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Full Hearings

Hearing: 7th October 2008, day 60

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ROSEMARY NELSON

PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

 

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


on Tuesday, 7 October 2008
commencing at 9.15 am


Day 60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



1 Tuesday, 7 October 2008

2 (9.15 am)

3 MR SIMON ROGERS (continued)

4 Questions by MR PHILLIPS (continued)

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

6 MR PHILLIPS: We were looking at the question of the

7 August 1998 threat assessment. We looked at your letter

8 to Command Secretariat of 6 August. I would like that

9 up on the on the left-hand side of the screen, please

10 and can we have on the right-hand side of the screen,

11 please, the response that you received, the letter of

12 3 September of that same year, RNI-106-314 (displayed).

13 Now, you've got a hard copy of your statement with

14 you, haven't you?

15 A. I have indeed, yes.

16 Q. Good. In that case you can do more than two things at

17 once, as I can, and look, please, at paragraph 67 in the

18 hard copy.

19 A. Okay.

20 Q. Because that is where you deal with this response. You

21 say in the second sentence:

22 "The response did not exactly match up to what I had

23 requested in my letter to the Superintendent."

24 That is something of an understatement, isn't it?

25 A. It is relevant in that while I asked about several

 

 

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1 items, they focused on what I think they would regard

2 and what I would have regarded as a central item, which

3 was the nature of the threat.

4 Q. Yes. Well, you direct their attention in the second

5 paragraph on the left-hand side to the claims in the

6 leaflet. Do you see that?

7 A. I do, yes.

8 Q. And amongst those claims was the claims that

9 Rosemary Nelson was a former bomber, wasn't it?

10 A. It was, yes.

11 Q. And amongst those claims was the claim that she was

12 a member of a "motley crew", which included:

13 " ... murdering scum like the Duffys,

14 Breandan Mac Cionnaith, Bobby Storey and Spike Murray."

15 That was a claim made in the leaflet as well,

16 wasn't it?

17 A. It was, yes.

18 Q. And that wasn't addressed in the letter either, was it?

19 A. Self-evidently, no, it isn't covered in the police

20 letter, no.

21 Q. Indeed. Nor did they address your very specific and

22 detailed request, the request we looked at yesterday,

23 that they should consider the question of advice on

24 personal security and also the specific point you made

25 about raising with Rosemary Nelson the question of,

 

 

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1 effectively, KPPS. Do you see in the third paragraph on

2 the left-hand side? That is not touched on at all in

3 the letter, is it?

4 A. My letter to them, however, does say:

5 "I presume that if there is a threat to the safety

6 of the individual, then you will talk to them and,

7 indeed, when doing so would raise this."

8 Q. But they didn't say to you, "We have considered your

9 helpful suggestion. We have concluded on the basis of

10 a careful assessment of the situation that there is an

11 insufficient or no threat here and, therefore, it would

12 not be appropriate to offer the advice."

13 They didn't go through any of those steps, did they?

14 A. They don't express those steps in the letter back to me,

15 no.

16 Q. No. You knew that this was the third occasion on which

17 your division had raised issues relating to

18 Rosemary Nelson's safety with the police with

19 Command Secretariat, didn't you?

20 A. That's correct.

21 Q. And you were aware by this stage in September 1998 of

22 the very considerable high profile that had attached to

23 these allegations, not least as a result of all the saga

24 to do with the ICPC and eventually the Mulvihill

25 investigation being set up?

 

 

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1 A. That's correct, yes.

2 Q. So, so far as you were concerned, this was a very

3 unhelpful response in those circumstances, wasn't it?

4 A. As far as I was concerned, it dealt with the central

5 message, which we have discussed about the other two

6 letters as well, which was there was no specific threat.

7 And as we have discussed yesterday, that was a hurdle

8 which would need to be got over before other steps could

9 come into play, such as personal protection.

10 I accept that the reply was less than I would have

11 hoped for, but given the previous exchanges with the

12 police, and as I tried to explain yesterday, it was rare

13 for us to get a detailed response. It was not atypical

14 of the sort of response that we would have received from

15 the police.

16 Q. What were you able to do? When you looked at this

17 letter, what would you be able to do with it in terms of

18 further correspondence, further enquiries by interested

19 parties?

20 A. The letter provided reassurance that the police were

21 unaware of any specific threat against Mrs Nelson. We

22 weren't in a position where we could disclose that

23 specifically to third parties. And as we have looked at

24 correspondence, we have seen that we have been careful

25 not to mention in detail anything about Mrs Nelson's

 

 

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1 personal circumstances on the security front.

2 But we were reassured to have that message coming

3 in. And in terms of other people writing to us then, we

4 at least knew that we had a letter from the police

5 setting out in unequivocal terms that there was no

6 specific threat.

7 Q. Did you attach any significance to the fact that in this

8 letter, unlike the previous one in April, they used the

9 term "specific threat"?

10 A. Again, as we discussed yesterday, I took the previous

11 letter to mean, in shorter hand, if you like, that

12 "specific threat" as well -- this was crystal clear, if

13 you like, on the term "specific threat". "Specific

14 threat" certainly is a term of art to mean no threat

15 such as would trigger concern about, for example,

16 personal protection.

17 Q. But as you made clear yesterday, you in fact read

18 the April letter in exactly the same way?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. Despite the absence of the word "specific"?

21 A. That's correct. Different author, I think.

22 Q. Yes. Sorry, what do you say?

23 A. I think this is a different author.

24 Q. Have a look, please, at RNI 106-199 (displayed). It is

25 the same author, isn't it?

 

 

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1 A. I don't think it is. Could you just show me the other

2 letter, please?

3 Q. Could we have on the screen RNI-106-314 (displayed) at

4 the same time on the left-hand side?

5 It is the same author, isn't it?

6 A. No, I don't think it is, actually. I thought P136 was

7 separate from the person named at the bottom of 1 April.

8 Q. Yes. But there is the same signature at the bottom of

9 both letters. It is difficult, I appreciate, with the

10 ciphers but they both have P136?

11 A. Yes, but I think it's different -- I'm not sure there's

12 anything material in this point.

13 Q. Indeed.

14 A. I was just making an observation. However, the letter

15 from 1 April is a letter from the person named at the

16 bottom of the letter, no matter who signs it, and the

17 letter of 3 September is signed and named by a different

18 individual.

19 Q. But is this a point you considered at the time?

20 A. No.

21 Q. You looked at the two letters and thought, "Oh, well, I

22 can't attach too much significance to the difference of

23 terminology because it is a different author"?

24 A. I did not think that at the time. I made an

25 observation, which you wished to explore, and I'm just

 

 

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1 saying that it may be that the second author had

2 a different experience and felt that she wanted to put

3 in "specific" as opposed to the first author.

4 Q. But that is obviously speculation on your part,

5 isn't it?

6 A. I tried to draw to your attention that there are

7 different authors, yes. You are asking me to go into it

8 in more detail and I can't get into the minds of the

9 authors.

10 Q. So what did you do about the letter of 3 September?

11 A. Well, the letter of 3 September satisfied us in terms of

12 the correspondence going to the police and was then

13 something we were able to utilise in terms of, for

14 example, the responses to other letters, including the

15 letters that had triggered the correspondence with the

16 police.

17 Q. Did you ask any questions of Command Secretariat about

18 what they had said in the letter?

19 A. Not that I recall, no.

20 Q. You didn't seek to assure yourself that they had indeed

21 considered the possibility of giving Rosemary Nelson

22 advice and decided against it?

23 A. The letter was unequivocal in saying that they were

24 unaware of specific threats. That is the job of the

25 police and it wasn't for me to second guess them. And,

 

 

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1 indeed, this was the third occasion on which we had had

2 the same or similar advice.

3 Q. So it wouldn't have been right, in your view anyway, to

4 follow up a letter like this with a telephone

5 conversation?

6 A. It was, in my view, unnecessary to follow it up given

7 its clarity. If it had been less clear, it might have

8 been necessary to follow it up.

9 Q. Did you do anything to find out from the police whether

10 they had sought to investigate the origins of the

11 leaflet and to determine who was responsible?

12 A. We didn't do that. That was, we felt, the

13 responsibility of the police service.

14 Q. Did you seek to establish from them what their view was

15 about the threat note?

16 A. We had written to them about both the pamphlet and the

17 threat note and this was a response that we believed we

18 were getting in respect of those.

19 Q. But you know there is no reference to the threat note in

20 this letter on the left, don't you?

21 A. I don't accept that there is no reference, in the sense

22 that the letter of 3 September refers both to the

23 correspondence of 6 August, which sent the pamphlet, and

24 the letter -- or the fax, I beg your pardon, of

25 26 August which mentioned both the pamphlet and the note

 

 

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1 or envelope.

2 Q. Is there any reference in the letter of 3 September to

3 the threat note?

4 A. There is no specific reference, but there is a reference

5 to a letter which referred to the threat note in terms.

6 Do you want to look at the letter of 26 August just so I

7 can show you what I'm referring to?

8 Q. By all means. It is at RNI-106-308 (displayed).

9 A. Thank you. It says in that letter that:

10 "The letter expresses concern about safety in light

11 of a pamphlet and a threatening note which was posted to

12 Rosemary Nelson, copy attached."

13 Q. Yes. Where is the reference to the threatening note in

14 the letter of 3 September?

15 A. I've accepted there is no reference, but I am referring

16 you back to the letter of 26 August.

17 Q. Did you actually check this letter and consider its

18 terms and consider whether it had fully dealt with all

19 the issues that you and Lesley Foster had raised?

20 A. I was satisfied that it was a response to our letters,

21 yes.

22 Q. Now, can we just move on to the next stage in the

23 correspondence, please, which comes with Lesley Foster's

24 draft letter for -- in fact, it was sent out eventually

25 by the Private Secretary to Mr Ingram. We can see her

 

 

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1 advice or her memorandum at RNI-106-320 (displayed) and

2 the text of the letter as eventually sent at RNI-106-324

3 (displayed).

4 A. Just while you have got that on the screen, could I just

5 mention paragraph 3 of Lesley's note?

6 Q. Indeed.

7 A. Which, again, says:

8 "The letter expressed concerns and attached a copy

9 of a threatening note."

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. So, again, we thought that had been addressed in the

12 response.

13 Q. Yes. That's not what she is saying there at all, is it,

14 Mr Rogers? You believed that you had sent both

15 documents to the police?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. The paragraph you have just quoted says nothing about

18 the police's response, does it?

19 A. No, but what I'm showing you was in our mind at the time

20 of responding.

21 Q. But that's not what we are talking about. We are

22 talking about what the response actually covered.

23 A. The response, we thought, referred to it by referring

24 back to the letter. And I'm showing you it was in our

25 mind when drafting the letter to Mr Ingram that there

 

 

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1 was a threatening note.

2 Q. Yes. Let's look at that letter, please, on the

3 right-hand side of the screen (displayed).

4 This went out three weeks after you had received the

5 Command Secretariat letter, didn't it, on 24 September?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. Did you have any part in its drafting?

8 A. I would have been involved in looking at the draft

9 before it went, yes, and I signed off on the left-hand

10 side of the screen -- I signed it off on 22 September.

11 Q. You remember that your original letter asking for

12 Command Secretariat help is 6 August, and their

13 response, 3 September. So now we are three weeks on

14 from that.

15 Can you assist me with why it took so long to get

16 this letter back to Mr Mageean at the CAJ?

17 A. Well, the first I thing I would say is that we, at this

18 point, had a threat assessment that said there was no

19 specific threat. Had we got something saying different

20 from that, I hope we would have acted more quickly.

21 Secondly, we obviously had to compile the response

22 to CAJ, and in doing that, had to consult colleagues on

23 forms of words. But I accept that three weeks is longer

24 than it should have taken.

25 Q. Well, the total period is obviously considerably longer

 

 

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1 than that because the letter came in to you from the CAJ

2 at the beginning of August, didn't it?

3 A. On the other hand, we weren't in a position to respond

4 at the earliest until the letter came in from the police

5 setting out the --

6 Q. But it doesn't suggest any great urgency in dealing with

7 what appeared, at least so far as CAJ was concerned, to

8 be allegations of a threat to life, does it?

9 A. We sent the material to the police service. Their

10 process of assessing the threat obviously takes a little

11 period of time. We weren't in a position to respond

12 until we had that. There is a lapse between the time of

13 receiving that and replying, but that was against

14 a background where we had a letter telling us there was

15 no specific threat.

16 Q. Let's look at the terms of this letter, please, on the

17 right-hand side, the third paragraph.

18 In writing to Mr Mageean, the Private Secretary to

19 the Minister says this:

20 "The Minister has asked me to say that he hopes that

21 those who produced them ..."

22 That's the leaflets -- actually, I don't think I can

23 make that assumption. In the third paragraph,

24 presumably the documents enclosed related both to

25 leaflets and to the threat note because both had been

 

 

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1 enclosed by Mr Mageean. That must be right, mustn't it?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Thank you:

4 "The Minister has asked me to say he hopes those

5 that produced them ..."

6 Those documents:

7 "... can be brought to justice for their threatening

8 behaviour."

9 At that time you wrote this, what did you in your

10 division know about any steps taken by the police to

11 investigate those documents in an attempt to bring those

12 responsible for them to justice?

13 A. We had no direct knowledge other than the fact that we

14 had asked the police to look at the documents.

15 Q. You had received no information from the police on that

16 at all, had you?

17 A. No.

18 Q. No. And then you say that you passed the documents

19 immediately to the Chief Constable for investigation:

20 "They had obviously, given the nature of the

21 material, assessed the security risk against

22 Mrs Nelson."

23 And you, in this letter, your department, the

24 Private Secretary on behalf of the Minister, goes on to

25 deal with the KPPS scheme at the bottom of the page, and

 

 

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1 going over to RNI-106-325.

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And you explain in very brief outline how it works. It

4 requires a specific judgment in each case and that if

5 she was interested in it, she needed to apply and the

6 address, et cetera, is given.

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. When you were explaining to me earlier why you think the

9 police document, 3 September, didn't go on to deal with

10 mentioning KPPS to Rosemary Nelson, you said that of

11 course it wasn't appropriate at all because there was no

12 threat or no specific threat?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. But yet in this document you at the NIO are raising the

15 possibility of KPPS in a letter when you knew what the

16 police had said about a threat?

17 A. That's correct.

18 Q. Why was that?

19 A. The nature of Paul Mageean's letter was about protection

20 for Mrs Nelson. The Government ran its own scheme and

21 it seemed logical to highlight the scheme in the letter.

22 Now, I should say that in doing so, we knew that

23 there was no specific threat. I think that's why we

24 couched -- it says in that paragraph on RNI-106-325 at

25 the top:

 

 

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1 "We cannot of course give any assurances to the

2 outcome."

3 We didn't want to raise expectations against a

4 background where we knew there was no specific threat.

5 But nonetheless, Paul Mageean was asking questions about

6 Rosemary Nelson's protection. I think it would have

7 been remiss of us not to have mentioned at least that

8 there was no scheme that she could apply to if she

9 wished.

10 Q. This is a letter to a third party; it is not to

11 Rosemary Nelson?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. That is presumably why you do not actually tell

14 Mr Mageean what the result of the police's assessment

15 was?

16 A. That's correct. That is a theme we have come back to,

17 and if you read the last sentence of the letter, I think

18 it addresses the point.

19 Q. Indeed. So you couldn't, you felt, tell him that the

20 return had come back as a nil return on the assessment?

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. But you nevertheless did tell him -- having that

23 knowledge, but, as you saw it, unable to tell him --

24 that this consideration might be given to the KPPS

25 scheme. Do you see?

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Yes. Now, based on your answers earlier and yesterday,

3 presumably you believed that if any such application was

4 made, it would fail on the grounds of the absence of

5 threat?

6 A. It wasn't for me to decide whether or not it would fail.

7 On the basis of the information that we had to date, at

8 that point, I wouldn't have expected it to succeed.

9 However, this was a letter coming from the CAJ. It

10 may be that Mrs Nelson had other information which she

11 could have put to the Key Persons Protection Scheme,

12 which would have made a difference. I wasn't in

13 a position to judge that.

14 I didn't know whether or not Paul Mageean was

15 writing with Mrs Nelson's blessing or not and we --

16 because we had a scheme and he was asking us about

17 protection -- were drawing that to his attention. So it

18 didn't follow necessarily that she would be

19 unsuccessful.

20 Q. Did you ever consider taking steps to inform

21 Rosemary Nelson of the outcome of the police's

22 enquiries?

23 A. Well, again, Mrs Nelson had not contacted us and it

24 would not, I felt -- and still feel -- have been

25 appropriate to contact her directly. And, indeed, she

 

 

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1 could have contacted us. But also, as we discussed

2 yesterday, or as I mentioned yesterday, someone

3 cold-calling Mrs Nelson mightn't actually have been what

4 she would have wanted either.

5 Q. So the position is this, is it: you were hearing all

6 these concerns about her from third parties; you could

7 not, in your view, tell third parties what the position

8 was; you couldn't divulge, as you say at the end there,

9 information to a third party about the security of an

10 individual?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. But you couldn't approach the individual because all you

13 had had was correspondence and concerns expressed by

14 third parties, and you didn't think it would be

15 appropriate, when she hadn't approached you, to approach

16 her first?

17 A. Against a background where we had no evidence of any

18 threats, against a background where we wrote out to

19 people pointing out, particularly in this letter, what

20 steps she could take to come to us, no, I didn't think

21 it appropriate to contact --

22 Q. But you have just explained to me that the fact that the

23 police assessment had come back as it did didn't mean

24 that if further, better information hadn't been brought

25 to them -- and the obvious person to do it was the

 

 

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1 individual -- the result might be different?

2 A. I said to you -- how were we to know if there was other

3 information? You are picking the Rosemary Nelson case.

4 There were more people in Northern Ireland than

5 Rosemary Nelson and we weren't cold-calling others.

6 I know this was a particular focus, this case.

7 There was also the issue that you don't want to raise

8 concerns -- her concerns unduly, as we discussed

9 yesterday.

10 Q. Indeed, but you wouldn't be doing that in this case,

11 would you, because everybody who was writing to you

12 about her was raising concerns about her? So that

13 wouldn't be news to her. And the message you had to

14 deliver to her was not a concerning message, it was

15 a message to say, "This has been investigated and the

16 answer is there isn't a specific threat"?

17 A. I don't think we could have been any clearer in this

18 letter, assuming that Paul Mageean was writing on her

19 behalf, that she needed to contact us if she wished us

20 to look at these issues. And it was against

21 a background where we had pursued a threat and had been

22 told there was no threat.

23 Q. Thank you. Now, turning to the last paragraph, again,

24 you make the suggestion that she might take an

25 initiative here and contact her own local crime

 

 

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1 prevention officer.

2 That, of course, was precisely the point that you

3 had asked the police to consider in your letter of

4 6 August, and when I was pointing out to you that they

5 hadn't addressed that, you said, well, of course, that

6 issue didn't arise because they had concluded there was

7 no specific threat. So here again you are raising

8 precisely the sort of point that you told me didn't

9 arise for the police, aren't you?

10 A. I am, yes.

11 Q. Why was that?

12 A. Well, again, if Mrs Nelson was concerned about her

13 security then this was another avenue she could

14 consider. We had a letter from the CAJ asking about

15 issues concerning her security and we were trying to put

16 in the response all the various avenues that she could

17 consider if she wished to do so, against a background

18 where we didn't actually have any specific threat.

19 Q. But in the end, what you are doing here is to put the

20 onus on her to seek the crime prevention advice?

21 A. I think you need to start the question by recognising

22 that we didn't have any evidence from the police. We

23 didn't have a response from the police saying there was

24 any reason for her to do this. But nonetheless, if one

25 is concerned about one's security, then talking to the

 

 

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1 police isn't going to do any harm, shall we say.

2 Q. Just cutting through all this, if we may, isn't the

3 reality this: that you received a letter on 3 September

4 which put you in a rather difficult position, and in

5 this letter you were doing everything you could, not

6 withstanding the very short response you got from the

7 police, to raise various possible routes for

8 Rosemary Nelson by which she might obtain some form of

9 protection?

10 A. I think that is roughly what I have said: there was no

11 specific threat; in one sense, there was no need to go

12 back, but we had been asked about protection and were

13 setting out all the means she could come back.

14 Q. Can we just jump on in your statement to the end when

15 you come back to this point in dealing with the short

16 investigation, paragraph 91 and following at RNI-841-453

17 (displayed).

18 I would just like to ask you a couple of points

19 about this because clearly you had a considerable

20 concern about that investigation. The background, of

21 course, was the discovery eventually, I think after

22 Rosemary Nelson's murder, that there was a question as

23 to whether the threat note had reached

24 Command Secretariat, and a senior officer,

25 Superintendent Short, was asked to undertake actually

 

 

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1 a very limited investigation, I think, about what was

2 described as failure of administration, and conducted

3 various interviews.

4 Now, you tell us in paragraph 92 that you were

5 telephoned by the Chief Superintendent and told that you

6 would be getting a visit that day from the

7 Superintendent. Just pausing there, as I understand it,

8 you had already left the Police Division by this stage?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Is that right?

11 A. Yes, that's correct.

12 Q. And it looks also as though by this stage, from the

13 third sentence of paragraph 92, that you were aware of

14 the issue and had previously discussed it with

15 Lesley Foster, who had obviously been closely involved?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you to read on into the next

18 paragraphs of your statement because you then deal with

19 an interview note which was made by him, and we can see

20 it at RNI-102-105 (displayed)?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. It is a relatively short document so perhaps we could

23 have the other page on the screen, please (displayed).

24 RNI-106. I think it may be RNI-102-105.500 (displayed).

25 That appears to be exactly the same page.

 

 

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1 A. Hm-mm.

2 Q. Can we have RNI-102-105 (displayed)? Thank you very

3 much.

4 You tell us in your statement you were very

5 concerned that the threatening note may not have been

6 considered by the police, ie when you discovered this.

7 Why was that?

8 A. My recollection of the background to this is that

9 the November/December British Irish Rights Watch report

10 highlighted --

11 Q. In 1999 -- sorry to interrupt.

12 A. In 1999.

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. -- had highlighted that there was an issue around the

15 threatening note, and I think particularly because the

16 police hadn't sought to seize the original, as we have

17 discussed, the version we got was a copy of it.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. There was then, I think, around 1 March, a meeting

20 between Adam Ingram and British Irish Rights Watch and

21 the CAJ, which I attended. And after that meeting, it

22 dawned on me, I think, that actually it wasn't that the

23 police hadn't necessarily investigated the note, it was

24 that -- there was a suggestion they hadn't received it.

25 Q. Indeed. Why were you so concerned about that?

 

 

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1 A. Well, evidently, if the threat note had been received

2 and we were relying, as you saw in our correspondence,

3 on it, it was a matter of concern.

4 Q. Well, it was a matter that they should have been aware

5 of when they were doing their assessment, shouldn't

6 they? That is the point, isn't it?

7 A. That's the point I tried to make, yes.

8 Q. Yes. In your comments about this interview you make, as

9 I understand it, your concerns are that you weren't

10 shown all the contemporaneous material before the

11 interview took place; is that right?

12 A. No, my concern was I wasn't shown the copy of my

13 statement, which you are showing on the screen now, the

14 first --

15 Q. I see what you mean. You weren't shown this after it

16 had been drafted?

17 A. No, the first time I saw this was when the solicitors

18 for the Inquiry interviewed me about --

19 Q. I understand. And you say that it is incomplete. What

20 is missing?

21 A. If I take you to my note to Mr Lindsay of 16 March 2000.

22 Q. Yes. Let's get that -- I am afraid, because of the

23 technology, we can't have that on the screen as well,

24 but let's go straight to it, RNI-107-225.500

25 (displayed). Perhaps we could have the second page of

 

 

24


1 this on the screen now, RNI-107-225.501, please

2 (displayed).

3 Sorry, do continue.

4 A. What I was going to say is this is a note that I did

5 after the discussion with the Superintendent.

6 Q. Right.

7 A. And on, for example, the next page of the note -- I'm

8 sorry to take you to it, RNI-107-225.502, sorry.

9 Q. Let's have that please, then (displayed).

10 A. In the first of the bullets there, as you will see, when

11 I met Superintendent Short, I pointed to the fact that

12 their response to my letter of 6 August, dated

13 3 September, referred to Lesley's letter which mentioned

14 both the leaflet and the envelope, which is the

15 discussion you and I had some minutes ago.

16 I was, therefore, surprised when I saw the statement

17 which -- if you want to bring it back up, the second

18 page of the --

19 Q. I think this is now beyond me. Right. So we zooming

20 back to the notes of Superintendent Short, are we?

21 A. Yes, please.

22 Q. Okay, we will try that. I think we will have to have it

23 on its own, RNI-102-105 (displayed). I hope it is on

24 that page.

25 A. It is not, I am afraid.

 

 

25


1 Q. It isn't? It is RNI-102-105.500 then on the right-hand

2 side (displayed).

3 A. What troubled me was, at the top of that page, the

4 Superintendent said:

5 "It is clear there is no mention of the threat

6 letter. I agree ..."

7 And as my response recorded, I can see that it is

8 clear when you read the response there is no mention of

9 the threat letter. However, there is no mention of my

10 other point, which was not withstanding the fact it

11 didn't mention the leaflet precisely -- the very point

12 we have been discussing -- I had highlighted that the

13 letter mentioned both the leaflet -- the letter from

14 Lesley was mentioned which mentioned both, and I'm just

15 trying to demonstrate to you that this isn't something

16 that occurred to me now; it occurred to me on

17 16 March 2000 when I recorded the matter.

18 Q. And it is not made clear in the notes of your interview

19 with the Superintendent?

20 A. No, it gives the impression that I accepted that the

21 police had not, indeed, received the threat leaflet,

22 which is not what I was saying at all.

23 Q. Are there any other omissions, material omissions from

24 the Superintendent's note?

25 A. I would need to re-read it to tell that you. I can't

 

 

26


1 recall any, but that was the central issue which I was

2 focusing on and I think the central issue for the

3 Inquiry, if I may say so.

4 Q. In your statement to the Inquiry at paragraph 94, you

5 say that you hadn't been shown a copy of them. If you

6 had, you wouldn't have allowed them to stay in the form

7 that they were as they were not a full record.

8 Presumably at that stage you have had a point or

9 various points about them that you wished to make, and

10 you set them out in your statement?

11 A. The central point is the one I have just highlighted and

12 I think that is the key point.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, you then go on, perhaps unsurprisingly,

14 to deal with the question of whether it would have made

15 any difference. And here we are looking at paragraph 96

16 of your statement, RNI-841-454 (displayed), where you

17 record a discussion with Superintendent Short in a sense

18 focussing on whether, if the threat note had got there,

19 it would have made any difference to the assessment.

20 You have no experiences yourself of conducting

21 threat assessments, have you?

22 A. No.

23 Q. Are you able to say whether Superintendent Short had any

24 such experience, from your own knowledge?

25 A. No, obviously.

 

 

27


1 Q. No. Now, so far as --

2 A. I'm sorry, I am not quite sure what the point is you

3 were trying to get there.

4 Q. I'm asking you a question about your experience and

5 asking you whether you knew anything relevant about the

6 Superintendent's experience, and I think the answer to

7 both is "no"?

8 A. To explain why that is in my statement, it was a natural

9 reaction obviously on knowing that the threat note had

10 not gone supposedly to the police. In terms of what

11 Detective Superintendent Short was suggesting to me, it

12 was a natural reaction to try and understand what the

13 implication of that was and that is what I was trying

14 to do.

15 Q. Can I just ask you a few questions about the situation

16 after the murder, which you deal with in a number of

17 paragraphs in your statement, beginning in paragraph 76

18 at RNI-841-448 (displayed).

19 The first is this: In that paragraph, you record

20 that the Secretary of State herself telephoned you from

21 Washington, presumably having heard the news of the

22 murder?

23 A. That's correct, yes.

24 Q. And you say modestly that others were not available?

25 A. I don't think it was modestly.

 

 

28


1 Q. And you record there her reaction, which was -- so I'm

2 clear about this -- to ask you to find out what steps

3 were being taken to ensure the police understood how

4 serious the matter was. What did she mean by that, do

5 you think?

6 A. I think that she, in light of her knowledge of the case

7 through the various letters from British Irish Rights

8 Watch, the Special Rapporteur, the Mulvihill issue,

9 independent oversight of Mulvihill, et cetera, realised

10 that this wasn't -- realised the significance of this

11 murder. And the message she was giving to me over the

12 telephone was, "I want to know what is being done about

13 it" in effect.

14 She said to me, although I don't record it in

15 precisely these terms, that a straightforward police

16 investigation wouldn't suffice and, therefore, she

17 wanted to know what was going to happen in terms of the

18 investigation of the murder, so she could presumably

19 decide whether that would satisfy her view that

20 a non-RUC-led alone investigation took place.

21 Q. And we know that there was political reaction

22 immediately after the murder at an even higher level

23 than this: from the Prime Minister, from the President

24 of the United States of America. So clearly the

25 political impact was massive?

 

 

29


1 A. It was.

2 Q. But presumably she was also aware of the political

3 impact locally; in other words, that the obvious

4 question, given all the concerns that had been expressed

5 over many years about Rosemary Nelson, which was going

6 to face her was how was this allowed to happen.

7 Presumably that was something operating in her mind

8 from the very beginning?

9 A. It may have been. I can't say.

10 Q. It wasn't something which you heard her discuss?

11 A. No, it wasn't a long telephone conversation. She

12 expressed her abhorrence and wanted me to tell her what

13 was going on to deal with the murder.

14 Q. As I understand it, you tell us in your statement that

15 she continued to take a very close interest in the early

16 stages in how the murder investigation was established

17 and how it was being run?

18 A. She did indeed take an interest beyond the early stages,

19 a constant interest, and, indeed, the papers to the

20 Inquiry will show any number of meetings that she was

21 personally was engaged in with all number of people.

22 And, indeed, a central theme of those was the nature of

23 the investigation and its independence, et cetera.

24 Q. You say in paragraph 77, for example:

25 "We needed to ensure that the Secretary of State was

 

 

30


1 happy with what was happening and had to deal with any

2 queries that were raised about the structures that had

3 been put in place."

4 That reflects that interest, doesn't it?

5 A. It does, yes.

6 Q. Thank you.

7 Now, you say later on in your statement at

8 paragraph 83, dealing with the situation when you

9 received the news that the Chief Constable of Kent was

10 not prepared to take a full role in the investigation,

11 at the top of page RNI-841-451 (displayed), that it was

12 then that Deputy Chief Constable Colin Port was

13 appointed:

14 "I think if Deputy Chief Constable Port had not

15 stepped in, there would not have been sufficient

16 independence for the Inquiry to be credible and the

17 Government would have had to have intervened."

18 So do you mean by that that you think if that

19 appointment had not been made, the Secretary of State

20 would effectively have sought to -- I'm hesitating to

21 use the word "impose", but to ensure that there was what

22 she regarded as a sufficiently independent element in

23 the investigation?

24 A. I'm quite clear that would have been her view, yes.

25 Q. Yes. Thank you very much.

 

 

31


1 Just in relation to the murder investigation --

2 again, I'm taking this very briefly -- you talk about

3 the Deputy Chief Constable in paragraph 87, RNI-841-452

4 (displayed).

5 You say he was a very able communicator. As I

6 understand it, your impression is that there was a

7 pretty free flow of communication between your division,

8 your part of the NIO, and the Murder Investigation Team.

9 Would that be a fair way of characterising it?

10 A. I would say there was a good flow in the early stages

11 until it got to a point where there was no new

12 developments really to cover.

13 There was an extensive amount of correspondence and

14 exchanges about the make-up of the Inquiry, the number

15 of outside officers, contact with the team in terms of

16 whether it was to a GB officer or a member of the RUC,

17 confidential telephone lines, et cetera. There was very

18 intense and regular contact, and ongoing because some of

19 these points arose as time passed and weren't

20 necessarily evident immediately.

21 Q. Can I ask you to look at a relatively early minute of

22 a meeting with his team, and that's at RNI-834-216

23 (displayed), 28 April 1999. You are present, which is

24 why I'm showing it to you obviously.

25 A. Yes.

 

 

32


1 Q. And you see in the introduction here, it says where the

2 meeting took place and who was present, including

3 Mr Port and Mr Kincaid on, as it were, their side. And

4 you say in the third line he was open in answering your

5 questions and explaining its efforts they were making?

6 A. It is not actually my minute.

7 Q. I'm so sorry. But nonetheless, is it a fair reflection

8 of the way the --

9 A. It is, yes, just to be clear.

10 Q. Again, at 3 on RNI-834-217 (displayed), the meeting

11 lasted over an hour and proved to be useful, gave you

12 a report on the current situation. And at the bottom,

13 he is recorded, Mr Port, as emphasising his desire to be

14 as open as possible with all those he met.

15 Can I ask you to look briefly at the conclusion at

16 RNI-834-219 (displayed):

17 "The meeting proved very worthwhile and reinforced

18 the impression of the determination to catch those

19 responsible for murdering Rosemary Nelson with

20 a thorough and open investigation.

21 "Mr Port welcomed the Minister's article in the

22 Belfast Telegraph, and while not seeking to become

23 involved in the investigation, I'm sure media coverage

24 of the Minister's support of the team would be welcome.

25 From my point of view ..."

 

 

33


1 This is the author, obviously:

2 "... some of the information Mr Port and Mr Kincaid

3 were able to give us will help us reply and correct some

4 of the points made in correspondence on these issues."

5 So that, for the department or for the division, the

6 openness and cooperation you received was actually

7 helpful in dealing with outside enquiries. Is that

8 a fair way of summarising it?

9 A. That's correct. And as I explained a moment ago, it was

10 an ongoing process as new issues arose. It was clear to

11 us, as is shown from this meeting, but also from

12 Mr Port's deeds, that he did take a very open and

13 constructive approach to his investigation.

14 Q. Thank you. Those are all the questions I had for you,

15 Mr Rogers, but I always offer witnesses, as you, I'm

16 sure, know, an opportunity to add to their evidence if

17 there is anything we haven't covered which you would

18 like to bring to the attention of the Panel at this

19 stage?

20 A. I think there is only one point I would like to

21 mention -- perhaps two. One: it relates to the threats,

22 and I just want to get the message across that they were

23 part of a continuum for us. We were dealing with them

24 across a fairly lengthy period and were writing to

25 police on three occasions about those. And I would also

 

 

34


1 like to make a point in that respect: at no point were

2 we told there was any threat to Mrs Nelson, and that we

3 did seek to put the information back to people like the

4 CAJ that if she wished to apply, she needed to do so,

5 even against that background.

6 The second thing is in respect of the Mulvihill

7 Report because I haven't had an opportunity perhaps to

8 touch on that as I thought we might. That there was

9 a statement of satisfaction with his investigation of

10 the complaints, albeit with an annex discussion

11 discussing the previous investigation, and I noted that

12 Paul Donnelly in his evidence, for example, said that

13 Commander Mulvihill came in, did what was in fact

14 a superb job with a detailed investigation. I just

15 wanted to get that on to the record that that was dealt

16 with.

17 Q. Thank you.

18 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN

19 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Could I just pick up a couple of

20 points, Mr Rogers?

21 One is we talked a lot about threat assessments and

22 what one could make of them, and as I understand it, you

23 several times raised very valid questions with the

24 police about personal security. Each time they came

25 back and said there wasn't a specific threat or there

 

 

35


1 wasn't a threat -- I don't think it matters too much for

2 this purpose which it was -- against Mrs Nelson, in

3 which case you concluded that the point about her

4 security really didn't arise.

5 What I wanted to check with you is my thought, which

6 is that the police, with the best will in the world,

7 can't be omniscient. They may be very clear that they

8 don't have any evidence of a specific threat, they can't

9 know that the person concerned isn't vulnerable; in

10 which case the replies that you got each time, while

11 valid in their own terms, still left your questions

12 totally valid and not answered.

13 How do you react to that?

14 A. The first hurdle for us was having some threat, and we

15 didn't have that. Nonetheless, we did, for example, in

16 the letter to CAJ, highlight to them that if she wanted

17 to pursue these other avenues, we could, which was the

18 discussion we had.

19 In the absence of her coming forward following

20 that -- we got no response from the CAJ or from

21 Mrs Nelson -- we didn't pursue those points, but we made

22 it clear that there were avenues there that she could

23 pursue.

24 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Indeed, that is a very reasonable

25 line to take with CAJ. It just seemed to me that it

 

 

36


1 might have been perfectly proper to go back to the

2 police and say, "Yes, I understand you are saying there

3 is no specific threat as far as you are aware, but she

4 may still be vulnerable, please will you answer my

5 questions."

6 A. I think the point there -- and this was raised by the

7 Deputy Subdivisional Commander in his evidence -- was

8 they didn't cold-call people. They had to deal with

9 threats as they saw them. They were dealing with them

10 day in -- daily against different people. It wasn't

11 something that they did.

12 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right. The second question relates

13 to all that correspondence.

14 You received a great wash of correspondence from all

15 sorts of quarters, some of it using very similar

16 language. Now, from my own experience I know that one

17 can encounter this phenomenon: A lot of correspondence

18 coming in from different quarters but with very similar

19 terminology. And what one thinks to oneself is, "Oh,

20 a campaign". Is that what you thought?

21 A. There was clearly -- I'm not sure I would use the word

22 "campaign", but certainly a number of the organisations

23 were using similar terms. And from their evidence, they

24 would accept that they were in contact with each other,

25 and that was perfectly evident, I think. That didn't

 

 

37


1 mean we didn't deal with them seriously and, indeed, I

2 think we did deal with them seriously, but I think you

3 could see through the correspondence that there were

4 very similar phrases and terminology, and a lot of the

5 letters which have the hallmarks of the sort of thing

6 you were talking about, yes.

7 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: It didn't lead you to in any way

8 discount what was being said?

9 A. It didn't lead us to discount it, no. We wrote about

10 threats, we were on about the police complaints, as

11 I have mentioned. We chased up the police complaints.

12 We tried to pursue all those avenues.

13 In the background, in the more general sense there

14 were changes afoot on the Police Ombudsman. We were

15 trying to get that through. We were trying, as the NIO,

16 to take through the changes on video and audio

17 recording. We had other safeguards which we knew were

18 in place and others we were trying to introduce.

19 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Finally from me, we all have the

20 benefit, if you can call it that, of hindsight, of

21 knowing how things turned out. You, of course, at that

22 time didn't know what was going to happen. All I wanted

23 to ask you was did it at any stage occur to you,

24 "Goodness me, this woman might die"?

25 A. I don't know if I thought of it in precisely that form,

 

 

38


1 but you will see the letter, for example, of

2 23 February, was certainly a letter sent against

3 a concern that certainly others were expressing that

4 this woman might die. And that was a meeting with the

5 Lawyers Alliance, which we discussed yesterday. And

6 I am hesitating to answer it because we were getting

7 information that there was no threat -- specific

8 threat -- to Mrs Nelson and yet naturally, as a human

9 being, one is concerned about -- you know, if you get

10 a leaflet in, et cetera, one is concerned about that.

11 And I think that is probably why we were pressing and I

12 was pressing to put into the letters the number of

13 options that might be pursued.

14 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Thank you.

15 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

16 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Mr Rogers, you have had the opportunity

17 of reviewing the three attempts that you made to have

18 the alleged threats against Rosemary Nelson properly

19 examined as outlined in your three very distinct pieces

20 of correspondence. Looking back now, do you genuinely

21 feel that, in relation to your request, everything was

22 done by the police to look into those matters

23 thoroughly?

24 A. I felt at the time we had done what a reasonable person

25 would do. Now, that's not an answer to your question.

 

 

39


1 Could we have done more? Of course we could have done

2 more, but we thought we had done what was reasonable.

3 And to be frank, it is easy to look back

4 from October 2008 and say, "We wish we did X or we did

5 Y" and I have thought about that question an awful lot.

6 But we felt we did what was reasonable at that time.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: You obviously had a very thorough

8 understanding of the situation in Northern Ireland and

9 the Troubles that were taking place. During the time

10 that you were corresponding with the police, over

11 a fairly long period of time, did you ever get any

12 suspicion that Mrs Nelson was being treated differently,

13 perversely because, on record, she was from

14 the Nationalist community and a defence solicitor and,

15 therefore, may not have been one of the most popular

16 individuals in Northern Ireland?

17 A. I suspect she would not have been popular with the

18 police, but there is a difference -- I mean, she

19 wouldn't have been seeking to be popular with them and

20 the nature of her work doesn't require her to be

21 popular, so I'm not sure ...

22 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: You answered that very honestly, but

23 did that at any stage lead you to suspect because that

24 may have been the case that her situation in relation to

25 alleged threats was not being properly handled?

 

 

40


1 A. It didn't and, indeed, when one looks at what, for

2 example, Commander Mulvihill concluded -- someone who

3 came in from outside and investigated and was given

4 a clear record on his investigation -- he was closer to

5 it than I was and he concluded that there was no

6 evidence.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay, thank you.

8 Questions by THE CHAIRMAN

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Rogers, you were aware that it was alleged

10 that police officers were making disparaging remarks

11 and, indeed, death threats against Rosemary Nelson

12 through her clients. You have said that, as

13 a suggestion, Mrs Nelson should contact her local crime

14 prevention officer. Was that realistic?

15 A. I think it was realistic. I understand the point you

16 are making, but I'm not -- and I hesitate to speak for

17 Mrs Nelson, but I'm not sure she was saying that every

18 police officer in the RUC was making allegations or

19 death threats to her. In the CAJ letter, for example,

20 we did highlight the other avenue: of coming to the

21 Northern Ireland Office Key Persons Protection Scheme.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: There was a delay in answering the letter to

23 Mr Paul Mageean until 24 September 1998. Did you get

24 any message from senior officials in your department to

25 hold your hand before answering that letter?

 

 

41


1 A. No, no -- there was no interference -- I'm not sure if

2 that is the word you would use, but -- I'm not sure what

3 you mean, but the letter was not in any way influenced

4 by people outside to delay it. I'm not sure why that

5 would have --

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Are you quite sure you were not asked, "Just

7 wait a bit, it is a sensitive issue"?

8 A. No, I don't think --

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Nothing like that?

10 A. I do not have any recollection at all of that and I

11 think I would have had a recollection if someone had

12 asked me to do that.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mr Rogers. Thank you

14 very much for giving evidence, and I'm sorry it went on

15 to a second day.

16 A. Thank you.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: We will have a quarter of an hour break.

18 (10.13 am)

19 (Short break)

20 (10.30 am)

21 MRS CHRISTINE COLLINS (sworn)

22 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

23 MR PHILLIPS: Mrs Collins, can you give the Tribunal your

24 full name, please?

25 A. Yes, Christine Rosemary Collins.

 

 

42


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

2 a single statement to the Inquiry, which we can see at

3 RNI-841-216 (displayed). And I think we see your

4 signature on RNI-841-271 (displayed) there and the date

5 of 10 January this year?

6 A. That's right.

7 Q. Now, I would like to start, please, before we begin to

8 talk about your career, by taking you to some slides

9 where I think you have got something helpful to say to

10 us. So can we have a look at the NIO structure slides,

11 please (displayed)?

12 This is, as it were, the opening, but I think the

13 relevant part, so far as we are concerned, is this next

14 one, which comes up gradually. Yes.

15 Now, as I understand it, you, so far as the Inquiry

16 is concerned, worked as Head of Police Division before

17 you left that post in, I think, September 1998. Is that

18 right?

19 A. That's right.

20 Q. And the questions I wanted to ask you and the

21 observations I would like you to make, please, are as to

22 the accuracy of the rest of the left-hand structure.

23 A. Right. At the time that I was in Police Division it

24 sort of moved about a bit, but I think at the time which

25 is relevant to this Inquiry, 1997/1998 --

 

 

43


1 Q. Yes.

2 A. -- I actually reported directly to the Senior Director.

3 Q. So that's two boxes above you. It is rather difficult

4 to read on my screen anyway.

5 A. Yes, it is difficult on my screen too, but it is the box

6 sort of below Permanent Secretary.

7 Q. Yes.

8 A. The AUS, Security and Policing, wasn't in my line

9 management chain. He sat over, if you like to imagine

10 it, slightly more to the left because he was also

11 responsible for Security Policy and Operations Division,

12 which doesn't appear on this slide at all. And he had,

13 I think, a sort of roving responsibility for police

14 finance, which was one of the branches of my division.

15 Q. Right --

16 A. Which, again, doesn't show on there.

17 Q. Right. Now, Security Policy and Operations, is that the

18 division which appears in the box next to yours on the

19 right-hand side?

20 A. Yes, sorry.

21 Q. Do you see that?

22 A. I hadn't seen it there --

23 Q. So should there be a line up from that box to

24 Undersecretary/Associate Director?

25 A. Yes, because -- I don't want to bore on the subject of

 

 

44


1 departmental reorganisations, but we reorganised what

2 had previously been, I think, two Security Policy

3 divisions under the AUS Security into one, and you

4 couldn't have one grade 3 in a direct line with only one

5 grade 5. So a sort of fudge was created whereby that

6 particular post had a bit of Police Division and

7 retained direct responsibility for SPOB, for Security.

8 Q. Thank you. But so far as the period where -- you were

9 in post then, and our concern, as you say rightly,

10 1997/1998 in particular -- we ignore the Undersecretary

11 box in terms of your reporting up to the Senior

12 Director?

13 A. Hm-mm.

14 Q. And we imagine the Undersecretary box being shifted over

15 to the right so that the Head of Security Policing and

16 Operations reports up to him?

17 A. Yes. The other thing is the title of that is wrong. He

18 wasn't actually Head of Security Policing and

19 Operations, he was Head of Security Policy and

20 Operations.

21 Q. Does it follow that the Undersecretary/Associate

22 Director was Security and Policy?

23 A. Yes. Well, we had many a long argument about this.

24 Originally, yes, that is what he was. He was

25 Undersecretary Security Policy and Operations.

 

 

45


1 Q. Does it follow also that where it says -- you probably

2 can't even read this, but "Senior Director Belfast

3 Security Policing Director", should that be "Security

4 Policy"?

5 A. No, Security Policing.

6 Q. Right.

7 A. Because if I take you right back to the historic

8 origins -- Police Division in its way-back origins in

9 1972 was a division that came from the old Ministry of

10 Home Affairs. It was a NICS division, whereas there was

11 a Security Policy and Operations Division which was

12 a creation of the new NIO, and it was a Whitehall

13 division, a home civil service division.

14 Q. Yes.

15 A. And there was quite a firm line between those two

16 divisions. One was dealing with policing and the other

17 dealt with security policy and security operations,

18 remembering that for a long time the Army were in the

19 lead in a lot of the counter terrorism work and the

20 police weren't. And so there was a sort of attempt to

21 keep the police side, the civilian side, away from the

22 military side. So there was quite a hard division

23 between those two, if that helps make sense of it.

24 Q. It does, thank you very much.

25 Looking down the chain from you, the chain of

 

 

46


1 command, if I can put it that way, are there

2 deficiencies in the diagram there as well?

3 A. Well, yes, slightly. I should explain that because of

4 resource pressures and the work we were trying to do,

5 I tended to run Police Division with a very flat

6 structure, so I took out grades that I didn't think were

7 terribly valuable, in particular DP grades.

8 Q. Deputy principal?

9 A. Deputy principal grades.

10 Q. Right.

11 A. Because I reckoned that had staff officers were cheaper,

12 considerably, and you could get just as much work out of

13 them. So it actually made for a flatter management

14 structure and better, more efficient progress of work.

15 So I don't think we had a DP in the Complaints

16 division. We had a DP in KPPS and we had a DP as well

17 in Firearms and Explosives, which isn't shown on this

18 slide.

19 Q. No.

20 A. But --

21 Q. So on the left-hand side then, we should ignore that box

22 and regard the staff officer or staff officers, plural,

23 reporting up to the Head of Police Complaints division?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And then the Executive Officer or officers below the

 

 

47


1 staff officers?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Right. I'm going to ask you a question about this

4 slide. I wonder whether, after you have completed your

5 evidence to the Inquiry, you would very kindly liaise

6 with those representing the NIO to ensure that these

7 corrections are reflected in this diagram. We

8 distributed it first in April and asked for comments

9 upon it, and these are the first detailed and

10 comprehensive comments we have received. Thank you very

11 much indeed.

12 Can I ask you, while we are on the topic of

13 diagrams, to deal with another point which arises in

14 your statement in relation to the organisation of the

15 1RUC. Can we look at slide 2, please, the RUC

16 organisation chart. Thank you.

17 Now, I notice that in your statement at various

18 points you refer to somebody, an officer you refer to

19 a "DCC Ops". Was there in fact only one Deputy

20 Chief Constable in the period with which we are

21 concerned?

22 A. No. I mean, again, this was sort of a moving target for

23 a lot of the time.

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. But I think that to the best of my recollection for the

 

 

48


1 whole period from 1997, 1998 and into 1999, there would

2 have been two DCC posts; one was the DCC Ops, who

3 doesn't appear on this slide, but should be in bringing

4 together the whole raft of operational ACCs, if you

5 like, that is from ACC Special Branch right across --

6 Director of the Financial Crime Services Unit: that was

7 a bit of an odd unit, but certainly from the

8 Special Branch to ACC Crime, all reported up to DCC Ops.

9 And then the other DCC was sort of the DCC Complaints

10 and Discipline management, and he looked after what you

11 have actually got sort of directly underneath him there,

12 Director of Finance, Director of Admin, ACC personnel,

13 Complaints and Discipline.

14 Q. Thank you very much.

15 Well, sir, obviously those present representing the

16 PSNI will have heard that and if there is anything

17 further to be corrected, they will no doubt make sure

18 that we know whether or not they agree with what

19 Mrs Collins has helpfully pointed out.

20 Can I just return to your position in the NIO? We

21 have now heard some evidence from people who worked with

22 and for you. Immediately below you, as I understand it,

23 in the chart would be Simon Rogers?

24 A. That's right.

25 Q. And then below him, again, if I can put it that way,

 

 

49


1 Anne Colville; is that correct?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Where did Lesley Foster fit into the structure?

4 A. Lesley came in below Simon as well. She came to us --

5 I'm trying to recollect whether she was actually

6 full-time when she came to us first. I'm not absolutely

7 sure whether she was actually full-time with us or

8 whether she was also doing another job, sort of two days

9 a week or something. But she was sort of added in to

10 the strength partly, I think, to help ease the burdens

11 with the workload we were facing at that particular

12 time.

13 Q. That is as good a prompt as any to ask you about the

14 range of the work you did, and you set it out for us in

15 paragraph 10 of your statement, RNI-841-218 (displayed),

16 by saying that the remit was vast, covering policy and

17 legislation on and licensing of firearms and explosives

18 and Key Persons Protection Scheme, policing policy,

19 resources and legislation. And we will look at some of

20 the detail of that in a moment.

21 But from the chart, we have seen that the KPPS

22 Division -- if that's the right word -- also reported up

23 to you and was within Police Division?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you about communication with the

 

 

50


1 police, with the RUC? This you deal with in paragraphs

2 46 and 47 of your statement at RNI-841-229 (displayed).

3 Now, we have looked at the structure together. As I

4 understand it, you would in the main be communicating

5 with Command Secretariat. Is that correct?

6 A. That's right, yes.

7 Q. And so far as you personally were concerned, was there

8 an officer -- you have probably got the list of ciphered

9 names in front of you -- with whom you particularly

10 communicated?

11 A. Yes. I mean, it would be P157.

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. P118.

14 Q. Yes.

15 A. And I think towards the end of the period, P136.

16 Q. Thank you. Just so everybody is clear, P118 is in fact

17 Superintendent Maxwell. So Superintendent Maxwell, P136

18 at the later part, and P157.

19 Thank you very much. Is it possible for you to give

20 us an idea of how regularly you personally would be in

21 contact with those individuals at Command Secretariat?

22 A. I would say more or less continuously. You know, there

23 might be a day go by when I didn't speak to somebody in

24 Command Secretariat, but I think that would be

25 outweighed by the number of days on which I would be

 

 

51


1 ringing twice/three times, or they would be ringing me

2 twice/three times. So it was a pretty continuous

3 process of communication I think partly because there

4 was such a lot going on in all of the areas.

5 It wasn't as if it was just KPPS; it was KPPS,

6 complaints, resources, changes to discipline regs,

7 all -- the whole gamut of things were coming through and

8 you were just dealing with them day and daily.

9 Q. Yes. Can I ask you a question about record-keeping?

10 From what you have said, there was a good deal of

11 contact on the telephone. We can see references to

12 telephone conversations in your statement. Did you have

13 a general practice in that regard in relation to making

14 notes; what lawyers would call attendance notes of

15 conversations?

16 A. Yes, I did, and this is one of the things that I have

17 actually found quite, I suppose, distressing about the

18 process of trying to remember this because my practice

19 was -- I mean, all the conversations were generally to

20 do with something that was on paper; you know, there

21 would have been a bit of paper somewhere. What I did

22 more or less invariably was write comments on my piece

23 of paper. So, you know, sometimes it would be remind

24 myself, you know, ring P157 about this or something,

25 but then it would be on the same piece of paper

 

 

52


1 I would then just note quickly when I had rung them,

2 what the outcome was.

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. Then that, maybe, would be then passed on down out to

5 somebody -- Simon, for instance -- for action.

6 Q. Yes.

7 A. So that would be the chain and it would be on that piece

8 of paper by and large.

9 Q. Yes.

10 A. But the trouble is that those pieces of paper appear not

11 to exist any more. So I'm at a loss, frankly, as to

12 precisely trying to reconstruct on a particular copy of

13 a letter, which is not my copy of the letter, what

14 exactly I did with it.

15 Q. We see that refrain -- I hope you don't mind me putting

16 it that way -- repeatedly in your statement. You say:

17 "This isn't my copy. My copy would have had my

18 annotations."

19 And I think you know that the Inquiry has taken up

20 your refrain with the NIO, and without going into any of

21 the details, the net result is that there is nothing

22 more apparently to be found. So I am afraid we are

23 where we are.

24 A. We are where we are. I quite understand that, but

25 I just want to make it clear that it is not that I'm

 

 

53


1 sort of hiding anything.

2 Q. No.

3 A. I just literally sometimes can't remember because I

4 haven't got the piece of paper that would trigger it.

5 Q. What we appear to have -- and we will see a few in the

6 course of today -- is some examples that have survived

7 with your own handwriting and your own notes. So we can

8 get a flavour perhaps of the sort of noting you would be

9 doing obviously on a very regular basis.

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Can I take it from that, therefore, that you would not

12 produce, as it were, a free-standing attendance note or

13 note of conversation if you had a conversation, let's

14 say, with an officer at Command Secretariat?

15 A. I might have done so on some occasions, but I wouldn't

16 generally have done so for, I think, two reasons: one,

17 that I had a dread of things getting lost and

18 free-standing notes tend to get detached from the parent

19 document, so I preferred to to write whatever I was

20 going to write absolutely slap bang on the document to

21 which it related. And the other is just simply pressure

22 of time. I mean, it was a ferociously busy office.

23 I did not have time, even using a dictaphone, to, every

24 time I put down the phone, pick up the dictaphone and

25 dictate something and do it that way. Ideally, that

 

 

54


1 would have been what you did. I did not have the time

2 to do that.

3 Q. No. But on those exceptional occasions or unusual

4 occasions where you would make a note, would those

5 occasions be, for example, particularly important issues

6 where you felt, "I need to make a separate note of

7 this"?

8 A. Perhaps particularly important issues; more probably

9 particularly lengthy ones.

10 Q. Yes. Thank you very much.

11 Can I ask you about communication with the ICPC?

12 A. Hm-mm.

13 Q. So far as you were concerned, were you in contact with

14 officials at the ICPC?

15 A. Rarely.

16 Q. Rarely. Was anybody else in your division in contact

17 with them on a more regular basis?

18 A. Yes. The way the system worked was that, you know,

19 individual complaint cases would have gone down from me

20 to either Simon or further down the branch, and they

21 would have done, if you like, the donkey work, sending

22 the letter out to -- the issue out both to the ICPC and

23 generally the RUC at the same time, gathering the

24 material back in, dealing with it.

25 I suppose I would have had contact with the ICPC

 

 

55


1 through things like the finance side, resources. I'm

2 just trying to think -- but, no, it was not the same

3 sort of come and go at my level with the ICPC as it

4 would have been with Command Secretariat.

5 Q. Thank you.

6 A. Or, indeed, with the police authority.

7 Q. Yes, whom you mention specifically in your statement,

8 yes.

9 So far as recollection and documents is concerned --

10 you have touched on this already -- can I take it that

11 what you have done in the process of putting together

12 your witness statement for the Inquiry is to look back

13 at the documents that have been provided and in that way

14 to prompt or reconstruct in terms of your memory when

15 you are dealing with events now 10/11 years ago?

16 A. Yes, that was part of the input into the process of

17 making the statement. The other part was obviously the

18 questions that Eversheds were asking me.

19 Q. Yes.

20 A. Which was really the framework which guided me.

21 Q. Yes. Well, so far as the statement is concerned, it

22 falls into, if I can put it this way, two parts, doesn't

23 it? There are 24 pages or so of general background,

24 where you responded to an invitation given by Eversheds

25 to set out the full context, and then the remainder of

 

 

56


1 the statement where you are effectively dealing with

2 issues prompted by being shown documents?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And being asked specific questions?

5 A. And being asked specific questions about those

6 documents.

7 Q. Yes. Since then, I think it is right, isn't it, that

8 you have seen further documents, some of them relating

9 to the issues dealt with in your statement and no doubt

10 in some cases filling in some of the gaps?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Thank you. Now, what I would like to do at the outset,

13 therefore, is to touch on some of the points you make in

14 the substantial introductory section, if I can put it

15 that way; the context section. Can I start by asking

16 you to look, please, at paragraph 8, and that is at

17 RNI-841-218 (displayed)?

18 A. Can that be blown up for me? I am afraid my eyesight is

19 appalling.

20 Q. Yes. Can we take that as a standard request in relation

21 to paragraphs as they come up.

22 Do you see paragraph 8 now at the top of the screen?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And you say there -- and it really helps to set your

25 subsequent comments in their own context -- that between

 

 

57


1 that period, 1995 to 1998, politics were particularly

2 highly charged and tensions were running very high.

3 So looking at it another way, is the position this:

4 that despite the ceasefires, which were a feature of the

5 early to mid 1990s, through to 1997 obviously, the

6 tension and the volatility of politics remained, as it

7 were, as before?

8 A. I would think I would probably put it perhaps even

9 stronger than that, in the sense that, whereas

10 previously a lot of the tension had been focused on the

11 terrorist campaigns and, you know, that would be the

12 lightning rod, if you like, once we were into

13 ceasefires, that -- I suppose it was that same sort of

14 communal tension was finding other ways of discharging

15 itself and you got a lot more sectarianism, for want of

16 a better word, on the one hand. I think the other

17 characteristic of it probably was that there was an

18 increase in intracommunal violence: groups jockeying for

19 position between themselves, splits emerging and so on.

20 So there was a lot of tension from both those areas.

21 Q. On the latter point, as politics were shifting and

22 changes were coming in, within communities some were

23 going some way in support of changes, but there were

24 dissidents on both sides for whom this was the moment,

25 as it were, and we saw that reflected, I think you would

 

 

58


1 agree, in, for example, the public order difficulties,

2 Drumcree and the other problems?

3 A. Yes, and -- I mean, a whole host of things. What I

4 think came to be known as white line protests, outside

5 police stations and so forth. There was a sort of

6 bubbling up of different ways of expressing tension or

7 of expressing opposition to something or other.

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. A lot of them still pretty physical. I mean, it was not

10 as if everybody immediately started speechifying. Quite

11 a lot of them stayed with sort of more direct methods of

12 expressing themselves.

13 Q. Yes. And did the same apply, as far as you are

14 concerned, to the time immediately after the

15 Good Friday Agreement, April 1998? Again, there wasn't

16 a sudden cessation of sectarianism or difficulties of

17 this kind?

18 A. No. In fact, arguably in some ways it got even worse

19 because the agreement itself had been a very, very close

20 run thing, quite miraculous actually that it was

21 achieved at all. An awful lot of opposition to it,

22 a lot of hard work needing to be done to actually get it

23 accepted and supported widely across the community.

24 It wasn't easy. I mean, it wasn't sort of wave

25 magic wand, appear out of castle buildings flourishing

 

 

59


1 this agreement, everybody all happy; in fact, quite the

2 reverse. It was a compromise; compromises are always

3 difficult. People don't forget the bit they have

4 compromised on. They always think they can shake the

5 tree and perhaps a little bit more will come.

6 Q. In that sense, there was a vast amount of work still to

7 be done after the agreement?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And there were concerns expressed, weren't there, for

10 example in the run-up to Drumcree that year that if

11 things went badly wrong, that would have the effect of

12 undoing a lot of progress which had been made in the

13 lead-up to the agreement?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Thank you. Now, your role as Head of Police Division

16 from 1993 to 1998 ensured that you were in a sense

17 dealing with a large number of the changes which were

18 going on in Northern Ireland during that period, which

19 you set out for us in your statement. What I would like

20 to do with your help, please, is to look at just some of

21 them and some of the comments you make.

22 You first of all put changes to policing in

23 a broader political context in your paragraph 15,

24 RNI-841-220 (displayed), and as I understand it, your

25 view is that there was a well recognised acceptance that

 

 

60


1 policing was a key part of all of these changes?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And, indeed, you say in relation to the agreement

4 itself -- this is paragraph 26 at RNI-841-223

5 (displayed) -- that policing and other security issues

6 were key factors in the final negotiations, the run-up,

7 if I can put it that way, to the agreement itself?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Looking at some of the areas within that, those areas of

10 change, as you describe them, can we look first at your

11 paragraph 17 at RNI-841-220 (displayed) because here you

12 touch on consultation documents, reports which dealt

13 with changes to policing itself, as I understand it; is

14 that correct?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Then in the next paragraph, 18, you refer to the

17 fundamental review, RNI-841-221 (displayed), and you say

18 that that was a seminal report, published in 1997. Was

19 Ronnie Flanagan very much involved in that report?

20 A. Yes, and I'm sorry, you described to me the reports, the

21 foundations for policing and policing the community,

22 they were -- as about policing itself?

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. They were and they weren't. They were about the sort of

25 constitutional, legislative underpinnings of it.

 

 

61


1 Q. Yes.

2 A. The fundamental review was actually looking in detail,

3 if you like, at the other side of the coin; about how,

4 within a peaceful Northern Ireland, policing could best

5 be delivered.

6 Q. Yes.

7 A. And it was sort of looking forward to say, you know, in

8 a nice new Northern Ireland, what would the police

9 service look like, what needed to be changed to get from

10 where we were then into that new world.

11 So I think the fundamental review was more about

12 actually the operational policing side. My stuff was

13 more on the policing policy side, but obviously the two

14 were hand in glove. You had to take them together.

15 Q. Absolutely. Presumably the point you make about the

16 changes in operational policing picks up the fundamental

17 point that the police had had to conduct their business,

18 if I can put it that way, in this very, very particular

19 environment in Northern Ireland, dealing with problems,

20 which, again, you deal with in your statement. And for

21 them, there was the prospect of a very considerable

22 adjustment to what might eventually be, but wasn't yet,

23 a very different type of environment?

24 A. Yes. And it is something that is quite difficult to do,

25 is imagining a totally different future when you are

 

 

62


1 actually still sitting in a rather grim present.

2 Q. Yes.

3 A. And trying to do that is a difficult task.

4 Q. And presumably, if I can put it that way, the final

5 stage of this, so far as the period we are concerned

6 with goes, is the Patten Commission which came out of

7 the Good Friday Agreement and which you refer to in

8 paragraph 26, which, again, dealt with, as it were, the

9 future picture so far as what was then still the RUC was

10 concerned? That is RNI-841-223 (displayed).

11 A. Yes. I should say there was a yet another document we

12 produced and I'm just trying to remember the name of it,

13 but I can't.

14 But just trying to sort of describe this succinctly,

15 and at a slow pace for the stenographer, in the period

16 from -- I suppose it would have been November 1997

17 onwards, we were simultaneously trying to take the

18 Police Bill through Parliament, trying to get a grip on

19 what the Hayes recommendations which were actually in

20 that bill meant in practical terms, and also trying to

21 take forward the policing aspects of the political

22 negotiations.

23 So we had those three things running simultaneously.

24 So we produced -- and I can't remember the exact date

25 that it was published, but it would have been

 

 

63


1 about March, I think --

2 Q. Of 1998?

3 A. Of 1998 -- a document specifically for the talks

4 process, which was actually then, you know, the

5 foundation, I suppose, for the bit that appeared in the

6 Good Friday Agreement and which then led on to Patten --

7 the setting-up of the Patten Commission.

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. So that was all in that bit. It was quite hot and heavy

10 stuff, really.

11 So when you look at the policing section of the

12 agreement, that, if you like, is the tip of an iceberg.

13 That's the bit that could get into the agreement that

14 everybody could agree to, and it was really, I suppose,

15 just recognised that you couldn't get into the agreement

16 a proper agreement on policing. The mechanism to

17 prevent policing banjaxing the deal was to establish the

18 Commission.

19 Q. The Patten Commission, yes.

20 A. I mean, that was the way that was taken forward because

21 it was recognised that you couldn't get a proper

22 policing section into the agreement. It wouldn't work.

23 Q. Yes. Thank you.

24 Just returning to the point we were discussing

25 earlier about the policing conditions, in other words

 

 

64


1 the operational conditions, presumably the point here to

2 bear in mind is that despite the changes that were

3 taking place on the political front, many, if not all,

4 of the difficulties of operational policing in

5 Northern Ireland remained because all the conflict and

6 the sectarianism that you referred to earlier remained?

7 A. Yes, and I think the added dimension to that was that it

8 was the same, only different.

9 Q. Yes.

10 A. Because whilst you did have continuing the threat of car

11 bombs and other terrorist attacks from dissident

12 elements principally, you also had the new public order

13 dimensions on top of that.

14 Q. Yes.

15 A. So it wasn't as if you were negotiating in the midst of

16 the sort of clear cut, hot terrorism of the early 1990s,

17 when you actually couldn't have negotiated. You had got

18 into a kind of uneasy period, but to say it was peace

19 wasn't true; it was a very uneasy period and the police

20 had to respond to that, had to be both on guard against

21 terrorism, on guard trying to deal with public order in

22 ways which wouldn't disrupt the political process, and

23 at the same time try and gear themselves up hopefully

24 for the next stage of a more settled future.

25 Q. So there were actually some new challenges in a sense

 

 

65


1 which were thrown up by this transitional phase?

2 A. Yes, I mean, it wasn't as if terrorism dropped off and

3 instead you just had public order, you had as well ...

4 Q. Yes. Can we look then, in identifying the elements of

5 the policing conditions, at paragraphs 41 and following

6 at RNI-841-228 (displayed)?

7 I would like to just try to pick out the points you

8 make here: First of all, the basic point obviously of

9 non-cooperation or very limited cooperation from

10 a section of the community; secondly, the fact that

11 civilian witnesses were very hard to come by; thirdly,

12 that practised terrorists, if I can put it that way,

13 went to great lengths to leave no forensic traces; and

14 fourthly, that there was insufficient time or resources

15 available for the sort of police work which was

16 possible, for example, in England where conditions were

17 very different.

18 Would that be a fair collection of the relevant

19 points?

20 A. It is, and I think it is very difficult now because

21 things have changed so much for people, I think, to

22 appreciate just how difficult it was in those days.

23 I mean, I think to my shame now, I remember -- this

24 was back in the early 1990s -- arranging for a minister

25 to visit Newry, and I found out afterwards that that had

 

 

66


1 actually involved a battalion-sized deployment of troops

2 and a huge amount of RUC overtime. Quite whether it was

3 worth the cost in sheer money terms, never mind the

4 potential danger to life, was something I sort of still

5 ponder about.

6 But I mean, it was a good thing for a minister to be

7 able to go to that particular part of Northern Ireland

8 and appreciate what living there meant for ordinary

9 people. It was a good thing from that point of view,

10 but it was very, very costly.

11 Q. Indeed.

12 A. I mean, that wasn't just in that part of the country;

13 that would have held true in areas of Belfast certainly.

14 It was very, very resource-intensive and very dangerous.

15 You know, if things were not done properly, people would

16 be killed.

17 Q. Yes. So far as the specific conditions and the points

18 you make in these paragraphs are concerned, you stress

19 the importance of interviews and the question of

20 admissions or confessions because, of course, as you

21 point out, there was usually a marked absence of any

22 other evidence: no civilian witnesses, no forensic

23 opportunities, et cetera. And you also make the point

24 that of course some of the terrorists and their

25 organisations were alert to this and trained their

 

 

67


1 members, their operatives, as you put it, in

2 anti-interrogation techniques?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Which presumably added further to the challenges

5 encountered by investigating officers?

6 A. Yes, and I think it is important perhaps, again, to

7 think back. At the time I'm talking about, the absolute

8 limit on the period in which somebody could be arrested

9 and questioned was seven days, and enacted within that

10 there was a European Court of Human Rights ruling which

11 meant that you could actually only hold somebody for

12 four days.

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. But the challenges faced by investigating officers at

15 that time, I think, were every bit of great as they are

16 facing now with a different form of terrorism, where it

17 is reckoned that possibly one needs sort of 42 days.

18 Q. Some say that?

19 A. With a large pinch of salt, but those were the

20 realities; it was not easy at all.

21 Q. Now, part of the way of enabling the police to deal with

22 this was, of course, in the legislative context to bring

23 in the Prevention of Terrorism Act regimes, the holding

24 centre regime. And as you point out, I think, in your

25 statement, that was an assistance in one sense, but of

 

 

68


1 course those public order and other, in this case,

2 legislative measures themselves were divisive and caused

3 trouble for the police within the very communities that

4 they were trying to police?

5 A. Yes, and I think more broadly than within the

6 communities. I think they were divisive in an

7 international context particularly.

8 Q. Well, that's a theme that comes out in some of the

9 correspondence which we see, that it led to the security

10 or policing regime in Northern Ireland being the subject

11 of comment, some of it adverse comment, in other parts

12 of the world?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. So far as the impact on communities is concerned, you

15 touch on this in paragraph 29 at RNI-841-224

16 (displayed), and I understand you to be saying that the

17 resentment in the communities of some of these measures

18 was in both communities, if I can put it that way; it

19 wasn't confined specifically to one?

20 A. Oh, absolutely.

21 Q. Yes. Those things taken all together, made the policing

22 environment in Northern Ireland absolutely unique when

23 compared to any other part of the United Kingdom, didn't

24 they?

25 A. I think it was probably pretty unique. Certainly there

 

 

69


1 wasn't anywhere else in the United Kingdom like it. I

2 think there were precious few places in the world like

3 it because I think most places in the world that have

4 terrorist problems, as we had, weren't liberal

5 democracies. We were. And we are. And that means that

6 we can't use, won't use, some of the things that other

7 places wouldn't hesitate to use in those circumstances.

8 Q. You mean we, as a society, wouldn't tolerate the sort of

9 measures that would be taken in other less free

10 societies?

11 A. Absolutely.

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. I mean, we didn't use internment, we didn't use a whole

14 lot of things that I think various other countries

15 scratched their heads and wondered why we didn't, but we

16 didn't and I think we were right not to because that

17 wasn't the way to solve this problem.

18 Q. So far as the complaints system is concerned -- you have

19 mentioned this earlier and you set it in your statement

20 in the broader context of changes taking place. You

21 talk about it in paragraphs 19 and following, where you

22 describe it as another key issue to be addressed.

23 That's at RNI-841-221, paragraph 19. Can we enlarge it

24 please (displayed)?

25 Now, as you probably know, we have touched on

 

 

70


1 a number of these points with Simon Rogers who was, I

2 think you have said, the head of the complaints part of

3 your division, so I'm not going to go over that with

4 you. But in short, there were concerns expressed,

5 weren't there, about the adequacy and, indeed, the

6 effectiveness of the system and that led to the Hayes

7 review --

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And so far as those problems within the system are

10 concerned, can I pick up a couple which you refer to,

11 which Mr Rogers did not deal with, and the first is in

12 paragraph 20 in RNI-841-221 (displayed), the same page.

13 Here, you deal with the often-voiced concern or

14 complaint that people would use the system in effect to

15 register a complaint with a completely different set of

16 proceedings in mind? In the case you have highlighted,

17 there is a civil action.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And so they would register it for other purposes, not

20 cooperate with the investigation and when their civil

21 claim had been determined one way or another, allow the

22 complaint to fall away?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Was it also felt at the time that individuals would use

25 the complaints system for tactical purposes in

 

 

71


1 connection with criminal proceedings?

2 A. I don't quite understand --

3 Q. It may be that it wasn't something you came across at

4 the time, but we have heard comment to the effect that

5 individuals would make sure that they registered

6 a complaint about their treatment in custody to ensure

7 that any subsequent criminal trial would then be able to

8 use the fact that they had made the complaint?

9 A. Oh, yes, yes, yes. That was, I think, fairly standard

10 practice.

11 Q. One of the things you say in relation to civil cases --

12 not criminal cases, obviously -- is that there was

13 nothing in the complaints system in a monetary sense for

14 the complainants, whereas of course, by contrast, in

15 a civil case they stood to recover damages or

16 a settlement?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. In that very context, on the next page, RNI-841-222 in

19 paragraphs 22 and 23 (displayed) you deal with

20 a specific example of what you describe as "over

21 holding", which I think means where somebody is detained

22 beyond what is permitted by law; is that right?

23 A. That's right.

24 Q. And the point you make in paragraph 23 goes, doesn't it,

25 to the criticism that the rate of substantiation was

 

 

72


1 extremely low and at the same time there were

2 substantial payments being made every year by way of

3 settlement of civil claims?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And what you are trying to do, as I understand it, is to

6 say that the analysis of those numbers has to be rather

7 more sophisticated because, for example, in the case of

8 over holding, what you are dealing with is in a sense

9 a technical breach?

10 A. Yes. I mean, if you looked at that -- if you did the

11 work which I think the police authority did, because

12 they were responsible for the payments, you found that,

13 you know, sometimes it was somebody over held for five

14 minutes, for half an hour actually waiting for the duty

15 doctor to come and give them their end of custody

16 medical, who would then say, "Right, can I have my

17 1,000 or whatever for over holding", which they would

18 get.

19 Q. Yes.

20 A. But then, when that is simply added to the statistics as

21 complaint and money paid out in a huge bundle, it began

22 to look as if, you know, there was something terrible

23 going on, people being beaten up in holding centres

24 left, right and centre and being given huge amounts of

25 money as compensation. When in fact that wasn't the

 

 

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1 case. But that was the way that the raw statistics

2 could be, and sometimes were, presented.

3 Q. But there was a further point being made, wasn't there,

4 which was, look, your rate of substantiation is very,

5 very low, as Dr Hayes pointed out in his report, but you

6 are paying out a lot of money?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And I think the point you are seeking to draw out is

9 that there isn't an automatic or simple correlation

10 between those two sets of statistics?

11 A. No, it is a lot more complicated than that.

12 Q. Yes. Can I just pick up a particular point you make in

13 this context about settlements? It is in paragraph 22.

14 You say:

15 "These claims generally included a technical element

16 such as over holding and were frequently settled for

17 that reason without admission of liability."

18 Can I just ask you, are you a lawyer?

19 A. No.

20 Q. Were you aware that the vast majority of settlements of

21 civil or any other claims are settled without admission

22 of liability?

23 A. If they are settled, yes, they are.

24 Q. So there is no particular significance about over

25 holding cases being settled without an admission of

 

 

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1 liability, is there?

2 A. Well, except that if you settle the case on one ground,

3 then that's it. That's the ground you settled it on.

4 Backed up behind that there may be a whole lot of

5 grounds which you have or have not admitted liability

6 for, if you see what I mean. So it is the question of

7 which the lead card is, if you like, in the settlement.

8 Q. Very well. Now, so far as changes to the system are

9 concerned, we talked about the Hayes review. Mr Rogers

10 has told us his involvement in it and how, when it came

11 out in January, the recommendations were accepted. We

12 know that the new Labour Government took up the cause,

13 which was to establish an ombudsman system. And as he

14 said, it followed, didn't it, that your division was

15 dealing with a system which was in the process of being

16 changed throughout the period with which we are

17 concerned, ie 1997/1998. That's right, isn't it?

18 A. That's right.

19 Q. Thank you. Can I just pick up a couple of points later

20 in your statement where you return to the issue of

21 complaints, while you are dealing with documents? This

22 is in paragraphs 95 to 97 at RNI-841-247 and RNI-841-248

23 (displayed).

24 The context is what you set out at the beginning of

25 1995, what you had been told by your interviewers, the

 

 

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1 Eversheds lawyers, about this issue, and you go on to

2 addresses some statistics from the ICPC reports in

3 paragraph 96. Do you see that?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. If we can turn the page on the screen for you and get

6 RNI-841-248 on (displayed), what you do there is to say,

7 for example:

8 "During the three years 1996 to 1998 ..."

9 Then you give some statistics. Then in the next

10 paragraph you quote, do not you, from the 1997 report?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Do you see that? Can I just ask you first, were these

13 documents -- the reports, I mean -- produced to you in

14 the interview?

15 A. No, they weren't.

16 Q. So they were documents that you researched and looked at

17 and included these extracts and statistics in your

18 statement?

19 A. Yes, because I actually asked Eversheds were they aware

20 of these reports because they were highly relevant, and

21 it didn't seem to me that they were terribly aware of

22 them. So I thought that it would be a good idea just to

23 make sure they were brought into the field of the

24 Inquiry because they are actually factual material that

25 is relevant, I think.

 

 

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1 Q. So this was a case where you thought there were gaps in

2 the material that you were being presented with and, as

3 it were, rather than waiting for the Inquiry to fill

4 them, you filled them yourself by identifying and

5 looking at the documents?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just ask you about that? First

8 of all, the totals you have quoted, 1996 to 1998.

9 During those three years, there were about 8,300 new

10 cases, weren't there?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And in 1998, for example, there were, I think, a total

13 of 2,300-odd cases of which 562 were withdrawn, 682

14 dispensed with, which again fits very much with the sort

15 of percentages you have put in your statement.

16 Disciplinary action was considered in 1,000-odd cases,

17 615 were referred to the DPP, five criminal charges were

18 brought and 19 disciplinary charges brought in the

19 formal way -- again, picking up the distinction there --

20 and 104 informally.

21 So the numbers, going back to the first statistics I

22 used, of 26,407 and 1,907 have to be seen against the

23 overall bulk of complaints being made during that

24 period, some 8,300?

25 A. Hm-mm.

 

 

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1 Q. Thank you. So far as other points in your general

2 introduction or general context section, I should say,

3 are concerned, can we look at the section beginning in

4 paragraph 28 at RNI-841-224 (displayed)? You were asked

5 a question here, which you recite in quotation marks,

6 and then you go on to make a series of comments in

7 subsequent paragraphs.

8 The first point I'd like to look at with you is in

9 paragraph 32 at RNI-841-225 (displayed), and I would

10 like to ask you a question about other types of lawyer,

11 because this Inquiry is particularly focusing its

12 attention obviously on defence lawyers and on

13 Rosemary Nelson.

14 But it is right, isn't it, that during the period of

15 the Troubles, other lawyers, those working in what you

16 describe there as the security sector -- judges,

17 prosecutors, magistrates and others -- were regarded as

18 legitimate targets by terrorists?

19 A. Yes, and I mean, I have -- I think I have used the word

20 "security sector" to encompass the judiciary and the

21 court system, really, because I think that's what PIRA

22 defined it as. I would not myself think that the judges

23 or the courts were part of the security sector, but that

24 is really irrelevant if a terrorist organisation thinks

25 they are and chooses to attack them.

 

 

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1 Q. Indeed, and they did attack them and they did murder

2 them?

3 A. And they did attack them and they did murder them.

4 Q. Yes. Now, the question that arose, as you put it at the

5 top of this page, the end of paragraph 30, was whether,

6 in the light of the murder of Pat Finucane, defence

7 lawyers were also at risk and that, in a nutshell, was

8 the point, wasn't it?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And the way you put it -- and I think I have got this

11 right, but please confirm -- is that this question was

12 raised in the context of a widening out of what were

13 viewed as being legitimate targets, which took place in

14 the years after the murder of Pat Finucane? This is

15 your paragraph 31.

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. So that different types of people doing different types

18 of work, it came to be realised, might be vulnerable to

19 the terrorists?

20 A. Well, might be and were.

21 Q. Indeed.

22 A. People got killed.

23 Q. Yes. But you say at the bottom of the page, 34, that as

24 far as you are aware, there was no practical impact on

25 the criminal justice system and, of course, until

 

 

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1 Rosemary Nelson, no other defence lawyer was attacked

2 and murdered?

3 A. That's right. It was one thing that, I think, you know,

4 in the NIO we kept an eye on because we were concerned

5 lest this was going to be a new sort of open season

6 declared on defence lawyers. But that didn't happen.

7 Q. No. Now, the concern clearly in relation to the

8 position of defence lawyers, and what you say there is

9 high profile defence lawyers, was that they would be

10 attacked, targeted and murdered on the basis of the work

11 they were doing; in other words, on the basis of their

12 high profile defence cases?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And that, of course, might have the effect of

15 potentially undermining the criminal justice system

16 because it would be a very, very powerful disincentive

17 for able lawyers to take on such cases?

18 A. Precisely, and I mean, that is one of the things that we

19 had had to counter in other areas. It is a very

20 powerful disincentive, I think, for any individual to

21 suddenly become aware that their movements are being

22 watched and they are on a hit list.

23 Q. Indeed.

24 A. That makes them think twice about whatever it is they

25 are doing.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes. The second point you make -- and this is on the

2 next page at 35 -- in this connection is that this

3 question of the alleged culture of intimidation was not

4 raised with Government by the professional bodies. Do

5 you see that point?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. You go on to characterise the relationship between the

8 police and defence lawyers in an adversarial system as

9 "robust" or even an "abrasive" one. Do you see that at

10 the bottom of the page?

11 A. I don't yet, but I daresay I will in a minute.

12 Q. Second line, 36?

13 A. Yes. Yes.

14 Q. Now, I would just like to see where we get to on this.

15 First, I can take it from your answers that you have

16 no personal experience of the criminal justice system as

17 a lawyer, certainly because you are not a lawyer?

18 A. That's right.

19 Q. You have never had to defend a client or represent him

20 being held in the holding centres?

21 A. No.

22 Q. And it must follow you have never represented any

23 clients, indeed, as a lawyer for any other offences,

24 whether they have been held in their holding centres or

25 not?

 

 

81


1 A. No.

2 Q. So in terms of your actual experience day-to-day of the

3 criminal justice system on the ground, it is extremely

4 limited?

5 A. It is limited in the sense that I haven't been there

6 with my sleeves rolled up as a lawyer.

7 Q. Indeed.

8 A. However, I have sat as a civil servant in various

9 departments and I have watched lawyers at their work,

10 both in criminal cases and in civil cases. Sometimes

11 they have been cases where I have been sort of -- not

12 quite the instructing officer, but that sort of thing.

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. And, yes, I think I do have a perspective on it as an

15 observer.

16 Q. Indeed. You are looking at it from the outside, but you

17 are an informed observer?

18 A. I'm an informed observer and I can see what is going on

19 in the bear pit, I think, possibly.

20 Q. Now, so far as the abrasive nature of the relationship

21 is concerned, I can assume, can I, that you wouldn't

22 condone the lawyer being abused to his client whilst

23 being interviewed by police officers?

24 A. Absolutely not.

25 Q. Nor, presumably, would you condone the lawyer being

 

 

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1 accused of being a terrorist to a client in similar

2 circumstances?

3 A. Absolutely not.

4 Q. So in other words, in relation to these -- and of course

5 they escalate until the level of the lawyer being

6 threatened with murder to the client in interviews --

7 A. Allegedly.

8 Q. Indeed, yes. That was the allegation being made -- you

9 wouldn't regard that or any of it, would you, as

10 a proper feature of an abrasive relationship between

11 defence lawyer on the one hand and police officer on the

12 other?

13 A. No, it is absolutely improper. You know, improper is

14 a soft word for it. It is wrong.

15 Q. Indeed. So far as the final topic in the general part

16 of your statement is concerned, it is the KPPS and you

17 deal with that in paragraphs 52 to 77, I think, of your

18 statement. And I'd just like to pick up again a couple

19 of points you make. The first is at paragraph 57 at

20 RNI-841-232 (displayed), and you here deal with

21 questions of terminology and you say it is important.

22 We have heard -- I think it was Mr Rogers; I may be

23 wrong -- somebody at any rate using the expression "term

24 of art"; in other words, this is an area where there are

25 particular phrases used, which should be used anyway,

 

 

83


1 very precisely to describe parts of the process.

2 But as I understand it, you are drawing

3 a distinction there in this paragraph with your

4 meteorological analogy between threat on the one hand

5 and risk on the other?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And you tell us that in broad terms the risk assessments

8 were conducted by the Security Branch and the threat

9 assessments by Special Branch. It is a very crude

10 summary, but is that a fair summary?

11 A. That's right. I mean, obviously to both the threat and

12 the risk various dimensions would be fed in, including

13 things like local knowledge.

14 Q. Indeed. Now, so far as your experience, when you

15 discuss these matters, which you do in your statement in

16 this part and also later, again, can I take it that you

17 yourself have never had to undertake a threat assessment

18 or a risk assessment?

19 A. No, absolutely not, and it is one of the things that I

20 would like to stress because it is one of the questions

21 I think I was asked directly: why didn't I go back to

22 the police and tell them they had got it wrong.

23 Q. Indeed.

24 A. I didn't do that because I'm not a trained risk assessor

25 or a trained threat assessor, and I did not have the

 

 

84


1 information -- quite rightly didn't have the

2 intelligence and other information that would have been

3 required for me to make any such criticism. That is not

4 where I was sitting as a civil servant in the NIO.

5 Q. No.

6 Sir, would that be a convenient moment? Then we can

7 move on to the documents in a minute.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. We will have a break of a quarter of an

9 hour.

10 (11.40 am)

11 (Short break)

12 (11.56 am)

13 MR PHILLIPS: Mrs Collins, can I just pick up a couple of

14 points I should have touched on on these assessments,

15 threat assessments, et cetera, and ask you to look,

16 please, at RNI-841-234 (displayed), paragraph 62 of your

17 statement. This is all in the context of KPPS, I should

18 remind you.

19 You say there that:

20 "The Special Branch threat assessments were passed

21 on to Security Branch ..."

22 You explained about the two branches' role earlier?

23 A. Hm-mm.

24 Q. Then you say:

25 "The Security Branch used the threat assessment as

 

 

85


1 a starting point for their own risk assessment ..."

2 Then various other matters taken into account. Then

3 the last sentence:

4 "The result: a threat/risk analysis would be passed

5 to the NIO."

6 So that was the type of document that you would

7 receive in the context of KPPS, is it?

8 A. Yes. Not generally me personally because that would go

9 into the KPPS branch.

10 Q. Indeed, but that was the type of document the KPPS

11 branch would be provided with by Security Branch?

12 A. That's right.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, in the cases with which we are

14 concerned, which we are about to look at, what came back

15 to your division was a letter from the

16 Command Secretariat, and with the letter none of, as it

17 were, the supporting material; you didn't get the actual

18 assessments themselves?

19 A. Because this -- yes, that's right.

20 Q. Thank you.

21 A. That's the point. The second point: why that was was

22 because that wasn't at that stage a KPPS case.

23 Q. Exactly, yes, thank you. Can we look at the first

24 example, please, of the three? And that is the May 1997

25 case. I would like to take you, please, to the first of

 

 

86


1 the documents which came to you, we can see from it,

2 RNI-105-012 (displayed).

3 You are one of two recipients, the other being

4 Mr Perry at SPOB, and it encloses or attaches the

5 Senator Torricelli letter. And whoever it is in IPL --

6 his name has been redacted -- on 22 April is asking, if

7 you see paragraph 3, for guidance and advice as to how

8 the Ambassador, who was the recipient of the letter,

9 should respond.

10 Can I just ask you to look at the letter itself at

11 RNI-105-103 (displayed)? It's certainly familiar to all

12 of us. You will see the points are in relation to

13 alleged threats and the suggestion that the threats have

14 recently become more insistent and ominous. That is the

15 end of the third paragraph:

16 "... causing Mrs Nelson to fear for her safety."

17 As far as you can recall, was this, ie when this

18 letter came to you, the first occasion on which you were

19 aware that allegations were being made that

20 Rosemary Nelson had received threats against her life

21 from police officers in this way?

22 A. I can't honestly recollect whether this is the very

23 first time we would have received the threats against

24 her life from police officers allegation.

25 Q. Can I ask you, we know from our files that there was

 

 

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1 a slightly earlier letter in very similar terms from

2 Mr Lynch of the Lawyers Alliance, 13 March, but it is

3 not clear to us whether that had worked its way through

4 to your division by this stage, hence my question.

5 A. Well, you know, in the absence of the Police Division

6 files, I really can't confirm or deny. The problem, I

7 think, is that there were such a lot of

8 Rosemary Nelson-related allegations that it was quite

9 difficult to keep track of, you know, which was which.

10 And that was compounded because they were coming from so

11 many different quarters that, you know, you virtually

12 needed to look and see, well, this is a CAJ one and it

13 is dated such and such and it is talking about this,

14 this and this, but is that the same this, this and this

15 as the one we have got here from Torricelli, which is

16 a slightly different date.

17 It was actually quite difficult to piece it all

18 together and get to the bottom of what the whole thing

19 actually was.

20 Q. Indeed. The impression one gets, though, from the

21 documents is that this is a relatively early stage in

22 that process and that, as Anne Colville explained to us,

23 it is really over the summer of 1997 that the thing

24 began to really build and a real volume of material

25 started to come in.

 

 

88


1 Is that consistent with your own recollection?

2 A. I think that's about right. You know, this is one of

3 the places where I just wish that I had my Police

4 Division file which I could actually look back on, you

5 know, back even to 1995 or before, and go, "What have we

6 actually got, what was the sequence?" But we haven't

7 got that, so I think certainly from the papers that I

8 have been shown now, it seems that it really took off in

9 about spring 1997 --

10 Q. Sorry to interrupt.

11 A. Sorry, go on.

12 Q. No. I was simply going to ask you on that question of

13 when things really started to build, would all of the

14 correspondence concerning her, the allegations, the

15 threats, have been put on the same file within your

16 division?

17 A. Yes, I think so. I'm not sure whether we would

18 immediately have opened a Rosemary Nelson file, if you

19 see what I mean. If it is only one or two letters, then

20 it might have gone on to a general complaints file. But

21 once the volume started to rise, then I'm absolutely

22 sure for administrative convenience we would have opened

23 a Rosemary Nelson file, probably part of the complaints

24 series, but just to keep it all together and try and

25 keep track of it.

 

 

89


1 Q. So that, as you say, when you were trying to deal with

2 what became a substantial volume, you could, as it were,

3 trace your way through it, look back to see what had

4 been said or alleged at earlier stages, how you

5 responded, et cetera?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Thank you. Are you able to help with this: When you

8 saw this letter and saw that it was being alleged that

9 threats to the life of a lawyer were being made, is that

10 something that in your previous career as Head of Police

11 Division you had had to deal with?

12 A. Well, threats to the life of a lawyer, you know, any

13 lawyer -- we had had to deal with threats, obviously, to

14 prosecutorial people --

15 Q. Indeed.

16 A. -- and so on. I think this is the first time in my

17 personal experience that we had had threats against

18 a defence solicitor.

19 Q. Thank you. Now, I don't know whether you have any clear

20 recollection of considering, dealing with this

21 correspondence, but can I just ask you to look at

22 various aspects of the letter?

23 First, it wasn't your division's responsibility, was

24 it, to undertake the sort of investigation, criminal

25 investigation, indeed, as the Senator puts it, of the

 

 

90


1 allegations of threats to kill?

2 A. No, absolutely not. That was a -- that was a complaint,

3 if you like, about a criminal matter and that would have

4 gone to the police for them to investigate.

5 Q. Indeed. And it wasn't your division's responsibility

6 again, presumably, to ask the Attorney General to

7 institute such an investigation either; this was being

8 referred to, presumably, for other reasons?

9 Can you assist us with what your division would have

10 been expected to contribute to an answer to this letter?

11 A. I'm not sure that it is terribly helpful to try and sort

12 of mince it up into little bits like that. The basic

13 position is that an American senator has actually

14 written to our Ambassador in Washington raising this

15 issue. The Foreign Office said, "Aha, Northern Ireland

16 business" and sent it to the NIO office in London to

17 deal with in totality. You know, "Your affair. Do

18 something with it. Tell us what our ambassador can say

19 back."

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. And we in the NIO looked at it and thought, "Right, what

22 do we do about this?" In totality, not mincing it down

23 into, "Oh, dear, we had better see if the Attorney

24 General wants to do this."

25 Q. Yes.

 

 

91


1 A. Frankly, it's not quite clear to me what the Attorney

2 General would have done with it if it had been sent to

3 him. Probably sent it to the Northern Ireland Office.

4 Q. Indeed.

5 A. But it was dealt with as a body rather than being

6 subdivided up into little bits.

7 Q. Yes. Now, so far as that is concerned, do you have any

8 recollection of being involved in a discussion in your

9 division as to how you were going to deal with it, what

10 you were going to do about it?

11 A. I have a misty recollection, which I think is actually

12 a recollection rather than being a sort of figment of

13 having looked at this letter subsequently, that we did

14 talk about the Torricelli letter. I think we talked

15 about it in some different contexts as well because that

16 letter was passed to Nick Perry and to myself for, you

17 know, dealing with. And I think it is the kind of thing

18 that we would have discussed with -- I'm just trying to

19 check whether I'm allowed to say his name. He isn't

20 actually on this list -- our DUSB.

21 The DUSB sat at the top of our tree, if you remember

22 back, on the sort of left-hand side of that chart. And

23 he held meetings every Monday morning, bringing together

24 his senior colleagues. So Nick Perry and I and our

25 grade 7s would have been at that meeting, something like

 

 

92


1 that, which cut across security, policing, criminal

2 justice, had political overtones, is the kind of thing

3 we would have discussed at that meeting.

4 Q. Is that Mr Steele?

5 A. That's Mr Steele, if I'm allowed to say his name.

6 Q. Thank you very much, and I appreciate your caution also.

7 So you think it may well have been a matter which

8 was discussed at that sort of meeting with Mr Steele?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Can you help us with what were the particular features

11 of the letter which made that likely?

12 A. Well, first and foremost the allegation of death

13 threats, which -- I mean, would have been quite clear to

14 Mr Steele, myself, Mr Perry that that's of a different

15 order of things, different order of magnitude, that that

16 should go to the police because that is an allegation of

17 criminal conduct.

18 Then there were other issues in there about the

19 complaints, which we have there in the sort of second

20 paragraph, during the course of their interrogations.

21 Now, that would probably have fallen more to

22 Mr Perry's side of the house than mine because that

23 would have been holding centre issues, which were

24 Security Policies Division -- sorry, Security Policy

25 Division's, not mine, to deal with.

 

 

93


1 Then there is the sort of KPPS dimension, if you

2 like. If she is actually under threat, should we be

3 doing something to protect her. And then over that and

4 under that and all round it there is the political

5 dimension. And then just picking up in the very final

6 paragraph there:

7 "In this case it may not be appropriate to rely upon

8 the RUC to investigate one of its own members."

9 I mean, that would have brought into question what

10 could we do, if anything, to deal with that, which would

11 have been police complaints system issue, which was my

12 side.

13 Q. Indeed. That was one of regular concerns expressed

14 about the existing system, wasn't it, that it involved

15 the police investigating themselves, in summary?

16 A. Yes. And of course there are ways that you can get

17 round that to some extent. On occasions, you can bring

18 in officers from outside forces. There are particular

19 problems with that in Northern Ireland because it is

20 a separate jurisdiction. Even if you bring in

21 a constable from England or Scotland, they have to be

22 sworn in as constables in Northern Ireland before they

23 can exercise police powers. And, you know, there are

24 sort of technical issues, and more than technical

25 issues: Once you are sworn in as a constable in the

 

 

94


1 RUC, are you actually any different from any other

2 constable in the RUC? So --

3 Q. Those are the sort of points that came up, for example,

4 in the Stevens investigation?

5 A. Indeed, yes.

6 Q. Thank you for that. What we know from the files at any

7 rate is that Simon Rogers, I think over Anne Colville's

8 signature, sent the letter on 30 April to

9 Command Secretariat on the one hand, asking for any

10 background information and an update on events. I can

11 show that you letter; I'm not sure you have seen it

12 before. It is at RNI-105-019 (displayed). Do you see?

13 Addressed to the Chief Superintendent?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And a similar letter sent to ICPC, RNI-105-019.500

16 (displayed), the next page, asking for an update there.

17 So that looks as though that was an enquiry on, as

18 it were, the complaints side, doesn't it?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And the previous one is obviously going to the police or

21 that part of the police with whom you have communicated,

22 namely the Command Secretariat?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. As Mr Rogers explained to us, some time after that we

25 see the point is taken up again with

 

 

95


1 Command Secretariat, and I would like to show you the

2 memo, RNI-105-034 (displayed). As you see, it is not

3 yours, it is Anne Colville's, and she says:

4 "Further to my telephone call of last week, this is

5 written confirmation of my request for further

6 information.

7 "Could you please let me know if the police have

8 discussed Mrs Nelson and anything to do with her

9 personal protection in the light of what the Senator

10 refers to ..."

11 Then there is the quotation from the letter. Are

12 you able to help us as to how this second communication

13 came to be sent off to Command Secretariat?

14 A. Not really. I'm sort of trying to trawl my memory

15 banks. I suspect it was that this was another --

16 Simon's -- can we just go back to Simon's letter?

17 Q. Absolutely. RNI-105-019 (displayed). You see he was

18 sending two letters, of which this was one.

19 A. Yes, my reading of this -- and it is a reading of it --

20 I think I'll stick with saying that it is a reading of

21 it rather than a memory. My reading of it is that this

22 is a letter from Simon picking up two letters that had

23 obviously been sitting around for a little while and

24 formally asking the police actually for a broad range of

25 information.

 

 

96


1 "Any background information and an update on events

2 where appropriate would be very much appreciated" isn't

3 one of our stock phrases. I suspect that immediately we

4 got that letter, that would have found its way down to

5 Command Secretariat one way or another, probably with

6 a -- you know, "Have a look at this, please send us

7 something." And then this letter from Simon would have

8 followed that up. But, again, it is a letter from Simon

9 that is actually saying, "Please engage brains" because

10 it is "any background information and an update on

11 events". In other words, "Have you done anything? Have

12 you started a criminal investigation? What is going

13 on?"

14 Q. So although he doesn't say specifically, "Look, the

15 Senator says he wants to criminal investigation, what

16 have you done about it?" you think that would be the way

17 it was read at Command Secretariat?

18 A. Yes, especially as this wouldn't just have been one

19 letter going down to Command Secretariat; there would

20 have been, I'm quite sure, discussion at some level

21 between us and them about this issue.

22 Q. So, as it were, before the more formal letter was

23 sent -- just to recap what you say -- you think another

24 copy may have gone down, as it were, immediately and you

25 think there may also have been telephone discussion

 

 

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1 about it?

2 A. Telephone or face-to-face. It is the kind of thing --

3 I referred to John Steele's meeting with his officials,

4 his colleagues. It is the kind of thing that could very

5 easily have been picked up and discussed by John Steele,

6 say, in meetings with senior officers in the RUC, you

7 know, in the sense of an update on what is happening:

8 Here we have got a letter from Torricelli, here is the

9 gist of his issues that he is raising, so as to, you

10 know, keep them abreast of what was happening.

11 I don't think that that letter would have been dealt

12 with simply as a piece of paper sent down to

13 Command Secretariat at -- Anne Colville's letter -- at

14 level and treated in that kind of bargain basement way.

15 It wasn't a bargain basement letter.

16 Q. That is the issue with which we are grappling because

17 what we have obviously been trying to do is look at the

18 files and reconstruct what may have happened. And, of

19 course, we haven't found, at least so far as I am aware,

20 a note of any such other discussion, any other way of

21 sending or any earlier occasion of sending the letter,

22 but rather left with this relatively short and, as you

23 say, bargain basement approach to a letter on the face

24 of it alleging that somebody has been threatened with

25 murder?

 

 

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1 A. Yes. That is the other thing that I find frustrating

2 about this because this is there as a "treat official"

3 and it is bald. But in actual fact a "treat official"

4 like that, I think I'm right in remembering, would have

5 come down in actually either a case folder with "treat

6 official" marked on it or at least with a cover sheet on

7 it saying "treat official". But it was an important

8 letter; it wasn't the same as a piece of paper coming in

9 from somebody complaining about an uneven pavement or

10 something. This was an important letter and would have

11 been dealt with, I'm absolutely sure, in a manner which

12 befitted it. And I think that probably the audit trail

13 for that sits on files that we have already discussed we

14 haven't got.

15 Q. Okay. Can I just ask you to go back to the

16 Anne Colville memo because that is where we began all

17 this, and the question of why it was that some three

18 weeks after this, on 22 May -- it is RNI-105-034

19 (displayed) -- the issue comes up again and a specific

20 question is raised in relation to personal protection,

21 discussions about that?

22 A. Yes, I suspect that that is because whatever else had

23 been going on, we hadn't got specifically anything from

24 the police on that precise point about had the police

25 gone and spoken to Mrs Nelson about her personal

 

 

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1 protection or her personal safety.

2 Q. Indeed. But to be fair to the police, nor had you at

3 this stage asked for it?

4 A. I don't think it is proven whether we had asked for it

5 or not because there is a gap in our knowledge.

6 Q. Right.

7 A. You know, okay, maybe the police can tell me

8 categorically that they know for certain, definite, sure

9 that there is absolutely nothing in any of their paper

10 systems to indicate we had asked for it on paper.

11 But -- I mean, it is like proving a negative, isn't it.

12 Q. So you think then that this second paragraph may in fact

13 refer to a request that had already been put into the

14 system?

15 A. Well, I mean, even on any reading of it, it says:

16 "Further to my telephone call of last week ..."

17 So there is at least a phone call.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. "... this is written confirmation of my request for

20 further information in relation to the above 'treat

21 official' correspondence."

22 So that means to my eye that there had already been

23 correspondence going back and forth on the issue. This

24 is Anne picking up a final additional point and asking

25 can they please fill in this particular bit of the

 

 

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1 jigsaw.

2 Q. But you can't help as to how that final bit of the

3 jigsaw came on to the table, as it were, why that

4 specific question was raised at this stage?

5 A. I can only imagine that it was because at that stage we

6 may have been going through the drafting of the final

7 reply and doing the keel hauling, checking we had

8 covered every point in the originating letter. And

9 somebody may have picked up, "Hang on a minute, here is

10 this little bit, we should deal with that." "Is there

11 anything?" "No, there isn't." "Get on to it, get the

12 missing bit."

13 Q. Just to go back over the answer you gave a little while

14 ago, you say in relation to the further information, do

15 you, that you think there may have been a communication

16 by this stage back from Command Secretariat to your

17 division, which had been considered and a request for

18 more had been made first in the telephone call and then,

19 as it were, confirmed in this written form?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Again, the difficulty, as I'm sure you realise, is that

22 all of that, if it happened --

23 A. Isn't there.

24 Q. -- isn't there.

25 A. (Inaudible).

 

 

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1 Q. So far as what we have in terms of their actual

2 response, it is limited to a single letter and that's at

3 RNI-105-035 (displayed). And it is 6 June 1997, and

4 this begins, as you see -- it is addressed to

5 Anne Colville and it refers to the letter of 30 April,

6 not of course to any other or subsequent correspondence.

7 You see the points that are made here. The first

8 concerns complaints; in other words, Mrs Nelson has

9 ignored requests to come to an interview. Second:

10 "We have no evidence to support the tension that the

11 threats 'have recently become more consistent ...'"

12 et cetera.

13 And third, the suggestion that the Senator should

14 ask Rosemary Nelson to make contact with the

15 investigating officer.

16 Can I ask you again the question about what you can

17 recall? Do you recall seeing this letter on its arrival

18 in your division?

19 A. I don't recall it, but I'm sure I would have done.

20 Q. Yes. It is the sort of thing that would have been

21 brought to your attention?

22 A. Absolutely.

23 Q. Because, presumably, of what you said before: namely,

24 that the letter, the original letter which had provoked

25 it all, raised a serious issue?

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as it is concerned, therefore,

3 it deals with the complaints and it says in relation to

4 the question of threat that:

5 "There was no evidence to support the contention

6 that the threats have recently become more consistent."

7 Do you see that?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Which is an quotation, isn't it, from the Torricelli

10 letter?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So the police were saying to you, were they, they didn't

13 have any evidence to support the contention of the

14 threats becoming more consistent and ominous; what they

15 were not saying, or not in terms, was whether or not

16 there was any threat to Rosemary Nelson, were they?

17 A. They don't say that there is a threat or there isn't

18 a threat.

19 Q. Indeed.

20 A. What they say is that there is no evidence to support

21 the Senator's contention.

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. I think, though, that you shouldn't read too much into

24 that, in a sense, in that, you know, if there had been

25 a serious threat to Mrs Nelson of which they were aware,

 

 

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1 then -- of which they were aware, then the systems that

2 were in place for dealing with that situation would have

3 swung into action.

4 Q. And you would have expected them to tell you?

5 A. Absolutely, and you know, if somebody came under that

6 kind of serious threat, then various different parts of

7 the system worked together to bring protection in to

8 look after that person.

9 Q. Yes.

10 A. I mean, the first wave obviously was police officers on

11 the ground, but once you were past that, then it would

12 have been into discussion with Key Persons Protection

13 and so on. And in Mrs Nelson's specific case, I don't

14 think the police would have merely liaised at sort of

15 ground level with Key Persons; I think they would have

16 come in considerably higher up the tree to say this has

17 happened and that is what needs to be done about it.

18 Q. Thank you. But so far as the words they are using are

19 concerned -- and bearing in mind the comment you made

20 about them, the importance of language in this

21 context -- on the face of it, all they are saying is,

22 "We don't have evidence to support his suggestion that

23 the threats have recently become more consistent and

24 ominous". They are not saying there is no threat in

25 this case, are they?

 

 

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1 A. They are not saying there is absolutely no threat. The

2 other thing they are not saying is that -- well, I mean,

3 I think that you have to read that sentence in its

4 totality:

5 "... have recently become more consistent and

6 ominous causing Mrs Nelson to fear for her safety."

7 Because at this stage they haven't had any

8 contacts -- it is quite clear from this letter -- with

9 Mrs Nelson, so they didn't know whether she was fearing

10 for her safety or not.

11 Q. Indeed.

12 A. So that letter, I think, is actually, you know, saying

13 to us, "Basically we don't know, we haven't got any

14 evidence of any increase in the level of threat against

15 Mrs Nelson. We don't know what her state of mind is and

16 it would be very handy if Mrs Nelson would actually

17 contact the investigating officer and we could try and

18 make some sense out of this."

19 Q. Of course, he was investigating the complaints, wasn't

20 he? What he wasn't doing was assessing or dealing with

21 the allegation of threat; in other words, the

22 substantive allegation that the Senator had made?

23 A. He wasn't, but we couldn't really, I think, either us or

24 the police, get very far in looking at Mrs Nelson's

25 perception of the threat or, indeed, you know, the

 

 

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1 allegation that they had become more consistent and

2 ominous without talking to Mrs Nelson.

3 Q. Indeed.

4 A. I mean, we had to go to the root of this and that's

5 where, you know, the person involved was Mrs Nelson.

6 Q. Yes, indeed.

7 A. Communicating at third hand through a senator in America

8 was not actually going to advance us very far.

9 Q. And that was a consistent feature of a lot of this

10 correspondence, wasn't it? That what you were hearing

11 in terms of allegations was coming not from the

12 individual at the heart of them, but from third parties

13 of various kinds?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Thank you. Now, what we have done in the last five

16 minutes or so is to discuss together what this letter

17 actually means, what it is trying to tell you.

18 Was it your experience, as it was obviously

19 Mr Rogers' experience, that with letters of this kind

20 from Command Secretariat, they tended to be rather short

21 and they left it to the reader in some cases to work

22 out, define the meaning from them?

23 A. Absolutely. I think the police -- and I think I refer

24 to this in my own statement -- the police have

25 a particular way of phrasing things, a particular

 

 

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1 vocabulary, if you like; they are terse and it does

2 require you to be a skilled reader to be able to

3 understand it.

4 In exactly the same way, I think, as civil servants

5 have a language which might be called Mandarin, which we

6 sometimes employ and which is sometimes, I think, the

7 cause of confusion to others. I mean, I was guilty of

8 it a few minutes ago when you asked me what I thought

9 about the allegations of abuse of defence solicitors to

10 their clients, when I said something pathetic like it is

11 "improper". That is an example of civil service

12 understatement, Mandarin. I use it automatically.

13 Somebody would have to decipher that.

14 I think the police have exactly the same sort of

15 system. That letter is a case in point of it.

16 Q. Indeed. But you didn't have to be a fluent speaker in

17 Command Secretariat to realise that the letter had not

18 addressed the specific question raised by Anne Colville,

19 namely whether the police had discussed with

20 Rosemary Nelson anything to do with her personal

21 protection?

22 A. I think it would be taken as read that if Mrs Nelson

23 wasn't talking to the police -- and we knew that she

24 wasn't -- then the police couldn't have gone and talked

25 to her about her personal protection either.

 

 

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1 I mean, I think at this stage you have to appreciate

2 that we were trying -- the police and ourselves were

3 trying to get contacts with Mrs Nelson established. And

4 the contact -- the main level of contact at that

5 particular point was through the investigating officer

6 looking into her various complaints.

7 Q. Indeed.

8 A. And once we had got -- I think the idea was that once

9 there had been one point of contact established, then

10 other things could have been gathered up into that.

11 But ...

12 Q. So the way you read it then -- let me be clear about

13 this -- is that no issue of discussing her personal

14 protection arose precisely because she hadn't come

15 forward to cooperate in the investigation?

16 A. No, not quite that. There was no evidence to support

17 she was under threat, so why do you go and talk to her

18 if you have no evidence that she is under threat, having

19 looked at it?

20 You know, you go and talk to somebody and say, "This

21 is just to reassure you we haven't any evidence that you

22 are under threat, but we are going to give you advice

23 about your personal security anyway." It is not

24 something that is terribly, perhaps, wise to do.

25 So the police are saying there that they have no

 

 

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1 evidence to support the contention that the threats have

2 recently become more ominous or whatever --

3 THE CHAIRMAN: What do you mean by the word "evidence" you

4 have been using a lot in the last few minutes?

5 A. "Evidence" means something actually factual and concrete

6 rather than just a contention.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Does it include intelligence?

8 A. Intelligence can constitute evidence. More generally

9 that is -- I mean, evidence in the strictly legal sense

10 is something that you can put forward as proven or not

11 proven, as I understand it -- and I have been told I'm

12 not a lawyer, and I'm not.

13 But information -- intelligence is more generally

14 information rather than being something that is

15 evidential in the court sense of the word, but I think

16 here in this context if there had been sound

17 intelligence, that would certainly have been encompassed

18 in the word "evidence" there.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: All right.

20 MR PHILLIPS: Now, so far as this letter was concerned, do

21 you think you asked any questions or went back for

22 further clarification to Command Secretariat about it?

23 A. I honestly don't know. I'm not sure that I have been

24 shown a copy of the letter that must have, in the end,

25 gone back out to the Ambassador in Washington and to

 

 

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1 the -- presumably some sort of letter went to

2 Senator Torricelli. I don't think I have been shown

3 that, but I could be just misremembering.

4 Q. I don't think you have. I don't think it went out

5 until July, but I do not have the reference at my

6 fingertips either, I am afraid.

7 A. But I'm pretty sure that before that correspondence

8 issued, that would have been checked back with

9 Command Secretariat to make sure that that was the

10 correct thing to say and accurately represented their

11 position, the position on the ground at the time it was

12 going.

13 Q. So you think in the sense of checking the text of

14 a draft to go from you to, presumably, the Foreign

15 Office, so that the Ambassador could write back to the

16 Senator, they would have been shown your draft? Is that

17 what you are saying?

18 A. Yes. I'm saying "my draft". It would not necessarily

19 have been my personal draft; it would have been the IPL

20 or whoever --

21 Q. NIO.

22 A. Yes, the NIO's response. We would at least have read

23 over to them on the phone, "This is what we are

24 proposing to say. Is that all right?" That would have

25 been the very minimum.

 

 

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1 Q. Again, can I just check, because this is new so far as

2 we are concerned, we are familiar with the process of

3 you seeking input for letters, to correspondence coming

4 into the NIO and we have seen a good deal of material

5 showing the questions you asked and the answers coming

6 back from Command Secretariat and then tracing it

7 through to the letters that you send out from the NIO.

8 We have seen nothing, however, at the stage, as it

9 were, of the draft being in place before it goes out,

10 ie of subsequent checking with Command Secretariat. Are

11 you saying this is something that would happen as

12 a matter of general practice?

13 A. Perhaps not absolutely general practice, but certainly

14 on any complicated issue or important issue it would be

15 prudent to make sure that whatever you were saying as

16 the NIO about what the police position or understanding

17 was, that you had actually got that accurate and you

18 hadn't lost something in translation.

19 Q. Was part of the reason for that that there was this

20 process of interpretation going on all the time, whereby

21 you were reading the terse runes of what came back to

22 you from Command Secretariat?

23 A. Yes, there was that, and I think it is fair to say it

24 was also the other direction: that they had to interpret

25 our Mandarin as well.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes.

2 A. So we had to come to a sort of agreed form of words

3 on it.

4 Q. Can I ask you a question about the Special Rapporteur,

5 who you refer to on a number of occasions in your

6 statement?

7 We will look later at the question of what happened

8 with his draft report, which you tell us about, but in

9 summary, in I think about this time in April 1997, it

10 was announced, wasn't it, that there was to be a mission

11 by the Rapporteur to the United Kingdom and that would

12 include a visit to Northern Ireland?

13 A. Yes, that's right.

14 Q. Can I just show you RNI-105-014 (displayed) in April.

15 It comes to you, and this memorandum is one of a number

16 of communications within government in the preparation

17 stages for a visit that didn't in fact take place until,

18 I think, late October 1997.

19 Can I just look with you at this memo? It refers in

20 paragraph 2 to the list of allegations at annex A of the

21 preceding minute, which we don't have, and various lines

22 to take are paged. The relevant one I wanted to look at

23 with you is at RNI-105-016 (displayed) under the heading

24 of "Intimidation of defence lawyers, line to take:

25 "The alleged systematic abuse of defence lawyers is

 

 

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1 a serious and grave allegation. Those who claim to have

2 evidence should put it to the appropriate authorities in

3 a form capable of investigation. Unsubstantiated

4 allegations serve no useful purpose."

5 This was the line taken throughout the

6 correspondence with which we are concerned, wasn't it:

7 that there was a difference between allegations on the

8 one hand and evidence on the other?

9 A. Yes, and that line to take, I think, would have been

10 our -- I hesitate to use the word "standard", but I

11 think at that stage we had sort of like a -- I suppose

12 a book of frequently asked questions and the replies.

13 And there would have been a frequently asked question

14 about allegations of intimidation or abuse of defence

15 lawyers and that would have been the standard reply.

16 Q. By this time in April 1997, concerns had been expressed,

17 hadn't they, for a number of years by NGOs and others in

18 relation to this question of intimidation or harassment

19 of defence lawyers in Northern Ireland?

20 A. There was a sort of -- yes, an undercurrent of

21 allegations.

22 Q. Indeed. And did you, therefore, see the Senator's

23 letter, with its allegations of threats to murder, as

24 forming part, albeit a particularly striking part, of

25 that body of allegations which had reached you in the

 

 

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1 police division?

2 A. Yes, it did. I mean, obviously, it was an order of

3 magnitude at least more serious because of the

4 allegations of murder, but it was also part of the

5 general pattern of allegations being made without enough

6 information attached to them to enable you to do

7 anything very useful with them in terms of investigating

8 it or, you know, nailing it.

9 You said, you know, somebody has made a threat

10 somewhere at some time. Well, where do you start? How

11 do you actually get into that and find out who has said

12 what to whom, when and actually get it properly riddled

13 out.

14 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I just jump in, Mr Phillips, so

15 I don't lose the point?

16 MR PHILLIPS: Yes.

17 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: The book of standard replies, can

18 I just refer back to that and lines to take. And you

19 say there was reference, I guess in this book, on

20 intimidation or harassment of defence lawyers.

21 Does that mean that that response within that book

22 was used on every occasion and were not sort of

23 personalised?

24 A. More or less. It would have been amended. I should say

25 the root cause why you had that was it was part of

 

 

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1 ministers' briefing packs for oral PQs because, you

2 know, when a minister is asked an oral PQ, you can

3 have -- the sort of top line of the question may be one

4 thing, but then anything at all can come in in the

5 supplementaries. So ministers would have their pack of

6 what -- what else might come in in order quickly to be

7 able to find a sensible answer.

8 But it was a means of providing a coherent,

9 consistent response to things that were frequently asked

10 across the whole of the NIO. And I suppose, indeed,

11 probably further afield than that; for instance, the

12 embassy in Washington would have had access to that sort

13 of material.

14 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Was there any danger that the

15 Mr Lynches of this world and other organisations would

16 have got back a stock response?

17 A. I'm sure they felt they were getting a stock response.

18 I think the effort was made to ensure that they weren't,

19 that they were actually getting answers to the points

20 they had made.

21 I mean, one of the difficulties you do face is that

22 if what you are getting is an undifferentiated, blanket

23 sort of allegation -- terrible things are happening --

24 it is very difficult in response to that to say anything

25 other than, "Look, it is serious. Could we please have

 

 

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1 some detail that would allow some sensible action to be

2 taken?" And that, you know, over time does become

3 pretty much of a stock response.

4 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: In relation to Mrs Nelson, I mean, is

5 there any possibility, as far as you are concerned, that

6 this was merely correspondence that became sort of

7 processed?

8 A. I don't think it ever got to the point of being the --

9 when you use the word "processed" --

10 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Just part of the machine.

11 A. Just part of the machine.

12 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Things kept rolling.

13 A. No. We had had experience with -- I'm just trying to

14 think of the right term for it -- mass mailshots, if you

15 like, of complaints in exactly the same form about other

16 issues where we had literally had to go, "Okay, this is

17 stock response time." A small team of people sitting in

18 a room picking up the letters, putting in the cut and

19 paste in -- and in those days, I think it literally was

20 cut and paste in terms of scissors and paste -- the

21 response and fire them out again.

22 We didn't ever treat Rosemary Nelson's

23 correspondence in that way. So it wasn't that sort of

24 industrial processing, but there is a limit to what you

25 can actually say when there is very little for you to go

 

 

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1 on and, therefore, very little for you to have prompted

2 action.

3 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Thank you.

4 MR PHILLIPS: Could I just say at this point that we have

5 found the memorandum which led eventually to the

6 Ambassador's response to the Senator, and what I'll do

7 is make sure that you can see copies of those so that we

8 can touch on them briefly immediately after lunch.

9 A. Thank you.

10 Q. So far as the chronology is concerned, I would just like

11 to take you through now to the summer of 1997.

12 We talked earlier about that being an important

13 point in terms of the gathering of momentum for

14 correspondence coming into your division, if you

15 remember.

16 Now, in relation to Rosemary Nelson, of course,

17 in June, her client Colin Duffy was arrested for the

18 murder of two police officers in Lurgan. Do you

19 remember that?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And complaints arose, didn't they, in relation to that

22 detention; complaints made both by Colin Duffy and also

23 in fact by Rosemary Nelson herself. Again, do you

24 remember that?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

117


1 Q. Thank you. That in turn led, didn't it, to a

2 considerable volume of correspondence about the matters

3 raised in the complaints, but also about the case

4 itself, the allegations made against Colin Duffy.

5 Again, do you remember that?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Thank you. Can we look, with that background in mind,

8 at the next document, which is at RNI-105-053.506

9 (displayed).

10 Here, we see on a memo written by Anne Colville the

11 handwritten annotations that you mentioned earlier, and

12 it is the first example we will see?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Thank you very much.

15 Now, the subject matter of the memo is obvious: it

16 looks as though it is an update on the complaints. You

17 see there is a reference to the Duffy case -- I mean the

18 complaint there at 1 -- and then at 2, the Lawyers

19 Alliance case. That's Mr Lynch and the letter of

20 13 March we talked about a little while ago. And here

21 is a report for the file updating on these developments.

22 So far as you are concerned, it comes to you and to

23 Simon Rogers, and you say:

24 "Good ..."

25 To Anne Colville, this is:

 

 

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1 "Good. This might be a good case, because

2 relatively recent and well documented, to follow up the

3 'threat' allegations and try to nail them."

4 Then various questions:

5 "Are SPOB doing so or the ICPC, or even the RUC?"

6 Then I think your initials at the bottom right?

7 A. That's right.

8 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you, so far as the "good

9 case" is concerned, can you help: What was the "good

10 case" that you were referring to there?

11 A. I think I'm referring to the fact that we had, I think,

12 at long last got an actual individual, Colin Duffy.

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. With a time and date and place attached, where

15 misbehaviour was being alleged. And that meant we had

16 enough information actually to say, "Okay, get on with

17 it, let's see -- investigate this." You actually, at

18 long last, had those three essential elements -- person

19 time and place, if you see what I mean -- and allegation

20 coming together to allow you to do something with it.

21 So that is what I meant by a good case.

22 Q. Thank you. Let me step back from this. The problem

23 with the Lawyers Alliance complaints at this

24 stage, July 1997, is that none of the individual clients

25 who apparently had reported that comments had been made

 

 

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1 to them had come forward in the investigation.

2 That was the point, wasn't it?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. So as I understand it then, you are referring here to

5 the new cases, or relatively new cases, the

6 Colin Duffy/Rosemary Nelson cases, as being an example

7 where a client had come forward to make allegations?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Which were being investigated not by your division, but

10 by the ICPC?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So in terms of --

13 A. Or, sorry, not being investigated by the ICPC because

14 the ICPC didn't investigate, but the RUC were doing it

15 with the ICPC.

16 Q. Absolutely, as their supervisors?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Yes, thank you. So when you say this might be a good

19 case because "relatively recent and well documented to

20 follow up", it was no part of your division's role to

21 direct either the Complaints and Discipline Department

22 on the one hand or the ICPC on the other, was it?

23 A. No. Or, indeed, the police in pursuing any criminal --

24 Q. Indeed, no. So what was the point, then, of saying that

25 this might be a good case to follow up?

 

 

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1 A. I think what I meant by that was that at long last we

2 had a set of cases that we could keep an eye on, follow

3 up in that sense, if you see what I mean, other people

4 obviously doing the prime moving on the work, but we

5 could keep an eye on and actually make sure it was

6 carried through to a conclusion.

7 Q. And, therefore, you believed, did you, by the use of the

8 word "threat" in this context, that an allegation was

9 being made in the Rosemary Nelson/Colin Duffy complaint

10 cases that a threat, presumably to Rosemary Nelson's

11 life, had been made; is that right?

12 A. I think I meant that in sort of generality, yes.

13 Obviously I wouldn't have been aware specifically of

14 what was being said and what wasn't.

15 Q. Do you now know that no such allegation was made in

16 those complaints?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. I haven't put my finger then on the reason for putting

19 "threat" in inverted commas. You weren't aware of that

20 distinction --

21 A. No.

22 Q. -- at this stage. Why then do you think you put the

23 threat word in inverted commas?

24 A. I think I probably did that (a) because it is still

25 allegations.

 

 

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1 Q. But you make that point in the use of the next word?

2 A. Allegations, indeed.

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. But also whether they were, precisely what sort of

5 threat was involved. I mean, this was very -- up until

6 this stage we were only getting very inchoate sort of

7 rumblings. There was nothing specific that you could

8 actually put your finger on. So I wasn't going to say

9 threat without putting invert commas around it, if you

10 see what I mean, because that would have been assuming

11 there was such a thing.

12 Q. I understand what you are saying about your division's

13 role in this. What role might SPOB have played in

14 nailing the allegations?

15 A. SPOB would have been involved obviously because of the

16 holding centre dimension to this. They would have been

17 keeping an eye on it as well as us, and obviously the

18 ICPC, if they became involved, would have been joining

19 the dots as well.

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. So what I was trying to do was make sure that this

22 didn't fall through the cracks anywhere, that we did

23 actually grip this between us all and get it properly

24 taken forward.

25 Q. Thank you.

 

 

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1 Would that be a convenient moment, sir?

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly, thank you. We will adjourn until

3 2 o'clock.

4 (12.57 pm)

5 (The short adjournment)

6 (2.00 pm)

7 (Proceedings delayed)

8 (2.14 pm)

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

10 MR PHILLIPS: Mrs Collins, can I come straight to the matter

11 I mentioned just before lunch because we have indeed

12 found and provided to you, I think, copies of what may

13 be relevant material in relation to this business of

14 responding to the Senator.

15 Can I just take you very quickly to the documents?

16 The first is 8 July, RNI-105-036 (displayed),

17 8 July 1997. If we could have RNI-105-037 on the screen

18 as well, I think it would help (displayed). Thank you.

19 So. It is a memo from Anne Colville in your

20 division to the IPL, who are of course the people we saw

21 in April sending out the request for answers to the

22 Torricelli letter. It begins, as you see, by saying:

23 "The Police Division provided part input to your

24 minute of 22 April requesting a line to take. At the

25 time, I said I would ask the RUC to detail any action

 

 

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1 they might have taken in relation to Mrs Nelson's

2 personal protection in the light of the alleged threats

3 against her life."

4 Again, you remember that was the memo we saw of

5 22 May:

6 "They have only recently provided a response."

7 That is a slightly bold comment, that, because the

8 response certainly that we have seen is a month earlier

9 on 6 July. But be that as it may:

10 "You may at this very late stage think that the

11 issue is dead in the water, or alternatively you may

12 well take the view that it is worth providing a

13 follow-up reply on this single issue."

14 Then the nub of it, 3:

15 "The police line is that Mrs Nelson has to date

16 ignored requests to come forward for interview in the

17 ICPC-supervised investigation ..."

18 If you remember, again, that was the sentence in the

19 6 June response from Command Secretariat:

20 "They have no evidence to support the Senator's

21 contention that the threats have recently become more

22 consistent and ominous, causing Mrs Nelson to fear for

23 her safety."

24 That is the second sentence of that paragraph in the

25 6 June letter.

 

 

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1 Then finally the suggestion on this page that the

2 Senator should ask Mrs Nelson to make contact, and then

3 additionally at 5 at the top:

4 "Highly unlikely that she will, but at least from

5 the point of view of informing the Senator we can take

6 the line that the police are taking the issue seriously

7 and the onus is on Mrs Nelson to cooperate."

8 So now, just looking at the substance of this memo,

9 so far as the information at 2, 3 and 4 is concerned,

10 about the police's response, it is in fact limited to

11 those matters set out in the 6 June letter, isn't it?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And so if there was any further to-ing and fro-ing and

14 correspondence or conversations about it, what we end up

15 with is where we began on 6 June, with those points as

16 set out in 2 to 4?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Now, that was the first thing. The second I wanted to

19 show you is RNI-113-030 (displayed), 24 July, and this

20 is the letter from the Ambassador to the Senator.

21 You will see in the first line there is a reference

22 to the letter of 20 May, and I am afraid that letter has

23 not emerged in the Inquiry, so I can't show you that.

24 But you see he reports that there had been an

25 investigation, and he says he had enquired about its

 

 

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1 progress and great difficulty, he says, had been

2 experienced in pursuing it because:

3 "Mrs Nelson has so far ignored all suggestions for

4 a meeting. Complaints like hers are taken very

5 seriously, but the Independent Commission cannot proceed

6 without her help and she seems reluctant to provide it.

7 If Mrs Nelson is still in touch with you ..."

8 The final point we have just seen:

9 "... and still wants her complaint investigated,

10 could you ask her to contact the investigating officer."

11 Now, this is presumably a letter that would have

12 been shaped and drafted at the embassy or before that,

13 perhaps, at the Foreign Office, but drawing on the

14 contribution that you and the NIO have made?

15 A. Yes. I mean, I think there is probably a missing

16 document there because Anne Colville's minute of 8 July

17 goes back to the London end of the NIO. There must be

18 a document going from the London end of the NIO into the

19 Foreign Office and thence from the Foreign Office in

20 London out to the embassy in Washington.

21 Q. Indeed.

22 A. That must have happened twice, which we haven't seen I

23 think because there would have been such a thing leading

24 up to the Ambassador's earlier letter of 20 May.

25 Q. Yes.

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Thank you. The other document search which we may have

3 to embark upon relates to the document we were actually

4 looking at just before lunch, and that's at

5 RNI-105-053.506 (displayed), where we were looking at

6 your handwritten annotations. You were explaining to us

7 what following up the threat allegations and trying to

8 nail them meant, what you meant by that, and we see on

9 the left-hand side of the page, it says in a note

10 presumably from Anne Colville:

11 "Christine, the attached, I think, answers your

12 query."

13 The query is who is taking on this task.

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. This is a question we raised with the NIO's

16 representatives and the answer came back that it was

17 a document which we now find at RNI-114-071.505

18 (displayed) because that is indeed a letter from the

19 Lawyers Alliance, which is referred to in the memo we

20 were looking at, setting out the issues in relation to

21 Colin Duffy, his detention and the alleged comments that

22 had been made there. And you see in the fourth

23 paragraph that the allegation was that somebody had said

24 Mrs Nelson condoned murder and was acting as a front for

25 the IRA. Do you see that?

 

 

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1 A. Yes, I do.

2 Q. Now, I'm sorry, in what I said earlier, I suggested that

3 this letter was the one identified as the attachment by,

4 effectively, your solicitors; in other words, those who

5 represent the NIO. Put that to one side, if you would.

6 Just look at this letter, and can we have it on the

7 screen with the memo at RNI-105-033.506, please

8 (displayed)? Thank you. We are trying to do what we

9 can for you to piece together the material. It is

10 obviously a concern.

11 The question is -- if we can we just get the

12 right-hand letter in normal form, please, so we can all

13 read it -- is it likely that this was the attached

14 document? Do you see in the second paragraph on the

15 left, it says:

16 "ICPC has received a letter from the Lawyers

17 Alliance in relation to the alleged threats to the life

18 of Rosemary Nelson, Colin Duffy's solicitor. In the

19 letter, they also raise concern over Duffy's detention

20 and aspects of his treatment."

21 A. I don't think that that is the attachment that Anne

22 would have been referring to in her little note at the

23 bottom, though it may well have sat in the file or been

24 attached to that note because that letter, the Lawyers

25 Alliance letter, does not in any way, shape or form, I

 

 

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1 think, answer my query. I think it is more likely that

2 Anne produced to me the minute that she had written to

3 IPL, 8 July note.

4 Q. The one we have just looked at?

5 A. The one we have just looked at.

6 Q. Okay. Let's get that back on the screen, please. That

7 is RNI-105-036 (displayed) now. To correct what I said

8 earlier, this is the minute that your solicitors have

9 suggested was the attachment.

10 What is it about the minute that shows the answer to

11 the question: who is going to nail the threat

12 allegations?

13 A. I think what it is about that minute that shows it is

14 that it provides me with an update on what is actually

15 happening, ie that the ICPC are in there, the police are

16 in there, but Mrs Nelson is not at that stage

17 cooperating.

18 Q. But there is no reference in this memo to Mr Duffy at

19 all, is there?

20 A. No, but there is a reference to Senator Torricelli,

21 isn't there, and it is quite clear that it is about

22 that, Senator Torricelli's letter.

23 Q. Well, if we just go back to the original memo so that we

24 don't all get completely confused, RNI-105-053.506

25 (displayed), there is no reference in that to the

 

 

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1 Senator's letter, is there?

2 A. There is no reference in that to the Senator's letter,

3 you are quite right.

4 Q. It says:

5 "Colin Duffy, ICPC involvement"?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And it is dealing with quite a different topic to the

8 memo from Anne Colville that we have just looked at.

9 A. Hang on, I'm getting totally confusticated here. But

10 Anne's note of 8 July is about -- I'm not going to be

11 able to find it in paper form. Anne's note of 8 July is

12 about Senator Torricelli's letter.

13 Q. Indeed.

14 A. Which I think started, didn't it, raising the

15 concerns -- I'm sure there is a link between Torricelli

16 and this. I can't put my finger on it, I'm sorry.

17 Q. Between Torricelli and Anne Colville's memo of 8 July?

18 A. Between Torricelli and Anne Colville's memo of 17 July.

19 Q. Right. Can you explain what it might be?

20 A. No, I'm sorry.

21 Q. I'm going to make the bold suggestion that we leave this

22 for the moment and move on.

23 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Sorry, just before you move on,

24 could I just ask, Mrs Collins, what exactly do you mean

25 when you use the word "nail"?

 

 

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1 A. Substantiate, find out the bottom of it, stop it being

2 what it had been up to that point, a series of

3 allegations that persons unspecified, police officers

4 unspecified, at some sort of times and places, equally

5 really unspecified, had said various rude, abusive,

6 wrong things to clients of Mrs Nelson's, again

7 unspecified.

8 If we were going to actually -- what was being

9 alleged here was a very, very serious matter and we had

10 to get sufficient information to actually pin it

11 somewhere to something, to a time, a date, a place,

12 a person, something that we could then take forward and

13 get some kind of answer out, otherwise it was just all

14 smoke.

15 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Yes. The reason I ask the question

16 is that when most people use the word "nail" they mean

17 "squash". That was not what you meant?

18 A. No, I mean pin firmly to the wall. What it was like

19 trying to deal with this was a bit like trying to get

20 jelly nailed to the wall. It was just slipping and

21 sliding. What I meant was not squash at all; if I had

22 meant squash, I would have written squash. What I meant

23 was get it firmly pinned down so that we could actually

24 get in and find out what the heck was going on, and if

25 there was wrongdoing going on, stop it.

 

 

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1 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Okay.

2 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you. Can we now move on to a completely

3 different issue and a different time, in 1997, at the

4 end of November.

5 This is dealt with in paragraph 80 of your statement

6 and that is at RNI-105-176 (displayed). It is a letter

7 from Jane Winter of British Irish Rights Watch and

8 before we look at the detail of the letter, we have seen

9 in the files that there was a good deal of

10 correspondence in these years from British Irish Rights

11 Watch. That's right, isn't it?

12 A. There was indeed.

13 Q. And there was a good deal of correspondence from other

14 NGOs, the CAJ being one of them?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And there were times when your division was going to

17 Command Secretariat on a very regular basis seeking

18 their input on putting together answers to

19 correspondence from those and other organisations and

20 bodies?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, those were examples, weren't they, throughout the

23 period with which we are concerned, 1997/1998, of the

24 problem you identified before lunch, namely that the

25 people you were hearing from were all third parties,

 

 

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1 rather than the person herself, Rosemary Nelson?

2 A. Rather than the person herself or any of her clients.

3 Q. At this stage none of the clients had emerged

4 although -- actually when I say that, by this point,

5 late November 1997, I don't know how precisely you

6 remember the chronology, but some statements had

7 emerged, statements in fact given to the CAJ?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And by this stage also Rosemary Nelson herself had

10 attended for interview in the middle of September and

11 had spoken about the various complaints to the

12 investigating officer?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Thank you. Now, what I wanted to explore with you is to

15 stand back from all of this and ask you some questions

16 about the impact of the voluminous correspondence from

17 this and related organisations.

18 Is it fair to suggest that this correspondence about

19 Rosemary Nelson was only part of the correspondence your

20 division received and had to deal with from British

21 Irish Rights Watch and other NGOs?

22 A. Yes. I mean, they would have written to us about other

23 things as well. This was one of their issues that we

24 would have been in pretty regular contact with them

25 about.

 

 

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1 Q. The Rosemary Nelson --

2 A. The Rosemary Nelson.

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. And, again, I have a recollection but it is no more than

5 that, that, you know, it wasn't just letters; I would on

6 occasion have spoken to the CAJ or the CAJ would have

7 spoken to me about this and other issues in which they

8 were interested.

9 Q. To take an example, the business of alleged intimidation

10 of defence lawyers was a big theme from the mid 1990s,

11 wasn't it, at the British Irish Rights Watch?

12 A. It was one of their themes, but I wouldn't have said it

13 was, you know, a primary theme of theirs. They had

14 subsidiary -- they had other themes as well, a whole lot

15 round the existence of the holding centres, a whole lot

16 round the emergency legislation. They had a full -- I

17 think a full agenda of human rights issues which they

18 raised with us regularly.

19 Q. And did so regularly and persistently?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And in relation to one of those issues, namely the

22 alleged treatment of Rosemary Nelson, were they

23 effectively presenting her case as merely an example of

24 the broader picture that they had been writing about for

25 some years?

 

 

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1 A. I think it was part of their broader picture of the

2 wrongs which they thought that the British Government

3 were perpetrating in Northern Ireland.

4 Q. Yes.

5 A. That was one of the threads in the picture or the

6 embroidery that they were presenting to us.

7 Q. Yes.

8 A. Only it wasn't the only thread. They were not a single

9 issue group, only raising with us Rosemary Nelson. They

10 raised a wide agenda of issues. I'm trying to think of

11 some of the others, but I think they were all human

12 rights related, as you would expect from their title.

13 Q. Yes. But presumably in dealing with such regular

14 correspondence, even long suffering and patient

15 officials within your division might on occasion have

16 wished to receive just slightly less by way of volleys

17 of correspondence from NGOs of this kind?

18 A. Yes and no. I mean, we wouldn't have been human if we

19 hadn't sort of groaned, I think, occasionally when you

20 saw the next three-page letter from British Irish Rights

21 Watch to be read. But I think it was a groan because

22 you knew that you were going to have to sit and go

23 through it line by line, word by word and try and make

24 sure that all the points in it were properly followed

25 up, addressed, responded to and it was work. It was

 

 

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1 quite detailed, quite testing work.

2 Q. Was there a sense in which, when you looked at

3 a letter -- and this is just an example from -- from an

4 organisation like that, there was a risk that the

5 individual case and your approach to it might get

6 swallowed up by the fact that it was all part of the

7 great wash of correspondence from the NGO?

8 A. No, I don't think so. I think that is one of the

9 reasons why we groaned: because we couldn't allow

10 ourselves to do that. You know, you had to be

11 disciplined about it and you had to treat each letter

12 and every line of that letter seriously.

13 Q. Because presumably the danger was if you did not, then

14 a genuine problem, a genuine risk, a genuine grievance

15 might be lost in all the heat generated by

16 correspondence of this kind at this length, this

17 regularity and with this particular tone?

18 A. Yes, it required self-discipline. It required

19 concentration, it required you to remind yourself at all

20 times that actually -- though British Irish Rights Watch

21 generally didn't see themselves, I think, in that way --

22 they were on the same side as we were in that I don't

23 think the British Government would take second place to

24 anyone in saying that we uphold the principles of human

25 rights and we defend them.

 

 

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1 I don't think we would say anything else. I mean,

2 we do. That is part of our tradition of liberal

3 democracy that I have mentioned, that actually we take

4 human rights very, very seriously indeed. So if an

5 organisation is coming to us in good faith, and I think

6 British Irish Rights Watch were, saying these were

7 things that concerned them, then they were things that

8 concerned us too. We had to deal with that.

9 But sometimes it was quite difficult, when you have

10 got sort of acidly-toned letters coming at you,

11 particularly, as I say, if there wasn't anything there

12 that you could actually get a hold of and follow

13 through.

14 Q. So all these points rather come together then, don't

15 they, because you said how you wanted to promote direct

16 contact; in other words, to hear from the individual

17 herself. And for whatever reason, you weren't doing

18 that. Secondly, you were looking for something, to use

19 your own expression, that you could nail; in other

20 words, something which was concrete as opposed to the

21 smoke. And thirdly, in dealing with the third party

22 correspondence -- and I'm just taking this as an

23 example -- you had to see past all the other stuff and

24 the accrued feelings of staff about this sort of

25 correspondence in order to assess the individual case?

 

 

137


1 A. Yes, and I mean, I think I would be doing myself

2 a disservice if I allowed it to sort of pass that --

3 yes, they did have feelings but they were professional,

4 they were jolly good civil servants. I would like to

5 say that very firmly. And, yes, they put their feelings

6 on one side and got on with it.

7 But, again, in my experience, I think it is better

8 that you do have the occasional, you know, "Another

9 letter. What has this one got in it?" And move on, get

10 on with it, rather than feel you have to bottle the

11 feelings. I think it is better that you just allow

12 people to behave a bit naturally, but then, make no

13 bones about it, the job has to be done and has to be

14 done right, and you get on with it.

15 Q. So in summary, do you think, looking back -- and

16 obviously it is very easy with hindsight -- that it

17 would have been easier to tackle these issues and tackle

18 them earlier when you had less of the third party and

19 more of the first party?

20 A. Much easier.

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. And I think, certainly my recollection is that that's

23 what we were trying to do was to get contact established

24 on a first party basis through whatever means we could.

25 Because actually that was the only way we were going to

 

 

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1 progress it.

2 I think actually the Secretary of State said that in

3 one of her letters, or maybe it was Adam Ingram, I don't

4 know. But there was a point where we actually did say

5 in terms, "This is the way it has got to be."

6 Q. Yes.

7 A. But that's what we were trying to do.

8 Q. Thank you. Just if we may look at a couple of parts of

9 this letter while it is on the screen. In the third

10 paragraph, you see she's taking issue -- and I'm not

11 going to take you to the letter to which this is

12 a reply. Looking at this point here:

13 "We are sorry to see you have echoed the previous

14 administration's stance of only addressing these

15 allegations where they are substantiated."

16 Then this passage:

17 "While on the face of it that sounds like a

18 perfectly reasonable approach, as we have explained at

19 length in correspondence with the

20 Northern Ireland Office in the past, it is very

21 difficult to substantiate such allegations precisely

22 because of the circumstances in which they arise."

23 Then details are given of that. So in summary, it

24 looks as though in the first sentence, Jane Winter when

25 found herself facing the line to take; in other words,

 

 

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1 the line to take that we saw in that document in April,

2 namely the Government line: what we need here is

3 evidence then we can get to the bottom of it, rather

4 than allegations.

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And what she says in response is to make various points

7 which show how although, she says, that's right in

8 theory, it is actually impractical in reality. She

9 says:

10 "First, clients inform lawyers of abusive remarks

11 during interviews from which the lawyers are excluded

12 and where there are usually at least two police officers

13 present to contradict anything the client may say."

14 That is a persistent feature of these particular

15 complaints, is it not?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And that's where one has to see the complaints structure

18 and its link with broader changes -- for instance, the

19 bringing in of silent video recording and then audio

20 recording -- in order to deal with the issue, one, of

21 false allegations being made on the one hand, and on the

22 other hand to discourage any inappropriate behaviour on

23 the part of interviewing officers.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. But in the meanwhile -- and this letter comes in at that

 

 

140


1 stage, before any of that had come in -- that was her

2 point: that there was not in practice any chance of

3 those allegations being substantiated because it was

4 always two officers' word against the client's?

5 A. I think that this is possibly another place where we are

6 talking slightly different languages because I think

7 "substantiate" in Jane Winter's letter there is being

8 taken possibly a step further than we would have meant

9 in our Mandarin.

10 I think she is using it there in a quasi or probably

11 in a properly legal sense: something that has been

12 proven beyond reasonable doubt. We would have been

13 using it, I think, in the sense of give us time, date,

14 place, names, which is it is actually perfectly

15 reasonable to ask a client to give. He ought to know

16 that it was actually during even the series of

17 interviews held over this three days in this holding

18 centre that I heard these remarks being made. Even that

19 would have given us really sufficient to go on, or at

20 least a starting point to go on, but when you just have,

21 as I say, completely unspecific -- possibly would have

22 been a better word than substantiated -- unspecific,

23 undetailed allegations.

24 Q. I see. So the point you think here, so far as you are

25 concerned, is the absence of what lawyers would call

 

 

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1 particulars, detail?

2 A. Yes, detail.

3 Q. Although, as we know, what actually happened of course

4 in the particular cases is that once detail had been

5 provided, the process went through and in fact the

6 complaints about things said in exactly these

7 circumstances were not proven or substantiated?

8 A. They were not proven or substantiated in the legal,

9 technical sense because, as Jane Winter says in that

10 letter, it is very difficult to do that when it is two

11 people's word against one, if you like.

12 On the other hand, from the point of view of an

13 organisation trying to stamp out malpractice and

14 wrongdoing, the fact that those involved in any such

15 allegation would have been called in, interviewed, had

16 beady eyes cast upon them and so on, I think would have

17 had at least a discouraging effect. Obviously that

18 wouldn't necessarily lead to a conviction, either

19 disciplinary or criminal, but it might help stop the

20 behaviour.

21 Q. So this is a point -- so I'm clear -- which is taken up

22 elsewhere in your statement, I think, namely to stress

23 that it was as important for the police themselves to

24 have an effective complaints system, for management

25 purposes, as it were, as it was for the community

 

 

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1 generally?

2 A. I think -- well, I think that does a disservice to the

3 police and to just about everybody. A police service

4 has got to have integrity. I'm trying to hunt for the

5 right words. A police service has got to have

6 integrity. It has got, for that reason, to have

7 discipline. It has got to have proper rules and

8 procedures. It has got to be able to make sure that

9 those are followed. All of that just sort of flows one

10 from the other.

11 A police service that doesn't have those

12 characteristics is not a proper police service in the

13 sort of British understanding of the term. I think it

14 would be corrupt.

15 So anybody in the police service must at all times

16 try and ensure that that's the sort of service they work

17 in, have signed up to, have -- are a part of. In

18 exactly the same way actually as if you are a civil

19 servant. You have to try and make sure that your

20 organisation, your department has the same sort of

21 characteristics of integrity and honesty and

22 professionalism imbued in it. And I don't think it is

23 right to sort of leap to the assumption which -- forgive

24 me, I think the way you were phrasing the argument was

25 that the police didn't feel that it was important to be

 

 

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1 professional. They did. They felt it extremely

2 important to be professional, to have that integrity,

3 that impartiality; at least as important as the

4 community at large did. And coming to the specifics of,

5 you know, the change in the complaints system, I think

6 when Dr Hayes issued his report it was actually

7 supported comprehensively by all sections of the police,

8 as well as by the community.

9 And it was for that reason, and I don't think there

10 was any resistance in the police to the need to be able

11 to demonstrate their integrity and their professionalism

12 and to be able to deal very robustly with any

13 wrongdoers.

14 Q. It may be that I don't speak Mandarin or you don't speak

15 good enough legalese because that wasn't at all what I

16 was trying to suggest to you.

17 I was trying to pick up a suggestion that you had

18 made, and the suggestion you made is that even in cases

19 which were not proven, there was nevertheless an overall

20 beneficial effect in officers being brought in, being

21 interviewed and being allowed to know, as I think you

22 put it, that the eye was upon them?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And that is a vital thing for any organisation -- forget

25 about the police; it doesn't matter whether we are

 

 

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1 talking about the police or not -- so that in terms of

2 management, people understand that certain standards are

3 expected and whatever happens in the formal disciplinary

4 process, it is beneficial, which is the point I thought

5 you were making: that they know that their conduct is

6 under scrutiny and it is put under scrutiny precisely

7 with those standards in mind?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. I think that was the point you were making?

10 A. That was the point I was making, yes.

11 Q. Thank you.

12 A. But I was trying to make sure you didn't think I was

13 saying the police were resistant to this because I think

14 it was part and parcel of what they wanted to achieve.

15 Q. Can we just come back to the question of language and

16 this point about substantiated. If we look at the

17 letter that went back from the Minister to Jane Winter

18 on 18 December, RNI-105-182 (displayed), we will see

19 that he picks up this word:

20 "You expressed sorrow at the view taken by the

21 Government on unsubstantiated allegations against

22 members of the RUC during interviews at the holding

23 centres. To a certain extent you need to misinterpret

24 the point about allegations not being substantiated.

25 While allegations of misconduct and abusive remarks are

 

 

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1 made to NGOs such as you, they tend not to be made to

2 the proper authorities who could investigate them. If

3 these were made to the Police Complaints Authority ..."

4 I think he must mean the ICPC:

5 "... they could be investigated. But if they are

6 made only to the press and NGOs, there is very little

7 the Government or the investigating authorities can do."

8 Now, just looking at that then, the point he seems

9 to be making is not that there was insufficient by way

10 of detail, but rather that the allegations were being

11 brought to the wrong people; in other words, to the NGOs

12 rather than the proper authorities, in this case the

13 ICPC.

14 A. Yes, I think this -- I mean, that use of the -- of

15 the -- of the Police Complaints Authority sort of leaps

16 off the page at me.

17 Q. Indeed.

18 A. I have a feeling -- and, again, we can't know this

19 without seeing the original minister's case file --

20 I have a feeling that that was one that the Minister

21 himself would have changed because I can't imagine that

22 we would have put a letter up to him with a reference to

23 the Police Complaints Authority in it, so I think that

24 must be a later amendment.

25 Was there an attachment, because he refers to the

 

 

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1 statement attached to Jane Winter's letter?

2 Q. Yes, that was a statement from a client, which had

3 emerged at this stage in November 1997.

4 A. And that was a statement -- whose statement was that?

5 Q. I think it was the statement of Anthony Simmons. But

6 the question I asked, if you remember, was the

7 interpretation he was putting on this word

8 "unsubstantiated".

9 A. Well, I think it is the carry-on, isn't it? When I say

10 the "carry-on", it is the follow through.

11 You do have to do it all. You have to give

12 sufficient details, and actually technically you have to

13 make it to the correct authority. It is all right

14 bringing it to Government, to the NIO or to Police

15 Division or wherever, but actually the place that needs

16 to investigate, where the complaint needs to be made, is

17 the right authority, the ICPC or, indeed, the police

18 themselves is the starting point.

19 We could pass it on, but something that is passed on

20 by us is, again, of less value than something that is

21 entered into directly between the investigating

22 authorities and the supervising authorities and the

23 person who is involved. It is back to the first-hand

24 rather than second or third-hand point.

25 Q. Indeed. Well, it is more on that, isn't it, this

 

 

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1 letter, than on the give us more detail?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Right. Just picking up the point I mentioned a little

4 earlier about the bringing in of audio and silent video

5 recording, was it hoped in your part of the NIO, the

6 Police Division, that one of the benefits of that would

7 be that the complaints which were coming in, which you

8 describe in your statement, arising from the holding

9 centres, et cetera, would begin to reduce in numbers

10 because of the introduction of objective recording of

11 everything that was said in interview?

12 A. Yes, it was, it was one of the -- I suppose one of the

13 main reasons why audio recording was thought to be

14 a good thing.

15 Q. It was one of the things that Sir Louis Blom-Cooper had

16 called for in his role as Commissioner, wasn't it?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Can we look next at a document, RNI-106-007 (displayed)?

19 Here on 9 February is a letter from Anne Colville to the

20 Chief Superintendent at Command Secretariat. So:

21 "As you are in need of an update on the above police

22 complaints cases for a briefing ... I would be grateful

23 if you could supply me with the latest state of play..."

24 I simply want to use this for a question about the

25 complaints. We saw in July a report to you about what

 

 

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1 the latest was on the Duffy cases, et cetera. And you

2 said at that point -- or you made that point, the point

3 about nailing them.

4 Once you learned that the ICPC were seised of those

5 complaints, did you get regular updates coming in so

6 that you could keep an eye on the progress of the

7 complaints?

8 A. Yes. We would have kept a watching brief on them. I'm

9 just trying to think; that was autumn 1997,

10 autumn/winter 1997 through into spring 1998. This was

11 mid Police Bill time. I think during this period the

12 rest of the Bill team and I were probably in London

13 three days a week, if not four. We would have been back

14 in Belfast one or a bit days a week. Obviously, with

15 committee stages of bills, you tend to be rather

16 pre-occupied with that.

17 Q. Indeed.

18 A. But also it would have been very necessary to be aware

19 of current events so that you could advise or answer any

20 questions that came up.

21 So, yes, we would have been keeping in touch,

22 keeping on top of it in a more or less specific manner

23 depending on what the temperature felt like or what the

24 interest appeared to be in the -- principally in the

25 committee, I have to say.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes. Mr Rogers, I think, said in his statement that

2 there was greater involvement on the part of him and his

3 colleagues in Police Division in these complaints than

4 in any other complaint?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Would that be your perception as well?

7 A. I think that's fair to say because these were -- these

8 were very much testing the system. When I say testing

9 the system, I mean exactly how you could get such

10 contentious issues dealt with.

11 It did require a sort of concerted effort, really.

12 I mean, they raised all sorts of important human rights

13 issues. They raised international issues, they raised

14 political issues. All of it was in there. It wasn't

15 the same as a burglar complaining he had been roughed up

16 a bit. These were not run of the mill complaints cases.

17 So, yes, we did give them, I think, an appropriate level

18 of attention.

19 Q. Yes. And at this stage, the bill you were working on,

20 presumably, was the Police (Northern Ireland) Bill,

21 which became the Police (Northern Ireland) Act?

22 A. 1998, yes.

23 Q. 1998, under which both this Inquiry and also the

24 Ombudsman's office was established?

25 A. That's right.

 

 

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1 Q. And I think it was enacted in July, wasn't it, that

2 year?

3 A. Yes, about 14 July or something, I think.

4 Q. So while you were working on that bill, you were

5 conscious of the this complaint being investigated and

6 dealt with in Northern Ireland, which in a sense was

7 testing the existing system very substantially?

8 A. It was, and of course we were still working on the --

9 I mean, this is the thing about dealing with legislation

10 by bill, it is live. We were still working on those

11 sections. We were still taking amendments.

12 Obviously if any learning points were coming out

13 from these cases, that needed to be taken into account

14 in the words of the legislation we were working on. So

15 it wasn't just a sort of dry, theoretical thing; it was

16 actually, "Is our new system going to work?" And that

17 was important from that perspective too.

18 Q. Thank you. Now, can we move the story on a little to

19 the next month, 4 March. We see a memorandum from

20 Lesley Foster to you amongst others, and it refers to

21 another letter from British Irish Rights Watch. In

22 fact, so you are aware, it is RNI-106-080 (displayed).

23 The letter of 22 January is the response to the

24 Minister's letter that we have already looked at

25 together.

 

 

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1 Now, after an apology for delay, Lesley Foster

2 continues with a reprise of the correspondence we have

3 just looked at. And turning over the page to

4 RNI-106-081 (displayed), there is an update on what is

5 going on here with the various complaints. There has

6 been some correspondence:

7 "It is fair to say Mrs Nelson has not proved

8 particularly helpful in the past in assisting the police

9 with their investigations."

10 Then moving down, the paragraph I wanted to show you

11 in particular was the PS at the bottom:

12 "Since drafting this advice, I have heard from the

13 CAJ ..."

14 And there is a summary of a point they had raised

15 about another client of Rosemary Nelson who was claiming

16 that threats were made against her by the police.

17 So looking at that, it is fair to say, is it, that

18 by this stage, March 1998, you were still being made

19 aware of further cases fitting into the same pattern and

20 involving what were alleged to be threats brought to

21 your attention by third parties in relation to

22 Rosemary Nelson?

23 A. That's right, but I think we had moved on a step, in

24 that we had now got -- at least the CAJ were taking more

25 detailed material from these clients and were, as Lesley

 

 

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1 said there, asking them -- we were asking them to pass

2 them as quickly as possible to the police and to the

3 ICPC; in other words, not to let them go round

4 a merry-go-round to the senators in America and back;

5 actually just to get them to where they could be dealt

6 with.

7 Q. So in terms of the process in dealing with the

8 complaints, in a sense that was helpful, as presumably

9 it was helpful that there had been interviews with

10 Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy, as we agreed earlier?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. But wasn't there also the basic question of safety

13 raised here? Because each time an allegation, a similar

14 allegation came in to you about another threat

15 presumably that was something that had to be considered

16 in the overall mix of what her security position was?

17 A. Yes. But, again, I think this is something that would

18 have been taken into account by the police in

19 progressing the issues or the complaints, or the case,

20 whatever we want to call it.

21 Again, it was one of the reasons why it was

22 important that, you know, material got to the police and

23 to the ICPC quickly.

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. Because if there was anything genuine there, then that

 

 

153


1 had to be attended to very rapidly.

2 Q. Indeed.

3 A. But you still had to be -- you know, you had to have

4 something to work on.

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. And I'm pretty sure that if there had been any

7 intelligence or any information coming to the police

8 that led them to think that Rosemary Nelson was under

9 any threat, that would have been attended to immediately

10 and in the proper manner.

11 Q. Can I ask you a question about that before I forget

12 because you made a reference to this earlier? Can

13 I assume that you wouldn't have been privy to any

14 intelligence of that kind?

15 A. It would have been possible that I could have been. I'm

16 just trying to think of the right way of describing

17 this. There are -- there were various systems in place

18 for the dissemination of intelligence.

19 Q. Yes.

20 A. What we got in the NIO was generally what I would call

21 the slow burn stuff of sort of more policy importance.

22 We wouldn't get the immediate operational stuff because

23 obviously that went for immediate operational action.

24 So something like intelligence coming to light about

25 a threat to an individual would have been operational

 

 

154


1 intelligence that would have gone out to be dealt with

2 immediately operationally. Maybe a week after the event

3 we might have learnt of it in the NIO or, as I think we

4 were discussing earlier, you know, in a case like

5 Rosemary Nelson's, I would like to think there would

6 have been a warning given to us of that.

7 But obviously if you have a threat and it is live,

8 the important thing is to tackle that and, you know,

9 think about wiring off the NIO afterwards.

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. So, you know, that would have been the way it would have

12 been tackled.

13 Q. Well, again, just pursuing this to the specific cases,

14 the three examples, where you have reporting back to you

15 from the police, in one of the cases -- I think it is

16 the April one we are about to come to -- you say that

17 you didn't see any of the internal police material at

18 the time, including the assessment from Special Branch.

19 Can I assume that in relation to these questions of

20 Rosemary Nelson and her safety, you weren't provided

21 with relevant intelligence at the time?

22 A. No, not sort of a threat assessment headed

23 "Rosemary Nelson", no.

24 Q. But is that a qualified answer? Are you saying that you

25 were provided with other relevant Rosemary Nelson threat

 

 

155


1 intelligence other than in the form of something headed

2 "Threat Assessment"?

3 A. Not that I can recollect at this distance and without

4 any of the documentation.

5 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 92 of your statement at

6 RNI-841-246 (displayed), you say in relation to this

7 episode, the Lesley Foster memorandum, the CAJ letter,

8 et cetera, that you may even have spoken to someone in

9 the CAJ about the most recent allegations and the

10 possibility of getting a statement. So there was

11 a chance there, was there, for you to follow up direct

12 with the NGO and urge them to put in a statement?

13 A. Yes, and I mean, I don't want to sort of put the CAJ

14 into an uncomfortable position if they go, "No, she

15 never did" but I have a distinct recollection of

16 speaking to someone in the CAJ and, you know, saying to

17 them that this would be a helpful thing to do if they

18 felt able to do it. Or they may have suggested to me it

19 was something they could do, would it be helpful. It

20 was that sort of exchange. It is on the edges of my

21 memory. I don't want to put too much reliance on it,

22 but it is just the feeling I have.

23 Q. But are you confident in your memory at least of this:

24 that, as you say later in this paragraph,

25 Rosemary Nelson's allegations had for some time been

 

 

156


1 a matter of concern to the NIO and to the RUC?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. So by this stage, March 1998, that concern was, as it

4 were, well established and there was still, was there,

5 in March 1998, concern equally about the lack of

6 substance?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Beyond the documents we have been looking at and will

9 look at, was this issue, the concern about the

10 allegations, something that you discussed with

11 colleagues in Command Secretariat?

12 A. Yes, I think, you know, we knew we had a difficult issue

13 to deal with here. I think they were -- they probably

14 wouldn't use the word concern because that wouldn't be

15 their word for it, but yes, we had a shared interest --

16 I'm trying to find a word that isn't "concern" because I

17 think possibly they wouldn't use that word, but we had

18 a shared keen interest in this issue and in trying to

19 get it resolved constructively.

20 Q. And, again, I have asked you, I am afraid, probably too

21 many lawyers' questions about whether things are written

22 down, et cetera, but is that the sort of discussion or

23 conversation that would have been recorded?

24 A. It is the sort of thing that I think I would probably

25 have put on -- you know, if there had been a new letter

 

 

157


1 in, for example, I would have put it on that.

2 Q. In your handwritten annotations?

3 A. In my handwritten scribbles, yes. I don't think it

4 would have gone down necessarily on paper anywhere else.

5 I'm pretty certain at this particular stage I wouldn't

6 have been in the business of dictating memos about

7 conversations about Rosemary Nelson with

8 Command Secretariat, I would have been just -- there

9 wouldn't have been enough hours in the day.

10 Q. And finally on this, in the course of those

11 conversations was the possibility ever considered of

12 either approaching Rosemary Nelson direct or asking

13 others to do so?

14 A. When you say approaching Rosemary Nelson direct, my

15 approaching Rosemary Nelson direct or --

16 Q. It was the question of taking the issue to her, rather

17 than waiting for it to come from her?

18 A. I think we were trying to do this through, you know,

19 channels that were already established with her rather

20 than trying to forge new ones.

21 I think also -- I'm just trying to remember

22 precisely when it was and I can't quite remember when it

23 was, but I think she came -- Rosemary Nelson came with

24 Jane Winter, met the Secretary of State -- or I may be

25 misremembering that. But I have a recollection that

 

 

158


1 there were certainly meetings where the Secretary of

2 State did meet her and I think once those happened we

3 sort of felt, well, either that will prompt engagement

4 at the right -- you know, between the right contact

5 points or it won't.

6 So from my own personal point of view, I sort of

7 felt: no need for me to consider whether I'm diving in

8 there if --

9 Q. Because it is being dealt with very, very high up?

10 A. You know, if Mo Mowlam is talking to her, then if

11 Mo Mowlam wants something done, she will tell me and I

12 will do it.

13 Q. Sorry to interrupt you, but you never received an

14 instruction from on high to that effect?

15 A. What, to go and do something?

16 Q. Yes.

17 A. No.

18 Q. Thank you. Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, half past three, we will resume.

20 (3.12 pm)

21 (Short break)

22 (4.10 pm)

23 MR PHILLIPS: Mrs Collins, can we now look at another

24 episode in this long saga, which was going on at roughly

25 the same time? And I would like to start looking at it

 

 

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1 by showing you Simon Rogers' letter of 23 February 1998

2 at RNI-114-122 (displayed).

3 That, as you can see, from the first line, refers to

4 a meeting that you and he had. It says "yesterday"

5 although in fact Mr Rogers told us that he thought the

6 meeting had probably taken place a few days before

7 23 February.

8 You deal with this meeting and this document,

9 indeed, in your statement at paragraphs 28 and

10 following. If you could have that, please, RNI-841-242

11 (displayed).

12 This meeting had been sought by Ed Lynch of Lawyers

13 Alliance; is that right?

14 A. Yes. Again, I haven't got any of the background papers

15 to that, but my recollection is that the Lawyers

16 Alliance were over in Ireland -- I think they were in

17 the south as well as the north -- on a visitation and,

18 as part of that -- I think they would have had a visits

19 programme for the Northern Ireland bit, which included,

20 I think, a request for a briefing from -- well,

21 a briefing on policing issues, criminal justice issues,

22 I think, as well, which I and Simon would have given.

23 So that was the sort of background to it, as I recall.

24 Q. In advance of the meeting, did you expect the question

25 of Rosemary Nelson's safety to feature so prominently at

 

 

160


1 the meeting?

2 A. As prominently as it did? No. We, I think, had been

3 under the impression that what the group wanted was an

4 update, a briefing on where we were going with policing

5 reform, complaints system and so on, and that is what we

6 actually went to provide, though I think we were

7 quite -- well, we would have been naive to think they

8 weren't going to raise the Rosemary Nelson question as

9 well, which they did.

10 Q. It was a question on the Lawyers Alliance agenda, if I

11 can put it that way, and had been for about a year?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, is it right that the meeting became

14 somewhat heated?

15 A. I don't know that it was heated exactly. As I recollect

16 it, the parties seemed to have split into two at some

17 stage, so we got -- you know, the first part of the

18 group were in the room and we had actually started the

19 briefing when the other contingent of the group arrived,

20 including Mr Lynch. And I think Mr Lynch more or less

21 immediately sort of launched into a takeover of the

22 meeting and wished to focus, to the exclusion of

23 virtually everything else, on Rosemary Nelson's safety,

24 which was -- you know, all right, if that is what he

25 wanted to raise, but it might have been more helpful if

 

 

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1 we had been told that in advance, that that's what the

2 delegation wished to discuss with us, and they didn't

3 want to talk about anything else.

4 Q. And Mr Rogers says that he gave a report on the current

5 state of the complaints, Rosemary Nelson and the related

6 complaints, but he was aware as he was doing so that

7 they were not satisfied, as he put it, with his

8 response.

9 Was that made clear to you as well?

10 A. Oh, abundantly clear.

11 Q. Yes. Were they asking you, the two of you -- I think

12 there were actually three of you present in the meeting

13 from your side -- what you were doing about

14 Rosemary Nelson's safety?

15 A. I can't honestly remember precisely what they were

16 asking us to do. It was -- I'm just trying to sort of

17 reconstruct it in my mind. I mean, we were trying to

18 give a sort of forward-looking, if you like, briefing,

19 accepting that there were shortcomings in the existing

20 system, but looking forward on a sort of systematic

21 basis or a systemic basis as to what was happening, and

22 Mr Lynch wanted to focus purely, entirely and completely

23 on one case.

24 And I recall, I think I was very uncomfortable

25 indeed with sitting in a room with, I think, about 30

 

 

162


1 people discussing -- I think what he wanted to discuss

2 was actually, you know, the security arrangements for

3 a single individual, private individual. I didn't think

4 that was an appropriate venue to do that.

5 And I don't know, you know, to what extent -- you

6 know, to what extent this was actually just an

7 opportunity for Mr Lynch to raise the issue and to be

8 able to show in front of everybody there that he had

9 raised the issue and that he had raised it in very

10 forceful terms. I suspect that that was probably a lot

11 of it. You know, he wanted to be able to say he had

12 raised this with the British Government in absolutely

13 clear and unambiguous language, which he indeed did.

14 Q. Yes. But it made you very uncomfortable that these

15 issues, the very detailed issues about a private

16 individual's security, were being ventilated in the

17 context of this sort of meeting?

18 A. Yes, I don't think it was appropriate. You know, it

19 would have been -- well, it wasn't a -- it wasn't an

20 appropriate place to raise the issues in quite that

21 manner and it was certainly not -- we couldn't engage in

22 any meaningful sense. It was -- you know, he was saying

23 his bit, all we could really do was sit, listen, because

24 we couldn't -- there was no point trying to

25 counter-engage with that; there was nothing we could

 

 

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1 have said in that format.

2 Q. Did he tell you anything about the information, the

3 basis for the concerns about her security, which was new

4 to you, which was useful, which provided further detail?

5 A. Not that I can recollect.

6 Q. No.

7 A. I mean, it wasn't as if he was saying, "Look, in this

8 interview, on that date, officer so and so said this or

9 said that" or, you know, "She has had this letter" or

10 anything of that kind of substance that I can recollect.

11 I mean, I stand to be corrected on that because I simply

12 can't actually remember.

13 Q. Did he give you any justification in particular for the

14 basic allegation that Rosemary Nelson's concern was that

15 the threats were coming to her from the police?

16 A. Not really, not -- and I don't see how he could have

17 done actually, how he could have -- we sort of discussed

18 what "substantiated evidence" is and so on and so forth.

19 There wasn't anything that went beyond him stating this,

20 but without anything that you could have said, "Okay,

21 I see, there is more substance behind that." It was

22 still very much bald assertion, if I can put it that

23 way.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Can I ask you a question in relation to that?

25 Did you ever consider that the allegation that

 

 

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1 Rosemary Nelson feared that the risk or threat to her

2 came from the police might be true?

3 A. What, that her fear was true or that the risk was true?

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, that she feared that the threat to her

5 or her being in risk, that that risk or threat was

6 coming from the police?

7 A. I think her fear was probably quite genuine, but I think

8 it was entirely misplaced.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Was that always your view?

10 A. I think so, yes. I don't want to sort of underestimate

11 the fear she had. I think it was genuine, but that's

12 a different thing from saying it is a rationally

13 grounded, factually-based fear, if you see what I mean.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

15 A. But that's not to say that I underestimate it or

16 I belittle it or anything like that. I'm open to that.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Viewed objectively and from your standpoint,

18 it was unfounded?

19 A. I think it was unfounded, but having said that, I was

20 still absolutely convinced that it had to be completely

21 and utterly investigated because it is one thing to

22 be -- it is one thing for there to be a genuine risk,

23 using that word as a sort of term of art; it is another

24 thing for somebody to make -- can I put quotes round

25 this? -- "threatening remarks" without any real risk

 

 

165


1 attached to them. In other words, I could say to you,

2 "I'm going to kill you" but you wouldn't necessarily --

3 I hope you would know that I would have neither the

4 intent nor the capability, nor anything else to actually

5 carry that out. It would nevertheless be a threatening

6 remark, if you see what I mean.

7 So there is all of that in it. I'm not going to --

8 I'm not saying that remarks may have been made which

9 were wrong. I think that is perfectly possible,

10 although I don't think it has been proven. But I'm in

11 no doubt that she did have genuine concerns, but I have

12 no reason to believe that they were properly,

13 objectively founded, if that -- sorry, that's quite

14 complex, if you see what I mean, but I'm trying to cover

15 all the bases.

16 MR PHILLIPS: Can I just ask, arising out of that, do I take

17 it then that you recognised at least the possibility

18 that derogatory or maybe even threatening remarks had

19 been made, but you did not believe that there was

20 anything to suggest that they would be followed through?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Thank you. And so far as these views of yours are

23 concerned, are they views which you are expressing, as

24 it were, now, on the basis of the material that was then

25 brought to you, in other words, you are looking back to

 

 

166


1 the totality of the material relating to these

2 allegations, or were they views that you held, as it

3 were, ab initio, from the beginning?

4 A. I think probably the clarity with which I have expressed

5 them just now is as a result of having spent the last

6 goodness knows how many months mulling over it and

7 thinking about it.

8 I think at the time I would have been far more in

9 a sort of "the jury is out on this" position and, you

10 know, far more of we just don't know, there isn't enough

11 information to let us know what is actually going on.

12 I mean, I think the two things I would have regarded

13 as pretty certain was, one, that it was actually

14 extremely unlikely there was any genuine risk from the

15 police, and the other is that it is extremely likely

16 that Rosemary Nelson did have a genuine fear. I think

17 those are the two things that I would be pretty certain

18 were -- you know, you could say: fact, fact. But the

19 rest of it is all a bit of a -- well, it may be one

20 thing, it may be another, we don't actually have enough

21 information to say one way or the other.

22 Q. Thank you. Just going back, if we may, to the meeting.

23 The meeting, in summary, was, in your view at any rate,

24 a very unsatisfactory one?

25 A. Yes, I don't think it advanced -- I don't think it

 

 

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1 advanced anything very much. I didn't think we had

2 managed to achieve any level of understanding among the

3 delegation as to what we were trying to achieve and how

4 we were going about trying to achieve it.

5 I suppose that was a bit selfish of me; I should

6 have paid a bit more attention to whether the delegation

7 were happy that they'd had their opportunity to make

8 whatever points they wanted to make to us.

9 Q. But did there come a point when you, as it were, removed

10 yourself from the meeting?

11 A. There did. For two reasons, really. One, they were

12 supposed to be on a programme, with a beginning point

13 and an end point. It was supposed to be, as

14 I recollected -- and, again, it is just my

15 recollection -- it was supposed to be a double-headed

16 meeting with one side being us on the policing issues,

17 but the other side being criminal justice.

18 We had, I thought, done to death our side and we

19 still had criminal justice to go and I had other things

20 to do that I reckoned were probably more important than

21 sort of continuing to sit and listen -- also, I think

22 part of me was thinking, well, actually this meeting is

23 not getting anywhere and perhaps it would be a good idea

24 to change the formation of it. If I move, that maybe

25 allows the -- you know, breaks the -- breaks the dynamic

 

 

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1 and allows something else to happen.

2 So I think there was all of that came into it. So

3 I did. I got up and smiled very sweetly at them,

4 I hope, and made my apologies and left.

5 Q. After the meeting, you tell us that you discussed what

6 had happened with Simon Rogers and agreed that a letter

7 should be sent to Command Secretariat?

8 A. Yes. I mean, clearly from the -- I think I want to

9 distinguish slightly here between Mr Lynch and some of

10 the other members of the delegation because I think

11 there wasn't a -- it wasn't as if the entire delegation

12 were sort of formed up in an orderly phalanx behind him.

13 I think there were different views there, which was one

14 of the reasons why I thought, well, maybe I should get

15 out of this so the rest of the briefing can be

16 conducted, the criminal justice side.

17 But clearly the temperature, or part of the

18 temperature, part of the force of the concerns that were

19 being expressed was something that we wanted to be sure

20 the police were aware of just in case they hadn't

21 already picked this up. I think part of the programme

22 for their visit did involve a meeting with the police

23 anyway. But just in case they had been in a different

24 mood and hadn't delivered that, I thought it was

25 important that they should get that transmitted to them.

 

 

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1 Q. I think there was going to be a meeting with the

2 delegation and the Chief Constable, wasn't there?

3 A. I think that was -- yes.

4 Q. And you explain in your statement that you were trying

5 to -- this is paragraph 84, do you see at the bottom of

6 the screen:

7 "We were trying to think of a constructive way

8 forward in a situation where a very able, intelligent

9 and well educated person, a defence solicitor who had

10 chosen to work in this area in the heart of the Troubles

11 and who must have been well informed about proper and

12 available courses of action open to her, had not

13 approached the police or the NIO, either directly or

14 through an elected representative, with any concerns

15 over her safety."

16 So that's a background to the initiative you took

17 with the police, as I understand it, you were trying to

18 move the matter on by first of all alerting the police

19 to the concerns expressed, but also by suggesting

20 another way forward, which is the possibility that she

21 ought to be approached and given advice about her

22 security?

23 A. Yes. I mean, we were -- I think at this stage it would

24 be fair to say we were racking our brains to try and

25 think of a way of getting through this impasse. And,

 

 

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1 you know, it was quite difficult to do that given all

2 those sort of circumstances and the history around it.

3 Q. Just looking at the background that you set out in those

4 first lines of the page here, of course by then she had

5 been interviewed in the complaints, the complaints were

6 being investigated, statements had been emerging, as you

7 know, from the CAJ, and other people had been raising

8 concerns over her safety with you, the ICPC and, in

9 a sense, also with the police in that way.

10 So albeit that there hadn't been a direct approach

11 to you, there had been plan of indirect approaches,

12 hadn't there?

13 A. There had been indirect mutterings, yes. But the thing

14 that there hadn't been was Rosemary Nelson herself

15 actually, you know, taking any of the steps which

16 a lawyer, solicitor, working in this area, she must have

17 known were there. And even if she didn't want, let's

18 say, to come to the NIO herself, there are elect

19 representatives -- I mean, MPs, councillors. She could

20 have gone to those. There are a variety of routes which

21 people could and did use, which I think as a solicitor

22 she would have been well aware of. Northern Ireland

23 isn't an enormous place.

24 There were all those things and the fact that she

25 hadn't chosen to exercise all of those or any of those

 

 

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1 routes left us in a bit after quandary, really, because

2 it must have been her choice to do that.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Did you ask yourself why?

4 A. Why she didn't?

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Why she didn't.

6 A. Yes.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: What answer did you give yourself to that

8 question?

9 A. I suppose there are three possibilities that occurred to

10 us: one, that she didn't actually have concerns about

11 her safety, so she wasn't worried; second, that she

12 really did believe that it was the police and the

13 British state that were threatening her and that we were

14 the biggest risk she faced and, therefore, she wasn't

15 going to come near us.

16 I'm just trying to think. I did have my third one,

17 which I can't now remember. It will come back to me.

18 But I think it was those two things that were

19 sitting there. And as we didn't have any information

20 that indicated she was actually under a threat, that

21 left us in a bit of a pickle too, if you see what

22 I mean.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

24 MR PHILLIPS: Can I just pick up those two points with you:

25 The first that the concerns weren't genuine?

 

 

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1 You said a little earlier that if there was one

2 thing you were sure about it was that the fears were

3 genuine?

4 A. Hm-mm.

5 Q. So presumably the answer to that question didn't take

6 you very long to give; is that fair?

7 A. That's fair.

8 Q. Thank you. Secondly, so far as her attitude, that the

9 British state were threatening her, what, please, was

10 that suggestion based on?

11 A. I think it was based on the way in which the complaints

12 were being relayed. They were coming to us from

13 particular quarters. I mean, they were not coming to us

14 from the Law Society. They were not coming to us

15 through elected representatives or anything like that.

16 They were coming to us through particular political

17 channels, and I think it was sort of a fair enough

18 assumption that that was a matter of her choice and

19 reflected her mindset, if I can put it like that.

20 Q. Can I just pick you up on the point you said about the

21 way in which they were coming to you because this takes

22 us back to the questions I was asking you about where

23 you viewed these concerns, given that they came through

24 the medium of the NGOs?

25 I assume that is what you were referring to when you

 

 

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1 talked about political channels?

2 A. Hm-mm.

3 Q. It sounds as though it did indeed reflect your

4 perception of these complaints or conditions. The very

5 fact that they came to you through those channels made

6 you doubt their validity?

7 A. Not quite doubt their validity. Perhaps better say

8 doubt what we could actually do to assuage them.

9 Q. Now, taking us back to the comment you made about the

10 British state, of course in paragraph 147 of your

11 statement, RNI-841-268 (displayed), you raise a similar

12 question. You begin the sentence with the word "if" and

13 then say:

14 "If Mrs Nelson genuinely believed that the whole of

15 the British state was corrupt and that this was the

16 reason for her refusal to use any of the mechanisms ..."

17 et cetera.

18 Again, can I just ask you what statement by

19 Rosemary Nelson might have led you to believe that that

20 was her view?

21 A. Could you take the paragraph above as well, please,

22 because I think that 147 flows on from 146?

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. Because I think this passage, or this bit of my

25 statement, is in there as a result of the questions

 

 

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1 Eversheds were asking me, and it is all a bit sort of

2 hypothetical.

3 And what I'm trying to explain there is that we were

4 aware through the third parties that, you know, she was

5 quite adamantly convinced that the police and, indeed,

6 the state were against her and that, you know, that was

7 part of the reason she was going outside the usual

8 channels, if you want to use it like that.

9 That's where that comes from.

10 Q. So you and your colleagues in the Police Division

11 thought, did you, based on information you say came to

12 you by third parties, that that was her belief, that the

13 whole of the British state was corrupt?

14 A. Yes, and I think she had also testified -- I'm not sure

15 that I have got this piece of paper in anything that's

16 been produced to me, but I think she did also appear in

17 the US Senate committee.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. And I think made fairly clear statements in that of what

20 her views were.

21 Q. That was specifically in relation to the police,

22 wasn't it?

23 A. Yes, but I think that --

24 Q. This is a rather wider remark, isn't it?

25 A. What, the police and the Government and everybody else?

 

 

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1 Q. It just says the whole of the British state was corrupt?

2 A. Yes. I don't think she would have seen -- I may be

3 wrong in imputing this to her -- I don't think she would

4 have seen there being a terribly clear dividing line

5 between the police and the Government. I think I am

6 reinforced in that belief because if she had seen there

7 being a dividing line, then she would certainly have

8 come to the Government in one of its forms direct with

9 her concerns. Do you see what I mean?

10 If you are concerned about one part of a system but

11 you think the rest of it is all right, you go to the

12 part that you think is all right.

13 Q. Can we just come back to the question of what happened

14 after this meeting with the Lawyers Alliance and

15 Mr Rogers' letter, RNI-114-122 (displayed)?

16 Is this a letter that you looked at before it was

17 issued?

18 A. I can't recollect whether I saw it before issue or not.

19 Q. Thank you. But does it fairly reflect, as far as you

20 are concerned, what was discussed and agreed by way of

21 action with Simon Rogers after the Lawyers Alliance

22 meeting?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Thank you. Now, as I understand it, then, in the second

25 paragraph you are effectively giving them a steer that

 

 

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1 this might be a sensible thing to do, namely to consider

2 whether or not she needs to be approached and given

3 advice on her security?

4 A. Yes. As I say, this was part of the sort of collective

5 brain racking: what on earth can we do?

6 One of the things that occurred to us that might be

7 done, though -- I mean, there are pitfalls and

8 difficulties with it anyway -- is that the police could

9 find some way at a local level of getting someone to

10 approach -- you know, some police officer to approach

11 Rosemary Nelson and say, "Are you concerned about your

12 safety? If you are, here are some sensible things you

13 could do." But that does fall into the sort of

14 technical trap, if you like, of how can the police do

15 that if they actually have no basis on which to think

16 that she is under threat or at risk.

17 You know, why do you go and tell somebody that they

18 are perfectly safe if, as far as you are aware, they are

19 perfectly safe, or go and give them advice about what to

20 do to keep themselves safe when you actually don't think

21 they are at risk? It is an illogical thing to do, I

22 think is the best way to put it.

23 Q. But presumably what you were expecting to happen when

24 you sent this letter was that the police would assess,

25 or in fact reassess the question of threat and come to

 

 

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1 their own view in considering whether or not she needed

2 to be approached and given her advice?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. That's certainly what Mr Rogers expected?

5 A. I think I would have expected them to be keeping

6 a pretty close eye anyway on Mrs Nelson's safety. She

7 was quite a prominent public figure at that time anyway.

8 I would have expected them to have had her under sort

9 of -- not quite close attention, but, you know, they

10 would have been listening out and watching out.

11 Q. Was that something you had thought about at the time?

12 A. What, that they would have been --

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Keeping an eye --

16 A. Keeping an eye. Certainly if something had come from

17 any of the -- any of the routes that indicated there was

18 a risk to her, that would have been picked up extremely

19 rapidly. You know, there would have been no doubt about

20 who she was. It wouldn't have been as if it was sort of

21 a threat against John Smith, "Which John Smith", you

22 know? It would have been straightforward. They would

23 have known that.

24 Q. But we don't see any record of you checking with the

25 police to make sure, for example, that they were keeping

 

 

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1 an eye on her?

2 A. There is no record, no, but I think that that would have

3 been one of the things we would have understood and

4 expected them to do.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Is it the sort of thing you would have

6 discussed with Command Secretariat?

7 A. Yes. You know, it is the kind of thing that would have

8 been part of conversations with them. As I say, I can't

9 actually recollect specifically, you know, on such and

10 such a date I did talk to Command Secretariat about

11 this. But that is what I would have expected.

12 I think there is an instance -- I think it is a bit

13 later -- where actually there is an assessment produced

14 even though we didn't actually in terms ask for it, and

15 I think it is quite clear from that that, you know,

16 action did result from that.

17 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, it is now quarter to five and we started

18 very early, so I think with the shorthand writer in

19 mind, we might save the threat assessment for tomorrow

20 morning. I understand Mrs Collins has very kindly

21 agreed to come at 9.30 tomorrow morning.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. We will see you at half past

23 nine. We will adjourn until half past nine.

24 A. Okay.

25 (4.45 pm)

 

 

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MR SIMON ROGERS (continued) ...................... 1
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS (continued) ......... 1
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Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 34
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Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 38
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Questions by THE CHAIRMAN .................... 40
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MRS CHRISTINE COLLINS (sworn) ................... 41
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 41
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