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Full Hearings

Hearing: 29th September 2008, day 54

Click here to download the LiveNote version

 

 

 

 

 

 


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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 Monday, 29 September 2008
commencing at 1.00 pm


Day 54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Monday, 29 September 2008

2 (1.00 pm)

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

4 Housekeeping

5 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, on Friday, 19 September, when we were

6 last gathered here, you asked for an explanation/report

7 relating to the Special Branch witnesses whom we had

8 hoped to call this week, and I would like to give

9 a short explanation now, if I may.

10 In a sense, it's an illustration of the problems we

11 have in timetabling. The position is their solicitor

12 was first contacted by the Inquiry on 15 September, and

13 in the meanwhile a provisional timetable was sent out to

14 the Full Participants before any indication had been

15 given as to their availability or not so as to give the

16 Full Participants the maximum possible warning.

17 The solicitor responded on their behalf on

18 18 September, in other words, the day before this matter

19 came up, to say that they were unavailable and, perhaps

20 significantly also, that she herself was unavailable for

21 this week.

22 So far as the officers are concerned, I understand

23 that two are still serving and one is retired. But,

24 sir, in my submission, given the very short notice given

25 to the solicitor by the Inquiry in this particular case,

 

 

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1 it would not be appropriate to make any criticism of the

2 officers for their non-availability.

3 We have in fact managed to fill at least part of the

4 time, as I indicated, with Part 1 witnesses: P146 and

5 Mr Donnelly.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: We are grateful for the explanation, thank

7 you.

8 Mr Currans, may we go through the checklist with

9 you, please, before the witness comes in? Is the public

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

11 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

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

13 screen closed?

14 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

16 and securely fastened?

17 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

19 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

20 of this chamber?

21 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

23 Mr (Name redacted), can you confirm, please, that the two

24 witness cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

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

 

 

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

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

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

4 Bring the witness in, please. Would the witness

5 please affirm, thank you.

6 P285 (affirmed)

7 Questions by MISS BROWN

8 MISS BROWN: Mr P285, you have made two statements to the

9 Inquiry, the second of these very recently. The first

10 statement appears at RNI-842-156, if that could be

11 displayed, please. (displayed)

12 You will see there your statement, and if we can go

13 forward to page RNI-842-160 (displayed) and if you could

14 just confirm that you have read through and signed that

15 statement? Clearly, you can't see your signatures.

16 A. Yes, I have.

17 Q. And your second statement, if we could have it on the

18 screen, at RNI-842-154 (displayed). Again, going

19 forward to the next page, RNI-842-155 (displayed),

20 again, could you just confirm that that is your

21 statement that you have signed?

22 A. Yes, it is.

23 Q. For the period we are concerned with, you were a

24 detective inspector in the RUC, promoted I think

25 in June 1997 and, at the same time as that promotion,

 

 

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1 transferred to Lurgan; is that correct?

2 A. Yes, I was promoted to inspector, not detective

3 inspector at the time, 1997.

4 Q. Prior to your move to Lurgan, where were you based and

5 what was your role?

6 A. I was in headquarters.

7 Q. And doing what role there?

8 A. I was doing a job within crime department.

9 Q. And when you moved to Lurgan and were promoted, who did

10 you then report to?

11 A. My direct line manager would have been Chief

12 Inspector McMullen.

13 Q. Just leaping forward to the end of your time in Lurgan,

14 you left Lurgan, I think, in approximately February 1999

15 shortly before Rosemary Nelson was murdered. Could you

16 give the exact date?

17 A. I went to a two-week course and immediately was

18 appointed after that. It was around, I think,

19 11 February. I'm not sure. It was just straight away

20 from the course into the appointment.

21 Q. But you are confident it was prior to her murder?

22 A. Yes, it was.

23 Q. And would it be correct that during your period in

24 Lurgan, Henry McMullen was the Deputy Subdivisional

25 Commander?

 

 

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1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. And are you currently serving in the PSNI?

3 A. No, I retired.

4 Q. When did you retire?

5 A. 30 June this year.

6 Q. I should probably do the calculation myself, but how

7 long in total were you a police officer?

8 A. 29 and a half years.

9 Q. Turning to your dealings with Rosemary Nelson, had you

10 met her prior to Colin Duffy being arrested for the

11 murder of the two policemen?

12 A. No.

13 Q. And what was your reaction to that murder?

14 A. I went the week after the murder. I wasn't there at the

15 time of the actual incident. It was a few days later I

16 moved down to it, but I think the reaction of mine was

17 the same as everybody: just horrified.

18 Q. Did you know the officers?

19 A. No, I didn't know them personally.

20 Q. What was the atmosphere amongst your colleagues in

21 Lurgan when you arrived so soon after this incident?

22 A. I think, as anybody would expect, it was solemn. They

23 were grieving. There was a grieving process taking

24 place within the station, and shock as well.

25 Q. Was there a belief, or did you form the impression that

 

 

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1 there was an understanding amongst some or maybe the

2 majority that Colin Duffy was in some way implicated in

3 those murders?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. How high would you put that? Can you, in your own

6 words, say?

7 A. I would say it was very, very high because of what

8 happened subsequently and everything else, previous

9 incidents. But certainly he would have been, as far as

10 everybody was concerned, the person who pulled the

11 trigger.

12 Q. You said because of what happened before, what happened

13 after; could you just expand a little?

14 A. When I arrived, he had just been arrested. He had been

15 arrested suspected of the murder and then there was

16 enough evidence and he was subsequently charged.

17 So I think people believed that -- the way the

18 situation turned out, I don't know there was any doubt

19 in anybody's mind in Lurgan that he was the guilty

20 person.

21 Q. When you say "in Lurgan", you are talking specifically

22 about amongst your police colleagues or more generally

23 in the wider population?

24 A. I would say more generally, wider, between even the

25 people in Lurgan town.

 

 

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1 Q. But certainly amongst your colleagues?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Where did you in fact first meet Rosemary Nelson?

4 A. It was in the custody suite in Lurgan police station.

5 Q. Now, you describe in your statement -- and this is

6 RNI-842-156 at paragraph 3 (displayed) -- how

7 Colin Duffy was charged with murder in the absence of

8 his solicitor, in the absence of Rosemary Nelson.

9 Was Rosemary Nelson aware that Colin Duffy was

10 shortly to be charged?

11 A. I believe she was. At the time of the charging was --

12 as you know, you have to be charged -- when you've

13 evidence, you must charge. If I recall right,

14 Mrs Nelson had said she was going to Belfast to get

15 a barrister. Whenever she left the station, it was then

16 decided that he had to be charged and he was charged.

17 So she was informed before she left, yes, that he would

18 be getting charged.

19 Q. Had Rosemary Nelson asked to be present when Colin Duffy

20 was charged?

21 A. Prior to her leaving?

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. No, I think it was -- I think it was, at the time, "I'm

24 going to speak to a barrister" and away -- then she

25 left, but he was to be charged. He was to be charged

 

 

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1 immediately then because as PACE dictates, he had to be

2 charged.

3 Q. You say that she left to consult with a barrister. I

4 understand that she actually went to Belfast

5 from Lurgan, or was it a telephone conversation?

6 A. I'm not sure. It could well have been a telephone

7 conversation. It just sticks in my mind, the fact that

8 she was discussing it with a barrister in Belfast.

9 Q. Because from the evidence you have given to me, it

10 doesn't seem that there was any change between the

11 situation when Rosemary Nelson was there and when she

12 departed. No new evidence had come in?

13 A. No, no.

14 Q. Why was it that Colin Duffy wasn't charged in her

15 presence.

16 A. If she had have stayed, he would have been charged in

17 her presence, but it was Mrs Nelson's decision to leave

18 the station and go and, as she said, consult.

19 Q. Do you know why it was that she felt it necessary to

20 consult a barrister? Was it connected to this case?

21 A. No, she didn't reveal that whatsoever.

22 Q. In your experience, would it have been more usual to

23 charge a person when their solicitor was present?

24 A. The natural progression would have been enough evidence

25 brought forward, charges then would have been decided to

 

 

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1 charge, and certainly the solicitor would generally have

2 stayed within the station during the charging process.

3 Q. Because certainly going through what seems to have been

4 the chain of events, it would appear that certainly it

5 would have been at least professional courtesy, if not

6 best practice, to have charged Colin Duffy when she was

7 present, not to wait until Rosemary Nelson had left the

8 room to choose to charge?

9 A. But under the circumstances, there was enough evidence

10 to charge and it states you must charge. The fact that

11 a solicitor decides voluntarily to leave the station for

12 an unknown period of time, it would not have been right

13 to have kept prisoners sitting waiting to be charged to

14 wait for the solicitor to come back. And under PACE it

15 was done as required: when evidence was there, the

16 person was charged. We didn't put any solicitors out,

17 the solicitor decided to leave.

18 Q. I won't labour the point too much, but presumably just

19 prior to her leaving, the evidence was there. Why did

20 you not charge -- it takes a matter of moments. Why

21 was --

22 A. The process was being looked at at that time. There was

23 obviously charge sheets were being typed up and getting

24 prepared to charge, and Mrs Nelson was told that the

25 charge was going to take place and then left the

 

 

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1 station.

2 Q. So she left the station aware that he was likely to be

3 charged in her absence?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And could you not wait until she returned? Was there

6 any rush to do it immediately?

7 A. Well, there was a special court that he had to go to.

8 So, therefore, it was getting set up in time in order

9 for him to be remanded in custody. So we couldn't have

10 delayed for an hour, two hours. The court was getting

11 set up in Craigavon to deal with the charges.

12 Q. Now, moving to Mrs Nelson's reactions when she found out

13 that Colin Duffy had been charged, you say -- and this

14 is RNI-842-157, at the top of the page (displayed) --

15 that she was crying and that she was upset that Duffy

16 was charged in her absence.

17 Can you just clarify, insofar as you can, as to why

18 you concluded she was crying?

19 A. Because I watched her crying.

20 Q. In terms of the motivation for those tears, was it --

21 and I suggest these as examples, but please correct me

22 if they are wrong examples -- a possibility would be

23 frustration that he was charged in her absence; was that

24 your view?

25 A. No, possibly frustration or anger or distress, but it

 

 

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1 was just the physical was crying and it could have been

2 for either of those reasons.

3 Q. And distress. Are you meaning by that upset at the fact

4 that he had been charged?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And there is a difference obviously between frustration

7 and anger or a shock upset at being charged. Can you

8 help us on that scale of emotions where

9 Rosemary Nelson's reaction fitted?

10 A. It is very difficult to actually go into somebody's mind

11 and realise -- all I can say is that the lady was

12 crying, she was physically upset as a result of the

13 charges process and her client was now away to the

14 court, and that is all I can say. I can't go into

15 somebody's mindset as to exactly why.

16 Q. You comment -- and this is RNI-842-157, paragraph 2

17 (displayed) -- that this was very unusual to see

18 a solicitor crying in this way. Have you ever seen

19 a solicitor react in this way before or since?

20 A. Never.

21 Q. And what did you conclude about Rosemary Nelson, this

22 being your first meeting with her, from her unique, as

23 your evidence is, reaction?

24 A. I suppose I didn't really form much of an opinion. It

25 was the fact being that we had to do our job, we had to

 

 

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1 charge the person, the fact that Mrs Nelson left the

2 station whilst we were in the process of doing that and

3 then came back and was annoyed and crying. I didn't

4 really form any view. I thought it was strange

5 behaviour.

6 Q. At the time that this incident -- the charging and her

7 crying -- occurred, were you aware of a suggestion that

8 Rosemary Nelson was having a relationship with

9 Colin Duffy?

10 A. I know there were rumours and there was newspaper

11 reports prior to even the murder about an alleged

12 businesswoman in Armagh. I had never seen anything or

13 never assumed anything would say that they were having

14 an affair.

15 Q. You didn't have knowledge, but you were aware at that

16 charging incident that there were rumours surrounding

17 her relationship with Colin Duffy?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And how widely spread would you say those rumours were

20 amongst your colleagues? Clearly, you had only been

21 there a short number of weeks and it had reached your

22 ears. How widely spread was that rumour or those

23 thoughts?

24 A. I would think that it was a lot of people heard the

25 rumour. Whether they believed it or not, I don't know.

 

 

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1 Q. When you say "a lot of people", are we talking a lot of

2 people within the police community at Lurgan or a lot of

3 people in the wider community?

4 A. I would say generally wider, you know. Because of the

5 fact there was a national newspaper running articles on

6 an (inaudible) person, I would say it would have been

7 wider.

8 Q. Did it not occur to you that her tears might have been

9 related to that or did that go through your mind when

10 you saw her crying?

11 A. To be honest, I didn't consider about anybody having

12 affairs. It was just that it was strange. It was only

13 a few moments of time.

14 Q. First of all, was there anyone else present when she was

15 crying? Was it just you?

16 A. I can't remember. I know where I was standing. It was

17 in the door leading into the custody suite where I was

18 speaking to her there, just at the office door. There

19 could have been CID people there, I'm not sure. I can't

20 remember who was standing around me.

21 Q. Your obvious candidate was probably be Ian Monteith as

22 the charging officer, but you're not sure whether he was

23 or not?

24 A. I'm not sure because I was the duty inspector so,

25 therefore, I would have dealt then with any sort of

 

 

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1 questions being asked or anything to do with the custody

2 issues.

3 Q. Did you discuss Mrs Nelson's reaction, I mean her

4 crying, with your colleagues?

5 A. I can't remember discussing it.

6 Q. Even though this was a unique reaction that you had

7 never seen a solicitor react for and even with the

8 background of rumours it wasn't something that you

9 commented on with colleagues?

10 A. I can't recall. I'm not saying that I didn't, but I

11 can't recall speaking to anybody about it or even

12 raising an issue about it.

13 Q. Was it not something that you thought was sufficiently

14 an unusual reaction that you ought to pass on to those

15 investigating the murder?

16 A. I honestly do not remember -- I could well have spoke to

17 Ian. I could have spoke to anybody, but I just don't

18 recall speaking to anybody about it.

19 Q. Were you involved after the charging of Colin Duffy with

20 the investigation of the murder?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Just turning to Rosemary Nelson's attitude towards the

23 police more generally, you make a comment -- and this is

24 RNI-842-157 at paragraph 3 (displayed) -- regarding the

25 charging of Colin Duffy in her absence, saying you don't

 

 

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1 think she made a complaint, but if she had, she would

2 have made it in writing rather than making it orally

3 there and then.

4 Certainly to the lay person, it seems unusual that

5 it wouldn't have at least been raised orally then. Can

6 you explain why you draw the conclusion that

7 Rosemary Nelson would have complained in writing?

8 A. Firstly, Duffy did make a complaint about the handcuffs

9 being tight. That was dealt with by another inspector.

10 Q. Yes, I will come back to that.

11 A. In relation to dealing with the writing, even when I

12 first arrived in Lurgan and then subsequently afterwards

13 when I was there, Mrs Nelson did not deal verbally with

14 police. Everything that was done was done by letter.

15 Q. Was she unusual in that amongst her fellow solicitors?

16 A. Yes, totally.

17 Q. What conclusion did you draw from that or what was the

18 feeling of the fact that she was a solicitor who had

19 always complained in writing?

20 A. I think it was because she didn't want personal contact

21 with the police. That was even down to court

22 adjournments and prosecution in court, whichever the

23 prosecutor did. At that time, there was no contact.

24 Q. Why did she not want personal contact with the police?

25 A. I can't answer that.

 

 

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1 Q. The fact that her complaints were in writing, did that

2 cause frustration, a paperwork overload to use an

3 expression?

4 A. No. In fact, because the complaint was in writing,

5 generally it came some time after an event. Whereas as

6 a duty inspector, my job would have been to ensure there

7 was no immediate reaction required, securing of evidence

8 or early referral. Therefore, if it came in writing, it

9 was maybe days after, a week after. It was more or less

10 an administrative procedure that was carried out from

11 that point.

12 Q. You say that your view was that she didn't want personal

13 contact with the police. You say you can't expand on

14 that, but was there a view more generally held amongst

15 your colleagues about her attitude towards the police

16 that you can help us with?

17 A. As far as I recall, it was just accepted that it was all

18 done through letter, there was no personal contact.

19 Even through adjournments of cases, even in court, there

20 wouldn't even have been any interaction between

21 ourselves personally and the representing solicitor.

22 Q. Sorry, are you saying now that the contact in writing

23 was something that was more wide than just

24 Rosemary Nelson or that -- I understood before you said

25 that Rosemary Nelson was different from her colleagues?

 

 

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1 A. The practice. The Rosemary Nelson practice, I should

2 have termed it, because the solicitor that worked with

3 her, I think Mr Vernon, Pat Vernon, it would have been

4 the same sort of attitude, but it was from the

5 solicitor's practice. So there was two solicitors

6 involved in the practice.

7 Q. Was that not indicative of an anti-police stance?

8 A. You could interpret it that way if you want. It was

9 just -- it was accepted. When you are a prosecuting

10 inspector dealing with complaints, it was accepted it

11 was always done in the written word and there was no

12 personal contact. Other solicitors you were speaking to

13 on a daily basis with adjournments and dealing with

14 matters, but not with Nelson.

15 Q. Did you consider Rosemary Nelson to be anti-police?

16 That is an expression that's been used in the past.

17 A. I didn't actually -- I met her twice personally. Her

18 actions could have been maybe not anti-police, but just

19 didn't want to have personal contact with the police.

20 Q. Was there a perception that she was partisan towards the

21 Nationalist or Republican causes?

22 A. I would say -- I can't really say that. Personally from

23 me or from other people?

24 Q. First yourself, and then if you could move on to the

25 wider perception amongst your colleagues specifically?

 

 

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1 A. I just found -- personally, I felt that her clients

2 suffered as a result of her not speaking to the police

3 because it makes it a lot easier if you can deal with

4 people on a daily basis, even about adjournments and how

5 you're dealing with incidents. In relation to -- she

6 was a solicitor.

7 Q. Just going back to the specific question, what I'm

8 asking is first of all your personal perception as to

9 whether she was partisan towards Nationalists or

10 Republican causes. First, your perception?

11 A. No, personally, as far as I am concerned, I have no

12 evidence or information to say that she was partisan.

13 She did her job and she represented, I think, everybody.

14 I don't think there was sign at the door saying, "Nobody

15 come in unless you're from a certain background". I'm

16 near sure she represented everybody.

17 Q. Amongst colleagues, do you think there was a perception,

18 an aspect of her being partisan towards Nationalists or

19 Republican causes?

20 A. I think if you look --

21 Q. I'm talking about perception here.

22 A. Yes, but if you look at newspaper articles even at the

23 time of the Garvaghy Road and representing of a group,

24 yes, certainly the perception would have been that it

25 was a representation of a certain section of the

 

 

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1 community.

2 Q. And that is talking -- I have been looking at more the

3 general sense of representing one section of the

4 community in certain high profile cases, but the fact

5 that she was very specifically involved in representing

6 someone alleged of the murder of two of your colleagues

7 in Lurgan, did that lead to any hostility towards her as

8 a specific result that she was representing the man, as

9 you said, who was widely perceived to be responsible

10 amongst your colleagues?

11 A. No, I don't think throughout my whole service that

12 anybody ever had bad feelings against anybody who was

13 defending alleged murderers wherever they came from. If

14 never happened, it was never considered.

15 Q. Just moving to a slightly different topic, in terms of

16 access to intelligence, and I am talking about your

17 access to intelligence when you were in your role in

18 Lurgan here, what contact in terms of formal

19 briefings did you have with Special Branch?

20 A. None.

21 Q. And in terms of informal information coming through to

22 you from Special Branch about paramilitary activity?

23 A. No, I would not have said that anyone in Special Branch

24 would have expected, in formal briefings or anything, to

25 give me information which would not normally be shared

 

 

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1 as a result of whatever. But I never received formal

2 briefings and I did not sit and ask them for information

3 informally.

4 Q. Were you aware of any intelligence reporting in or

5 around 1997, September 1997, that Rosemary Nelson had

6 pressurised a prosecution witness in this murder case,

7 the double murder case?

8 A. No.

9 Q. And during your time in Lurgan, did you hear rumours to

10 that event, for example, casting doubts on her integrity

11 as a solicitor?

12 A. No, definitely not.

13 Q. We heard evidence from Mr McMullen earlier -- and for

14 the record this is Day 47, page 139 of the LiveNote --

15 who talks about the fact that there were press articles

16 in which his interpretation was that there were

17 insinuations coming from Rosemary Nelson that the police

18 were not acting properly.

19 Were you aware of those sort of press articles and

20 those sort of insinuations coming from Rosemary Nelson

21 or her firm?

22 A. I think there was a number of press articles. I am not

23 sure in relation to statements, but not in relation

24 specifically to the murders or an investigation of the

25 murders, are we talking about?

 

 

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1 Q. I am just talking about the general view that through

2 press articles there was a view that Rosemary Nelson was

3 someone who was critical of the police and vocal about

4 that?

5 A. Well, there was articles certainly that were critical of

6 the police.

7 Q. Now, during your period in Lurgan, I'm interested in

8 knowing whether there was any progression or change in

9 Rosemary Nelson's attitude towards the police.

10 Is that something you could help us with, whether

11 she became more, less antagonistic towards the police,

12 for example? But in your own words, please.

13 A. It was coming towards the end before I left Lurgan. I

14 am not sure of the date, but Mrs Nelson did come to the

15 station for her prisoner. It was a Sunday evening.

16 That prisoner was then -- and asked for there to be a

17 solicitor. That was the first time that I had actually

18 seen Mrs Nelson in the station door since the charging

19 of Duffy. And her attitude was -- she was out with

20 a family meal. She was looking forward to getting back

21 to join her family again to continue with the meal.

22 She just came across as a total family woman who was

23 doing her job and then going to meet the family again.

24 A totally different attitude from when I previously

25 dealt with her.

 

 

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1 Q. Totally different?

2 A. Friendly. Okay, it was a difference circumstance

3 completely, but at the same time after being there for

4 over a year, a year and a half, and never having any

5 personal contact, Mrs Nelson was happy to talk away and,

6 as I say, even down to the private issue about going

7 with her family for a meal and going back to them.

8 Q. Did that surprise you?

9 A. I suppose it did after having no contact for a time.

10 Yes, it did.

11 Q. Did it surprise you because of the perception that you

12 were talking about before of Rosemary Nelson amongst

13 colleagues?

14 A. No, it surprised me because -- being there for so long

15 and never spoke to the lady personally. It was the

16 first -- I didn't expect her to come to the station.

17 She came to the station and she was talking to me and to

18 the custody sergeant, which I hadn't seen in a year and

19 a half or however long I had been there before.

20 Q. Why didn't you expect her to come?

21 A. She didn't normally come.

22 Q. She didn't normally come or solicitors didn't normally

23 come?

24 A. No. Mrs Nelson, as far as -- I can never recall her

25 coming in on another occasion (inaudible). It would

 

 

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1 have been her -- other solicitor in the practice or

2 whoever the duty solicitor was, but I can't recall being

3 on duty and Mrs Nelson coming in to represent, whether

4 it was prisoner for theft or disorderly behaviour.

5 Q. Now, turning to the complaint by Mr Duffy regarding the

6 handcuffs, you say this was the first complaint you

7 dealt with in your role as an inspector at Lurgan. Had

8 you dealt with complaints in your previous role?

9 A. No, and the reason why an inspector rank took

10 complaints, sergeants didn't take complaints. So,

11 therefore, formally it was an inspector had to take the

12 complaints. So I hadn't dealt with a complaint before

13 in my previous role.

14 Q. Was there any medical evidence, insofar as you can

15 recall, in support the complaint?

16 A. It would have been examined anyway. The allegation was

17 that the handcuffs were too tight, as far as I can

18 remember. There certainly would have been a doctor had

19 examined him to see if there was any marks that would

20 have upheld the allegation.

21 Q. Did you form a view, and if you did form a view can you

22 recall it, as to whether the complaint was genuine?

23 A. My view from the evidence served was -- what I could see

24 with the person taking the complaint, I could see no

25 marks, if I recall, at the time and I didn't see any

 

 

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1 justification in it.

2 Q. You say -- and this is RNI-842-157 at paragraph 5

3 (displayed) -- that there could be up to five complaints

4 a night. What was the reason, in your view, for that

5 number of complaints?

6 A. Well, it depended. If there was a busy night and there

7 was prisoners coming in, you know, there could have been

8 a number of people making complaints about police,

9 whether it be incivility, whether it be assault, whether

10 it be anything like that. So in a weekend when you have

11 a lot of prisoners coming through the door, there could

12 have been complaints made on a regular process.

13 Q. And did you consider them in the main part to be

14 genuine?

15 A. Every complaint I looked at I considered to be genuine

16 until it was proved otherwise.

17 Q. In terms of complaints that could have been made to

18 disrupt the system, tactical complaints if you like, was

19 that a view that you formed, that a percentage of

20 complaints were made on that basis?

21 A. Not to disrupt the system. A lot of time I viewed

22 complaints to be made for claim purposes or

23 compensation, or as a bargaining tool to drop charges

24 because the complaint had dropped.

25 Q. Did you form any view as to whether there was a pattern

 

 

25

 

1 as to who would make complaints? For example, what I'm

2 trying to get at is whether they were equally

3 distributed between both sectors of the community?

4 A. I wouldn't say there was any more likelihood of somebody

5 from either side of the town making a complaint. We got

6 complaints and dealt with them equally from both sides

7 of the community and all sections of the community.

8 Q. In terms of Rosemary Nelson as a solicitor and her firm,

9 and her practice, was she someone who was seen as making

10 more or less the same number of complaints than others?

11 A. Unless I could actually see the whole picture of all

12 complaints coming into the station, I couldn't answer

13 that because of the fact that I was getting

14 a complaint -- if I was duty inspector who was dealing

15 with complaints. We didn't sit down with a chart and

16 have a list of complaints made from all solicitors in

17 the town or sections of the community in the town. It

18 didn't work that way.

19 Q. But what I'm getting at is whether there was

20 a perception or a general view amongst colleagues that

21 this was a solicitor who was always complaining, or

22 whether that was anything you ever heard or perceived to

23 be the case, that she was a solicitor who was

24 complaining more than others? I appreciate you can't

25 give me a statistical analysis.

 

 

26

 

1 A. No, I actually can't remember anybody ever discussing

2 the fact that there was more complaints from the Nelson

3 practice than there was from any other solicitors in the

4 town.

5 Q. Now, there is another complaint form that you signed --

6 and it is page RNI-209-557, if we could have up on the

7 display (displayed). This is a complaint form that you

8 have signed, and the relevant bit of text one sees

9 a third of the way down the page:

10 "A CID member contacted a member of the public and

11 mentioned Colin Duffy's name during the conversation."

12 I note from your statement -- and this is

13 paragraph 7 at RNI-842-158 for the record; I don't need

14 that up on the screen -- that you find it hard to see

15 what it is about.

16 Your second statement deals with this complaint and,

17 as I understand it, your evidence is that you don't have

18 any independent recollection of the complaint beyond

19 what is in your statements; is that correct?

20 A. That is correct. I can look at the complaint and

21 estimate, guess that it came in as a written letter into

22 the subdivisional office manager. Then it was required

23 that a duty inspector completed the 17/2 or 17/3 and

24 sent it on to Complaints and Discipline. And that is

25 what I imagine that has been.

 

 

27

 

1 Q. Looking at the form now, does that prompt you to any

2 view on its merit as a complaint, or can you not

3 comment?

4 A. At the end of the day, your job was to keep whatever

5 evidence there was given to you, which would probably in

6 this case have been a letter, and it was a matter of

7 sending it on to Complaints and Discipline for them to

8 immediately investigate. And there was no follow-up

9 action I could have taken. There was no early referral,

10 there is no preserving of evidence. Therefore, it would

11 just have been an administration matter to put it on to

12 C&D.

13 Q. You go on in your statement -- and this is RNI-842-158,

14 if we could go back to the statement and display that

15 page (displayed) -- you have already mentioned the

16 further meeting you had with Rosemary Nelson in 1999.

17 Initially, looking at that, it seems strange that

18 with the number of solicitors you must have come across

19 that you specifically remember meeting Rosemary Nelson.

20 Is there any reason why Rosemary Nelson stuck in your

21 mind particularly?

22 A. It was exceptional, the fact that after being there for

23 a year and a half, that this was the second time that I

24 had met her personally, and that's why -- other

25 solicitors I was meeting literally every week and every

 

 

28

 

1 weekend, and the reason why I remember it was because it

2 was such a change.

3 Q. So I'm taking from that -- going over your evidence

4 here -- that she stood out in your mind because of the

5 crying incident firstly, presumably?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And she stood out because unlike other solicitors, she

8 rarely came to the station?

9 A. Correct.

10 Q. That was your understanding?

11 A. Yes, and didn't personally deal with police.

12 Q. And just to go over again your view as to why that was,

13 why she wouldn't personally deal with the police?

14 A. It's the sort of thing -- I don't know, to be honest. I

15 don't know.

16 Q. Now, just turning to something you deal with very

17 briefly in your statement, which is the Garvaghy Road

18 assault, you refer to a programme you saw on this where

19 she made a complaint about being assaulted on the

20 Garvaghy Road in 1997.

21 Do you recall by any chance what television

22 programme you saw that on?

23 A. No. The reason why that was mentioned was because I was

24 getting mixed up with another person with the same

25 surname as me, and during interview I was asked if I was

 

 

29

 

1 in Garvaghy Road, and I said no, that I was not. And

2 the question was posed as in, "Did you know anything

3 about it?" And it was that I had seen a programme -- it

4 was probably the news at the time --

5 Q. Are you aware of any other solicitor who made

6 a public -- according to your evidence -- televised

7 complaint about being physically assaulted by the

8 police?

9 A. I think Mrs Nelson at that time was the official

10 spokesperson and legal representative for the Garvaghy

11 Road Residents Association, which obviously was why it

12 would probably have been on TV. I cannot recall another

13 solicitor at the time -- there may well have been, but I

14 can't recall anybody who was named and was the

15 representative on the TV.

16 Q. Because so far you've said that your personal view of

17 Rosemary Nelson was a fairly neutral one, but the fact

18 that she is complaining on TV about an assault,

19 something you have never heard in relation to another

20 solicitor, combined with the crying incident, isn't this

21 leading you to form some conclusions about

22 Rosemary Nelson?

23 A. No. To be truthful, at the time that was on TV, I

24 thought if the lady was hit the way it was claimed, it

25 was ridiculous. I would have liked to have seen in

 

 

30

 

1 investigated properly and the person involved in it

2 brought to justice because that is my view of being a

3 police officer: bringing people to justice for doing

4 wrong.

5 So I've no view. If the lady was attacked in the

6 way she described, she was quite entitled to make

7 a complaint and it should have been investigated fully.

8 Q. Turning to threat assessments, first looking at it in

9 a general context, you deal with this at

10 page RNI-842-159, and it is paragraph 14 (displayed).

11 You say that threat assessments were carried out by

12 Special Branch?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. And you go on to say you did them before working in

15 Lurgan. Were you involved with Special Branch before

16 being in Lurgan?

17 A. I was.

18 Q. What was your involvement -- I'm talking about the

19 position prior to coming to Lurgan here -- in threat

20 assessments?

21 A. If a threat was received as per the force order, 60 bar

22 91, we went to Special Branch headquarters who had

23 access to intelligence who could perform the threat

24 assessment and see if there was any threat to any

25 individual person. So the office I was in dealt with

 

 

31

 

1 any threats that were emanating from Loyalist

2 paramilitaries.

3 Q. We are not going into the period today with your role

4 post the murder, but pre-the murder you say you were

5 a member of Special Branch prior to moving to Lurgan,

6 did you?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Did you remain a member of the Special Branch throughout

9 your period in Lurgan?

10 A. No, I wasn't in Special Branch in Lurgan, I was uniform

11 inspector in Lurgan.

12 Q. So you came out of Special Branch to return to it later?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Dispute, obviously, your knowledge of Special Branch

15 having been in it previously, did that not affect --

16 whether you had knowledge of intelligence -- whether you

17 came to the role in Lurgan with knowledge of

18 intelligence about Rosemary Nelson?

19 A. No, I didn't. I dealt with Loyalist terrorists.

20 Q. Now, turning specifically in relation to threat, you

21 refer to an American letter. Specifically you refer to

22 letter from an American regarding Rosemary Nelson being

23 under threat from the RUC. That is RNI-842-159,

24 paragraph 14 (displayed). How is it that you became

25 aware that of letter?

 

 

32

 

1 A. If I recall correctly, it was basically in the office of

2 the Chief Inspector. I have looked at dates and studied

3 the evidence by Mr McMullen and it wasn't in May because

4 in May I wasn't in the station. So it was a later time

5 that obviously the letter was discussed. I think it was

6 probably September, going through the transcript. I

7 think it was just mentioned in passing. It could have

8 been well that he asked me, because I had dealt with

9 things like this before, for advice on, but it was just

10 a discussion we had with regard to the letter being

11 received.

12 Q. Were you specifically consulted, do you think, because

13 of your previous role involved with Special Branch and

14 threat assessments?

15 A. I would say that is probably correct, yes.

16 Q. I'm just going to put the two letters to you. I have

17 been asked to do this. I think we can go through them

18 quickly, but could we first display RNI-101-008

19 (displayed)?

20 That is a letter from LAJI dated 13 March 1997, and

21 scanning through it, you will take it from me the main

22 points are that it refers to death threats to

23 Rosemary Nelson, stating that they emanate from an RUC

24 detective at Gough, that they are communicated through

25 Rosemary Nelson's clients, that they have become more

 

 

33

 

1 insistent and ominous; the suggestion from LAJI that

2 this is a matter that should go to the Attorney General

3 and the suggestion that there are witnesses willing to

4 give evidence about the threat. Those are, in summary,

5 the six points in the letter?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Does that help you to recall whether or not you would in

8 fact have seen that letter?

9 A. No, I think this is the letter I was referring to in my

10 statement.

11 Q. Do you think you saw that letter or it was just

12 discussed?

13 A. I think I saw the letter. I remember the fact that it

14 came from the Americas. I remember the fact that it was

15 from a group and that is why I am assuming this is it.

16 Bear in mind I probably had two minutes to have a quick

17 look at a letter, I think this appears to be the letter.

18 Q. Just so we have a complete picture I'm just going to

19 take you to two more documents. RNI-101-020

20 (displayed), this is the Torricelli letter about

21 a month later, broadly the content the same. Again, do

22 you consider you saw this letter?

23 A. I honestly can't remember seeing this one specifically.

24 All I can remember back is the fact that I saw a letter

25 that came from America. I took it that it would be

 

 

34

 

1 probably the first one that I saw.

2 Q. I'm just going to, I am afraid, finish this trail.

3 Could we look at RNI-101-031 (displayed)? This is

4 a minute from Superintendent Magee that was sent to

5 Lurgan and that enclosed both the letters; again, if

6 that assists you with whether you were likely to have

7 seen both letters, whether you would have seen that

8 minute?

9 A. I genuinely can't remember seeing a letter, or I can't

10 remember whether it was a batch of two letters with a

11 covering report from the Superintendent. I just don't

12 recall exactly how it was made up.

13 Q. And again, I'm just going to follow this to one stage,

14 and I suspect I know your answer, but these are

15 documents I have been asked to put to you, so I will.

16 RNI-101-026 (displayed). Now that is an NIO minute

17 that maybe you will take it from me did come to Lurgan,

18 and you will see there that that asks if the police have

19 discussed with Rosemary Nelson anything to do with her

20 permanent protection in the light of the Senator's

21 reference to threats becoming more insistent and

22 ominous.

23 The first question is whether you think you saw that

24 note?

25 A. I can't recall seeing it.

 

 

35

 

1 Q. And going on though, now, as to whether you recall

2 whether the police did discuss her personal protection

3 that that memo suggests --

4 A. I have no knowledge of that taking place.

5 Q. So I think we have got to the point where you do recall

6 a letter from America. You think it was probably the

7 LAJI letter and you think you were brought in because of

8 your particular experience in Special Branch and threat

9 assessments?

10 A. The only reason I think that I would have been brought

11 in -- it could have been discussed generally -- is

12 because of that reason.

13 Q. And who else would be party to the discussion that you

14 recall?

15 A. I can't recall. If it had been part of the morning

16 meeting, which generally took place to brief up what was

17 happening during the day, there could have been another

18 inspector; there could have been the CID inspector.

19 There could have been a number of people, but it could

20 have been just a one-on-one between me and Mr McMullen.

21 I can't recall the context in which it was in.

22 Q. Right. How wide do you think the knowledge was of this

23 letter amongst your colleagues in Lurgan?

24 A. I can never remember it being discussed. It wasn't

25 displayed in any way. I think it would have been dealt

 

 

36

 

1 with by the Chief Inspector in a confidential manner and

2 it wouldn't have been spread all round the station. No

3 way would it have been done that way.

4 Q. Does that not suggest that it wasn't part of the morning

5 meeting?

6 A. It could be. As I say, I can't remember exactly what

7 context, but something I guess would not have been

8 discussed widely around the station to everybody because

9 it was of a confidential nature.

10 Q. Just help me with who would have been at the morning

11 meeting?

12 A. The morning meeting generally would have been the CID

13 sergeant or inspector. It would have been the duty

14 inspector that morning, maybe the subdivisional office

15 manager. That would be the sort of make-up.

16 It wouldn't have been every morning. It would just

17 have been a couple of times a week. It would have had

18 to go through various things, any policing issues or any

19 plans that were coming up for parades or whatever. That

20 was the sort of meeting. It wasn't a formal meeting at

21 nine o'clock every morning, or half nine every morning.

22 Q. You think it may have been discussed at that level?

23 A. I'm not sure.

24 Q. Now, you recall that you were consulted about it and you

25 think that that was because of the particular knowledge

 

 

37

 

1 you had in this area. Can you recall what advice you

2 gave or what your contribution was to the discussion?

3 A. If I was shown the letter now, my advice would be the

4 same. This is an alleged threat from a third party,

5 received from another party, alleging a threat against

6 an organisation that you have written to. To be honest,

7 I don't see the threat there. I see a letter written

8 from somebody making an allegation which was dealt with

9 as a complaint and investigated.

10 Q. And we have seen the NIO minute, the police discussing

11 personal protection with Rosemary Nelson. To your

12 knowledge, did any police go and visit Rosemary Nelson?

13 Was there a discussion about whether she should be

14 approached, how she should be approached? Do you recall

15 any discussion of that nature?

16 A. No, I don't recall. However, considering at the time

17 that the complaint was made through Rosemary Nelson's

18 office about the allegation of the threat being made in

19 Gough Barracks, Mrs Nelson would have been aware of this

20 alleged complaint because it was through her clients.

21 And the purpose of dealing with threats was to inform

22 people that they are under threat, which she would have

23 been aware of this alleged threat. But I don't know if

24 anybody went down to speak to her, with the crime

25 prevention officer or whoever, but I didn't.

 

 

38

 

1 Q. Obviously one aspect is understanding that the threat

2 had been made and you have given your evidence about why

3 you think in logic she must have known about the threat

4 because it came from her clients, but what about her

5 personal protection advice on security?

6 A. I dealt with threats with regard to numerous people

7 throughout the country. On the basis of a third party

8 report alleging a threat like that, it would have been

9 considered not a threat.

10 Q. So it wouldn't have prompted security advice?

11 A. It wouldn't have got security measures. Policemen are

12 under threat, soldiers are under threat and they didn't

13 get security advice or protection.

14 Q. Do you have any views on what you think might have

15 prompted such a letter coming from America, as it did?

16 Presumably an unusual --

17 A. I think the letter states why it's visiting the Province

18 or visiting Northern Ireland. I think it starts in

19 relation to that. So obviously -- I don't know, but I

20 think it is strange to send a letter to an organisation

21 which you believe is threatening people.

22 Q. So tell me if I'm wrong, but I think -- to paraphrase

23 your evidence -- you are not aware of any action that

24 was taken in response to these letters by Lurgan police?

25 A. No, I'm not aware personally of what action would have

 

 

39

 

1 been taken or could have been taken.

2 Q. Were you aware prior to her murder of where

3 Rosemary Nelson lived?

4 A. No.

5 Q. Did you know where her office was?

6 A. Yes, I knew where her office was. It was just down the

7 road from the station.

8 Q. To your knowledge, at any period prior to her murder,

9 whether subsequent or previous to the American letter,

10 was her office or home given any particular attention by

11 any of your colleagues?

12 A. No, I never briefed anybody for a particular attention

13 or -- I don't think it was under any -- it would have

14 been covered in relation to -- at that time you'd have

15 had mortar (inaudible) patrols, which would have covered

16 the area around the station to prevent mortars being

17 fired into the station. And it would have been under

18 that umbrella, as such, of coverage. So it would have

19 been getting coverage without specifically detailing

20 people to do it.

21 Q. Were you aware of any briefings at any point that

22 suggested particular attention should be given to

23 Rosemary Nelson herself or her personal or professional

24 premises?

25 A. No, I can't recall that.

 

 

40

 

1 Q. You say in your statement -- and this is RNI-842-159,

2 and going over to the top of the next page, if we can

3 just have RNI-842-159, at the bottom of that page

4 (displayed) -- that no formal threat assessment was

5 carried out.

6 How did you become aware that there was no formal

7 threat assessment? Was that a decision made at the

8 meeting you recall when the letter was discussed?

9 A. No, because what would have happened with that -- and

10 I have no doubt and I would believe that the Chief

11 Inspector would have sent it off to Special Branch for a

12 formal assessment. I'm not aware of that; it was none

13 of my business. But I would imagine that he would have

14 sent it off asking if there was any intelligence. The

15 only people that can do a formal threat assessment is

16 Special Branch who have got access to intelligence, and

17 that is the only ones it could have been sent to.

18 Q. Are you aware why a formal assessment -- I know you have

19 given your view on the letter and I may be asking you to

20 repeat it, but again, there are some specific questions

21 I have been asked to put to you. Are you aware of why

22 a formal threat assessment was not carried out on this

23 occasion?

24 A. No, I'm not aware that it was not carried out. It would

25 have well have been done, I think. What the Chief

 

 

41

 

1 Inspector did after I spoke to him, I would imagine it

2 was through Command Secretariat. It has been around

3 everybody, Complaints and Discipline, and I would be

4 very surprised as a result of that that there wasn't

5 some formal -- I don't know because I wasn't involved

6 in it.

7 Q. You are saying you would be surprised --

8 A. Yes, I think at the end of the day Mr McMullen was away.

9 He's a sensible person. It would have prevented any

10 sort criticism of him and he would have sent it off for

11 an assessment. Knowing him, I think that is what he

12 would have done.

13 Q. It may be just semantics, but you are referring here to

14 formal threat assessments. Does that imply that there

15 were some informal threat assessments that would go on

16 as well?

17 A. Thinking back again to the way that these were dealt

18 with, when I was in headquarters, for example, you would

19 receive the letter saying, "Can you give a threat

20 assessment on a person?" You then researched all the

21 intelligence available to hand to you and would have

22 come back and said there is no intelligence indicating

23 a threat exists against this person.

24 You would not have taken, for example, the word of

25 somebody else or a third person to phone up a station

 

 

42

 

1 and say there is a threat on so and so. So there is

2 a process that goes through the checks and balances to

3 show that the threat is real and genuine so far as

4 knowledge is held by the police.

5 Q. Now, the letter that we looked at a moment ago, the LAJI

6 letter, is specific to -- it's non-specific in some

7 respects, but it is specific to the extent that it says

8 they emanate from a RUC detective at Gough. What is

9 your personal view about the credibility of the alleged

10 threat?

11 A. I think the threat was investigated. As far as

12 credibility is concerned, the threat was investigated.

13 It was third hand through the person being interviewed

14 with regard to -- I must admit I didn't even see the

15 complaint papers coming through. But the person was

16 interviewed -- the RUC were there to save life, they

17 weren't there to threaten people to take life.

18 Q. Before the murder of Rosemary Nelson, were you aware of

19 any intelligence which indicated an intention to do her

20 harm?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Could I just have one moment to see if there are any

23 other questions I have missed.

24 Yes, I have no further questions. Either the

25 Chairman or Panel members may have some questions.

 

 

43

 

1 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr (Name redacted), before the witness leaves, would

2 you please confirm that all the cameras have been

3 switched off?

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

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you for coming. You may leave now.

6 A. Thank you, sir.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: We will adjourn now for a quarter of an hour.

8 (1.51 pm)

9 (Short adjournment)

10 (2.05 pm)

11 MR EDWARD MILLAR (sworn)

12 Questions by MISS BROWN

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Miss Brown?

14 MISS BROWN: Mr Millar, will you please state your full

15 name?

16 A. Edward Fergus Millar.

17 Q. And your statement appears at RNI-843-004. Can we go

18 forward to page RNI-843-009 (displayed)? Could you just

19 confirm that that is your signature and that statement

20 is true to the best of your knowledge and belief?

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. Dealing first with your career, you set out that in 1985

23 to 1986 you were transferred to Lurgan police station

24 and then, after ten years or so, in 1995 you were

25 promoted to the J1 mobile support unit, the SU, based in

 

 

44

 

1 Portadown as a sergeant; is that correct?

2 A. Yes, that's correct.

3 Q. Are you currently serving in the PSNI?

4 A. I retired.

5 Q. When did you retire?

6 A. 1 December 2007.

7 Q. We are concerned particularly with your role in the MSU

8 in today 's evidence. How many men are there in a MSU?

9 A. One inspector, four sergeants and anywhere between 20

10 and 24 men.

11 Q. And can you just describe in layman's terms where you

12 fit in and what your responsibilities were within the

13 MSU?

14 A. I was one of the four sergeants within the unit. I had

15 responsibility for a sub-unit within the unit.

16 Q. How many men would be in a sub-unit?

17 A. Six.

18 Q. That was your position at Drumcree 1997, was it, in

19 charge of a sub-unit?

20 A. Yes, deployed as a unit, but sergeant in charge of one

21 part of the unit.

22 Q. Was 1997 the first year that you had been involved in

23 policing Drumcree?

24 A. I can't recollect when the contentious part of it took

25 place, but it's the first recollection I have of it.

 

 

45

 

1 I'm not sure if I done 96 or if there was a 96. I can't

2 recollect.

3 Q. You say in your police statement -- and this is, if we

4 could have it on the screen, RNI-302-275 (displayed);

5 I'm looking in line 3 -- that you went on duty at 3.30

6 in the morning. How long were you on duty that day?

7 A. Again, we were on duty for long periods of time. I

8 don't know whether -- we were deployed at that time. We

9 had been briefed and deployed at that time to

10 Garvaghy Road. We may have been on before that.

11 We never really stood down. You know, if you were

12 stood down, you may have laid in the station for a short

13 time, but you were on for different amounts of time at

14 various locations.

15 Q. But would you have, for example, an eight-hour shift or

16 a 12-hour shift, or five hours on, five hours off?

17 A. No, that was an unknown quantity. You would have been

18 brought in and you would have been there until you were

19 told you were relieved, and even on being relieved you

20 might only be confined back to the station where you

21 would lie down in the station to be available again if

22 required.

23 Q. So before you came on duty at 3.30, do you now recall

24 whether you had been off duty before that or what you

25 had been doing prior to 3.30?

 

 

46

 

1 A. No, I just imagine over the Drumcree parade and the

2 build-up to it that you would have been on duty and

3 available 24/7.

4 Q. And you don't recall when you left on that day, the

5 particular day?

6 A. Sorry, left?

7 Q. When you went off duty? You don't recall?

8 A. No, no.

9 Q. You talk about being briefed by your commanding officer,

10 Inspector McKee. RNI-843-004, paragraph 3 (displayed),

11 this is.

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Can you recall the content of your briefing?

14 A. Yes. Well, obviously that particular paragraph you have

15 highlighted is just describing J1. From recollection,

16 we would have been deployed on the Garvaghy Road.

17 Q. I think -- sorry, we have just had to go over the

18 page -- unless I have got a wrong reference. Yes, I

19 think I must have a wrong reference.

20 My question really is whether you can recall the

21 content of your briefing. In particular, do you recall

22 whether Rosemary Nelson was mentioned at any briefing

23 you were given prior to going on duty?

24 A. I have no recollection of Rosemary Nelson being

25 mentioned.

 

 

47

 

1 Q. You talk about a bronze commander. Who would have been

2 your bronze commander on that day?

3 A. Inspector McKee would have been in charge of us on that

4 day, and for that particular -- I don't know, I don't

5 recall. I never got speaking to bronze commander, so

6 I have no record of who the bronze commander was.

7 Q. You deal in your statement with how you formed what you

8 call a hard line, and you explain what that is: that is

9 RNI-843-005, paragraph 4 (displayed). I do now have the

10 right reference there.

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Can you recall what time it was you took up your

13 position? Was that immediately at 3.30 or was that

14 something you took up later?

15 A. We were deployed into that area and the line would have

16 been formed immediately on deployment. It was an outer

17 cordon and it describes a hard line to prevent people --

18 unauthorised persons getting on to the Garvaghy Road.

19 Q. Is your recollection that that was your role throughout

20 your time on duty --

21 A. That was my role on the outer cordon and protective

22 line.

23 Q. In terms of the length of the hard line, what length are

24 we talking about --

25 A. It covered -- it was more than one unit. You know,

 

 

48

 

1 there would have been two or three units covering the

2 area that we had to cover to prevent people coming out

3 of the estate on to the Garvaghy Road.

4 Q. I'm looking at two indications really: one, length in

5 distance; and two, length in numbers of men. If we

6 could talk first distance?

7 A. I don't recall. It is quite a big area. There would

8 have been more than one unit. There would be two, maybe

9 three units, maybe more. Certainly there would have

10 been quite a lot of units behind us and further up.

11 A considerable amount of police in the area, but I

12 couldn't say how many units there was covering the area

13 we had to protect.

14 Q. Can you give me some idea of how many men would have

15 gone to go make up this hard line?

16 A. Certainly our full unit, our full strength. That would

17 have been our full unit, plus one or two other units to

18 our left.

19 Q. Can you just help me by talking in terms of numbers

20 because I'm not as familiar with how many people are in

21 a unit?

22 A. The four sergeants -- all the 24 would have been across

23 the front at various stages; shields of three and then

24 sergeants behind that and the inspector behind that

25 again.

 

 

49

 

1 Q. So about three groups of 24 people?

2 A. In one unit. But what I'm saying is my recollection

3 would be there was more than one unit. There was other

4 units to our left doing the same job. One unit could

5 not secure that particular stretch.

6 Q. And a unit is about 24 people; is that correct?

7 A. Roughly the same strength, yes.

8 Q. So about 24 times three is the amount of people we are

9 looking at?

10 A. Yes, to cover that area. But my recollection is also

11 that I think the whole road was covered, you know, the

12 whole way up, not only where we were but the whole way

13 up. So there would be a whole lot of units.

14 Q. You go on in your statement -- and this is paragraph 18

15 at RNI-843-007 (displayed) -- to say that you are glad

16 to be out of it. The first one was the worst, and if we

17 can go over the page, the hostile atmosphere and so on.

18 I wonder if in your own words now you can just describe

19 to us now what it was like to be a member of the MSU at

20 Garvaghy in 1997. Give us a indication of the

21 atmosphere and what it was like to be in your position?

22 A. It obviously isn't pleasant. You are obviously in full

23 public order protective gear and you are preventing --

24 on this particular occasion, preventing people coming

25 from the estate out on to road to interfere with other

 

 

50

 

1 police that were dealing with protesters on the road.

2 There would have been stoning. They would have

3 stoned you, various missile attacks, you know, stones,

4 bottles, et cetera. A lot of verbal abuse would have

5 been, you know, shouted at you and directed towards

6 you. And just really hostility, the way I would put it.

7 Q. And the hostility coming from where?

8 A. From the people that were in front of us, mostly the

9 crowds of people who had gathered, you know, which would

10 increase as the day went or as the night went on, in

11 numbers.

12 Q. Was the hostile crowd broadly Loyalist or Republican?

13 A. No, they would have been Nationalists. It would have

14 been Nationalist.

15 Q. Can we just turn to the map, which is at RNI-303-129

16 (displayed)? Can you indicate -- and I think if you

17 indicate by touching the technology might be able to

18 mark it up. I'm not sure, but anyway if you could

19 indicate where on the screen?

20 A. It is marked on the map here as "sit-down demonstration

21 and warning given". It is just basically -- my

22 recollection is -- from Ashgrove Road, from the

23 right-hand side there, going back towards the shops.

24 Q. When you say towards the shops, back towards the "d" of

25 Garvaghy Road?

 

 

51

 

1 A. Our unit would have been from the right-hand side just

2 below the sit-down demonstration is, stretching from

3 right to left. But we would have been -- to the houses,

4 if you understand, I know.

5 Q. Going down towards the bottom right-hand corner of the

6 page?

7 A. From the right-hand corner going towards the left of the

8 unit, we would have been spread out right to left, my

9 recollection of it.

10 Q. Are we going to see a mark on the --

11 A. It is marked --

12 Q. Can you see that yellow? Is that approximately correct?

13 A. My recollection is we would have been -- where it says

14 "Churchill Park" and then goes up here to "sit-down

15 demonstration warning", it is from those sort of houses

16 going from right to left.

17 Q. Is that yellow square that I can see on my screen, is

18 that the right place?

19 A. It is maybe too far down to the right. It is to the

20 houses, at the edge of the houses from right to left.

21 About the "i" in the warning.

22 Q. Okay. Can we move the yellow square up and slightly to

23 the right?

24 A. No, to the left.

25 Q. Is that right?

 

 

52

 

1 A. To the left.

2 Q. Is that better? No, you have moved it to the right. My

3 recollection is to the left?

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Do you want to go up Garvaghy Road, do you?

5 A. Yes, we were off Garvaghy Road close to the

6 Ashgrove Road junction. We were covering that whole

7 junction, and what I'm trying to say is the

8 Ashgrove Road, although we were covering that, we were

9 covering from where the houses are there, where I think

10 it says "Churchill Park" -- from the edge of those

11 houses, going from them, going left across the

12 Ashgrove Road, covering that area.

13 But our unit would have been in that corner,

14 covering that part of it. Then there would have been

15 other units to our left, is my recollection.

16 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Does it go to where it says the

17 "road" of Garvaghy Road?

18 A. That whole area would have been blocked off. We

19 wouldn't have been able to do that ourselves. There

20 were other units to our left. But that whole road would

21 have been blocked off. My recollection would be that we

22 were -- where the yellow box is now highlighted, we

23 covered that part of the area on to the Ashgrove Road to

24 the houses, and there were other units to our left.

25 That whole road would have been effectively -- there

 

 

53

 

1 would have been a line of police preventing anybody

2 coming on to the Garvaghy Road out of Ashgrove Road or

3 Churchill Park, at the front of it there, on to the

4 Garvaghy Road.

5 MISS BROWN: So are you happy with where the yellow box is

6 now?

7 A. My recollection is approximately yes, maybe a wee bit

8 further to the left, but yes, that is my recollection

9 where we were positioned.

10 Q. A little bit more to the left of the yellow box?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Like that (indicates)?

13 A. It is hard just to put a scale on. My recollection is

14 that is where our unit would have been.

15 Q. Thank you very much.

16 Now, I just want to spend a few moments on what you

17 would have been wearing. You refer to your full public

18 order kit in your statement and you talk about public

19 order blue suits. The point, I'm particularly

20 interested in what numbers would have been visible, if

21 at all, on your uniform. Can you help me on that? This

22 is specific to 1997.

23 A. Personally, I would have numeral numbers on my blue

24 public order suit, as would, I would say, all the unit

25 would have had at that stage as well. I'm not sure if

 

 

54

 

1 the helmets would have been marked at that stage. They

2 did bring in identification for helmets, but I don't

3 recollect if that was in 1997. But any uniform I would

4 have worn would have had my rank and my numeral numbers

5 worn on the jacket, or on the blue boiler suit.

6 Q. Because I think there has been a suggestion that there

7 was a new issue of riot gear for Drumcree 1997 and that

8 numbers might not have been put on. Is that

9 something --

10 A. No, I definitely wore numbers. It would have been

11 a cloth-type number, and the lapel lifted up and you

12 would have put it on, and the epaulettes I would have

13 used for it would have been similar to what -- the green

14 jumpers that we had then, the same sort of numerals.

15 They are cotton or -- they are made of wool or cotton

16 and it would have slipped on over it. But I had no

17 problem with identification. I would have always have

18 had that on.

19 Q. You say in your statement that you are unsure whether

20 the flame retardant head gear -- some people have

21 referred to it as balaclavas -- you are unsure whether

22 that was part of the kit in 1997 or not?

23 A. If it was in 1997, I would have been wearing it, but

24 I don't recollect when exactly that head gear would have

25 come in.

 

 

55

 

1 Q. I just want to contrast that with the numbers. You are

2 unsure about that, but you are sure, are you, about the

3 fact that you would have had a number on?

4 A. Personally speaking, yes.

5 Q. Now, in terms of your liaison with Special Branch, if

6 any, did you have contact with Special Branch in

7 Portadown or Lurgan in -- first of all, looking at any

8 formal briefings that you would have had prior to this

9 event or, indeed, any other event from SB?

10 A. We could approach SB at any time, but no, not in any

11 formal briefings.

12 Q. Was there any informal exchange of information from

13 Special Branch to you?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Did you know who the local paramilitaries were because

16 that is something you would have been briefed on?

17 A. Yes, we would have been briefed on local paramilitaries,

18 both Loyalist and Nationalist.

19 Q. When you were in the MSU, is that something that you

20 would have been specifically looking out for -- I'm

21 talking about, first of all, generally --

22 A. That would be part of our duty, yes, and house searches,

23 stuff like that, that would come in as a result of

24 incidents that we'd be involved in, yes.

25 Q. Turning specifically to Garvaghy Road 1997, would you

 

 

56

 

1 have been briefed or be specifically looking in the

2 crowds for certain faces?

3 A. No, it is part of your duty -- we would do that as

4 a matter of form. If you were there and you had time to

5 do it, yes, you would do it, but not specifically

6 briefed to do that. Our job on that particular occasion

7 was to prevent unauthorised people coming on to the

8 Garvaghy Road.

9 Q. Were you aware of any intelligence, prior to, first of

10 all, Garvaghy Road 1997, concerning Rosemary Nelson?

11 A. No.

12 Q. Did her name ever come up in any briefings?

13 A. No.

14 Q. I have talked about pre-1997. Just to take that forward

15 to post-Garvaghy Road 1997, the same question?

16 A. I have no recollection of any briefing where

17 Rosemary Nelson was mentioned.

18 Q. In relation to the GRRC, the Garvaghy Road Residents

19 Coalition, what did you know about the GRRC prior to

20 attending Drumcree 1997?

21 A. I knew little about them other than what you would see

22 in the news.

23 Q. Were they seen as being anti the RUC?

24 A. I don't know if they would be seen as anti-RUC. I would

25 describe them more as wanting to prevent the parade from

 

 

57

 

1 coming down, and maybe took exception that we were there

2 enforcing the decision of the Commission.

3 Q. Did you personally, or a general perception as well --

4 was there a perception that the GRRC were aligned with

5 any Republican groupings?

6 A. No, I would just describe them -- because most of them

7 were sited in that area, they were of the Nationalist

8 community. That is how I would ...

9 Q. Now, just going back to the incidents that immediately

10 preceded Drumcree 1997, there was of course the murder

11 of the two police officers in Lurgan. What was the

12 reaction amongst your colleagues to that murder?

13 A. It wasn't very good. We lost two colleagues, very

14 upsetting time.

15 Q. Obviously there is shock and grieving, but in terms of

16 anger, can you expand any more on the emotions that

17 would have been felt? I don't want to put words in your

18 mouth. I want to hear from you what the general feeling

19 was amongst you and your colleagues.

20 A. I can't speak for my colleagues, but I was sick to the

21 stomach at the thought of it. It certainly wasn't

22 a good day.

23 Q. Did you know that Colin Duffy was the principal suspect?

24 A. Well, he was named for it. He appeared before the court

25 for it, yes.

 

 

58

 

1 Q. He was charged?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Was there a belief amongst your colleagues that

4 Colin Duffy nonetheless -- as we know, he was charged as

5 a matter of fact, but was there a belief that he had in

6 fact carried out those murders?

7 A. Again, I can't speak for my colleagues, but I certainly

8 would have had that belief, yes.

9 Q. Now, turning to Rosemary Nelson, what did you know about

10 Rosemary Nelson prior to Drumcree 1997?

11 A. I knew that Rosemary Nelson was a solicitor in Lurgan.

12 She would have appeared on TV representing a number of

13 high profile cases, and the solicitor's office of

14 Rosemary's was just across from our police station in

15 Lurgan when I was stationed there, and I occasionally

16 would have seen her coming in to the station to deal

17 with some clients that would have been in.

18 Q. Had you had any personal contact with her?

19 A. No.

20 Q. Did you know about her association with the GRRC?

21 A. From recollection, I think it appeared on the news, but

22 I don't know if I knew that beforehand or afterwards,

23 but I do think I had seen her on TV.

24 Q. So what did you think at that stage her association was

25 with the GRRC?

 

 

59

 

1 A. I thought she was a spokesperson for them. That's all

2 I thought.

3 Q. Was she perceived as one of the protesters at Drumcree

4 or was she seen as someone who was separate to those

5 protesters?

6 A. My own view would be she was separate. I wouldn't have

7 classified her as a protester. She certainly was there.

8 I don't know, I don't believe that was the case.

9 Q. Just so I'm completely clear about this, you had never,

10 prior to the specific exchange you had with her in 1997,

11 which we will come on to, but prior to that you had

12 never had a conversation with Rosemary Nelson?

13 A. Not that I recall.

14 Q. Therefore, your information about her was drawn --

15 A. From TV, from press and on that particular day, you

16 know, from my own observations.

17 Q. In terms of any talk about Rosemary Nelson in terms of

18 any general perception about her amongst colleagues,

19 would you say there was any particular perception about

20 Rosemary Nelson that made --

21 A. I'm not aware of any.

22 Q. Did you know that she had represented Colin Duffy during

23 and after the prosecution of the murder of John Lyness

24 first? I'm going back a bit now.

25 A. That's Lime Grove, is it? Yes, I believe -- is that the

 

 

60

 

1 UDR man that was killed in Lurgan?

2 Q. Yes.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Did you know -- and this is more to the point -- that

5 she was representing Colin Duffy following his being

6 charged for the double police murder that had happened

7 just weeks before?

8 A. Yes, I think that would have been common knowledge. She

9 would have appeared on TV.

10 Q. Did that lead to any negative perception of her by some

11 of your colleagues, or by yourself, that she was --

12 A. I'm not aware of any negative -- Rosemary Nelson was

13 a solicitor in Lurgan and she ran her practice as

14 a solicitor, so ...

15 Q. We see from your notebook -- and that is RNI-302-278, if

16 we could maybe have that on screen (displayed).

17 It is difficult to read, so maybe you will just take

18 it from me that the bottom section says, towards the

19 bottom of that page -- you can see the inverted

20 commas --

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. -- "See you in Lurgan with the other two bastards"?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Did you take that as a reference to your two colleagues?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

61

 

1 Q. Again, I don't want to put words into your mouth, but is

2 it fair to assume that emotions were running high on all

3 sides concerning this murder at Drumcree?

4 A. Certainly it wasn't pleasant, but things are shouted at

5 us all the time. But it wouldn't have been pleasant,

6 but I would say about emotions running high, we did

7 a professional job.

8 Q. Because what I'm coming to is to whether you consider

9 now that it is possible that some of your colleagues had

10 a very negative perception of Rosemary Nelson had they

11 come across her on that day, because of the murders --

12 A. No, I'm not aware of that. I couldn't say that.

13 Q. Was Rosemary Nelson, as far as you were aware, perceived

14 as being partisan towards Nationalist or Republican

15 causes?

16 A. Again, that's not my view of her. She was a solicitor

17 and she represented many. I don't know who all her

18 clients were.

19 Q. You came on duty at 3.30. How soon after this did you

20 see Rosemary Nelson, as far as you can recollect?

21 I appreciate it is some time ago.

22 A. I don't know. I can't recollect what time I come on

23 duty. The notebook's up here; it's not my statement.

24 I did speak to Rosemary Nelson, but we were deployed for

25 some time before I got speaking to Rosemary Nelson.

 

 

62

 

1 Q. You talk about observing her beating on the shields.

2 That is RNI-843-005. Maybe we could go back to your

3 statement on screen (displayed). And that is the last

4 line on that page:

5 "Rosemary Nelson was beating on the shields whilst

6 she was walking down the ..."

7 I think "line" is the first word of the next page?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. How long did you observe her beating on the shields?

10 A. It was a short duration that she appeared to me to be

11 walking down the police line to my left from the other

12 units, and banging -- to me, it seemed to me to be on

13 any shield and saying something. I couldn't make out

14 initially what it was.

15 My attention was drew to her because there was

16 a camera on and there was a light to the camera, and

17 when I got closer it realised it was Rosemary Nelson.

18 There appeared to be a journalist who was taking notes

19 and a camera crew.

20 Initially, my attention was drew to the fact there

21 was a camera and then I realised it was Rosemary Nelson

22 and that she was banging on the shields. But to me, it

23 appeared that she was banging on nearly every shield on

24 the way down to try to speak to the police. When she

25 got closer, then I could hear that she was alleging and

 

 

63

 

1 what she was saying.

2 Q. That was with her hand?

3 A. Yes. She wasn't trying to break through the shields or

4 anything. She was trying -- my thought was she was

5 trying to get to whoever was behind the shield to speak

6 to them or to communicate with the police. But nobody

7 was breaking shields and nobody was speaking to her,

8 that I could see.

9 Q. At the time you saw Rosemary Nelson -- I think you have

10 just given the evidence -- she was with female

11 journalist?

12 A. With a female journalist and what I remember is

13 a cameraman with a camera who had a very strong light on

14 the front of that camera, and that was lighting up the

15 police officers behind the shields.

16 Q. You clearly recognised Rosemary Nelson. It may be

17 obvious, but maybe you can just clarify how it was that

18 you recognised Rosemary Nelson. You say you hadn't had

19 any personal contact with her?

20 A. I knew Rosemary Nelson through the TV and through being

21 a solicitor in Lurgan. She was quite identifiable.

22 Q. Can we just go to RNI-302-129.500 (displayed). Whilst

23 that is coming up on the screen, you say she was quite

24 identifiable. She was a solicitor in Lurgan?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

64

 

1 Q. Was there not a perception that went with her? You say

2 she was somebody you could immediately identify. That

3 suggests that she stood out from solicitors. Was there

4 a perception you had of her?

5 A. No.

6 Q. This is the statement of Rosemary Nelson we have now got

7 up on screen, dealing with the incidents at

8 Garvaghy Road 1997, and I just want to go to one

9 specific point. It is the last large paragraph on that

10 page and she talks about the alleged assault. You will

11 see one's eyes are drawn to the words:

12 "Rosemary, you Fenian fucker, I said I could have

13 your number"?

14 Spitting on her face, and so on --

15 A. Sorry, I don't seem to have that -- sorry, I see it now.

16 Q. Really what I'm looking at this for is for the sequence

17 of events. "The police then let me walk away" and then

18 the next paragraph:

19 "I then went to find a female journalist who was on

20 the scene, Susan McKay ..."

21 I'm going to come on to her statement in a minute,

22 but certainly Rosemary Nelson's sequence of events is

23 that the assault happened and then she subsequently

24 found Susan McKay. I appreciate you can't comment on

25 that, but when you saw Rosemary Nelson she was with the

 

 

65

 

1 journalist?

2 A. I can't -- she was with the journalist and what

3 I believe to be the TV crew.

4 Q. Id we could now go on, then, just to follow through the

5 logic of my timeline, to display RNI-303-023

6 (displayed). This is a letter that was written to Chief

7 Inspector Oliver by Susan McKay, who was the journalist

8 from the Sunday Tribune. You will see there, the second

9 paragraph, halfway down, I think -- yes, one of your

10 officers (inaudible) out the road:

11 "I asked for his number."

12 Can we go down the page further on that, on to the

13 next page:

14 "She walked along the line."

15 Then in the middle of that, the middle of the second

16 paragraph down, where there was the blanked out bit:

17 "The man walked away. Another RUC man said, 'Sorry

18 Rosemary, you can't get through.' This man's number was

19 ..."

20 The number has been blanked out:

21 "Ms Nelson said, 'Can I have access to my clients?'

22 He said, 'Not at the present time.' It was 4.20 am at

23 this point."

24 I think it has been explained to you -- and if you

25 could just accept, if you could, from me that the number

 

 

66

 

1 there that is concealed is in fact your number?

2 A. Yes, I did give Rosemary Nelson my number and I believe

3 my name at the time whenever I spoke to Rosemary Nelson

4 on that evening.

5 Q. Just for the record, as a matter of course the Inquiry

6 blanks out police numbers, that is why it has been

7 blanked out. But for the record, I can confirm that the

8 number there is your number and you looked at those

9 documents?

10 A. Yes, I believe that's correct, yes.

11 Q. Now, can we just turn to the general atmosphere at that

12 time? You say the mood altered and maybe increased over

13 the day, I think was your evidence before. But I'm

14 looking at the atmosphere then at 3.30 when you came on

15 to duty, to 4.20, is the timing Susan McKay gives. So

16 the early hours of the morning.

17 Can you talk about the general atmosphere at the

18 time in terms of the hostile atmosphere, objects being

19 thrown, noise levels?

20 A. Yes, there would have been a very large hostile crowd.

21 We would have been facing them. They would have been in

22 the Ashgrove Road area, Churchill Park area. There

23 would have been missiles, shouting. There would have

24 been a lot of abuse.

25 Q. Even at that time in the morning?

 

 

67

 

1 A. Yes, I can't account for every minute, but certainly

2 police were still in the area and were still operating

3 within it, and there would have been a hostile crowd

4 throughout the whole of that morning.

5 Q. Did you witness any situation of Rosemary Nelson being

6 manhandled?

7 A. No, I did not.

8 Q. Did you witness any situation of her being spat at?

9 A. No, I did not.

10 Q. Did you hear any officers abusing Rosemary Nelson in any

11 way?

12 A. No, I most certainly did not.

13 Q. And specifically the words that are alleged are along

14 the lines of "Fenian bitch" or a suggestion that an RUC

15 officer told her to fuck off?

16 A. No, I certainly didn't hear any of that.

17 Q. You say in your statement -- and this is RNI-843-006

18 (displayed), if we could go back to your statement, I

19 think it is paragraph 13 -- that you should intervene --

20 I'm not sure I have got the right paragraph here, but

21 you say in your statement you should intervene to try

22 and calm the situation down.

23 What was the situation you were trying to calm down?

24 A. When I first noticed a camera and the light and

25 then realised it was Rosemary Nelson, when she got

 

 

68

 

1 closer to my location, I was able to ascertain that she

2 was banging on the shields and indicating that she had

3 been assaulted and somebody had called her -- what you

4 have indicated there. I didn't hear or see anybody do

5 that, but she was very upset.

6 I was aware that when she got closer that none of

7 the police officers were answering her or breaking the

8 shield to speak to her. I could not see anybody

9 speaking to her or giving any communications back to

10 her. I felt -- the fact that the camera was lighting us

11 up, I felt that when she came down to our particular

12 unit that I would speak to her and at least make her

13 known that I would speak to her, which I did do.

14 Q. Sorry, something I should have clarified before, when

15 you say "banging on the shades", I assume you are

16 talking about the shields?

17 A. The shields.

18 Q. You are not talking about the visors?

19 A. No, the shields, yes.

20 Q. Just so that is clear.

21 A. I think she was just trying to attract the attention of

22 the police officer behind the shield.

23 Q. You say in your statement you are not sure if she was

24 distressed due to the alleged assault or no one speaking

25 to her. Can I just break that down? First of all, what

 

 

69

 

1 is it that made you conclude that she wished to complain

2 of an assault?

3 A. I could hear her saying that she alleged she had been

4 assaulted. I think her words were something along the

5 lines of:

6 "I don't know if that is the policeman that

7 assaulted me and called me a Fenian bitch."

8 She was making that allegation the whole way down

9 the line whenever I could hear what she was saying.

10 Q. In terms of, you say, the distress, no one was speaking

11 to her, that, as I understand your evidence, was you

12 felt that she was frustrated because she wasn't being

13 addressed?

14 A. I believe -- that was my view on it. Whenever

15 I realised what was going on and the fact that no one

16 was speaking to her, that was my view. The allegation

17 was there from her in relation to an alleged assault. I

18 did not witness that, but she was clearly very upset.

19 Q. So the fact there was an assault, you drew that

20 conclusion from what she said, and the fact that she was

21 frustrated, you drew that from what you observed?

22 A. There is a allegation that she had been assaulted. I

23 didn't witness that. And certainly she was indicating

24 that in what she was saying.

25 Q. Was she saying she wanted to speak to someone in charge?

 

 

70

 

1 A. I don't honestly recall all the conversation. My view

2 was whenever I spoke to her that I did -- give her my

3 name. She made that allegation in general to me.

4 I gave her my name. I gave her my number --

5 Q. If I could just stop you there because I'm going to come

6 on to your specification conversation. There are just

7 a few more questions about what your perception was

8 prior to your conversation.

9 The first is whether you formed any view as to when

10 the assaulted had occurred?

11 A. No, I didn't see any assault occurring.

12 Q. And did you form any conclusion about how long

13 previously it had occurred --

14 A. I couldn't say.

15 Q. A very similar second question: did you form any view as

16 to where the alleged assault had occurred?

17 A. No, I'm sorry. Again, I couldn't say.

18 Q. You have talked about her being upset. Can you just

19 comment generally on her demeanour at the time before

20 she approached you?

21 A. She was banging on the shields, she was making the

22 allegation and obviously the police weren't letting her

23 through, and there was no communication coming from the

24 police that I could see to Rosemary Nelson.

25 Her demeanour was such that I actually believed that

 

 

71

 

1 she was crying and she was clearly very upset.

2 Q. Now, from Susan McKay's statement -- we don't need to go

3 back to it -- but it says in that -- and it is the

4 letter we looked at previously to Chief

5 Inspector Oliver -- that her recollection is that you

6 addressed Rosemary Nelson as "Rosemary". Would that

7 have been your likely form of address?

8 A. It may have been, or "Mrs Nelson". I don't recall what

9 I said, but it would have been either Rosemary or

10 Mrs Nelson because I would have, you know ...

11 Q. You say in your statement that she asked for your number

12 and you gave it, and we have seen that the numbers do in

13 fact tally with the number from Susan McKay, who cites

14 your number. Susan McKay doesn't, however, state your

15 name and I think to be fair in your police statement you

16 say you can't recollect whether you did or did not give

17 your name?

18 A. I can't recall totally, but I believe I did because she

19 was asking and I had no qualms of giving her my name and

20 number.

21 Q. And again, in order to put this fairly to you, in

22 Susan McKay's Inquiry statement -- and this is

23 RNI-813-502 (displayed) -- that is her statement. The

24 specific point is RNI-813-503 (displayed), and it is, I

25 think, the last two sentences at paragraph 5 -- yes:

 

 

72

 

1 "I recorded all the police officer's comments on

2 a notepad. Some had no visible ID, but I recorded one

3 officer's number from his badge."

4 And logic suggests that that is the number we see in

5 the letter to Chief Inspector Oliver, your number:

6 "The record formed the basis of a statement which I

7 later gave to the RUC."

8 So that would appear to concur with your

9 recollection that your number was in fact visible?

10 A. Visible, but I also verbally give my number.

11 Q. I just want to put this to you as well just to see if we

12 can get any further into this issue of numbers being

13 visible or not. In your Inquiry statement, you say:

14 "She asked for my number, which I would have

15 provided by turning my shoulder, which displayed my

16 police number and telling her what it was."

17 So you make the point that you would have shown it

18 and spoken it. My question is: the description of

19 turning your shoulder, is that a specific recollection

20 or is that just what you think you would have done, if

21 you see the distinction?

22 A. It is probably what I thought I would have done because

23 the number, although visible, you probably wouldn't be

24 able to see it through the shields. I am directly

25 behind the front line, so to turn the shoulder round you

 

 

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1 actually see the number there.

2 Q. Just to get this straight, what you are saying in your

3 statement is, "This is what I think I would have done,"

4 not, "I have a specific recollection --

5 A. I believe that is what I done.

6 Q. You believe --

7 A. I believe.

8 Q. Thank you. Do you consider that there was sometimes, or

9 may have been at Drumcree 1997 specifically,

10 a reluctance among officers to give out their names or

11 their numbers?

12 A. Very much so.

13 Q. Names or numbers, or can you take that further?

14 A. Names and numbers. Everybody is different but, I mean,

15 the numbers should be on your public order suit or on

16 your uniform, so it should be easily, you know,

17 available to see because you had body armour then over

18 the top of your suit. So depending what type of body

19 armour you had, it may have been obscured, but I know on

20 mine you could clearly see.

21 Q. So is it a fair summary to say you would not have been

22 surprised if some of your colleagues did not want to

23 give their number, but you -- and I think the evidence

24 supports that you did, in fact, give your number?

25 A. I did give my number and I wouldn't be surprised if some

 

 

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1 officers did not want to break the shield to disclose

2 any information they had got.

3 Q. Now, Susan McKay's recollection is that Rosemary Nelson

4 asked to have access to her clients. That is what she

5 was specifically saying to you. Do you recall that

6 request being made?

7 A. I don't recall any statement of that nature. Although

8 I do recall that my intention was if she stepped back

9 from the line, I would pass on to Inspector McKee the

10 information -- the allegations she was making and leave

11 it for the Inspector and bronze commander to decide.

12 That is what I did do.

13 Q. I am afraid this is a semantic point, but are you saying

14 positively that she didn't ask to see her clients, or

15 simply that you don't recall whether she did or didn't?

16 A. I don't recall that specific phrasing or that statement.

17 I don't recall Rosemary saying that to me.

18 Q. In terms of what you do recall, I would just like you to

19 give the full detail you have as to what Rosemary Nelson

20 said to you, in as full a detail as you now recollect

21 having gone through this orally today and obviously

22 having read the statements.

23 Could you just tell us all your recollection of the

24 conversation you had with Rosemary Nelson? I presume it

25 was brief, but everything you can recall.

 

 

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1 A. She asked me for my name and number. She made the

2 allegation -- a general statement -- she didn't know if

3 this was the police officer that had assaulted her and

4 called her a Fenian B. I assured her obviously that I

5 didn't, it was not me, nor did I hear anybody else

6 saying that. And that actually -- actually, I think

7 I remember Rosemary Nelson conversation-wise with me. I

8 do not have any recollection of that statement from

9 Susan.

10 Q. That statement being wanting to see her clients?

11 A. Yes, I don't even know what clients that would be.

12 Q. Now, Susan McKay's statement is that you told

13 Rosemary Nelson to go, presumably with her concerns, to

14 the Inspector. Is that your recollection?

15 A. No, I don't think I would have said to go to the

16 Inspector. I may have said, "I will inform the

17 inspector" and if she moved away from the shields, I

18 would go there to the Inspector. And I think that

19 actually is what actually happened.

20 Q. What was your motivation in going to the Inspector at

21 that point in time?

22 A. Well, I did not have the authority to allow anybody

23 through the outer cordon or the hard line. She was

24 clearly upset. Rosemary Nelson was a solicitor. My

25 intention was to tell my inspector what she had said and

 

 

76

 

1 leave it for him to decide whether or not he wanted her

2 in to the cordon and through our lines. It wasn't for

3 me to decide that she could get in.

4 Q. You say to resolve whether she could get in, so you were

5 aware there was a request for her to come through to

6 speak to someone?

7 A. I can't say that. I would not be allowing anybody

8 through my line. I felt, whenever she made the

9 allegation that she did and I had spoken to her, that I

10 would speak to the Inspector and appraise him of what

11 had happened and just let the Inspector decide if he

12 wished her to come in to gain further information from

13 it. I have no recollection of Rosemary actually asking

14 me to get through my line.

15 Q. Thank you. Did you indicate to Rosemary Nelson herself

16 how she should find or identify the Inspector of her own

17 accord? Did you indicate, "Speak to that man," for

18 example, "tenth on the left"?

19 A. No.

20 Q. In terms of what you did, when we're talking "the

21 Inspector", I assume we are talking Inspector McKee?

22 A. Inspector McKee, yes.

23 Q. What did you in fact do after you had spoken to

24 Rosemary Nelson?

25 A. My recollection is whenever I spoke to her that had the

 

 

77

 

1 desired effect. She moved back from the shield line.

2 She didn't bang on the shields again, and whenever the

3 shields closed up, I went back to the Inspector and

4 appraised him of what had happened and what Rosemary had

5 said. My recollection is that he was to deal with it.

6 Q. Right. So you physically walked over to him and --

7 A. We closed the shields up again, made sure that the outer

8 cordon was secure again, and then I walked back to where

9 the inspector was, who would have been behind us yet

10 again, a third line as such, and I would have explained

11 to him that Rosemary Nelson had approached the shields

12 and what she had actually said and left it with the

13 inspector.

14 Q. Now, just dealing with timings, Susan McKay's

15 statement -- and we don't have to turn to this but for

16 the note it is RNI-303-024 -- she times it, this

17 conversation with yourself (inaudible) numbers -- at

18 about 4.20. Is that something you can agree or disagree

19 with, or you don't know?

20 A. It could be any of those times. I have no argument with

21 the time. It certainly was during a point of time that

22 we were on that line.

23 Q. So you don't dispute 4.20?

24 A. No, I can't dispute it. I don't know exactly the time.

25 Q. You say, RNI-843-007 (displayed) -- this is

 

 

78

 

1 paragraph 17 -- a bit later:

2 "Rosemary Nelson talked to Inspector McKee behind

3 the police lines."

4 How did you become aware of that?

5 A. I recall actually -- to my recollection, I recall that

6 when I looked round at one stage, some time after this,

7 that I seen Rosemary Nelson behind our cordon, behind

8 our line, with Inspector McKee.

9 Q. You say you saw it; do you know the content of the

10 conversation?

11 A. No, they were too far away but I'm nearly certain that

12 I seen Rosemary Nelson inside our cordon with my

13 Inspector McKee.

14 Q. And you say your evidence is you couldn't hear it at the

15 time; did you subsequently follow up with

16 Inspector McKee or anyone else as to what happened?

17 A. No.

18 Q. Is it fair that you have no knowledge of what happened

19 after Rosemary Nelson left your immediate presence?

20 A. No, I didn't come face-to-face with Rosemary Nelson or

21 have any more dealings with Rosemary on that morning.

22 Q. We have seen your notebook entry -- we don't need to

23 call it up again -- but the fact that you did make quite

24 a detailed notebook entry in relation to this. What was

25 it that made you note the incident down?

 

 

79

 

1 A. Well, there was an allegation from Rosemary Nelson in

2 relation to having been assaulted and been called

3 a "Fenian B" and that was one of the reasons why. The

4 other reason why was that I actually spoke to her, so

5 I felt, because I had spoken to her and there was

6 a journalist there and also a TV crew, I was quite happy

7 to make a notebook entry of that incident, and also to

8 report to my inspector what had happened.

9 Q. It is said -- and this is RNI-302-276, which maybe we

10 can have up on the screen (displayed) -- this is the

11 statement you made closer in time to the event:

12 "When I gave Rosemary Nelson my number, she stated

13 for the press that she wasn't sure if I was the police

14 officer who pushed her and called her a Fenian bastard."

15 Why do you consider that Rosemary made that comment

16 to you?

17 A. My recollection is she was making it to everybody as she

18 come down the line. It wasn't just me, it was a general

19 statement she was making for the purposes -- there was

20 a TV crew there and also the journalist, and that was --

21 whenever I could actually hear what she was saying, that

22 was the allegation I was picking up throughout my view

23 of her and as she got closer to me, and in fact whenever

24 I spoke to her, that is what she said to me.

25 Q. Just so that you have an absolutely fair chance to

 

 

80

 

1 respond to this, what is your response to that

2 suggestion, whether of Rosemary Nelson or anyone else,

3 that you assaulted her, verbally or physically?

4 A. I (Inaudible) that I did not physically touch or

5 verbally abuse Rosemary Nelson in any way. Nor would I.

6 Q. Do you have any knowledge as to any colleague who did

7 that?

8 A. No, I certainly do not.

9 Q. I know you didn't see it at the time but did you

10 subsequently come to any knowledge that would suggest

11 that that had occurred?

12 A. No.

13 Q. Is there anything further you want to add to your

14 evidence dealing with this particular incident?

15 A. No, I have nothing further to add.

16 Q. Can I just have a moment because I just want to check

17 I have asked all the questions required. (Pause)

18 There are just two varied points of detail that

19 I have agreed to ask and therefore I will ask you. I am

20 afraid it is going back over what we have already

21 covered.

22 There is a question, a specific one: how many

23 shields had she banged on before she got to you?

24 A. I don't know. Quite a lot. I couldn't honestly say.

25 Q. I think you have covered the points of the conversation

 

 

81

 

1 with Rosemary Nelson that you recollect; I don't think

2 I need to repeat that.

3 Another specific question regarding the noise level

4 at the cordon, and that is the noise level at the time

5 of the incident so far as you recall the time of the

6 incident.

7 A. It varied. Certainly -- it varied. Sometimes it was

8 noisier than others but in general there was quite a lot

9 of noise.

10 Q. When Rosemary Nelson was speaking to you, can you give

11 any more precise information on that?

12 A. No, all I know is I could hear Rosemary Nelson, as she

13 got closer to me, what she was saying. I couldn't hear

14 what she was saying prior to that, although I could see

15 her. I don't recollect -- I know I could hear

16 Rosemary Nelson, a number of shields up from me, to my

17 left, approaching. But I had seen her prior to that and

18 I couldn't hear what she was saying. I couldn't

19 understand what was going on until she physically got

20 closer.

21 Q. The only time you had seen her prior to that was the

22 banging on the shields incident --

23 A. Yes, that was the light --

24 Q. It wasn't another incident before that?

25 A. No, it was further up the line, and I seen -- I was

 

 

82

 

1 attracted by the light -- the bright light that was

2 shining into the shields, and then I realised there was

3 a camera crew and then Rosemary Nelson with it, and

4 then -- I could notice then Rosemary Nelson was banging

5 on the shields and it wasn't until she got down closer

6 that I could actually hear what was being said.

7 Q. Yes, thank you very much, Mr Millar. I don't have any

8 more questions. It may be the Panel have some questions

9 for you.

10 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

11 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Miss Brown, you know the reference

12 number of the map.

13 MISS BROWN: Yes.

14 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Could you just call it back up, please?

15 MISS BROWN: Yes, RNI-303-129 (displayed).

16 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Thank you very much indeed.

17 Mr Millar, your evidence has been gone through very

18 thoroughly but I just want to make sure that my

19 understanding is absolutely correct here: in terms of

20 the length of the Garvaghy Road covered by mobile

21 support units, was it completely up the road from where

22 you were, on both sides, up to maybe "site of police

23 camp" and beyond?

24 A. My recollection is it was. Certainly there was an awful

25 lot of police line both sides that of road.

 

 

83

 

1 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: That was all a hard line?

2 A. Whenever we drove in, there was Land Rovers sitting.

3 Certainly where we were, it was hard lines all the way

4 up across the junctions, to physically be in a position

5 to stop people coming across the cordon.

6 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So shields were locked. So physically

7 your officers were touching shoulders?

8 A. Yes, nine abreast.

9 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So you are talking about hundreds and

10 hundreds of police officers?

11 A. I would suggest that the majority of MSUs and amber

12 shields would have been in Drumcree.

13 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And you have no idea where Mrs Nelson

14 came on the scene and how far up that line she was

15 allegedly banging on shields?

16 A. No, I can't say. I can't see up -- where I was

17 positioned, I couldn't see up the entire length of the

18 Garvaghy Road; I could only see up a number of, you

19 know, units further up. But I couldn't say where she

20 come in. All I know is that she come in from my

21 left-hand side, down the shield line from the other

22 units to our left.

23 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Lots of noise, lots of confusion?

24 A. There was lots of noise, lots of verbal abuse, yes.

25 It was the camera that actually attracted me to --

 

 

84

 

1 because there was a bright light on it.

2 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Because of the light on the camera?

3 A. Yes, that was the reason why my attention was drew to my

4 left like that, yes.

5 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: We have already heard from Mr McKee

6 that he filled out a questionnaire concerning the

7 complaint that was made. Did you fill one out as well?

8 A. There was a questionnaire come out, which I did fill in,

9 yes.

10 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: But, of course, you made a pocketbook

11 entry which highlighted your presence there.

12 A. Because I physically spoke to Rosemary Nelson, I thought

13 it was prudent to put an entry to record that, and the

14 fact that a there was a female journalist appeared to be

15 taking shorthand, that was a safeguard for me, you know,

16 because there was an allegation being made there, not

17 necessarily against me, but I certainly wanted to record

18 it.

19 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Yes, so it was that recording which

20 actually brought you together with Rosemary Nelson in

21 terms of public recognition of that?

22 A. Yes, as a result of the questionnaire, and I declared

23 (inaudible) that I had spoken to Rosemary Nelson on that

24 particular morning.

25 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay, thank you very much indeed.

 

 

85

 

1 A. Okay.

2 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN

3 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I just wondered if we could look at

4 the notebook entry again because I think I slightly lost

5 what was in it and perhaps you can guide me through that

6 particular notebook.

7 MISS BROWN: Yes, it is RNI-302-277 (displayed). I think

8 the page needed to be as well turned round.

9 Right. It is slightly difficult to read. I have

10 written out for myself -- if you want me to read out --

11 or probably maybe Mr Millar is better to read from his

12 own writing, if that would assist.

13 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Yes, that would be helpful.

14 A. What exactly is it you want me to read from?

15 THE CHAIRMAN: It can be enlarged a bit, can't it?

16 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: It was the bit about Rosemary Nelson

17 making remarks.

18 A. Yes. (Pause)

19 It is not on this page. Is it on the next page?

20 (displayed)

21 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Yes. It was that part that I

22 couldn't work out who was saying what to whom.

23 A. Sorry. In relation to the "SS RUC" and "Up the

24 IRA", that was by the crowd, it was not by

25 Rosemary Nelson. It is just badly written there. But

 

 

86

 

1 Rosemary Nelson didn't make any of those remarks.

2 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Okay.

3 A. That was what the crowd were shouting at various stages.

4 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Okay, but it says, if I have read it

5 right:

6 "I informed my bronze commander that Rosemary Nelson

7 was making these remarks."

8 A. Well, the remarks and allegation. Basically, what she

9 said to me was that she had been assaulted and that she

10 had been called a Fenian B, and that's the remarks I am

11 referring to whenever I say that making these remarks

12 was --

13 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: All right.

14 A. That's the remarks that Rosemary Nelson made. At no

15 stage was she abusive in any way to me.

16 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right, okay, because it is

17 possible --

18 A. It is badly written, I appreciate that. You would

19 nearly think that she had said those -- at no stage had

20 she said those, definitely not.

21 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Okay. Thank you very much for

22 clearing that up.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Could we have the top of that page enlarged?

24 The top paragraph? Yes, thank you.

25 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Mr Millar, I have always wanted to ask

 

 

87

 

1 this question: when did you make up these notes?

2 A. It wasn't directly at the time, I assure you. There was

3 too much going on. It would have been some time -- some

4 time whenever things quietened down a bit. It would

5 have been some time later that day. It could have been

6 the afternoon, it could have been any time but -- it was

7 fresh in my mind when I done it but it was some time

8 after.

9 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay, than you very much.

10 A. Some time after.

11 MISS BROWN: There is just one thing that I think, in

12 fairness to the witness, arises out of Dame Valerie's

13 question. Could I just go to RNI-302-276 (displayed)?

14 This is the second page, Mr Millar, of your statement

15 that was made on 21 June 1999, and you will see the last

16 paragraph there, just to illustrate the point that your

17 evidence today is consistent with what you said back in

18 June 1999. You say there, at the last five lines or so:

19 "The only abusive remarks and gestures that were

20 being made from the local residents/protesters towards

21 our lines."

22 I think you make it clear there -- I hope I have got

23 this reference right -- that Rosemary Nelson was not

24 making the remarks.

25 No, sorry, that may be a wrong reference.

 

 

88

 

1 A. I think it is in -- not in that statement. It is maybe

2 in the other statement.

3 MISS BROWN: It is maybe in your other statement. I've seen

4 it somewhere --

5 A. But I definitely said this in my statement. I think it

6 is the one I give to the Inquiry.

7 MISS BROWN: Yes, sorry, you are quite right, it is

8 RNI-843-007 (displayed). That is the point I'm

9 recalling, that in your Inquiry statement you say what

10 you have just said in oral evidence:

11 "I have been asked whether Rosemary Nelson made any

12 of the comments I recorded in my notebook. I confirm

13 that Rosemary Nelson definitely did not make those

14 comments or say anything untoward."

15 A. Yes, it most certainly is the case that Rosemary Nelson

16 did not say any of those. It was from the crowd. It is

17 just badly written in my notebook.

18 MISS BROWN: Thank you very much indeed.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Millar, thank you very much for coming to

20 give evidence before us. You can go now. We will

21 adjourn now until quarter past ten tomorrow morning.

22 A. Thank you.

23 (3.12 pm)

24 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)

25

 

 


 

1 I N D E X

2
Housekeeping ..................................... 1
3
P285 (affirmed) .................................. 3
4
Questions by MISS BROWN ...................... 3
5
MR EDWARD MILLAR (sworn) ......................... 43
6
Questions by MISS BROWN ...................... 43
7
Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 82
8
Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 85
9

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12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

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