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Full Hearings

Hearing: 8th September 2008, day 46

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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, 8th September 2008
commencing at 1.00 pm


Day 46

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Monday, 8 September 2008

2 (1.05 pm)

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

4 MR PHILLIPS: Before the witness is sworn, can I correct

5 something that I said on Thursday about the witnesses

6 for this week? I indicated then that they would consist

7 of complaints and Garvaghy Road 1997 witnesses. In

8 fact, tomorrow we have two witnesses, Messrs Maxwell and

9 McMullen, who take us into a completely different series

10 of topics, namely the whole question of the threat

11 assessments, so-called, in 1997 and 1998.

12

13 MR DAVID NAIRN (sworn)

14 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

15 MR PHILLIPS: Mr Nairn, can you give us your full name,

16 please?

17 A. Yes, David Robert George Nairn.

18 Q. Thank you. I think you have made a statement to the

19 Inquiry. It is dated 26 September last year. Can we

20 see it, please, at RNI-841-158 (displayed)?

21 Do we have your signature at RNI-841-170

22 (displayed)?

23 A. Yes, you do.

24 Q. And the dated there, 26 September 2007?

25 A. That's right.

 

 

2

 

1 Q. Now, Mr Nairn, just so we can put the matters I want to

2 ask you about in context, can you help us, please. So

3 far as the period we are going to be discussing

4 together, late 1998, is concerned, what was your

5 position within the RUC at that stage?

6 A. In 1998, in September, I believe, of that year I took up

7 the position as Chief Inspector in Complaints and

8 Discipline Department based in Gough Barracks in Armagh.

9 Q. Was that the first time you had worked within that

10 department, the Complaints and Discipline?

11 A. It was.

12 Q. So your earlier police experience, which you set out in

13 paragraph 1 for us, had been in other parts of the

14 force?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. And for how long did you remain there, in Complaints and

17 Discipline?

18 A. Until 2001.

19 Q. Thank you. So a total of about three years' experience?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Thank you. When you were serving in other parts of the

22 RUC at earlier stages of your career, had you had any

23 connection with or dealings with other officers in

24 Complaints and Discipline?

25 A. Not directly, no.

 

 

3

 

1 Q. No. So you came, as it were, very much as a newcomer to

2 the department in September 1998?

3 A. Indeed.

4 Q. Thank you. Now, just so we have got a feel for the

5 nature of your work during those three years, can you

6 help me with this: how many files, complaints files,

7 would you have on the go in a typical week?

8 A. It would vary depending on the number of complaints that

9 would be registered and assigned to me, but it could be

10 anything in the region of perhaps between five and ten

11 complaints.

12 Q. And those were matters that you were dealing with as the

13 investigating officer; is that correct?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you about your place of work, just

16 to check something because you describe your role as

17 within Complaints and Discipline at Armagh. Were you

18 based in Armagh itself?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the system is concerned, you

21 helpfully set out a summary of the way it worked in

22 paragraphs 4 to 11 of your statement, and I'm not going

23 to take you through the detail, but I do want to ask

24 you, please, about a couple of points.

25 A. Hm-mm.

 

 

4

 

1 Q. The first, please, is about the question of pre-prepared

2 statements, and to help you, you deal with this in

3 paragraph 10 of your statement at RNI-841-160 at the

4 bottom (displayed).

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Do you see the reference there?

7 A. Yes, I do.

8 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you, in general terms was the

9 submission by officers under investigation of

10 pre-prepared statements something that was permitted

11 under the complaints regime?

12 A. Yes, I believe it was.

13 Q. Was it encouraged?

14 A. Not by me.

15 Q. Was it a regular phenomenon of complaints that you

16 investigated, that officers would submit pre-prepared

17 statements?

18 A. No, I would say it was the exception, in my experience,

19 rather than the rule.

20 Q. Yes. As I understand it, what you tell us is that where

21 a pre-prepared statement was submitted by an officer,

22 you would proceed to full interview in any event?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. Thank you. Was that a practice or an approach that was

25 shared by others within your department?

 

 

5

 

1 A. I would believe so. I can't comment for every

2 individual investigating officer of course, but I would

3 have thought our approach was pretty much uniform in

4 that respect.

5 Q. Were you aware of others in particular where the same

6 approach was taken?

7 A. I couldn't give you specifics of that. I would have

8 been generally aware that that was the case.

9 Q. Again, in your experience, where an officer came to an

10 interview and handed in his statement and was then

11 informed that you would be interviewing him anyway, what

12 reaction did you get?

13 A. Well, the officer would certainly have, in virtually all

14 circumstances, have cooperated with me and dealt with

15 any questions or matters that I would have put to him

16 or her.

17 Q. So the officers didn't expect, as it were, the

18 pre-prepared statement to bring the whole thing to an

19 end?

20 A. Well, I couldn't say what they expected, but certainly

21 if the case was such that I had -- obviously had

22 particular matters which I wanted to speak to them about

23 and I would have put those matters to them, bearing in

24 mind what had been written in their prepared statement.

25 Q. And in terms of levels of cooperation generally --

 

 

6

 

1 again, it is a matter you deal with in this same

2 paragraph of your statement -- what was your experience

3 about levels of cooperation from officers under

4 investigation?

5 A. They were in the main cooperative.

6 Q. Now, you try and put a figure on it in your statement.

7 Is that one you would maintain today? You can see it is

8 at the end of paragraph 10 at RNI-841-161 (displayed).

9 A. Yes, I think that would be fair.

10 Q. So the vast majority, in your experience, cooperated

11 with your investigation?

12 A. That's right.

13 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you, in relation to cases where

14 a pre-prepared statement was put in, would you then, as

15 it were, test the statement during the course of the

16 interview that followed?

17 A. Yes, I would.

18 Q. Thank you. The second general matter I wanted to take

19 up with you is dealt with by you in paragraph 16, if you

20 could have that in front of you, please. As at

21 RNI-841-163 (displayed). This is the question of

22 informal resolution.

23 A. Okay.

24 Q. In your own words, how did the matter of judging whether

25 a matter was suitable for informal resolution come

 

 

7

 

1 about?

2 A. Whilst I wasn't involved in that particular process, my

3 understanding was that there was a criteria by which

4 a particular complaint would have fallen within that

5 category of complaints.

6 Q. So was that decision taken, as it were, at a higher

7 level?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. So does it follow from that that all the matters that

10 you were instructed to investigate would have been

11 already processed and it had been determined that there

12 should not be an informal resolution?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. Was it open to you during the course of investigating

15 more formally to recommend that the matter could at that

16 stage be dealt with informally?

17 A. By myself?

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. No.

20 Q. You weren't able to make a recommendation of that kind?

21 A. No, I was simply dealing with the formal complaint as it

22 was passed to me at that stage of the process.

23 Q. Thank you. Is it right that the sort of cases, as far

24 as you understood it at any rate, that were resolved in

25 that way tended to be at the lower end of the types of

 

 

8

 

1 complaint?

2 A. I would say that is correct.

3 Q. Yes. Thank you.

4 Now, in your statement you set out your dealings

5 with three specific complaints and I would like to ask

6 you some questions about them, but first to take you

7 through the history of them very briefly so that my

8 questions are put fairly in context for you.

9 The first is a matter that arose as a complaint from

10 Rosemary Nelson at the beginning of September 1998, and

11 I would like you to look, please, at RNI-217-248

12 (displayed).

13 This, as I say, is the first of the documents I want

14 to show you in this particular case. Can I ask you,

15 before we get into any of the detail, you have dealt

16 with this and other cases in your statement -- it is now

17 some ten years later -- if you had been asked questions

18 about these specific complaints without reference to

19 documents, do you think you would have had any actual

20 recollection of the events?

21 A. Well, I may well have had, but I wouldn't know unless

22 you were asking me on a specific complaint as to whether

23 I would recall that one or not. Obviously at the time

24 my recollection would have been more recent than now.

25 Q. But when you came to be interviewed during the course of

 

 

9

 

1 last year, for example, if you hadn't been shown

2 a number of documents about the cases, would you

3 actually have had a recollection of these --

4 A. I imagine it would have been a vague recollection.

5 Q. Yes, thank you. So here is the opening letter in this

6 particular case and you will see the second paragraph,

7 the letter from Rosemary Nelson, dated 3 September:

8 "I am endeavouring to obtain a full written

9 statement ..."

10 Your first letter on the file comes at RNI-217-251

11 (displayed). There is your signature at the bottom of

12 the page, do you see, the letter of -- I think it is

13 24 September, and this is sent to the complainant, care

14 of her solicitor, Rosemary Nelson?

15 A. Hm-mm.

16 Q. And you set up an interview in the fourth paragraph, do

17 you see -- Tuesday, 13 October 1998 -- and say that if

18 it is not convenient another contact should be made so

19 as to arrange another interview. And we see on the next

20 page, RNI-217-252 -- again, it will come up on the

21 screen (displayed) -- that you also wrote to the

22 solicitor, Rosemary Nelson, saying this is what you had

23 done.

24 So far as what happened is concerned, we can see

25 that the answer is not much because at RNI-217-254

 

 

10

 

1 (displayed), you write on 19 October saying in the

2 second paragraph:

3 "You did not attend for interview."

4 And again, RNI-217-255 (displayed), the letter goes

5 through the solicitor, in this case, again,

6 Rosemary Nelson.

7 It looks as though the next relevant letter is at

8 RNI-217-257 (displayed) -- again, Rosemary Nelson this

9 time -- 2 November:

10 "Endeavours are being made to contact ..."

11 Then the name of the complainant:

12 "... and we would ask that you bear with us in this

13 regard."

14 Now, as far as we can see, two weeks after that, on

15 16 November 1998, you produce your report, which we see

16 beginning in the file at RNI 217-235 (displayed) and

17 I hope after that rather rapid survey you can see

18 that -- we see the date at the top, 17 November, and it

19 looks, doesn't it, as though, based on that

20 correspondence, not a great deal had happened in terms

21 of progressing the investigation because nobody had

22 turned up to talk to you about the complaint?

23 A. Hm-mm.

24 Q. Is that a fair summary?

25 A. That seems to be right, yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Thank you. So this is the report you make and, again, I

2 don't want to dwell on the detail of it because we have

3 seen many, many, many such reports in the past. So I

4 would like to take you, please, to the meat of it, as

5 far as the Inquiry is concerned, which is at RNI-217-238

6 (displayed) and this is under the heading "Conclusions"

7 and, again, you deal with this in your witnesses

8 statement.

9 You set out the facts of the complaint and then you

10 identify various questions, 1 to 5, and then in the next

11 full paragraph you say that there has been a failure to

12 cooperate on the part of both the solicitor,

13 Rosemary Nelson, and the complainant, and recite the nub

14 of the letter of the 2nd that I have mentioned. And

15 then this paragraph:

16 "History show that Rosemary Nelson rarely cooperates

17 with the police investigation. This makes an

18 investigation virtually impossible. Letters of

19 complaint of this type, typical of this solicitor, are

20 nonsense and a waste of valuable resources."

21 And you recommended dispensation at the bottom,

22 under Regulation 17, because it is -- the complaint that

23 is -- "incapable of investigation." Do you see that?

24 A. Yes, I do.

25 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you about that paragraph

 

 

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1 beginning:

2 "History shows ..."

3 This is written in the middle of November. You had

4 been at Complaints and Discipline for about two months.

5 Were you referring there to your own experience of

6 dealing with Rosemary Nelson?

7 A. No, I was dealing with the position as I understood it

8 from my colleagues in Complaints and Discipline in

9 Armagh.

10 Q. So you knew, did you, from your colleagues that in the

11 past there had been other examples of failure to

12 cooperate?

13 A. That was my understanding, yes.

14 Q. And was that something that you were informed about as

15 soon as you arrived at Complaints and Discipline

16 in September 1998?

17 A. Well, I wouldn't recall the precise date when I was told

18 about it. It was something that I became aware of

19 through conversations in the early stages of my time in

20 Gough, from their experiences.

21 Q. So how was Rosemary Nelson's attitude to the complaints

22 process understood by you and your colleagues at

23 Complaints and Discipline?

24 A. In the sense that whilst initial letters of complaint

25 were lodged, as I understood it, rarely were those

 

 

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1 followed up with face-to-face interviews with

2 complainants on -- that she represented on their behalf.

3 Q. And was that, as far as, again, you were told, true of

4 her and of her clients in each such case?

5 A. That was my understanding.

6 Q. Yes. Now, so far as your own experience as at this

7 point is concerned, as I say, about two months in, had

8 you yourself, do you think, had personal experience as

9 an investigating officer of that phenomenon, the

10 phenomenon of non-cooperation?

11 A. I cannot say whether there were other complaints that I

12 would have investigated, lodged by her at that stage

13 because these are the ones that have been presented

14 to me.

15 Q. Yes, but in relation to your experience

16 between September 1998 and the time of Rosemary Nelson's

17 murder in March, did you ever come across a case that

18 you dealt with where there was cooperation?

19 A. No, not in the sense that I would understand it.

20 Q. You say in your statement at various points that you

21 can't recall an example of one of Rosemary Nelson's

22 clients attending for interview after initial complaint;

23 is that correct?

24 A. That's my correct recollection, yes.

25 Q. Does that also apply to Rosemary Nelson herself where

 

 

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1 she was the maker of a complaint?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. So you never had experience of a complaint being

4 initiated by her or by one of other clients and there

5 being a follow-up interview?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. Is that correct?

8 A. That's my recollection.

9 Q. Thank you. In your statement, you address this question

10 of non-cooperation in paragraph 14, and I would like to

11 ask you some questions about that, please.

12 A. Sorry, which page is it?

13 Q. Sorry, it is at RNI-841-162 (displayed).

14 A. Okay.

15 Q. You say in the first sentence:

16 "There is certainly a couple of firms who, from my

17 experience, did not always cooperate with the

18 investigation after writing an initial letter of

19 complaint."

20 Then you name Rosemary Nelson's firm and another

21 firm whose name has been redacted.

22 Can I ask you this: just to be clear, you say:

23 "... in my experience, did not always cooperate ..."

24 My understanding from your answers a little earlier

25 was that there was never an example of cooperation in

 

 

15

 

1 your experience from Rosemary Nelson's firm; is that

2 correct?

3 A. Yes, that's right.

4 Q. Then you talk about the other side, if I can put it that

5 way -- you describe it here as the Unionist side -- your

6 complaints there are slightly vaguer. Were there

7 solicitors' firms on that side, if I can put it that

8 way, who did in fact cooperate with your investigations?

9 A. I believe that's right, from my recollection, yes.

10 Q. So are you making a distinction there between the

11 non-cooperators on one side and a general picture of

12 cooperation on the other?

13 A. Well, I mean, that's in response to a question put to me

14 at the time and that was my recollection at the time,

15 and my experience, in terms of complaints lodged at the

16 time by solicitors.

17 Q. But can you now think of an example where the client

18 was, let's say, alleged to be a Loyalist terrorist,

19 where solicitors just would not cooperate with the

20 investigation?

21 A. I can't think of specifics of that at this time.

22 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you to look back at the conclusion

23 paragraph of your report that we were looking at

24 earlier, RNI-217-239 (displayed)?

25 Now, what I would like to do, please, is to put that

 

 

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1 to the left-hand side of the screen and have up on the

2 right-hand side paragraph 19 of your statement at

3 RNI-841-163 (displayed), and in paragraph 19 you say in

4 the very first sentence:

5 "I did not have any particular view of Mrs Nelson."

6 Do you see that there?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. It looks, doesn't it, as though certainly by

9 mid November 1998 you did have a view about Mrs Nelson,

10 namely that she rarely cooperated with police

11 investigation. Is that fair?

12 A. What I'm saying there is I have no particular view of

13 her personally, which is different from my view in terms

14 of how -- what her approach was to complaints against

15 the police.

16 Q. But you clearly by this stage, the middle of November,

17 based on what you had been told by colleagues, had her

18 down as someone who rarely cooperated with police

19 complaints investigations; is that fair?

20 A. That's right.

21 Q. And in fact based on what you have told us earlier, one

22 can actually remove the word "rarely". Is that fair?

23 She never cooperated?

24 A. Not in my experience.

25 Q. You then go on to say:

 

 

17

 

1 "This [the failure to cooperate] makes an

2 investigation virtually impossible."

3 Because obviously one couldn't pursue and get to the

4 bottom of the sorts of questions, for example, that are

5 set out at 1 to 5. Is that what you mean?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. Yes. Now, that must in fact have caused difficulties

8 for you and your colleagues, surely?

9 A. Well, it certainly caused difficulties in respect of --

10 in terms of investigating the complaint properly and

11 thoroughly. It made it that much more difficult.

12 Q. Because once the complaint had been registered and put

13 into the system, really, as far as one can tell, nothing

14 happened at all in those sorts of cases. So there was

15 nothing for you to work with, was there?

16 A. Very little. There may have been some information

17 provided in the letter of complaint, but that

18 information of itself would have been, in my view,

19 insufficient to conduct a thorough and proper

20 investigation.

21 Q. Wasn't that a cause of irritation or frustration with

22 you and your colleagues?

23 A. Very possibly at the time, yes, because time and

24 resources were limited and there was a desire and

25 willingness to properly conduct these complaints and the

 

 

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1 investigations into them.

2 Q. And isn't there a sense in that paragraph, in the

3 conclusion, of some frustration or irritation with the

4 way in which Rosemary Nelson and her clients were

5 dealing with these complaints on your behalf?

6 A. Well, I wouldn't use the word "irritation".

7 Professionally, there may have been some frustration,

8 but that is because we were tasked with the

9 responsibility of investigating these complaints and

10 that task was being made very difficult. So

11 professionally that may well have been the case.

12 Q. You see, in your statement later on dealing with this

13 same sort of point, paragraph 28, you say you didn't

14 find that sort of behaviour:

15 "... in the least bit frustrating."

16 That is at RNI-841-166 (displayed). Is that in fact

17 the position or are you rather glossing it after the

18 event?

19 A. I was frustrated -- if I was frustrated, what I'm trying

20 to say is that that is because I wished to conduct

21 a proper investigation. As to the degree of

22 frustration, I wouldn't comment on, I couldn't comment

23 on now, but I certainly wasn't irritated or hugely or

24 highly frustrated about that.

25 Q. Can I ask you then about the next sentence, which is:

 

 

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1 "Letters of complaint of this type, typical of this

2 solicitor ..."

3 As at this point, had you received many letters of

4 complaint that you had been investigating from

5 Rosemary Nelson?

6 A. I wouldn't be able to say now. In the absence of actual

7 documentation I would have received.

8 Q. Do you think that may also have been based on what you

9 had been told by your colleagues?

10 A. I think that partly informed that comment, yes.

11 Q. So they told you this was the sort of thing they

12 regularly did?

13 A. I made reference to that earlier, that that was the case

14 as I learned when I first came to Armagh.

15 Q. Because, you see, what you then do is to say in what

16 ways they're typical. Do you see that? You say:

17 "They are nonsense and a waste of valuable

18 resources."

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. So nonsense, I assume, means that the complaints in each

21 of these cases are worthless?

22 A. No, that's not what I mean.

23 Q. Right. What do you mean, please?

24 A. What I mean is that the manner in which she has

25 approached the complaint process is nonsense.

 

 

20

 

1 Q. You don't mean that the substance of the complaint made

2 is itself nonsense?

3 A. No, I don't.

4 Q. So do you mean by that, then, nonsense because it

5 contains insufficient material to investigate?

6 A. I think I mean nonsense in the sense that the manner and

7 the way in which she has approached the investigation

8 and the way in which she has cooperated -- or, indeed,

9 non-cooperated, more accurately -- is a nonsense, is

10 what I think I meant.

11 Q. As I understand it, once a complaint of this kind had

12 entered the system -- in other words, once she had in

13 this case registered the complaint -- the machinery had

14 to go into operation?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Does that explain the next phrase:

17 "Waste of valuable resources"?

18 Because whether or not there was subsequent

19 cooperation, all of the formal steps had to be

20 completed: you had to ask for an interview; you had to

21 repeat it; you had to give her the opportunity, feeling,

22 believing, that actually nothing would happen. Is that

23 what you mean by wasting valuable resources?

24 A. Yes, I do and it wasn't just true of myself because

25 there are other people involved in that process in order

 

 

21

 

1 to try and gather the evidence we needed to allow us to

2 conduct the investigation. It wasn't just me.

3 Q. Why did you and your colleagues believe that she

4 registered complaints in this way?

5 A. I don't know.

6 Q. Did you not discuss it with them?

7 A. I don't recall discussing that specific point. I may

8 have, but I certainly don't recall it.

9 Q. You didn't discuss what her motivation might have been?

10 A. No, I don't recall that.

11 Q. Do you think, for example, that what was going on here

12 was a deliberate attempt to clog up the complaints

13 process?

14 A. Well, that is possible. I obviously don't know what

15 Rosemary Nelson's motivation or purpose was in her

16 approach to this.

17 Q. Was it your view at the time?

18 A. I don't remember what my view was at the time.

19 Q. We have discussed what you learnt about her and the way

20 she dealt with complaints after your arrival in the

21 Complaints and Discipline, what you learnt from your

22 colleagues. Did that, in your view, create a sense of

23 resentment or hostility amongst Complaints and

24 Discipline officers in relation to Rosemary Nelson?

25 A. Well, from a personal basis I was neither resentful nor

 

 

22

 

1 hostile towards her. I have no recollection or sense of

2 any other officer, but I wouldn't speak on their behalf.

3 I have no sense of that from my recollection.

4 Q. You have no sense of it out of your discussions with

5 them?

6 A. No.

7 Q. And so far as the operation of the process in practice

8 is concerned -- and bearing in mind what you say there

9 in that paragraph we have been through together -- can

10 I ask you this: looking back on it, do you think that

11 your view of Rosemary Nelson affected the way that you

12 carried out your work in relation to that investigation?

13 A. No.

14 Q. You don't think it?

15 A. No. The investigation process was itself a process and

16 I followed that process and made every effort within

17 that process to have her bring forward the evidence to

18 assist me.

19 Q. Can I just test that with one example, please, by asking

20 you to look at RNI-217-257 again? It is a document we

21 looked at a little earlier (displayed). Now, this is

22 her letter to you on 2 November saying that:

23 "Endeavours are being made to contact the

24 complainant. We would ask that you bear with us in this

25 regard."

 

 

23

 

1 It looks as though two weeks after the letter, the

2 date of the letter, which looks from the stamp as though

3 it was received the next day, on the 3rd, you write your

4 report?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Do you see that?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Was that a standard, as it were, grace period, two

9 weeks, to be given to apparently a non-cooperating

10 complainant?

11 A. I can't recall what the period of time would have been,

12 the timeline would have been in order to receive

13 a response in that respect.

14 Q. Well, you see, she writes to you on the 2nd, saying:

15 "Please bear with us."

16 And we know from the report that we have just been

17 looking at that it was written on the 16th, two weeks

18 later?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. What I'm saying is, based on your experience, is that

21 a longer or a shorter period than you give in the

22 general run of cases?

23 A. I wouldn't be able to recall that.

24 Q. Were there any guidelines on such matters that you can

25 remember?

 

 

24

 

1 A. I think there probably were, but I really can't remember

2 those guidelines now in terms of period of time that was

3 allotted or allowed for a response and to engage with

4 the investigation.

5 Q. It doesn't seem an unusually short period for you to

6 allow before going into your final report seeking

7 dispensation?

8 A. No, I don't believe so, bearing in mind, I think, that

9 the complaint was first lodged in September.

10 Q. Yes, it was lodged on 3 September. I can show that to

11 you: RNI-217-248 (displayed).

12 So this is two months after that that she writes to

13 you, and we have seen together the letters where you

14 were chasing a response in the meantime. So in the

15 light of that, can you comment on the two-week period

16 allowed from the 2 November?

17 A. Comment in what respect?

18 Q. Does that help you to form a view as to whether that was

19 a typical period to bring an end to the investigation

20 effectively, or does it not assist?

21 A. Well, as I say, I can't recall whether -- what the

22 period of time allowed or suggested was in terms of when

23 we got to a point after letters had been exchanged that

24 we would bring the investigation, such as it was, to

25 a conclusion.

 

 

25

 

1 Q. Right. Can I ask you a few questions on another

2 specific complaint, please?

3 This one, again, came in that month when you

4 were new at the department and you deal with it in your

5 statement, again, for your reference, at paragraph 22.

6 Now, the letter of complaint here -- perhaps we can

7 have it on the screen, please -- is at RNI-221-203

8 (displayed). Rosemary Nelson, 19 September:

9 "I write to make a complaint against

10 Constable Crone."

11 And details are given there of what is described by

12 Rosemary Nelson as a lack of civility in answering

13 questions. And the final sentence:

14 "I do not appreciate this kind of behaviour when I

15 am representing clients."

16 So the complaint there was an alleged lack of

17 civility to Rosemary Nelson herself. Do you see that?

18 A. Yes, I do.

19 Q. Can I ask you first of all, is this the sort of

20 complaint that you might have expected to be resolved

21 informally?

22 A. Well, it is the sort of complaint that could have been

23 resolved informally, possibly.

24 Q. When it came to you to investigate were you surprised

25 that something as minor as this had been set aside for

 

 

26

 

1 your formal investigation?

2 A. I wouldn't recall whether I was surprised or not.

3 Q. Can you remember investigating similar complaints to

4 this, i.e. an incivility alleged by a solicitor in

5 relation to a police officer on any other occasion?

6 A. I can't recall.

7 Q. Does that mean you can't recall any other example or you

8 can't recall at all?

9 A. I can't recall any other example.

10 Q. Thank you. But that decision, just to be clear, had

11 already been made by the time it came to you?

12 A. It was allocated to me for investigation.

13 Q. So far as this is concerned, again, before we look at

14 your conclusion in relation to the complaint, perhaps we

15 can just look very quickly at the documents which

16 preceded it. RNI-221-010 (displayed) is the first

17 letter from you, a month later, and it invites

18 Rosemary Nelson, because it is her complaint, to attend

19 an interview, the third paragraph, if you see, on

20 3 November at 10 o'clock.

21 That, if you see, is the 19th -- I think it is the

22 19th anyway -- of October. The next one, RNI-221-012

23 (displayed), a letter from her of 23 October, which

24 refers in the first line, you see, to your letter,

25 19 October, and then says this:

 

 

27

 

1 "I would be perfectly willing to prepare and supply

2 a comprehensive statement herein. This will be

3 forwarded to you in the near future. I can confirm that

4 I have no objection to the usual police notice being

5 appended thereto."

6 So she wasn't actually, as far as one can see,

7 responding to your request to attend for interview on

8 3 November, was she?

9 A. That would to be right.

10 Q. It would actually appear that she was agreeing to do

11 something different: supply a statement?

12 A. A comprehensive statement.

13 Q. Yes. Can I ask you a question about statements from

14 complainants rather than police officers? We touched on

15 the police officer aspect earlier. Was it common for

16 complainants to put in prepared statements?

17 A. Not in my recollection.

18 Q. No. But imagine a situation where you arrange an

19 interview and the complainant appears and hands in to

20 you a pre-prepared statement. What would you have done?

21 A. I would have gone through that statement with them to

22 ensure I had a full understanding about the complaint

23 and asked any other questions that I would have needed

24 to ask for clarity.

25 Q. In fact, very much the same approach you took with the

 

 

28

 

1 police officers?

2 A. Pretty much, yes.

3 Q. Thank you. Now, that letter -- we have still got it on

4 the screen -- as I say, I think, when you look at it,

5 he's actually not agreeing to turn up on the 3rd, and if

6 we look at RNI-221-013 (displayed), which is your letter

7 to Rosemary Nelson of 4 November, we will see indeed

8 that she didn't attend.

9 Looking back on it with hindsight, it looks as

10 though in fact she hadn't agreed to attend that day, had

11 she? She said she would put in a comprehensive

12 statement?

13 A. Yes, that's right.

14 Q. The next stage is 13 November; again, a letter from

15 Rosemary Nelson:

16 "We are in receipt of your fax transmission of

17 4 November ."

18 Which we just looked at:

19 "... and can advise that our Mrs Nelson does not

20 wish to elaborate on the complaint already made."

21 So how did you understand that letter?

22 A. Sorry, I do not have that on screen.

23 Q. Sorry, it is RNI-221-015 (displayed). Do you see the

24 second paragraph?

25 A. Hm-mm. (Pause) Okay.

 

 

29

 

1 Q. How do you understand that?

2 A. Sorry, what was your question again?

3 Q. How did you understand that letter?

4 A. Well, that she did not wish to elaborate on the

5 complaint already made.

6 Q. Where did that leave the investigation?

7 A. Well, pretty much where it was: that she was obviously

8 not prepared, for whatever reason, to provide the

9 information that we would have needed.

10 Q. Did you ever understand why there had been the change

11 from a suggestion that there would be a comprehensive

12 statement to this letter?

13 A. No, I had no understanding of that.

14 Q. Again, you prepare your report, RNI-221-032 (displayed).

15 This is 20 November, some four days after the other

16 report we have looked at. You can see it on the

17 left-hand side of the screen. And, again, I don't wish

18 to take you through any of the detail, but look at the

19 conclusions at RNI-221-036 (displayed).

20 Here, following a very similar pattern to your other

21 conclusions, you set out the brief circumstances, raise

22 a number of questions, and in that case I think there

23 were actually seven, and point out that there was no

24 attendance. Then, in the penultimate paragraph:

25 "On that basis it would be unfair and arguably

 

 

30

 

1 unwarranted to interview the ..."

2 i.e. the officer against whom the complaint had been

3 made:

4 "... on such a nebulous complaint lacking in

5 elementary but pertinent detail. Such is this

6 solicitor's wont. The complaint, in my view, therefore,

7 lacks credibility and prima facie is incapable of

8 meaningful investigation."

9 So just pausing there, when we looked earlier at the

10 report you wrote on 16 November, the other report,

11 presumably you had these events, what had been going on

12 with this complaint, also in your mind when you were

13 talking about matters being typical of this solicitor;

14 is that right?

15 A. Very possibly, yes.

16 Q. And equally, when you wrote this report, some four days

17 later, presumably you had the other cases in mind when

18 you said, for example:

19 "Such is this solicitor's wont"?

20 A. Possibly.

21 Q. It was certainly consistent with your experience; is

22 that right?

23 A. That would be correct, I think.

24 Q. Can I take it also that you were expressing there a view

25 which had been passed on to you by your colleagues in

 

 

31

 

1 Complaints and Discipline?

2 A. Sorry, which view?

3 Q. That "such", i.e.:

4 "Putting a nebulous complaint forward lacking in

5 elementary but pertinent detail ..."

6 Was her wont?

7 A. Yes, I think that's right.

8 Q. In the time that you worked in Complaints and

9 Discipline, not just in 1998 but all of the three years

10 you mentioned earlier, did you ever have to deal with

11 a complaint made by a solicitor; in other words, on her

12 own behalf or his own behalf, as in this case?

13 A. You mean apart from Rosemary Nelson?

14 Q. Yes.

15 A. I do not have any recollection. I don't think so.

16 Q. Based on your own understanding, from talking to

17 colleagues and others, was it usual or unusual to have

18 this sort of complaint?

19 A. From a solicitor?

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. I would have thought it was unusual.

22 Q. Did you ever hear of another case?

23 A. Not that I can recall.

24 Q. No. In describing to us, as you have, the views that

25 were made known to you by your colleagues, were you also

 

 

32

 

1 made aware by them of the Mulvihill investigation that

2 was going on at this time?

3 A. I have no recollection of that at all.

4 Q. It wasn't something that came up in discussing

5 Rosemary Nelson?

6 A. I have no recollection of it at all.

7 Q. No. Thank you.

8 Now, can I ask you about the question of

9 interviewing the police officer? And this is back to

10 the penultimate paragraph on the left-hand side of the

11 screen, RNI-221-036 (displayed). Again, drawing on your

12 experience, there were obviously two people involved in

13 the complaint here, the solicitor, Rosemary Nelson, and

14 the person alleged to have been uncivil on the

15 telephone: the police officer.

16 As I understand it, you decided, because all you had

17 is the original letter from Rosemary Nelson we saw

18 earlier, that there was insufficient ground in order to

19 interview the police officer. Is that correct?

20 A. That's correct.

21 Q. So it wasn't a matter of course then, was it, that an

22 officer against whom a complaint had been registered, as

23 had happened here, would be interviewed in any event?

24 A. That's correct.

25 Q. So did you then have a discretion about whether or not

 

 

33

 

1 to pursue to an interview with the officer even at this

2 very early stage?

3 A. Yes, I would have.

4 Q. Would this police officer have been served with

5 a Form 17/3?

6 A. He could have been. I would have to look through the

7 papers to see if he was.

8 Q. But wouldn't it have been usual practice to have

9 done so?

10 A. The service of the 17/3, the purpose of which is to

11 inform the officer of the nature of the complaint, in as

12 much detail as possible. So if there is no such detail

13 or there is insufficient detail, then that may not have

14 taken place.

15 Q. If it had taken place in this case, would it then have

16 been unusual not to proceed to interview?

17 A. Not necessarily. It would depend on, as in this case,

18 whether I had sufficient information in order to

19 question the constable about -- in terms of the

20 complaint.

21 Q. And was your decision not to interview in this case in

22 any way affected by the view that you and your

23 colleagues had formed about Rosemary Nelson?

24 A. The decision not to interview would have been based

25 solely on the approach of the complainant in this case.

 

 

34

 

1 Q. Now, just to complete the picture, this report of yours,

2 along with all your other reports, would have made its

3 way, presumably, to the ICPC in due course. Is that

4 correct? Because you were asking for a dispensation,

5 effectively?

6 A. No, I don't think it would have made its way to the

7 ICPC, unless the ICPC had expressed an interest in

8 supervising that particular investigation, in which case

9 then it would have. I think that is my recollection of

10 the process.

11 Q. Let me help you. If you look, please, at RNI-221-053

12 (displayed)?

13 A. Oh, right, okay.

14 Q. Do you see?

15 A. Fine, okay.

16 Q. Again, in fairness, if you look at the conclusion from

17 them at RNI-221-055 (displayed), I think you will see

18 there --

19 A. Okay.

20 Q. -- that actually the ICPC did have the matter and

21 effectively approved what had been determined by you at

22 the lower level, i.e. the investigating officer level?

23 A. Okay.

24 Q. Now, the final matter I wanted to touch on very briefly

25 with you we can see at RNI-221-058 (displayed), and this

 

 

35

 

1 is another example. You deal with this right at the end

2 of your statement; again, for your information,

3 paragraph 37 and following; the letter initiating the

4 complaint, 23 October. These matters eventually came to

5 you. I think, in fact, there were two complaints made,

6 one for the two clients, and you deal in that part of

7 your statement with the way you addressed that matter.

8 As I understand it, there was again no cooperation

9 in relation to this case; is that correct?

10 A. That seems to be the case.

11 Q. Yes. During the course of it -- and, again, you refer

12 to this in your statement -- there is a memorandum

13 directed, I think, to you or certainly to your

14 department, which we can see together at RNI-221-061

15 (displayed). And the last paragraph is the paragraph I

16 wanted to draw to your attention:

17 "There is no likelihood of this complaint being

18 informally resolved given the attitude by Mrs Nelson to

19 security forces in general and, indeed, the attitude of

20 ..."

21 And that is the name of the complainant:

22 "... to security forces in general in the area."

23 Looking at that note and looking only at the aspect

24 of it dealing with Rosemary Nelson, the suggestion there

25 is that even if informal resolution was otherwise

 

 

36

 

1 appropriate, Rosemary Nelson would not agree to that or

2 allow it. Did the complainant's solicitor have any role

3 in whether or not a matter could be informally resolved?

4 A. Possibly.

5 Q. You don't know?

6 A. No, I don't know.

7 Q. No. But the reference there to her attitude to security

8 forces in general, was that something that was discussed

9 between you and your colleagues at Complaints and

10 Discipline?

11 A. In terms of this particular complaint?

12 Q. Yes, or indeed any other one?

13 A. I have no recollection of having discussions with my

14 colleagues at Complaints and Discipline about any

15 complaint lodged by Rosemary Nelson specifically, other

16 than the general approach which I have outlined earlier.

17 Q. Well, you have talked to us in answer to questions about

18 non-cooperation?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Was it generally believed amongst your colleagues, based

21 on what you have told us were conversations,

22 discussions, that she was hostile to the security forces

23 in general?

24 A. I do not ever have any recollection of having

25 a conversation about her attitude to security forces in

 

 

37

 

1 general. My conversations were around her approach to

2 complaints lodged by her, either she herself or on

3 behalf of her clients.

4 Q. Can I just ask you: in the course of those

5 conversations, did your colleagues suggest what her

6 motivation might be?

7 A. I think you may have asked me that earlier, but I have

8 no recollection of having that type of conversation in

9 terms of her motivation.

10 Q. Mr Nairn, those are all the matters I wish to raise with

11 you, but as I always say to witnesses -- or try to,

12 anyway -- if there is a matter we haven't covered which

13 you would like to mention at this stage, this is your

14 opportunity. Is there any?

15 A. I don't think so.

16 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN

17 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Could I ask you a question,

18 Mr Nairn --

19 A. Sure.

20 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: -- relating to the second of the

21 complaints that you have discussed today?

22 I could easily see that in relation to the first,

23 the Kilwilke Estate, there was absolutely no detail and

24 you would be completely stuck in following anything

25 through. With the second one -- and that, I think, is

 

 

38

 

1 at RNI-221-036 (displayed) -- you had got the fact that

2 a particular police constable had been identified and

3 accused of being uncivil and the nature of his

4 incivility had actually been described to some extent.

5 Now, I can see that ideally you would have wanted to

6 get further particulars before interviewing the

7 constable concerned. I can also see that without those

8 further particulars, putting him through a formal

9 interview might be considered unfair, but just as

10 a matter of management, would it not have been

11 somebody's responsibility to talk to that officer and

12 get some view of what it was about and possibly given

13 him some words of advice?

14 A. Well, once the matter had become a formal complaint and

15 a formal investigation, in the first instance it was my

16 duty to try and elicit all the facts in terms of that

17 alleged incivility. To speak to him about it without

18 knowing precisely what it was -- I mean, when you only

19 had Rosemary Nelson's written word on that -- I think it

20 would be fair if I was coming to speak to that

21 Constable Crone, should he ask me, "In what way was

22 I uncivil, can you be more precise?" -- that is

23 certainly a question I would ask, particularly if I was

24 challenging it -- that I would have as much information

25 about that as possible. I think that would be fair.

 

 

39

 

1 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Yes, but given that you hadn't got

2 more information, there was still the possibility, was

3 there not, that there was something in the complaint

4 even if Rosemary Nelson hadn't been very good about

5 following it through? Just as a matter of management,

6 would somebody not think that it was their

7 responsibility to talk to him about it?

8 A. I don't know who would have felt that. My role was to

9 try and investigate it, such as it was, or indeed to try

10 and investigate it with the help of further information.

11 So I think that you could make that suggestion, that

12 perhaps it was, as a management issue, someone's

13 responsibility. I didn't see it as mine.

14 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Yes, but would you in any

15 circumstance have contemplated the possibility of

16 contacting one of your colleagues, the Constable's line

17 manager and saying, "Look, I can't take this any

18 further, but I think perhaps somebody should speak to

19 him"?

20 A. No, I didn't contemplate that. I dealt with the matter

21 in the context of the investigation papers as they were

22 presented to me and I suggested its dispensation within

23 the context that of investigation, and that was the

24 process and that is what I followed.

25 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Thank you.

 

 

40

 

1 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Nairn, thank you very much for coming

2 along to give evidence to us --

3 MR PHILLIPS: Can I just ask a question arising out of that?

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly.

5 MR PHILLIPS: It may help. I hope it does.

6 Mr Nairn, in relation to complaints, is it right

7 that as well as the complaints and discipline process,

8 which we have been concentrating on, all complaints were

9 notified to the local commander so that he or she was

10 aware of the allegations made against officers under his

11 or her command, or can't you help with that?

12 A. I'm not sure about that. It may be possibly they may

13 have. I wasn't sure that that was the case, but it

14 could be. I can't help, I am afraid, in terms of

15 process, in terms of that. I'm sorry.

16 MR PHILLIPS: Well, I tried.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, Mr Nairn, I was saying thank you very

18 much for coming to give evidence, and I repeat it. I

19 was just writing a note of your last answer.

20 A. Thank you.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: We will have a break until 20 past two.

22 (2.05 pm)

23 (Short break)

24 (2.20 pm)

25

 

 

41

 

1 MR NORMAN MCKEE (sworn)

2 Questions by MR SKELTON

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

4 MR SKELTON: Mr McKee, your statement will be found on the

5 screen momentarily, RNI-813-187 (displayed).

6 A. Indeed, yes.

7 Q. If we go to page 191, there should be a signature there?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. And the date of that is 19 October last year?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. May I start by asking when you joined the RUC?

12 A. May 1984.

13 Q. And how long were you working in CID in Portadown?

14 A. My recollection would probably about four years.

15 Q. And by the period in which we are going to be examining,

16 1997, you were an inspector in Portadown; is that right?

17 A. That's correct.

18 Q. What were you in charge of?

19 A. I was in charge of the mobile support unit.

20 Q. Could you describe the role of the MSU, as it is called?

21 A. Primarily the role of the mobile support unit is public

22 order duties, whether that be for parades, for football

23 matches, and any other events that would be coming

24 forward, purely -- primarily a public order situation,

25 and the role would be just to keep the peace.

 

 

42

 

1 Q. How many of you are there in each unit?

2 A. At that time my unit would have consisted of about four

3 sergeants and around 20 officers.

4 Q. And you operate using Land Rovers, do you?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. And are you available anywhere within a particular

7 region or are you available within the whole of the --

8 A. At that time, I believe we would have been fairly close

9 to Portadown and the surrounding areas. We wouldn't

10 have travelled too far away except for special days.

11 Q. And you mention that you had a number of sergeants under

12 your command. Who was above you?

13 A. At that time, I was the inspector in charge. I would

14 have been the officer in charge of that unit on

15 that day.

16 Q. I'm just talking more generally to begin with, but

17 presumably above you you have a chief inspector and

18 superintendent?

19 A. Yes, that would have been back at base with a chief

20 inspector and superintendent in charge of all mobile

21 support units.

22 Q. Would it have been the chief inspector who is tasking

23 you or do your tasks come from elsewhere?

24 A. It would just depend. It would come primarily from

25 Mahon Road headquarters on a daily basis. We would have

 

 

43

 

1 been tasked from there.

2 Q. May I ask you briefly about your contact with other

3 officers when you were working at Portadown. That isn't

4 something which you mention much in your statement, but

5 you do say it in passing. What were you doing in CID?

6 A. Primarily, CID was an investigative role to investigate

7 crimes that would have been brought to the Criminal

8 Investigation Department, and that would include a wide

9 remit of offences from cheques that had bounced to

10 burglaries, to robberies, primarily criminal offences.

11 Q. And as a CID officer, do you have liaison either

12 formally or informally with your colleagues in SB,

13 Special Branch?

14 A. Very rarely, very rarely indeed.

15 Q. Would you, for example, know about the intelligence on

16 the local paramilitary groupings?

17 A. At that time, very rarely, you know, unless it was

18 relevant to something CID were doing.

19 Q. Would you have your own intelligence on those sorts of

20 groups?

21 A. From a CID perspective, I personally wouldn't have dealt

22 with many of those groups or had any involvement with

23 them, or -- from an investigative role.

24 Q. So when you were going out with the MSU, are you aware

25 and are you looking out for particular persons or are

 

 

44

 

1 you just dealing with the general public order

2 situation?

3 A. No, from my own personal perspective, the briefing would

4 be simply to go out, form a line or deploy at

5 a location, just keep the peace. I'm not looking for

6 anyone specifically.

7 Q. Prior to your deployment in July 1997, what did you know

8 about the GRRC, the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition?

9 A. Probably just what everyone else knew about them, just

10 from the newspapers and just the profile emanating from

11 that area.

12 Q. Had you been previously involved in policing the

13 protests?

14 A. I would have attended policing deployments at previous

15 Drumcrees and subsequent Drumcrees, yes.

16 Q. So were you there in 1996, for example?

17 A. I have no recollection of being on the Garvaghy Road in

18 1996.

19 Q. Just turning back to the GRRC, was there any perception

20 that they were in any way anti-RUC at this time?

21 A. I can't comment on that.

22 Q. Well, when you were going with your MSU, presumably you

23 were policing primarily protesters on the road?

24 A. That would be correct, yes.

25 Q. Was there a sense in which those protesters were being

 

 

45

 

1 marshalled by the GRRC?

2 A. I had no perception of that at that time.

3 Q. Did you see the GRRC or its members to be allied to any

4 particular political grouping, for example?

5 A. No, I formed no opinions on that.

6 Q. And you are speaking obviously on behalf of yourself,

7 but were such perceptions held amongst your colleagues?

8 A. I couldn't speak for them. I just had no personal

9 opinions or made no judgments on that particular group.

10 Q. Presumably, before you headed out to go to such

11 protests, you would talk amongst yourselves about what

12 you were about to face. What did you say before you

13 went there?

14 A. On this particular occasion it was an unknown quantity

15 because I believe at that time the parade was being

16 allowed down the Garvaghy Road. So it was, as I say, an

17 unknown entity as to what would happen, what we were to

18 expect or what we were going to face or what we would

19 have to do. It was a fairly artificial environment. As

20 we deployed, we didn't really know what to expect.

21 Q. We will come along in a moment to the actual deployment

22 itself, but picking up a point you have just mentioned,

23 did you know the parade was going to go down before you

24 yourself were deployed?

25 A. I believe so, yes.

 

 

46

 

1 Q. May I ask you about the murders of the two police

2 officers which had occurred on 16 June before your

3 deployment? You presumably were aware of that?

4 A. I was indeed, yes.

5 Q. What had been the reaction locally to those murders

6 amongst the police officers that you worked with?

7 A. Obviously just one of horror.

8 Q. And had they been perceived to have been carried out by

9 the IRA locally?

10 A. Perceptions, yes.

11 Q. Was that a perception which you yourself held?

12 A. I formed no judgments or perceptions. I was just aware

13 they had been killed. I don't know who by.

14 Q. Were the murders seen as in any way connected to the

15 Drumcree issue?

16 A. I cannot comment on that either.

17 Q. Well, given the timing of the murders, which is only

18 a few weeks before the parade, was that seen to be

19 significant by yourself?

20 A. No, I can make no comment on it. I made no judgments or

21 opinions on that matter.

22 Q. Did you know who the principal suspect was in relation

23 to those murders?

24 A. I was aware of a name, yes.

25 Q. Could you give me that name, please?

 

 

47

 

1 A. It was Colin Duffy.

2 Q. And you, having worked in the Portadown region which is

3 close by to Lurgan, did you speak to your colleagues

4 about the prosecution or the arrest of Colin Duffy?

5 A. No, not at any time.

6 Q. Did you know he had been charged for those murders?

7 A. I cannot recollect.

8 Q. Did you know that Rosemary Nelson was representing him?

9 A. From memory, no. I was aware there was a connection,

10 yes, but not representing Mr Duffy, no.

11 Q. When you say there was a connection, what do you mean?

12 A. It was just in passing. I did not know she was

13 representing him personally. I knew there was

14 a connection with her and Mr Duffy.

15 Q. Do you mean a personal connection?

16 A. Just that they knew each other, yes.

17 Q. Could you elaborate on that? I don't quite follow what

18 you mean by "they knew each other"?

19 A. It was common knowledge they had an acquaintance

20 together, yes. That is as far as I can say.

21 Q. Do you mean a non-client/solicitor acquaintance?

22 A. I just knew they had an acquaintance. I can't say for

23 definite what that was.

24 Q. What did you know generally about Rosemary Nelson in

25 this period?

 

 

48

 

1 A. Just as I worked in CID in Portadown at that time, I was

2 just aware that she was his solicitor, and that is as

3 much as I can say.

4 Q. How had she come across your radar in CID?

5 A. I think it was just general talk between colleagues,

6 that she was a local solicitor, one of many that worked

7 in the Portadown -- I'm sorry, the Lurgan area.

8 Q. What did you know about her association with the GRRC?

9 A. None whatsoever.

10 Q. So would you have recognised her when you saw her?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And how would you have recognised her?

13 A. Just from the possible local press or news or from the

14 news bulletins. I didn't know the woman personally.

15 Q. What sort of press appearances had she appeared in?

16 A. I can't recollect that. It is too far back.

17 Q. Turning then to the issue of Drumcree in 1997, were

18 there particular concerns about this year, given the

19 problems that had occurred in 1996?

20 A. There were always concerns about the policing of the

21 operation as to what we would have to expect when we

22 deployed, and basically that is all that we were told.

23 It was an unknown quantity as to how the whole thing

24 would go.

25 Q. And how many officers roughly were involved in the

 

 

49

 

1 operation on that particular day?

2 A. I can't recollect, but I would summarise several

3 hundred.

4 Q. Now, in your statement, which we may look at,

5 paragraph 5, just on page RNI-813-188 (displayed), you

6 discuss the briefing you had been given and then the

7 briefing you gave on the day of your deployment?

8 A. Yes, that's correct.

9 Q. So are we talking about 6 July or was it the day before

10 that your briefing is given?

11 A. That would probably have been the morning of 6 July

12 prior to deployment.

13 Q. Are we speaking about the very early morning, then?

14 A. That's correct, yes.

15 Q. And who were your senior officers that day?

16 A. There would have been several at the Mahon Road

17 headquarters. I cannot recollect who actually gave the

18 men briefings, as such, by name.

19 Q. Your bronze commander, as I understand it, was Chief

20 Superintendent Boyd?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Might it have been him?

23 A. I have no recollection of that. The bronze commanders

24 as such may have attended the same briefing as myself

25 but would have been given their area of responsibility

 

 

50

 

1 separately by a higher command.

2 Q. Were you answerable directly to a particular bronze

3 commander?

4 A. At that time, possibly Superintendent Boyd, yes.

5 Q. And what would have been said during the course of the

6 briefing?

7 A. As I reiterated earlier, I think it was simply a case of

8 it was an unknown quantity of what would happen that

9 morning or that day as the parade progressed, and it was

10 as simple as that.

11 Q. Were you not briefed, for example, that the protesters

12 were likely to be sitting on the road and they would

13 need to be removed?

14 A. That was probably a possibility, yes.

15 Q. Were you expecting to have to deal with some violence or

16 verbal abuse?

17 A. In my own opinion, where we were to be deployed, we

18 would have expected obviously verbal abuse. As to the

19 physical abuse, I can't comment on that.

20 Q. So what were you actually briefed to do?

21 A. We were briefed to simply deploy on the Ashgrove Road,

22 which forms a T junction with the Garvaghy Road. My

23 deployment would have been about 30 to 40 metres in off

24 the junction. There, would we would have formed a line

25 right across the Ashgrove Road. There are shops to the

 

 

51

 

1 left of that cordon line.

2 Q. Mr McKee, I might just stop you there while we put a map

3 on the screen if that is okay?

4 A. Indeed, yes.

5 Q. It is found at RNI-303-129 (displayed). It might be

6 helpful if you -- you can see there are a number of

7 spots identified in writing there, and down at the

8 bottom right-hand side, I think, is the area which you

9 are talking about, which is the junction, albeit that it

10 is covered partly by a logo there?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. And can you give us an idea of where, in relation to the

13 housing on the right, you were positioned in your MSU?

14 A. Right. If one looks just to the top of the "down" word,

15 you can see a small dotted -- like an oval shape, a

16 line, which is actually a drive-in area, which comes off

17 the Ashgrove Road. Directly opposite to the left there

18 is a dotted line, which goes across to the left and you

19 can see units. There are shop buildings there. There

20 are possibly four units of shops and another one just

21 below it. That cordon line is more or less where the

22 dotted line would have been, but right across to the

23 edges of the houses on the right-hand side, which forms

24 Churchill Park Estate.

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Is that approximately below the "A" of

 

 

52

 

1 "warning", where it says "warning given"?

2 A. Yes.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Is that the area?

4 A. No, sir, that would have been another police deployment

5 to seal off the junction of the Garvaghy Road.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Further up?

7 A. Yes, just where that marker is starting to appear now.

8 That is a fairly broad area, which covers from the edge

9 of the estate right across to the shops. That would

10 have taken my unit, another unit and perhaps some

11 military personnel to form that cordon line straight

12 across.

13 MR SKELTON: Were you yourself linked into this line?

14 A. I was not, sir, no. No, I would have performed my

15 duties behind that cordon line.

16 Q. Where exactly were the protesters, then, that you were

17 preventing from moving?

18 A. They would have been directly in front of that line,

19 facing uphill towards Churchill Park.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: On 6 July, were you yourself and all the

21 other members of the MSU in uniform and full riot gear?

22 A. I believe so, yes, sir.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

24 MR SKELTON: Were you identifiable as the senior officer?

25 A. The identification I would have worn would have been two

 

 

53

 

1 shoulder pips and perhaps braiding on my forage cap.

2 That would have been all. That would have been readily

3 identifiable to someone else.

4 Q. Would you not have worn your number --

5 A. Yes, indeed. That would have been part of the shoulder

6 lapels, as one would call them.

7 Q. And you are sure the number would have been there at

8 this time?

9 A. Yes, indeed.

10 Q. Because there is an issue about whether numbers were

11 consistently worn throughout these sorts of activities?

12 A. No, I would have consistently worn mine.

13 Q. What time exactly were your unit deployed?

14 A. I have no exact recollection, but I believe it was

15 fairly early in the morning, prior to possibly

16 4 o'clock, half three, around that time.

17 Q. And at that stage were the protesters still in the road

18 and needed to be removed?

19 A. I can't say exactly who or what number were sitting

20 down, if they were sitting down at that time on the

21 Garvaghy Road. At that time, I believe we had formed

22 our cordon line, where I said it was, and I have no

23 knowledge of who or what was sitting on the

24 Garvaghy Road at that time.

25 Q. Is that because you can't remember or because you were

 

 

54

 

1 concentrating on the other direction?

2 A. I would have been looking actually the opposite

3 direction, as I say, up towards Churchill Park, where my

4 protesters would have been in front of my police line.

5 Q. How long were you expected to be maintaining the static

6 line for?

7 A. Until I was given stand down by silver control.

8 Q. When was that?

9 A. I believe the parade came down some time after possibly

10 1 o'clock, half past one. So any time after that, I

11 think possibly half past two, 3 o'clock, we may have

12 been given the orders to stand down and withdraw.

13 Q. So you were there for a period of about 12 hours, were

14 you?

15 A. Quite possibly, yes.

16 Q. To correct the record, it was J1 and H1 MSUs that you

17 were in charge of; is that right?

18 A. I was in charge of my own unit, Juliet 1, yes. There

19 was another unit called Hotel 1. I had no inspector

20 within that day, so I had the job of overseeing their

21 deployment just to make sure that it was okay.

22 Q. Does that mean that you yourself were quite stretched in

23 terms of your responsibilities?

24 A. Indeed, yes.

25 Q. How did that make things difficult for you?

 

 

55

 

1 A. It is impossible just to keep an eye on everyone under

2 my command. It is impossible to see 360 degrees at all

3 times. It is just a matter of trying to keep

4 a peripheral vision on what is happening at the time.

5 Q. Had none of the officers under your command been

6 involved in removing protesters from the road?

7 A. Later on, after our deployment, there was a need to

8 break our cordon line to allow some protesters, who had

9 been on the Garvaghy Road, to come through that opening

10 and back into Churchill Park.

11 Q. And were you aware that there had been some violent

12 altercations during that period?

13 A. I was aware there had been some scuffles on the

14 Garvaghy Road in relation to some protesters, yes.

15 Q. Were any of your officers subjected to missile attacks

16 and so on?

17 A. As far as I can recollect, no, not at that time.

18 Q. When did you first see Rosemary Nelson?

19 A. I believe it was later on. My recollection is quite

20 vague, but she approached me with a gentleman, who

21 I believe was from America or possibly Canadian, and my

22 recollection is that she approached from the

23 Garvaghy Road side, behind my cordon line.

24 Q. Before we turn to your conversation with her, had you

25 simply seen her walking up and down the lines?

 

 

56

 

1 A. No, I have no memory of that. I simply recollect her

2 coming up to me with this gentleman.

3 Q. Had you seen her at any stage with a female journalist

4 who was taking notes?

5 A. No, I have no recollection of that either.

6 Q. One of your officers, Sergeant Millar, provided

7 a statement to the Inquiry in which he tells us that he

8 spoke to her at roughly 3.30 am and thereafter came to

9 speak to you about his conversation. Do you remember

10 speaking to Sergeant Millar?

11 A. No, I have no recollection of that. It is a long time

12 ago. I'm sorry, I can't recollect that.

13 Q. Roughly what time did the conversation take place with

14 Rosemary Nelson?

15 A. I would think it was early -- around 6 o'clock possibly.

16 I'm open to correction, but I think it was around that

17 time.

18 Q. It may assist you if we look briefly at your police

19 statement, which the Inquiry also has. That is at

20 RNI-302-260 (displayed).

21 You can see on that, about seven lines down, you

22 say:

23 "At approximately 6 am ..."?

24 A. Indeed, yes.

25 Q. This statement is in fact taken in March 1999. So it is

 

 

57

 

1 still a considerable period after the event, but do you

2 stand by that timing?

3 A. I have to, if I made it at that time, yes, I must do so,

4 yes.

5 Q. And whereabouts were you standing when she came to speak

6 to you?

7 A. I was behind my cordon line as I should have been and

8 she approached me, as I explained, with this gentleman.

9 Q. So how would she have got behind the line?

10 A. I can't honestly ascertain as to how she accessed the

11 position she came to be when she spoke to me. Whether

12 she came from the Garvaghy Road side, which was cordoned

13 as well as my own side on the Garvaghy Road side, I

14 can't really establish that.

15 Q. Presumably somebody in authority, i.e. a policeman from

16 one of the other MSUs, must have let her through?

17 A. That would have been a possibility, yes.

18 Q. You can't recall whether that might have been

19 Sergeant Millar?

20 A. I cannot recollect that, no.

21 Q. What was her demeanour like when you spoke to her?

22 A. The conversation was quite short and brief and her

23 demeanour was, as I recollect, calm and reasonably

24 dignified. She simply asked to speak to the officer in

25 charge. I simply said it was the bronze commander and I

 

 

58

 

1 would make an effort to try and track him down. But she

2 was fine, she didn't appear agitated to me.

3 Q. Did you presume that you didn't have sufficient

4 authority to speak to her on your own?

5 A. Well, she insisted she speak to the senior officer and I

6 don't think I was of high enough command for her to deal

7 with. She certainly, as I recollect, did not disclose

8 to me what she wanted to speak to the commander about.

9 So I made attempts to track him down.

10 Q. Did you give her your rank?

11 A. Not that I remember. She probably would have seen what

12 rank I was.

13 Q. Did she ask for your name?

14 A. No, sir, she didn't.

15 Q. What about your number?

16 A. I can't recollect that either. It was visible to her if

17 she had wanted to take that down as well.

18 Q. And when she said, "I would like to speak to the senior

19 officer", what was your response?

20 A. I explained to her that I would try and track him down,

21 and did so. I can't recollect how I actually did that,

22 but presumably I would have contacted silver control to

23 establish as to where the bronze commander was.

24 Q. Presumably you had radio contact, did you?

25 A. I would have radio contact, yes.

 

 

59

 

1 Q. Was that with the bronze commander or just with silver

2 control?

3 A. All communications would have gone through silver

4 control. It wasn't feasible on that day, given the

5 event and the size and the amount of radio

6 communications, to actually contact someone directly.

7 Everything was channelled through silver control, so

8 that all communications would have been smooth and

9 effective.

10 Q. Did you call silver control and say, "Rosemary Nelson

11 wants to speak to the bronze commander"?

12 A. I can't recollect. Presumably I did so.

13 Q. Is it simply the case that you can't remember what she

14 wanted to speak to the bronze commander about?

15 A. It is simply a case she did not disclose as to what she

16 wanted to speak to him about, so it was -- little I

17 could do, really, at that time.

18 Q. How long did this conversation take?

19 A. It was brief and short and really maybe 30 seconds

20 or so.

21 Q. Now, as you know, Rosemary Nelson has made a complaint

22 about an incident which appears to have occurred that

23 morning?

24 A. I was aware of that actually two years later when that

25 was brought to my attention, I think.

 

 

60

 

1 Q. And the Inquiry has received evidence that she was

2 called a "Fenian bitch" by some police officers and told

3 to fuck off. Did you say any of those things?

4 A. Absolutely not.

5 Q. Did any officers within earshot of you say those things

6 to Rosemary Nelson?

7 A. I have no recollection of that happening.

8 Q. At any stage after that morning, did you hear of the

9 incident within the officers back at the base and what

10 happened there?

11 A. No, I have no recollection of any dialogue at all.

12 Q. Were there any other officers who may have spoken to

13 her, that you know of?

14 A. Not that I know of, no.

15 Q. And you have seen the statement from Sergeant Millar?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Were you not aware at the time that he had had any

18 contact with her even afterwards?

19 A. No, I've no recollection of that.

20 Q. Now, there is a video that we have. I believe you

21 received it from the PSNI, but it was originally an Army

22 video. We have a very short clip. I am afraid it only

23 lasts a few seconds, but I would like to show it and see

24 if you can elucidate it for us.

25 (video clip shown)

 

 

61

 

1 I wonder if it is possible to pause it there?

2 Perhaps we could play again and pause, if that is

3 possible? I would like to pause when we can see

4 Rosemary Nelson and the person she is with and the

5 officer on her right. It is about now.

6 Mr McKee, I don't think our technology is sufficient

7 to pause it, but you have seen it now twice and

8 I believe you have had the advantage of seeing it before

9 you entered the chamber?

10 A. Indeed, sir, yes.

11 Q. Was that the video that you saw when you were

12 interviewed back in March 1999?

13 A. It appears to be, yes. I'm not exactly sure if that is

14 the same footage because it is such a long time ago, but

15 given the footage and the size of the officer

16 accompanying Mrs Nelson, I believe that was myself.

17 Q. And whereabouts were you in relation -- if we go back to

18 the map, which is page RNI-303-129 (displayed), can you

19 just help us again as to where that must have been,

20 where that video was taken?

21 A. I believe the video footage would have been taken from

22 where the word "down" is placed. The video camera would

23 have been pointing towards the Garvaghy Road. So that

24 the rooftops of the houses that we saw, I think, are

25 rooftops of bungalows, which are not actually on this

 

 

62

 

1 map, fairly recent bungalows on the Garvaghy Road. So

2 the footage would have viewed her actually at the

3 junction of the Garvaghy Road where the "warning" word

4 is on the screen.

5 Q. And you saw that she was with a gentleman?

6 A. Yes, indeed.

7 Q. Is that someone whom you recognised?

8 A. That would appear to be the same gentleman that came up

9 to me with Mrs Nelson, yes.

10 Q. How did you know he was American?

11 A. I believe he made -- he was talking to her as he

12 approached or possibly as they walked away and his

13 accent was quite audible.

14 Q. Did he speak to you directly?

15 A. I don't think so. I have no recollection.

16 Q. What was he saying to Rosemary Nelson that you

17 overheard?

18 A. I have no idea, I'm sorry.

19 Q. Was she with anyone else that you recall, a female

20 journalist as I mentioned to you earlier?

21 A. I don't recollect that lady being with Mrs Nelson, or

22 the gentleman at the time.

23 Q. One aspect of Rosemary Nelson's complaint against the

24 police on that day is that she was physically assaulted.

25 Did you have any physical contact with her when she came

 

 

63

 

1 through the lines?

2 A. I had none whatsoever.

3 Q. Did any of the officers within your two MSUs have

4 physical contact with her on that morning?

5 A. I have no knowledge of that as well.

6 Q. Did you or any of the officers in the MSU that you were

7 commanding spit at her at any point?

8 A. I have no knowledge of that as well.

9 Q. In your statement at paragraph 11 -- this is RNI-813-189

10 (displayed) -- you mention that it was obvious to see if

11 the line had been broken?

12 A. Yes. That would simply -- if Mrs Nelson had come

13 through my cordon line, I would have noticed at that

14 time.

15 Q. Did you make a note of the conversation you had had with

16 Rosemary Nelson?

17 A. No, sir, I did not.

18 Q. Why was that?

19 A. I had no need to because it was simply -- she asked to

20 speak to the bronze commander.

21 Q. Is that not something that is worth noting, given that

22 she was the legal representative of the residents?

23 A. At that time I didn't assume so, no.

24 Q. Did she say anything about wanting to make a complaint?

25 A. Not to me personally, as far as my memory allows.

 

 

64

 

1 Q. Did you have any further dealings with her prior to her

2 death?

3 A. None whatsoever.

4 Q. Sir, I don't think I have any more questions for this

5 witness.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

7 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

8 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Mr McKee, you are the first of several

9 witnesses that we will be hearing from on the issues

10 concerning the Garvaghy Road.

11 Just help us, please, if you would, with this issue

12 of numbers, uniform, protective clothing? If I could

13 just ask you a few questions around that. I think you

14 referred to chequering around your forage cap. When did

15 you change out of your forage cap into a full protective

16 helmet?

17 A. I was just explaining that if somebody wanted to

18 recognise me, if I had my forage cap on, then they would

19 recognise the braided material around the peak.

20 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Right, but you weren't wearing a forage

21 cap on that day?

22 A. No.

23 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So you kitted up in riot gear before

24 you were deployed?

25 A. Absolutely, yes.

 

 

65

 

1 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Just describe the RUC riot equipment at

2 that time?

3 A. Absolutely, yes.

4 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Was your rank visible on the back of

5 your helmet?

6 A. The two insignias, yes, two dots for the inspector.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: You mentioned numbers on your uniform.

8 Constables and sergeants of course would carry their

9 force number?

10 A. That's correct.

11 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: What about you. Did inspectors carry

12 numbers in the RUC?

13 A. Yes, they did.

14 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: What was that, a force number or an

15 inspector's ...

16 A. It would be a force number.

17 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: That would be on the back of your

18 helmet as well?

19 A. I cannot recollect whether it was.

20 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Were you wearing fire-proof balaclavas

21 under your helmets?

22 A. Yes, sir, we were.

23 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: What view is visible in the balaclavas

24 issued to the RUC? Was it your eyes were --

25 A. Your eyes are visible and that is about it. The

 

 

66

 

1 balaclava comes right up across the bridge of your nose.

2 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So it covers your nose and your mouth?

3 A. Indeed.

4 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: All your officers wearing balaclavas

5 which covered their mouths?

6 A. Every one, yes.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Would it be possible to spit at

8 somebody whilst you are wearing one of those?

9 A. I don't think so.

10 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Fire-proof overalls?

11 A. Indeed.

12 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Numbers on your epaulettes?

13 A. Yes.

14 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Metal or ...?

15 A. They would be metal.

16 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: What about names or numbers on any

17 badges on your chest? Any?

18 A. No, not as far as I can recollect at that time.

19 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Shields carried by your MSU at this

20 time, were they full length shields or round shields?

21 A. I think they were full length shields at that time, sir.

22 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: At the time of this incident, were they

23 interlocked?

24 A. No, they weren't. I believe they were on the ground.

25 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Officers were carrying protective

 

 

67

 

1 weaponry?

2 A. Yes, indeed, they would have carried firearms.

3 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Firearms and batons?

4 A. Batons, yes.

5 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: What sort of batons were you deployed

6 with?

7 A. I believe at the time they were the long batons.

8 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay. Thank you very much indeed.

9 MR SKELTON: Sir, I have no further questions arising from

10 that.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. Thank you very much for coming to

12 give evidence before us. You may go now.

13 A. Thank you very much.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: We will rise now until 10 o'clock tomorrow

15 morning.

16 (3.00 pm)

17 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.00 am the following day)

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MR DAVID NAIRN (sworn) ........................... 1
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 1
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Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 37
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MR NORMAN MCKEE (sworn) .......................... 41
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Questions by MR SKELTON ...................... 41
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Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 64
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