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Hearing: 2nd October 2008, day 57

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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 Thursday, 2 October 2008
commencing at 9.30 am


Day 57

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Thursday, 2 October 2008

2 (9.30 am)

3 MR PAUL DONNELLY (continued)

4 Questions by MR PHILLIPS (continued)

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

6 MR PHILLIPS: Now, we were talking yesterday afternoon about

7 the media coverage in relation to Geralyn McNally, which

8 took off in a marked way in about March 1999, and the

9 whispering or briefing campaign that also took place at

10 that time, and your conversation during that with Ken

11 Lindsay at the NIO.

12 I would like to ask you, please, to look at another

13 document from exactly this period, and that is another

14 note of your conversation with Irish Government

15 officials. It is at RNI-228-038 (displayed). It is

16 dated 25 March and I would like you to look, please,

17 with me at paragraph 3, because it records there

18 a telephone call between you and one of the officials on

19 that day. And you see the second sentence:

20 "He has seen the second Mulvihill Report ..."

21 Which I take to be the Mulvihill review, as it was

22 called. Is that right?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. "And is very concerned that the Chief Constable intends

25 to use it to launch a systemic disparagement of the ICPC

 

 

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1 in general and of the ICPC supervising member who signed

2 the ICPC statutory statement, Geralyn McNally, in

3 particular."

4 So that was your fear at this point, was it?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. That the Chief Constable would deploy the Mulvihill

7 review in order to disparage your own organisation and

8 in particular to disparage Geralyn McNally?

9 A. Hm-mm.

10 Q. And that was the view that you held and expressed to the

11 Irish at that stage?

12 A. Yes, and that was based on information from journalists

13 who had been at that meeting.

14 Q. As you are recorded as saying next:

15 "He said the Chief Constable was briefing

16 journalists last night and one journalist who attended

17 had confided that he was sickened by what he heard."

18 Can I take it then that the journalist had spoken to

19 you?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Is this the same journalist you mentioned yesterday, in

22 relation to the Geralyn McNally whispering campaign?

23 A. Yes, yes.

24 Q. And you, therefore, had been telephoned, had you, to be

25 told about this briefing?

 

 

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1 A. That's right, yes. I think I had been telephoned that

2 night.

3 Q. And is this, therefore, in a contemporaneous note

4 a reference to what you deal with in your statement,

5 where you describe the journalist's concern that what

6 was going on was dangerous?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Because, as you put it in your statement, paragraph 27:

9 "The message came across that Miss McNally should be

10 careful as there were powerful people lobbying against

11 her"?

12 A. Hm-mm.

13 Q. Now, beyond what you told us yesterday, what did you

14 learn from the journalist as to what the Chief Constable

15 had been saying?

16 A. There was little that I could add to that from memory.

17 I would add that beyond that time other journalists,

18 particularly one in particular in the broadcast media,

19 was passing information to us to the effect that there

20 was a drive from the RUC, as opposed to the Police

21 Authority, to play down the negative comments that had

22 been made about the first RUC investigation of the

23 complaints. And it was -- my recollection, which has,

24 I have to say, faded to some degree over the years, is

25 that the Chief Constable was emphasising the positive

 

 

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1 elements of the Mulvihill review that commented

2 positively on the professionalism of the investigating

3 officer and the appropriateness of his investigative

4 approach.

5 Q. So this was an attempt, was it, as you understand it --

6 as you understood it at the time -- to undermine

7 somebody who had stood up and made criticisms of the

8 RUC?

9 A. It is difficult for me to attribute intention to others.

10 My perception was that it was an exercise in

11 protecting -- in protecting the organisation, in

12 protecting the RUC from criticism. And if there were,

13 in inverted commas, "victims" in the process, so be it.

14 I don't think that the main dynamic was one of get

15 Geralyn McNally; I think the main dynamic was one the

16 protect the good name of the organisation, and if that

17 damages someone in the process, then that is the

18 unfortunate consequence.

19 Q. But is it fair to say that, in this paragraph certainly,

20 you are recorded as focusing rather more on the

21 attacking side of the thing rather than on the defensive

22 side of the thing?

23 A. Yes, and the reason for that was that we were actively

24 concerned about the personal safety of Geralyn McNally.

25 Q. Now, you indicated yesterday what you did by way of

 

 

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1 putting out your concerns through the various channels,

2 and can I ask you, please, to turn over the page, to

3 RNI-228-039 (displayed), because it looks as though you

4 decided to take this matter to the Secretary of State?

5 A. That's right, yes.

6 Q. So is it right that at this point, 24/25 March, you had

7 a meeting with the Secretary of State to raise your

8 concerns about Geralyn McNally?

9 A. I don't think I saw her immediately on the heels of this

10 note, but soon after. I cannot recall the date.

11 Q. What was the purpose of the meeting?

12 A. The purpose of the meeting was to share with her

13 face-to-face the concerns that we had and, again, in

14 particular the concerns that we had in respect of

15 Geralyn McNally's personal safety.

16 Q. So the concerns were concerns that your organisation was

17 being actively undermined and that one of your

18 supervising members was being put in danger?

19 A. That's right, yes.

20 Q. What was her response to those concerns when you raised

21 them?

22 A. She responded very positively and I think there is

23 correspondence from her which outlines her concerns and

24 her responses to those concerns. And at the meeting

25 with her there were several officials, including

 

 

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1 Permanent Secretary in the Private Office and Head of

2 Security. My chief executive and Geralyn McNally also

3 attended that meeting. I do not have a diary date for

4 it, but it is probably in an NIO minute somewhere.

5 Q. Can I just go back on what you have said? So at this

6 meeting then, in addition to the Secretary of State were

7 the Permanent Secretary --

8 A. My recollection is the PS was there and Head Of

9 Security.

10 Q. Again, names are difficult here. The Permanent

11 Secretary then was Joseph Pilling?

12 A. Joseph Pilling, yes.

13 Q. And the Head of Security was, do you remember?

14 A. John Steele had retired by then. So it was whoever

15 succeeded John Steele as Head of Security. If I call

16 out a name in another 20 minutes, it is him. But his

17 name eludes me.

18 Q. Is it Mr Watkins?

19 A. It was.

20 Q. Thank you.

21 A. Simon Rogers was also there.

22 Q. Thank you very much.

23 A. Thank you.

24 Q. So that was a very high level representation from the

25 NIO at this meeting?

 

 

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1 A. Yes, it was.

2 Q. Where did it take place?

3 A. It took place at Stormont Castle.

4 Q. And you were present with Geralyn McNally?

5 A. And the Chief Executive.

6 Q. And Mr McClelland?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. To summarise then, they listened to the concerns that

9 you expressed and what did they say they would do about

10 them?

11 A. I think there was a response on two levels. One was to

12 undertake to provide appropriate security measures for

13 Geralyn McNally. I should add that in addition to this

14 whispering campaign, she was at the receiving end of

15 threatening telephone conversations and stuff like that.

16 So there was a -- the threat to her was coming from

17 several directions and at several levels, and clearly

18 there is the issue of the sort of personal vulnerability

19 of the individual, but also the political repercussions

20 should anything untoward come to them.

21 The other level of the conversation had to do with

22 a sense of looking ahead and trying to secure a shared

23 agenda, which didn't undermine either the wider law

24 enforcement discussion and debate and more particularly

25 didn't undermine the preparatory activities in respect

 

 

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1 of the Ombudsman's office.

2 I have been reflecting on this since yesterday and

3 sometimes these agendas ran in harmony and sometimes

4 they conflicted one with the other.

5 Q. Thank you.

6 Now, this wasn't the only thing you did, as we can

7 see from this note, by way of reaction to what you were

8 hearing because in paragraph 5 we see you recorded as

9 saying to the Irish officials that you would welcome

10 support from the Irish Government for the stand you

11 would be taking publicly on this matter. And I assume

12 by that that if there was to be a collision -- that is

13 the word you use in your statement -- between your

14 organisation and the RUC, that you wished at least to

15 feel there might be support from the Irish side?

16 A. Absolutely, yes. And at the time -- given the divisions

17 within our own organisation, I and, I suspect, my chief

18 executive, were feeling increasingly -- if I can use

19 a colloquialism -- hung out to dry. And there was

20 a sense that we needed some sort of alliance, some sort

21 of support from an authoritative quarter that would at

22 least act in some quasi advocacy role in respect of the

23 decisions we were taking.

24 Q. All of this is an indication of the seriousness of the

25 situation by this stage?

 

 

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1 A. It is an indication of the seriousness, and again, I am

2 in danger of repeating myself -- to me a reflection, it

3 is an indication of -- we had a case which was high

4 profile. My perception then, as it is now, is that it

5 was poorly handled in terms of the investigation of the

6 complaints.

7 I had a desire then to put what was wrong as right

8 as possible, and there was another wider and equally,

9 and some would argue, more important agenda, which had

10 to do with the -- I don't think it is too extreme

11 a phrase -- it is to do with the institutional stability

12 of the Commission at an important transition point. And

13 sometimes to promote one of these, in my view then as

14 now, was to sacrifice the other.

15 Q. So you felt that in the course of this, your institution

16 might be considered appropriate to be sacrificed?

17 A. Given the profile of the organisation and given its

18 limited continuing lifespan, it seemed the more

19 appropriate thing at the time.

20 Q. So that in these rather tough and difficult political

21 conditions, you and your organisation might have been

22 the fall guys?

23 A. Absolutely.

24 Q. Yes. Now, I would like to show you, please, a letter

25 that you received from Geralyn McNally at exactly this

 

 

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1 time, RNI-228-050, please (displayed). I don't want to

2 dwell on this letter, but it was something she sent to

3 you presumably at exactly this period in order to

4 express in her own words the concerns that she had at

5 that point?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And we can see there various difficulties set out, and

8 they highlight, don't they, both the internal divisions

9 in the Commission and the sort of briefing, if you look

10 at the second bullet point, and media campaign, the

11 third bullet point, that was in full flow at this point?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And she was effectively asking you, wasn't she, to do

14 what you could publicly to support her? That was in the

15 last bullet point.

16 A. I mean, she was asking me to help. I met with her after

17 this -- after I received this note and clearly she was

18 under considerable stress, under considerable personal

19 stress.

20 My questioning in circumstances like this is do we

21 want to make things better or do we want to make them

22 worse. And the advice coming from our public relations

23 advisers was that there was a danger of fuelling the

24 fire rather than dampening it if we moved into an

25 assertive defence in the public arena.

 

 

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1 Q. I want to ask you about that because it is something

2 that is referred to in later minutes of the

3 organisation, where statements of support are made in

4 a meeting after the long discussion and an agreement

5 reached that the PR company should be instructed to move

6 into action. That didn't in fact happen, did it?

7 A. It didn't to any noticeable extent and that was based on

8 their professional advice, that if we wanted to kill off

9 the rumour mill, engaging with it was, as they -- I

10 could see their reasoning -- was a way of actually

11 fuelling it rather than controlling it.

12 Q. Was there a sense at this point in which you were faced

13 with a dilemma in dealing with it because what was best

14 for the safety and continuation of the organisation was

15 not necessarily what Geralyn McNally was asking from

16 you?

17 A. That's true.

18 Q. Thank you. Can I just show you the Sunday Times piece,

19 please, at RNI-401-373 (displayed)? Is that the

20 article --

21 A. Yes, that article was malicious and scurrilous.

22 Q. Can I ask you, please, to look at paragraph 31 of your

23 statement, RNI-804-068 (displayed)? Because you say that

24 around this time -- so I assume this is towards the end

25 of March 1999 -- you met the Chief Constable and his

 

 

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1 deputy and it was at this meeting, was it, that the

2 Chief Constable made the comment you referred to

3 yesterday about Rosemary Nelson?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Was there any discussion at that meeting about what was

6 happening to Geralyn McNally?

7 A. Not that I recall.

8 Q. So you didn't take up with him what you had heard about

9 the briefing to the journalists, for example?

10 A. No, I didn't. And back to my earlier comment, I was

11 seeking to make things better, not make them worse, and

12 it was evident the two organisations were on a collision

13 course. And I think engaging in any sort of challenge

14 in respect of previous briefings or previous conduct

15 would not have helped us move forward.

16 Q. Well, you yourself yesterday adverted to the fact that

17 some at least might have seen a parallel between the

18 situation of Rosemary Nelson and the situation, as it

19 appeared to be developing, of Geralyn McNally?

20 A. Absolutely.

21 Q. You had been told by a journalist of the way in

22 which briefing was being conducted in relation to her,

23 and you tell us that at this meeting a very different

24 type of description was being applied to Rosemary Nelson

25 very shortly after her murder?

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Was that not the moment to raise the point with the

3 Chief Constable?

4 A. Well, if we are looking at the issues of the safety of

5 Geralyn McNally and given the allegation was that many

6 of the comments which were being made to undermine her

7 position were emanating from the police force, it didn't

8 seem useful or appropriate, nor was it the purpose of

9 the meeting, to review those dimensions.

10 Q. But Mr Donnelly -- sorry to interrupt you -- you have,

11 in the first part of that answer, put your finger, of

12 course, at the issue which underlay the whole of the

13 question of Rosemary Nelson's own safety; in other

14 words, what people have said to this Inquiry again and

15 again and again is what is the point of raising

16 a question of safety with the very people from whom the

17 threat is emanating.

18 Now, you must have been aware of that at the time

19 you had the meeting?

20 A. I would draw a distinction in respect of an on or off

21 the record press briefing which seeks to undermine the

22 credibility of somebody in -- holding a public position

23 and the allegations of endorsement or conspiracy to

24 murder. I would never ever consider that the

25 Chief Constable or any of his senior command would

 

 

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1 have -- bear any personal ill will towards

2 Geralyn McNally.

3 I believe they didn't take sufficiently into account

4 the repercussions of their disparagement of her, but I

5 think they -- I think it is a false parallel because the

6 motivation of the Chief Constable was to protect his own

7 organisation. The alleged motivation of most who --

8 against whom Rosemary Nelson and others had complained

9 was of somewhat different quality.

10 Q. Thank you. Now, you were engaged in protecting your

11 organisation; he, as you say, was engaged in protecting

12 his. You took a judgment, didn't you, about this time

13 that you needed to avoid the collision and that is what

14 led, isn't it, to the joint statement which followed

15 shortly after this on 28 March?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And we can see that at RNI-228-051 (displayed), and this

18 is the statement, and what came with it, as I understand

19 it, was, as it were, a short form version of

20 Commander Mulvihill's report. Is that correct?

21 A. Yes, yes.

22 Q. I don't want to get into the detail of this or of your

23 later documents, but can I just ask you this: can you

24 understand how this joint statement between you on the

25 one hand and the Chief Constable on the other might have

 

 

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1 been viewed as less than supportive of Geralyn McNally?

2 A. Yes, I can see how that might be interpreted. If I may,

3 I'll explain some of the process that we engaged in.

4 Q. Please do.

5 A. I think we worked -- Commander Mulvihill come over -- it

6 was Sunday, I'm not quite sure of the date, but

7 I remember it was a Sunday. Commander Mulvihill came

8 over from London. I think we worked from about 7 pm

9 until 2 am.

10 Now, I might be -- actually I have often been

11 accused of being a Machiavellian semanticist, but part

12 of that was a struggle with expression, a struggle with

13 language. We were both keen to not make admissions of

14 shortcomings in respect of our own organisations, but

15 were equally keen to draw some sort of line under it in

16 the public arena and it was -- so my sense was that this

17 document satisfied the institutional need to mend

18 bridges, but -- and as you see, and even sort of reading

19 it in recent days, I can see that it also -- I also in

20 the process created space for the debate to continue in

21 terms of the -- what I saw was the serious disservice

22 that had been done to Rosemary Nelson in the earlier

23 handling of the complaints.

24 Q. But can you understand how one interpretation of this

25 statement and the report that came with it was

 

 

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1 effectively that Geralyn McNally's criticisms about

2 which, as you told us, she felt strongly, were

3 essentially swept under the carpet?

4 A. I can see how -- well, yes, I can see how that might be

5 the case. A straight answer to a straight question.

6 What I would offer in supplementary terms is an

7 explanation that, rather than sweep it under the carpet,

8 my aspiration was to set it aside from the

9 cross-institutional tension, at least in the public

10 arena. And to that extent it succeeded. But to the

11 extent that -- and I come back to what I have said

12 earlier: trying to manage these tensions was extremely

13 difficult, and constantly one was being sacrificed in

14 the name of the other.

15 And again, I'm not certain of the chronology of

16 this, but I would hope about or around this time the

17 security measures for Geralyn McNally were either in

18 place or being put in place.

19 Q. Now, can I just move on to the next part of the story

20 and your final contribution in a sense to the Mulvihill

21 saga, which is the commentary or critique. Can we look,

22 please, at the minutes of the 23 April meeting of the

23 ICPC, RNI-222-025 (displayed)? At paragraph 7.2 on

24 RNI-222-027 (displayed), you tell the meeting in the

25 second sentence that:

 

 

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1 "The Chief Constable had made the report available

2 to [you] ..."

3 That is Commander Mulvihill's report:

4 "... and had asked [you] for [your] comments."

5 And you say in your statement that you were prompted

6 to draft this lengthy critique as a reality check?

7 A. Hm-mm.

8 Q. What do you mean by that, please?

9 A. Well, it is stepping back -- your statement that -- the

10 joint statement with the Chief Constable was, to use

11 your phrase, sweeping the Geralyn McNally/the Nelson

12 case under the carpet. I never had any intention of

13 doing that and this was a return to a focus on that.

14 Having satisfied the institutional safety, I turned

15 my attention to the fundamentals of the investigation

16 and the fundamentals of the Rosemary Nelson complaints

17 investigation.

18 Q. The result of that was that you received a response from

19 the Chief Constable, if we look at RNI-228-218

20 (displayed), when this was sent to him, I think on

21 4 May, to the effect that you seemed to have shifted

22 your position -- you see the 7 May he responds -- sorry,

23 the letter you sent was 20 April.

24 A. Hm-mm.

25 Q. "I find it difficult to reconcile your approach in these

 

 

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1 documents with that agreed by us both throughout this

2 matter to date. When I have examined them in detail and

3 had the benefit of Commander Mulvihill's views, I will

4 write further. In the meantime, can you, please,

5 confirm that nothing in this documentation affects the

6 certificates of satisfaction issued by the supervising

7 member in respect of Commander Mulvihill's

8 investigations."

9 So what the Chief Constable is saying to you is you

10 have entered into a joint statement with me, we agreed

11 on an approach, you issued your certificate of

12 satisfaction. Why are you now launching into

13 a 30/40-page critique of the original investigation?

14 A. There is nothing in the joint statement -- I was, again,

15 careful with the wording of the joint statement. There

16 is nothing in the joint statement that precluded further

17 critique of the detail. I mean, that was the essence in

18 which I replied to the Chief Constable.

19 It did not in any way undermine the Mulvihill

20 investigation of the complaints. The certificate of

21 satisfaction was confirmed, and well confirmed. It was

22 an extremely professional piece of work. And the -- the

23 issues but -- nonetheless remained. And I was not

24 prepared to walk away from those issues having satisfied

25 the institutional peace, and I think it was an important

 

 

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1 task that I undertook at the time. And, of course, by

2 then the case having been over, I then had full access

3 because the files were in archive rather than in the

4 possession of the supervising member.

5 So it was only around that time that I actually had

6 formal access to all the documentation in the case.

7 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the Secretary of State's

8 reaction was concerned, because you sent the commentary

9 to her as well, you referred to her letter -- and it is

10 at RNI-228-246 -- you referred to it in an earlier

11 letter. This is her letter of 17 May:

12 "Thank you for yours of the 4th ..."

13 Which is the letter you sent with your commentary, I

14 think:

15 "... replying on behalf of Adam Ingram to whom you

16 wrote in the same terms. I'm grateful to you for the

17 commentary, which was clearly a major undertaking. It

18 raises a number of important points."

19 Mr Donnelly, I would like you to look at the next

20 paragraph because here you return to the issue we

21 discussed before about Geralyn McNally. And the

22 specific part I would like to ask you about is the

23 rumour mongering reference, do you see, four lines from

24 the end?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. "This is simply not acceptable. I can understand your

2 concerns over this. If there's anything Adam Ingram or

3 I can do, we will. I have not seen anything recently,

4 so let's hope the issue has run out of steam."

5 Can I take it that in addition to your conversation

6 with Mr Lindsay, your meeting with the Secretary of

7 State and the senior officials, as far as you were

8 aware, both the Secretary of State and the Minister,

9 Adam Ingram, were alive to this problem and involved in

10 trying to put a stop to it?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just turn very briefly to the

13 commentary because it, of course, speaks for itself. We

14 can see it at RNI-228-159 (displayed), and you have told

15 us why it was you drafted it.

16 As I understand it, this was very much your work.

17 Is that a fair comment?

18 A. Yes, I accept responsibility for it, yes. Yes, I did.

19 Q. And it was based on your review of the files?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And, therefore, it has, if you don't mind me putting it

22 this way, the disadvantage of being at least one remove

23 from the investigation itself?

24 A. It has both the disadvantage of being one removed and

25 the advantage of being one removed.

 

 

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1 Q. Indeed, but as I understand it, you did not have any

2 assistance or input into this from Geralyn McNally; is

3 that correct?

4 A. That's my recollection. I may have had a brief

5 discussion with her. I had fuller discussion with

6 Jennifer Mitchell who was the staff member who was

7 working with Geralyn, and actually one of the things

8 that triggered this, from my memory, is that Jennifer

9 Mitchell drew my attention to a discrepancy in the

10 Mulvihill documentation, which prompted my request for

11 the full files and my going through them -- with

12 microscopic detail.

13 Q. Is this discrepancy the matter in relation to one of the

14 interviews that you refer to in your statement?

15 A. Yes, that is actually the conversation which triggered

16 my --

17 Q. That is the only specific matter on the commentary I

18 wanted to take up with you.

19 Can we look at your statement at paragraph 33,

20 RNI-804-069 (displayed)? Do you see, "A small but

21 significant ..."?

22 A. Yes, hm-mm.

23 Q. And the point you were concerned about is whether the

24 interview notes matched the tape of the interview which

25 had been made for the Mulvihill interviews?

 

 

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1 A. That's right, yes.

2 Q. So far as the Inquiry is concerned, of course things

3 have moved on, and the issue, as I understand it, was

4 whether or not the investigating officer had asked P121

5 for a statement. P121 has told this Inquiry that indeed

6 he was asked for a statement, and the investigating

7 officer has told the Inquiry that he did not ask P121 to

8 prepare a statement. So, so far as the Inquiry is

9 concerned, certainly, we have moved on from that point.

10 So far as the other comments and criticisms you make

11 in this commentary are concerned, would it be fair to

12 say that this is very much your own take on the matter?

13 A. Well, I'm the author of it.

14 Q. Indeed.

15 A. So --

16 Q. But you didn't have lengthy discussions with any of the

17 actual participants, whether it be Geralyn McNally or,

18 of course, on the other hand, the investigating officer,

19 P146?

20 A. No, I was working from the documents of record solely.

21 Q. And forming your own views and conclusions based upon

22 the written material?

23 A. Drawing inferences from the evidence that was contained

24 therein, yes.

25 Q. Thank you. Now, I have a number of miscellaneous

 

 

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1 questions which I'm going to ask you, if I may, and I'm

2 sorry to jump around.

3 A. That's okay.

4 Q. The first is that you take up an issue in your

5 statement, RNI-804-070, paragraph 37 (displayed), about

6 some of the conclusions reached by the investigating

7 officer under the heading of "Reliability". Do you

8 remember that?

9 A. Yes, I remember it clearly, yes.

10 Q. And I don't think I need to show you the passage because

11 you have essentially quoted it -- indeed, I think you

12 referred to it in your evidence yesterday -- and you

13 clearly took exception to the comments he made there

14 about her reliability and, indeed, the comments about

15 propaganda, et cetera?

16 A. Hm-mm.

17 Q. The questions I have for you are these: didn't you think

18 it fair, given that there was a paragraph in the

19 standard form report about reliability, for the

20 investigating officer to comment as to whether any of

21 the witnesses in the complaint would be prepared to come

22 forward to assist in any proceedings which followed the

23 investigation?

24 A. I think there is a difference between what might be

25 considered reasonable speculation, but it would be

 

 

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1 purely speculative. But there are a multiplicity of

2 reasons why people would not come forward in order to

3 give witness statements in a complaints investigation,

4 all of them well-known, well rehearsed. And I think

5 that -- and it would be a commonplace occurrence that --

6 in a large percentage of cases some or all of the

7 witnesses or complainants would not cooperate.

8 But to then infer from that that there was this

9 orchestrated, international campaign against the RUC

10 and, by implication, that Mrs Nelson was somehow or

11 other a party to that is, to my view, gratuitous and

12 absolutely without any confirming foundation.

13 Q. You say specifically in your statement that the

14 investigating officer should have had the professional

15 maturity to acknowledge his prejudices?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Earlier in your statement in paragraph 32, RNI-804-069

18 (displayed), you criticise Commander Mulvihill for

19 forming a positive view about Chief Inspector P146 on

20 the basis of a very short interview?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Wouldn't it be fair to say that in forming your own view

23 about P146 and his prejudices you were falling into the

24 same, or possibly a worse, error because you hadn't even

25 had the opportunity of a short meeting with him?

 

 

25

 

1 A. I was not in the position to have a short meeting with

2 him.

3 Q. Indeed. Shouldn't that have made you hold back from

4 forming a judgment as to whether or not he was

5 prejudiced?

6 A. The statements contained in the file weren't prejudicial

7 statements. As I could interpret it, there was no other

8 interpretation available.

9 These were not what our clinical colleagues would

10 call clinical musings that were off the record, and that

11 would perhaps have been acceptable. But this was

12 committing to paper a -- what appeared to be a very

13 strongly held set of beliefs, which in my interpretation

14 were reflected in the superficiality with which the

15 investigation was conducted and, initially, the

16 trivialisation into which the complaints were being

17 classified as incivility.

18 Q. You say he should have removed himself from the

19 investigation. Of course, neither Geralyn McNally nor

20 anyone else at your organisation suggested that he

21 should do that or be removed from the investigation at

22 any point, did they?

23 A. No, they didn't, and I think whenever one looks back on

24 that, at any point in the process of this case -- and,

25 again, it is to do with the powers that the Commission

 

 

26

 

1 had but seldom exercised -- the supervising member had

2 the power to first of all veto the appointment of any

3 nominated investigating officer and the power --

4 effectively the power to have them removed. And that

5 option was one which had not been followed, but one

6 which -- I did not have the authority to do it, nor was

7 I privy to the detail of the day-to-day problems in the

8 case until effectively the file was closed.

9 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you these questions which come, I

10 think, after the events we have been talking about?

11 Do you recall a meeting between yourself,

12 Geralyn McNally and some American delegates, perhaps

13 from the Lawyers Alliance, including Tom Burke and

14 Walter Pollard in about July 1999?

15 A. I have no firm recollection of that, no.

16 Q. Suggestions being made that at a meeting of that kind

17 someone said -- perhaps you -- that the Mulvihill Report

18 was a monstrous libel. Would you have spoken about it

19 in those terms?

20 A. I would not. I have no recollection of the meeting, but

21 I know my own style and regardless of my sentiments, I

22 would have chosen my language more carefully than that.

23 Q. Thank you. Now, I have finally some questions about the

24 Special Rapporteur and his visit, which you deal with in

25 your statement at paragraphs 16 to 18. That is

 

 

27

 

1 RNI-804-063 (displayed).

2 It looks -- trying to summarise this -- as though

3 you felt that he did not understand the complaints

4 system that you had to operate in Northern Ireland. Is

5 that a fair summary?

6 A. It is. This meeting was a meeting which was requested

7 by Cumaraswamy. If I could characterise the encounter,

8 he was doing an awful lot more talking than he was

9 listening and didn't seem able to grasp the sort of

10 constitutional status of the Commission.

11 Q. Did you, in summary, feel that he unfairly criticised

12 you for the flaws in your system?

13 A. I felt he unfairly criticised us for the flaws in the

14 system. I think, more fundamentally, I know, and from

15 some of the material which was produced subsequently,

16 that he failed to understand much of the contextual

17 dynamics of the whole situation.

18 It strikes me that -- it was a lengthy and very

19 difficult meeting because the man had arrived with

20 a given set of beliefs. Anything which confirmed them

21 he would listen to, anything which challenged them he

22 dismissed.

23 Q. So you didn't find him, then, open to what he was

24 actually being told?

25 A. He wasn't open to the facts, let alone the opinions.

 

 

28

 

1 Q. He came with preconceived notions?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. In your view?

4 A. Yes, yes.

5 Q. You say in paragraph 18 -- that is the next page,

6 RNI-804-064 (displayed) -- that you remember

7 communicating to the Secretary of State -- do you see at

8 the bottom of the page here:

9 "... that we needed to be seen to be doing the right

10 thing and that prompt action needed to be taken."

11 Can I just ask you, who was the "we" in that

12 sentence? Do you mean the ICPC?

13 A. Yes, I would have given an account of this meeting to

14 the Commission and certainly the Chief Executive would

15 have been with me at this meeting. But, yes -- my

16 memory is that that reflected a consensus within the

17 Commission.

18 Q. And how did you communicate this to the Secretary of

19 State, please? Can you remember?

20 A. I don't remember.

21 Q. By telephone? Through the signalling or more formally?

22 A. It might have been a briefing note from the Chief

23 Executive to the NIO. I honestly -- I don't remember

24 how we did that.

25 Q. And the way it is put here:

 

 

29

 

1 "... we needed to be seen to be doing the right

2 thing ..." does that suggest that you were intending to

3 do some window dressing here?

4 A. The essence of that element of the statement is that if

5 you have a situation where -- which is high profile,

6 which is highly politicised, which is high risk, it is

7 contingent, even more so than in more normal

8 circumstances, to cross every "t", dot every "i", to be

9 meticulous in the investigative processes and in the

10 reporting of them. And I think that I was concerned

11 that perhaps collectively we weren't doing that.

12 Q. Then you say at the end:

13 "I don't think anything was done, certainly not to

14 my knowledge."

15 What did you suggest should be done?

16 A. I would have anticipated some communication back, either

17 from the Secretary of State or through her officials.

18 We received none. But having said that, I now see in

19 the papers that there was a fairly active communication

20 going on within the NIO and with UN officials and with

21 the embassy in Washington, et cetera. But that was

22 a communication from which we were excluded.

23 Q. And also communication from and to the Law Society in

24 relation to the specific difficulties of lawyers?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

30

 

1 Q. Those are the questions I had for you, Mr Donnelly.

2 Is there anything that you would like to add? Any

3 matter that hasn't yet been covered, which you would

4 like to mention to the Panel?

5 A. No, I think your leading me through the statement has

6 given me ample opportunity to make the contribution that

7 I think I can usefully make.

8 I clearly have my own sets of beliefs and I am aware

9 that -- perhaps you lawyers are even more aware of that

10 than I am -- sometimes you get closer to the truth than

11 you ever do to the evidence.

12 I believe that had the investigation of these

13 complaints been better managed by both the RUC and the

14 Commission, it would have been a more satisfactory

15 outcome. My belief -- and it is purely a belief -- is

16 that the mishandling of this investigation had no

17 relevance to what ultimately happened to

18 Rosemary Nelson. But that is a belief and certainly we

19 have to accept our part in the failings. I have to

20 accept my part in the failings.

21 Perhaps I could have been more energetic in trying

22 to balance the conflicting interests, but I managed them

23 on the day as I saw best.

24 Q. Thank you.

25 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN

 

 

31

 

1 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Could I take you back, Mr Donnelly,

2 to the general way in which you worked within the

3 Commission? Sort of really right back to where we

4 started yesterday.

5 You mentioned that you were part-time. Can you give

6 me some indication of how much time the Commission

7 business took, how many days a week roughly, or did it

8 vary? Just a general picture?

9 A. It was part-time in the very early days, which was

10 two days per week. Very soon after that -- I honestly

11 don't remember the dates, but one month/two months after

12 the Secretary of State extended that to a full-time.

13 So from a matter of weeks after appointment it

14 became full-time, much to the distress of my

15 Vice Chancellor at the time, and it continued full-time

16 up until April 1999, and my term of office should have

17 ended in April 1999. The Secretary of State asked me to

18 remain for several more months on a part-time basis to

19 facilitate the transfer to the Ombudsman's office.

20 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right, thank you. And then you

21 talked yesterday about the way in which cases were

22 handled by members of the Commission and that there were

23 no sort of set patterns or case management systems and

24 that people basically did what seemed to them to be

25 right in the context of the case that they were looking

 

 

32

 

1 at.

2 You referred to looking at closed files and, indeed,

3 this morning you have talked about looking at the files

4 that have particularly interested us after they had been

5 archived. I wondered, how regular was this looking at

6 closed files, apart from the ones that we have been

7 discussing? Was that a sort of basic practice of yours,

8 and how much?

9 A. It would have been, and often enough the Chief Executive

10 or his deputy would have -- I wanted to get some sort of

11 insight, some sort of access into how the organisation

12 was functioning. And with regularity the Chief

13 Executive or his deputy would bring me archived --

14 recently completed cases, which were illustrative of

15 some of the processes, some of the challenges, some of

16 the difficulties that there were in the supervisor task

17 and also in managing the uncertainties around the

18 complaints system in its totality.

19 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Could you give me a sort of order of

20 magnitude of how many such closed files you might have

21 looked at?

22 A. A couple of week maybe, two or three a week maybe, not

23 much more than that.

24 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Thank you.

25 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

 

 

33

 

1 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Mr Donnelly, when asked by Mr Phillips,

2 you said that any suggestion that there were

3 similarities between Rosemary Nelson and Miss McNally,

4 the situation they faced, was a false parallel, is your

5 term.

6 Even so, although the outcome was markedly

7 different, isn't it possible to recognise a situation

8 building which was remarkably similar: a very strong

9 personality, becoming a thorn in the side, a whispering

10 campaign to undermine not only the professional

11 integrity of the individual but the character of the

12 individual?

13 A. The distinction I was making was in two aspects. One

14 had to do with if one were to accept in totality the

15 allegations that had been made in respect of

16 Rosemary Nelson, that it represented a malicious attempt

17 to attack her personally and to bring harm to her

18 personally.

19 With Geralyn McNally, the motivation for those who

20 were campaigning against her, my interpretation of that

21 is they were primarily motivated by defending their own

22 institutional standing. Having said that, the

23 consequences could have been equally disastrous, yes.

24 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And I think Miss McNally was actually

25 offered protection, wasn't she, at the end of the day?

 

 

34

 

1 A. Yes, and had sort of various assets installed in her

2 home and in her vehicle, yes.

3 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So can I just put the point to you

4 again: do you recognise any similar situation building?

5 A. I recognised the potential disastrous outcome. I think

6 the dynamic leading towards that outcome would have been

7 different, and I think -- I mean, again, this is a very

8 personal view -- there is a difference between an active

9 conspiracy to commit murder and a sentiment which, in

10 the sort of Thomas a Beckett sentiment:

11 "Will no man rid me of this pestilence."

12 And I think that there are elements -- were elements

13 and perhaps still are in this society who would pick

14 that sentiment up as an endorsement for murderous

15 activity. And that was our concern: that it is not so

16 much that any of these people who were whispering would

17 in any way be part of a conspiracy to murder, but that

18 those who heard their whispers might see it as an

19 endorsement for their own murderous activity.

20 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I come on to the conversation you

21 had with Mr John Steele, Head of Security Branch, of the

22 NIO?

23 A. He was by that time retired.

24 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: He made a comment -- and excuse me for

25 paraphrasing here -- that Miss McNally's job was to

 

 

35

 

1 assist the police.

2 A. Yes.

3 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Does that suggest to you that the RUC

4 was an organisation not to be criticised?

5 A. That suggested to me that John Steele's perception of it

6 was that it was an organisation not to be criticised.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Was that a general perception around

8 the organisations that you worked with at that time?

9 A. This was my perception of the view that was taken, yes.

10 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: I appreciate this was an organisation

11 that you were coming into, and you were very helpful

12 yesterday in giving us a profile of the ICPC prior to

13 your arrival, and I think, as someone mentioned to you,

14 the NIO, some new members that would break the mould.

15 A. Hm-mm.

16 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Would it be fair to say, looking at the

17 profile of the ICPC at this time, that it would not be

18 unusual for the RUC to expect a rather benign

19 intervention in terms of supervision?

20 A. Well, absolutely, and it was reflected in the style and

21 performance of the organisation.

22 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: In your opinion, was there any way in

23 which a Catholic defence solicitor coming from

24 a Nationalist area could expect supervision from the

25 ICPC of any complaint that they would make to be

 

 

36

 

1 impartial?

2 A. You know -- I have come across some of the most

3 honourable and committed professionals encountered

4 within the ranks of the RUC. I think that the criticism

5 is -- would be unfair to say that this is a -- you know,

6 a blanket response that one could expect from

7 investigating officers.

8 What is fair to say is that the -- to

9 counter phrase -- the institutional sectarianism of the

10 organisation would have been a discouragement to many

11 people in the Nationalist community, either because it

12 was so alien to them or so alienating for them. And

13 there was -- particularly around that time, there was

14 evidence that even in the most extreme and overt --

15 apparently overt examples of police misconduct. If you

16 may indulge me, I will give you a two-minute

17 illustration of a particular case that was around at the

18 time.

19 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: No, I think you have more than answered

20 the point I made, thank you.

21 A. Okay.

22 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Prior to your arrival on the scene, how

23 do you think an independent body like the ICPC had got

24 itself into a situation where its decision-making

25 process was influenced by outside bodies?

 

 

37

 

1 A. Well, I think from its inception the design of the

2 organisation statute and particularly the paucity of

3 regulation and guidance, which would have moulded the

4 organisation, were either absent or deficient.

5 You match that against an appointments system which

6 pre-dated my appointment, whereby there was -- it was

7 based -- as a lot of public appointments in the UK

8 were -- on the good and the great sort of networks. And

9 the composition of the Commission in its earlier days up

10 until my arrival reflected that sort of profile.

11 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay, Mr Donnelly. Thank you very

12 much.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Donnelly, we are grateful for you coming

14 to us to give evidence and particularly for coming back

15 again today. Thank you very much.

16 We will adjourn now, I think until not before 11.

17 Is that right?

18 MR PHILLIPS: I think the witness may have to be slightly

19 later than that. What we will do, if we may, is as soon

20 as we find out that the witness is here and ready, then

21 we will let everyone know. So it won't be before 11.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Some time after 11.

23 MR PHILLIPS: Yes, thank you.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. We will adjourn until then.

25 (10.32 am)

 

 

38

 

1 (Short adjournment)

2 (12.00 pm)

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Currans, may we go through the checklist

4 with you, please, before the witness comes in?

5 Is the public area screen fully in place, locked and

6 the key secured?

7 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

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

9 screens closed?

10 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

12 and securely fastened?

13 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other then Inquiry personnel and

15 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

16 of this chamber?

17 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

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

19 the two witness cameras have been switch off and

20 shrouded?

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

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

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

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Bring the witness in, please.

25

 

 

39

 

1 A683 (affirmed)

2 Questions by MR SKELTON

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Please sit down. The cameras on the Panel,

4 Inquiry personnel and the Full Participants' legal

5 representatives may now be switched back on.

6 Yes, Mr Skelton?

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

8 as witness A683. Your statement can be found at

9 RNI-845-089. If I could have that on the screen, please

10 (displayed).

11 If we take that through to page RNI-845-100

12 (displayed), you can see your cipher number there and

13 the date, 22 April of this year; is that correct?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. I will start by asking you a few questions about your

16 background in the military.

17 It is right, I think, that you joined the Army in

18 1986?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And in the time that we are concerned about, you were on

21 your fourth tour of Northern Ireland?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. And the position which you occupied in 1997 was regional

24 military intelligence officer for the 3rd Infantry

25 Brigade?

 

 

40

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. What rank were you in that position?

3 A. I was a major.

4 Q. And you left Northern Ireland, I think, in October 1999.

5 Is that correct?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And thereafter, you left the Army a year later in the

8 year 2000?

9 A. Yes, that's correct.

10 Q. Were you a major when you left the Army?

11 A. I was.

12 Q. During your earlier tours, can you summarise for us what

13 you were involved with?

14 A. I was an infantry officer by profession. I conducted

15 three tours, one in South Armagh, as a platoon commander

16 in 1987. Then one in west Belfast in 1989/1990. Both

17 were short tours, four and a half months.

18 I then spent a two-year period in Omagh as a company

19 commander.

20 Q. Did you have any knowledge or did you pick up any

21 knowledge during that period of activities in North

22 Armagh?

23 A. Peripheral knowledge.

24 Q. What kind of things?

25 A. Inasmuch as you see what is going on across the

 

 

41

 

1 Province. You are not just solely focussed on the patch

2 that you are in. But it was peripheral to the location

3 that I had served in before.

4 Q. Did you, for example, pick up anything that would have

5 been useful for your subsequent position as regional

6 military intelligence officer?

7 A. Everything that I was doing on the ground as an infantry

8 officer assisted my position as an intelligence officer

9 guiding troops on the ground.

10 Q. In what way?

11 A. I had an understanding of the effect that overt groups

12 on the ground could achieve and what they were capable

13 of doing.

14 Q. As regional military intelligence officer, were you part

15 of what's known locally at the "Green Army"?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Did you have any previous intelligence background? It

18 seems from your previous description that you didn't.

19 A. No, I didn't.

20 Q. The areas you covered, I think, as you say in

21 paragraph 2 of your statement on page RNI-845-089

22 (displayed), were Down, Armagh and Tyrone; is that

23 correct?

24 A. East Tyrone, yes.

25 Q. Roughly how many soldiers were you covering in terms of

 

 

42

 

1 your brief?

2 A. I had a direct reports of about 20 soldiers reporting to

3 me through a chain of command.

4 Q. Can you give me an idea of how that chain of command was

5 organised?

6 A. I had three -- sorry, two infantry and one artillery

7 captain reporting directly to me. The two infantry

8 officers split to cover what we called a north and south

9 patch within the area of Down, East Tyrone and Armagh.

10 The artillery officer covered the administrative side of

11 the G2 operation at brigade level. I also had a weapons

12 intelligence officer reporting to me that was commanded

13 by an officer.

14 Q. How many soldiers roughly were in the brigade that you

15 were part of?

16 A. It varied from 3,000 to upwards of 8,000/9,000 at the

17 height of the Drumcree protest.

18 Q. Were you effectively the regional military intelligence

19 officer for that brigade or were there other colleagues

20 of yours that covered other aspects of it?

21 A. I was the regional military intelligence officer for

22 all, over troops operating in the counties we have

23 mentioned.

24 Q. You say in paragraph 3 of your statement that you were

25 the interface between the intelligence gathering

 

 

43

 

1 organisations and the brigade commander. By those

2 organisations, presumably you mean RUC Special Branch,

3 the Security Service and the military's own intelligence

4 gathering?

5 A. Yes, absolutely.

6 Q. And would I be right to say that your principal tasks

7 were to counter the local paramilitary threat to the

8 soldiers in your brigade and counter paramilitary threat

9 to national security?

10 A. Absolutely.

11 Q. Presumably it follows from that that your focus in

12 relation to the threat to your own troops was Republican

13 terrorism?

14 A. That was the primary focus, but, you know, we were very

15 aware of the Loyalist threat within the area.

16 Q. Were the Loyalists covered principally because of the

17 counter intelligence issue; in other words you were

18 looking at a collusion role as well?

19 A. Not principally. The Loyalists were covered because

20 they posed a threat to the security of people -- the

21 population within mid-Ulster and further afield.

22 Q. What sort of threat did they pose potentially to your

23 troops themselves?

24 A. Very limited.

25 Q. Could you expand on that, please?

 

 

44

 

1 A. Their history shows that their targeting was against

2 people they perceived to be Republican terrorists and

3 the Republican community rather than against the

4 security forces on or off duty.

5 Q. Thank you. We will come on in due course to more

6 specific knowledge about the Republican and Loyalist

7 groups, but I would like to focus first of all just more

8 generally on your role. Was it primarily an analytical

9 and advisory role?

10 A. Absolutely. I was there to analyse all the material,

11 wherever it came from, that came into the brigade

12 intelligence area and advise the brigade commander on

13 what I thought that meant the threat was to his

14 soldiers.

15 Q. What rank was the brigade commander?

16 A. Brigadier.

17 Q. You mention in paragraph 6 of your statement, which is

18 on page RNI-845-090 (displayed), that you used the

19 system known as CAISTER, which I think is an early

20 prototype of the MACER system. What was that used for?

21 A. Intelligence collation.

22 Q. By whom?

23 A. By a variety of people from RUC Special Branch through

24 to sub-unit-level intelligence cells. And basically it

25 was a database into which material could be put and

 

 

45

 

1 extracted obviously.

2 Q. And what sort of access did you have to that system?

3 A. I had an access level. I must admit I didn't use it

4 frequently because I delegated the task of retrieving

5 data from the system to staff.

6 Q. And was your access level at level 13?

7 A. I believe it was.

8 Q. And you also mention overleaf, on page RNI-845-091

9 (displayed), that you used paper files still at this

10 time, and we are talking really from 1997 onwards. Is

11 that correct?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. What determined what went on to the paper files and what

14 was on the CAISTER system?

15 A. Every effort was made to put the information into

16 CAISTER, but it was a fairly clunky database and,

17 therefore, some documents, such as intelligence

18 assessments that I produced myself, would be held on

19 hard copy and file, as opposed to entered into the

20 system.

21 Q. When you were working towards countering particular

22 threats to the soldiers, how would you receive that

23 threat?

24 A. It could be from a variety of sources. It could be

25 analysis of the information that is in CAISTER that we

 

 

46

 

1 have been discussing, through to much more direct

2 telephone calls from RUC Special Branch indicating that

3 they were aware of an imminent or an immediate threat.

4 Q. Focusing on the first of those, how would you analyse

5 a threat coming out from the CAISTER system?

6 A. My staff were working to input and analyse the data that

7 was on the system and they would put a series of events,

8 that may have seemed unconnected when they first

9 appeared, together to say, "We believe this is

10 a scenario that might be developing."

11 Q. And if you came to that conclusion or you received

12 a similar briefing directly from Special Branch, what

13 would you then do?

14 A. I think the two are very different. If we analysed

15 information and came to the conclusion that something

16 might be developing, I would almost certainly have

17 turned to Special Branch and said, "This is the set of

18 data points, this is what we believe, can you confirm

19 it? Is there anything you have got to add to this?"

20 If the information was coming from RUC

21 Special Branch, it was much more likely to be correct.

22 Q. So there was a process of validation first of all?

23 A. Absolutely.

24 Q. After you had validated a threat, what was your task

25 then?

 

 

47

 

1 A. To advise the brigade commander on the overt deployment

2 of troops to counter that threat.

3 Q. Can you give us an example of that and how it worked?

4 A. If we, from all these data points, decided that we

5 believed an increased threat of some sort of attack was

6 coming from the south to north, I would advise the

7 brigade commander that we would probably want to put

8 troops in various shapes, foot patrols on the ground,

9 vehicle patrols, airborne patrols, into an area to

10 interdict that threat.

11 Q. This was a threat against whom?

12 A. Any threat -- we would respond to the threat whoever it

13 was against.

14 Q. So it was a threat not simply against your own troops,

15 but it was against the local population --

16 A. Town centres or the mainland.

17 Q. That is what you mean when, I think, you use the phrase

18 "retargeting assets" in paragraph 8? Is that what you

19 meant? That you would put troops in an area effectively

20 to protect and minimise the threat?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. You also mention threat warnings in paragraph 5. When

23 you mentioned before about Special Branch, for example,

24 calling you and saying there is a possible threat, is

25 that what you meant?

 

 

48

 

1 A. That was the most pure form of them doing so. They

2 would issue a form of words to the military indicating

3 the threat and it would be up to my staff or myself to

4 decide how that information was disseminated.

5 Q. Now, did you probe behind that form of words to find out

6 exactly what they meant or did you have to accept it at

7 face value and work from that?

8 A. It very much depended on the situation, how much time

9 there was, if there was any -- if we weren't sure by

10 what it meant, we would immediately question to get

11 clarification, but we were not saying, "Prove this

12 information is right." We were just saying, "We don't

13 quite understand what you mean by that. Can you confirm

14 that is correct?"

15 Q. How did that process of clarification take place?

16 A. It would almost invariably be telephone calls between

17 the duty intelligence officer and the Regional Head of

18 Special Branch or the subdivisional officers.

19 Q. And after you had gone through a process of validation,

20 there is a decision that is made on how to distribute

21 a threat warning, as I think you describe in your

22 statement?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Who is that makes that decision?

25 A. The duty G2 office in brigade headquarters.

 

 

49

 

1 Q. And once that decision has been made, where does it

2 go to?

3 A. Sorry, where does the information go to?

4 Q. Yes.

5 A. It is distributed to the units and sub-units that he

6 decided should get that information.

7 Q. Who then are deployed in whatever way is proportionate

8 to the threat?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. You also mention, I think at paragraph 10, intelligence

11 assessments. Now, these, I think, are things that you

12 are producing, are they?

13 A. At most levels, so sub-unit, unit, brigade level. The

14 intelligence officers would collate the information that

15 they had available to them and produce a formal

16 assessment of what they believed that -- what threat

17 that information suggested.

18 Q. Could you give us an idea of exactly what information

19 feeds into that assessment?

20 A. All information that was available to it.

21 Q. Would it, for example, include patrol reports?

22 A. If they were deemed relevant, absolutely.

23 Q. Would it include military surveillance?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Would that be overt and covert surveillance?

 

 

50

 

1 A. At my level and below, it would be overt.

2 Q. Would it include the more sanitised version of the

3 Special Branch intelligence?

4 A. That would form part of it, yes.

5 Q. That presumably would have been derived from the CAISTER

6 system, would it?

7 A. Yes, some of it would have come from that. Patrol

8 reports would have come from patrols on the ground and

9 a certain amount of the information would have come from

10 the continuous dialogue that was going on between

11 myself, my staff and RUC Special Branch.

12 Q. Did you know from your general experience what was

13 permissible to put into an intelligence assessment given

14 that some of it is received informally from

15 Special Branch?

16 A. Absolutely, and if there was any doubt, I would clarify,

17 check with Special Branch.

18 Q. In paragraph 11, you mention intelligence files. What

19 did they contain?

20 A. They were generally secret or classified files

21 containing the reports and documentation that my

22 department produced.

23 Q. Did they contain information about individuals, for

24 example?

25 A. Some of it would have pertained to individuals, yes.

 

 

51

 

1 Q. What sort of individuals?

2 A. Those of intelligence interest.

3 Q. And I presume you mean from that paramilitary suspects?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. We will come, I think, when we look at some specific

6 paramilitary suspects, to look at documents called "pen

7 pictures". Are those the type of things that would be

8 included in your filing system?

9 A. I cannot remember detail, whether they were on CAISTER

10 or hard copy in the filing system, but they would have

11 been within those two realms, yes.

12 Q. Who had access to these files?

13 A. Access to the CAISTER system was obviously controlled by

14 passwords and security layers, and access to hard copy

15 information was controlled by physical security measures

16 and -- into the office and locked filing cabinets and --

17 you know, there was control.

18 Q. I'm trying to establish, really, if someone had a query

19 about a particular paramilitary, for example, was the

20 paper file system a sort of library of received

21 knowledge that you could go back to as a reference?

22 A. You were more likely to find that information on the

23 CAISTER database.

24 Q. And one of your officers then would have interrogated

25 that database using the usual search criteria?

 

 

52

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. What was the brigadier's involvement in responding to

3 issues of threats communicated to you or that you

4 derived from your own assessments?

5 A. I had a very close relationship to the brigadier and

6 access at all times that I needed.

7 I think that built a very trusting relationship, but

8 basically I told him everything I was aware of and

9 everything I perceived to be of concern.

10 Q. So it was a comprehensive briefing from you in relation

11 to those sorts of issues, was it?

12 A. There was a constant dialogue, daily briefings of what

13 was going on, and then as situations developed, there

14 would be more immediate conversations with me picking up

15 the phone and speaking to him or walking around to his

16 office to brief him on things that were developing.

17 Q. Was it always his decision ultimately to redeploy troops

18 in response to threats?

19 A. Ultimately, it was his decision.

20 Q. If you received a threat from your own analysis of your

21 intelligence about an individual in the community, how

22 would you go about responding to that?

23 A. The first thing I would do would be to speak to RUC

24 Special Branch to ask what sort of response they wanted.

25 Q. And did you ever have occasion to do that?

 

 

53

 

1 A. Yes, but it was never specific. It wasn't a case of us

2 receiving intelligence that there is a threat to this

3 individual unless that individual was a known suspect.

4 If it was a general member of the public, it would

5 be -- we would probably receive information at my level

6 that suggested there was a threat to an individual

7 within a geographic area, and that would -- my response

8 to that would be to discuss with the regional

9 Special Branch, or the divisional office, what sort of

10 response they wanted.

11 Q. Was it for them to order a response, if at all, from the

12 military, or if not, to deal with it themselves?

13 A. It depended entirely on the situation. Sometimes they

14 would want an overt military presence within an area,

15 and sometimes they wanted it out of the way.

16 Q. How did your work feed into the monthly intelligence

17 meetings and Headquarters Northern Ireland or HQNI?

18 A. We would have monthly meetings where myself and my

19 counterparts from the other two brigade areas would

20 provide verbal briefs of what we had witnessed in our

21 areas and what we believed that meant.

22 Q. And what kind of issues did you brief on in those sorts

23 of meetings, which are presumably at a pretty high

24 level?

25 A. Yes, they are a fairly high level. It was a little --

 

 

54

 

1 some of it tactical, I suppose, but mainly strategic

2 threat that we perceived developing in the environment.

3 It was a useful forum to understand what concerned other

4 people.

5 Q. Again, I think it is quite helpful for the Inquiry to

6 have some form of example of that, if you can?

7 A. In my time in South Region or 3 Brigade, the primary

8 concern was Republican dissident vehicle-borne IED

9 attacks that were moving from South Armagh, north. That

10 affected my patch, but it also affected Lisburn and

11 Belfast. We would discuss in detail how we thought that

12 was developing.

13 Q. And are these meetings attended by Special Branch

14 officers?

15 A. Not to my recollection, no.

16 Q. But presumably they would have had some engagement with

17 those sorts of issues themselves?

18 A. Absolutely, but that engagement was going on between

19 myself and the regional head of Special Branch and his

20 divisional officers. And at Headquarters

21 Northern Ireland level, I assume it was going on to the

22 headquarters of the RUC.

23 Q. You state at paragraph 18 of your statement, which is on

24 page RNI-845-093 (displayed), that you had a role in

25 counter intelligence, in addition to the threats side,

 

 

55

 

1 which we have already discussed.

2 What type of allegations of collusion did you

3 encounter and have to deal with?

4 A. They tended to feed back from the ground through RUC

5 Special Branch that they had a concern that information

6 was leaking from the military into the community. And

7 there were two or three occasions during my time with

8 3 Brigade that those concerns were raised by the RUC.

9 Q. Without naming anyone in particular, would you explain

10 what those examples were?

11 A. The RUC or human sources on the ground were picking up

12 comment about military intention or things that were

13 going to go on in the future, and our concern was that

14 that was leaking from units and, I have to say, from

15 Royal Irish units who lived within the community, back

16 on to the ground.

17 Q. So you are saying the local soldiers?

18 A. Yes, because they lived within these communities, within

19 mid-Ulster especially, whereas the units that were doing

20 short tours lived in barracks and didn't have the sort

21 of social interaction with the community that existed

22 for Royal Irish soldiers.

23 Q. So each of the instances that you are adverting were to

24 do with people that were working and living in the

25 community?

 

 

56

 

1 A. Absolutely.

2 Q. You mentioned information. Was that information only

3 about military operations or was it also about

4 intelligence that may have emanated from Special Branch?

5 A. I would like to think it was only about military

6 operations because part of my role was to sift

7 intelligence that was coming from Special Branch to

8 ensure that people in that position couldn't leak

9 damaging material back into the community. There was

10 a filter mechanism.

11 Q. So the troops on the ground wouldn't necessarily have

12 known they had any Special Branch intelligence to leak?

13 A. That was part of the aim, yes.

14 Q. What about issues like allowing the movement of suspects

15 to occur more freely than could otherwise occur? For

16 example, troops obviously have checkpoints throughout

17 this period and stop regularly paramilitary suspects.

18 Did any issue arise about people being allowed free

19 passage who shouldn't have been?

20 A. It was a constant requirement for us to allow covert

21 operations to occur within the area as required, and at

22 times to do that we used very unsubtle methods by just

23 denying areas to overt troops, and occasionally we would

24 use much more subtle methods by ensuring we tasked

25 assets that were on the ground to a certain area,

 

 

57

 

1 clearing other areas for covert troops to operate or

2 police to operate in.

3 Q. Sorry to stop you. That is a slightly different issue

4 from the one I am trying to ask you about.

5 Really I was trying to focus more on potential

6 collusion, and one of the scenarios I was putting to you

7 is whether or not the troops could allow the free

8 movement of paramilitary groups to whom they may be

9 sympathetic, when otherwise they should have stopped

10 them?

11 A. It is feasible that that could occur, but I would say it

12 is very complicated to realistically put that together.

13 Q. And it is not anything that came to your attention,

14 is it?

15 A. No, never.

16 Q. What about more active collusive activity?

17 Hypothetically, for example, the provision of training

18 or active assistance in paramilitary activity: Did

19 those sorts of things ever come to your attention?

20 A. No, neither of those.

21 Q. Turning back to the example which you did give, which

22 was about information to do with future military

23 deployment, how would that have come to your attention?

24 A. As I said, through human sources reporting that that was

25 leaking from soldiers back to the community. So the RUC

 

 

58

 

1 Special Branch would come to me and say, "We have

2 a concern that this is information that is out there."

3 Q. What did you then do?

4 A. My job was primarily in control of information to ensure

5 that, you know, if we had a concern over a unit that we

6 were very sure that we didn't provide them with any

7 information that could be damaging. The investigation

8 into the reality of collusion or otherwise was obviously

9 a police task and we would support them if they

10 requested that support, but we were, I suppose, to

11 a certain extent, passive in managing the information.

12 Q. Was this an issue that would have gone straight to the

13 brigade commander?

14 A. Absolutely.

15 Q. So it would be his decision how you approached the

16 matter, would it?

17 A. In consultation with RUC Special Branch, yes.

18 Q. As you say, it was a relatively passive response on your

19 part. Why not suspend that soldier while that matter is

20 being investigated?

21 A. That would be a decision for the RUC, whether they

22 wanted us to take that sort of action, because obviously

23 taking that sort of step would alert people, if they

24 were involved, to the fact that things were going full

25 circle.

 

 

59

 

1 Q. And thereby potentially compromise the safety of the

2 information --

3 A. Where that information was coming from. It was a very

4 delicate issue that had to be carefully managed.

5 Q. There was in headquarters a counter intelligence unit

6 specifically to deal with that issue. What liaison

7 would you have had with them?

8 A. If that sort of event occurred, I would have informed

9 them that this information has come to us.

10 I did not have a particularly close relationship

11 with them because it didn't really occur frequently.

12 Q. And you and the brigadier took some form of decision

13 about how to approach it in consultation with

14 Special Branch. What involvement would the counter

15 intelligence unit have had in that process?

16 A. Very little, to my recollection.

17 Q. What did they do, then?

18 A. Their primary role, as far as I am aware, was screening

19 of individuals before they joined the security forces,

20 and that is where I had most dealings with them.

21 Q. You refer in paragraph 20 of your statement, which is on

22 page RNI-845-094 (displayed), to the issue of, as it

23 were, collusion files or files on individual soldiers.

24 And I think you say you are not sure if you kept such

25 files; is that right?

 

 

60

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Whose responsibility would it have been to have kept

3 such files?

4 A. It would be a criminal investigation, so, you know, we

5 would be there to support the RUC if those submissions

6 existed. We wouldn't be there to investigate.

7 Q. So in effect they would hold the file if an

8 investigation were proceeding in that way?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. What about the headquarters of the military? Would they

11 hold such a file, to your knowledge?

12 A. Do you mean the counter intelligence unit --

13 Q. Or any other headquarters unit, yes.

14 A. I must admit I'm not aware.

15 Q. You explained to us there were very few examples of this

16 occurring while you were in the post. What was the

17 outcome of those few examples?

18 A. I don't believe criminal -- I don't believe prosecutions

19 resulted, but I'm not sure of internal disciplinary

20 actions.

21 Q. When you were discussing it before, you mentioned covert

22 operations. I think it is right to say that you weren't

23 yourself actively involved in covert operations either

24 on the agent-running or the surveillance side of things?

25 A. Absolutely not.

 

 

61

 

1 Q. And you mention in your statement -- and this is

2 paragraph 21, which is also on page RNI-845-094

3 (displayed) -- that you shaped the battlefield in order

4 to facilitate such activity.

5 I appreciate you did describe some of this before,

6 but if you could do so again in a little bit more detail

7 it would be helpful?

8 A. They were rather blunt tools that we used, such as out

9 of bounds areas where overt troops would be informed for

10 a period of time that they were not allowed to be in an

11 area. That obviously sends a message to everyone who

12 was aware of that information that something was

13 obviously going on in that box. There were more subtle

14 tools of tasking troops to areas to ensure that other

15 parts were clear.

16 Q. How would you have been informed that such activity was

17 taking place?

18 A. There would be a request from the Regional Head of

19 Special Branch or his staff to myself to provide that

20 sort of shape to the battlefield.

21 Q. And it wouldn't have come through the tasking and

22 coordination group?

23 A. Yes, it would.

24 Q. It would. Would you have been told much detail about

25 what was actually going to happen?

 

 

62

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. What about the timing of it?

3 A. Yes. I mean, if -- timing was obviously crucial. If it

4 was the blunt tool of putting an area out of bounds, you

5 would obviously have to have a start point in terms of

6 time and, at some point, an end point. If it was a more

7 subtle approach, obviously timing was crucial.

8 Q. You yourself I don't think are responsible for the

9 operations forecast briefings?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Presumably you would have briefed a captain, would you,

12 to have arranged certain troop deployments?

13 A. I would have briefed the intelligence officer at

14 sub-units to the brigade as to my perception of the

15 threat, and I would also have briefed at brigade level

16 the operations staff to that threat. Then brigade

17 operations staff would be talking to battalion

18 operations staff and battalion intelligence officers

19 would also be talking to them to tie in the operational

20 response to threats we perceived.

21 Q. So far as people lower down the chain, who would have

22 known that the reason for such deployment was to

23 facilitate a covert operation?

24 A. Very few people if we were being subtle. If we were

25 putting an area out of bounds, everyone who saw that out

 

 

63

 

1 of bounds box, everyone who had a map.

2 Q. Thank you. How did your work fit into the G2 structure

3 of the military?

4 A. My job title, apart from regional military intelligence

5 officer, was SO2, grade 2, staff officer G2. So I was

6 an intelligence staff officer.

7 Q. And, therefore, you were part of G2 effectively?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. So presumably you reported upwards. And I would prefer

10 it if you didn't name the senior staff positions in G2,

11 but you reported upwards as well to your brigade?

12 A. I had three reporting lines: one to the brigade

13 commander; one to the Regional Head of Special Branch;

14 and one to the G2 branch of Headquarters

15 Northern Ireland.

16 Q. What aspects of your work did you report upwards to G2?

17 A. Anything that I believed was of note to them.

18 Q. For example?

19 A. A change to the threat.

20 Q. And did they have liaison themselves at a higher level

21 directly with the brigade commander, or was that left to

22 your responsibility?

23 A. Primarily the brigade commander left that to me, but he

24 was obviously talking to people at Headquarters

25 Northern Ireland.

 

 

64

 

1 Q. There is also a Special Military Intelligence Unit, the

2 SMIU. Did you fit into that structure as well?

3 A. They were a G2 unit at Headquarters Northern Ireland,

4 but I wasn't part of their structure.

5 Q. Did you have any interaction with that unit?

6 A. Yes, they provided my intelligence staff.

7 Q. So the officers that you mentioned earlier who would be

8 interrogating, for example, the CAISTER system were from

9 that unit?

10 A. Yes, the non-commissioned officers in my organisation

11 belonged to SMIU, but that was a reporting

12 administrative function.

13 Q. You also mentioned that you reported to the Regional

14 Head of Special Branch. This is the South Region, we

15 are talking about?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Was this a direct reporting line, so you would speak to

18 the Regional Head, who would have been a chief

19 superintendent?

20 A. Yes, is the answer to your question. I spoke to him on

21 a very regular basis.

22 Q. Daily?

23 A. If the threat required it, yes. More frequently than

24 daily when it was busy.

25 Q. Would it be said then that he is in effect directing

 

 

65

 

1 your work to a significant extent?

2 A. Absolutely.

3 Q. How often would you meet him?

4 A. It depended on the tempo of operations and threat.

5 Occasionally it would be multiple times a day and at

6 times I wouldn't see him for two or three weeks.

7 Q. So were the kind of things you discussed what the local

8 paramilitaries were up to, what their plans were insofar

9 as you knew, et cetera, and formulated a response to

10 that?

11 A. Absolutely.

12 Q. You say in your statement -- and this is going back to

13 paragraph 12, which we can find on page RNI-845-092

14 (displayed) -- that you had a strong and close

15 relationship with the divisional heads, who obviously

16 are slightly lower than the Regional Head, I think. Why

17 was that important?

18 A. I think it was an absolute requirement of my job to have

19 a strong and close relationship with the Regional Head

20 and the divisional heads because I basically was

21 a central point for them with the overt military for

22 responding to concerns they had.

23 Q. And did the quality of, as it were, your personal

24 relationship with those officers influence the level of

25 intelligence that you were granted access to or

 

 

66

 

1 discussed?

2 A. It is a human nature thing, absolutely. If you have

3 built trust up, more information will flow.

4 Q. How much contact would you have had with the lower

5 ranking officers, for example, the superintendents or

6 the chief inspectors?

7 A. Again, it would depend on the tempo of operations, but I

8 had a close relationship with all the divisional

9 inspectors and quite a few of their sergeants.

10 Q. And did each of those officers throughout the chain of

11 command determine what sort of intelligence they were

12 going to give you?

13 A. Yes, but it was, I believe, all controlled by the

14 Regional Head.

15 Q. He effectively signed off on what you were told?

16 A. Absolutely.

17 Q. And as well as receiving things orally, as you mentioned

18 by telephone and in meetings, did you see reporting

19 through the CAISTER/MACER system directly from

20 Special Branch?

21 A. They entered material into that system that, depending

22 on the level of the intelligence, we had access to.

23 Q. Do you know what criteria they would have had for that

24 dissemination?

25 A. Whether they believed we needed to know because it

 

 

67

 

1 changed the threat or any action we could take would

2 make a difference to that.

3 Q. I think in your statement at paragraph 13, which is on

4 page RNI-845-092 (displayed), you mention the sort of

5 balance for them between the level of threat which you

6 were dealing with, and the risk of indiscretion,

7 presumably by a leakage of intelligence. That being the

8 determining balancing exercise?

9 A. Absolutely, that was the key balance.

10 Q. Was there a degree to which that caused some tension on

11 your part, in that you would want more information than

12 perhaps they were prepared to give you?

13 A. Personally, no. I would question when I believed I did

14 not have sufficient information to provide a response

15 but I was -- I did not want to know the detail. It

16 wasn't what I was there for.

17 Q. So there weren't, for example, occasions where you felt

18 it would have been more helpful to have had a bit more

19 information from them?

20 A. Absolutely, and I pushed but I had to respect the

21 requirement -- a need to know basis.

22 Q. Looking at paragraph 16, you mention that you had some

23 liaison as well with the Security Service and we can see

24 there that you mention a person, whose name has been

25 redacted, who covered, as it were, Loyalist

 

 

68

 

1 paramilitaries. Was that a fortuitous connection or was

2 that a formal part of your role?

3 A. There was a degree of formality within it, but partly

4 personality-driven as well, and the fact that his role

5 was to cover Loyalist paramilitaries and mid-Ulster was

6 the most concerning area, in my opinion; it was the most

7 concerning area at that time. So his focus was strongly

8 on that area.

9 Q. How had that contact then come about?

10 A. Through meetings at Headquarters Northern Ireland, G2

11 meetings, where we were both present.

12 Q. How often would that be? I think you say once

13 a fortnight in your statement at paragraph 16?

14 A. Again, the tempo over the three years that I was in

15 Portadown changed, but when things were busy, you know,

16 once a fortnight or more frequent.

17 Q. Was this contact to discuss, as it were, independent

18 reporting on the Loyalist threat?

19 A. I think he wanted a view from the ground, from the

20 coalface, what our perception of that threat was, and he

21 communicated to me their major concerns.

22 Q. Was there a counter terrorist aspect to this liaison?

23 A. Not that I can recall, no.

24 Q. The focus in your statement is on a Security Service

25 officer who was covering Loyalist paramilitaries. Did

 

 

69

 

1 you not have a similar liaison with the officer or

2 officers covering Republicans?

3 A. No, I think that was primarily through RUC

4 Special Branch. I came across them but I did not have

5 a formalised relationship with them.

6 Q. As we understand it, they did themselves cover

7 Republicans as well as Loyalists. So why did you not

8 feel it necessary to liaise in that regard with them?

9 A. I just think the relationship was probably stronger

10 through RUC Special Branch, and I was fed information

11 from that route. A lot of this was driven by

12 personality, and I formed a relationship with the

13 individual covering the Loyalist side; I did not with

14 the individual or individuals covering the Republican

15 side.

16 Q. You mentioned that you had, as it were, sufficient

17 contact with Special Branch in relation to the

18 Republicans. Is that why you gained the impression that

19 they had primacy in that area specifically and the

20 Security Service only covered Loyalist terrorism, which

21 is a point, I think, you make in your statement?

22 A. Could you just point me to that point?

23 Q. If you look down, you can see:

24 "As far as I was aware, the secret services ..."

25 By which I think you mean the Security Service:

 

 

70

 

1 " ... had no coverage of Republican paramilitaries."

2 A. Sorry, which paragraph?

3 Q. We are still on 16. (Pause)

4 A. Yes, I had no formal interaction with the Security

5 Service's coverage of Republican terrorism.

6 Q. As far as your knowledge of the local paramilitary

7 groupings, which Republican groups were you most

8 concerned with?

9 A. The Provisional IRA, when they aren't on ceasefire, and,

10 when they were, the various Republican dissident

11 organisations.

12 Q. When you joined or were allocated this post, did you

13 learn about the local paramilitaries?

14 A. Absolutely.

15 Q. What knowledge were you given? How was that

16 communicated to you? Did you go through the files on

17 the suspects or did you have briefings about these

18 people?

19 A. I went through the files, I had briefings, I had

20 conversations. You lived and breathe it. It was a very

21 steep learning curve and you struggled hard to get up

22 it.

23 Q. Would most of the soldiers you worked with have known

24 the individuals who formed part of those groupings?

25 A. By "know", do you mean "were aware of"?

 

 

71

 

1 Q. Would have known their name or would have been able

2 to --

3 A. Yes, absolutely.

4 Q. Would have been able to recognise them?

5 A. To a lesser extent my staff because my staff didn't

6 patrol on the ground on a regular basis.

7 Q. How did the troops who are on patrol gain the ability to

8 identify particular suspects?

9 A. Through intelligence briefings of who we were concerned

10 about, which would have included photo identification,

11 where we had it.

12 Q. And were you providing those briefings to the troops?

13 A. The G2 structure was.

14 Q. So somebody else in fact in your brigade would have been

15 briefing the troops?

16 A. Well, the troops would have been from sub-units, so

17 company or battalion level. The company intelligence

18 officer or the battalion intelligence officer would run

19 that sort of training.

20 Q. Specifically in the Lurgan/Portadown area were there

21 particular groups that you had to keep an eye on?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Who were they?

24 A. The primary concern was the Loyalist Volunteer Force and

25 the Provisional IRA but there were numerous other less

 

 

72

 

1 important but equally destabilising organisations,

2 offshoots of those.

3 Q. Focusing initially on the Provisional IRA, may we look,

4 please, at RNI-511-144 (displayed)?

5 The title of this document is "Lurgan G2 Brief for

6 Units", and the date is 4 June 1998, and it says on it

7 that the originating unit is 3RIR/BN. Do you know what

8 the "BN" stands for?

9 A. Battalion, I presume.

10 Q. And it comes from Mahon barracks?

11 A. It's 3 Royal Irish.

12 Q. Who would have prepared this brief?

13 A. I would assume the battalion intelligence officer or one

14 of their staff.

15 Q. Who would it have gone to?

16 A. I must admit I am not aware of the distribution.

17 Q. It says on the top right, you can see, "DSL", which I

18 think is the dissemination level, 3, which is very low?

19 A. That on CAISTER would be available to all intelligence

20 cell staff.

21 Q. What use was this briefing? We will come on to the

22 contents in a minute, but generally was this just to

23 inform your understanding of the local paramilitaries?

24 A. Yes, I have not seen --

25 Q. Let us turn overleaf and have a look.

 

 

73

 

1 A. But it would in general be to improve people's knowledge

2 of what is occurring in the area.

3 Q. The title of it -- and I should point out we are not

4 showing the entire document, it is just this page we are

5 concerned with -- is "Lurgan subdivisional groupings"

6 and subheading "Lurgan PIRA", and it goes on to

7 summarise the history of Lurgan PIRA and its status

8 within the North Armagh structure. And it also

9 refers -- and I won't read it out -- in some detail to one of

10 Rosemary Nelson's clients, Colin Duffy, and makes

11 assertions about his status within Lurgan PIRA and

12 within the North Armagh structure. It also refers to

13 a number of murders that the Lurgan unit was said to

14 have been involved with, including the two police

15 officers in 1997.

16 Now, would this have been the kind of information

17 that would have come to your attention?

18 A. Yes, it is historical, it is fairly low level, but it

19 would -- I would have been aware of all this

20 information, yes.

21 Q. As I say, the date is 4 June 1998. So certainly in

22 relation to those particular murders, this is a year

23 after they occurred. What use would this be for you and

24 your officers?

25 A. It is background material about, you know, how this

 

 

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1 organisation is structured, who is key within it, their

2 capabilities, what they have done, probably what we

3 believe they have done in their past, the weapons that

4 they have, how it bolts together. It is the basic level

5 of this is what is going on in this organisation.

6 Q. And by this stage, which as I say is June 1998, Mr Duffy

7 in particular had been released in October the previous

8 year having been on remand charged for the murders of

9 the two policemen, and yet in this document it is

10 effectively assuming that his unit was involved with

11 those murders.

12 Is it the case that for the security forces -- and

13 that would include the intelligence side of the Army --

14 that the outcome of criminal investigations or

15 prosecutions is really neither here nor there and what

16 you focus on is whether you still have intelligence to

17 support that assertion?

18 A. Yes, I think that's true.

19 Q. Does it follow from that that once the intelligence

20 machinery, of which you were part, had formed a view

21 about a person or organisation, then in effect that view

22 is permanent whether or not the criminal justice system

23 justifies the allegation?

24 A. I would say, no, absolutely not. We were there to

25 provide a counter to threats that we perceived and we

 

 

75

 

1 worked in a very fluid environment. And we had to

2 accept that things we believed to be fact a month ago,

3 more information would come to light that proved they

4 were wrong.

5 But the criminal prosecution side of it wasn't what

6 we were there to do. We were there to understand the

7 structure and the capability and the threat that that

8 produced.

9 Q. So just exploring that a little bit further -- and

10 particularly in relation to the murder of two officers,

11 which is something that concerned Rosemary Nelson -- why

12 would a briefing such as this still refer to

13 Colin Duffy's unit as being responsible for those

14 murders months and months after he has been released

15 without charge?

16 A. Because that was our belief.

17 Q. May we look at document RNI-511-177 (displayed)?

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Before you move on from that, Mr Skelton,

19 could I just ask one question? I don't want names

20 mentioned, but what sort of people would get this

21 document that we have been looking at?

22 A. They would be members of -- they would have to have

23 access to the intelligence system CAISTER that has been

24 mentioned. They would be intelligence staff in company,

25 battalion and brigade level intelligence cells. They

 

 

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1 would use this sort of information to put together their

2 briefs for troops going out on the ground.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: So all the people involved in intelligence at

4 Mahon Road?

5 A. Absolutely, sir, yes.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

7 MR SKELTON: Thank you, sir. May we have a look at this

8 document, the title of it is "pen picture" and the name,

9 again, Colin Francis Duffy. The date is a little later

10 and it is 24 September 1998. The originating unit,

11 again, is 3RIR battalion and if we go overleaf onto

12 page RNI-511-178 (displayed), you can see the detail of

13 its content again.

14 May I ask you the basic questions about the

15 provenance of this document: Who would have written

16 this?

17 A. The battalion intelligence cell.

18 Q. And who would it have gone to?

19 A. Again, it would have been used by intelligence staff to

20 brief troops that are going on the ground.

21 Q. So it is the same type of document really in its use as

22 the other one?

23 A. The previous page had exactly the same DSL level

24 restriction.

25 Q. Do you remember seeing this document?

 

 

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1 A. I don't remember. I am sure I would have seen it and

2 probably I would have seen higher classifications of the

3 same material.

4 Q. And it would presumably have informed your thinking

5 about levels of threat, levels of activity in relation

6 to this particular suspect?

7 A. That and many other forms of information, yes.

8 Q. Thank you.

9 Sir, I think I'll leave it there, if we may break

10 for lunch?

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, certainly. Just a moment.

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

13 please confirm that all the cameras have been switched

14 off?

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

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Please escort the witness out.

17 We shall resume at three minutes to two.

18 (12.55 pm)

19 (The short adjournment)

20 (1.57 pm)

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Currans, may we go through the checklist

22 with you, please, before the witness comes in?

23 Is the public area screen fully in place, locked and

24 the key secured?

25 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

 

 

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

2 screen closed?

3 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

5 and securely fastened?

6 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

8 Full Participants' legal representatives seated in the

9 body of this chamber?

10 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Can you confirm that the two witness cameras

12 have been switched off and shrouded?

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

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

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

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Bring the witness in, please.

17 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

18 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

19 switched back on.

20 Yes, Mr Skelton?

21 MR SKELTON: Before the break, we were discussing two

22 documents, the first of which was Lurgan G2 brief,

23 RNI-511-144. Can I have that back on the screen, please

24 (displayed)?

25 Now, one thing I didn't ask you about was the grade

 

 

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1 reliability, which you can see there towards the bottom

2 left of the text and it is A1.

3 Without giving away any sensitive details about the

4 provenance of the content of the statement, which we

5 discussed, what does "A1" mean?

6 A. High grade and very reliable.

7 Q. Who made that grading?

8 A. The author, so in this instance 3 Royal Irish.

9 Q. Were these grades genuinely respected by those who were

10 writing the documents and reading them?

11 A. Yes, people tried to adhere to them.

12 Q. How would it affect your thinking when you received

13 a document like that?

14 A. The higher the grade -- A1 being the highest grade, from

15 memory -- the more note you would take of it. If you

16 got a document that was very interesting but very low

17 grade, it is speculation.

18 Q. This document, as we saw, is dissemination level 3,

19 which is the lowest level and you explained that it was

20 your intelligence officers that would have had access

21 to it.

22 Would that have been officers who had access to it

23 in electronic form on the MACER/CAISTER system?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And would they have had hard copies printed off as well?

 

 

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1 A. They would be able to print from the system.

2 Q. Why would they do that?

3 A. There could be a variety of reasons.

4 Q. Is it normally necessary to print off such documents or

5 does one normally work from the terminal screen?

6 A. One normally works from the terminal screen because it

7 wasn't just a case of printing a document and then being

8 able to dispose of it, you had to book it in to a

9 classified document register. So in general they

10 wouldn't print.

11 Q. What classification would this document have originally

12 had?

13 A. I would assume confidential.

14 Q. And were those stored securely in your premises?

15 A. Absolutely.

16 Q. Apart from your own staff, who would have had access to

17 those premises?

18 A. No one.

19 Q. No other officers in the brigade?

20 A. Without being escorted, no.

21 Q. As far as the MACER/CAISTER system goes, who else within

22 the brigade would have had access to, say, dissemination

23 level 3 in a document such as this?

24 A. Direct access, only people who had access to the system,

25 so intelligence staff.

 

 

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1 Q. So people within the G2 umbrella?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. May we look at the second document, which was the pen

4 picture that I showed you. That is at RNI-111-177

5 (displayed).

6 This document, you can see, has a slightly different

7 grade reliability mark of B2. Again, without mentioning

8 anything sensitive, what does that mean?

9 A. It is less reliable.

10 Q. And so when one looks and considers the pen picture, how

11 would that affect your judgment?

12 A. You would just bear in mind that it may not necessarily

13 all be absolutely fact.

14 Q. Thank you. Turning then to the Loyalist groupings,

15 which ones were you particularly concerned with? I

16 think you mentioned earlier the LVF?

17 A. They were my primarily concern in Ulster, although there

18 were spin-off organisations, if you like, that were of

19 concern. It wasn't as clear cut as saying that

20 individual is absolutely in that group and in no other

21 groups. So there was a lot of grey.

22 Q. The period we are particularly concerned about is late

23 1998/early 1999. Can you turn your mind back to that

24 period and give us an idea of the kind of things you

25 would have been looking out for in terms of the LVF

 

 

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1 activity?

2 A. That was, I believe I'm correct in saying, the period

3 after Billy Wright had been murdered in the Maze. We

4 were concerned over who was actually running the

5 organisation and what influences were coming to the

6 organisation from other Loyalist groups in the Province.

7 Q. And in terms of their targeting, if I may term it like

8 that, what was your knowledge of that?

9 A. Do you mean in detail?

10 Q. Yes, insofar as you can give us such detail.

11 A. In general, the history of the organisation and what it

12 had done in the past would have been what concerned me.

13 I probably wouldn't have been privy to intelligence that

14 detailed specific targeting. I don't know, I might have

15 been, I might not have been, but what was their

16 capability? Who were the individuals involved? What

17 sort of threat could they pose? In general, my concern

18 was random attacks against members of the Nationalist

19 community.

20 Q. Would they generally be random attacks from that

21 grouping?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. We will come on then to the pen picture of an alleged

24 member, who is now deceased, of that grouping, which can

25 be found at RNI-511-169 (displayed). You can see there

 

 

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1 this is a document dated 17 September 1998. It is

2 called "A pen picture of Mark Fulton". It is

3 a dissemination level of 3, as does the previous

4 document that we have seen of this nature, and similarly

5 a grade reliability of B2.

6 If we turn over the page, we can see the substance

7 of it. If you would like to take a moment just to have

8 a look through that. (Pause)

9 It mentions that Billy Wright had been murdered in

10 the Maze Prison in December 1997 and that Mark Fulton

11 was thought to have taken over as the head of that unit.

12 Would this have been a document that would have come to

13 your attention at this time?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And do the things that it mentions in that represent the

16 kind of knowledge that you had already?

17 A. Yes, at a low level I would concur with that.

18 Q. This is a period after the commencement of the peace

19 process. Were the LVF still considered to be active and

20 dangerous during this time, which is late

21 1998/early 1999?

22 A. It was very hard to define whether a specific individual

23 was operating under a banner of LVF or

24 Red Hand Defenders, or any one of a number of names that

25 appeared. And it was -- that was a true on the

 

 

84

 

1 Protestant side as the Republican side.

2 Q. How then did you keep an eye on these groups or these

3 individuals if they didn't come under an easy banner?

4 A. We had to keep a very open mind as to how we were

5 mentally grouping them.

6 Q. How did they normally go about their attacks?

7 A. Sorry, that is a very general question. Can you ...?

8 Q. One of the things you mention in your statement, as an

9 example -- and this is paragraph 36 -- I have no need to

10 show you, it's on the screen -- is that they weren't

11 technically competent when it came to bomb making.

12 A. In comparison with the Republican terrorist groupings,

13 that is absolutely true.

14 Q. And the Inquiry has received evidence from

15 Special Branch officers, for example, that their modus

16 operandi was often a shooting after a night in the pub

17 or some such attack.

18 That is that your general understanding of such

19 activity?

20 A. It was a lot less planned and methodical and considered

21 than Republican organisations, and the -- yes, "Let's go

22 and shoot somebody after we have been in the pub" was

23 there or thereabouts.

24 Q. To your knowledge had any of the groupings, either the

25 LVF, the UVF or the Red Hand Defenders, been involved

 

 

85

 

1 with any under-car booby trap operations in the period

2 which we are looking at?

3 A. In mid-Ulster, no, but there was an interesting increase

4 technical capability in Belfast and North Down.

5 Q. In what way?

6 A. That -- I can't remember the specifics of the incidents,

7 but over the previous year their ability to construct

8 credible under-vehicle booby traps was improving.

9 Q. Had those devices been deployed or were you just aware

10 of their production?

11 A. They had been deployed, but not in mid-Ulster.

12 Q. Were there connections in this period between Belfast

13 and Down, as you put it, and mid-Ulster?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Through which organisations or --

16 A. Through all of the organisations, to be honest. A great

17 concern of ours was that sort of technical transfer

18 moving into the heart of our area of responsibility.

19 Q. Was it the case that those who were involved with the

20 production of these more sophisticated devices would

21 quite easily operate within your region?

22 A. It is a 30-minute car journey.

23 Q. And to your knowledge was there any information to say

24 that they would be operating within your region?

25 A. No, I hadn't seen anything to say that that threat would

 

 

86

 

1 appear in mid-Ulster, but it was a logical conclusion

2 that it would at some stage.

3 Q. You refer in paragraph 36 of your statement, which I may

4 well show you now -- it is on page RNI-845-098

5 (displayed) -- to some incidents in Down, a couple of

6 incidents in Down in the previous few years, and this is

7 to do with under-vehicle improvised explosive devices.

8 Can you remember exactly what they were?

9 A. Those are the incidents I was just referring to and I am

10 afraid I can't remember the detail of them, but it was

11 improving capability.

12 Q. Looking at the pen picture, one of the comments is that

13 Mark Fulton lacked the leadership capability of the

14 former leader, Billy Wright, of the LVF.

15 In what way was that the case?

16 A. My perception was that he wanted to step into Wright's

17 shoes, but he didn't have the intellectual capacity to

18 do what Wright had been doing.

19 Q. Did anyone else, to your knowledge, in the area have

20 that kind of capacity?

21 A. No.

22 Q. I will turn now, if I may, to Rosemary Nelson herself.

23 First of all, the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition for

24 whom she was the legal adviser.

25 Did you know much about the Garvaghy Road Residents

 

 

87

 

1 Coalition, the GRRC, in this period?

2 A. Drumcree was obviously a serious issue within the middle

3 of the patch, which required a great military resource

4 and RUC resource to deal with at the height of the

5 marching season. So we were obviously very aware of

6 what the GRRC were doing.

7 Q. And as far as the threats, which were your particular

8 concern, to people in the locality and including your

9 troops, did you view the GRRC as any threat?

10 A. As individuals, no, but the line they took to the march

11 would dictate what happened in terms of civil disorder

12 in mid-Ulster and, therefore, what deployment of

13 military assets would be required to meet that threat.

14 And hidden behind the civil disorder was the threat of

15 terrorist activity from both sides.

16 Q. Did you perceive there to be any connection between the

17 GRRC and the mainstream Republican groupings, such as

18 the Provisional IRA?

19 A. No.

20 Q. Or to Sinn Fein?

21 A. There was, as far as I'm aware, Sinn Fein presence on it

22 and it was a key issue for Sinn Fein.

23 Q. Would such perceptions have been held, for example, by

24 the soldiers within the brigade?

25 A. It was all open source material being reported heavily

 

 

88

 

1 in the local and national press, so, yes.

2 Q. And specifically about Rosemary Nelson, were you aware

3 that she had a connection with the GRRC?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And, again, would that have been common knowledge from

6 open source material?

7 A. Absolutely.

8 Q. The Inquiry heard from a witness, who was a journalist

9 reporting on the Drumcree dispute in 1997, that her

10 perception was that some of the soldiers had what she

11 termed "sashes" under their uniforms, by which she meant

12 orange sashes, i.e. they were, in some form or other,

13 supportive of the Orange Order's position and the wish

14 to march down the road.

15 Was that a sense which you picked up from your

16 knowledge as well?

17 A. Absolutely not.

18 Q. So was it not the case that, for example, the local

19 soldiers, the part-timers who were living in the

20 locality, may have been sympathetic towards a particular

21 section of the community?

22 A. Yes, but that was the reality of mid-Ulster.

23 Q. And might that have led to a perception of, for example,

24 Rosemary Nelson or the members of the Garvaghy Road

25 Residents Coalition which was negative?

 

 

89

 

1 A. They may well have had that perception. In general we

2 tried to use non-Royal Irish troops at the flashpoints

3 in mid-Ulster. It wasn't always possible.

4 Q. And that was in order to what?

5 A. To ensure that that sort of concern was minimised.

6 Q. So it was something which was thought about at least by

7 the brigade?

8 A. Absolutely, it was thought about. I don't believe --

9 personally, I don't believe it was an issue, but it was

10 thought about.

11 Q. Is that the kind of thing which you yourself were

12 concerned with or were there others who had

13 responsibility for that kind of decision?

14 A. What kind of decision?

15 Q. You mentioned about deployment and being careful about

16 the type of troops you put in a particular area, given

17 their potential background. Who would have been

18 responsible for thinking about that kind of issue?

19 A. I would have been responsible for thinking about it.

20 The actual deployment would have been the operations

21 staff.

22 Q. Open source reporting. As an intelligence officer, how

23 do you judge the reliability or the relevance of such

24 sources?

25 A. With a pinch of salt. But it is a good way to get a lot

 

 

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1 of information.

2 Q. And does such reporting feed into, for example, the pen

3 picture or the briefs that we have seen earlier?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Is that not a concern when you are, as it were, mixing

6 intelligence which you may have received from

7 Special Branch or from your own military reporting with

8 things that you may have picked up from the media?

9 A. But you can always reference where that data has come

10 from and that is what the grade and reliability

11 definitions allow you to do.

12 Q. Aside from the GRRC issue, in what way would

13 Rosemary Nelson have been of note to yourself?

14 A. She defended -- in her role as a solicitor, defended

15 known Republicans within the mid-Ulster area and we

16 would have noticed her associating with them.

17 That is we are looking at them and the people that

18 appear with them. Her name would have appeared in that

19 context.

20 Q. Now, if you see, as an intelligence officer, a pattern

21 of association with a particular grouping, albeit that

22 that person isn't, as it were, a signed up volunteer, do

23 you draw assumptions about their own allegiances

24 politically and in terms of their attitude towards the

25 state, the military, et cetera?

 

 

91

 

1 A. Not immediately, but with a pattern of information, over

2 time you may come to that point.

3 Q. Before we look in detail at some of the documents that

4 do refer to Rosemary Nelson, can you say whether any

5 such conclusions were drawn by yourself or your fellow

6 officers about her?

7 A. Speaking for myself, no. She was a solicitor that

8 represented Republicans as part of the due process.

9 Q. Did you keep a paper file on Rosemary Nelson?

10 A. I honestly don't know. I would assume we didn't, but

11 I honestly don't know.

12 Q. If you were to have kept such a file, where would it

13 have been held?

14 A. It would have been held within the G2 branch at brigade.

15 Q. May we look, please, at document RNI-511-087

16 (displayed).

17 Now, this document has the title "INTSUM". Could

18 you tell me what that means, please?

19 A. Intelligence summary.

20 Q. And its title is "Southern Region/3 Infantry Brigade

21 INTSUM" and its originating unit was "3 Brigade Int".

22 So presumably "int" means "intelligence"?

23 A. Yes, that is the organisation I was responsible for.

24 Q. Who would have written this?

25 A. I would assume one of the non-commissioned officers.

 

 

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1 Q. And would that have been at your behest or would that

2 have been part of their routine work?

3 A. Probably part of their routine work, but it could have

4 been at my or one of my staff officer's behest.

5 Q. Would all such documents have come to your attention?

6 A. Not necessarily.

7 Q. What was the criteria?

8 A. Whether the author thought it was worth me knowing

9 about.

10 Q. First of all, we may note in passing the grade

11 reliability of A1 again, which I think you said is the

12 highest grading. So this contains reliable

13 intelligence. Is that correct?

14 A. Probably.

15 Q. Let's look at the contents. You can see the title, and

16 I should point out that we are only looking at

17 a fraction of the document. It is an eight-page

18 document and we are concerned only with page 3, which

19 you can see there on the screen, and the title there is

20 "North Armagh PIRA", Provisional IRA.

21 The part I am particularly concerned about is the

22 sighting of Colin Duffy in paragraph 10. Sorry, the

23 lower bit there. And it says there that --

24 A. Sorry, is this paragraph 10 or 11?

25 Q. Sorry, it is paragraph 10 and then flowing principally

 

 

93

 

1 into paragraph 11, you are correct. It says:

2 "Colin Duffy was stopped in a red Honda Civic which

3 was being driven by Rosemary Nelson from Lurgan on the

4 Annesborough Road. They stated they were travelling

5 from Portadown and going to Duffy's home address."

6 Then there is a comment before that. The comment

7 goes:

8 "Nelson is a solicitor, and when questioned by the

9 patrol commander, she said that the patrol was

10 interrupting a legal meeting which she was having in the

11 car with Duffy.

12 "Nelson has represented Lurgan PIRA members in the

13 past, and this could have been a meeting with reference

14 to Duffy's conviction and release on appeal after the

15 Lyness murder on 24 June 1997."

16 Could you explain a bit about how this document

17 would have been created and what relevance it would have

18 had to your work?

19 A. It will have been created from a sighting from a patrol

20 on the ground, obviously the troops that stopped the

21 car. Duffy -- and you can see the annotation in

22 brackets -- "LGN PIRA", Lurgan PIRA -- was of

23 (inaudible) to the troops on the grounds. They would

24 have all known who he was.

25 That is interesting and it is interesting to know

 

 

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1 who he is with. And that happens to be Rosemary Nelson.

2 You can see in the brackets "No subversive trace", which

3 says we are not interested in that person as a suspect.

4 Q. That is the abbreviation "NST"?

5 A. NST, yes. I would have been concerned that Duffy was in

6 Portadown; not a natural place for him to be. You know,

7 the fact that he is returning home is not really of

8 note, but Duffy in Portadown would have been of concern

9 to me.

10 The comment is, you know -- and it is annotated

11 "comment" and "comment end". That is someone's opinion,

12 which I wouldn't really pay much weight to.

13 Q. Would you have drawn any preliminary inferences about

14 the very fact that he is in a car with his solicitor?

15 A. No.

16 Q. So this wouldn't have started to build up a pattern of

17 anything more than a solicitor/client relationship?

18 A. That in itself as one item, no.

19 Q. May we move on, please, to another document, which is

20 dated 30 June 1997 and can be found at RNI-511-099

21 (displayed).

22 Now, this is called an "INTREP", which I think means

23 "intelligence report". Is that correct?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And the title is "Info re murder of Constables Graham

 

 

95

 

1 and Johnson in Lurgan."

2 The date is 30 June 1997. So it is two weeks after

3 the murders, and the originating unit is 3RIR Battalion

4 and the grade reliability is C3 this time.

5 First of all, the reliability: What would "C3"

6 signify?

7 A. Slightly dubious. You know, don't hold too much weight

8 in what this report says.

9 Q. Who would have written this?

10 A. The intelligence cell for 3 Royal Irish.

11 Q. And what was your link with that?

12 A. The intelligence officer from 3 Royal Irish had a dotted

13 reporting line in to me on the G2 side.

14 Q. What does "dotted" mean?

15 A. It was a functional as opposed to a command line for

16 communication.

17 Q. May we look, please, at the text of the report, which is

18 overleaf. And you can see there it relates to the

19 murders of the two police officers, and it states -- the

20 particular bit I'm interested in actually is the comment

21 at the bottom. If we could highlight that, please.

22 It says -- and it is partly redacted:

23 "Comment. Recent visits by [blank] (Lurgan PIRA)

24 and [blank] (Lurgan PIRA) to Rosemary Nelson, solicitors

25 in Lurgan are believed to be connected to the

 

 

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1 Colin Duffy case. It is assessed as possible that the

2 [blank] and the other PIRA PSF [presumably] members in

3 conjunction with Rosemary Nelson are attempting to

4 establish witness evidence in support of Duffy."

5 Could we go back to the full document, please, the

6 text of the report? How would this intelligence have

7 come to be compiled? What is it based on, to your

8 knowledge?

9 A. My guess -- from reading that, my guess would be that it

10 is fed in from off-duty members of the Royal Irish who

11 live within that mid-Ulster area. That would be my

12 guess from reading it.

13 I would have, at that point, picked the phone up and

14 asked the intelligence officer where it had fed in from.

15 I can't remember doing that.

16 Q. So they would have know that the murders had occurred,

17 known that Rosemary Nelson was representing Colin Duffy

18 and would in passing have seen two suspected members of

19 the Lurgan PIRA going into her office and draw that

20 conclusion?

21 A. Absolutely. You know, they could be off duty, driving

22 past that office, happened to see it and then reported

23 it. But I would have -- on the back of that report, I

24 would have spoken, I would have questioned where the

25 information was coming from.

 

 

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1 Q. Can you, in fact, remember doing so and any response you

2 were given?

3 A. I am afraid I can't.

4 Q. Now, the comment is written in neutral terms. There is

5 no sense in which -- there are no words which are more

6 loaded. For example, Rosemary Nelson is "conspiring" or

7 "constructing falsely" or anything like that, but would

8 you have drawn such an inference from this report?

9 A. Not immediately, but it would be another piece of

10 information that would go into the bigger jigsaw of what

11 is happening in the particular area.

12 Q. Do you remember this type of information feeding into

13 that jigsaw?

14 A. Sorry, do you mean this specific bit of information or

15 in general?

16 Q. We have now seen two documents about Rosemary Nelson

17 which clearly must have come to the attention of your

18 officers or yourself during this period.

19 Would this be part of an evolving picture from which

20 you drew inferences about her?

21 A. Well, the only inference I would draw is that she is

22 acting as a solicitor for Duffy and it is part of the

23 due process.

24 Q. May we look at another document, which is dated a little

25 later? This is 2 November 1998. So we have moved on

 

 

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1 a year. That can be found at RNI-511-112 (displayed).

2 This is also an INTSUM or intelligence summary,

3 dissemination level 3. The title is "3RIR intelligence

4 summary for the period 6 October -- I think that

5 means -- to 6 November 1997".

6 A. Sorry, it is 27 October, I think.

7 Q. Oh, is it? That is the way it works. 0600 is the

8 time --

9 A. 2706.

10 Q. Thank you, that is helpful. And in fact, it is 1997.

11 This is produced by the battalion, again, like the last

12 document we have seen and the reliability this time

13 is A1. So this is a more reliable document by

14 inference?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. May we look at the text, which is overleaf?

17 Now, the bit I'm interested in is the paragraph B,

18 which is the large paragraph towards the bottom of the

19 page. And you can see from that it just describes an

20 incident which appears to have occurred outside

21 Rosemary Nelson's office, involving an altercation with

22 a soldier. And what is noted midway down -- and I will

23 read it out -- is:

24 "Some of those involved ...",

25 i.e. involved in the altercation:

 

 

99

 

1 "... were also observed entering Rosemary Nelson's

2 office immediately afterwards."

3 Then there is this comment:

4 "[Blank] had previously come to notice as one of

5 those involved in crowd disturbances and verbal abuse

6 against the military patrols in Lurgan. The attendance

7 of persons involved in this incident at Nelson's,

8 solicitors, strongly points to complaints being recorded

9 by Nelson on behalf of Provisional Sinn Fein. Comment

10 ends."

11 It is a low grade piece of information but, again,

12 would that have come to your attention, that kind of

13 thing?

14 A. It probably would have because what it suggests is that

15 we are going to get a complaint about security force

16 activity in the middle of Lurgan.

17 Q. Would that be of use for you as a intelligence officer?

18 A. Not really as an intelligence officer, but it would put

19 the system one step in front of any process that falls

20 out of this.

21 There is a scuffle in the middle of town. There

22 will be two sides to that story. The people involved in

23 the scuffle have gone straight to a solicitor's office.

24 Well, we are probably going to get a complaint. And

25 that is pretty much where my G2 involvement would end.

 

 

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1 Q. Again, there is a connection made there because of the

2 sighting of people going into the office of

3 Rosemary Nelson with Provisional Sinn Fein. In the

4 context of a complaints process, would this have added

5 to any picture of her and her association with that

6 organisation?

7 A. No.

8 Q. May we move on, please --

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Before you do that, can I ask one question?

10 You see where it says "comment"? Who, what sort of

11 person, would be the author of that comment?

12 A. I would assume from that document, sir, that it is the

13 intelligence officer or the assistant intelligence

14 officer at battalion level. So a captain or colour

15 sergeant.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: That would be at 3rd RIR, would it?

17 A. Absolutely.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Sorry for interrupting.

19 MR SKELTON: The next document I would like you to look at

20 can be found at RNI-511-180 (displayed), and putting

21 this into context, this is dated 11 October 1998,

22 dissemination level 3. The title is "3 Infantry Brigade

23 daily brief" and it is produced by 3rd Brigade 124.

24 What does "124" mean?

25 A. 124 intelligence section. That was my staff.

 

 

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1 Q. And the grading is A1. So it has got the highest

2 reliability grading. Can we look at the content of it,

3 please, overleaf at RNI-511-181 (displayed)? And the

4 particular section is paragraph 10. If you could

5 highlight that, please.

6 This states that:

7 "At 11.23.43 hours, Colin Duffy (Lurgan PIRA) was

8 stopped at Kinnego Embankment driving Rosemary Nelson's

9 silver BMW."

10 Then there is a redacted passage:

11 "Comment. Rosemary Nelson is Duffy's solicitor.

12 The reason for him being in the Kinnego area may have

13 been in an attempt to move back to Lurgan from -- I am

14 afraid I can't read the next word?

15 A. East Tyrone.

16 Q. "... East Tyrone without detection from the security

17 forces in a clean vehicle. However, this is unconfirmed

18 at present. Comment ends."

19 So who would have noted this?

20 A. That would have come from a patrol on the ground.

21 Q. And how would they have fed that information into your

22 intelligence unit?

23 A. I would imagine with that piece of information, there

24 would have been two ways. One, it would have been

25 entered as a level 3 sighting report because it is

 

 

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1 a person of interest. So level 3 sighting report into

2 CAISTER, and because it was interesting that he is

3 driving someone else's car and, therefore, moving around

4 without us noticing him, I assume that I would have been

5 phoned to be made aware or that bit of information

6 brought to my attention.

7 Q. So you directly would have been told about that?

8 A. Told about it. It is of note that someone whom we are

9 very concerned about is driving round in someone else's

10 car because we wouldn't necessarily pick that car up.

11 Q. It is Rosemary Nelson's car. There isn't any suggestion

12 on the face of that document that she is in it, but what

13 inferences would you have drawn about her and her

14 allowing Mr Duffy to use the car?

15 A. That -- you know, that's quite a close relationship for

16 a solicitor and client.

17 Q. In what way?

18 A. That she has, one would assume, allowed him to take her

19 car.

20 What would concern me is that that is a car that

21 until that moment would not have been of note to us and

22 we have got an individual from PIRA who we are very

23 concerned about in an area of Portadown where lots of

24 off-duty Royal Irish soldiers live. Why is he there?

25 And why is he there in a vehicle that we are not going

 

 

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1 to pick up? And he is going to be reasonably confident

2 on that.

3 Q. So your principal concern is the potential threat that

4 this may pose to that locality?

5 A. Absolutely.

6 Q. But would you draw an inference about Rosemary Nelson

7 that she has deliberately allowed him to use a clean car

8 in order to move with less note through a particular

9 area?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And you mentioned about the relationship. There are

12 suggestions, which the Inquiry has received from

13 witnesses, that the relationship between Mr Duffy and

14 Mrs Nelson was more than a solicitor/client relationship

15 and that they were having a sexual relationship.

16 Was that something that you were aware of?

17 A. I was aware of those rumours, yes.

18 Q. Who would have told you that?

19 A. I can't recall specifically, but it was one of the bits

20 of data that were out there in general conversation.

21 Q. Would it have been picked up, for example, by your

22 patrols, seeing them late at night or seeing them

23 together and making a note of it?

24 A. It would probably be inferred from some of those

25 sightings.

 

 

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1 Q. Would it have been picked up, for example, from

2 intelligence that you received from Special Branch?

3 A. No, I don't believe so.

4 Q. So this isn't something which they would have discussed

5 with you?

6 A. They would have discussed -- they would have probably

7 discussed something like that with me. I can't recall

8 them discussing it, and I didn't -- I can't recall

9 receiving that as intelligence of this is a fact that we

10 know to be happening. But I am aware of the rumours

11 that abounded at the time.

12 Q. I'm trying to explore a bit more closely where the

13 rumours may have emanated from, and if we can try and

14 determine the source. Can you help on that?

15 A. I really don't believe I can, beyond the sightings that

16 we have seen of the two of them together at various

17 times and the fact that that particular sighting that we

18 have just been discussing suggests to me more than -- an

19 unusual solicitor/client relationship.

20 Q. As I said, there is no suggestion she is in the car late

21 at night --

22 A. I wouldn't expect a solicitor to lend their clients

23 their car.

24 Q. As it were, with your professional intelligence hat on,

25 is the fact or the suspicion that there is

 

 

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1 a relationship between a suspected IRA volunteer and

2 a solicitor of significance?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. In what way?

5 A. It is -- it is just another data point that makes me

6 question information that I receive and how it all fits

7 together.

8 Q. If you were aware of this rumour and aware of some or

9 all of the kinds of reports that we have just gone

10 through, would you not have drawn an inference about her

11 relationship with the IRA itself?

12 A. Not directly, no.

13 Q. What do you mean by "not directly"?

14 A. It suggests that an emotional tie must have a political

15 tie attached to it.

16 Q. With your suspicious sort of intelligence hat on, would

17 you not then think when Rosemary Nelson -- her name

18 appears at a later date that there is something less

19 than straightforward about her position as a solicitor?

20 A. Yes, absolutely. That would be in the back of my head

21 and I would question everything I subsequently saw in

22 slightly more detail or with a slightly different light.

23 Q. Now, you have mentioned in your statement, for example,

24 that you had regular contact with senior Special Branch

25 officers in South Region, and one of those officers was

 

 

106

 

1 the inspector from Lurgan who was a ciphered witness in

2 this Inquiry, whom you mention in paragraph 12 of your

3 statement, which is be found on page RNI-842-092

4 (displayed).

5 And you can see there it is the final sentence. Do

6 you recall discussing Rosemary Nelson with that officer?

7 A. Not -- I'm sorry, I don't directly recall that.

8 However, I will have discussed her because of those

9 sightings of her with Colin Duffy.

10 Q. Would you have initiated contact because those sightings

11 appear to have emanated from Army sightings. So that is

12 something which you would probably feed back into the

13 system for Special Branch, is it?

14 A. I may have done that or I may have just ensured that

15 the -- through a Royal Irish intelligence officer made

16 sure that Special Branch were aware of those sightings.

17 Q. And can you recollect the content of any of the

18 discussions about those issues?

19 A. Beyond the solicitor/client relationship, nothing in any

20 detail.

21 Q. May I show you a Special Branch document? This we can

22 find at RNI-541-164 (displayed). This document is

23 a secret intelligence report, or SIR, and the title is

24 "Republican General" and then "General Activity", and we

25 can see there the dissemination level is level 19.

 

 

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1 That is, as I understand it, a Special Branch level

2 to which you would not ordinarily have had access on

3 MACER. Is that correct?

4 A. That's correct. I would not have seen that document on

5 MACER.

6 Q. And the originating unit is PSS Lurgan. So it has come

7 from the Lurgan Special Branch.

8 Can we look overleaf at the content of the document?

9 It says -- and I will just move straight over the

10 redactions:

11 "Rosemary Nelson took a statement discrediting the

12 character of a person who is a key witness to the murder

13 of the two RUC officers in Lurgan on 16 June 1997."

14 It goes on to state:

15 "Nelson pressurised that person into making the

16 statement by threatening to put their father into the

17 witness box during the trial of Colin Duffy, who is

18 currently remanded in custody for these murders."

19 It goes on to state:

20 "Nelson also intends to fax all over the world to

21 prominent politicians, including the DPP's office, the

22 Secretary of State and the press."

23 It goes on to say in the final paragraph:

24 "Nelson believes this statement will eventually

25 secure the release of Colin Duffy."

 

 

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1 This is another piece of jigsaw to do with the

2 murder of the Lurgan police officers, but this time it

3 has come from Special Branch and not from the military.

4 Is this the kind of thing which Special Branch would

5 have communicated to you in some form, whether sanitised

6 or otherwise?

7 A. Yes, I think the form would have been in a conversation

8 that there were concerns over what was going on behind

9 the scenes in relation to Duffy's trial.

10 Q. The murders of the two police officers were obviously

11 a notorious crime during this period at a time when the

12 mainstream paramilitary groups are on ceasefire, and it

13 was a particularly pernicious attack on the two

14 officers.

15 Was it something which was drawn particularly to

16 your attention because it was in your patch?

17 A. Absolutely.

18 Q. So would you have been actively involved in trying to

19 find intelligence on it or analyse intelligence on it?

20 A. Again, absolutely. With any serious incident, and that

21 is obviously a serious incident, we would have gone into

22 detailed analysis of all the information we had before

23 that occurred to see whether there was anything we

24 missed in relation to it subsequently happening or

25 anything we can learn that would point to us being able

 

 

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1 to interdict future operations.

2 Q. And in doing that work, were you answerable back into

3 the Special Branch, the divisional head?

4 A. Absolutely.

5 Q. And is that something which you do automatically as part

6 of your job, or would they have maintained a sort of

7 oversight of your work in that regard?

8 A. It was something we would do automatically as part the

9 job, and there would be a dialogue with RUC

10 Special Branch and every other agency as to what we

11 could learn from what we had and what had happened.

12 Q. Now, piecing together the report which I showed before,

13 this one, and possibly any other information which we

14 may not have seen but which may bear upon the issue,

15 would you have drawn an inference about

16 Rosemary Nelson's relationship with Colin Duffy and with

17 that offence?

18 A. No.

19 Q. Looking at it, what it is trying to state in this

20 document is that Rosemary Nelson is pressurising

21 a prosecution witness, which objectively one would

22 consider to be an unusual and possibly wrongful thing to

23 be doing. Did you know about that?

24 A. No, I didn't know in detail about this and, you know, as

25 a military officer, the absolute detail of due process

 

 

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1 that is going on is something that is quite a long which

2 from my mindset when I'm dealing with a threat across

3 two and a half of the counties here.

4 So -- if that conversation occurred where I was

5 aware of the outline of this sort of information, it

6 would be another piece of data which goes into the

7 jigsaw about how I analyse things in the future.

8 Q. So it is relevant, really, is it, because it gives you

9 another piece of information allegedly about

10 Rosemary Nelson, and possibly about her association with

11 PIRA, which may inform your future threat assessments?

12 A. Absolutely. It is another part of the picture coming

13 together.

14 Q. Rosemary Nelson's safety was, as you may have been

15 aware, an issue that was raised during 1998 by a number

16 of non-governmental organisations and a number of other

17 persons. Were you aware of that as an issue in that

18 period?

19 A. I was aware because of the reporting of that in the

20 press. I didn't see anything -- any specific

21 intelligence to that effect.

22 Q. You are in your role, as you have described it,

23 concerned with threats to persons in the locality. Had

24 it come to your attention that there were concerns about

25 a particular person, would you have felt you had to take

 

 

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1 an active role in assessing those threats?

2 A. I would have spoken to RUC Special Branch and asked them

3 what role they required the military to play. We would

4 have -- it would be unlikely that the military would be

5 informed of the identity of a general member of the

6 public if there was a threat against them. We were much

7 more likely to be informed that there was a threat

8 against a civilian in this geographic area and the type

9 of threat it was.

10 Q. Do you recall ever being told by the RUC that there were

11 concerns about Rosemary Nelson's safety or threats

12 against her?

13 A. No.

14 Q. So all of your information was open source, was it?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And just for confirmation, likewise by inference you

17 weren't told anything by the Security Service or by your

18 internal intelligence gathering agencies?

19 A. No, I was not aware of a specific threat.

20 Q. There were some people who were associated with her.

21 One of those, we have seen, was one of her clients,

22 Colin Duffy.

23 You mention in paragraph 26 of your statement, which

24 we find on page RNI-845-095 (displayed), that there was,

25 to put it lightly, animus between Colin Duffy and

 

 

112

 

1 Billy Wright during this period, and we are going back

2 to obviously pre-Billy Wright's death.

3 What do you recall about that?

4 A. One of the key issues in mid-Ulster was these two

5 personalities at either end of the conurbation: one

6 a Loyalist paramilitary; the other a Republican

7 paramilitary. Both big egos, both wanted to dominate

8 the area. Billy Wright in the end was shot dead in the

9 Maze; Colin Duffy remained active in mid-Ulster. There

10 was a lot of tension between those two organisations.

11 Q. The page reference actually should be page RNI-845-096,

12 I'm sorry, for this paragraph. It may be worth you

13 looking at it and elaborating on anything that you can

14 assist us on. (Pause)

15 A. Sorry, which paragraph?

16 Q. I'm still waiting, actually, for the page to be turned

17 over. I think we may have a technical hitch. I will

18 move on.

19 You mentioned the tension between Billy Wright and

20 Colin Duffy. Would that extend to Colin Duffy's

21 associates or was this a sort of personal issue between

22 the perceived leaders of the local organisations on

23 either side?

24 A. It would definitely extend -- you know, the ideal

25 solution, I assume from either side, would be to get to

 

 

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1 the heads of the organisation, but that was actually

2 quite hard to do because they were both very aware of

3 their own personal security and took measures to ensure

4 that. And they lived in areas fairly hard for the other

5 side to get to the heart of. And I would assume that

6 a third level was they were both very aware of security

7 force concern about the other's identity and whether

8 we're operating -- we have covert operations around

9 them.

10 So there were layers of problems getting to the top

11 of the organisation.

12 Q. Would the local paramilitaries have been aware of the

13 association, professional association between

14 Rosemary Nelson and someone like Colin Duffy?

15 A. Absolutely. Again, it was open source.

16 Q. To your mind, would that have made her vulnerable to

17 attack from Loyalist paramilitaries?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Why?

20 A. Because if the centre of the organisation is too hard to

21 get to, you will look for something one step, maybe

22 a bit further, from the centre that you can attack.

23 Q. Well, she is not, to our knowledge, a volunteer in the

24 formal sense of the organisation, but we have looked at

25 the way in which she was perceived by the intelligence

 

 

114

 

1 services to be closely associated with it.

2 Would that close association have been perceived by

3 the Loyalist paramilitaries as it was by you?

4 A. I assume it would be.

5 Q. In other words, there could have been an assumption

6 within the locality that she was more than simply

7 a solicitor for those organisations?

8 A. That could have been an assumption, but also as

9 a target, if you attack her, you hurt Colin Duffy and

10 his organisation.

11 Q. She was also, as I have pointed out, the legal adviser

12 to the GRRC and there were concerns on the part of its

13 spokesperson Breandan Mac Cionnaith during this period,

14 again, 1997/1998. Do you recall those concerns?

15 A. Specifically, no, but there was an awful lot of tension

16 within that area because of the issue that Drumcree

17 created.

18 Q. And when you describe tension, are you really talking in

19 a very general sense, or did you have any information

20 that could have led to concerns about his specific

21 safety?

22 A. Mac Cionnaith's?

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. I cannot recall specific information about threats to

25 his security.

 

 

115

 

1 Q. And what about other members of the Garvaghy Road

2 Residents Coalition?

3 A. That would be the same answer: I can't recall.

4 Q. If the Special Branch had received such reporting,

5 i.e. threats to members of the Coalition, such as

6 Mr Mac Cionnaith, would that have come to your

7 attention?

8 A. It may have. It may have been more general, that there

9 is a threat against the residents committee or the

10 residents of the Garvaghy area, depending on what

11 response the RUC Special Branch required from the

12 military.

13 Generally, there was tension between that

14 association and the Loyalist -- Orange Lodge number 1.

15 People who wanted to march in the middle of a very tense

16 conurbation.

17 Q. In your opinion, would Rosemary Nelson's association

18 with that organisation have put her at risk?

19 A. It would have raised her profile in mid-Ulster and you

20 could conclude that that would increase a threat

21 against her.

22 Q. To clarify, were you aware of any intelligence or any

23 other information in advance of Rosemary Nelson's death

24 that she was going to be killed?

25 A. Absolutely not.

 

 

116

 

1 Q. May I look, please, at the chain of events after

2 Rosemary Nelson's death, and this is to be found on

3 page RNI-845-097 (displayed) of the statement at

4 paragraph 30, if the technology is now available.

5 (Pause)

6 Implicitly, it is not. I hope you have a hard copy

7 of your statement in front of you?

8 A. Sorry, is this paragraph 30?

9 Q. Paragraph 30 on page RNI-845-097.

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Sir, I don't know whether you have copies in front of

12 you or whether it would assist if we paused?

13 THE CHAIRMAN: We have now got it. Thank you.

14 MR SKELTON: Thank you. We are saved.

15 Paragraph 30 there, in which you describe in detail

16 the events that occurred after Rosemary Nelson's death.

17 It appears from that that your first thought was how to

18 manage the next 24 hours. Could you talk us through

19 your thinking in response to this event?

20 A. As I say at the beginning of that paragraph, the first

21 report I heard was a car bomb in Lurgan. That was

22 a threat we were concerned about at the time. Within

23 minutes that was changed to an under-vehicle booby trap,

24 and then subsequently I found out it was

25 Rosemary Nelson's car, and subsequent to that that she

 

 

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1 was the victim within the car.

2 My initial concern is what is going to happen as

3 a result of this in mid-Ulster in the next 24 hours and

4 what do I need to advise the brigadier he needs in

5 military capability in this area to respond to this

6 threat.

7 Q. Did other people have a similar responsibility to advise

8 him about that issue, or was that very much your patch?

9 A. It was my patch, but at the same time the RUC uniformed

10 officers in the area, you know, they would have an

11 opinion on what was going to occur, RUC Special Branch

12 would and the operations guys would have an opinion on

13 what force they could project into the area. But my

14 role was advising him on the threat that this created.

15 Q. And can you remember doing that now?

16 A. Absolutely, yes.

17 Q. And what was your advice?

18 A. That -- and we had had similar instances in mid-Ulster

19 from -- well, from before, but in detail from the moment

20 Billy Wright was murdered. There is going to be

21 a backlash from the Republican community to the Loyalist

22 community. That probably means we have got to put

23 troops on interfaces. That means we are going to need

24 some helicopters so we can move people around quickly,

25 et cetera, et cetera.

 

 

118

 

1 Then outside of that area, do we need to be

2 concerned of Republican threats from East Tyrone and

3 South Armagh?

4 Q. Having given that advice, was it then left to others to

5 implement the response on the ground?

6 A. It wasn't a one-off moment in time. This will have

7 developed through the course of the next 24 hours and

8 the next week and beyond, and it will have been

9 a process of constantly updating what we were aware of

10 and how we responded to threats that were emerging.

11 Q. Is this a sort of emergency situation for you in this

12 kind of event?

13 A. Yes, it is reacting to a changed situation.

14 Q. One thing that you also mentioned in this paragraph is

15 that you would have instructed your S03 junior officer

16 to ascertain why you didn't know in advance that the

17 murder was going to happen and whether anything had been

18 missed in the analysis process. That, presumably, is

19 a long-term process of reassessment, isn't it?

20 A. Absolutely.

21 Q. And --

22 A. But it was something that we would do in parallel with

23 the immediate operational response to that change of

24 situation.

25 Q. As far as I am aware, we haven't seen a sort of paper

 

 

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1 trail of that process, either the instruction or its

2 outcome. Would that have been recorded?

3 A. Sorry, which one?

4 Q. The instruction --

5 A. The investigation into --

6 Q. Yes.

7 A. -- into the incident? It would probably have been

8 recorded.

9 Q. Would you have issued an order in writing then for this

10 to occur?

11 A. No. The situation was far more dynamic than issuing

12 written orders to staff that sat 10 feet from me.

13 Q. So what would we expect to see in terms of a record?

14 A. If there was anything substantive found, I would expect

15 an intelligence report indicating that this was

16 information that was out there that maybe indicated to

17 us that something was going to occur.

18 Q. It may assist you if I show you an incident report which

19 was produced, and that can be found -- I hope we can get

20 it on the screen -- at RNI-512-109 (displayed). The

21 title of this is "G2 incident report, murder of

22 Mrs Rosemary Nelson" and it is produced by a witness who

23 is ciphered A674, who is a colour sergeant for the

24 commanding officer.

25 Would he have been instructed by you to produce this

 

 

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1 or is this a separate level of reporting?

2 A. This is a level of reporting at the battalion level. So

3 not instructed by me; probably instructed via the

4 intelligence officer through Royal Irish.

5 Q. To take you through the document, it describes in

6 section 1 the description of the incident. It then goes

7 on to describe the security forces' operations and

8 reaction, and overleaf the sections are: sightings of

9 related intelligence; comment and local reaction;

10 summary of deductions; and lastly, a conclusion which is

11 worth, I think, pausing and looking at.

12 The conclusion that is reached by this soldier is

13 that:

14 "A sudden grasp of technical expertise by the

15 Red Hand Defenders ..."

16 Who, as we know, had claimed responsibility for this

17 murder:

18 "... in the construction of this device suggests

19 tacit involvement by more experienced PPM groupings."

20 Taking that initially, was that your view as well?

21 A. It was something we were discussing earlier with the

22 technology transfer from North Down and Belfast. Yes,

23 it would be my view.

24 Referenced on this document is a WISREP, which is

25 weapons intelligence section. That would contain more

 

 

121

 

1 detail and more accurate detail, because it was produced

2 by the experts in bomb making, than the colour sergeant

3 from 3 Royal Irish.

4 Q. We will go on in a moment, because I think you comment

5 on this document later, but just continuing through that

6 paragraph, it says:

7 "The fact that Mrs Nelson was chosen as a target

8 also indicates a deliberate strategy to target

9 individuals linked to the Republican movement,

10 particularly Colin Duffy."

11 Again, that goes back to something you were

12 discussing earlier request with the Inquiry, her

13 perceived association. Does that chime in with your

14 conclusion?

15 A. Yes, and it would fit very closely with the Loyalist

16 Volunteer Force's MO over the previous ten years, where,

17 if incidents -- Republican terrorist action occurred in

18 mid-Ulster, Billy Wright would go up to East Tyrone and

19 attack members of the Republican terrorist families.

20 Pure terrorism, and that is what that is alluding to.

21 Q. And now it is the individual linked with the Republican

22 movement point which I particularly want to look at,

23 please.

24 There are people in this Inquiry representing

25 participants who have previously represented Republicans

 

 

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1 for the purposes of criminal hearings in this country.

2 Why Mrs Nelson linked with the Republican movement? Why

3 not an ordinary lawyer who has no formal links with

4 Republicans and is just doing her job?

5 A. My answer to that would be profile.

6 Q. By which you mean?

7 A. The fact it was widespread knowledge she was defending

8 Colin Duffy and she was a key figure in the GRRC. That

9 is a high profile in a volatile area.

10 Q. And was it your conclusion that consistency of

11 representation could lead to confusion between solicitor

12 and client?

13 A. I'm not sure I understand the question.

14 Q. You mentioned Rosemary Nelson was a legal adviser to the

15 GRRC. She was also Mr Duffy's solicitor. And we have

16 seen that there are other issues to do with, for

17 example, complaints brought by Sinn Fein.

18 Now, they are all of a pattern as far as that

19 reporting goes. Is that why that link was made between

20 her and the organisation?

21 A. I don't know. I would assume that Loyalist terrorists

22 have targeted Mrs Nelson because they perceive that is

23 a way of hurting Colin Duffy.

24 Q. The conclusion in this report goes on to state that:

25 "The timing of the attack is also believed to have

 

 

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1 been deliberately planned to achieve maximum political

2 effect and response during the Saint Patrick's Day

3 celebrations."

4 Do you share that assessment?

5 A. No, I don't. If, indeed, it was Loyalist terrorists, I

6 don't think they thought at that level.

7 Q. And just to assist you on that point, I think on

8 page RNI-845-112 (displayed) we can see, if we can

9 highlight the manuscript note at the bottom of the page,

10 please -- is this comment made by you?

11 A. That is my handwriting.

12 Q. And is says:

13 "I'm not sure if this will add anything to your

14 incident analysis. I do not agree that the timing of

15 the attack was planned to achieve political effect. I

16 don't think they think."

17 Is that exactly the point you were making just now?

18 A. Exactly the point, and I'm writing that to my staff

19 officer who deals with -- it's there, to "o org" --

20 other organisations. So that was people like the

21 Loyalist Volunteer Force.

22 Q. Now, you said a few moments ago "if" it was a Loyalist

23 attack. To your mind was it possible that it may not

24 have been a Loyalist attack on Mrs Nelson?

25 A. I found that I had to keep a very open mind to

 

 

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1 everything that I looked at, and I wouldn't immediately

2 have pigeon-holed that attack into that has got to be

3 Loyalist.

4 The one big -- well, two questions in my mind.

5 Capability: It was a well conducted attack from

6 a terrorist perspective. And technology: It was

7 a functional device. That was a big step for the LVF,

8 and I would have been concerned that there could have

9 been -- it could have been a Republican attack. That

10 was complete conjecture on my part, but I wouldn't have

11 ruled that out in my analysis of what occurred.

12 Q. Is there anything else apart from the modus operandi

13 which leads you to question whether it may have been

14 a Republican device?

15 A. No, it is the two aspects: credible, capable attack and

16 technology. But there is nothing to prove that theory

17 of mine.

18 Q. You mentioned that you set your SO3 the task of finding

19 out if you'd missed something or if there had been

20 advanced warning. What was the result of that

21 investigation?

22 A. I would assume that the answer was no, we found

23 nothing -- it was something we did in response to every

24 serious incident that occurred, and invariably we didn't

25 dig up that magic piece of data.

 

 

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1 Q. Do you remember a report being produced on that issue?

2 A. Of the fact that we found nothing?

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. No.

5 Q. Would you have expected a report to be produced on it?

6 A. No.

7 Q. It would have been reported to you verbally, would it?

8 A. We would have discussed it at some length, but if we hit

9 the point where we don't believe we have -- we don't

10 believe there was anything that would have indicated to

11 us that this was going to occur, and there is a murder

12 inquiry going on run by the RUC at that point, we would

13 stop and we wouldn't have produced a report.

14 Q. Did you have any involvement with the murder

15 investigation yourself?

16 A. Not beyond the Port Inquiry speaking to me and taking

17 a -- some helicopter surveillance footage that I was

18 holding.

19 Q. What involvement did you have with that footage?

20 A. Basically I acted as a gatekeeper for our surveillance

21 capability to ensure that we didn't inadvertently

22 disclose what we were technically capable of. And,

23 therefore, any request for recorded footage would be

24 routed to me. I would receive the footage from the

25 technical source and I would clear with Regional Head of

 

 

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1 Special Branch my release of that data.

2 Q. Did you know what was in that footage?

3 A. I knew the source that had taken it, the helicopter

4 asset. I didn't know what they recorded and I didn't

5 view it.

6 Q. Sorry, you didn't view the footage?

7 A. No.

8 Q. Do you recall seeking permission from Special Branch to

9 release it?

10 A. Yes, I would have turned to them because of our concerns

11 over disclosing capability.

12 Q. Were there any concerns about that particular footage?

13 A. No, they said, "Release it".

14 Q. Was that the end of your involvement with that issue?

15 A. Absolutely.

16 Q. Were there any other times when Colin Port or any other

17 member of the Murder Investigation Team had reason to

18 contact you?

19 A. Not that I recall.

20 Q. Is there anything else you would like to add?

21 A. No.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: During the course of your evidence, you said

23 that at the time of Rosemary Nelson's murder, a car bomb

24 in Lurgan was a threat you were concerned about at the

25 time. Is that right?

 

 

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1 A. Yes, it is, sir.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: What did you mean by that?

3 A. It was obviously politically a very sensitive time, and

4 one piece of intelligence I was privy to suggested that

5 we would be attacked -- well, the civilian population

6 would be attacked in the mid-Ulster area with a car bomb

7 as a destabilising measure to the peace process. And

8 one of the reasons that we had such a high security

9 force -- level of security force activity through

10 mid-Ulster in the three/four weeks leading up to

11 Rosemary Nelson's murder was the concern of this threat.

12 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I just draw on your obviously vast

13 experience in Northern Ireland prior to this period,

14 when you were in charge of infantry troops?

15 Troops deployed on patrol, particularly involved in

16 vehicle checkpoints, was that a very precise thing?

17 Were those detailed ahead of patrolling out or was it

18 left to the discretion of the NCOs in charge of the

19 patrols if they set up a vehicle checkpoint?

20 A. It very much depended on the area you were in. The

21 higher the threat, the more precisely it would be

22 planned and the more rigidly it would be kept to.

23 So somewhere like South Armagh, detailed planning

24 because it was a complex environment you were working

25 in. Somewhere like mid-Ulster, a much lower level of

 

 

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1 threat to the security forces, so it would be a much

2 more fluid operation.

3 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Thank you very much indeed.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: We are going to have a break now and we would

5 like you to remain in the building, but before we break

6 off, there are some things I must do.

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

8 please confirm that all the cameras have been switched

9 off?

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

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out. We will

12 resume in a quarter of an hour.

13 (3.08 pm)

14 (Short break)

15 (3.24 pm)

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Currans, may we go through the checklist

17 before the witness comes in?

18 Is the public area screen fully in place, locked and

19 the key secured?

20 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

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

22 screen closed?

23 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

25 and securely fastened?

 

 

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1 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

3 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

4 of this chamber?

5 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

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

7 the two witness cameras have been switched off and

8 shrouded?

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

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

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

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Bring the witness in, please.

13 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

14 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

15 switched back on.

16 Yes, Mr Skelton?

17 MR SKELTON: I would like, if I may, to put some more

18 documents to you, which I appreciate you may not have

19 seen for today 's purposes just before this hearing, but

20 which are relevant to your evidence, particularly in the

21 light of the answer you gave to the Chairman a short

22 while ago. The first of these is at RNI-512-012

23 (displayed).

24 This is a document, a manuscript document, which is

25 titled "Loyalist paramilitary general threat" and it is

 

 

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1 dated February 1999. You can see it says broadly that

2 the Loyalist paramilitaries are planning to carry out

3 further attacks on Roman Catholic targets in the

4 mid-Ulster area.

5 Now, this is a manuscript threat note. Where would

6 this have gone to?

7 A. You can see the distribution list at the bottom, and

8 that is saying that -- for action to the East Tyrone

9 Battalion which were based in Dungannon, 3 Royal Irish

10 in Portadown, 8 Royal Irish in Armagh, information to

11 Ballykinler Battalion, the Armagh Roulement Battalion down

12 in South Armagh, brigade watchkeeper, brigade

13 surveillance cell.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Would you speak up a little bit, please,

15 because the stenographer is finding you a touch

16 inaudible.

17 A. Sorry, sir.

18 For information, it was sent to Ballykinler, Armagh

19 Roulement Battalion, the brigade watchkeeper and

20 surveillance cell, Headquarters Northern Ireland and JSG

21 central.

22 MR SKELTON: And as far as you are concerned, how would it

23 inform your thinking and your advice to the brigadier?

24 A. It is pretty generic and I think just reinforces

25 a general level of concern that we would have, as

 

 

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1 opposed to me feeling that it was new information that

2 we could specifically target assets to create some sort

3 of response.

4 Q. Thank you. I will take you to another similar document,

5 again, a handwritten one at RNI-512-014 (displayed) and

6 this is from the other side of the paramilitary

7 groupings.

8 This is entitled "Dissident Republican as general

9 threat" and this, again, is February 1999 with a similar

10 distribution list. This is to do with an assessment

11 that there may be a VBIED, a vehicle-borne improvised

12 explosive device, used by dissident Republicans. But as

13 you can see from the text, which I'm afraid isn't very

14 well legible on this copy, there is not much detail of

15 where or exactly who is going to be using this device.

16 You referred in answer to the Chairman to

17 information about a car bomb. Can you remember if it

18 was coming from a dissident threat or from a Loyalist

19 threat?

20 A. As far as I remember, it was a dissident Republican

21 threat into a Loyalist estate. But I must admit with

22 time I might have got that the wrong way round, but I

23 would have been much more concerned about the dissident

24 Republican VBIED, car bomb, going into a Loyalist estate

25 because they had the technology and capability to

 

 

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1 conduct that sort of attack.

2 Q. Now, as far as we are aware, we haven't got any other

3 reports of this nature, i.e. a manuscript note, which

4 relates to under-car booby traps or vehicle-borne

5 improvised explosive devices. It is difficult for the

6 purposes of this hearing, and I appreciate this is for

7 you the first time you may have seen this document at

8 least in a decade. Can you remember any threats from

9 the Loyalist side in addition to the one you have just

10 identified?

11 A. Specifically no, but, you know, they existed and it was

12 Loyalist threats to members of the Republican community

13 in mid-Ulster.

14 Q. Now, in response to the specific one that you

15 identified, the dissident Republican threat towards

16 a Loyalist estate, what was the military response to

17 that?

18 A. We conducted a surge, i.e. a concentration of troops into

19 the mid-Ulster area, to basically interdict routes. You

20 know, if a car bomb was being built, it was going to be

21 built somewhere around the area, probably towards the

22 south. We would interdict those routes and we would

23 have a strong presence around the periphery of estates

24 that we were trying to protect, but the whole thing

25 would be a dynamic operation, moving all the time.

 

 

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1 Q. This document is dated February and we can't see, in

2 fact, the date on the face of the document. I don't

3 want to necessarily assume that this is the source of

4 your information, but can you remember the date that you

5 were talking about that you received the information

6 about the car bomb?

7 A. The specifics that I was talking about were in the month

8 before the murder of Rosemary Nelson, and I don't

9 know -- I am assuming that this action sheet that is on

10 the screen at the moment is a vague reference to that

11 threat. That is enough for me to distribute. As you

12 can see, it was actioned to all the battalions, the five

13 battalions in the 3 Brigade area for their action. I

14 want them to go and take some action in response to this

15 threat, but if you look at the detail of the threat, it

16 is very vague.

17 Q. So there is likely to be, is there, a report somewhere

18 which devolves into more detail about the potential

19 attack?

20 A. If it exists, it will probably be an RUC Special Branch

21 document of the sort of grade 19 that you showed

22 earlier.

23 Q. It is your recollection, is it, that it was

24 Special Branch who provided that reporting and it didn't

25 come from, for example, the Security Service or the

 

 

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1 military?

2 A. As far as I can remember, it was Special Branch.

3 Q. You said "in the month before". Do you mean literally

4 the four weeks before? So mid-February to mid-March, or

5 are you talking only in February?

6 A. I would probably put a two-week bracket either side of

7 the month before, so from six weeks to two weeks before,

8 somewhere in that timeframe. That is why we had such

9 a large presence in mid-Ulster.

10 Q. And was that additional presence, that extra amount of

11 troops and extra amount of caution, still in operation

12 on the ground on 15 March or thereabouts, when

13 Rosemary Nelson was killed?

14 A. It was certainly on the ground in the weekend

15 immediately prior.

16 Q. And you didn't mention that in your statement. Is that

17 something you have recalled just while giving evidence

18 today?

19 A. What, that we had the surge or ...?

20 Q. That the surge was in fact connected with a specific

21 threat which you had received during the weeks before

22 Rosemary Nelson's death?

23 A. No, it is not something I recall today. I probably

24 neglected to add it to my statement.

25 Q. You know, I think, about Operation Improvise, as it is

 

 

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1 called, which was the surge operation that was regularly

2 implemented in that area. How does this information and

3 your advice link in with the general surge operations?

4 A. Well, Operation Improvise was a way of achieving an

5 effect. We would discuss the detail of it. There was

6 a plan in place. So instead of having to go into the

7 detail of this is the threat, this is the effect on the

8 ground we would like to you achieve, we would just say,

9 right, Operation Improvise go and we would refine things

10 over time as we got more detail of the threat.

11 Q. Does Operation Improvise focus more on the Republican or

12 Nationalist communities as opposed to the Loyalist

13 communities?

14 A. In terms of protection of the community or --

15 Q. In terms of where the troops are surging?

16 A. You could achieve both effects with the same sort of

17 operation because of the nature of the mid-Ulster

18 conurbation.

19 Q. So would you, in response to something like this, have

20 used Operation Improvise's order as the way of surging

21 to stop it?

22 A. Yes, that would be the quick way to achieve a response.

23 Q. And can you recollect over the weekend of

24 Rosemary Nelson's death whether you yourself will have

25 been engaged with surging troops, or asking for a surge

 

 

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1 of troops in order to deal with that threat?

2 A. I can't recall whether there was a specific increase in

3 the tempo that weekend, but over the period of sort of

4 six weeks or a month before, there had been high levels

5 of activity on a fairly continuous basis.

6 Q. And as I understand what you are saying, just because

7 the threat is against a Loyalist community or an

8 Unionist community from dissident Republicans, that

9 doesn't alter the geographical direction of where you

10 surge your troops. It is the whole area that gets

11 covered?

12 A. If you are trying to protect a Loyalist estate, you can

13 sort of surround it, stop stuff going in, or if you are

14 trying to protect from a threat coming out of a Loyalist

15 estate, the same deployment has a pretty similar effect.

16 Q. Are you talking about --

17 A. I was just talking generally there. The same thing in

18 deployment terms on the ground can have two different

19 effects.

20 Q. This document, for example, doesn't mention the reason

21 for the attack, and you have in your answer previously

22 said that this was part of a destabilisation strategy,

23 potentially. Was that an inference that you had drawn

24 from your assessment or was that something that came

25 from the intelligence itself?

 

 

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1 A. I think it was probably an inference I had drawn about

2 the effect of a no warning car bomb in an estate in

3 mid-Ulster would have been pretty dramatic at that

4 stage.

5 Q. And a vehicle-borne device is basically not directed at

6 any specific target person; it is directed at

7 a community or locality. Is that correct?

8 A. Terrorists nowadays are using it to both effect, but if

9 you are putting it into an estate, it is fairly

10 indiscriminate.

11 Q. The point I'm trying to make is to differentiate that

12 type of attack between a specific attack using the kind

13 of car bomb that was used to kill Mrs Nelson, which was

14 specific to her and put under her specific car?

15 A. Military terminology. In this action sheet it says

16 VBIED, that is a vehicle-borne improvised explosive

17 device, car bomb. The device that killed

18 Rosemary Nelson was an under-vehicle booby trap,

19 a UVIED. And that's important because to me this

20 message says car bomb, big explosion, you can kill lots

21 of people. A VBIED is something that you can transport

22 almost in your bag, so different interdiction.

23 Q. Because we have other witnesses who will attend this

24 Inquiry in the forthcoming weeks who may be asked

25 questions about Operation Improvise and the surge that

 

 

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1 weekend, can you clarify for us who you would have

2 spoken to, not necessarily by name but by their ranks,

3 about this intelligence and the need to deploy troops in

4 order to counter the threat?

5 A. The first conversation would have been with the brigade

6 commander. On the back of that, I would have spoken to

7 brigade G3 staff, the operational staff at brigade

8 level. I would also have spoken to the intelligence

9 officers from the battalions that it affected, so the G2

10 chain, and I may at their request have spoken to the

11 operations officers at battalion level and possibly

12 commanding officers.

13 But to this sort of generic threat, it would have

14 been brigade commander, brigade G3 and unit intelligence

15 officers.

16 Q. And the intelligence having emanated from

17 Special Branch, would you have gone back to

18 Special Branch to receive more information about the

19 evolving situation?

20 A. In response to this, I would have phoned them up and

21 asked them whether they could shed any more light on it,

22 very generic.

23 Q. Who would you have spoken to there?

24 A. Regional head, probably.

25 Q. So the Chief Superintendent?

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Again, this is just a point of clarification: when you

3 received this threat, would you have received it via the

4 CAISTER/MACER system, i.e. through some form of

5 disseminated report, or again, would you have been

6 contacted orally?

7 A. This would have been a telephone call to the duty staff

8 officer, the G2 staff officer at brigade whose

9 handwriting that is. They would have written it out and

10 decided on the dissemination.

11 Q. Thank you. I have one further question to ask you about

12 the Murder Investigation Team. May I ask, were you

13 aware that they were investigating whether the bomb had

14 been produced by a Loyalist in Belfast for use in this

15 attack?

16 A. I wasn't aware of that fact, but it doesn't surprise me,

17 bearing in mind what I said about the technology being

18 more advanced in Belfast than North Down.

19 Q. To your knowledge were there any links between Belfast

20 bomb makers and your local LVF paramilitaries?

21 A. Specific bomb makers, I'm not sure, but there were links

22 between Protestant paramilitaries in mid-Ulster and

23 Belfast and North Down.

24 Q. And presumably at this time, with the mainstream

25 paramilitaries on ceasefire, the focus for any attacks

 

 

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1 was likely to be your region?

2 A. We had borne the brunt of attacks in the previous year,

3 yes.

4 Q. Sir, I do not have any further questions.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for coming to give

6 evidence before us and we wish you a good journey to

7 where you are going.

8 A. Thank you very much, sir.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Before the witness leaves, Mr (name redacted), would

10 you please confirm that all the cameras have been

11 switched off?

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

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Please escort the witness out.

14 We will adjourn until quarter past ten in the

15 morning.

16 (3.43.pm)

17 (The hearing adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)

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MR PAUL DONNELLY (continued) ..................... 1
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS (continued) ......... 1
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Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 30
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Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 32
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A683 (affirmed) .................................. 39
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Questions by MR SKELTON ...................... 39
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