor Mac Cionnaith and Councillor Duffy?

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. On the basis that the leaflet had described

15 Rosemary Nelson as Councillor Mac Cionnaith's solicitor?

16 Q. Yes.

17 A. Then, yes, I would have been surprised if she didn't

18 know, or at least it would have been something as

19 a topic for conversation, given that, you know, the

20 whole issue of protection was very -- very much up

21 Councillor Mac Cionnaith's agenda, if you like.

22 Q. Indeed. So you were being asked for advice on the KPPS

23 angle in relation to an individual who had already been

24 mentioned in the pamphlet, described as a former bomber,

25 and it was the same pamphlet about which you knew

 

 

118

 

1 Councillor Mac Cionnaith had expressed his concerns?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. It looks as though you, in the third paragraph, were

4 dealing specifically with the point raised by the CAJ in

5 relation to the protection scheme.

6 Were the suggestions about the personal protection

7 weapon and the local crime prevention matters that you

8 put forward or were they questions raised with you by

9 Lesley Fosterer? Can you remember?

10 A. I can't remember that, but there were suggestions that

11 I put forward to her. I think the letter -- the CAJ

12 letter talked about the issue of a personal protection

13 weapon.

14 Q. Yes. Let's have a look at the relevant paragraph so you

15 can have both on the screen at once. The end of the

16 letter is at RNI-116-038 (displayed), do you see there?

17 It is really the last paragraph:

18 "We understand the Government ..."

19 Do you see that?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And there is there, indeed, a reference to personal

22 protection firearm, as they put it?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Lesley Foster must have come to you then for your

25 specific input on this part of the letter?

 

 

119

 

1 A. Yes, she clearly would have, yes.

2 Q. Now, did she tell you, so far as you can remember, about

3 the previous history of threats made to Rosemary Nelson?

4 A. I cannot honestly recall that.

5 Q. Did she tell you that she had already received the

6 police's assessment in relation to Rosemary Nelson,

7 namely that there was no evidence of a specific threat

8 against her?

9 A. I think I had made reference to that in my note.

10 Q. Let's have a look at your note at RNI-106-318

11 (displayed). I am afraid, because of the screen, there

12 is only so much I can show you at the same time.

13 A. That's all right.

14 Q. The last sentence. Do you see that?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. So what were you told about the assessment that had

17 already taken place?

18 A. Well, clearly from the last sentence of my note that --

19 she must -- there must have been -- she must have fallen

20 into the category 4, or threat risk level 4:

21 "Because of the basis of the police advice you've

22 received, she would not be eligible."

23 I'm assuming from that -- and I have no recollection

24 of seeing any police documents or seeing anything else,

25 or even the conversation fully, but it would suggest to

 

 

120

 

1 me that advice she had from the police said that she

2 would not be eligible. There was not a specific or

3 individual threat to Ms Nelson which would have given

4 her eligibility into the scheme, i.e. falling within

5 categories 1 to 3.

6 Q. Now, those categories and the sorts of assessment that

7 you were used to dealing with were, of course, threat

8 risk assessments?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. From Security Branch. And we looked at the various

11 definitions earlier and you have told us your

12 understanding of 1 to 3 and, indeed, of level 4.

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. So does it follow that you believed that whatever

15 Lesley Foster had received by way of police advice had

16 been in the form of a similar threat risk assessment?

17 A. I cannot say one way or the other. I can't remember

18 that. I wasn't shown any details of it.

19 But clearly from what she told me or what she showed

20 me -- and I have no recollection of that at all -- there

21 appeared -- that she would not fall within the

22 category 1 to 3 within the scheme.

23 Q. Because obviously you were used to looking at reports

24 coming back saying level 1, 2, 3 or 4, and that was the

25 key, as you have told us, to determining eligibility

 

 

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1 and, indeed, whether you took the matter forward or not.

2 So it looks, does it, as though you were treating

3 whatever she told you about the police advice as fitting

4 firmly into level 4?

5 A. On the basis of what she obviously told me at the

6 time -- and I have no recollection of what that was or,

7 indeed, if any documents were shown to me -- that, you

8 know, she would not -- and I have underlined, I think,

9 "would not be eligible for entry to the scheme".

10 Q. Indeed. Had an application been made for her -- this is

11 Rosemary Nelson -- she presumably would have been the

12 subject of a fresh threat risk assessment. Is that

13 right?

14 A. If she had made an application?

15 Q. Yes. Rosemary Nelson, I mean, not Lesley Foster.

16 A. In the normal course of events, I can't -- and I say the

17 normal course of events, if you like, pre the Belfast

18 Agreement -- and notwithstanding my ignorance of the

19 fact that Rosemary Nelson was a member, or acted for the

20 Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition, she was still

21 a prominent solicitor --

22 Q. Indeed.

23 A. -- in Northern Ireland, and I think there may have been,

24 you know, clearly a sympathetic view given to her.

25 Q. Yes.

 

 

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1 A. I think we had moved into, with the Mac Cionnaith and

2 Duffy case, a new dispensation. We were into almost

3 a parallel set of events. There was the Key Persons

4 Protection Scheme, which was -- and the integrity of

5 which we have discussed at some length -- and then the

6 Mac Cionnaith and Duffy -- the Councillors Mac Cionnaith

7 and Duffy's application, if you like, had a political

8 imperative around it.

9 Q. Yes.

10 A. And that political imperative was, by the position they

11 held, or in and around the parades issue, could have an

12 effect on the outcome of the Belfast Agreement and the

13 fledgling peace process.

14 I think we were in a place where those coming

15 forward who were prominent in Northern Ireland life for

16 whatever reason would probably have been sympathetically

17 looked at because -- and probably on the basis of --

18 what would the effect be to the political process and

19 what signals might that have sent, as well as looking

20 very closely at any threat risk assessment.

21 So we may have been in the same territory as we were

22 with both Councillors Mac Cionnaith and Duffy.

23 Q. So does it mean from what you have said that you would

24 tend to agree with Christine Collins from the Police

25 Division who told us her view, which is that in the

 

 

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1 hypothetical case that Rosemary Nelson had applied to

2 the KPPS, she believes it very probable that she would

3 have been admitted?

4 A. I think on the basis of what I have just said to you,

5 that we were now into, I think, a different

6 dispensation, that we were looking at these issues both

7 from the absolute integrity, if you like, of the scheme

8 and the threat risk assessment and then setting

9 alongside that the potential for disrupting the peace

10 process by not protecting, either inside or outside the

11 scheme, individuals would have been one of the -- would

12 have been a significant -- a significant area and

13 contributed to a decision, put it that way. Whether she

14 would or would not have received protection, I don't

15 know.

16 Q. Just to be clear, when I was putting this to

17 Christine Collins and she was expressing this view, it

18 was on the specific basis that even if the threat risk

19 assessment had been undertaken -- if you remember,

20 that's the question I actually asked you some time ago

21 now. Even if the threat risk assessment had been

22 undertaken and had come back below level 3, she believed

23 it very probable that she would nevertheless have been

24 admitted to the scheme, and is that your sense of things

25 as they were at that time as well?

 

 

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1 A. No, I think we were into the same place as we were with

2 both Councillor Mac Cionnaith and Duffy, in that if

3 Rosemary Nelson had been -- had received a threat risk

4 assessment at level 4, she would not have been eligible

5 for entry under the KPPS.

6 But the other, if you like, parallel track, the

7 political avenue or the political imperative which may

8 or may not have affected the peace process and those

9 involved in it, would have come into play. And under

10 those circumstances, she may or may not have got

11 protection. So I would not be as clear cut as

12 Christine Collins.

13 Q. No.

14 A. In this instance. And would make -- you know, either

15 say yes or no, not within the KPPS scheme but within the

16 other larger political issues that were in play at the

17 time.

18 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I just take this hypothetical

19 situation one step further, if I may? Had Lesley Foster

20 come to see you and the threat risk assessment coming

21 from the police service had firmly put Rosemary Nelson

22 into the 1 to 3 category, the need to apply in that

23 situation, would that still have been an absolute?

24 A. In my view, yes. I think if there was a threat risk

25 assessment to someone at that level, then, as is indeed

 

 

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1 the case at the moment, and we hear it frequently within

2 the news, the police would have visited Rosemary Nelson

3 to say that that threat existed. That's my view.

4 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Yes.

5 A. And that she would have been advised of a range of

6 possibilities in terms of her protection, and the matter

7 then rests with the individual as to whether they want

8 to lead their lives under that protection regime or

9 whether they don't, and that must always come back to

10 the individual concerned.

11 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: But you were absolutely clear in your

12 mind that the way you were expected to administer the

13 scheme gave you, or gave the NIO no flexibility if there

14 wasn't that request from the individual to be included

15 in the scheme?

16 A. Yes, that is very much how I felt it to be, that you

17 could not simply have someone come up to you and say, "I

18 think so and so should be in the scheme" for a whole

19 range of reasons and the individual themselves remain

20 absolutely silent on it and show no inclination to come

21 forward.

22 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay, thank you.

23 A. I think it is a very significant point.

24 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay, thank you.

25 MR PHILLIPS: Now, can I just go back because I'm anxious

 

 

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1 for this point not to get lost. The original question

2 I asked you some time ago was if an application, such as

3 that you were suggesting could be made in this note we

4 still have on the screen -- if an application had been

5 made, the question was whether at that point there would

6 have been a new threat risk assessment undertaken by

7 Security Branch?

8 A. My personal view is that if Rosemary Nelson had made

9 a personal application raising her concerns about her

10 personal security, given the context that we were in and

11 the way the scheme operated, we would have gone back to

12 Security Branch, asked for another look, a review,

13 whatever you want to call it, of that threat risk

14 assessment.

15 Q. That, of course, is on the basis that a first view had

16 been taken by them?

17 A. That's true.

18 Q. As you say, you don't know whether it was or not?

19 A. I accept that, absolutely.

20 Q. So it would either have been a review or a fresh look by

21 Security Branch?

22 A. Or an original look, yes.

23 Q. Exactly. So far as this memo is concerned, as I

24 understand it, that was the end of your involvement in

25 this particular matter; in other words, you didn't get

 

 

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1 involved in the subsequent drafting of the letter which

2 was issued to the CAJ. Is that correct?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. Thank you. Now, we know -- and it is very clear from

5 the material or rather the absence of it -- that no such

6 application ever came in to KPPS before the murder of

7 Rosemary Nelson.

8 Did you at any stage after your involvement here

9 in September receive any information or further

10 clarification from colleagues as to why it was that

11 Rosemary Nelson had not made such an application?

12 A. No.

13 Q. The final matter I would like to raise with you, please,

14 comes at the very end of your statement at paragraph 38,

15 RNI-842-050 (displayed).

16 Here, in the context of the circumstances of

17 Rosemary Nelson's murder, as I understand it, you are

18 reminding the Tribunal about the limits to the

19 protection afforded by the scheme. Is that a fair way

20 of putting it?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. In other words, however well defended your house is,

23 however many lights and alarms and other gadgets you

24 have, as I understand what you are saying, it still

25 remains your own responsibility as an individual, under

 

 

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1 what you call a personal duty of care, to be vigilant,

2 not to take unnecessary risks?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. And the issues, in terms of checking the car, varying

5 your routines, putting the car in the garage, matters of

6 that kind, they are the sort of matters that would have

7 been the subject perhaps of advice from a crime

8 prevention officer, wouldn't they?

9 A. They would have been both the subject of a discussion

10 with the crime prevention officer, but I also have to

11 say that the history of such attacks on individuals

12 throughout the Troubles -- many people would have been

13 well aware of the dangers of under-car booby trap

14 devices, of arriving and leaving work at the same time

15 and answering the door to your house at night and so

16 forth, because many people had been attacked and,

17 indeed, murdered in horrific ways in this way.

18 So while advice directly, I think, would have been

19 given, I think there is also a general level of

20 understanding about the threat borne out over the years.

21 Q. And as you say on the next page, the final part of your

22 statement, in your view the advice given on personal

23 security was fairly standard advice. You didn't have to

24 be in the police or the Army to know it?

25 A. Yes, I believe that's the case, yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Those are all the matters I have for you, but as you

2 probably know, I always give witnesses the opportunity

3 to add to what they have said in their evidence, if

4 there is any matter we haven't covered and you would

5 like to draw it to the attention of the Tribunal.

6 A. No, there are no matters that I would like to draw,

7 thank you.

8 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

9 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Just a few points of clarification, if

10 I may. If a person applies and the police assessment is

11 that they don't fall within the 1 to 3 grading, and

12 therefore it would probably be a refusal to be included

13 in the scheme, would that still go to ministers for

14 final ratification?

15 A. Ministers would have been advised of that, yes.

16 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And they would have to rubber stamp the

17 refusal?

18 A. I think it would have been a take note submission. It

19 would not have been the case that they would have rubber

20 stamped it and said, "Let's change this".

21 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: No, but where it is intended not to

22 include people in the scheme, it would go to ministers?

23 A. As I recall, a submission was made in those

24 circumstances, yes, someone had applied and had been

25 turned down. It is always better to let ministers know

 

 

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1 these things and be aware of them than not.

2 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: In terms of the way in which you

3 carried out the survey, having had a threat assessment

4 showing that somebody should be included in the scheme,

5 your two executive officers and your admin assistant or

6 your two exec officers, they were the people that

7 actually went to a person's home and did the site

8 valuation. Is that correct?

9 A. No, they would have gone from the unit. They would have

10 been accompanied by a police officer from

11 Security Branch and also a professional technical

12 officer from the Department of Environment, who had

13 a unit specifically given over to working on Key Persons

14 Protection matters.

15 The officers, both the police officers and members

16 of the DoE, who went out had been doing this work for

17 many years and were extremely skilled and spent time

18 indeed also researching the most recent and up-to-date

19 security methods to ensure that they were up-to-date in

20 providing advice on security.

21 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: But the police were factored in on

22 every visit basically?

23 A. On every visit, yes.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for your very helpful

25 evidence.

 

 

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1 We are going to adjourn until quarter past 10 in the

2 morning.

3 Mr (name redacted), before the witness leaves, would you,

4 please, confirm that all the cameras have been switched

5 off?

6 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

8 Please will you escort the witness out.

9 A. Thank you.

10 (4.37 pm)

11 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)

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G105 (sworn) ..................................... 2
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 2
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Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 40
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Questions by THE CHAIRMAN .................... 42
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G115 (affirmed) .................................. 44
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 44
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Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 129
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