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Hearing: 1st September 2008, day 43

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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, 1 September 2008
commencing at 1.00 pm


Day 43

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Monday, 1 September 2008

2 (1.00 pm)

3 THE CHAIRMAN: We are delighted to see you all back again

4 before us and hope you had plenty of holiday as well as

5 a certain amount of hard work during the long vacation.

6 I am sure you are all eager to press on with the

7 evidence and I'll ask Mr Phillips to call Dr O'Hagan.

8 DR DARA O'HAGAN (affirmed)

9 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

10 MR PHILLIPS: Do you have in front of you the witness

11 statement you have made to the Inquiry?

12 A. I do, yes.

13 Q. Can we have it on the screen, please, at RNI-816-087

14 (displayed). Do we see your signature there at

15 RNI-816-104 (displayed) and the date of 9 June this

16 year?

17 A. That's correct, yes.

18 Q. Can I start at the beginning? When did you first meet

19 Rosemary Nelson?

20 A. It was probably around about the beginning of 1997. I

21 had knew her for -- as I have said, I knew her and her

22 family. Lurgan is a fairly small town so you would tend

23 to know people and you would know people to say hello to

24 and know people to see, but I first got to know her at

25 the beginning of 1997. I can't remember exactly when,

 

 

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1 but I know it was certainly in the first few months.

2 Q. Can you remember the circumstances in which you first

3 met up with her again in that year, 1997?

4 A. Well, I had been studying for a PhD at Queen's

5 University and a large part of the work that I was --

6 a large part of the studying that I was involved in was

7 on human rights and equality issues. I actually think

8 I went to see her really to ask her some questions, some

9 legal questions that I just wanted to get clear in my

10 own mind in terms of my PhD. So that was actually the

11 reason for the first contact with her.

12 Q. From that point until the time of her murder

13 in March 1999, how regularly did you see her?

14 A. On a fairly regular basis. At times I would have nearly

15 seen her every day and spoken to her on the phone every

16 day. Maybe at times there would have been a few days or

17 whatever that I wouldn't have either seen her or spoke

18 to her, but I would say on a fairly regular, consistent

19 basis.

20 Q. Would you describe yourself as a friend of hers?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. A good friend?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Now, in your statement, you tell us in paragraph 4,

25 which is on the next page, RNI-816-088 (displayed), that

 

 

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1 you became an MLA in 1998?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. Are you still an elected representative?

4 A. No, I'm not.

5 Q. Now, can I ask you about the ways in which you would

6 encounter Rosemary Nelson through your own work, in

7 other words through your own work as an elected

8 politician?

9 A. Well, probably the one issue that we both had in common

10 would have been the issue of the Garvaghy Road.

11 Obviously we were both coming at it from completely

12 different angles. She was a legal representative and I

13 was the elected representative for the area. So that

14 would have been in terms of -- most of the professional

15 contact I had with her would have been really around the

16 Garvaghy Road issue.

17 Q. And in addition to that, am I right in thinking that

18 there was more general social contact?

19 A. Yes, that's correct.

20 Q. Throughout the period?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. From 1997 to March 1999?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. So is it right to say that you would see her more often

25 and be in touch with her more often purely socially than

 

 

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1 as a result of your work?

2 A. Probably, yes.

3 Q. Now, in your statement on a number of occasions you

4 refer to Rosemary Nelson as a human rights lawyer. Can

5 I ask you this question: what particular work of hers do

6 you have in mind when you use that expression?

7 A. Well, it was her work particularly on the Garvaghy Road

8 issue and her work on the Robert Hamill case and also

9 certainly the other work that she did.

10 She took a very -- she came from a human rights

11 angle. She took a human rights dimension to all of the

12 work that she did, and she absolutely believed in the

13 law and believed in the rule of law to protect people's

14 rights. So that was always the angle that she came from

15 in any of the work that she did.

16 Q. In your statement, again, you give details about the

17 nature of the work she did. What was the source of that

18 information?

19 A. Rosemary herself.

20 Q. From her?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. So you would discuss her work with her?

23 A. In very general terms. As I have said in the statement,

24 Rosemary was very, very professional. She never went

25 into details. She never breached client

 

 

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1 confidentiality. I understood that.

2 I was also -- just on my own basis I was actually

3 just interested in the law. When I had been going to

4 university, I had been thinking -- I ended up doing

5 history and politics as an original degree, but at one

6 stage I had thought about taking law. So I was just

7 interested generally in the application of the law as

8 well. So any discussions that we had were always of

9 a general nature.

10 Q. You mention this point on a number of occasions. If you

11 look at paragraph 5 at RNI-816-088 (displayed), for

12 example, you say in the last sentence:

13 "Rosemary was always extremely professional in this

14 regard and never breached lawyer/client

15 confidentiality."

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. Just to help us, can you give me a concrete example of

18 how that would be observed by her in your conversations?

19 A. Well, for example, when she did tell me about different

20 times that she had received threats from members of the

21 RUC, I never at any stage knew the detail of either the

22 names of her clients, even at times where they were

23 arrested. I just assumed it was Lurgan police station.

24 I have gathered since that time that it wasn't always

25 Lurgan police station. So she never told me anything

 

 

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1 about the people, the circumstances, anything like that.

2 She always spoke in generalities.

3 Q. Do I take that from your answer just then that you have

4 learnt more about these matters since her murder?

5 A. Yes. Well, there was -- for example, there were

6 documentaries on television. There were media reports,

7 but at the time, whenever I was speaking with her,

8 I never knew the names of any of the people concerned.

9 Q. She didn't --

10 A. She never divulged it and she never divulged the detail

11 of the case either. And obviously when she was speaking

12 to me my concern was more about the fact that she was

13 actually getting threats. To be quite honest with you,

14 I wasn't particularly interested in the detail of any of

15 the cases either.

16 Q. Does the same apply, the same point apply, can I just

17 ask you -- so we are clear what you knew at the time and

18 what you have learnt since -- as to your understanding

19 of her involvement with the high profile cases? You

20 have already mentioned some: the Hamill case, et cetera.

21 Do you think that that is a mixture of what you learned

22 before her murder and what you have subsequently

23 gathered as a result of whatever it is, documentaries,

24 et cetera?

25 A. In terms of some of the detail of those cases?

 

 

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1 Q. Yes.

2 A. Yes, I would have learnt the detail after her murder.

3 Q. Yes. Now, in relation to her practice, there is

4 a specific point I would like to raise with you, please,

5 and it is a point you make in paragraph 19. This is at

6 the bottom of RNI-816-090 (displayed), page 4 of the

7 statement, if you have it there in hard copy. Do you

8 see the very first sentence of that paragraph, you say:

9 "She represented clients from both communities."

10 Now, bearing in mind the conversation we have just

11 had, is that something you believe you were aware of

12 before her murder?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And how did you glean that particular information?

15 A. She told me.

16 Q. Can you now remember any specific examples where she was

17 representing, for example, a client who would be

18 regarded as part of the Protestant or Unionist

19 community?

20 A. The only example I can think of and, again, it was

21 something that I found out subsequent to her murder, I

22 think that there was some murder case but, again, I'm

23 not even sure of the detail at this stage. I think it

24 was a civil case. But, as I say, I don't know the

25 detail of it, but I only found that out subsequent to

 

 

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1 her murder, what the actual case was.

2 Q. So the information that you had before her murder, am

3 I right, that came from her?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. But it was on a level of generality?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Now, can I turn to look first at one of the cases that

8 you mention in your statement, and it is the

9 Garvaghy Road case, where, as you describe for us, you

10 yourself had an involvement with the issue as a local

11 politician.

12 You start to talk about it in paragraph 21 at

13 RNI-816-091 (displayed). And then if I can ask you,

14 having looked at that, which principally deals with

15 1997, to turn over to RNI-816-098 (displayed), which is

16 paragraph 50, where you return to the topic, and to

17 1998, the following year in particular. Do you have

18 that paragraph?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Thank you. Now, the first thing I would like to ask

21 about is this. You say in the first sentence:

22 "In terms of our work on behalf of the Garvaghy Road

23 residents, we worked together on the ground."

24 Can you help with a bit more detail on that?

25 A. I wasn't on the Garvaghy Road in 1997. Just so that we

 

 

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1 are clear, there were two separate years. I wasn't

2 elected until 1998, so there was know reason for me to

3 be in Portadown in 1997. So this is specifically in

4 relation to 1998.

5 In that particular year, the whole Garvaghy Road

6 issue rumbled on for a week and in effect the --

7 I suppose that that part of the town of Portadown was

8 blockaded, would probably be the best way to describe

9 it. It was very difficult to get in and out. There

10 were problems about access into the town. People, for

11 example, approached me. I know that people also

12 separately approached Rosemary, for example. People

13 were having difficulty getting in to sign on for their

14 dole and were obviously concerned that they would be

15 penalised. That was an issue that -- they had asked me

16 to contact the local social security agency to see was

17 there anything that could be done.

18 There were also other incidents, for example, where

19 people had hospital appointments. Craigavon hospital

20 was not that far away but, again, it was difficult for

21 people to get out who had doctors' appointments. All

22 the main services in Portadown are actually in the

23 centre of Portadown, and in this particular year it was

24 difficult for people to get out.

25 There were times people were afraid to go out.

 

 

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1 Obviously what happened to Robert Hamill was still very

2 fresh in people's minds. Loyalists and supporters of

3 the parade were blockading the routes in and out of that

4 whole Garvaghy Road area, and there were also incidents,

5 for example, where people were coming to me and, again,

6 I know that people went separately to Rosemary because

7 they told me. They were having problems with the police

8 as well. There were saying that the police were

9 harassing them and intimidating them as they were trying

10 to go in and out.

11 So there were a number of problems. The big issue

12 to people was access just to ordinary everyday services.

13 At that time, again, it was very difficult to move in

14 and out, particularly at night. What happened during

15 the night, there were literally thousands of protesters

16 gathered and they surrounded the area. I was over and

17 stayed practically for that whole week and I know

18 Rosemary did too. It was just for people's safety

19 moving in and out you actually couldn't. So we were

20 just there in that very small confined space.

21 So there were just ordinary problems happening all

22 the time that we were trying to deal with.

23 Q. To summarise then, you and Rosemary Nelson were dealing

24 with these mostly, frankly, practical questions?

25 A. We were dealing with them separately. I wasn't --

 

 

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1 again, I suppose it is difficult maybe looking now ten

2 years later if you weren't there.

3 The Garvaghy Road area is a very small confined area

4 so there was always something happening. There were

5 people about. There was a very high state of tension.

6 People were very frightened. You were maybe being

7 called out -- the community centre was at the centre of

8 where people stayed, but you were maybe being called out

9 for particular issues where people needed help. Because

10 you were in the area, it was natural then for people

11 just to gravitate. If they had a particular problem,

12 they came to ask for your help.

13 I had been maybe half a mile away dealing with

14 a particular issue and Rosemary may have been somewhere

15 else. It wasn't that we were dealing with issues

16 together or anything like that, but some of them were

17 similar issues.

18 Q. When you say in your statement "we worked together on

19 the ground", it might be that you were dealing with the

20 same sorts of problems --

21 A. Similar issues, that's correct.

22 Q. -- but, in fact, separately?

23 A. Yes, that's correct.

24 Q. But were there specific things where you cooperated and

25 literally worked together?

 

 

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1 A. No.

2 Q. No. And so far as you were aware, from your contact

3 with her and knowledge of her, what sort of work, what

4 sort of activity was Rosemary Nelson engaged in during

5 that week, that 1998 Garvaghy Road week?

6 A. Well, she was there obviously as the residents -- the

7 GRRC legal adviser. So she would have been obviously

8 working in that capacity. But, as I say, because -- if

9 you were in the vicinity and there were particular

10 problems arising, then people would have approached her,

11 as they did myself on particular issues. So my

12 assumption is that Rosemary was advising people on their

13 legal rights and, as I say, she was there as a legal

14 adviser to the Garvaghy Road residents.

15 Q. Were you ever present alongside her, as it were, as she

16 was doing her work, the work of that kind?

17 A. No.

18 Q. No. Can I ask you just to look at one document to see

19 whether we have found an example of what you have just

20 been describing for us? It is at RNI-101-308

21 (displayed).

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, do you see this is dated 9 July, so exactly in the

24 relevant period that year?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. And it is self-explanatory, but you can see a reference

2 to yourself and to the legal rep, which I suspect is

3 Rosemary Nelson; that must be right. And it looks as

4 though, if you look at the second paragraph, you had

5 both been in contact with an inspector at Portadown on

6 this particular issue?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Is that an example of what you have described, where you

9 might both be working in fact on the same point?

10 A. Yes, but in relation to this particular one -- and that

11 is a fine example -- it wasn't Rosemary herself who came

12 to me and said there was a problem, it was actually the

13 members of the Residents Coalition who came to me and

14 said there was a problem and could I intervene on their

15 behalf.

16 Q. So you would intervene as their elected representative?

17 A. That's correct.

18 Q. And she, presumably, as their lawyer?

19 A. Yes, but I would only intervene at their request.

20 Q. Thank you very much.

21 In your statement you make a number of comments

22 about Rosemary Nelson's profile and I would just like to

23 ask you some questions about that from your position as

24 a friend of hers.

25 The starting point in the statement that I would

 

 

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1 like to take with you is in paragraph 13 and that is at

2 RNI-816-089 (displayed), and you say right at the

3 outset:

4 "Rosemary's profile certainly increased over time."

5 Can I ask you in your own words: what did you as

6 a friend believe to be the cause of that increase in her

7 profile?

8 A. Well, I think the cases that she was taking were of

9 themselves controversial cases and were high profile in

10 nature. So I think that certainly any person who was

11 involved with either of those cases would have had

12 a high profile from the fact that they were working on

13 those cases.

14 Q. Do you think that a contributing factor was the fact

15 that she was a woman doing cases of that kind?

16 A. Not particularly, no.

17 Q. You stress in your statement at paragraph 19 at the

18 bottom of page RNI-816-090 (displayed), that she was the

19 first female solicitor to set up a practice on her own

20 in Lurgan?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Do you think that that, the fact that she was in this

23 unique position, contributed to the profile that she had

24 in the years before her murder?

25 A. I actually think it was the work that she had done. I

 

 

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1 don't think gender in that sense had anything to do with

2 it. I think it was just because of the work she had

3 done and the fact that she gained a reputation fairly

4 quickly, that she was -- people saw her as a good

5 solicitor who represented her clients well. And she

6 also did some work that I suppose -- I know she did some

7 pro bono work and she did work on behalf of clients that

8 wasn't always popular, even from the time -- I know that

9 she took on cases for the traveller community, which

10 wasn't always a popular cause within the Craigavon area

11 at that time.

12 So she was somebody that always struck me as

13 somebody that had a social conscience in a sense. So I

14 don't think it was anything -- to answer your question,

15 I don't think it was anything to do with gender, I just

16 think it was how she conducted herself in terms of how

17 she represented her clients.

18 Q. When you say, as you do at various points -- and you

19 talk about her profile -- so help us: when you say

20 raising her profile, raising her profile with whom?

21 With the population in Northern Ireland generally? With

22 the people in her neighbourhood? Who do you have in

23 mind?

24 A. Sorry, I don't understand --

25 Q. When you say raising her profile, raising her profile

 

 

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1 with whom?

2 A. I think, again, it works at different levels. Rosemary

3 had an profile within the town, you know, as any person

4 would, and as I said earlier, she did have a reputation

5 for being a good solicitor and people would have went to

6 her because of that. But I also think those particular

7 cases in -- obviously there was a media element to those

8 particular cases so it did raise her profile higher

9 outside that Lurgan/Portadown area.

10 Q. Now, in your statement at paragraph 13 again,

11 RNI-816-089 (displayed) at the bottom of the page, you

12 identify some cases: the Hamill case and Colin Duffy's

13 case. Looking at the rest of the statement, are there

14 any other cases that you think contributed to this

15 increase in her profile?

16 A. She was certainly working on the Sam Marshall case as

17 well, which, again, was a case that would have had

18 a certain profile as well.

19 Q. Can we look at that? You deal with this at paragraph 23

20 and, indeed, 24. As I understand what you say there --

21 these are at RNI-816-092 at the top of the page

22 (displayed) -- you are drawing a distinction, I believe,

23 between that sort of case, the Sam Marshall case,

24 alleged collusion case, and the other cases you

25 mentioned earlier?

 

 

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1 A. Yes, that's correct.

2 Q. Is that a distinction that you think was important in

3 terms of her profile?

4 A. I do, yes. I think if you look at cases like the

5 Garvaghy Road case and the Robert Hamill case, in large

6 part those cases, I think, were about in a sense

7 dereliction of duty. There were, I suppose, the state

8 or the police reacting to particular events that had

9 unfolded around them.

10 But I think the Sam Marshall case was a different

11 case in that it was about collusion. It was about -- it

12 was highlighting concerns of possible active state

13 involvement, either directly or indirectly, in the

14 murder of citizens. So I think that those type of cases

15 were completely different to some of the other cases

16 that she took.

17 Q. Apart from the Marshall case, were there any other cases

18 of this kind that you were aware of her being

19 involved in?

20 A. I was aware that she had taken on collusion cases. I

21 don't know the detail of them, but she did tell me that

22 she had taken on some collusion cases. But, again, it

23 never went into detail.

24 Q. Can I ask you this: why is it that you say in

25 paragraph 24 that you think it was taking on those cases

 

 

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1 that put her in greatest danger?

2 A. Because I think those were the -- those were the cases

3 that she seemed to be taking on more towards the end of

4 her life and, as I said, those were the cases that were

5 raising issues of active state involvement and the

6 agencies of the state and the murder of citizens. I

7 could see that Rosemary herself was growing increasingly

8 worried about her own safety and it nearly seemed --

9 from what I could see, her growing concern for her

10 safety was in parallel to those type of cases that she

11 was taking.

12 Q. So the concern that you deal with in your statement,

13 which I'll come to in a moment in more detail, was

14 something which you associated -- is this right? -- with

15 her involvement in these types of cases?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Is it possible for you to identify for us now when you

18 think that this increased worry, increased concern on

19 her part was first obvious to you?

20 A. It is hard to be exact after such a long time.

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. But I would estimate probably the last six to nine

23 months of her life I could see her growing more

24 concerned. And, again, that is an estimation so I would

25 be very wary about the exact timing of that. But I

 

 

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1 could certainly see her getting increasingly worried and

2 concerned.

3 Q. And that was when, was it, you identified what you

4 describe in your statement as being something had

5 changed in her, the way she talked about these things,

6 the way she seemed to feel about them?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. What was the danger that, in your view, she was putting

9 herself into?

10 A. Well, I could see that Rosemary was growing increasingly

11 concerned, and she did speak to me a couple of times

12 about the collusion cases that she was taking. As

13 I say, it was all in very general terms and I understood

14 that and I didn't want to know detail and didn't expect

15 to hear detail. But she did speak to me about that --

16 she described it to me as the murky underworld of

17 collusion where nothing was what it seemed, and it

18 disturbed her. I got the feeling that it disturbed her,

19 that she was -- because of her work, she was being drawn

20 into that -- what she saw as that murky underworld.

21 In fact, on the Saturday night before she died when

22 we were in the caravan in Donegal, most of the time when

23 we were in Donegal she just spoke about very light

24 matters. It was just good to get away and not think

25 about work, but on the Saturday night she did, again,

 

 

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1 raise the subject of the issue of collusion and she did

2 say to me, "I know that the state could kill its

3 citizens and in a sense get away with it". And she

4 said, in fact, "If the decision was made to take me out,

5 or to take you out -- in other words to kill you -- that

6 could be done and there is nothing anybody could do

7 about it". She said that on the Saturday night before

8 she was killed.

9 So she was raising concerns about her own safety in

10 relation to these particular cases.

11 Q. There are a lot of points I would like to take up with

12 you out of that answer, if I may. To be clear then,

13 this conversation you have described took place on the

14 weekend before her murder?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. Now, you have, I think, so far as I am aware at any

17 rate, given three statements about the murder, the

18 events leading up to it?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. And two of them, which you have exhibited to this

21 statement, were made in April and June 1999, quite

22 shortly after the murder?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. I think this is right, isn't it, that this particular

25 conversation that you have just mentioned now, you have

 

 

21

 

1 not actually included in any of your previous

2 statements?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. Is that right? Obviously that leads me to ask you --

5 because it is now 2008, nine and a half years later --

6 to ask you first: are you sure in your mind that that

7 conversation took place on the Saturday before her

8 murder on the Monday?

9 A. Yes, I am absolutely sure.

10 Q. And that obviously leads me to the next question, which

11 is: can you help us as to why you haven't mentioned it

12 in your earlier statements?

13 A. The earlier statements never went into this level of

14 detail and this level of probing.

15 Q. Perhaps we could just look at the earliest of all and

16 that is the statement you made to the Pat Finucane

17 Centre in April, and that is at RNI-835-144 (displayed).

18 Now, we can see the date on the next page,

19 RNI-835-145 (displayed), and although it appears with

20 just saying "name redacted", we know from your own

21 evidence that this was your statement that you gave to

22 the centre just over a month after her murder.

23 Can I ask you to look, please, at the bottom of the

24 first page, RNI-835-144 (displayed), which is where you

25 begin to describe the weekend, and that takes you over

 

 

22

 

1 the page to RNI-835-145 -- perhaps we could have

2 RNI-835-145 on the screen as well, please (displayed).

3 Thank you.

4 Now, the statement deals with the weekend in that

5 paragraph at the end of RNI-835-144 (displayed) and then

6 goes over, doesn't it, to RNI-835-145 (displayed). Do

7 you see the first full paragraph?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. But there is certainly nothing on the point there, is

10 there?

11 A. No.

12 Q. Now, if we go to the police statement given at the

13 beginning of June -- that is at RNI-835-140

14 (displayed) -- and, again, if we go forward to

15 RNI-835-142 (displayed), there is quite a lot, about

16 a page, of detail about the weekend there, isn't there?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And what you did and whether or not there was anything

19 suspicious, et cetera, et cetera. But you don't explain

20 this concern. You don't mention the concern that you

21 just mentioned to us.

22 Now, can you think now why is it that it has come

23 back into your memory at this stage?

24 A. Well, with all due respect to the Port Inquiry -- and I

25 would certainly not be casting any aspersions on Mr Port

 

 

23

 

1 or the team that he brought over -- but there was still

2 a concern at that time that the Port Inquiry still had

3 members of the RUC or that there may have been access to

4 some statements. So there was a concern around that.

5 So that was the reason why at that particular one, the

6 first one, the Pat Finucane Centre statement didn't go

7 into any level of detail. And the Port Inquiry one,

8 there were members of the RUC at that time on the team

9 and I certainly didn't want to put something like that

10 into that statement.

11 Q. So in terms of the Port statement, that was your

12 decision, was it, not to tell them about that

13 conversation?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. But so far as this Inquiry is concerned, when you were

16 interviewed by Eversheds, you didn't mention it to them;

17 is that right?

18 A. That's correct, yes.

19 Q. Can I ask you, please, why that was?

20 A. It never arose in the course of the interview that I had

21 with Eversheds, but I think it is something that this

22 Inquiry should hear. It was something that Rosemary

23 herself felt and I wanted to make sure that this Inquiry

24 heard it.

25 Q. So to be clear then, it is something that hadn't, as it

 

 

24

 

1 were, gone out of your memory. At the time you were

2 interviewed by Eversheds, you hadn't simply forgotten

3 about it?

4 A. I hadn't forgotten about it, but it was something --

5 obviously when I was being interviewed by Eversheds, the

6 whole issue of Rosemary's case, you know, it wasn't that

7 I had forgot about it, but I just hadn't been dealing

8 with it mentally as much as anything or thinking about

9 it as much whenever I went for the interview with them.

10 And it never arose in the course of the interview, as I

11 was giving the evidence to them, but I felt, as

12 I thought and I was preparing for this Inquiry and I was

13 thinking about all the details and everything that had

14 happened, I felt that it was something that this Inquiry

15 should know.

16 Q. Was this a conversation that took place on the Saturday

17 just between you and her?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Where were you?

20 A. Just in the caravan in Donegal.

21 Q. What time of the day?

22 A. It was late-ish at night but not the early hours of the

23 morning or anything like that, probably about ten, half

24 ten at night.

25 Q. If you just look at RNI-816-022 and paragraph 69

 

 

25

 

1 (displayed), this is where you, I think, in the context

2 of the weekend, are talking about conversations on these

3 sorts of topics.

4 So am I right in thinking that it would have been in

5 the context of this sort of conversation you have

6 described that she would have made the comments you have

7 just mentioned to us?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. So it was obviously a topic dealt with in the interview

10 with Eversheds?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. But --

13 A. In those terms, but I just felt that I wanted to wait

14 until the Inquiry to basically tell the Inquiry about

15 the conversation that she had.

16 Q. So it was a conscious decision not to include it in your

17 statement?

18 A. At the time of the Port one, yes, but not when I was

19 speaking with Eversheds, to be quite honest with you,

20 no.

21 Q. Because it comes across, as you will appreciate, in

22 a much more general way?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Right. Can I just ask you a couple of questions about

25 politics? You say in paragraph 7 of your statement --

 

 

26

 

1 and this is at RNI-816-088, the bottom of the page

2 (displayed) -- that:

3 "She had a view on politics ..."

4 The second sentence:

5 "... but she was not politically active."

6 What was her view on politics?

7 A. It was just a general view at that time. The

8 Good Friday Agreement had been signed in 1998. So it

9 was just a general view around that.

10 I think she was just glad to see that there was some

11 sort of political agreement. So that is -- when I am

12 talking about her having a view on politics, that was

13 the type of issue we are talking about. People -- not

14 just Rosemary, but people throughout Ireland in fact,

15 were immensely interested in what was happening on the

16 political scene and, as I say, there was a general

17 feeling that people were glad to see that the conflict

18 was at last coming to an end and we were beginning to

19 put those years behind us and to bed down into some sort

20 of normal society, at least the beginnings of it.

21 So she followed that with very keen interest. In

22 terms of other politics, I would describe her as being

23 apolitical. She didn't express political opinions one

24 way or the other in that sense, you know.

25 Q. You did discuss politics with her?

 

 

27

 

1 A. Just the general -- we also discussed other issues like

2 what was happening in the world, any subject, like two

3 people sit down and talk about various subjects, you

4 know.

5 Q. But so far as assessing or describing the broad nature

6 of her political position, can you help us with that?

7 A. Well, as I say, she was very glad to see the

8 Good Friday Agreement there. I mean, obviously Rosemary

9 came from what would be described as the Nationalist

10 community. She was very interested in things like the

11 Irish language, if that can be deemed as maybe --

12 associated somebody with a particular political point of

13 view. But she just came from a broad Nationalist

14 background, but she wasn't particularly interested in or

15 particularly party political or into the detailed

16 politics --

17 Q. Was she politically motivated?

18 A. No.

19 Q. In paragraph 10, you address the question put to you, I

20 think, in the interview about the nature of your shared

21 or mutual interests and you set out various points

22 there. So to be clear then, you didn't share political

23 interests?

24 A. No, we didn't.

25 Q. So it would be wrong, would it, to see her work as in

 

 

28

 

1 any sense political?

2 A. I think absolutely. Rosemary's work was through the

3 prism of the law and the rule of law, and if she had any

4 motivating factor it was coming from that angle and

5 coming from the angle of human rights.

6 Q. Can you understand how other people in Northern Ireland

7 might have perceived her as having political interests

8 reflected in her work?

9 A. Well, I think what you have raised goes absolutely to

10 the crux of the problem that Rosemary had and I'm sure

11 yourselves as -- you know, coming from a legal

12 background represent all sorts of people. That doesn't

13 mean to say you share the interests of your clients.

14 So I actually do think that was the crux of the

15 problem. Rosemary was not political. Rosemary was very

16 professionally representing her clients and representing

17 the best interests of her clients. She was upholding

18 the law, and that is absolutely what the crux of the

19 problem was because she was being associated with the

20 clients that she represented.

21 Q. And that was something you were aware of before her

22 murder, was it?

23 A. Yes. Yes, it was also something that she was very aware

24 of as well.

25 Q. Yes. Can I ask you some questions about the

 

 

29

 

1 Garvaghy Road? So far as 1997 is concerned, you deal

2 with this in paragraph 21.

3 Now, you have already told us, I think, this

4 afternoon -- this is RNI-816-091 (displayed) -- you have

5 told us this afternoon, I think, that you were not at

6 the Garvaghy Road in 1997?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. So presumably what you say in this paragraph is based on

9 information given to you?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Who gave you the information?

12 A. Rosemary told me about it. It was after she had come

13 back from Portadown. I was speaking to her. I can't

14 remember exactly when, but it was fairly soon after that

15 incident.

16 Q. Would it have been in the summer of 1997?

17 A. Yes, and she spoke to me about that incident. She was

18 quite shaken. I felt she was quite shaken by what had

19 happened to her. She talked about being surrounded by

20 police officers. They had visors on, couldn't really

21 see their faces. It was all very intimidating, and

22 Rosemary was quite small in stature.

23 So she did talk to me about it and talked about how

24 frightened she did feel at that particular time, and I

25 think she showed me the bruises. And they had pushed

 

 

30

 

1 and things like that, and had abused her, so she was

2 quite frightened by it all.

3 Q. Just to pick you up on something you just said, that she

4 showed you the bruises?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Where were the bruises?

7 A. The ones I saw, I think they were on her arm. I can't

8 remember which arm, to be quite honest with you, but I

9 think the bruises that I'd seen were round about her arm

10 and up round her shoulder.

11 Q. Which arm?

12 A. I can't remember which arm, I'm sorry.

13 Q. Now, again, if you look at paragraph 21 -- I may have

14 missed this, but I don't see any reference to you being

15 shown her bruises in that paragraph?

16 A. No, it didn't -- I just didn't think about it at the

17 time, to be quite honest with you.

18 Q. Is this something you have mentioned, the bruising, in

19 any of your previous statements?

20 A. I don't know, I'm not sure.

21 Q. We can check that for ourselves. Again, I think I have

22 got to ask you why it was that you didn't mention it to

23 Eversheds at this point -- it seems pretty obvious to be

24 relevant, surely -- so that it could be included in your

25 statement?

 

 

31

 

1 A. I don't know. It just didn't cross my mind at the time

2 to mention it.

3 Q. How confident are you that the information you have set

4 out here in paragraph 21 is information based on what

5 Rosemary Nelson told you, as opposed to what you may

6 have read or learned after the murder?

7 A. I am confident that is what she told me.

8 Q. Can you describe the bruises to us?

9 A. Not at this stage. I mean, it is, what, over ten

10 years -- it is 11 years from when that happened. It was

11 just discolouration, but I can't really remember

12 anything else.

13 Q. Can you describe where on her arm, whichever arm it was,

14 they were?

15 A. No.

16 Q. You can't assist us as to how long after the event it

17 took place?

18 A. I think it would have been a matter of days. It wasn't

19 very long after it.

20 Q. So the conversation between you was face-to-face,

21 was it?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Can you remember where it took place?

24 A. I think it may have been in her office.

25 Q. Now, before being told about this incident some time

 

 

32

 

1 after the beginning of July, in the summer, I think you

2 said, of 1997, were you aware that Rosemary Nelson was

3 having problems with the police, with the RUC?

4 A. Before July 1997?

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. Yes, it probably would have been, yes.

7 Q. What sort of problems?

8 A. Just that she had said about her clients were passing on

9 what had been said about her when they were being

10 questioned.

11 Q. And in your statement -- and you have already mentioned

12 this this afternoon -- you say that she told you about

13 that, but as I understand it, they didn't tell you their

14 names; is that right?

15 A. That's correct, yes.

16 Q. Are you able to remember any details of any particular

17 incidents or cases?

18 A. Just the ones that I have referred to in my statement.

19 Those are the ones that I can recall.

20 Q. Now, so far as Rosemary Nelson's own attitude to the

21 police was concerned, did that change, in your view,

22 over time?

23 A. I don't understand what you mean about her attitude.

24 Rosemary was -- from what I could see, Rosemary just was

25 trying to get on with doing her job. So it wasn't that

 

 

33

 

1 she actually had any sort of attitude. She was just

2 more concerned that, you know, this information was

3 being given back to her: threats, derogatory comments.

4 She was concerned and worried about that, but it

5 didn't -- she was just -- well, again, I wouldn't have

6 seen it personally, but she would have been interacting

7 with the police obviously in the course of her work.

8 She did say that at the time she could feel

9 hostility coming from the police towards her, but she

10 was more worried and concerned about the pattern of

11 comments and threats that were coming through.

12 Q. You see in paragraph 12 at RNI-816-089 (displayed) you

13 say in the last sentence:

14 "As time went on, it was noticeable that she got

15 more upset about the things the police were saying."

16 A. Yes, that's correct.

17 Q. That is why I was asking you whether you noticed and, if

18 so --

19 A. She got more -- as I say -- in a sense I suppose you

20 have to try and put it in the context. She was trying

21 to do her work. These comments were coming to her. It

22 was a cumulative effect in a sense with the comments.

23 There were death threats, there were derogatory comments

24 and there were some comments that annoyed her more than

25 others.

 

 

34

 

1 As I say, I did mention -- and there was some

2 particularly derogatory remarks that really seemed to

3 annoy her and I think it was -- I think it was because

4 it was so crude, the crudeness of them I think really

5 got to her as much as anything. I think she felt --

6 and, again, it is my interpretation -- but I think she

7 felt dehumanised by it and it certainly annoyed her, and

8 I could see, as I say, because this pattern -- as it was

9 happening more and more and as time went on it seemed to

10 annoy her more.

11 Q. If you look at paragraph 41, you say -- and this is at

12 RNI-816-096 (displayed):

13 "Towards the end of her life, I was aware that

14 Rosemary hated going to the police station especially if

15 it was to do with political offences. She said she

16 could feel hatred from the police as soon as she

17 walked in."

18 That suggests that there had been a change, that

19 something had shifted in the period you knew her. Can

20 you remember when you first knew that she didn't want to

21 go to the police station for those reasons?

22 A. She just didn't like to go and -- you know, it is not

23 very nice for anybody on a personal basis to be going

24 and to be met with an aggressive attitude, for people to

25 be hostile towards you and, you know, she wasn't

 

 

35

 

1 a confrontational person by nature. So she just didn't

2 like all of that.

3 She didn't like the fact that probably, because she

4 was having to go to the police and interact with them,

5 that was also causing -- that was causing a lot of the

6 problems. So it wasn't that there was any change in her

7 attitude. I just think that, as I say, it was

8 a cumulative effect over time and she felt -- in a sense

9 it was nearly wearing her down sometimes, you know.

10 Q. Did you discuss with her what she believed to be the

11 police attitude towards her?

12 A. Just more in the sense of her concern about it. She

13 was -- as I said, she was trying to do her job. She was

14 just wanting to get on with it and, you know, she would

15 have said to me, "Look, all I want to do is just go, do

16 my job and get on with doing my job. Why won't they let

17 me do it?" That was her attitude.

18 She didn't see herself as coming -- as having -- she

19 was dealing with these controversial case, but she

20 didn't have any agenda except to represent her clients,

21 and she just wanted to get on with it. So that was

22 really where her concern lay around it when she did

23 discuss it. It was about just wanting to get on with

24 her job.

25 Q. If you look at paragraph 41 that we have got on the

 

 

36

 

1 screen, you have her using the word "hatred"?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Is that a word she used to you to describe the attitude

4 of the police to her?

5 A. Yes, she said she could feel hatred coming from the

6 police towards her. Again, she never specified

7 particular policemen or women or anything like that.

8 She just felt it was a general attitude towards her.

9 Q. That she was generally hated?

10 A. Yes, she felt it was a general attitude.

11 Q. What about her own attitude toward the police? How

12 would you characterise that for us?

13 A. I was never in any position where I seen her interacting

14 with the police, but as I say, she never passed any

15 comment to me in terms of what she felt about the

16 police. The only concern that she felt was about how it

17 was affecting her work, but she never expressed any

18 comment, good, bad or indifferent, about the police

19 themselves.

20 Q. Can you help as to why it was -- and this is

21 paragraph 12, RNI-816-089, the bottom of the page

22 (displayed) -- that she got more upset about, as you put

23 it there, the things the police were saying?

24 A. As I said, because -- she was getting comments -- I'm

25 not saying it was on a daily basis or a weekly basis,

 

 

37

 

1 but it was a build-up of all of these comments and

2 threats that were coming through to her. She was -- in

3 the context she was getting anonymous death threats,

4 which was obviously a separate issue. Her clients were

5 passing on both death threats and comments that had been

6 made about her by the police.

7 So all of this was in a sense -- comments were

8 piling on top of comments. She was getting more

9 threats, and as time went on she got more annoyed about

10 it. That is the pattern that I could see happening. At

11 the beginning she shrugged it off. It was -- it was

12 nearly an attitude of, "Well, you know, I will just get

13 on with it", but I could see as time went on that the

14 comments were annoying her more and some comments

15 annoyed her more than others.

16 Q. Can I ask you to look at paragraph 22 on RNI-816-091

17 (displayed)?

18 Now, here you describe the change so that towards

19 the end of her life, as you put it, there were a couple

20 of times she broke down and cried. And you describe

21 that as being due to the pressure she was under.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Was there a link, as far as you were aware, between the

24 change that you have described in her attitude to the

25 police comments and this general sense of pressure?

 

 

38

 

1 A. Yes, I think so.

2 Q. Other than that, as far as you could see as a friend,

3 based on your conversations, what were the factors that

4 were bringing her to this state?

5 A. As I said, I think it was the fact that it was

6 happening -- it was a cumulative effect. It had been

7 happening over time. She was taken on more maybe, as

8 she saw it, dangerous cases. So there was that constant

9 pressure within her work and her professional life and

10 I just think that at times she just felt sometimes

11 overwhelmed by the amount of pressure that she was

12 under.

13 Q. Now, obviously we are trying to trace her life,

14 particularly in these last years. So can I just ask

15 you: when you say "towards the end of her life", is it

16 possible for you to help with any idea of when that

17 might have been, these occasions?

18 A. As I say, probably within the last six to nine months,

19 roughly. That is just a very rough estimate.

20 Q. Did you ever have the impression that she was trying to

21 draw back from these sorts of cases?

22 A. I think -- I suppose it is difficult. I think some of

23 the cases she would have liked to, but I still think she

24 felt that she had a commitment to her clients. There

25 was probably a general view of, "Well, if I don't do it,

 

 

39

 

1 who is going to, in a sense, represent people?" So yes,

2 I think she would have liked to, but I don't think --

3 the fact that she was a consummate professional and I

4 don't think -- the fact that she was committed to the

5 work that she was doing, I don't think in herself she

6 could have drawn back, to be quite honest with you.

7 Q. Did you discuss that with her?

8 A. To some degree, as I say, that she did talk about the

9 pressure that she was under. She worried about it. She

10 worried about her safety. She worried about her family

11 and about Paul, about the children, about her wider

12 family. You know, she worried about the effect that all

13 of that was having on them, and I think she knew she

14 was -- she also -- like any working parent, I think she

15 just didn't want to miss her children growing up as much

16 as anything. So she was always trying to balance that

17 up.

18 So I do think that certainly she would have -- if

19 she could have, she would have drawn back from some of

20 the cases --

21 Q. Sorry to interrupt you. Did you talk about any

22 particular cases with that in mind?

23 A. No, none.

24 Q. Were you aware of things she was trying to do in that

25 last period of her life to draw back, to perhaps change

 

 

40

 

1 the balance between work and life?

2 A. Well, I think one of the things -- I remember just

3 having a discussion with her one day and, you know, she

4 was talking and I was agreeing with her and saying to

5 her, "Look, you know, you own the practice and -- I

6 don't know, as I say, I'm only somebody looking outside

7 who has an interest in the law, but it always struck me

8 that a lot of people who own their own practice

9 sometimes can have the luxury sometimes of stepping back

10 and letting other solicitors in the practice do their

11 work. And I remember saying to her, you know, that she

12 should do more of that and just take a wee bit of more

13 time out. And, you know, she was saying that that was

14 the way that she was thinking of going, but as I say, it

15 wasn't to any great detail, it was all very general

16 because obviously her business, her law practice was her

17 business and it was -- you know, she was over the detail

18 of it; I wasn't.

19 Q. Now, in your statement you deal with a particular issue,

20 where, if I can put it, the work/life balance was put in

21 issue and this is in paragraph 43 at RNI-816-096

22 (displayed). And you refer there to rumours about her

23 relationship with Colin Duffy.

24 So it is right, isn't it, that you discussed these

25 rumours with her?

 

 

41

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Was that at her initiative, or yours?

3 A. Yes, I think she raised the issue with me. I can't

4 really remember, you know, but I think it may have

5 been her.

6 Q. Did you hear the rumours yourself?

7 A. I had heard them, yes.

8 Q. Can I ask you how they came to your attention?

9 A. Rumours? It is quite difficult at this time to remember

10 the exact circumstances, to be honest with you.

11 I couldn't tell you exactly how I heard them. It may

12 actually have been through Rosemary herself, you know,

13 that she may have been the one that raised it with me.

14 I really can't remember.

15 Q. And one gets the impression in this paragraph that she

16 was very upset about the rumours. Is that fair?

17 A. She was. Again, she would have shrugged them off, but

18 there is no doubt that she was -- there were times that

19 she was upset about them.

20 Q. And you say in particular that it is your belief that

21 the rumours originated from the police. Now, I must ask

22 you: what is the basis for that suggestion?

23 A. That was Rosemary's belief herself.

24 Q. It was Rosemary's belief?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

42

 

1 Q. So to be clear then, this is something that she said to

2 you, is it? Did she explain what her belief was

3 based on?

4 A. Just that because of the work that she was doing, she

5 was obviously -- you know, there was obviously a problem

6 with the work that she was doing as far as the police

7 were concerned. So that was her belief.

8 Q. So we are absolutely clear, you were told by

9 Rosemary Nelson that she believed this was a deliberate

10 spreading of rumour about her. Is that right?

11 A. Hm-mm.

12 Q. For what purpose?

13 A. To undermine the work that she was doing.

14 Q. And did she explain to you the basis for that belief,

15 i.e. that it was a deliberate strategy to undermine?

16 A. No, she didn't go into any great detail. She just said

17 that she believed that is where the rumours were

18 coming from.

19 Q. She didn't tell you how she had come to that conclusion?

20 A. No, but she didn't really need to because it was known

21 about the work that she was doing.

22 Q. Now, you tell us in paragraph 44 -- you say you know the

23 rumours were not true. Can you remember at what stage

24 the conversation or conversations you had with her took

25 place about this topic?

 

 

43

 

1 A. Sorry, could you repeat the question?

2 Q. Can you remember at what stage, in terms of time, this

3 conversation took place?

4 A. I can't remember the exact time in terms of whether it

5 was 1997 or 1998. I really can't remember the exact

6 time, no.

7 Q. Was it within the period that you mentioned earlier for

8 other matters: six to nine months before her murder, or

9 before that?

10 A. It may have been before that.

11 Q. Did you discuss what she might do about the rumours?

12 A. No. As I say, she -- her general view was that at that

13 time she just shrugged it off, it wasn't true. And

14 I believed her. She told me it wasn't true and

15 I believed her.

16 So it wasn't that it was something that was

17 discussed all the time or in any great detail. Just the

18 issue would have arose very occasionally, every now and

19 again, but it wasn't anything that we spoke at any great

20 length about.

21 Q. And was it this conversation and this question, the

22 rumours, that led her, as you put it, to question how

23 much more she could take?

24 A. It was a whole mixture of all of the -- of everything

25 that was happening to her.

 

 

44

 

1 She was getting -- as I said earlier on, she was

2 getting the anonymous threats, she was getting threats

3 relayed to her by her clients from the police. She was

4 getting derogatory remarks. There was rumours that she

5 was having an affair with one of her clients, and I

6 think -- I mean, some of the other things that -- it

7 wasn't just one client, that she was having affairs with

8 her clients, and all of that.

9 So it was all -- it was this mix of all of those

10 issues that -- through time and in the later stages

11 coming up towards her death, that seemed to annoy her

12 more, whereas at the earlier time she did shrug those

13 things off. I could see as time was going on that they

14 were annoying her more. So it wasn't just the one

15 thing; it was a mix of all of those.

16 Q. Can I just turn to ask you a few questions about

17 threats, which you talk about in your statement.

18 When you were interviewed by the Port team, you

19 distinguished, didn't you, between two types of threat:

20 the ones you have already mentioned, namely those to

21 clients?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And other types of threat, which you describe as

24 emanating from Loyalists?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

45

 

1 Q. Now, so far as that is concerned, in your statement you

2 don't seem quite so certain about the distinction. Can

3 I just --

4 A. Sorry?

5 Q. You don't seem so certain about the distinction between

6 the sources of the two types of threat?

7 A. I think they are distinct.

8 Q. So it is still your position, so that I am clear about

9 this, that there were some comments made by the police

10 to clients, which she told you about, without giving

11 their names, and on the one hand there were the notes,

12 the anonymous telephone calls, which you believe

13 emanated from what you describe as Loyalists?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And that is a distinction that you maintain?

16 A. Yes, that's correct.

17 Q. Thank you very much.

18 Now, so far as the second category, the anonymous

19 telephone calls, et cetera, are concerned, apart from

20 those where you have given some detail in your

21 statement, are you able to give any more detail at this

22 stage of particular calls, particular threat letters?

23 A. No, I'm not; just what is in the statement.

24 Q. So far as you are aware, did any of the anonymous calls

25 and telephone calls threaten her with death?

 

 

46

 

1 A. I don't know the level of detail of them so I can't

2 elaborate any more than what is in the statement. As

3 I say, she did say she had threats phoned to her office

4 on occasions, but she never went into any detail. She

5 didn't seem to want to go into any detail and I never

6 pressed her.

7 Q. Now, you tell us in paragraph 30 that she was receiving

8 threats on a regular but not weekly basis. If we look

9 at RNI-816-093 we see that (displayed).

10 Again, so I am absolutely clear, are we talking

11 there about the calls, the anonymous notes --

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Yes, we are. Thank you.

14 In paragraph 13, going back in the statement because

15 you refer to this on a number of occasions, you say at

16 the top of page RNI-816-090 (displayed) -- it is the

17 last sentence of the paragraph:

18 "As her profile increased, the death threats

19 increased and intensified and she told me she also

20 received anonymous telephone calls to her office and

21 once to her house."

22 So again, looking back on it and doing what you can

23 to help us, this intensification, this increase, can you

24 now put a rough date on that?

25 A. It seemed to come and go again, and a lot of it, from

 

 

47

 

1 what I could see, was relevant to the Garvaghy Road

2 issue and that was -- obviously it was a pretty intense

3 period of time and emotions were high and it was

4 controversial. So it seemed to be related to the

5 Garvaghy Road issue, from what I could see.

6 Q. So there would be, as it were, seasonal peaks?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Is that right?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. In the summer of each year?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Of 1997 and 1998 obviously?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And other than that, at a much lower level; is that

15 right?

16 A. I think so but, again, I'm not 100 per cent sure. But I

17 think so.

18 Q. And when she told you about them, was she specific at

19 the time? Did she give you detail at the time?

20 A. No.

21 Q. No. And did you discuss with her what she should be

22 doing about the threats?

23 A. Again, in very general terms. She was documenting the

24 threats. I know that she was contacting various

25 organisations, such as CAJ, I'm pretty sure, Irish

 

 

48

 

1 Rights Watch. I know she was also in contact with,

2 like, the Irish Government. She went to the US Congress

3 and raised the issue and had been in contact with the UN

4 Rapporteur, Param Cumaraswamy.

5 So all of those -- in a sense that was her reaction

6 to getting the threats, to try and document them, to log

7 the incidents with the various NGOs and governmental

8 bodies.

9 Q. Yes. If you look at paragraph 36, you deal with this at

10 RNI-816-095 (displayed) -- and you say in the second and

11 following sentence essentially that there was no

12 question of her taking these problems, these issues, to

13 the police?

14 A. No. Well, given her experience with the police, both,

15 for example, on the incident on the Garvaghy Road and

16 the fact that some of the threats and the comments were

17 coming from the police, it wasn't an option in terms of

18 her bringing those -- the issues to the police.

19 Q. Did discuss that option with her?

20 A. Again, not in any great detail. I just knew that she

21 had no confidence in the police because of her own

22 experiences and she just wouldn't have felt confident in

23 bringing those particular issues to the police. That is

24 why she went to the non-governmental agencies. That is

25 why she raised the issues with the Irish Government and

 

 

49

 

1 on an international basis.

2 It was also -- in my view, it was also about trying

3 to get the likes of the US Congress or the Irish

4 Government or the United Nations to bring pressure to

5 bear in a sense on the Government, on the British

6 Government, for them to use their influence to stop all

7 of this. So that was how she reacted to the threats and

8 the -- that she was getting.

9 Q. Just looking at the third sentence of the paragraph,

10 where you say:

11 "This is in the context that ..."

12 And you describe there an attitude to the police.

13 Is it right that that was an attitude that she herself

14 shared?

15 A. No, I think it was more because of her experience, her

16 own personal experience of the police. That would have

17 been more the factor that would have caused Rosemary not

18 to go to the police.

19 Q. So when you mention it in this part of your statement,

20 are you describing your own attitude?

21 A. I'm just trying to, I suppose, in a sense, describe what

22 it was like at the time.

23 Again, looking back from, you know, nine and ten

24 years later when we are hopefully in a new dispensation,

25 it was a completely different context and a completely

 

 

50

 

1 different atmosphere at the time. So it is really just

2 to try and describe the context at that particular time.

3 Q. Sir, I am about to move on to another topic, would this

4 be a good moment to give the stenographer a break?

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly. I think we will have a 20-minute

6 break now.

7 (2.15 pm)

8 (Short break)

9 (2.40 pm)

10 MR PHILLIPS: Now, Dr O'Hagan, can we look at paragraph 32

11 of your statement on RNI-816-094 (displayed) because I

12 would like to ask you about threats where you have given

13 us some specific detail. This is one you say a week or

14 so before she died. So we are in March 1999:

15 "She told me that death threats had been phoned in

16 to her office."

17 Again, I know it is a very long time ago but was she

18 telling you about things that had happened recently, do

19 you think?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. So in the last few days perhaps?

22 A. Probably within a few days to a week or so. Yes, it was

23 recent.

24 Q. And what was it about those, as far as you could tell,

25 that was having such an impact on her?

 

 

51

 

1 A. I think, as I say, it was because she was getting

2 increasingly worried and, as I said, I think it is

3 probably like anything -- it is a wee bit of a sense of

4 wearing you down. It is happening over and over and

5 over again and nothing was being done about it. She was

6 raising her concerns about it, but they were still

7 continuing and I think she felt -- and, again, this is

8 just my perception of it -- probably quite vulnerable

9 because this was going on and it just seemed to be never

10 ending.

11 Q. Now, from what you told us earlier, the threat

12 phenomenon, if I can put it that way, had been going

13 on -- you talked about it happening in particular during

14 the marching season -- for some time. Was it something

15 about the nature of the threats that had this effect

16 on her?

17 A. I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean.

18 Q. You said to us earlier on that, as far as you knew from

19 Rosemary Nelson, threats had happened, sometimes more

20 frequently than others, really since you had known her?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. So what I'm trying to ascertain from you is whether it

23 was something about the particular threats, these ones

24 just before her murder, that had upset her?

25 A. It is hard to say. As I say, she didn't go into detail,

 

 

52

 

1 she didn't appear to want to go into the detail of them.

2 So it is hard to say.

3 Q. So you didn't know what had been said?

4 A. No, not the exact words.

5 Q. Right. Did you know the gist of them?

6 A. No, she just said that another -- the sort of way she

7 put it was, "Got another couple of threats this week",

8 from what I can remember. So she just referred to

9 having couple of threats.

10 I had asked her what was said and she just said,

11 "Look, it doesn't matter". So she didn't appear to want

12 to go into any detail about what was actually said.

13 Q. Did she tell you who had received the telephone calls at

14 her office?

15 A. She didn't specify who. I just assumed it was some of

16 the ones who worked in the office.

17 Q. Did she make any suggestion as to who she thought had

18 made the calls?

19 A. Not any suggestion over and above what the general

20 assumption would have been, that those type of threats

21 were coming from, you know, people from the Loyalist

22 persuasion. So there was nothing over and above that.

23 Q. Can I ask you to look at your Pat Finucane Centre

24 statement? That is at RNI-835-144 (displayed). If you

25 look at the third paragraph, which we can perhaps

 

 

53

 

1 enlarge for you, the last sentence, you say:

2 "On the weekend of 12/14 March immediately prior to

3 her murder, Rosemary told me of another two death

4 threats that had been received at her office that week."

5 Now, so I am clear about this, is this the same?

6 A. Yes, that's correct.

7 Q. So certainly in the statement you made in April, it

8 looks as though you first learned about these two

9 threats during the weekend?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And are we safer to rely on that than where you say in

12 your witness statement "a week before she died" you

13 heard about them?

14 A. Sorry, what paragraph --

15 Q. If you look at paragraph 32, the paragraph we have just

16 been talking about, it begins with the words:

17 "A week or so before she died, she told me ..."

18 Do you see that?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. At 094 on the document, RNI-816-094 (displayed). Do you

21 think in fact she may have first told you about them

22 over the weekend?

23 A. Yes. The last weekend of her life?

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. Yes.

 

 

54

 

1 Q. Getting back to what you said a little earlier as to

2 when you believed they had taken place, we are talking

3 about the few days or up to a week, are we, before that

4 weekend?

5 A. Yes, I think so.

6 Q. Right. Can I ask you about something you refer to in

7 your Port Inquiry statement? That, we can see at

8 RNI-835-141 (displayed). It is at the top of the page,

9 four lines down, beginning with the words "one specific

10 occasion".

11 Do you see that?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Now, you begin by putting a date in it or on it six to

14 eight weeks prior to Christmas 1998. Is that a date for

15 when you think the event itself took place, namely what

16 you then describe, or is that when you were first told

17 about it by Rosemary Nelson?

18 A. I'm not sure, but I think it would probably have been

19 when the event itself took place. But, again, I could

20 be wrong about that.

21 Q. If that's the position, are you able to help as to when

22 you think you might have first heard about it from her?

23 A. Not in any detail.

24 Q. Might it have been as late at 1999?

25 A. I don't know. The only thing that strikes me is that it

 

 

55

 

1 said she would be dead by Christmas. So it strikes me

2 that it probably would have been before -- some time

3 before that Christmas that she told me about it but,

4 again, I can't be sure.

5 Q. And other than the details that are set out there, did

6 she pass on anything else about this particular incident

7 to you that you can now recall?

8 A. No.

9 Q. Can I ask you a specific question about location? Do

10 you remember whether she told you where the threat had

11 been issued?

12 A. Where, in terms of a barracks or something like that?

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. No, she wasn't specific.

15 Q. Now, this threat with its timescale, if I can put it

16 that way, did that prompt a discussion about her safety

17 between you and Rosemary Nelson?

18 A. I don't know if that specific incident did. In the time

19 I knew her, we would have -- again, it wasn't something

20 that you spoke about all the time, but on occasions the

21 issue was raised and we would have discussed her safety.

22 Q. Can we just go back to the full page RNI-835-141,

23 please, (displayed) and look a bit further down. Could

24 we enlarge the whole page, please?

25 In fairness, the question I put to you about where

 

 

56

 

1 it had taken place, do you see there it says:

2 "He was taken to, I think, Castlereagh holding

3 centre"?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Can I take it, based on your earlier answer, that that

6 was information passed on to you by her?

7 A. I don't know because at that time there was only a small

8 number of holding centres that people would have been

9 brought to. So I was certainly aware that Rosemary

10 would have went to different holding centres. So it

11 could have been a presumption on my part, so that is why

12 probably I put "I think" in because I just wouldn't have

13 been certain about that.

14 Q. Now, so far as the Christmas incident, if I can put it

15 that way, the Christmas threat is concerned, can I take

16 it from your earlier answer that you did not at that

17 point discuss with her the option of drawing this to the

18 attention of the police or registering a complaint or

19 making an issue of it with the police?

20 A. No, not with the police. As I said, she would have

21 been -- you know, I was aware that she would have been

22 logging these incidents with the various NGOs and, in

23 effect, governmental organisations, so I just assumed

24 that she would have been logging all of that as a matter

25 of course.

 

 

57

 

1 Q. If we return to paragraph 36, where we looked at this

2 question of the police earlier -- that is RNI-816-095

3 (displayed) -- do you remember we were discussing this

4 question of attitude? Would you accept a distinction

5 there between the Republican community on the one hand

6 and the Nationalist community? In other words, would

7 the comment you make there be more accurate if it was

8 limited to a specifically Republican community attitude

9 rather than a more general Nationalist community one?

10 A. Not particularly because I think in the context of here,

11 both are interchangeable.

12 Q. What do you mean by that?

13 A. In terms of "Republican" and "Nationalist", they are

14 used -- you know, in the vernacular they are used in an

15 interchangeable way. So, yes, there are some people

16 within the broad Nationalist community who may be

17 Republican in outlook, but in a sense it is all the one

18 community in broad-based terms.

19 Q. But it is a distinction which is often drawn, isn't it?

20 A. It is a distinction that is often drawn but, I mean,

21 there are probably some people who consider themselves

22 Nationalist but not Republican, who at that time still

23 would have had difficulty dealing with the police.

24 So it wasn't just specifically Republicans. It was

25 a much broader context in terms of this paragraph.

 

 

58

 

1 Q. In relation to Rosemary Nelson's position and

2 specifically her work, were you aware, for example, that

3 in the past she had represented members of the police?

4 A. No, I wasn't.

5 Q. That wasn't something you knew from her?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Can I ask you now a question about the threat note you

8 mention in your statement? And we can see it, I think,

9 at RNI-115-351 (displayed). It is paragraph 28 of your

10 statement if you have got that in the hard copy in front

11 of you.

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. There you see the words that you set out in your

14 statement.

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Can I just ask you: are you able to help on this? Can

17 you remember the circumstances in which you first saw

18 this note?

19 A. She just showed it to me. She had it in her handbag and

20 showed me the note.

21 Q. Any idea when?

22 A. I think it was -- I think she actually showed it to me

23 twice and I allude to that in my statement. I can't

24 remember exactly when, but I just remember her showing

25 me this note and I just remember, you know, looking at

 

 

59

 

1 it. And then it was later on -- it was fairly later on

2 and closer to the time when she was killed that she

3 showed it to me again, and obviously I wasn't aware that

4 she had actually been carrying it about in her handbag.

5 That, again, was the assumption I made: that she had

6 been carrying it about with her.

7 Q. Yes, you told the Port team, for example, that in

8 about January 1999 you had seen it again?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Because she had it in her address book?

11 A. Hm-mm.

12 Q. Do you know why? Did she explain why she was keeping it

13 in that way?

14 A. No, and I suppose I never thought to ask. You know,

15 you -- women carry a lot of things about in their

16 handbags sometimes and it is there and you just carry it

17 about with you, you know.

18 Q. By that stage, January 1999, from what you have told us

19 before, she was more concerned?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. She was more worried, she was more fragile. When you

22 saw it again, did it prompt you yourself to be

23 concerned?

24 A. I suppose -- in terms of what was happening to Rosemary,

25 I was concerned about her, you know. I was worried for

 

 

60

 

1 her safety. So in that sense seeing the note again

2 didn't prompt any more concern. I would have been

3 concerned anyhow, but I suppose just seeing the note

4 again -- as I say, I was a bit surprised that she had

5 kept it with her but, as I say, because women do tend to

6 keep a lot of things in their handbag, it wasn't

7 something that I questioned her as to why she had done

8 it. I just assumed that, well, it's probably something

9 that's annoying her maybe a bit more than I had thought

10 at first when she had shown it to me the first time.

11 Q. Same question again, I am afraid: did you discuss with

12 her what she should do about this threat?

13 A. This was an old threat. So it wasn't that -- it wasn't

14 a new threat in that sense. So any time that she had

15 got whatever threats, it was -- as I say, my assumption

16 was that she would be documenting all of that and

17 raising it with specific organisations and governments

18 and bodies.

19 So any threat that she had got, I just assumed that

20 that is what she was doing, and we would have discussed

21 it in that context in terms of "this is another one to

22 bring to them" type of thing, you know.

23 Q. Obviously when you saw it in January 1999 it was an old

24 one by then because you had already seen it?

25 A. Yes, that's correct.

 

 

61

 

1 Q. But when you first saw it, whenever that was -- I know

2 you can't remember -- did you discuss what she might do

3 with a threat like this that had come to her office and

4 was written?

5 A. Just, again, that she should, you know, bring it to the

6 attention of the organisations that she had been dealing

7 with: the like of CAJ, British Irish Rights Watch, you

8 know, the same organisations -- the Irish Government,

9 you know.

10 Q. But here there was actually something to get hold of.

11 It was a physical document, not like the anonymous

12 telephone calls. It might have yielded some evidence?

13 A. Hm-mm.

14 Q. Didn't that prompt you to consider at least with her

15 taking that to the police?

16 A. It wasn't anything that I thought about at the time, to

17 be quite honest with you, you know.

18 Q. Was she taking it seriously?

19 A. I think she was, yes.

20 Q. This particular threat?

21 A. I think so, yes.

22 Q. So how would you characterise her attitude at that stage

23 when you first saw it? She was taking it seriously.

24 What was her view about it?

25 A. She was bringing it, you know -- as I say, I assumed

 

 

62

 

1 that she was bringing it to the attention of the

2 organisations that she had been dealing with.

3 The other point is, it was an anonymous threat.

4 There is very little to go on when there is an anonymous

5 threat, and sometimes you do have an attitude,

6 I suppose, well, if somebody's really going to kill you,

7 they aren't going to tell you beforehand. There was

8 a certain view like that.

9 Q. Was that her view, do you think?

10 A. I'm not saying that was specifically her view. You

11 would maybe have a general view around that. I think it

12 would have concerned her enough that she would have

13 documented it with the various organisations and the

14 NGOs.

15 Q. The point that had been made is that was fine in terms

16 of logging it, but the NGOs themselves weren't able

17 actually to investigate it, to look at it to see if

18 there were any fingerprints, if there was something

19 about the paper or the handwriting that could yield

20 a clue. The only people who could do that were the

21 police, surely?

22 A. But I think that brings us back to the circular argument

23 about given her own experiences and her own lack of

24 confidence.

25 Q. Can I ask you this: did see any other written threats?

 

 

63

 

1 A. Not that I can recollect.

2 Q. Were you aware from conversations with her of any other

3 written threats?

4 A. The only other written thing that I can remember was

5 pamphlet that had been circulating. I think it referred

6 to both herself and Brendan Mac Cionnaith. So that was

7 the only other written thing that I can remember.

8 Q. And was that something you saw at the time?

9 A. I don't actually think I had seen a copy of that at the

10 time. I may have subsequently seen it in some newspaper

11 report or something like that, but I don't remember

12 seeing an actual copy --

13 Q. It may have been one of the things you learned about

14 afterwards?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. You don't think she mentioned it to you at the time?

17 A. No, I think she mentioned it to me but I don't think

18 I saw it. It would have been subsequently that I saw

19 the detail of it.

20 Q. Can I ask you to look at paragraph 35? There you say at

21 the bottom of page RNI-816-094 (displayed), when you are

22 dealing with the question of threats:

23 "The only thing Rosemary mentioned was the anonymous

24 calls ..."

25 Which you have touched on, and the written threats

 

 

64

 

1 that I have already mentioned.

2 Just to be clear, the things you saw then, before

3 the murder, not after the murder -- the things you saw

4 before the murder, the handwritten one we have looked at

5 is the only written threat that you saw?

6 A. The only one that I saw. As I say, I think I was also

7 aware of the pamphlet but hadn't seen it.

8 Q. Yes. So far as the view you have expressed to me

9 earlier about the likely source of these threats, namely

10 from the Loyalists or the Loyalist community, is that

11 a view that she herself held in your discussions with

12 her?

13 A. Yes, that was the most likely source, and as I have said

14 in that paragraph she suspected they were from the

15 Loyalists or the police even. But all that was with

16 speculation. It was just there was no evidence on that.

17 It was just pure speculation because threats had been

18 coming through from the police and -- but I think she

19 was more -- she felt that they were coming through more

20 from Loyalists, these anonymous ones.

21 Q. That is the distinction that I began with at the very

22 start of our discussion because in your earlier

23 statement, if you remember, you said there are these

24 issues with the police and then there were the other

25 threats, anonymous calls from Loyalists?

 

 

65

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. As I had understood your earlier answer, you maintain

3 that distinction?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. In other words, things that were reported as having been

6 said by the police on the one hand and the so-called

7 Loyalist anonymous calls and threats. So to be clear,

8 that is still the distinction you maintain?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Now, so far as the more general question of her security

11 and her safety is concerned, you talk about that in

12 various parts of your statement and you have touched on

13 it in the course of your evidence already this

14 afternoon.

15 Did she talk to you in the last six to nine months

16 of her life about her own concerns about her safety?

17 A. Yes, she was concerned. She was concerned not only for

18 herself; she was concerned for the safety of her family,

19 for Paul and the children, and as I said, she was also

20 concerned just -- the fact that she knew her family were

21 worried about it. So, yes, she did touch on all of

22 these issues.

23 Q. In your statement, you say in paragraph 15 at

24 RNI-816-090 (displayed) that you knew that her family

25 were concerned for her?

 

 

66

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. So can I take it that there were conversations with

3 members of the family and yourself before her murder?

4 A. No, it was more that Rosemary would have told me that

5 her family had raised concerns for her safety with her

6 and then she had spoken to me about it.

7 Q. So they had raised concerns with her?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And what was the nature of that --

10 A. Just that they were afraid for her because of what she

11 was doing and she felt -- she was annoyed that she was

12 worrying them. So she would have expressed the fact

13 that she was worried that she was putting her family

14 under -- you know, making them worry about her. So she

15 was annoyed about that.

16 Q. Again, can I ask you to try to help? This sort of

17 conversation, the conversation where she explained her

18 family's concern about her, can you help with a rough

19 date for that?

20 A. Again, it would have been intermittently throughout the

21 period that I knew her. It wasn't just on one occasion,

22 and it may have been in the context that maybe, you

23 know, a member of her family had raised concern with her

24 so she had mentioned it to me. It wasn't something that

25 was a topic of conversation all the time, but it was

 

 

67

 

1 intermittently raised throughout that time.

2 Q. Did you get the impression that members of her family

3 were seeking to persuade her to withdraw from some of

4 the types of cases she was doing?

5 A. Well, certainly I think they would have found it -- they

6 would have been less worried about her if she hadn't

7 have been doing those type of cases. So, yes, in that

8 context, yes.

9 Q. Now, in your statement, in the very next paragraph, if

10 we can look at that, you talk about her commitment and

11 the fact that she didn't want to let her clients down.

12 So did you get the impression then that she was, as it

13 were, weighing up her concerns for her safety, the

14 safety of her family indeed, and her professional

15 commitment to her clients?

16 A. Yes, I did.

17 Q. And do you think that that was a balance that she in her

18 own mind satisfactorily resolved before her death?

19 A. Probably not because I think that she was always caught

20 in that dilemma. In a sense she had been drawn into

21 this situation which wasn't of her making. She was

22 trying to do her job. It was very, very difficult

23 circumstances.

24 She did feel a commitment to her clients, but she

25 knew that what she was doing was putting herself in

 

 

68

 

1 danger and her family were worrying about her. So that

2 was another pressure for her. So I think it was a very,

3 very delicate balance that she had and I do think that

4 she found herself in a difficult situation.

5 Q. Did she express regret to you at taking on certain types

6 of work?

7 A. I wouldn't so much call it regret. As I say, she was

8 very, very committed to what she was doing. But

9 I suppose -- hindsight is a wonderful thing -- would she

10 have made different choices knowing what was ahead of

11 her? I don't know. And I suppose that is a question

12 that nobody can answer, but I certainly think that at

13 times she felt that the circumstances in which she was

14 operating was very, very difficult.

15 Q. A little earlier this afternoon you used an expression

16 that she had been "drawn into certain types of cases",

17 certain types of work. Was that, do you believe,

18 a sense that she had herself, i.e. that she felt herself

19 that she had been drawn into work of this kind?

20 A. I don't know if that is a sense she had herself.

21 I suppose it is like anything -- you know, she was there

22 doing a job, practising as a solicitor. She was getting

23 particular types of cases and I suppose probably the

24 thing to bear in mind in all of this is that the bulk of

25 Rosemary's work was actually ordinary cases; you know,

 

 

69

 

1 it was just the ordinary cases of any legal practice.

2 There were a number of these high profile cases. They

3 were actually small in number when you put them in the

4 context of her other work. And I suppose because those

5 cases were higher profile, she was gaining a reputation

6 in that area, then in a sense people went to her because

7 of it. I don't know if it was drawn in, it just

8 happened to be the way -- you know, sometimes your work

9 life sometimes goes in a direction that you don't intend

10 it to do and I think that is probably more the case, you

11 know.

12 Q. Can I just ask you to think again about this question of

13 her perception, belief, about danger? Did she fear not

14 only for her own safety, you think, but for the safety

15 of her immediate family?

16 A. I think she was worried that her family were being put

17 in danger. So, yes, she did worry and I think she --

18 and I did refer to it in my statement. I think she

19 worried that, you know, her family would have got hurt

20 while people were attempting to get her. So, yes, I

21 think she was worried.

22 Q. But that, one can imagine, must have been a particularly

23 troubling concern?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And presumably if she had thought that her work was

 

 

70

 

1 putting her -- for instance, her children's lives at

2 risk, then she would have given up?

3 A. Again, that is something that I can't answer, but

4 I suppose in terms of all of this and the threats that

5 Rosemary had, it does have to be seen in the context of

6 the time.

7 You know, Rosemary was one of a number of solicitors

8 who were being subjected to death threats, and indeed

9 there were other people wider than solicitors, and

10 particularly geographically in I suppose what would be

11 termed the north Armagh/mid-Ulster area, that were

12 receiving death threats. So Rosemary was one of

13 a number of people that were getting death threats.

14 I have no doubt that, looking back now, the death

15 threats that Rosemary got were probably more sustained

16 than other people. So there was a sense while she was

17 extremely worried and extremely concerned about the

18 death threats, there was also a sense of trying to get

19 on with the job that she was doing. And, again, I think

20 you have to try and look at it in the context of that

21 time.

22 You know, she saw herself as a solicitor doing her

23 job. At one level she found it at times difficult to

24 understand why people were subjecting her to that and

25 she was simply trying to do her job to the best of her

 

 

71

 

1 ability. And I suppose it is also at the time -- you

2 know, we are talking 1999, when the

3 Good Friday Agreement was signed and, despite all of

4 these threats and all of this bubbling about, there was

5 also amongst people a sense of hope that we were moving

6 away from those times when people were being killed

7 because of their views or their perception of their

8 views, or all of that, that we were moving down into

9 a society where the differences between people were

10 being discussed as opposed to people being murdered.

11 So there was all of that rumbling around. So it

12 wasn't that Rosemary was being blasť about her safety

13 because she wasn't; she was concerned about her safety.

14 And I think the very fact that she raised those concerns

15 with the NGOs, with the UN, with the US Congress, all of

16 that shows that she was concerned enough to do that.

17 And it was a big step -- I think it was a big step

18 for her to raise her profile like that, to try and give

19 herself some -- to try and afford herself some

20 protection.

21 So that was the balance that Rosemary was trying to

22 strike at that time. So, yes, she did -- she wanted to

23 get on with her job, but she was concerned with her

24 safety and that was the balance all the time.

25 Q. Can I ask you to look at another aspect of this with me?

 

 

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1 It is in paragraph 40 of your statement, RNI-816-096

2 (displayed). It is a question of profile, and this is

3 where the profile issue that we talked about a long time

4 ago and the question of safety, as it were, come

5 together.

6 You say you do think that she thought that if her

7 profile was higher, this would afford her some

8 protection. Was that an issue you discussed with her?

9 A. Yes. Again, not at any length but there was -- as

10 I say, it was in the context of that time of Rosemary

11 being one of a number of solicitors and, indeed, one of

12 a number of people who were getting threats.

13 The other point was that what had happened to

14 Pat Finucane was also very much in Rosemary's mind and

15 she did see this as a way that, if her profile was high

16 enough, in a sense that would give her some protection.

17 But the other point was by making an issue of it in

18 the fora that she did, it was also to try and bring

19 pressure to bear on the Government, on the British

20 Government, to afford her some means of physical

21 protection.

22 But also, I suppose the other view was that some of

23 the threats that she was getting, the comments, were

24 coming from police officers who essentially were agents

25 of the state, who were employed by the state. So there

 

 

73

 

1 was also an attempt to be saying to the state, you know,

2 "You have a responsibility here not only to protect this

3 woman but also to actually stop this happening." So at

4 those different levels that was what, in my view, she

5 was trying to do.

6 Q. Can I just ask you about specific security measures

7 because you deal with this in your statement at

8 paragraphs 46 and 47? That is at RNI-816-097

9 (displayed). You say at the beginning of paragraph 46:

10 "We did occasionally discuss this issue."

11 You have described a change in her attitude in some

12 ways to her work, a change in her attitude and concerns

13 about safety, et cetera. Does it follow that this

14 question of security, i.e. practical measures, became

15 a more regular topic of conversation in the months

16 before her murder?

17 A. Yes, it probably would have, yes.

18 Q. And you describe giving her various bits of practical

19 advice. What was her reaction?

20 A. Well, I think her reaction was -- she didn't -- she

21 wanted, as far as she possibly could, to give her

22 children especially a normal life. She didn't want her

23 home life to be, I suppose, characterised by fear and

24 for her children to grow up like that.

25 So that was certainly that was uppermost in her mind

 

 

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1 in terms of wanting to give her children a normal life,

2 and I do -- and as I have said in the statement, I do

3 think sometimes you have a false sense of security when

4 you are working and operating and living in the area

5 where you were born. It is all very familiar to you.

6 You know, you know the neighbours. Where she lived was

7 very open plan area. It was safe in that sense or at

8 least it is the veneer of safety.

9 So I think that for all of those reasons -- and as

10 I say, she wanted to go about her business, she just

11 wanted to live a normal life and she -- as I say, she

12 seen the job that she was doing, that was very much just

13 her job. She felt she shouldn't have been pulled into

14 all of that and it was just about trying to go about as

15 normal.

16 Q. So is that what you mean when you say she was stubborn

17 and she didn't want to give in to the threats?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. So when you gave her these bits of advice, these

20 practical suggestions, did you expect her to follow

21 them?

22 A. Probably not, but we still discussed it and, you know,

23 as I say, I just think that she just wanted to live her

24 life as normal and wanted to give her family a normal

25 life.

 

 

75

 

1 Q. Now, in relation to checking under the car, what you

2 suggest in the second sentence of paragraph 47 is you

3 doubt she did that. Was this something you came back to

4 with her, these sort of points, to remind her or to

5 pursue the point with her, do you think?

6 A. Yes, at times, you know -- as I say, not every day, but

7 it was something when the issue arose, you know, we

8 would have discussed it.

9 Q. But as time went on -- and you describe her increasing

10 concern and her being increasingly troubled by the

11 threats, by other aspects of her work -- didn't you then

12 expect her to perhaps make some adjustments, to take

13 your advice, to follow it?

14 A. I suppose it is not what I expected -- that I expected

15 anything of her in that sense. It was just a general

16 discussion that we would have had every now and again.

17 And I would have said, "Why don't you try doing this" or

18 "Why don't you try doing that?"

19 But, as I say, I think the way she felt that she

20 wanted to deal with it was to try and afford herself

21 some protection by actually raising the issue in the

22 various fora, and she felt that was how she was trying

23 to deal with the threats that she had got.

24 Q. But was there a sense in which she simply didn't want to

25 acknowledge her position, the nature of the danger?

 

 

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1 A. Possibly, because it is not -- it is not -- it is not

2 a very nice thought to think that there is somebody out

3 there trying to kill you, and especially from her point

4 of view because she has seen herself as apolitical, that

5 she wasn't involved in all of that, that she was just

6 doing her job. So, yes, I do think that is part of the

7 reason why she just wanted to carry on as normal: she

8 was doing her job.

9 Q. You talk about her not wanting to have a gun, but so far

10 as the other matters you discuss: you put in your

11 statement here putting the car in the garage, looking

12 under it, et cetera, et cetera, those are fairly basic,

13 routine measures, aren't they?

14 A. Yes, but I suppose it was like anything. She was very

15 busy on a daily basis. It was probably one of those

16 things even in terms of the garage. The garage was

17 stuffed full of everything and sometimes it is just

18 about getting round to doing things. It is also, as you

19 yourself have said, it is about whether you want to

20 acknowledge or not that somebody is out to kill you.

21 I think, as I say, Rosemary just wanted to get on

22 with doing her job. She wanted to have a normal life

23 and she wanted her children and her family to have

24 a normal life.

25 Q. Do you think it may have been that she didn't actually

 

 

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1 believe that she was under threat?

2 A. No, I don't think that was the case. I think she was

3 extremely concerned for her safety.

4 Q. Did you know, before her murder, that other people were

5 in correspondence, the NGOs for instance, with the NIO

6 in relation to security measures, matters of her safety?

7 A. That NGOs --

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. No, I wasn't aware of that.

10 Q. You didn't discuss that with her?

11 A. No. I don't think so.

12 Q. Did she ever raise with you or mention to you that she

13 or that others on her behalf were seeking security

14 measures for her?

15 A. Not that I was aware of at the time, no.

16 Q. In your statement in paragraph 53 you refer to the

17 question of an application being made by the Residents

18 Coalition for protection, and you say in the last

19 sentence it is something you were told about after her

20 murder. I think that is right, isn't it?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And, again, it is not something you knew about or

23 discussed with her or, indeed, anyone before her murder;

24 is that right?

25 A. That's correct.

 

 

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1 Q. Were you surprised to discover after her murder that

2 attempts to get this sort of security had been made on

3 her behalf?

4 A. No, not particularly surprised because, you know, it was

5 known that the Key Persons Protection Scheme was in

6 operation and that various people had applied for it.

7 So I wasn't surprised that that request had been made.

8 Q. But given the attitude that she had to making changes,

9 to doing anything to follow the basic security measures

10 you mentioned and you advised her about, didn't you find

11 it rather odd that at the same time others apparently

12 had been seeking to obtain security measures on her

13 behalf?

14 A. I didn't find it odd, no.

15 Q. Do you think she would have accepted measures of that

16 kind?

17 A. I don't know. I suppose it is a moot point because she

18 wasn't given the measures to protect her. So it is

19 a bit difficult to assume what people would have done.

20 Q. But was it something that you, as an elected

21 representative, local representative, ever considered

22 taking up for her?

23 A. Well, I would have -- in terms of the Key Persons

24 Protection Scheme, not that specifically, but there was

25 one particular time whenever I did raise the issue --

 

 

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1 not just one time, but there was one particular time,

2 for example, I remember setting up a meeting -- I had

3 raised the issue of concern of Rosemary's safety.

4 At that time the Patten Commission were meeting to

5 discuss obviously the whole future of the RUC at that

6 time, and as an elected representative I had meetings

7 with members of the Patten Commission. I had actually

8 raised not just the issue of Rosemary's safety but

9 particular issues that were happening within my

10 constituency that related to the police, specifically

11 the Robert Hamill case and the Garvaghy Road case and

12 Rosemary's case.

13 So I had raised that and I had actually asked the

14 Patten Commission -- at that time they were talking

15 about doing various meetings around various areas of the

16 north. So I had specifically asked them to come to both

17 Lurgan and Portadown because there were particular

18 issues in that area. And as a result of that they did

19 come and do meetings.

20 But then I had also set up a meeting with Rosemary

21 and one of the members of the Patten Commission

22 specifically around the threats that she was given. So

23 it was an issue obviously of concern, and in that

24 particular instance I had raised that as a constituency

25 issue.

 

 

80

 

1 Q. Can I just ask you a few questions about that?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Can you help, please: when was the meeting between you

4 and the Patten Commission?

5 A. I really can't remember the detail. I could possibly go

6 back and check old diaries and I may be able to get

7 exact dates, but I'm not 100 per cent sure.

8 Q. Would it have been in the last nine months of

9 Rosemary Nelson's life, so from mid-1998 onwards?

10 A. I don't know. I really can't be specific about that.

11 I'm sorry that I can't be more specific.

12 I suppose, again, in the context of the time, it was

13 a very, very intense period just in terms of workload,

14 so it is difficult just to remember.

15 Q. In terms of the issue that you raised, what specifically

16 did you raise with the Patten Commission about her

17 safety?

18 A. Just the -- because the Patten Commission was dealing

19 specifically obviously with the police, it was the

20 threats and the comments that had been communicated to

21 Rosemary via her clients. So that was the issue that I

22 had raised with them.

23 Q. And you thereafter set up a meeting, did you, between

24 her and the Commission on that topic?

25 A. One of the members of the Commission, yes.

 

 

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1 Q. To your knowledge did that take place?

2 A. It did. I was actually at that meeting as well.

3 Q. Again, can I ask you roughly when that was?

4 A. I would need to check again just in terms of time.

5 I really don't know the exact time.

6 Q. And at that meeting with the Patten Commissioner, can

7 you remember for us now what the issues were that were

8 discussed?

9 A. It was just really the threats that Rosemary had got and

10 the effects -- you know, how it affected her and the

11 concerns that she had for her safety.

12 Q. Could that have been, let's say, within the last six

13 months of her life?

14 A. It may have been but it may have been longer. I really

15 can't be exact, I am sorry.

16 Q. Again, I'm not doing this in any critical way but can

17 I ask you to confirm: this isn't something you have said

18 before in your statements, is it?

19 A. No, it is not.

20 Q. But your recollection of it is clear; is that right?

21 A. Yes, that's correct.

22 Q. But you are not able to help with the relevant dates?

23 A. I'm not, but as I say, if the Inquiry wishes, I could go

24 away and try and get exact dates.

25 Q. Thank you. That would be very helpful.

 

 

82

 

1 Now, one aspect of the KPPS issue that I wanted to

2 ask you about -- we were talking about it a little

3 earlier before we went on to the Patten Commission --

4 was about the way it operates or operated then in

5 practice.

6 First of all, just to confirm, you didn't know

7 anything about anything to do with the Residents

8 Coalition, the KPPS, before Rosemary Nelson's murder?

9 A. No.

10 Q. So far as the mechanism, the way it worked in practice

11 was concerned, as I'm sure you know, it involves the

12 police assessing --

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. -- an applicant's property, et cetera. From what you

15 have said earlier and from what you knew of her, is that

16 something you believe she would have been happy to do?

17 A. She probably wouldn't have been comfortable with it.

18 Q. No. She wouldn't have been comfortable with the police

19 being involved in assessing her property. Is that what

20 you mean?

21 A. Probably, yes.

22 Q. So if that had been a requirement, then presumably you

23 don't think she would have been comfortable with the

24 whole process?

25 A. Probably not.

 

 

83

 

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

2 A. But I think it is -- sorry -- worth pointing out at the

3 time that there were also efforts being made in relation

4 to the Key Persons Protection Scheme, and attempts were

5 being made -- and, again, I can't remember the exact

6 date or time -- where some arrangements were being put

7 in place to actually allow an assessment by non-police

8 personnel.

9 So -- and I think it -- I'm not sure of the detail,

10 but certainly that -- I think it may have been

11 subsequent to Rosemary's murder but, again, I'm not sure

12 about dates -- where people could apply for the Key

13 Persons Protection Scheme and non-police people made an

14 assessment. So I don't know if that arrangement could

15 have possibly been looked at for Rosemary if she had

16 have lived.

17 Q. But if the police route was the only route, you wouldn't

18 have expected her to be interested in that?

19 A. I don't know if she would have been interested or not,

20 but she may not have been comfortable with it.

21 Q. No. Can I ask you, in terms of your knowledge of this,

22 how did you first hear, after her murder, that such an

23 application had been made?

24 A. I can't remember to be exact, and I suppose again

25 looking back to the time after her murder, things can be

 

 

84

 

1 a bit blurred just in the aftermath of something like

2 that. So I really can't remember.

3 Q. You can't remember who told you, for example?

4 A. No.

5 Q. Nor when?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Can you remember what you were told about how the

8 Residents Coalition had made the application and to

9 whom?

10 A. Well, from what I know -- and, again, it may have just

11 come from media reports -- I really can't remember much

12 of the detail or know much of the detail. I think it

13 may have been raised at one of the meetings that they

14 had with residents of the Irish Government or the NIO

15 but, again, I really don't know the detail of that.

16 Q. Now, so far as you were concerned, you have mentioned

17 various conversations with her about her safety and

18 a number of conversations about concerns of that kind.

19 Don't you think that if there had been an application

20 made on her behalf, she would have mentioned it to you?

21 A. Not necessarily.

22 Q. Why do you say that?

23 A. Again, I suppose you have to remember at the time

24 Rosemary was -- she had a very busy practice. She was

25 dealing with any number of legal cases. These were only

 

 

85

 

1 one -- you know, a section of the work that she was

2 doing. I was also -- had a very busy, demanding job.

3 So at times you were very busy all the time. Your mind

4 was racing all the time about different things. So it

5 wasn't -- I didn't expect her to tell me every single

6 thing and vices versa. So it wasn't unusual -- it

7 didn't particularly cross my mind that it was unusual

8 that she didn't tell me.

9 Q. Of course, this was not so much a case as a question of

10 her own safety and her own security in which as a friend

11 you had an interest and which you had discussed on

12 a number of occasions. So it is surprising, isn't it,

13 that you weren't told about it at the time?

14 A. No, it is not particularly surprising also, given the

15 fact that it was actually raised in confidential

16 meetings with the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition.

17 I wouldn't expect to be privy to any of the detail that

18 was raised at those meetings.

19 Q. But anyway, what you know of it and how it was raised or

20 not was derived from what you were told about it after

21 the murder?

22 A. Yes, that's correct.

23 Q. Can I now ask you just a few questions about the weekend

24 before the murder because you deal with that in your

25 statement and you have obviously dealt with it in your

 

 

86

 

1 previous statements, and there is a great deal about it

2 that I'm not going to go over with you.

3 But can I ask you this very simple question: was

4 there anything, now you look back at it, about that

5 weekend you spent with her that seemed in any way out of

6 the ordinary?

7 A. No.

8 Q. Was there any period over the weekend when her car was

9 unattended?

10 A. No, it sat beside the -- right under the mobile home

11 that whole weekend, and my recollection is that we

12 didn't leave the mobile home and that there was always

13 somebody there.

14 Q. That is what I wanted to ask you specifically. The

15 impression one gets from the statements -- I don't want

16 to go through the detail -- there were times when

17 members of the party went off to the swimming pool,

18 wherever it was, but there was one member of the party,

19 sometimes Rosemary Nelson, present on the mobile home

20 site?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And that is right, is it?

23 A. Yes. We were very lazy and didn't move too far.

24 Q. So far as your return to the house is concerned, you say

25 in paragraph 66 -- and this is at RNI-816-101

 

 

87

 

1 (displayed), bottom of the page -- that at that point

2 you noticed a helicopter and that it was still there --

3 over the page to RNI-816-102 (displayed) -- when you

4 went to bed?

5 A. That's correct, yes.

6 Q. Now, can I ask you: do you live in that area?

7 A. In that general area, yes. It is probably less than

8 half a mile as the crow flies from Rosemary's house,

9 roughly about half a mile.

10 Q. Had you noticed the helicopter or helicopter activity

11 more generally at any point the previous week, in other

12 words before you went away?

13 A. I can't remember specifically about helicopter activity

14 and, again, I suppose because -- again, going back to

15 that time, helicopters were fairly -- while their

16 frequency may have been diminishing, they were still

17 a fairly normal part of life. But I think the thing

18 that made us notice that one on the Sunday night was

19 that it was so low and the noise of it was quite

20 annoying. You could really hear the noise of it and

21 that was the thing that made us notice.

22 Sometimes if helicopters were higher up in the sky

23 or slightly further away it just may not have been as

24 noticeable and, as I say, sometimes you got used to that

25 noise anyway because it was quite frequent.

 

 

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1 Q. Did you notice anything else which was unusual in terms

2 of security force activity, either that evening or the

3 next morning?

4 A. No, I didn't.

5 Q. Now, I would like to ask you a question about the very

6 last paragraph of your Pat Finucane Centre statement

7 now, please. That is at RNI-835-145 (displayed). The

8 last paragraph, which says:

9 "Since Rosemary was murdered, I have been made aware

10 of derogatory comments passed by members of the RUC, RIR

11 and members of the Loyalist Unionist community in

12 relation to Rosemary's murder."

13 That is a pretty general comment. Are you able to

14 give any detail to us now? In other words, when you

15 were made aware of such comments, the nature of the

16 comments, how they were made?

17 A. It was just in the immediate time after Rosemary's

18 murder. People had told me about various things. There

19 were some people -- and, again, it is hard going back

20 because it is such a long time remembering the detail,

21 but that particular jokes had been passed, had been said

22 about Rosemary, about the fact that she had lost her leg

23 and things like that. I think some people may have said

24 that -- members of the RIR, it would have been, I think

25 maybe the UDR, had shouted out comments as they were

 

 

89

 

1 driving past in Nationalist areas of Lurgan and things

2 like that.

3 Q. Can you remember when this was said to have occurred?

4 A. It was probably in the immediate days and weeks after

5 Rosemary's murder, and I would say "week" maybe as

6 opposed to "weeks" or, you know, a week and a half or

7 something like that. But I personally didn't witness

8 any of it. It was all relayed to me.

9 Q. These were reports made to you?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Can you remember any more detail beyond that which you

12 have just given?

13 A. No, I can't.

14 Q. Now, finally, I wanted to ask you this: have you been

15 following the Inquiry's proceedings via the website?

16 A. Intermittently.

17 Q. And have you also received reports about the issues

18 raised, the evidence given, over the weeks of the first

19 session of evidence?

20 A. When you say received reports, how do you mean?

21 Q. In addition to the reading you yourself have done, have

22 you been told by other people the sort of evidence that

23 has emerged, the sort of points that people have been

24 dealing with in their evidence?

25 A. Not really by other people, no. There was just one of

 

 

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1 the days I just came in myself. When I knew I was going

2 to be called as a witness, I just came in to, I suppose,

3 familiarise myself with the surroundings. So I had just

4 come in to look at it then. That was all.

5 Q. The reason I ask you is this, just to be very clear

6 about this. When we talked earlier about a number of

7 points that emerged today for the first time, what

8 I wanted you to try and deal with is this: is there any

9 possibility that some of the things that you have

10 remembered and told us about this afternoon have been

11 prompted by your reading of the evidence in the

12 transcripts?

13 A. Not in relation to the evidence that I have given, no.

14 Q. Dr O'Hagan, those are the only questions I have for you,

15 but I always end by asking whether the witness has

16 anything that you would like to say at this point to the

17 Tribunal. Is there anything you would like to --

18 A. I suppose -- just to finish off, I suppose we all

19 realise, just as chairs of the Panel -- sorry, as

20 members of the Panel, that you do have a very onerous

21 task and I suppose the thing that stands out in all of

22 this for me is that Rosemary was just trying to go about

23 doing her job as best she could in very, very difficult

24 circumstances.

25 I think that the core of the issue is the fact that

 

 

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1 she was being death threatened. She did raise her

2 concerns. In a sense she nearly predicted what was

3 going to happen to her, and the state was asked to help

4 her and the state failed. And I think for me that is

5 just the crux of all of this. And I suppose in terms of

6 coming here to give evidence and to relive that whole

7 experience of what Rosemary went through, it struck

8 me -- and it has been said before and it is not trite to

9 say it -- but the very people that killed Rosemary, if

10 they had come to her looking for help, she would have

11 give it to them because that is what she was about.

12 She believed absolutely in the rule of law and she

13 would have left no stone unturned to secure justice and

14 to secure the truth and to secure human rights. And

15 I suppose what I would like to just to the members of

16 the Panel is that not just myself, but a lot of other

17 people are pinning a lot of hopes on this Inquiry and

18 that our hope is that you would do for Rosemary what she

19 would have done for other people and for her clients.

20 So that is really all I would like to say. Thanks

21 very much.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Dr O'Hagan, we are very grateful for you

23 coming here to give evidence for us. If you can find

24 from your diaries the date when you met the member of

25 the Patten Commission with Rosemary Nelson and could

 

 

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1 send us a letter with that --

2 A. Certainly I will try to do that.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: -- we would be very grateful.

4 A. Okay.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for coming to give

6 evidence.

7 We will rise until 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon.

8 (3.45 pm)

9 (The Inquiry adjourned until 2.00 pm the following day)

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