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Full Hearings

Hearing: 15th May 2008, day 21

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ROSEMARY NELSON

PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

 

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


on Thursday, 15th May 2008
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Thursday, 15th May 2008

2 (10.15 am)

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

4 MR PADRAIG MCDERMOTT(sworn)

5 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

6 MR PHILLIPS: Mr McDermott, can you give us your full names,

7 please.

8 A. Padraig McDermott.

9 Q. Do you have in front of you the statement you made to

10 the Inquiry?

11 A. I do, yes.

12 Q. Can we have it on the screen, please? It is at

13 RNI-813-147 (displayed). Do we see your signature at

14 RNI-813-152 (displayed) and the date of 24th February

15 last year?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. Now, Mr McDermott, your statement deals with various

18 areas, some of which we have covered with other

19 witnesses, so I am going to focus in your evidence on

20 some points particular to your statement.

21 But by way of introduction first, we see that you

22 qualified as a lawyer in 1985 and you have been in

23 continuous practice since, I think?

24 A. That's correct.

25 Q. And you are still based, are you, in Derry?

 

 

2

 

1 A. Yes, indeed.

2 Q. And you explain that you have experience of representing

3 clients charged with offences under the emergency

4 legislation?

5 A. Correct.

6 Q. Does that continue to this day?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. During the period with which we are concerned then, let

9 us say the mid to late 1990s, were you regularly

10 representing clients of that kind?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Thank you very much. And during the course of that

13 work, as you explain, you would attend the three holding

14 centres that you mention there?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as Rosemary Nelson is concerned,

17 you give details of your knowledge of and dealings with

18 her beginning in paragraph 2. It looks as though you

19 knew her or knew of her at university but came to know

20 her better when you were both in practice later on?

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. And you tell us how you first spoke to her properly in,

23 you think, the mid 1990s?

24 A. That's correct.

25 Q. You were both at the Crumlin Road courthouse in Belfast.

 

 

3

 

1 Presumably you were working on a case of your own and

2 she was working on the Duffy case?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. And that seems to have been the beginning of fairly

5 regular meetings with her. Is that fair?

6 A. That's correct, yes.

7 Q. Now, you describe to us her reaction to the original

8 Colin Duffy verdict?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. How did she express it to you?

11 A. She said it was a very bad decision, that the judge had

12 gone against the weight of the evidence. They were all

13 surprised. They had expected him to be acquitted and

14 they were going to appeal and she thought they had

15 a good appeal, good grounds for appeal.

16 Q. Were you struck by that reaction?

17 A. She seemed very committed to the case, in that she was

18 there every single day and she seemed to be annoyed

19 about the verdict, more so than maybe you would find in

20 other lawyers.

21 Q. Do you think she was taking it more personally than you

22 normally find with lawyers?

23 A. Possibly, possibly. I think she felt let down a bit

24 maybe, but it was a Diplock decision so really it was no

25 surprise to most of us.

 

 

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1 Q. But then I think it is right that you continued to see

2 her during the period of the appeal in that case, which

3 you refer to at the end of paragraph 3 of your

4 statement, which turns over the page to RNI-813-148

5 (displayed). At that time you tell us that you remember

6 seeing her appearing on television?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Did you, over the years that followed, see her on other

9 occasions giving interviews on television?

10 A. I saw her after the Garvaghy Road. In July 1997, she

11 was on TV, but she had been on TV the month before that

12 in June 1997 after Colin Duffy was charged with the

13 killing of the two police officers. So she was on TV

14 quite a bit during that period, 1997.

15 Q. Can we pick that up later in your statement at

16 paragraph 14, because this takes us into the second

17 Colin Duffy case as we regard it in the Inquiry, and you

18 tell us that that appearance, the appearance in June,

19 which you saw for yourself, was in your view unusual?

20 A. It was.

21 Q. That was not, was it, a standard thing for a lawyer to

22 do at that stage of a case?

23 A. It was fairly common at the end of a case --

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. -- if a client had been acquitted, that a lawyer would

 

 

5

 

1 come on and say why this had happened and what they were

2 planning to do, et cetera. It was unusual for

3 a solicitor to appear at the very beginning of a case to

4 talk about the case, maybe because it was sub judice,

5 even though there would have been no jury, but it would

6 be very unusual for a lawyer to come on at the very

7 first remand and say that this was a bad charge to be

8 brought and this shouldn't have happened. That was

9 unusual, yes.

10 Q. You mention in particular the comments she made. This,

11 again, is in your paragraph 14 in the sentence, do you

12 see, beginning:

13 "Rosemary Nelson was on television ..."

14 A. Yes, complaining about the charges, yes.

15 Q. That obviously struck you at the time as again being

16 unusual?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Did you think it was unwise?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Why?

21 A. Well, firstly, from a professional point of view

22 I thought she could have been open to censure by the

23 trial judge or by the Law Society for possibly speaking

24 about something which was sub judice, I say even though

25 there wasn't going to be a jury, if there had been

 

 

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1 a trial. But secondly, also in the climate at the time

2 I didn't think it was wise to be so closely associated

3 with Colin Duffy at that time outside of a court arena

4 in view of the amount of anger that had been generated

5 within the Unionist community about the killings.

6 Q. So in that sense it was unwise for her, not

7 professionally but personally?

8 A. Professionally and personally.

9 Q. Yes. But did it in a sense reflect the sense you had

10 had at the earlier stage, when she was talking about the

11 first verdict in the first case, that she had become

12 closely involved with this case and with this client?

13 A. I think she took the view that the police were out to

14 get Colin Duffy and that they would use any means to

15 imprison him, and I think she took the view that they

16 felt aggrieved at him being released on appeal from the

17 first case, and if anything happened in that area they

18 were going to blame him for it and they basically

19 charged him without there being any evidence to charge

20 him. I think she was annoyed at that.

21 Q. In your statement in paragraphs 15 and 16, you help us

22 by explaining why it was that the appearance concerned

23 you on a personal level for her. And so I have got this

24 right, please: there seem to be two points that you

25 emphasise. The first, I think -- tell me if this is

 

 

7

 

1 right -- is that these killings, the murders of the

2 policemen, had themselves created very, very strong

3 feeling. Is that right?

4 A. That's correct, yes.

5 Q. And so to be making an appearance and such a strong

6 statement about her client's position in relation to

7 that case was something that concerned you?

8 A. Yes, because it was very soon after the policemen had

9 been killed -- within a week -- and the anger was still

10 palpable. So I thought that certain people may have

11 associated her with somebody who is accused of the

12 killings and that she may have become a target if they

13 could not get at the person they perceived had carried

14 out the killings or the people they perceived had

15 carried out the killings.

16 Q. So you think the effect of her appearing on television

17 at that stage and of the things that she said would, in

18 some people's eyes, have brought her closer to the

19 killings themselves and to the client?

20 A. Yes, that's correct.

21 Q. And the other thing you stress in paragraph 16 is the

22 question of geography, i.e. the particular area in which

23 she lived and carried out her work?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Can you help us with that point?

 

 

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1 A. She worked in Lurgan and Portadown and she lived in the

2 same area, and there had been a lot of killings around

3 that area throughout the Troubles. And particularly at

4 that time in the early 1990s, there was a very active

5 UVF, LVF gang. Most of the sectarian killings would

6 have been taking place in that area, as opposed to where

7 I come from in Derry where there was very little of that

8 type of killing. So it wasn't a safe area to be working

9 in or living in for someone in her position.

10 Q. In this context, you say that she was prepared, always

11 prepared -- do you see the beginning of paragraph 16?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. "... to go further than most people would have done in

14 representing her clients."

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. So you saw this appearance on television, did you, as an

17 example of that?

18 A. Yes, indeed, and the fact that she gave the newspaper

19 interview to Anne Cadwallader and the fact that she was

20 with the Garvaghy Road residents in the middle of the

21 night whenever the police moved the parade down through

22 the area, that sort of thing.

23 Q. Just to take those in order, the appearance on

24 television, presumably you would also include other

25 appearances she made on television about other cases?

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. The openness with which she dealt with other media, and

3 the example you have given is the Anne Cadwallader

4 piece?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. That is the piece in, I think, October 1997 about

7 threats, wasn't it?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Do you remember reading that at that time?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. How did that piece strike you?

12 A. It struck me that it was part and parcel of what was

13 going on down there at that time, that she herself was

14 in some danger and also that she had fallen foul of the

15 police, particularly in relation to the Duffy scenario,

16 and that no circumstances she herself was coming

17 under -- I was somewhat concerned.

18 Q. It was a remarkably open piece about her, wasn't it?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Did you ever read or see similar newspaper coverage of

21 any other lawyer in Northern Ireland?

22 A. Not that I can recall offhand, but there have been

23 similar type cases involving other lawyers, yes.

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. There have been, but I can't recall offhand any

 

 

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1 particular examples.

2 Q. Now, the view you have expressed, which we began with,

3 you mentioned three examples: the television

4 appearances, the article and then the third thing you

5 mentioned was the way she went about her work for the

6 Garvaghy Road residents?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And again, can you help, please: What was unusual or

9 extraordinary about that?

10 A. The fact that in 1997, when the parade was forced down

11 the Garvaghy Road, Rosemary was in fact on the road and

12 had been assaulted by police officers, and I believe she

13 was interviewed about that.

14 Q. So is it the fact that she was there on the road herself

15 that was so striking or the fact that she gave an

16 interview about what had happened to her?

17 A. No, the fact that she was on the road. For a lawyer, it

18 was quite unusual.

19 Q. So she was prepared in the course of her work actually

20 to go to the place where the confrontation was taking

21 place?

22 A. Exactly.

23 Q. Is that something you would have done?

24 A. Possibly, yes, possibly.

25 Q. We know you went the next year, you see, as an observer.

 

 

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1 What I am asking you is whether, if you had been acting

2 for the residents, you think you would have ended up in

3 the road on the previous year, 1997?

4 A. Yes, I think I would have, yes.

5 Q. So perhaps not unique then in that respect?

6 A. Not unique but unusual.

7 Q. Yes. Now, the view that you have expressed to us, as I

8 understand it, the view you took of the way she was

9 going about her work, was one that you held at the time?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Was it something that you discussed with colleagues?

12 A. I believe so. I believe -- certainly the appearance

13 after the Duffy charging, the appearance outside Lisburn

14 court, I think a number of us felt it was not the wisest

15 thing to do.

16 Q. You remember discussions with other lawyers about that?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And that was the general view, was it?

19 A. Yes, because it was too close to the time and it was too

20 soon. These things could be said in court, but to say

21 it to the media outside was maybe not the wisest thing.

22 Q. Now, so far as the question of the Garvaghy Road is

23 concerned, you deal with that in another section of your

24 statement, which begins in paragraph 4. Can we look at

25 that briefly now, please?

 

 

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1 You have told us your view of the way she went about

2 the work, and we needn't go over that. What I would

3 like to ask you about is your own attendance in 1998.

4 Do you see in paragraph 5 you mention that?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Now, you were invited to attend as an observer?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Who invited you?

9 A. I believe it was the Committee on the Administration of

10 Justice. I can't be 100 per cent certain about that but

11 I think that was who requested it.

12 Q. Right. You describe the circumstances in which you and

13 a colleague -- I think also a lawyer from Derry?

14 A. Yes, indeed.

15 Q. -- went down to Portadown on Saturday?

16 A. That is correct.

17 Q. And you have remembered it specifically because of

18 a World Cup match?

19 A. Yes, we were listening on the radio to the match.

20 Q. There you, on arrival, met various leading lights in the

21 Residentsí Coalition and others at the community centre?

22 A. That is correct.

23 Q. Was Rosemary Nelson amongst them?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Right. And when you say in paragraph 7 the prominent

 

 

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1 figures from the Coalition were there, such as

2 Mr Mac Cionnaith, are there any others -- the other

3 prominent figures whom you haven't named in paragraph 7?

4 A. No, Dara O'Hagan and Brid Rogers were associated with

5 the residents, although I am not sure they were actually

6 part of the Coalition. But they were there also. But

7 they are the ones that spring to mind.

8 Q. Can you remember, what were you asked to come and do?

9 A. Observe. I think it was felt that if there were enough

10 observers on the ground of a legal background that it

11 may have the effect of dissuading the Government from

12 a making a similar decision as Mo Mowlam had made the

13 previous year.

14 Q. Now, we know that there were on various occasions

15 international observers from, for example, the United

16 States of America and other places abroad, so you were

17 a sort of small delegation of local --

18 A. We were.

19 Q. -- observers?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. From Northern Ireland but, as it were, from a different

22 part and therefore detached from the particular area in

23 which all this was going on?

24 A. Yes, but it had a very strong resonance in Derry. The

25 Garvaghy Road had resulted in serious violence occurring

 

 

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1 in Derry in 1996 and 1997.

2 Q. So Derry was one of the places, was it, where, as it

3 were, there was a knock-on effect and violence took

4 place in those two years following the problems on the

5 Garvaghy Road?

6 A. Yes, indeed.

7 Q. Yes. Now, you then describe for us your conversation

8 with Rosemary Nelson on this occasion. I will come to

9 that in a minute, but what I wanted to ask you about

10 your visit was what view you formed in 1998 of the way

11 she was going about her work?

12 A. She seemed to be very busy. There was a lot of people

13 about, not just the dignitaries; there were a lot of

14 local people about and Rosemary seemed to know

15 everybody. She seemed quite optimistic. She was on

16 good form, in good spirits and she seemed fairly certain

17 that the parade was not going to be allowed to parade

18 down the Garvaghy Road that year. So she was in buoyant

19 mood, I would say.

20 Q. You have told us that you saw her appearance on

21 television in relation to the previous year?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And obviously from that you formed a view about the way

24 she was going about her work?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Did you have cause to change that view as a result of

2 what you observed during 1998?

3 A. In what way? What do you mean?

4 Q. Well, you have told us, for example, that you were

5 surprised she was there on the road and the amount of

6 commitment that she was giving to those particular

7 clients and the appearance she made on television.

8 Was there anything in what you observed in 1998 for

9 yourself that led you to change that view?

10 A. No, I think if the parade had been forced down again

11 that year, I think she would have done exactly the same

12 thing.

13 Q. Now, turning to the particular conversation which you

14 refer to in paragraph 8 of your statement, you tell us

15 how she produced a letter?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. What I would like to ask you is how the conversation

18 itself went. Did she greet you and then immediately

19 produce the letter from her handbag?

20 A. Oh, no. No, she greeted myself and Greg McCartney very

21 fulsomely. I would say she was delighted to see us. I

22 am not sure if there were any other lawyers, solicitors,

23 from the North there. I can't recall. So she was

24 quite -- I think she was surprised to see us and quite

25 happy and delighted to see us. And she spoke to us and

 

 

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1 she was laughing and joking and saying it had been scary

2 the previous year, and she said she hoped we were in the

3 front line if it was forced down that year and it was

4 time for us to get batoned, something to that effect.

5 She was laughing and joking, and it would be good enough

6 for us if we got batoned, something like that there.

7 And she was chatting in a friendly fashion, I would say,

8 for a good ten minutes before she produced a letter.

9 Q. Did she actually speak to you about what had happened to

10 her the previous year?

11 A. No, in a general fashion, just that it was a scary night

12 or something out there. But I think she knew we knew

13 what had happened. I mean, it was common knowledge.

14 She wasn't dwelling on it, as such. She didn't seem

15 bitter or anything like that. I think just she shrugged

16 it off. It was kind of a bit after experience rather

17 than anything she was going to linger on.

18 Q. It sounds as though she was making light of it?

19 A. She was.

20 Q. Indeed, making jokes about it?

21 A. She was saying it was our turn to get a touch of that

22 treatment.

23 Q. Yes. At what stage in the conversation then did she

24 produce the letter?

25 A. I think we asked her what it was like living down there,

 

 

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1 because it was a different environment from where we

2 lived. She said, "Oh, you get used to it", something

3 like that there. And I think we brought up the issue,

4 did she feel safe enough, and I think she then -- I

5 think at that stage she then produced this letter and

6 said, "I got this this morning, I got this love letter

7 this morning" and then she showed it to us.

8 Q. It was addressed to her own house. Is that right?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And you tell us what you remember of it. You say it was

11 in a white envelope and you give us an idea of what it

12 said:

13 "You are going to die, you ugly Fenian bitch."

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Was it typed, was it handwritten?

16 A. It was handwritten.

17 Q. In pen, pencil, crayon?

18 A. Pen, I believe.

19 Q. And you say:

20 "The note certainly made reference to her

21 disfigurement."

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Do you mean by that in the quotation you have given the

24 use of the word "ugly", or was there some other

25 reference as well?

 

 

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1 A. No, I think that was -- it may have said -- it might

2 have even said "disfigured", but certainly "ugly".

3 I took that to be a reference to the disfigurement, yes.

4 Q. What was your reaction?

5 A. Well, the first thing we said to her was, "That's not

6 very nice", and she said, "Oh, well, I get these all the

7 time. It is not unusual, especially at this time of

8 year." That is -- I think our first reaction was to

9 say, "They know where you live. Are you safe enough?

10 Is your house in a safe area?" And she said, "No, the

11 opposite, very unsafe". And we both, I think, expressed

12 surprise at that and said to her would she not consider

13 moving house. If she was getting those addressed to her

14 home, it wasn't safe to be there, if she is getting

15 letters like that to her home.

16 We took the view that she should move. We expressed

17 that view to her, that she should move house.

18 Q. Apart from the threat, you were alert immediately,

19 weren't you, to the fact that if it was addressed to her

20 home address, then, as it were, they knew where she

21 lived?

22 A. Yes, it was personal as opposed to sending it to her

23 office.

24 Q. Right. Can I ask you, in the course of your own work,

25 did you ever receive a threatening note or letter?

 

 

19

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. So is it something you had heard about from other

3 lawyers, that they had received communications of this

4 kind?

5 A. I know that the solicitor who I started working with

6 when I started my career, Oliver Kelly, had received

7 threatening letters during his career and I believe

8 other solicitors throughout the North had. So I was

9 aware of it happening.

10 Q. But was it the first time you had actually seen such

11 a note addressed to a lawyer?

12 A. I believe so, yes.

13 Q. So that must have had its particular impact on you?

14 A. Because it was addressed to her home address, I think

15 that is why it struck me.

16 Q. Yes. And you suggested to her, didn't you, that she

17 should report it to the police?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And what was her reaction to that suggestion?

20 A. She laughed and said that they had probably sent it, and

21 I think we said to her, "Well, even if they did, it

22 would put the onus on them to investigate it and they

23 would have to investigate it and they would have to, to

24 see if there was anything would crop up in it such as

25 fingerprints." I think we took the view that even if

 

 

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1 she felt they had sent it, that she should still put it

2 back to them, as such, and put the pressure on them to

3 deal with it.

4 Q. It would then become the police's job to investigate the

5 letter itself?

6 A. Correct.

7 Q. And see whether it yielded any forensic material which

8 might lead to the person who had written it?

9 A. Correct.

10 Q. Yes. But she obviously wasn't -- or certainly told you

11 that she wasn't willing to do that?

12 A. She didn't appear to have any faith in going down that

13 road. She seemed quite adamant that that was going to

14 get nowhere.

15 Q. Presumably you didn't think that it would have been

16 right for you to raise your concerns with the police?

17 A. No, it was up to Rosemary. It was her who had

18 received it.

19 Q. Did you try to persuade her, did you try to change her

20 mind?

21 A. No, it was a relatively short conversation. We didn't

22 press her on the issue at all. We thought that she

23 knows what she is doing and this is her business. So it

24 wasn't a lengthy conversation.

25 Q. So the conversation was left then that she wasn't, as

 

 

21

 

1 far as you were aware, intending to show this letter to

2 the police?

3 A. I think there was no -- she definitely was not going to

4 show the letter to the police.

5 Q. She definitely wasn't, and she wasn't interested

6 therefore in drawing it to their attention?

7 A. No, she said she had received lots of letters like that.

8 Q. And did you have any reason to think that she had

9 treated the other letters in any different way?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Now, you describe her reaction in some more detail in

12 the next paragraph. You say she was in good humour, she

13 certainly didn't seem to take the letter that badly?

14 A. Correct.

15 Q. And you remember trying to cheer her up?

16 A. We didn't have to cheer her up. She was cheerful

17 anyway.

18 Q. That is the first thing I was going to ask you. It

19 sounds as though she didn't need much encouragement on

20 that front?

21 A. No.

22 Q. And perhaps it was you and your colleagues' attempts to

23 reassure her, in a sense. They involved you saying,

24 well, if you are going to be killed, they won't tell you

25 first?

 

 

22

 

1 A. Yes, that's correct.

2 Q. Which may not have been that reassuring?

3 A. No, I think Greg McCartney has a pretty dark sense of

4 humour and he said something along the lines of, "If

5 they are going to get you, they are going to get you,

6 but they are not going to tell you first", something

7 along those lines there. We attempted to make it

8 humorous for her but she wasn't treating it that

9 seriously anyway.

10 Q. Do you think that what you saw of her reaction was the

11 beginning and end of it? Do you think that was how she

12 genuinely felt or do you think she was just joshing

13 around with you two?

14 A. I think in her heart of hearts she was probably more

15 concerned than she was letting on. It was a nice

16 environment when we were in the community centre on the

17 Garvaghy Road and there was a lot of people about and

18 the atmosphere was generally very good, and there were

19 lots of TV people there and lots of foreigners, as you

20 have said. So there was a lot of support, as it were,

21 for the people on the Garvaghy Road. So she felt

22 encouraged, I am sure, by that.

23 But probably in the cold light of day, she may have

24 been more concerned than she appeared to us. I am sure

25 she was, given that it was where she lived and the fact

 

 

23

 

1 it was her home address.

2 Q. Can I ask you, given the attitude she displayed to you

3 about it, can you help us: why do you think it was that

4 she showed you the letter?

5 A. Just as an example of the sort of thing they were

6 dealing with down there, the sort of hatred that I think

7 in general Catholics had to deal with living in that

8 area. And she in her role as a solicitor was associated

9 with that and she was showing us just how extreme it was

10 in that area, how nasty it was and how vicious it could

11 get, because I think the feeling she may have had was we

12 had come from Derry where everything was okay and she

13 wanted to show us that it was not great down there.

14 Q. And it looks as though it was your visit to the

15 Garvaghy Road that year and what she told you that made

16 you realise -- and this is paragraph 12 of your

17 statement, on the same page RNI-813-149 (displayed) --

18 that in fact it was the Garvaghy Road work that she was

19 doing which put her in the greater danger. Is that

20 right?

21 A. That seemed to be her -- from that comment that seemed

22 to be her impression, yes.

23 Q. So when she said to you that she got lots of letters,

24 particularly at this time of year, you realised, didn't

25 you, that that was all connected with this dispute, with

 

 

24

 

1 the marching and the parade in the summer of each year?

2 A. Yes, but in general in July she said that people do get

3 much more hot headed than they would be at other times

4 of the year. So it could be tied in with that as well.

5 Q. Did you get any further details from her while you were

6 there of any of the other threats she mentioned?

7 A. No, just she mentioned she got other letters, she got

8 letters like that all the time. But she didn't specify

9 any particular threats that she had received.

10 Q. So far as the atmosphere, the mood on the Garvaghy Road

11 that year is concerned, the impression you give us is

12 that as far as you could tell anyway, things were

13 calmer, more peaceful than they had been the previous

14 year?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And we know, as you have just mentioned, of course, that

17 the result in the end was a different one?

18 A. Yes, indeed.

19 Q. And that the march was not forced down the road in the

20 same way?

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. Now, so far as the question of her safety and threats is

23 concerned, you deal in paragraph 20 of your statement

24 with the suggestion that the police were making remarks

25 about her in interviews to Republican prisoners. Do you

 

 

25

 

1 see that? It is towards the bottom of page RNI-813-151?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And so we are clear about this, was this something she

4 told you herself?

5 A. It is what I had read in the newspaper interview.

6 Q. So in terms of the discussions you had over the years,

7 the meetings you had with her, you don't recall her

8 mentioning this specifically?

9 A. I can't recall, but I am sure it probably did crop up.

10 There were a small group of solicitors who regularly

11 appeared at the Crumlin Road courthouse representing

12 Republicans accused of offences, and it would have been

13 common among them that they would have known that police

14 made remarks to clients and to other people about them

15 and associated them with their clients as such, and said

16 things like "He is a Provo" or "She is a Provo".

17 Q. But in terms of the detail of it and her case, what you

18 knew about it came, did it, from reports you had read?

19 A. Specifically in relation to her, I can recall the

20 newspaper interview in which she referred to it.

21 Q. The Anne Cadwallader piece?

22 A. Yes, but I am sure it was probably discussed. If we

23 were sitting drinking coffee in the Crumlin Road, people

24 would quote examples of what somebody came out of

25 Castlereagh had said -- the police said this about you and

 

 

26

 

1 they would say if they said something different or a new

2 angle or something, it may have been quoted. But it was

3 certainly common talk at that time that the police would

4 say things to persons in custody about their solicitors.

5 Q. And was that sort of information, did that mirror your

6 own experience?

7 A. Yes, 100 per cent, yes.

8 Q. So that your clients would be reporting similar remarks,

9 would they?

10 A. Numerous occasions, numerous occasions. It was almost

11 on every occasion when you were in Castlereagh or

12 Strand Road and occasionally Gough that people would

13 come out and they would say what has happened to them,

14 if they were being physically abused or verbally abused,

15 or whatever. And almost invariably they would say you

16 want to hear what they say about you, they really hate

17 you. That was very common, almost in every case.

18 Q. Did you represent clients from both sides of the

19 community?

20 A. In relation to --

21 Q. In relation to those sorts of case?

22 A. In relation to emergency legislation, we dealt almost

23 exclusively with Republicans.

24 Q. Can you remember an occasion when a client from the

25 other part of the community ever reported remarks of

 

 

27

 

1 this kind?

2 A. To me?

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. No. From the Loyalist community?

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. No. But I didn't come into contact with too many of

7 them for them to tell me that.

8 Q. But in relation to your own work then, just briefly, was

9 your attitude the same as we have heard from a number of

10 other witnesses, namely that at that time in

11 Northern Ireland it was just part of the job?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Did you ever take up those comments and raise them in

14 the form of a complaint?

15 A. Other than -- other than raising them to the petitions

16 or the media statements that would have been issued on

17 behalf of groups of solicitors, not specifically.

18 I never wrote to the police to complain about something

19 that had been said about me by police officers.

20 Q. Can you just help. Why was that?

21 A. I wrote hundreds of letters of complaint about what

22 clients alleged had happened to them, but it was

23 a feeling that what they said about me was part of it.

24 They aren't -- it wasn't going to make any difference.

25 There was no point really and that was periphery to what

 

 

28

 

1 was happening to the client.

2 Q. So your concern was for the client's position rather

3 than your own?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. You talked about -- I think you used the word

6 "petitions". Can you look, please, briefly at

7 RNI-115-341 (displayed). That is the "Equal Protection

8 Under the Law" article, and if you flick over to

9 RNI-115-343 (displayed), do you see your name there

10 roughly in the middle of the column?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So this was a piece to which you put your name, amongst

13 many others. Is that right?

14 A. That is correct, yes.

15 Q. And did you therefore share and agree with the views

16 expressed within it?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. That's all I wanted to ask, Mr McDermott, but as you

19 have no doubt --

20 Question by THE CHAIRMAN

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr McDermott, when was that that you

22 subscribed to the petition.

23 A. This document?

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

25 A. I believe it was January 1998.

 

 

29

 

1 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Yes, sorry, I interrupted.

2 MR PHILLIPS: Not at all. Is there anything else you would

3 like to add?

4 A. No, I think that is it.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, thank you very much, Mr McDermott, for

6 coming to help us and I am sorry you had to come twice.

7 A. No problem, don't mention it.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. We will break off for 10 minutes.

9 (10.56 pm)

10 (Short break)

11 (11.05 am)

12 MS PATRICIA COYLE (sworn)

13 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

14 MR PHILLIPS: Ms Coyle, can you give us your full names,

15 please.

16 A. Patricia Coyle.

17 Q. Do you have the statement you made to the Inquiry in

18 front of you?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Could we have it up on the screen, please. It is at

21 RNI-803-019 (displayed). Turning over to RNI-803-024

22 (displayed), do we see your signature there and a date

23 of 13th December 2006?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Now, again, Ms Coyle, you probably heard me say to

 

 

30

 

1 the last witness, Mr McDermott, I am going to focus on

2 those parts of your statement which are particular to

3 your evidence, as opposed to the general matters that

4 other witnesses have covered for us.

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. But looking at your background, working background,

7 first of all, you qualified in 1994?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. And became a partner in a firm whose name I am afraid

10 has been redacted, but I am going to ask you the name

11 anyway because it is a very well-known name. You became

12 a partner, did you not, in Madden & Finucane?

13 A. Yes, that's correct.

14 Q. And you later left the firm and I think possibly set up

15 your own firm?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. When was that? When did you leave?

18 A. That was five years ago.

19 Q. Thank you. And you say in this same paragraph that

20 there were a limited number of female lawyers in

21 Northern Ireland dealing with criminal defence work at

22 that time?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. And that is the question I wanted to ask you: do you

25 mean when you qualified in 1994?

 

 

31

 

1 A. Yes, and previously during my apprenticeship with

2 Madden & Finucane from 1992 to 1994.

3 Q. As you know, the period we are particularly interested

4 in is slightly later than that, up to and including the

5 late 1990s. Did the position change during that period?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as your work was concerned,

8 whether at Madden & Finucane or later at your own

9 practice, can you describe the sort of work you did?

10 A. On a personal level?

11 Q. Yes.

12 A. I was involved exclusively with criminal defence work.

13 This would have included both arrest, PACE and emergency

14 provisions or PTA arrests at holding centres. There

15 were, I think, four holding centres in total in

16 Northern Ireland at that stage. It also would have

17 included obviously, carriage of Magistrates' Court

18 cases, County Court appeals, Crown Court cases, both

19 scheduled and non-scheduled, applications to the Court

20 of Appeal, applications to the Criminal Cases Review

21 Commission and, on occasion, applications to the

22 European Court of Human Rights.

23 Q. So a full range of criminal defence work?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Not just of the emergency legislation or terrorist kind,

 

 

32

 

1 but a broader range of criminal cases?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. Now, I would like to ask you in relation to the

4 terrorist cases, the emergency provisions cases, first

5 of all, were there other female lawyers apart from

6 Rosemary Nelson doing cases of that kind during the

7 late 1990s?

8 A. One of my colleagues in Madden & Finucane, [Deleted],

9 had experience with arrests under -- for scheduled

10 matters, and Rosemary. The two of them, in fact, in my

11 experience in terms of the greater Belfast area, would

12 have been the only two female solicitors practising in

13 the criminal defence area at that time.

14 Q. Thank you. You tell us in paragraph 3 that as a result

15 of your work in the scheduled offences cases, when you

16 had a client arrested, you would go to the holding

17 centre, Castlereagh, perhaps three or four times a day?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Now, again, just so we can get a feel for the sort of

20 experience which informs your evidence, would that level

21 of visiting be regular every week, every month, or how

22 did it pan out over the year?

23 A. During that period of time between 1994, certainly from

24 1994 to 1997, it would have been fairly frequent; every

25 week, every other week, there would have been arrests

 

 

33

 

1 for alleged scheduled offences.

2 The purpose of the visits on such a frequent basis

3 was in order to take fairly meticulous notes about what

4 was put at interview, obviously with a view to that

5 being of evidential use if there was a prosecution, or

6 alternatively for civil proceedings if there was

7 a release without charge.

8 Q. So in relation to these sorts of cases, you describe in

9 the same paragraph what you refer to as general police

10 attitude towards defence lawyers. Do you see that? It

11 is the first sentence of the paragraph.

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And reading down through that paragraph, it seems clear

14 that there was, you felt, based on your experience,

15 hostility?

16 A. If I can isolate and identify this, I don't think it is

17 clear from the written statement -- in relation to the

18 holding centres, I took a fairly clinical attitude.

19 I dealt with a case which is actually referred to in one

20 of the documents, which is a document which was put to

21 Mr McDermott; the reference is RNI-115-342.

22 That was a case of [Deleted], which was an

23 application to the European Court of Human Rights. In

24 relation to that case, in support of that application,

25 we had used a report by the European Committee On the

 

 

34

 

1 Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading

2 Treatment that was dated circa 1993. That report

3 detailed the tactics used by the police in the holding

4 centres, very deliberate tactics to disorientate and

5 isolate suspects in custody.

6 So in terms of my attendances at the holding centres

7 and taking instructions, my attitude was kind of going

8 so far as I expected there to be comments made to

9 undermine the solicitor or the confidence in the

10 solicitor in circumstances where solicitors were not

11 entitled to attend at the interviews during that period

12 of time.

13 Q. To be clear then, these comments were comments about

14 you?

15 A. I do not have specific -- I do not have a recollection

16 of ever having been a -- a threat having been

17 communicated to me via a client in those circumstances.

18 That never happened to me, but certainly I do have

19 general recollection.

20 I can't give you specifics here now about direct

21 comments which were obviously aimed and deliberately

22 designed to undermine the client's confidence or the

23 suspect's confidence in the attending solicitor. I said

24 I would break it down. That is -- so in relation to the

25 holding centres, my attitude was clinical. There were

 

 

35

 

1 going to be these comments, they were taken on

2 instructions. They were meticulously taken, they were

3 then put on the arrest file or any subsequent criminal

4 file or civil action file, and it is my recollection

5 that the senior partners in the firm may have forwarded

6 any relevant instructions which contained such comment

7 to Jane Winter of British Irish Rights Watch at that

8 time in order to database them, essentially.

9 The PACE cases were different insofar as there

10 was -- in relation to the holding centres there was no

11 overt hostility, because you were mainly being dealt

12 with by custody staff. PACE, however, was different

13 where you had direct contact with investigating officers

14 and with custody staff.

15 There was what I would describe, during the period

16 of 1994 to 1998, low level hostility. By that, if I can

17 explain, there was professional -- a lack of

18 professional courtesy, a failure to communicate

19 pre-interview disclosure, although at that stage there

20 were no specific rules about the availability of

21 pre-interview disclosure. And there would have been

22 distinctions made between how the police dealt with

23 solicitors from other firms, for example, in terms of

24 the conduct of a PACE interview.

25 Q. Just trying to pick up those various points, so we are

 

 

36

 

1 clear about this, the PACE interview cases or the PACE

2 clients are clients held in police stations?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. The scheduled offences clients are held in the holding

5 centres?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. What you are saying, I think, about the holding centres

8 is that you as a lawyer only encountered the uniformed

9 officers who were running the holding centre?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. You did not encounter and have dealings with the

12 interviewing officers?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. And it is, based on the reports made to you by your

15 clients, the interviewing officers who had made the

16 derogatory remarks?

17 A. Yes, that's correct.

18 Q. So in that sense you did not directly experience

19 hostility?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Any such hostility as was conveyed to you, came at one

22 remove, at second-hand via your clients?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. Thank you. In relation to the police station, however,

25 you draw this contrast, I think, which is that there,

 

 

37

 

1 you, as a defence lawyer, had direct contact with the

2 investigating officers?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. And in the course of that and during the period with

5 which we are concerned, what you have pointed to, for

6 example, is a certain lack of courtesy?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. What you have described in the context of proceedings as

9 an unprofessional approach to disclosure?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. And I think I gathered from the end of your answer that

12 you were suggesting that your firm in particular --

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. -- was singled out for adverse treatment?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. Is that fair?

17 A. That is fair, but I would say in relation to the PACE

18 stations that it was probably what I would describe as

19 low level hostility.

20 Q. So far as your personal experience of threats emanating

21 from other sources, if I can put it that way, you give

22 us the details, don't you, in paragraph 4 --

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. -- of your statement?

25 A. That's correct.

 

 

38

 

1 Q. And one of the matters you refer to, which is that your

2 name had been found on a CD ROM, a Loyalist CD ROM, and

3 indeed in relation to the second one, which was the

4 website, it sounds as though you were alerted to this by

5 the police. Is that right?

6 A. Yes, that's correct.

7 Q. And you subsequently investigated the matter for

8 yourself in relation to the website?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And found, for example, that the information was

11 inaccurate?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. Now, you say that those instances did not themselves

14 cause you serious concern?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Looking at the question of complaints, you deal with

17 this in paragraph 5 and you set out what I think, but

18 please confirm, was your firm's approach to such

19 matters?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Thank you. Now, as I understand it, the firm policy was

22 to lodge a complaint under the then complaints system?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. In the case of all allegations made by clients of

25 mistreatment or abuse?

 

 

39

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And did the same apply, therefore, if derogatory or

3 other comments were made about you or your fellow

4 lawyers in the firm?

5 A. I have no specific memory but I presume that would have

6 been the case, yes.

7 Q. But is this right: Was there such a case where you

8 yourself made a complaint?

9 A. No, not that I can --

10 Q. Not that you can recall?

11 A. No.

12 Q. Thank you.

13 So far as the firm's approach to it was concerned,

14 as I understand it, the point of it was to make sure

15 that the complaint was registered?

16 A. Yes. If I can assist the Inquiry, certainly the firm's

17 view was that the complaints procedure at that time was

18 a fairly toothless mechanism. It was a two-stage

19 procedure which involved either a grievance hearing,

20 which could result, if there was sufficient evidence, in

21 disciplinary action or the initiation of disciplinary

22 action, or alternatively there was an informal

23 resolution, as it was described, which was where, for

24 example, a police officer perhaps accused of incivility

25 could meet with the complainant. If it was accepted,

 

 

40

 

1 then an apology would be provided.

2 The difficulty with the system, of course, was the

3 lack of independence in relation to the RUC Complaints

4 and Discipline Department. It was, of course, an

5 internal department within the RUC at the time. And in

6 relation to the ICPC, it was again involved -- although

7 there was a lay element, it again involved members of

8 the RUC investigating themselves.

9 Q. What I wanted to ask you about the complaints that were

10 submitted is the significance of the phrase "for the

11 record". Do you see in the second sentence of this

12 paragraph 5?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Now, is it right that that suggests that the point of

15 the exercise was to make sure that there was a written

16 record of the complaint?

17 A. Yes, well, that is an explanation in part. The other

18 side of the explanation is that it was simply an

19 ineffective mechanism. Therefore, it had to be used but

20 there was no faith in it in terms of resolution.

21 Q. I wanted to ask about that, because you make a link in

22 the next sentence, do you see, between making

23 a complaint and other proceedings, both criminal and

24 civil?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

41

 

1 Q. And as I understand it, it was important in your view

2 and the view of your firm that the complaint should be

3 registered?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. With these other proceedings in mind?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Because, for example, in a criminal case, if a client in

8 the trial complained of mistreatment but no complaint

9 had been registered, a point would be taken against him?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And so also in relation to any civil claim -- is this

12 right? -- if you were to make a civil claim on behalf of

13 a client, for example, for assault in the police station

14 and no such claim had been made at the time, again,

15 a point would be taken on behalf of the defence about

16 that?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. In relation to your own action, which you refer to

19 earlier in your statement, that was a claim of

20 assault --

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. -- made by you on your own behalf, and I think it is

23 right in that case also that you made a complaint,

24 either on the day or the next day, registering the

25 assault?

 

 

42

 

1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. Presumably with exactly these considerations in mind?

3 A. Yes. In relation to that complaint, obviously there was

4 the added issue that this had been an assault on

5 a solicitor and officer of the court, so it was a fairly

6 unusual circumstance.

7 Q. Indeed. And in paragraph 2 at RNI-803-019 (displayed),

8 you deal with the matter briefly. You give us a date

9 for it and you have helpfully exhibited to your

10 statement, haven't you, the two judgments: the judgment

11 in the first instance level and then in the Court of

12 Appeal in Northern Ireland?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Where the judgment was given by the then Lord Chief

15 Justice?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. Presumably that was a relatively rare type of action to

18 be launched?

19 A. It was, and as I am sure every lawyer in this room will

20 appreciate, it was taken after great consideration,

21 given that to lose, on the face of it, a case like this

22 obviously one would suffer indignity in relation to

23 personal and professional reputation.

24 Q. So you gave it anxious thought?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

43

 

1 Q. And no doubt took your own advice?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. But you launched the proceedings and I think the

4 judgment of the Court of Appeal didn't come until the

5 end of 1999?

6 A. That's correct. I would like to add something about the

7 initial judgment which was delivered in December 1998.

8 I think the timing of this judgment was important,

9 because of the -- as a result of the

10 Good Friday Agreement, the Patten Commission, the public

11 consultation exercise had either been directed at that

12 stage or in fact may well have commenced. And I think

13 that the court was anxious not to politicise this case.

14 And on a simplistic analysis of the case, the court's

15 view was this was a personality-driven and

16 testosterone-fuelled incident.

17 The reality was, I think, that the court was

18 reluctant, in my view -- and of course these views are

19 probably not unexpected given that I was the

20 plaintiff -- but that the court was reluctant to (a)

21 politicise the case, and (b), to come to a conclusion

22 which would adversely impact on that public consultation

23 process at that time.

24 Q. We know that the Patten Commission was appointed, I

25 think, in the summer of 1998?

 

 

44

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Although it didn't report until the following year?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Now, just returning to this question of complaints for

5 a moment, you have explained the connection between the

6 launching of a complaint and other types of proceedings

7 to us.

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. What I wanted to ask you is this: once the complaint had

10 been registered, in relation to your own clients, did

11 they subsequently cooperate with the investigation?

12 A. No, and that was under advice. Obviously, from an

13 evidential point of view if there were pending criminal

14 or civil proceedings, any additional statement made

15 during the course of a police investigation of an

16 (inaudible) complaint could potentially be used in

17 cross-examination and inconsistencies relied upon by the

18 respondents, as it were, in civil proceedings or the

19 prosecution in criminal proceedings.

20 In those circumstances, it is sound legal advice to

21 advise a client not to cooperate until such proceedings

22 were terminated.

23 Q. So assuming they accepted the advice, which no doubt

24 they did in most, if not all, cases --

25 A. That's correct.

 

 

45

 

1 Q. -- the complaint having been launched, there was no

2 cooperation until any other proceedings had been

3 completed?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Can I just ask you what then? What, at the end of such

6 proceedings, would the advice have been?

7 A. Obviously if -- for example, if there had been imminent

8 or pending criminal proceedings, if a client was

9 acquitted, the reality is there would be no further

10 action in relation to the complaint on the part of the

11 client.

12 There was no firm policy in respect of

13 Madden & Finucane at that time in relation to civil

14 proceedings. I do recall just a specific number of

15 cases in which, after the conclusion of civil

16 proceedings, such as the case of David Adams v The

17 Chief Constable, where the complaint was pursued, and in

18 fact in that case an external police force -- I think it

19 was Strathclyde -- were brought into investigate the

20 matter after damages were awarded, I think in the sum of

21 £30,000 to Mr Adams.

22 So there were rare instances where the complaint

23 procedure would have been pursued after the termination

24 of civil or criminal proceedings.

25 Q. But in the vast majority of cases then, for one reason

 

 

46

 

1 or another, the complaint began and ended at the time of

2 its original register?

3 A. That is fair comment, yes. But that is against the

4 background that the view of the complaints mechanism was

5 that it was ineffective in any event.

6 Q. Yes. And you will remember all the discussion about

7 that at that time. Perhaps you remember the report of

8 Dr Hayes that led to the change in the system. Do you

9 remember that?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. One of the concerns that he expressed was that of course

12 the system would not function if lawyers didn't

13 encourage their clients to use it?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Do you remember that? Did those views have any effect

16 on your approach?

17 A. No, the reality was that criminal defence solicitors at

18 that time had very little confidence in the mechanism.

19 So that was a generally held view in any event.

20 Q. In relation to your own case, the case we have just

21 talked about, the one that went to the Court of Appeal,

22 we discussed earlier the fact that you made a complaint

23 yourself. What happened to that complaint? Did you

24 pursue it?

25 A. I did not. I should confirm that the -- I was the

 

 

47

 

1 plaintiff in the civil action. So the case was actually

2 dealt with by one of the senior partners, Mr McMenamin,

3 in the firm and he dealt with all aspects of the case,

4 including the lodging of the original complaint.

5 After the initial judgment came out, and

6 I considered whether or not to appeal and an appeal was

7 launched, during that period, between the original

8 judgment and the appeal, I wouldn't have considered what

9 to do with the complaint and I don't recall after the

10 Court of Appeal case that I gave it that much thought

11 simply because I was infuriated by both court judgments.

12 Q. Perhaps we can shed some light on it by showing you

13 a document. This is at RNI-104-032 (displayed).

14 A. Yes, I have been given a copy of that document.

15 Q. I think you were shown that this morning, weren't you?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. This is a document -- I am sure you won't have seen it

18 until this morning -- dated 12th March, do you see? And

19 it is an internal RUC document, and the context of it,

20 so you are aware, is that there was to be another report

21 by the Special Rapporteur, this one in fact at the time

22 of Rosemary Nelson's murder?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And you see there has been a request here for an update

25 in relation to matters dealt with in the earlier report,

 

 

48

 

1 which I want to talk to you about in a minute?

2 A. I see that, yes.

3 Q. Do you see number 1, "Complaint against police"?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And that is your name, and it says there in the first

6 line:

7 "Discipline file marked 'no disciplinary action',

8 6th February 1998 (complete)."

9 Then it gives the details of the civil action,

10 doesn't it?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Does that shed any light, as far as you are concerned,

13 as to what may have happened to your complaint?

14 A. Well, yes. I mean, I apologise if I didn't answer your

15 original question properly. My understanding was that

16 my complaint was launched and that it was dealt with

17 after -- at some point after the court case was

18 finished, both court cases finished, and that there was

19 no action taken as a result of the complaint and the

20 court cases.

21 Q. But it looks, doesn't it, from that -- it is only one

22 line, obviously -- as though in fact before even the

23 judgment in the first case the complaint had been

24 brought to an end?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

49

 

1 Q. And no disciplinary action was taken?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. Thank you.

4 A. In fact, I think the inspector -- sorry, the sergeant

5 involved was promoted to inspector at some point after

6 the original judgment.

7 Q. Yes. Now, so far as Rosemary Nelson is concerned, you

8 tell us about your dealings with and conversations with

9 her in your statement beginning in paragraph 6. Do you

10 have that? It's at RNI-803-021.

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. RNI-803-021 (displayed). Thank you.

13 How did you know about her?

14 A. From media reports and from Rosemary's involvement in

15 three high profile cases. I think she would have been

16 fairly well-known generally at that time. I can't

17 remember the exact dates, but the three cases of which

18 I knew were of course the Robert Hamill case, the

19 Colin Duffy case and the Garvaghy Road case.

20 Q. And you think that you would have known about her

21 therefore, as I understand it, from media or other

22 reports. Is that right?

23 A. Yes, and generally from within the profession.

24 Q. Yes. Now, you first were introduced to her, you think,

25 in the mid 1990s, around 1995/1996?

 

 

50

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. As far as we can tell, therefore, at that stage you

3 might have known that she was acting in the first

4 Colin Duffy case?

5 A. Yes. In fact, I have a clear recollection. The prison

6 transport bus was at the Maze Prison and an alarm went

7 off. And Rosemary and I were on the bus and struck up

8 a conversation, and she was in fact, if I remember

9 correctly, there to see Mr Duffy. At that stage he had

10 been convicted and I think she was working on his appeal

11 at that point.

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. I am not entirely sure of the dates --

14 Q. Certainly --

15 A. -- the general timeframe.

16 Q. Certainly, the appeal is in 1996. The reason I wanted

17 to check this with you is because she can't, I think,

18 have been known to you as a result of the other two

19 cases as at this time, because her work really started

20 later?

21 A. Yes. To clarify, my first knowledge of Rosemary would

22 have been as a result of media reports in relation to

23 the Duffy case and then a subsequent conversation

24 specifically in relation to that case whilst at the

25 prison.

 

 

51

 

1 Q. Yes. Now, between that first introduction and her

2 murder, how often did you meet and talk to her?

3 A. Not that often. I would have met with Rosemary at

4 Craigavon, for example, which would have been a local

5 court for Lurgan and Portadown prosecutions, which

6 I detail in paragraph 6. And then not that often

7 between 1996/1997 and 1999, but I would have seen her on

8 a daily basis in early 1999 in a trial in which we acted

9 for co-defendants.

10 Q. Which trial was that?

11 A. It was a trial -- I think the first person on the bill

12 of indictment was Rosemary's client. It was [Deleted].

13 Q. This was the sniper case?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And you were representing another defendant?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Now, so far as that is concerned, you say, I think, that

18 during that trial you had lunch together on a couple of

19 occasions?

20 A. That's correct.

21 Q. And I think I am right in taking it that it was on one

22 of those occasions that she described to you what had

23 happened to her on the Garvaghy Road in 1997?

24 A. Yes, that's correct.

25 Q. Can you remember whether you already knew about that

 

 

52

 

1 incident when she first spoke to you about it?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. You had heard about it presumably much nearer the time?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Had you read and seen coverage in the media?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Now, in telling us about what she told you, obviously

8 one of the difficulties is to try and separate what you

9 knew from the media and what you were told over the

10 lunch table?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Bearing that in mind, do you think that what you have

13 set out for us briefly here in your statement is based

14 on what she told you across the table?

15 A. Yes. I mean, I can specifically recall that Rosemary

16 did not go into the detail of the incident. She talked

17 about it generally.

18 If you look at the timeframe here -- this was early

19 1999, and the judgment of my case had just come out in

20 late December or early December of 1998.

21 Q. That is what I wanted to suggest to you, that in fact

22 the theme of the conversation looks as though it was

23 more about her considering whether to launch her own

24 civil claim?

25 A. Absolutely.

 

 

53

 

1 Q. And you were obviously known to her, weren't you, as

2 somebody who had done that already?

3 A. Yes. It may have been the case in fact that she had

4 already issued proceedings in the case. I can't recall,

5 and I couldn't recall when I made this statement, if she

6 had already issued proceedings or was still considering

7 it. It may have been the case she had already issued

8 and in fact was considering whether or not to pursue it.

9 Q. I think we know that the proceedings weren't issued in

10 fact until about the time of her murder. So is it

11 likely then, given what you know of the timing of the

12 trial, that this was before she launched the

13 proceedings?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Thank you. But anyway, she didn't, you say, go into any

16 detail about what had happened to her in 1997?

17 A. No, her concern was the impact on her personal and

18 professional reputation if she were to pursue the case

19 and lose it.

20 Q. What were you able to tell her about that?

21 A. That -- the distinction and advantage that I had was

22 that at that time I was working for Madden & Finucane,

23 which had been established, I think, at that stage -- it

24 was established in 1979. So there was 20 years of

25 experience in arguing (inaudible) causes. We had an

 

 

54

 

1 incredibly supportive number of senior partners and we

2 operated out of Belfast and covered -- and I think at

3 that stage there may have been two other sub-offices, so

4 the firm covered the entire North.

5 Now, Rosemary -- and I have heard Mr McDermott's

6 evidence this morning. The situation with Rosemary was

7 very different, where she obviously had the support of

8 her immediate and extended family. She was a sole

9 practitioner in a geographical position which was a hot

10 bed of tension, essentially. The advantage --

11 I discussed with her the fact that my indignity at

12 losing the case was cushioned to a degree by the

13 professional support of my colleagues. She would have

14 been in a much more disadvantageous position and she was

15 acutely aware of that.

16 Q. She was aware of it, you say, and expressed it in the

17 conversation?

18 A. Yes, and when I say the word "ambivalent" in this

19 paragraph, it was probably the wrong word. She was

20 concerned about the impact of taking such a case and

21 losing it as a sole practitioner.

22 Q. What were the repercussions that she thought might flow

23 or occur from taking proceedings of that kind?

24 A. She didn't discuss that. She simply raised her concerns

25 with me and asked me, having taken the risk of taking

 

 

55

 

1 taken such a case and then, on the face of it, being

2 unsuccessful or losing the case, which was obviously how

3 it was communicated in the media, she wanted to know the

4 details in relation to the negotiations: whether or not

5 the police had made any efforts to settle the case,

6 which of course they did, and the manner in which they

7 did that. And I think that that had given her some

8 comfort, the fact that efforts had been made to not deal

9 with the case as a full trial action.

10 She was concerned with the fact that I had been

11 asked to sign a statement which was contrary to the true

12 version of events. That would of course have been

13 a much easier way for me to deal with this case, and she

14 was concerned about the fact that the direction that

15 that statement had to be signed and would be made public

16 had come directly from the Chief Constable at the time

17 of the negotiations in relation to my action.

18 Does that answer your question?

19 Q. It does. Now, in paragraph 9 you return to this

20 conversation and you express the opinion that she

21 believed that her situation could not get much worse

22 anyway?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Can you help us. What do you mean by that?

25 A. At the conclusion of the conversation, having discussed

 

 

56

 

1 what had happened in my court action and the lack --

2 Rosemary was concerned about the lack of support shown

3 by the courts in relation to that action. But at the

4 conclusion of our conversation, it was a one-hour --

5 a one hour 15-minute conversation -- her view was, well,

6 given the background of the much more coal face threats

7 she had received -- the incident with me was a much more

8 low level incident of hostility -- I think her

9 conclusion was, well, at the end of the day, if I take

10 the case and lose it, it wasn't going to result in her

11 losing her current client base. So therefore, the

12 impact on her professionally would have been -- would

13 not have been in terms of loss of business, for example,

14 would not have been enormous.

15 I'm not sure I'm answering your question properly

16 here.

17 Q. Can I just ask you -- that is surprising comment. So

18 the repercussions she was concerned about were

19 professional repercussions, were they?

20 A. They were both professional and personal. She was

21 acutely aware of her professional reputation and the

22 need to keep that intact in terms of the level of cases

23 that she was dealing with.

24 Q. So she was concerned that if she took action of this

25 kind, it might affect her professional life?

 

 

57

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. But presumably you also discussed with her the possible

3 effects on her personal life?

4 A. Just in brief. It seemed to me from our conversation

5 that Rosemary had in her own mind balanced the risk to

6 herself, her immediate family, her extended family,

7 against the threats that she was under, and perhaps as

8 a matter of professional pride had decided that she was

9 going to deal with it in particular way; in other words,

10 not to let it overwhelm her life and to continue to try

11 to carry out her obligations to her clients.

12 Q. And these comments came in in a part of the

13 conversation, did they, where, as you put it in your

14 statement, she told you about her concerns for her own

15 personal security?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And those, she explained to you, did arise from her

18 acting in the high profile cases?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And those are the cases that you mentioned earlier, are

21 they?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. It looked as though she explained to you that she had

24 a strategy in relation to this, which was to keep her

25 profile high to make public what was happening to her?

 

 

58

 

1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. Because she saw that, didn't she, as a form of

3 protection?

4 A. That's correct.

5 Q. And that presumably explained to you, if you hadn't

6 realised it already, why it was that you saw her and she

7 was so often portrayed, talked about, reported on, in

8 the media?

9 A. That's correct.

10 Q. But as I understand it, beyond that, you didn't discuss

11 with her any details either of what had led to those

12 concerns or indeed what security measures she had taken?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. Did what she told you make you concerned for her safety?

15 A. Yes, it did.

16 Q. Did you express that concern to her?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Did you suggest that she should do something about it?

19 A. I did. I mean, I simply warned her -- not warned, but

20 advised her that she should be careful given her

21 geographical position.

22 Q. And you say in paragraph 11 at the bottom of this same

23 page, that you advised her -- I assume in one of these

24 lunches, one of these conversations?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

59

 

1 Q. -- to be cautious?

2 A. Yes, that's correct.

3 Q. And you put that in the context of the

4 post-Good Friday Agreement period?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. So as far as you were concerned, although the agreement

7 was now some months earlier in April 1998, she had good

8 reason to be careful for her personal security?

9 A. That's correct.

10 Q. And do you think she accepted the point that you were

11 making?

12 A. I think it was a point which had been made to her by

13 much more experienced practitioners than me, probably on

14 a number of occasions. But as I say, I think Rosemary

15 herself had in her own mind settled on a strategy for

16 dealing with this and had obviously reconciled herself

17 with that strategy.

18 Q. So you think she may have discussed this issue with more

19 senior lawyers, if I can put it that way?

20 A. Yes, practitioners who had been practising from the

21 1970s, 1980s, perhaps, yes.

22 Q. Did you learn from her whether she had discussed it with

23 anyone else?

24 A. No, not specifically.

25 Q. For instance, she didn't tell you that she had taken

 

 

60

 

1 advice or sought advice from any more official body?

2 A. No.

3 Q. And in relation to the police specifically -- this is

4 your paragraph 10 on page RNI-803-022 (displayed) -- you

5 say that in -- I assume it is one of these two

6 conversations, again, the lunchtime conversations, she

7 expressed what you described as her main grievance?

8 A. Yes, that's correct.

9 Q. This is that some police officers were apparently unable

10 to separate her from her clients?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Did she give you examples of that?

13 A. No.

14 Q. She did not?

15 A. No.

16 Q. But from the way that she talked about it, did you

17 understand that to be a significant factor as far as she

18 was concerned?

19 A. It was her main grievance.

20 Q. It was her main grievance?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Did she draw a connection between that and her concern

23 for her personal safety?

24 A. I think there was an automatic connection.

25 Q. Yes. But you say in this paragraph that she gave you no

 

 

61

 

1 information, specific information, about complaints or

2 threats that she had received?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. Now, the next matter that I would like to touch on

5 briefly with you, you raise in your statement in

6 paragraph 12, and this is an event which took place,

7 didn't it, after Rosemary Nelson had been murdered?

8 A. Yes, I can't recall the specific date unfortunately.

9 Q. Do you think it was in 1999?

10 A. Yes, it was.

11 Q. Yes, thank you. And you were at the High Court in

12 Belfast. Is that right?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. And you spoke to a court clerk there?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. A man who has since died?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And as I understand it, he approached you?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. And began a conversation?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, did he begin the conversation with the words that

23 you quote in the paragraph, or how did the conversation

24 start?

25 A. That was the conversation, that was the totality of it.

 

 

62

 

1 Q. So he came over to you --

2 A. I beg your pardon, it was prefaced by the comment from

3 the clerk that Rosemary's murder was terrible, and then

4 the second -- I agreed with him and the second comment

5 was the comment indicated in paragraph 12.

6 Q. Where he said:

7 "I told Rosemary to watch her phones"?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. And that was it, was it?

10 A. Yes, he then walked away.

11 Q. Did you try to follow him and seek further information?

12 A. No, I don't believe that he would have given me any

13 further information. I was initially at the time

14 surprised at the comment, but it came in the aftermath

15 of Rosemary's murder which was obviously a fairly

16 shocking thing for many involved in the legal

17 profession.

18 Q. After that day, presumably you thought about the comment

19 that he had made?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And did you seek at any point to follow it up with him?

22 A. My impression at the time and my thinking at the time is

23 that this gentleman had been employed, to my knowledge,

24 certainly from at least 1992, specifically dealing with

25 scheduled cases in the Crumlin Road and thereafter in

 

 

63

 

1 Antrim courthouse and then the High Court as the sort of

2 transitional period in terms of the changes in the

3 administration of justice -- it affected court venues.

4 So I don't believe that he would have elaborated on the

5 comment. I didn't believe that at the time.

6 There was no point in pursuing him to ask him

7 exactly what he meant. In fact, I was quite surprised

8 that he made the comment.

9 Q. So you didn't think that there was reason then to follow

10 it up in the context, for example, of the investigation

11 of the murder?

12 A. I did not, and on reflection in preparation for giving

13 evidence -- it is not in the statement, but I have

14 a memory of communicating this information possibly

15 verbally to the Committee for the Administration of

16 Justice in about 1999, and perhaps subsequently in

17 around 2003, when Judge Peter Cory was appointed to

18 investigate these cases.

19 Q. So you think you may have passed it on to -- just

20 dealing with that in turn -- to CAJ, first of all, you

21 think in 1999?

22 A. Yes, but at that stage probably verbally.

23 Q. Yes. And later during the Cory investigation in

24 2003/2004?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

64

 

1 Q. Now, in your interview for the Inquiry witness statement

2 at paragraph 13, you were clearly asked to speculate --

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. -- about the significance of what had been said, but

5 declined to do so?

6 A. That is correct. But I am happy, if it would assist the

7 Inquiry, to do that today.

8 My view on the comment by the court clerk is, given

9 his background as an experienced DPP clerk dealing

10 specifically and exclusively, if my memory is correct,

11 with scheduled trials, is that he -- one -- he would

12 have obtained this information in one of possibly four

13 scenarios. The first one, in my view, would have been

14 a situation where he may have been present during an

15 ex parte application in relation to documents, sensitive

16 documentation which the prosecution sought public

17 interest immunity on.

18 These ex parte applications took place fairly

19 regularly in relation to the Diplock cases, judge-only

20 cases relating to scheduled offences. So the court

21 clerk in question may have been present at one of these

22 hearings at which this information was available.

23 The second scenario -- and again, obviously all of

24 this is speculation, but this is my view -- is where he

25 may have had access to documentation regarding

 

 

65

 

1 applications for telephone tapping under the, I think,

2 pre-2000 -- it was the Police Act, and he may have had

3 direct access to those documents and that may have been

4 the basis for his warning.

5 The third scenario is where he simply came across it

6 in the course of his employment from other DPP staff or

7 police personnel.

8 And the fourth scenario is obviously that it was

9 a matter of rumour which came to him and he communicated

10 it directly to Rosemary.

11 Q. As you have observed fairly and clearly, you observe in

12 your statement, that is all speculation?

13 A. It is, yes.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: The significance of that was that this man

15 was a member of the Director of Public Prosecution

16 staff, wasn't he?

17 A. Absolutely, and more significantly that he had, in my

18 memory of dealing with him, only ever dealt with

19 scheduled cases exclusively.

20 MR PHILLIPS: Can I ask you this: did Rosemary Nelson

21 herself ever express to you a concern in your

22 conversations that her phones might have been tapped?

23 A. No.

24 Q. Did you ever hear that suggestion made by anyone else

25 about her phones before she was murdered?

 

 

66

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. Thank you. Can I deal with more general matters now as

3 they come out of your statement; first, to get you to

4 look, please, at RNI-115-341 (displayed) on the screen.

5 This is the article we have looked at with a number of

6 consequence witnesses "Equal Protection Under the Law".

7 If you look at RNI-115-343 (displayed), do you see your

8 name there?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. The sixth name in the list. And again, as I have asked

11 other witnesses, I assume by the fact that you put your

12 name to it that these were views which you held?

13 A. Yes, and over and above that, as I indicated earlier in

14 my evidence as page RNI-803-342, the case of

15 [Deleted]. That was a case I dealt with personally to

16 the European Court of Human Rights, subsequently on CCRC

17 referral to the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland

18 post-incorporation. Interestingly enough, that is

19 a case in which the Court of Appeal in June of last year

20 acknowledged that a regime -- an oppressive regime was

21 designed and operated in relation to suspects in custody

22 in the holding centres. I think that is a judgment

23 dated 7th June 2007.

24 Q. So that is the case referred to at the top of

25 page RNI-803-342. Can we have that on the screen,

 

 

67

 

1 please (displayed). That is the European Court of Human

2 Rights case?

3 A. Yes, that's correct. At that stage, the Criminal Cases

4 Review Commission had yet to refer the case back to the

5 Northern Ireland Court of Appeal, but the judgment had

6 issued from the European Court confirming there had been

7 a breach of Article 6 despite that judgment issuing. It

8 was pre-incorporation so there was no domestic

9 enforcement.

10 There had been nothing done by the Government in

11 relation to addressing the judgment and the issues

12 raised in it. And I should also say on the first page

13 of that document there is reference to a number of cases

14 involving the rule of law and the use of lethal force

15 during the period 1992 to 1997.

16 Madden & Finucane solicitors and myself personally

17 were involved in sourcing and collating information in

18 relation to the murder of 13 people on Bloody Sunday in

19 1972. There were obviously a litany of other cases, but

20 that first page relates -- the initial part of it -- to

21 a number cases using these -- where security forces had

22 used lethal force in Northern Ireland. And the

23 solicitors who, in the main, subscribed to this

24 statement would have been solicitors who would have been

25 involved in a number of those cases.

 

 

68

 

1 Q. Can I ask you about that? Do you see at the bottom of

2 the second indented paragraph, there is a sentence

3 beginning:

4 "This has contributed to situations as witnessed in

5 1996 and 1997 where thousands of plastic bullets were

6 used ..."

7 Et cetera. Is that a reference, do you think, to

8 the confrontations over the marches or parades?

9 A. Probably in part, yes. There were other isolated

10 incidents in relation to the use of plastic bullets and

11 there is a history of fatal deaths as a result of the

12 use of plastic bullets in Northern Ireland.

13 Q. Now, in relation to the issue of complaints, I think it

14 was much earlier in your evidence you indicated, I

15 think, that the firm would pass on details to one or

16 other of the main NGOs. Is that right?

17 A. Yes, my recollection is it was Ms Winter of British

18 Irish Rights Watch.

19 Q. Yes. And that was a standard policy, as I understand

20 it, throughout the 1990s. Is that correct?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. In relation to you and your experiences specifically,

23 your name was passed by Jane Winter to the Special

24 Rapporteur, wasn't it?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

69

 

1 Q. In advance of his visit in October 1997?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Did you meet Mr Cumaraswamy during his visit?

4 A. No.

5 Q. You did not?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Can we look, please, at RNI-106-028 (displayed). This

8 is an extract, an extract from his draft report and you

9 see in paragraph 18 at the bottom of the page he gives

10 an example and you are named in the draft report?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. Do you see that?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Is the event that he goes on to describe the event which

15 gave rise to your civil action?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. So if we turn over the page, please, to RNI-106-029

18 (displayed).

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. We see, don't we, the circumstances which led to the

21 action for assault?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. And indeed, that action is referred to in the final

24 sentence?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

70

 

1 Q. Did you yourself submit those details to the Rapporteur?

2 A. No, my recollection is they were submitted by Ms Winter.

3 Q. Thank you. Were you aware at the time that your name

4 was in the draft report?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. You were?

7 A. I was, yes.

8 Q. How did you come to be aware of that?

9 A. I think I was advised of that position by Ms Winter.

10 Q. So she had seen the draft report?

11 A. That is my recollection, yes.

12 Q. And she, what, she telephoned you?

13 A. I should clarify that. My memory is that, yes, she did

14 telephone me to ask for my consent in relation to the

15 use of the information and material, and then I remember

16 a subsequent telephone conversation in relation to when

17 the names were redacted --

18 Q. So taking it in order then, she did seek your permission

19 to use this example?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And to provide it to the Rapporteur?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And is this right, then: she came back to you, perhaps

24 in February or March 1998 and told you, did she, that

25 your name was in the draft?

 

 

71

 

1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. How did you react to that?

3 A. I did not have a problem with it.

4 Q. You didn't have problem?

5 A. The court cases were ultimately a matter of public

6 record.

7 Q. Now, at this stage of the report, the action was ongoing

8 and indeed the judgment, as you have explained to us,

9 wasn't delivered at first instance until December 1998?

10 A. That's correct. I should explain what I've just said.

11 When I took this action it was after much consideration,

12 and this was on the basis that I accepted that I might

13 have to run it.

14 Q. And that your name would emerge in public?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. So you were not consulted by the Rapporteur or his

17 office about whether you were content; you were

18 consulted instead by Jane Winter?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. Thank you. When did you discover that your name had

21 been removed in the final text?

22 A. I can't remember. I can't give the Inquiry the date.

23 I have no recollection of it.

24 Q. Can we have a look briefly at another document? It is

25 at RNI-103-232 (displayed). Now, if you look at

 

 

72

 

1 paragraph 8.6, this forms part of a British Irish Rights

2 Watch report. It was issued, I think, in November 1998,

3 so some months on from the last document we looked at.

4 And just to show you the start of the document, we can

5 see that, please, at RNI-103-205 (displayed).

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. It was entitled "Mistaken identity, attempted

8 intimidation of defence lawyers in Northern Ireland, the

9 murder of Pat Finucane and other issues."

10 If we just move on, please, to RNI-103-230 in the

11 same file (displayed), do you see that in the same

12 section or chapter, chapter 8, paragraph 8.3,

13 Rosemary Nelson's example is given?

14 A. I see that, yes.

15 Q. And then turning back to your page, if I can put it that

16 way, RNI-103-232 (displayed), again, this is at 8.6, the

17 same incident, isn't it?

18 A. That's correct.

19 Q. But we can see that by this stage the trial had taken

20 place?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And that indeed the NGO had sent an observer to the

23 first two days of the hearing?

24 A. That's correct.

25 Q. And the point is made at the end of the paragraph, the

 

 

73

 

1 penultimate sentence, do you see that:

2 "The only two complaints of actual assault of

3 lawyers by RUC officers that have come to our attention

4 have involved female lawyers."

5 Which I hope you can see now, based on what I have

6 shown you, is yourself and Rosemary Nelson?

7 A. Yes, that's correct.

8 Q. Now, I assume therefore that in relation to this report

9 also, your consent was sought and given for these

10 details to be included?

11 A. I have no doubt that that was the case.

12 Q. Yes, those are all the questions I wish to ask.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much.

14 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

15 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Ms Coyle, would you personally have

16 been concerned had your name been left in the

17 Cumaraswamy Report?

18 A. No.

19 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: It has been suggested to us that the

20 Chief Constable requested that names be removed from the

21 report for the safety of the individuals concerned.

22 A. Yes.

23 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Is that a legitimate --

24 A. Are you asking me to comment on his subjective analysis?

25 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Please, yes.

 

 

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1 A. It is a presumption that -- on his part that defence

2 lawyers would have objected to it for that reason, for

3 safety. It is obviously something which I think if he

4 was going to rely upon it, presumption of that nature,

5 perhaps he should have consulted with the individuals

6 concerned.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay, thank you very much.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Ms Coyle. We will have

9 an adjournment for 10 minutes; say 20 past 12.

10 (12.10 pm)

11 (Short break)

12 (12.25 pm)

13 MR BARRA MCGRORY (sworn)

14 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

15 MR PHILLIPS: Mr McGrory, can you give us your full names,

16 please?

17 A. Yes, Patrick James Barra McGrory.

18 Q. Do you have in front of you the statement that you made

19 to the Inquiry?

20 A. Yes, I have.

21 Q. Can we look at that on the screen, please, at

22 RNI-813-463 (displayed)? And if we turn over, do we see

23 your signature there and the date of 7th June last year?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. I think it is also right that this morning you have been

 

 

75

 

1 shown a number of other documents and you have had an

2 opportunity, albeit a brief one, to look at them?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. Thank you. Now, dealing with your own position in the

5 Inquiry, you -- in this Inquiry -- represent Mr Nelson,

6 Mr Paul Nelson?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. But the evidence you give deals with your own

9 experience, other than in relation to this case for the

10 most part --

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. -- of working as a solicitor in Northern Ireland?

13 A. Yes, indeed.

14 Q. You tell us that you joined your father's firm as

15 a trainee in 1984 and qualified in 1987?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And you have been working at the firm ever since, I

18 think?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. And I believe I am right in saying that last year you

21 were the first solicitor in Northern Ireland to take

22 silk?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. Thank you. The firm itself, I would like to ask you

25 about it during the period with which we are

 

 

76

 

1 particularly concerned, which is the 1990s. How large

2 was it? How many partners and how many lawyers?

3 A. A small firm. Really my father founded the firm in 1947

4 and he took his first partner on in the 1980s, and it

5 remained a two-partner firm then. That partner left the

6 practice and then I joined it as a partner subsequently.

7 And it remains a two-partner firm, currently with four

8 assistant solicitors.

9 Q. The original partner, your father's partner, was that

10 Oliver Kelly?

11 A. No, Oliver Kelly was a trainee solicitor with my father

12 and then worked with him, but he hadn't an equity

13 partnership at the point that he left to set up his own

14 practice.

15 Q. What sort of work did the firm do?

16 A. The firm was a fairly general, I suppose, high street

17 practice, as you would describe it, when it evolved

18 throughout the 50s and 60s, but my father was one of

19 a small number of solicitors who did criminal defence

20 work at that time, which was pre-criminal Legal Aid.

21 And then when the Troubles erupted in 1968, the firm --

22 he began to do a lot of criminal defence work arising

23 out of the conflict.

24 So the firm had a reputation -- developed

25 a reputation at that point of being a criminal defence

 

 

77

 

1 firm, although actually there was a significant civil

2 dimension to the firm as well.

3 Q. Now, you say in paragraph 2 of your statement that there

4 were few lawyers undertaking criminal defence work back

5 then. Do you mean at that time in the early 1970s?

6 A. Yes, very few and even subsequent to that -- I mean, if

7 you look at the stable of lawyers who engaged in this

8 type of work, my father was one of the early ones.

9 Oliver Kelly trained with him and then set up his own

10 firm, and the likes of Paddy McDermott who gave evidence

11 earlier trained with Oliver Kelly, as did Pat Finucane

12 for a time.

13 So the community of lawyers engaged in that type of

14 work was a relatively small one and generally speaking

15 we knew each other fairly well.

16 Q. I think the point you are making in this paragraph was

17 that the number of lawyers doing criminal defence work

18 was small, and within that the number prepared and

19 involved in terrorist-related work was even smaller?

20 A. Yes. Of course, there was -- there is a much broader

21 dimension to criminal defence work than that which arose

22 during the conflict. In terms of ordinary crime, there

23 would have been a larger number of firms that dealt with

24 that type of work, which was carried out under normal

25 criminal legislation.

 

 

78

 

1 But then, as you are well aware, of course, the

2 criminal defence work that arose -- that directly

3 related to the conflict was conducted in a very

4 different atmosphere, both in terms of how the trials

5 were dealt with by the court system and how the

6 prisoners were dealt with by the police.

7 Q. This is the emergency legislation that we have heard

8 about?

9 A. Indeed.

10 Q. Yes. The position you mention in paragraph 2, as to the

11 number of lawyers taking on the terrorist-type cases,

12 did that remain the same in the subsequent years,

13 i.e. through the 70s, the 80s, until the 1990s?

14 A. Every now and again a new face would occur and a new

15 personality would arrive on the scene, but most often

16 from one of those original firms, perhaps setting up

17 their own film. And then, of course, a lot of the work

18 was concentrated on Belfast.

19 So there was a small community of lawyers in

20 Belfast, but then outside of Belfast there would have

21 been firms in Derry and in County Fermanagh, County

22 Tyrone, and County Armagh, which would perhaps have been

23 less specialists in this particular type of work but who

24 would have become known as people engaged in that work

25 in those regions.

 

 

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1 Q. Was Rosemary Nelson one of the new faces that emerged on

2 the scene?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Can I just ask you why was it, do you think, that such

5 a relatively small number of solicitors were involved in

6 cases of that kind?

7 A. There are probably a number of factors there. I think

8 once reputations were gained, those who were accused

9 that of type of crime would have gone towards those who

10 had a reputation for working in that area. And then, as

11 some new firms were formed, you would find that they

12 were formed by people who had worked in the other firms

13 who were engaged in it. So they had reputations of

14 their own that they had developed.

15 But also, I think there would have been a reluctance

16 on the part of a lot of lawyers who had significant

17 civil practices to engage in this type of work for

18 a number of reasons.

19 Q. Would you like to explain what you thought the reasons

20 were?

21 A. Well, I think once you had got -- the problem with this

22 type of work is that it was high profile; it got a lot

23 of media attention. And once your profile was raised as

24 someone who was prepared to appear in this type of case,

25 I think it undoubtedly discouraged clients from, say,

 

 

80

 

1 the business community or clients who might have had

2 a perception about the people you represented from

3 coming to you to represent them. And I think it was

4 something that -- I know my father and I discussed it

5 often, that one of the difficulties of doing that type

6 of work was that it inhibited the growth of the practice

7 in those other areas. I think that is just a reality of

8 how we live.

9 Q. So professionally it brought with it the danger that the

10 practice would narrow?

11 A. Yes, a very real and practical effect of doing that type

12 of work. And then there is the other issue as well,

13 which is the danger. It became a dangerous thing to do

14 and that put a lot of people off.

15 Q. Now, dealing with your firm and this type of work in

16 particular, your father, as you say, was a very

17 well-known lawyer in Belfast and indeed in

18 Northern Ireland?

19 A. And beyond.

20 Q. And beyond, indeed. And was himself involved, wasn't

21 he, in a significant number of important terrorist

22 cases?

23 A. Yes, he was.

24 Q. Now, you followed him in the firm, as you have

25 explained. Did your own practice from the start in 1987

 

 

81

 

1 include work of this kind?

2 A. Yes, almost exclusively -- I think I made an effort to

3 take an interest in the other aspects of the practice.

4 My father was falling into ill-health around that time

5 and it required me to work more closely with him in that

6 area, and we had a lot of -- an awful lot of work on.

7 So I really did almost exclusively that type of work.

8 Q. And did that position remain the case during the next

9 decade, i.e. through the 1990s?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. It did?

12 A. My father died in 1994, so I became the sole partner

13 dealing with that work from then on.

14 Q. Now, you explain in paragraph 11 of your statement at

15 page RNI-813-466 (displayed), one of the consequences,

16 as you see it, of working under these very particular

17 conditions -- in other words, dealing with the effects

18 of the emergency legislation -- and you make this

19 comment which I would like to ask you about.

20 You say that:

21 "Most defence lawyers were, therefore, an island in

22 a sea of hostility for many of those arrested for

23 terrorist crimes as we would be the only people they

24 would see during this period, other than the

25 interrogators themselves."

 

 

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1 I assume that that is a comment based on your own

2 experience of such cases?

3 A. Yes, very much so. When I started to do this type of

4 work in the 1980s, the emergency legislation was

5 structured in such a way that those being interrogated

6 were held for the most part for seven days. Their

7 access to their lawyers at that point was only made

8 available every other day, every 48 hours. So that they

9 had no solicitor present, they were able to see no one

10 from the outside world, they were held incommunicado

11 from their families. The lawyer was the only person

12 they would see outside of that, and then it was only

13 every 48 hours.

14 Now, as time progressed -- and I can't remember when

15 these changes were made precisely, but we were then

16 allowed in every day, every 24 hours, and then in much

17 more recent times we had been allowed in two or three

18 times a day. But certainly for quite a number of years

19 it was the former.

20 Q. And this created, didn't it, a very particular

21 relationship between the client in those circumstances

22 and his lawyer?

23 A. Well, it did, because you had an hour with your client

24 and the client frequently didn't really need much legal

25 advice, because they were -- first of all, there was no

 

 

83

 

1 adverse inference from silence in those days, so you

2 didn't need to advise them of any risks or dangers of

3 saying nothing, and frequently the clients had

4 pre-determined that they were going to say nothing

5 anyway. So the strict legal advice could have been

6 dealt with fairly quickly.

7 But the client took the opportunity to get

8 a breather from the fairly rigorous regime of

9 interrogation, and you were expected to have a packet of

10 cigarettes with you even if you didn't smoke. You were

11 obviously -- it was obviously an important event in

12 the -- for the client at that time.

13 Q. So, as you say over the top of the page at RNI-813-467

14 (displayed):

15 "Sometimes they really just wanted to speak. They

16 didn't really want legal advice and that didn't take up

17 much time. Really, they just wanted somebody to

18 talk to."

19 A. That was my experience.

20 Q. And it is right, isn't it, as I think you have

21 suggested, that a substantial proportion of such clients

22 would have maintained silence throughout their

23 interrogation?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And that is something, as I think you suggested, that

 

 

84

 

1 they didn't need advice upon from you?

2 A. No, I have had many occasions when I advised the

3 contrary and the advice wasn't taken.

4 Q. You advised clients to speak up?

5 A. Once the law changed that became advice that was

6 essential from time to time. I mean, I wouldn't

7 underestimate the extent to which the client did need

8 some legal advice. Obviously people were arrested in

9 different circumstances. It varied from people arrested

10 in hot pursuit, and on those occasions quite a lot of

11 advice would be needed. But then on many occasions

12 people were routinely lifted for interrogation based on

13 intelligence, and the extent of the legal advice was

14 therefore limited, because obviously rumour and innuendo

15 was being put to the client as evidence of their

16 involvement and there wasn't really any need for them to

17 respond, or indeed for you to advise them to do so.

18 Q. Indeed, as you explain in these paragraphs, the effect

19 of this, in relation to some of the clients at any rate,

20 is that you got to know them really very well. Is that

21 right?

22 A. Yes, that was the reality of it and then these people

23 were repeatedly arrested, of course. So you might find

24 that you were seeing someone in Castlereagh that you had

25 seen a week or two earlier. And I got to know them

 

 

85

 

1 quite well, and obviously their families became clients

2 of the office and they became part of your life in some

3 ways.

4 Q. It looks also from your statement as though the

5 importance of these relationships, relationships between

6 you as the lawyer and the clients, in these

7 circumstances was something taught to you by your

8 father?

9 A. Yes, I was always taught to have a great respect for the

10 client, and in these situations you had to understand

11 the -- what was going on with the client and the

12 difficulties the client faced in the context of the

13 interrogation they were undergoing at that time.

14 But at the same time, it was a professional

15 relationship and that was also something that I believe

16 I was taught and learnt in my professional capacity.

17 Q. So you were aware, were you, of the need always to keep

18 that professional element of your relationship, the

19 relationship between you and the clients?

20 A. Very much so.

21 Q. And not allow those lines to be blurred?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, you used an expression earlier in your evidence

24 about the cases of this kind. I think you used the

25 expression "high profile"?

 

 

86

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And I just wanted to ask you some questions about that.

3 You started in 1987; the period with which we are

4 concerned takes us up to the end of the following

5 decade, to 1999. Was there a change during that period,

6 that you can recall, in the profile of those sorts of

7 cases?

8 A. Well, the emergency legislation evolved first of all to

9 allow for greater access to lawyers and at some point

10 the tape recording of interviews in the holding centres

11 was introduced, which made a significant difference.

12 And then, of course, the volume of that type of work

13 significantly decreased after the ceasefires. It didn't

14 disappear altogether but it started to lessen.

15 Q. Was there an effect after the 1994 ceasefire?

16 A. Yes, although there was the occasional incident. One

17 significant case we were involved in was an armed

18 robbery in Newry post office which resulted in a death,

19 which was not long after the ceasefire. But that was

20 rare during that period and then the ceasefire broke

21 down in 1997.

22 There were a series of incidents: a bombing in

23 Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn which led to a major

24 police operation out of which arose a number of

25 prosecutions of alleged intelligence agents of the IRA.

 

 

87

 

1 And we were involved in all of those cases, but they

2 became rarer.

3 Q. So from that point on, from 1997, they tailed off, did

4 they, towards the end of the decade?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Now, that is helpful, if I may say so, about profile

7 and --

8 A. Sorry, the ceasefire might have broken down earlier than

9 1997. It was reinstated immediately after New Labour

10 came to power in May 1997. So it probably broke down in

11 1996.

12 Q. Thank you. But returning to the question of profile,

13 when you were engaged in work of this kind, the

14 terrorist offences kind, would you speak to the media?

15 A. Not about the detail of a case, but obviously because of

16 the profile of the work the media were very much

17 interested in many of the cases you were involved in.

18 And you might -- and you were covering them and you

19 might have conversations, I suppose, but you would not

20 have given a formal interview about the detail of a case

21 or express a view.

22 Q. So the media had an interest in your cases, or some of

23 your cases?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And you would speak to journalists and others on an

 

 

88

 

1 informal basis?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Was it your practice to give, at any stage, formal

4 interviews to the media?

5 A. No.

6 Q. No. And so in general, is this right, that you dealt

7 with the media on an off-the-record or informal basis?

8 A. Yes, in an appropriate manner, of course. You would

9 never have disclosed any -- breached any client

10 confidentiality or disclosed any detail that would not

11 have been appropriate to disclose. But journalists

12 might have asked you what is this case about and you

13 would have helped them with that.

14 Q. But they came to you?

15 A. Oh, yes.

16 Q. You would never initiate contact with them?

17 A. No.

18 Q. You would never, in that sense, draw attention to your

19 cases?

20 A. No, except insofar as you couldn't help it if they asked

21 you about them. They frequently did.

22 Q. You answered their questions?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. To the extent that this was proper to do so?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Thank you. In this context can I ask you to look at

2 paragraph 39, and this is at RNI-813-475 (displayed)?

3 This is a paragraph which deals in fact with the

4 Rapporteur, and we will come back to that in a minute,

5 but there is an aspect of the paragraph I think is

6 relevant here and I would like to ask you about it.

7 You say in relation to his visit in October 1997,

8 that when you met him you:

9 "... specifically asked him not to name me in his

10 report."

11 A. I did.

12 Q. And you give an explanation for that: that the threat to

13 you at that time was "very real and very serious." So,

14 again, to confirm, please, that is as at the end

15 of October 1997?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. So although you were prepared to and, indeed, happy to

18 meet him, you did not wish your name to be published by

19 him. Is that right?

20 A. Yes, I think that's right. The background to this is

21 that at the time, or not longer after Pat Finucane was

22 murdered, my father and I had been -- it emerged that in

23 fact the -- those who are reputed to have been

24 instrumental in Pat's murder were also targeting my

25 father and two other prominent Belfast solicitors, and

 


90

 


1 my own name was very much in the frame there because it

2 emerged that those who are reputed to have killed Pat

3 were certainly aware of my existence. And in terms of

4 their observations of my father's movements, I was

5 involved in those observations as well.

6 So for me, the idea of being targeted by certain

7 people was a very real one and I was being cautious.

8 Q. But do you see in the same paragraph you go on to say,

9 having dealt with the question of threat -- and we will

10 return to this, as I say, in a minute -- you say:

11 "I was a lot slower to put my name in the public

12 arena, if I could help it."

13 What I wanted to ask you about that is that that was

14 a general attitude you took, wasn't it? You were slow

15 to put your own name into the public arena?

16 A. I was. At certain times it was unavoidable in terms of

17 your association with cases and so forth being reported,

18 and that was fine if that was in a professional

19 capacity. But you certainly didn't go out to invite the

20 publicity in the position I was in and given my

21 knowledge of the extent of the risk.

22 Q. Yes. Now, in relation to your work and work of this

23 kind, you deal in your statement with the contact you

24 had over the years with police officers. The paragraph

25 I would like you to look at now, please, is paragraph 8

 

 

91

 

1 on page RNI-813-465 (displayed).

2 In paragraph 8, where you are talk about your

3 conversations with Rosemary Nelson, you say four lines

4 down that you had grown up in an environment where

5 harassment of defence solicitors by police took place on

6 a regular basis.

7 I would like to ask you about that, please. Can you

8 remember now when you first experienced such harassment?

9 A. It was just an occupational hazard. From the moment

10 I entered the practice I would have become aware that

11 there were elements of the police force who regarded

12 lawyers who did that type of work with disdain and who

13 expressed their views frequently and in strong terms to

14 your clients and probably to others. So you couldn't

15 help but not be aware of that, working in a practice of

16 the sort in which I worked.

17 So I would say as soon as I began my apprenticeship

18 in 1984, I became aware of that issue and as soon as

19 I started to visit the holding centres myself, I then

20 would have been able to experience it directly.

21 Q. Dealing first with what you learnt when you first joined

22 the practice, is this something that your father

23 discussed with you?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And he told you, did he, about his own experiences of

 

 

92

 

1 this?

2 A. Yes. It is hard really for people to understand, but my

3 father and myself over the years have always had very

4 cordial, professional and good relationships with most

5 and many policemen and women. But side by side with

6 that, there would have been an awareness that there was

7 perhaps a number of policemen and women who engaged

8 specifically in the -- in the work of what they would

9 have viewed as terrorist crime, who perhaps had

10 a different view of you and who found it difficult to

11 distinguish between the professional work that you

12 carried out and the views of the people whom you

13 represented.

14 Certainly we were very acutely aware of that,

15 because your clients would tell you -- and this is where

16 you first come across it. Your clients would tell you

17 when you go to see them what it is that has been said

18 about you as much as what has been said about them by

19 the police. That was something that I would have

20 encountered from the moment I started to do that kind of

21 work.

22 Q. You said earlier that you started to do this sort of

23 work when you qualified in 1987?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And that took you from that moment to the holding

 

 

93

 

1 centres where such clients were held?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. So am I right, therefore, in inferring that your first

4 experience of this would have been in that context?

5 A. Very much so.

6 Q. And what you set out in your statement -- in

7 paragraph 10, it begins on RNI-813-466 (displayed) -- is

8 that you had experienced harassment of this kind from

9 the RUC for years before Rosemary Nelson came on the

10 scene.

11 Just to be clear, I take that to mean before, let us

12 say, the early to mid 90s. Is that right?

13 A. Yes. I mean -- if I can say this, our view of it at the

14 time -- this is in the late 1980s -- would have been

15 that this was perhaps more directed at the client than

16 it was at us, in that we felt it was probably a way of

17 destabilising the client and of attempting to disrupt

18 the client's feeling that you as a lawyer were acting in

19 their best interests and would look after them. It was

20 part of the interrogation technique that was going on in

21 Castlereagh and in other holding centres at the time.

22 That was how we viewed it. I actually don't think

23 at the time that we originally seriously thought that it

24 was an attempt to threaten us or to harass us. But as

25 time went on, the remarks that were being made began to

 

 

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1 increase in intensity and in the nature of their

2 hostility. Particularly after Pat was murdered, when

3 they began to say that, "Oh, well, we got Finucane and

4 we will get McCrory" and so forth. And there was all

5 the usual stuff that they would say to their client,

6 that "Oh, well, he is only there for the money" and "You

7 know how much he earns" and all of that sort of thing,

8 which we took with a pinch of salt.

9 But once Pat had been murdered, it began to dawn on

10 us that there might have been a much more sinister

11 reason for this conduct and that these people actually

12 believed these things and this was how they actually saw

13 us, as opposed to just being an interrogation technique.

14 And we began to take it much more seriously then.

15 Q. So can I try to summarise that accurately. Until the

16 death of Pat Finucane, your view of this -- a view, I

17 think, shared by your father -- is that right?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. -- was that what was going on, which was going on in the

20 context of interviews at the holding centres, was at

21 least principally designed to undermine confidence, the

22 client's confidence in his lawyer, perhaps indeed his

23 confidence in himself?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And therefore, whatever the nature of the remarks

 

 

95

 

1 reported back to you, that is how you viewed the matter:

2 It was an interrogation technique?

3 A. I think that's a fair summary.

4 Q. Now, you then said there was an increase in hostility,

5 the nature of the remarks, their hostility, after the

6 murder of Pat Finucane. Was there also an increase in

7 their frequency?

8 A. I felt so, and I felt that we were then beginning to ask

9 the clients more frequently if anything of that nature

10 had been said. So, for example, prior to that, the

11 client might have told you almost in passing, "You ought

12 to hear what they said about you" and you would have

13 brushed it off because your purpose for being there was

14 to reassure the client and you didn't necessarily want

15 to be asking them too many questions about what was said

16 about you.

17 But after Pat Finucane was killed, we began to sit

18 up and take much more interest in this and we would

19 perhaps be more proactive in teasing out from the client

20 what was said.

21 Q. That raises this question: do you think it is possible

22 that the difference which you have identified, the

23 change, was due to the fact that you were paying more

24 attention, rather than necessarily that the nature or

25 frequency of the remarks had itself changed?

 

 

96

 

1 A. I do.

2 Q. Yes. So it was, understandably in the light of that

3 murder, something which came much more into focus?

4 A. Much more. And I think, as I said in the statement, we

5 obviously -- we were very worried after Pat Finucane was

6 murdered and we made our own enquiries in the

7 journalistic world as to how this might have come about

8 and so forth. And we made a very specific enquiry with

9 a very specific journalist whom we knew had good

10 Loyalist paramilitary contacts. He said, look, my

11 information is that those who killed Pat Finucane felt

12 they were encouraged to do so, or had been encouraged to

13 do so by the police in Castlereagh, because when

14 Loyalist suspects had been interviewed, they would be

15 encouraged to target not innocent Catholics, but

16 Catholics who were engaged, like their lawyers, like

17 Republican paramilitary lawyers, and that they felt that

18 they had -- they were -- they had in a sense been given

19 a licence to do this.

20 But the information was that they felt almost

21 betrayed by the furore over Pat Finucane's murder in the

22 sense that they were now getting a lot of heat for

23 having killed Pat Finucane, having felt in the first

24 place that they had really been encouraged to do so, and

25 that for that reason the threat against others might

 

 

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1 certainly have been diminished for a while.

2 So that is perhaps why, in my mind and in my memory,

3 all of this intensified after Pat Finucane was killed,

4 because we began to realise then that this was a very

5 dangerous situation that we were in.

6 Q. Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly. 2 o'clock.

8 (1.00 pm)

9 (The short adjournment)

10 (2.00 pm)

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

12 MR PHILLIPS: Mr McGrory, before we adjourned we were

13 talking about the key moment in the history of all this,

14 which you have identified as being the murder of

15 Pat Finucane.

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And you explained to us that as far as you could tell,

18 the problem that you have described to us intensified

19 after that stage, or at any rate that you were much more

20 conscious of it from that moment?

21 A. Yes, I think that would be a fair description. I think

22 we began to see the attitude being displayed towards

23 defence solicitors in the holding centres in a different

24 light.

25 Q. And that, on the face of it, would suggest, as again I

 

 

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1 think you said earlier, that you would have grown more

2 concerned after that moment than you had been earlier?

3 A. Yes, not least because of the information that we were

4 given following our enquiry with a journalist to

5 Loyalist paramilitaries that this type of remark about

6 those defending Republicans was being made to Loyalist

7 paramilitaries by the police. That is what made the

8 significant difference, because it had not occurred to

9 us that the police would be saying to people who were

10 not our clients that they believed that those who

11 represented Republicans were behaving inappropriately or

12 were too close to their clients than they should be.

13 It was one thing to say it to your own client if it

14 was an effort to destabilise the client during

15 interrogation, but it was another thing for the police

16 to be expressing those views to people who were not only

17 not your clients but who were ill disposed towards you

18 in any event or ill disposed towards your clients in any

19 event. So that is why it took a particularly sinister

20 turn for us.

21 Q. This is a matter you deal with in your statement, isn't

22 it, in paragraph 15, which begins at the bottom of

23 page RNI-813-467 (displayed). Do you see where you say

24 there you made your own enquiries as to whether you were

25 at risk?

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And you approached a journalist who you believed had

3 good Loyalist sources or contacts. Then turning the

4 page, you deal with what you were hearing via your

5 clients:

6 "'We got Pat Finucane, we will get McCrory next'."

7 Then you explain what report back you received from

8 the journalist.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Do you see that?

11 A. Yes, that is the evidence I have just given.

12 Q. Exactly. And the point that emerges, however, from the

13 last sentence of the paragraph is a rather different

14 one, isn't it, namely that, as you put it:

15 "We were not under direct threat from Loyalists --

16 and this is something you adverted to earlier. The

17 message was that they felt they had been in some way

18 used in the earlier case.

19 A. Yes, at that time.

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. At that time, that would be the particular group of

22 Loyalists who would have been believed to have been

23 directly involved in Pat's murder and that would have

24 been the UDA.

25 Q. Yes. But what I'm trying to establish from you is where

 

 

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1 that last conclusion led you in terms of your perception

2 of risk, of the danger you might be in at this time?

3 A. Well, if it was a comfort at all, it was only that we

4 needn't think we were being immediately targeted because

5 of the heat that had been generated by Pat's death.

6 However, it was a cold enough comfort because we felt

7 that we had nonetheless been exposed by, it would have

8 appeared -- by the police to potential attack from

9 people who clearly had the capacity and the will to

10 murder people.

11 Q. Can I just ask you this question: did you at any stage

12 report these matters, your discoveries, and your sense

13 of threat, however grave it was, to the police?

14 A. No, because we felt -- and I refer to this in another

15 part of my statement -- that we had in fact been misled

16 by the police in respect of the extent of the threat.

17 Q. This is paragraph 16?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. As I understand it, the point you are making there is

20 that they had understated the level of threat in

21 relation in particular to your father. Is that right?

22 A. Yes. In respect of this paragraph there is one

23 correction that I should make.

24 Q. Please do.

25 A. That is that I have suggested there that Pat Finucane

 

 

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1 was appraised of some risk prior to his murder around

2 about the same time that my father was appraised of the

3 risk to him.

4 That is inaccurate, because what I had meant to say

5 there is that there were in fact three solicitors

6 notified at this point: my father was one, the other two

7 were Pascal O'Hare and Oliver Kelly, as I recollect, but

8 Pat was not mentioned at that time. So that is

9 inaccurate in that paragraph.

10 Q. I see, the sentence beginning "Pat was told that" is

11 incorrect?

12 A. Yes, it is incorrect. It is my belief that Pat was not

13 told but two other solicitors were.

14 And if I can put this in context, I recall very

15 clearly a visit to our family home by a police officer

16 who was a fairly senior rank in the Antrim Road

17 subdivision, who came to say that they had low level

18 intelligence from a Loyalist source that my father and

19 myself had been observed by Loyalist paramilitaries and

20 that we were -- there was some element of risk.

21 He was able to say that the nature of the

22 intelligence was that they had observed the make and

23 model of the car, where my father and Pascal O'Hare

24 would frequently meet of an evening, because they were

25 friends, and where my father and I would have gone for

 

 

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1 lunch during the day.

2 Now, my clear recollection is that we were told that

3 this is low level intelligence but we feel you need to

4 know it. And it is my recollection that the other two

5 solicitors were also told this at the time.

6 Now, after Pat Finucane was killed and after the

7 whole -- a range of cases arose concerning leaks from

8 security services to security forces to Loyalist

9 paramilitaries of intelligence, it became apparent that

10 that very intelligence had actually been gathered at

11 a very high level. Other lawyers involved in the

12 defence of Loyalist paramilitaries engaged -- who were

13 charged arising from the Inquiry into Brian Nelson were

14 able to inform us that in fact that very information was

15 gathered by Nelson and his friends in the UDA, and they

16 were the people who were widely believed to have killed

17 Pat Finucane, or to have gathered the intelligence on

18 Pat Finucane.

19 So we felt, when we got that information, that in

20 fact the extent of the risk had been downplayed when the

21 initial warning was given, albeit some warning was

22 given. But we felt that we were led to believe that it

23 wasn't -- it was a lower level than it actually was.

24 Q. So that explains, does it, the point that I originally

25 put to you, which is why you didn't refer these matters

 

 

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1 to the police?

2 A. Yes, and indeed it was becoming apparent to us that the

3 information we were getting was that if there was

4 a risk, it was because of the behaviour of some

5 policemen -- I stress this -- some policemen and women.

6 So therefore, we felt that there was probably little

7 to be gained by taking it any further, and the initial

8 warning had come from the police anyway.

9 Q. You deal with that in paragraph 20 at RNI-813-469

10 (displayed), where you say you never considered

11 approaching the police for protection given that they

12 were the ones making the threats?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Now, the threats in that context, what are you

15 referring to?

16 A. Well, we began to see the pattern of behaviour in the

17 holding centre as threatening behaviour towards us in

18 view of the nature and extent of it. And as I said to

19 you this morning, as we began to enquire more from our

20 clients about what was being said, we began to build up

21 a fairly clear picture of what was being said about us

22 by interviewing detectives. Then we began to form the

23 view that in fact this was intended to threaten us and

24 to put us off doing the work that we were doing.

25 Q. Now, you make clear in your statement that there were

 

 

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1 indeed some occasions when you did go to the police, and

2 the first I would like to draw to your attention is the

3 one you tell us about beginning in paragraph 17 on the

4 previous page, RNI-813-468 (displayed), where you refer

5 first of all to the fact that the client concerned was

6 one with a Loyalist background. Do you see that?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. I wanted to ask you about that. How many clients

9 charged with terrorist offences did you have who came

10 from the other part of the community?

11 A. Actually more than a lot of people thought at the time,

12 because obviously we did so much work for those charged

13 from the Republican community that people might not have

14 understood that we did a fair amount for some Loyalists.

15 In particular, we represented a number of people

16 indicted on the word of a Loyalist supergrass, and

17 arising from that we then appeared for some other

18 Loyalists.

19 It still wouldn't have been as many as from the

20 Republican side, but still a significant number of

21 people.

22 Q. Did you experience the same transmitted messages back

23 from the holding centres passed by those clients?

24 A. Not to the same degree.

25 Q. But did it happen?

 

 

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1 A. I can't recall a specific incident.

2 Q. You see, in your statement you do refer -- and we will

3 come back to that in a minute -- to a particular

4 colleague, a solicitor, who represented a number of

5 clients in those organisations and that he had

6 experienced this problem?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. But you don't make any reference in your statement to

9 your own experience, and is that because it actually

10 didn't happen, i.e. that the comments were not passed back

11 by Loyalist clients?

12 A. Well, I am thinking of the -- well, funnily enough,

13 probably it would have been my father who represented --

14 who would have carried the Castlereagh visits for those

15 Loyalists we did represent. Perhaps in my early

16 years -- and I don't remember there being any

17 significant talk about that issue then.

18 Q. You do not remember him talking about that?

19 A. No.

20 Q. No. Can we return to paragraph 17, please, because at

21 the heart of this -- and you go on to deal with it in

22 paragraph 18 as well -- is a threat not emanating at all

23 from the police, but from, it would appear, a Loyalist

24 organisation. Is that right?

25 A. Yes. I mean, I will not forget that incident ever. It

 

 

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1 was in the middle of the night. I got a phone call from

2 a client who would have been a Loyalist paramilitary,

3 but more of the drug-dealing type than anything else.

4 He wasn't an overtly political guy. But he said he had

5 something very important to tell me and he insisted that

6 he couldn't tell me on the phone and I had to go to

7 a phone box, and there was something about his manner

8 that I thought I had better do that.

9 So I went down the street to the phone box and

10 phoned him, and he said he had just been at a meeting

11 with his commander and that my name had come up because

12 he had said that I represented him, and that extreme

13 hostility was expressed about me from his commander.

14 And he was told that he shouldn't be using me and that,

15 in fact, I was someone that they should be targeting

16 rather than engaging as a representative.

17 That shook me up a bit and I made enquiries

18 afterwards and I went back to the same journalist that

19 we had been to previously and gave him the name of the

20 commander that had been mentioned to me, and he said,

21 "Oh, yes, I know about him" and then I went to the

22 police. And I said, "Look, I reported this to the

23 police because I felt this was fairly serious" and they

24 confirmed that the chap mentioned to me was indeed

25 a Loyalist paramilitary, but they said again he was more

 

 

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1 a drug dealer than he would have been a serious

2 paramilitary in a political sense. But nonetheless, it

3 was an uncomfortable enough experience.

4 Q. But this is an occasion at any rate where you, having

5 checked with the journalist contact, did report the

6 matter to the police?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. They investigated and they came back with an assessment

9 of the situation, which in fact accorded with that given

10 to you by the journalist?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Thank you. Now, when you were talking earlier about

13 your experience of these matters, your clients'

14 experience in the holding centres, as I understood it,

15 you were drawing a distinction between the police

16 officers who interviewed the clients in the holding

17 centres, i.e. those, I think you put it, who were involved

18 in investigating the terrorist offences, and other

19 police officers, and that is a distinction you make in

20 paragraph 19, isn't it? Because you had perfectly good

21 relations with a large number of police officers over

22 the years, didn't you?

23 A. Absolutely.

24 Q. And the group that you single out for comment here were,

25 as you put it, the interrogators from CID?

 

 

108

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. So that this group by definition wouldn't include, for

3 instance, those police officers based at local police

4 stations?

5 A. I suppose many of those who became interviewers in the

6 holding centres must have been through the normal

7 development of a police officer in terms of serving in

8 the community, and so forth. So to what extent they

9 did, I just can't be sure. But it was fairly clear to

10 us that there would have been a body of police officers

11 who worked almost exclusively for a long period of time

12 in the field of interrogation of terrorist suspects, and

13 that we felt that they would have seen themselves not so

14 much as ordinary police officers but as people engaged

15 in a war against terrorism, and they saw their -- the

16 role of a policeman in a different light than perhaps an

17 ordinary policeman would have done.

18 Q. But of course it would have been possible, wouldn't it,

19 to have raised your concerns with other officers,

20 perhaps with more senior officers or with officers not

21 involved in that sort of work?

22 A. As you will see in my statement, I did. I did and

23 little came of it.

24 Q. That is a neat introduction, if I may say so, to the

25 examples you give us. They begin, don't they, in

 

 

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1 paragraph 20 with one of your clients, (name deleted).

2 And in relation to that client, you describe first of

3 all what happened, namely that the police had told him

4 that you, his solicitor, shouldn't park in a petrol

5 station in a particular place you used to park regularly

6 or:

7 "... they would get me too."

8 That was the substance of the incident, wasn't it?

9 A. Yes. Castlereagh holding centre is on Ladas Drive in

10 east Belfast, and most of us going to see clients there

11 had to park either at a petrol station nearby or

12 actually at the fire station. And I remember parking

13 and I had several people to see that evening and he had

14 clearly just been released and he was -- he approached

15 me as I parked and he made those comments. And I went

16 on in to Castlereagh and then I asked him to come in and

17 see me about it afterwards.

18 He came in and he explained to me that the police

19 interrogating him had spent a lot of time talking about

20 me in a very threatening manner in the context of --

21 that I have said before, that they would talk about

22 having succeeded in getting Pat Finucane killed and

23 McGrory would be next, and so forth.

24 Q. I wanted to ask you about that. The specific matter you

25 have mentioned in your statement, the bottom of

 

 

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1 page RNI-813-469 (displayed), is the suggestion you

2 shouldn't park in the particular place or they would get

3 you. Over the top of the page, RNI-813-470 (displayed),

4 you say:

5 "They made a death threat to me by him."

6 Is that a separate comment that was made?

7 A. No, I regarded that as a specific threat, because we

8 were monitoring this situation at this point, having

9 previously been rather taking it -- treating it in

10 a rather off-the-cuff manner and not so seriously.

11 It had developed into this situation for us, as

12 I have described, after Pat's killing that this maybe

13 was a lot more sinister. And in talking to the clients

14 regularly, the same pattern emerged, the same type of

15 remark emerged again and again, and we then came to the

16 view that the clients were meant to tell us about this;

17 we were meant to hear this.

18 Q. They were being used as messengers?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Did you ever experience a case where a client reported

21 threats or comments of that kind but you found them to

22 be incredible?

23 A. No, I believed the clients.

24 Q. In every case?

25 A. Yes, they had no reason to make it up. They had their

 

 

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1 own difficulties and they had no reason to invent this.

2 Q. In the cases of clients who were later charged with

3 offences, were these comments, the fact that they had

4 been spoken to in this way during interrogation, were

5 they sometimes used as part of their defence?

6 A. Not in any case in which I was involved.

7 Q. No.

8 A. There is another difficulty I want to raise in

9 explaining why perhaps we weren't so vigorous in

10 reporting these incidents, and that is that you have to

11 remember that our duty and obligation is to the client

12 and these clients would not likely want to have to see

13 the police to express on our behalf -- to express these

14 complaints.

15 So in order for us to make a formal complaint, we

16 had to ask the client if they would mind making a formal

17 statement to the complaints section of the police in

18 order for the complaint to be processed. But when these

19 clients left Castlereagh, they were either released or

20 they were remanded in custody, and the last thing

21 someone accused of Republican offences wanted when he

22 was in custody was to receive visits from policemen when

23 he was in custody, because that would have immediately

24 aroused suspicion within the wings of the prison that he

25 was somehow cooperating with the police in some other

 

 

112

 

1 respects.

2 So it was a big thing to ask the client to cooperate

3 with you in the processing of one of these complaints,

4 and that would have discouraged us from doing so. But

5 there came a point that we felt we would ask particular

6 clients, who we knew had great confidence in us and in

7 whom we had great confidence, to actually give the

8 evidence to the complaints branch.

9 Q. That suggests, therefore, that the number of cases in

10 which you, on behalf of the client, made a complaint was

11 very small compared to the number of such occurrences

12 overall?

13 A. Very small, and for those reasons. One, we had no faith

14 in the complaints and disciplines system, because

15 whenever we did make the complaint, it was only the

16 policeman's word against the client's because there was

17 no supporting evidence. There was no tape recording of

18 the interview and the complaint people invariably

19 believed the policeman against the client.

20 So we felt there was little point. And secondly,

21 the fact that we were asking the client to cooperate

22 with the system in a situation where the client was only

23 in prison because he was so vehemently opposed to this

24 system didn't sit well with their role as the

25 representative in the first place.

 

 

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1 Q. Can I just press you on this. You have given three

2 examples and I do want to go through them briefly in

3 a minute, but were there any other examples where you

4 actually made a complaint other than the ones you have

5 mentioned in your statement?

6 A. No, in the (name deleted) one, I wrote directly to

7 Sir Hugh Annesley rather than go through the complaints

8 and discipline procedure. I have said how dissatisfied

9 I was with the result of that.

10 There were about two other occasions when we -- two

11 or three other occasions when we formally asked clients

12 to engage with the Complaints and Disciplines branch,

13 and beyond that we didn't bother.

14 Q. Can I just take you through them briefly. The first

15 one, (name deleted), that we started to speak of, you

16 deal with in paragraph 20 at the top of this page,

17 RNI-813-470 (displayed). And as you said, you wrote to

18 the Chief Constable and the result was that a visit was

19 paid to you. Was that at home or at your office, can

20 you remember?

21 A. My home.

22 Q. And you were given advice about security?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And you put it this way:

25 "They were only interested in my personal security

 

 

114

 

1 and they weren't doing anything about the complaint

2 itself."

3 So you didn't welcome, and felt you didn't need,

4 advice of this kind. Is that right?

5 A. Yes. The people who came to see me were the local

6 policemen from the local police station, who would have

7 gone to your house to advise you in the aftermath of

8 a burglary, for example. These were not -- this was not

9 in my view a proper response to a letter from

10 a solicitor to the Chief Constable complaining about

11 a specific death by one of his officers.

12 Q. So are you saying that this sort of crime prevention

13 advice was not an appropriate response to that sort of

14 problem?

15 A. It might have been one of a number of responses that I

16 would have expected.

17 Q. But the point you make, I think, in the final sentence

18 of this paragraph is that, as far as you could see,

19 nothing was done to investigate the origin of the

20 matter, namely, as you put it, the behaviour of the

21 officers involved?

22 A. Yes. Well, I can't think of any other society in which

23 a senior practising lawyer complains to the

24 Chief Constable of misconduct on the part of one of his

25 officers to this degree that would elicit no significant

 

 

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1 response whatsoever.

2 Q. So you were given no information, were you, about the

3 extent to which or the way in which the death threat

4 that you had reported was investigated?

5 A. None.

6 Q. Did you write again to the Chief Constable?

7 A. I think I did. Lord knows where the correspondence is

8 now. I think I actually gave it to you -- I am going to

9 deal with this later, I am sure. I was elected to the

10 Council of the Law Society in 1994, and the then

11 president, I raised this issue with him as soon as

12 I became a member of the Council, and he asked me for

13 some information to back it up and I gave him the

14 (name deleted) correspondence, and nothing much came of

15 that either.

16 Q. Is this what you refer to in paragraph 30 at

17 page RNI-813-473 (displayed)?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. We will come, if we may, to the Law Society's reaction

20 to this sort of problem in a moment, but that was the

21 incident you are talking about?

22 A. Yes, and I think I gave him more information than just

23 that incident. He was a man who practised in -- a part

24 of Greater Belfast that wouldn't perhaps have seen too

25 much of the direct conflict here. So -- and he was

 

 

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1 shocked about what I told him and he said he would take

2 it up directly with the then Chief Constable. And he

3 asked me for the correspondence, but I didn't really

4 hear back.

5 Q. Just returning to the three examples you give us, the

6 others you start to deal with in paragraph 22, and it

7 looks as though these are two clients who did make

8 complaints through the Complaints and Discipline

9 Department, G Department, of the police. Is that right?

10 A. It hasn't come on my screen yet, but I think I know the

11 paragraph to which you are referring.

12 Q. RNI-813-470 (displayed). It is the same page.

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And so they did make statements, and as far as you are

15 aware, they cooperated, did you (sic), with the

16 investigation?

17 A. Yes. If I remember rightly, there were two different

18 clients in two different cases, and in one of them the

19 police made a very strong effort to get him to change

20 solicitor and in the course of doing so made derogatory

21 comments about my firm and about me.

22 Q. Were you asked to make a statement in that case?

23 A. Yes, I was interviewed by Complaints and Discipline.

24 Q. Yes. And the other case I think you say was a death

25 threat case?

 

 

117

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And again, to be clear, that is a threat to you made to

3 the client in interview?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Thank you.

6 A. Similar to the (name deleted) situation except that that

7 client had been charged and was a remand prisoner when

8 I asked him to speak to the Complaints and Discipline

9 branch. And as I say, that was not an easy thing for

10 him to do in those circumstances, but he did do so.

11 Q. Am I right to infer from your statement that neither

12 complaint was upheld?

13 A. Yes, that's correct.

14 Q. Thank you. Now, in dealing with this problem in general

15 terms, in paragraph 47 you point to the introduction of

16 recording, tape recording -- paragraph 47,

17 page RNI-813-478 (displayed) -- as having an effect of

18 bringing to an end, as you put it, the open expression

19 of such views by the RUC?

20 A. Yes, it did, in interviews.

21 Q. So is this right: that from the moment of the

22 introduction of this form of recording, you no longer

23 received reports from clients about comments of this

24 kind being made in interview?

25 A. That was my experience.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes. Can you help us with a date, or a rough date for

2 that?

3 A. Late 90s, maybe, very late, 1999, 2000. Somebody is

4 going to have to help me with that, I just can't

5 remember.

6 Q. It looks as though the system, I think, silent video,

7 came in in March 1998, in fact about the time of the

8 draft report from the Rapporteur.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. As far as we can tell, I think I am right in saying the

11 business of audio recording became general in the

12 holding centres on 1st January the following year. Does

13 that sound about right?

14 A. That would concur with my recollection.

15 Q. So that just to be clear, it was the latter, the audio

16 recording, was it, that had an effect on the regularity

17 of such reports?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Thank you. Now, what you suggest, however, in

20 paragraph 47 is that although the incidents came to an

21 end and the reports ceased to flow through to you, it is

22 your opinion that there was no change in attitudes?

23 A. That is correct. It would be my belief that the fact

24 that the interviews were being tape recorded meant

25 detection of the expression of such views would have

 

 

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1 been much easier and, therefore, they were not expressed

2 at that particular point. But I think we, by this time,

3 by the turn of the century, would have felt that this

4 was an attitude which had become so ingrained in certain

5 elements of the then police force that it wouldn't just

6 vanish overnight.

7 Q. Why is it, can I ask you, that you describe the attitude

8 of the Chief Constable at the time as paying lip

9 service?

10 A. Well, perhaps I have become cynical in my old age but I

11 think the -- my experiences of having made the actual

12 complaints and of the outcome of those complaints didn't

13 encourage me to have any great faith in this system.

14 And if I may say so, the meetings that -- I am sure we

15 will come on to these -- that we had had with

16 Sir Ronnie Flanagan during the course of those

17 discussions, he refused to accept that those things had

18 occurred at all. And I think I felt at the time that,

19 well, look, there is such a strong body of evidence

20 coming from a whole range of lawyers from both sides of

21 the community that it is impossible to deny that some

22 officers were behaving in this way, and that if the

23 Chief Constable wouldn't accept that at all, then there

24 was little hope of redeeming the situation.

25 Q. Well, we will indeed come back to that meeting that you

 

 

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1 took part in with other Law Society officials in

2 a moment. But can I just ask you to look, please, at

3 the very end of this same paragraph. What you have told

4 us is that the report of abuse and threats came to an

5 end?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. So the question, I think, that has to be asked of you is

8 what was it, therefore, that made you conclude that

9 attitudes remained the same? What can you point to?

10 A. Well, it was quite clear that for any police officer to

11 have made such a comment in the course of an interview

12 after the introduction of tape recording would have left

13 that police officer open to almost certain disciplinary

14 action in view of the fact that there would be cast iron

15 evidence of the fact that the comments had been made.

16 So as I say, perhaps it is cynicism, but it would

17 have been our view that the introduction of the tape

18 recording only removed the -- only prevented those

19 remarks being made in circumstances where they would

20 easily have been detected when they made them.

21 Q. Can you consider the other possibility, which was the

22 introduction of tape recording made it impossible for

23 false allegations about what had been said in the

24 interview to be made?

25 A. I suppose so, but to us the evidence was so overwhelming

 

 

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1 and coming from so many sources that we didn't consider

2 it to be invented or part of any conspiracy. This

3 evidence came from a disparate number of people who had

4 not necessarily any contact with each other; clients

5 with a whole variety of solicitors from different walks

6 of life. While that possibility you refer to might have

7 entered our heads, it would have been dismissed.

8 Q. Can I ask you, when you considered the clients' comments

9 when they came back and reported to you at an earlier

10 stage, before the recording came in, did you ever

11 consider the possibility that this was fabricated and

12 that in that sense the clients were exploiting the

13 absence of recording?

14 A. The people I represented had other means of expressing

15 their dissatisfaction with society and the way in which

16 they felt they were being governed than to invent

17 a remark by a police officer about their solicitor,

18 frankly.

19 Q. Can I ask you what other means you are referring to?

20 A. Well, these were people, by and large, many of whom had

21 been convicted of involvement in serious terrorist

22 crime. So they -- you know, really I think it would be

23 far fetched to suggest that they would use a false

24 complaint about a remark made about a solicitor as part

25 of their armoury against the security apparatus.

 

 

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1 Q. If, therefore, we are talking about now convicted

2 paramilitaries, didn't you at least consider that part

3 of the paramilitary agenda might be to undermine the

4 police and that this was an obvious way of doing so?

5 A. No, for the reason I have stated. As I say, the reality

6 of the situation to me would suggest that, as I say,

7 they had other ways of expressing themselves but that

8 was not one of them. But that is not for me to decide.

9 Q. So to be clear, then, was it a possibility that you

10 considered only to reject, or did it simply not enter

11 your head?

12 A. Probably considered it to reject it. I am sure it was

13 suggested by people to us at the time.

14 Q. Did you ever put that to any of your clients?

15 A. I don't think so. As I say, the fact that we actually

16 formally complained so seldom would suggest that really

17 this was not something we wanted to spend a lot of time

18 with when dealing with our clients. They had their

19 cases to consider. They wanted you to concentrate on

20 their defence and, therefore, only rarely, when these

21 issues were so well expressed or so starkly made did we

22 seek to make a complaint about it, and also because we

23 realised at a certain point that we were being

24 criticised by the human rights groups for not raising

25 this matter formally.

 

 

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1 So -- but I just don't think that a grand conspiracy

2 on the part of a range of paramilitaries to invent such

3 comments on the part of the police as part of their

4 terrorist campaign is a realistic proposition.

5 Q. Can I just ask you a few questions briefly about your

6 own position, your own security?

7 We have touched on this in the course of your

8 answers but, as I understand it, your upbringing and

9 background took place in a house where basic security

10 precautions were taken?

11 A. Well, yes. I grew up in an atmosphere where nobody

12 answered the door, where we had a door phone and you

13 didn't answer the door until you were absolutely sure

14 who was there. This was partly as a consequence of

15 living in north Belfast, which had a reputation for

16 a high degree of sectarian murder, and the fact that our

17 father had a fairly high profile, and also specifically

18 on one occasion we had an elaborate hoax bomb placed

19 underneath our father's car. Several houses in the

20 neighbourhood had to be evacuated.

21 So that was a reality and that is the way we lived.

22 Q. And --

23 A. I want to say just that there are many other people who

24 lived under a greater degree of threat. So I am not

25 making a big issue of that.

 

 

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1 Q. No. Do you think it is as a result of that upbringing

2 that you yourself took basic precautions in your own

3 daily life?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Now, did you continue with those precautions throughout

6 the period we are talking about here, in other words

7 including during the 1990s?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And in discussion was other lawyers doing similar sort

10 of cases, was this a similar way of dealing with

11 security, in other words that basic precautions would

12 generally be taken?

13 A. Yes, and various people took it to higher levels than

14 others, but I think most of us in that community of

15 lawyers to which I referred earlier were very conscious

16 of the security risk.

17 Q. Now, you give a specific example in relation to security

18 in paragraph 24. You say that you remember all of the

19 defence solicitors were invited to apply for personal

20 protection weapons by the Irish Government following

21 Pat Finucane's death. So this would be, what, in the

22 very late 80s or early 90s, wouldn't it?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. When you were invited by the Irish Government, do you

25 mean that they were urging you to make an application in

 

 

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1 Northern Ireland or to make an application to them?

2 A. Yes, well, this was post-Anglo-Irish Agreement, which

3 brought on an era of fairly close cooperation between

4 Irish government officials and the

5 Northern Ireland Office.

6 There would have been a stream of various government

7 officials to not just our door but the doors of many

8 others involved, I suppose, to one degree or another in

9 all of these events. They would have made

10 representations on your behalf to the

11 Northern Ireland Office or would have asked you what you

12 thought about this, that and the other. And in a crisis

13 such as Pat Finucane's murder they would have been very

14 keen to ensure that your concerns and needs were met by

15 their British counterparts.

16 And I said in that paragraph that my father had

17 declined the invitation to get a personal protection

18 weapon. That may have been the case at some point, but

19 he actually did take one eventually. I think it was

20 after Pat was killed, but I remember him having been

21 encouraged to do so many times and having resisted it.

22 But then he did agree to do that.

23 Q. So just to be clear, the encouragement given at least to

24 your father was before the murder of Pat Finucane. Is

25 that right?

 

 

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1 A. Oh, yes, the issue of whether or not he should carry,

2 and indeed I should carry, a firearm came up several

3 times and it had always been resisted up to a point.

4 My father did take on a firearm around the time that

5 Pat was killed, but I didn't.

6 Q. You did not?

7 A. No.

8 Q. No.

9 A. But other solicitors did.

10 Q. Yes. I wanted to ask you next about the next sentence.

11 You say:

12 "I wanted the police to take some action that showed

13 that they were taking the matter seriously, but nothing

14 ever came of it."

15 Can you explain what you mean by that? First of

16 all, what sort of action did you expect the police or

17 want the police to take?

18 A. I am sorry, can you possibly? --

19 Q. The last sentence of paragraph 24 on page RNI-813-471

20 (displayed).

21 A. Paragraph 46? --

22 Q. 24, RNI-813-471. Do you see:

23 "I wanted the police ..."

24 A. It seems a bit of a non sequitur, that. It doesn't seem

25 to fit with the other part of the paragraph.

 

 

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1 Q. I rather agree, if I may say so.

2 A. I don't know if that is my fault or the drafters.

3 I signed the statement, but there was a general degree

4 of frustration that perhaps the threat to solicitors was

5 not being taken seriously enough and that was

6 intensified when Pat Finucane was murdered. Perhaps

7 that is what I mean there.

8 Q. Isn't there some sort of contradiction there, because

9 you also said in your statement that you didn't consider

10 approaching the police for protection given they were

11 the ones making the threats. So the issue arises,

12 doesn't it, well, what on earth did you expect them

13 to do?

14 A. Well, they could take some more proactive measures to

15 stop their officers behaving in the way in which we felt

16 they were behaving.

17 I had written to Hugh Annesley. He had just ignored

18 the letter. Any complaints we had processed through the

19 complains and disciplines procedure came to nothing.

20 Pat Finucane had been murdered. Where were we to turn?

21 We can't turn to the police. The police are able to do

22 nothing about it. If we put up somebody to say that

23 these things have been said about solicitors, they just

24 believe the police and disbelieve the witness. As they

25 say, "Well, this is a terrorist suspect, we believe the

 

 

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1 policeman, we don't believe him." To whom do you turn?

2 Q. To be clear then, the matter you thought should be

3 addressed by the police was not so much the question of

4 personal security but rather the very fact that the

5 threats, the derogatory comments were being made in the

6 first place?

7 A. Probably, almost certainly.

8 Q. And you felt that that wasn't something they were taking

9 seriously?

10 A. We know it wasn't.

11 Q. Now, the next topic I would like to touch on with you,

12 please, is to do with the Law Society. And you have

13 already said to us that you became a member of the

14 Council, I think you said, in 1994?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And in your statement you explain to us how the

17 Law Society structure works out. As I understand it,

18 the Council is the top body in the structure. Is that

19 right?

20 A. It is the governing body of the Law Society, yes.

21 Q. Thank you. And then, as it were, beneath it are

22 a number of committees?

23 A. Yes, the --

24 Q. Is that right?

25 A. Yes. There are a number of committees which administer

 

 

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1 the profession through the Council. Those committees

2 have on them a majority of Council members plus a number

3 of co-optees and they are each chaired by a Council

4 member. The committees deal with a whole variety of

5 business involved in the profession of being

6 a solicitor, from non-contentious business to

7 contentious civil business to criminal law to human

8 rights laws.

9 Q. And you were, I think, on the Human Rights Committee of

10 the Law Society?

11 A. Yes --

12 Q. And also on the Criminal Law Committee. Is that right?

13 A. Yes, I chaired the Criminal Law Committee from 1994 to

14 about 1996 or 1997 maybe, but was on the Human Rights

15 Committee. I then switched as chair of criminal to

16 chair of human rights at some point.

17 Q. Later on?

18 A. Later on. 1996 to 1997.

19 Q. When you talked earlier about giving a file to the then

20 president of the Law Society -- and this is back to

21 paragraph 30 at RNI-813-473 -- you said, I think, that

22 not very much happened as a result of that, and indeed

23 that the president himself, because of his own practice,

24 a very different practice to your own, probably didn't

25 have much experience of these sorts of problems?

 

 

130

 

1 A. Yes, I think -- that basically states it.

2 C275 and I were both elected to the Council

3 of the Law Society at the same time in 1994. I don't

4 think there had been a criminal lawyer on the Council of

5 the Law Society for some time and there would have been

6 a perception amongst the criminal lawyers in the

7 profession that we were regarded somehow as second class

8 citizens in terms of how we were viewed within the

9 profession and that there needed to be better

10 representation on the Council, and we stood for election

11 and we were elected together.

12 Q. And is it right to say at the time you joined in 1994,

13 your view of the Law Society is that it did not take

14 this problem, the problem we have been discussing,

15 seriously?

16 A. To be fair to the Law Society, I don't think we had

17 necessarily been knocking on its door to do something

18 about this issue about which we are talking. I think

19 there were all sorts of other issues involving criminal

20 lawyers that we felt hadn't been taken seriously.

21 So that was the atmosphere in which we became

22 elected to Council, but it did become apparent to me

23 once I got there that there was a certain reluctance on

24 the part of the establishment in the Law Society to

25 address this issue.

 

 

131

 

1 Q. Certainly in paragraph 30, you say that:

2 "The Law Society really didn't know what to do with

3 the matter."

4 That is the file or the dossier you handed in, and

5 as you put it:

6 "... had general cynicism of the whole situation."

7 Did you encounter from your colleagues a level of

8 disbelief at the suggestions, the allegations you were

9 making?

10 A. Yes. I don't think the non-criminal lawyers could quite

11 comprehend what it was was going on and what it was we

12 were saying to them. That is partly the explanation

13 for it.

14 Q. And is it fair to say, as a general comment, that the

15 Law Society's attitude did begin to change in the years

16 following your and C275ís election to the

17 Council?

18 A. Well, it was a slow change. We found an extreme

19 reluctance on the part of the Council of the Law Society

20 to engage with us on these issues and it reached a sorry

21 highlight in -- subsequently when I was forced to --

22 I felt obliged to take a judicial review against the

23 then president and chief executive of the Law Society

24 over reluctance to discuss the issue of an inquiry into

25 Pat Finucane's death.

 

 

132

 

1 Q. Can you remember what date you took such proceedings?

2 A. 1999 or 2000.

3 Q. So at the end of the period with which we are concerned?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. But at that stage were you still a member of the

6 Council?

7 A. Yes, and the circumstances which gave rise to that are

8 that as chairman of the Human Rights Committee, I had

9 asked that a report issued by British Irish Rights Watch

10 into the death of Pat Finucane be tabled -- be put on

11 the agenda of the Human Rights Committee for discussion.

12 Having met with resistance in discussing this issue

13 previously, as an ordinary member of the Committee, this

14 time I was chair -- and when I arrived at the meeting,

15 it had been removed from the agenda, and I protested

16 that as chairman I put it on the agenda, how did it get

17 off it? And I was told that the president and the chief

18 executive felt that this was not a matter which should

19 be discussed by the Human Rights Committee, and it was

20 seized by Council. And I took the view that that was

21 ultra vires and outwith the powers of the president and

22 the chief executive, and I applied for leave for

23 judicial review and I was given leave.

24 But between being given leave for judicial review

25 and the full hearing, the full council met and

 

 

133

 

1 retrospectively ratified the decision of the president

2 and the then chief executive to remove from

3 discussion -- to remove that issue from the Human Rights

4 Committee for discussion. So the judicial review became

5 moot at that point.

6 However, that behaviour ignited huge resentment and

7 annoyance amongst the profession generally. And this

8 time, for once, this was -- feelings which were being

9 expressed not just by that small community and within

10 that small community of criminal lawyers, but in

11 a widespread way throughout the profession. And it

12 provoked a petition for a special general meeting of the

13 Society and that was commenced by the lodging of, I

14 think, 30 signatures, but there were more than that.

15 So we had a rather dramatic showdown in the large

16 hall of the Europa Hotel when I think in excess of 600,

17 700 solicitors attended. We had a very heated and

18 vigorous debate, but the outcome of that debate was that

19 the Council of the Law Society's refusal to take

20 a position on the issue of inquiries into the deaths of

21 Pat Finucane and, by now, Rosemary Nelson was overturned

22 and the Society from then on had to take a formal

23 position that they supported these inquiries.

24 Q. You used that example, the example of the council's

25 attitude to the Finucane inquiry, I think, as an

 

 

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1 illustration of the, as I think you would put it,

2 struggle to get the professional body to change its

3 approach to such matters?

4 A. Yes. If I can put this in context. If people were puzzled

5 in the outside world as to why solicitors who engaged in

6 the work that we engaged in didn't protest more loudly

7 about the conduct of the police towards us, they should

8 look at it in the context of our difficulties in getting

9 our own professional body even to take the matter

10 seriously.

11 So we had a situation where those of us who did this

12 kind of work always felt that we were viewed, as I say,

13 as some form of second class citizens as lawyers, and if

14 we were justified in that view -- that view, we felt,

15 was vindicated by the reluctance of the powers within

16 the Law Society to actually even engage with the matter

17 in a serious way.

18 Q. Did you put yourself up for election to the Council in

19 order to bring about that sort of change?

20 A. No -- well, it had nothing to do with this issue of

21 threats, and so forth. There were other issues that

22 criminal lawyers felt that we needed some better

23 representation on.

24 Q. So you wanted the voice, if I can put it that way, of

25 the criminal practitioners to be heard?

 

 

135

 

1 A. Yes, in a whole range of issues.

2 Q. And you were joined in that, weren't you, by C275

3 whose clients came from completely the opposite end of

4 the spectrum?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And thus it was, to give an example, in the meetings

7 that you tell us about with the Special Rapporteur and I

8 think also with the Chief Constable, accounts were given

9 of exactly the same sort of problem from both ends of

10 the spectrum?

11 A. I was intrigued to learn from C275 that he

12 was facing the same difficulties that I faced. In some

13 ways, I was relieved because his client base came from

14 within the Loyalist community and he appeared to be

15 having some of the same problems.

16 So that at least reassured us that it wasn't

17 necessarily all directed towards those who represented

18 Republicans. But all criminal defence solicitors were

19 perhaps viewed equally.

20 Q. And you were both on the Council and you were both on

21 the Human Rights Committee, I think, at one stage?

22 A. We were indeed.

23 Q. Thank you. Sir, that is an hour. Would that be

24 a convenient moment for a short break?

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Before we rise, Sir Anthony has a question or

 

 

136

 

1 two he wants to put to Mr McGrory.

2 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

3 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: If I may, not wishing to stop

4 Mr Phillips in full flight, can I just take you back

5 prior to the Law Society discussion when we were looking

6 at personal protection weapons, if I may, please.

7 A. Yes.

8 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: You had already told us that your

9 father had had a visit from the local police.

10 A. Yes.

11 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: About low level intelligence.

12 A. Yes.

13 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And the possible threat.

14 A. Yes.

15 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Was there any suggestion at that time

16 that there be a formal inspection of your father's

17 premises and possible protection equipment being

18 installed?

19 A. Well, we had already a lot of that in place. We would

20 have had a fairly sophisticated alarm system around the

21 house, with various noises and bells being -- going off

22 if anyone came anywhere near it. But if I remember

23 rightly, on that occasion it was discussed that there

24 would be more intense patrolling of the area and

25 a closer eye would be kept on the house and him by the

 

 

137

 

1 police and things like that.

2 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: You said at a later stage, not at that

3 stage, your father chose to take a personal protection

4 weapon?

5 A. He did.

6 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And you didn't. Can I just ask you to

7 try and recall, was it expected that solicitors would

8 have to make personal applications for a personal

9 protection weapon, or in your experience was the offer

10 made by the police unsolicited?

11 A. The offer was made unsolicited on the basis that the

12 application had to be made, but that it would be

13 granted. But it was suggested that we should perhaps

14 make the application. But they still had to make the

15 same application that anyone else did.

16 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Right, thank you very much. Thank you.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, we will break off, shall we say, until

18 quarter past 3?

19 (3.02 pm)

20 (Short break)

21 (3.15 pm)

22 Questions by MR PHILLIPS (continued)

23 MR PHILLIPS: Now --

24 A. Sorry, Mr Phillips, I was reflecting in the break about

25 a question you asked me earlier. Can I say something?

 

 

138

 

1 Q. Please do.

2 A. It was the suggestion that those suspects in the holding

3 centres who told us of the remarks that were made by the

4 police might have fabricated them for some purpose of

5 their own.

6 The only situation where I can think of where that

7 could potentially have been of value to them would have

8 been in a situation where they were contesting an

9 alleged confession, for example, and where they needed

10 to impugn the integrity of the police officers on whose

11 evidence the admissibility of the confession depended.

12 All I can say in respect of that is in none of those

13 cases where I had made the complaint or clients of mine

14 had acted as witnesses in a complaint, was that the

15 case.

16 Q. So in none of the examples we discussed, the three

17 cases, was there a confession, as it were, at the heart

18 of the Crown's case?

19 A. No, that's correct.

20 Q. What I would like to do now, please, is to look at some

21 of the Law Society material, and the theme of the

22 documents we are going to look at is how it was that the

23 Law Society came to address the question of complaints

24 made by members, i.e. by solicitors, in the period from

25 1997.

 

 

139

 

1 Now, can I start by asking you to look, please, at

2 paragraph 41 of your statement at page RNI-813-476

3 (displayed). This is a paragraph which begins to deal

4 with the Rapporteur's visit. Again, we will come to

5 that. The sentence that concerns me, however, is the

6 last one, which begins:

7 "When the Law Society ..."

8 Do you see that?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. "When the Law Society later ..."

11 In other words, after the visit:

12 "... went on to propose a system for dealing with

13 such complaints, we were pleased that something was

14 being done, even if we were slightly cynical of the

15 outcome."

16 Can I just ask you a couple of things about that?

17 As I read that, you put the Law Society's proposal later

18 in time; in other words, after the Rapporteur's visit.

19 Is that right?

20 A. I appear to.

21 Q. Yes. We will look at the documents in a minute, but

22 that is the first thing.

23 The second is this. You say:

24 "... we were slightly cynical of the outcome."

25 Obviously, I would like to ask you first who "we"

 

 

140

 

1 were in this context?

2 A. Yes, those criminal defence solicitors who would have

3 been consulted about this.

4 Q. By this stage, I think, you had obviously joined the

5 Council, I think you were chairing one of the

6 committees?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. But were you at the same time cynical about the outcome

9 of the proposed complaints process?

10 A. I was.

11 Q. Why was that?

12 A. For all the reasons that I have discussed is that until

13 tape recording was introduced, there was no way of

14 verifying the complaints.

15 Q. But as I understand it, what you are referring to here

16 is not the complaints system operated by the police, but

17 the new system proposed within the professional body by

18 the Law Society?

19 A. Yes, well, you see -- this arose out of an approach made

20 by Sir Ronnie Flanagan in the context of the Cumaraswamy

21 visit. If I remember correctly; I may be putting some

22 things before others in their proper order of things,

23 just because of the flux of time. So forgive me if

24 I have done that.

25 Q. Would it be more helpful to look at the documents?

 

 

141

 

1 A. It would be, to help me refresh my memory.

2 Q. Should we do that then. Can we, look, please, at

3 RNI-112-048 (displayed).

4 This is a meeting of the Human Rights Committee, or

5 the minutes of it. Just to flag this point, in this and

6 subsequent minutes we will look at, there has been

7 redaction on the grounds of irrelevance. In other

8 words, we are only looking at those parts of the minute

9 that is concerned with the issues in which the Inquiry

10 is interested.

11 You weren't present at this meeting, although we can

12 see C275 was. If we turn over the page to

13 RNI-112-049 (displayed), do you see that under the

14 heading "Lawyers Committee for Human Rights", there is

15 reference to a submission by Mr Posner of that body and

16 agreement about a letter, first of all, which should be

17 sent to him.

18 But can you look, Mr McGrory, down to the bottom of

19 the page. The Committee discusses one of his

20 recommendations, namely that the Law Society should

21 establish a formal complaints procedure. Do you see

22 that?

23 A. Yes, I do.

24 Q. You can see, I think, at this stage -- this

25 is September 1997 -- this committee agreed to

 

 

142

 

1 a recommendation to the Law Society's council to

2 establish and develop such a system?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Do you see that?

5 A. I do.

6 Q. And that is taken forward on RNI-112-050 (displayed),

7 isn't it, by the Council itself? This is

8 24th September 1997. It is not clear, but it may well

9 be, presumably, that you were present at this meeting?

10 A. I probably was.

11 Q. You see there the agreement:

12 "As proposed by the Committee ..."

13 That is the Human Rights Committee:

14 "... the Society should establish a formal internal

15 mechanism for the receipt of solicitors' complaints of

16 their intimidation by RUC officers."

17 So the proposal had already turned into agreement by

18 the Council, the supreme body of the Law Society, by the

19 end of September 1997. Do you see that?

20 A. Yes, I see that.

21 Q. That, therefore, pre-dates the Cumaraswamy visit,

22 doesn't it, by about a month?

23 A. Yes. One tends to get these visits mixed up because one

24 of the features of the conflict for us working in it in

25 this jurisdiction was that we had successive visits from

 

 

143

 

1 outside groups taking an interest in various aspects of

2 it, whether that be an interest in some cases in which

3 you were involved and how clients may have been treated,

4 or an interest in the lawyers themselves. And I am

5 reminded by that documentation that there was

6 a delegation from the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights

7 from New York, which was different than the

8 United Nations body led by Mr Cumaraswamy, which came

9 towards the end of 1997.

10 So it is becoming apparent to me that the scheme

11 which was put in place was as a response to the interest

12 shown by Mike Posner's group, and that is the lawyers

13 committee.

14 Q. So to sum up then, it was the intervention of this

15 foreign group, the group from the United States of

16 America --

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. -- you think gave the impetus to the Society to set up

19 the complaints system?

20 A. Yes. As the 1990s wore on, the various NGOs that had an

21 interest in the events in this jurisdiction began to

22 focus on this issue of intimidation of solicitors. That

23 was led very much by Jane Winter of British Irish Rights

24 Watch and also by the very good work of CAJ.

25 Q. And you refer to that indeed in your statement, and the

 

 

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1 impression one gets from that is that in a sense it was

2 when the NGOs became involved and collated the evidence,

3 not from each solicitor but all the solicitors together,

4 that you, the practitioners, began to appreciate the

5 extent of the problem?

6 A. That is absolutely right, because as I have said before,

7 for various reasons we haven't made such a big issue of

8 it as, perhaps with hindsight, we should have done,

9 because we felt our clients' interests lay elsewhere,

10 because we perhaps felt intimidated from raising it

11 because of the resistance so the issue within other

12 parts of the profession, and because we were just

13 perhaps case hardened and used to it.

14 But when the NGOs began to take an interest in it

15 and they began to say to us, "Why on earth do you

16 tolerate this", we began to realise that -- how badly we

17 were being treated and how serious this situation was.

18 Q. So in a sense, they were reflecting back to you the

19 overall picture?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And allowing you to see it in a different way?

22 A. Yes, and we began to talk to each other more about it

23 then. And some firms were better than others at

24 cataloguing the abuse. While I have related from my

25 experience that in my view it was systematic and

 

 

145

 

1 I cherry-picked a few incidences of it to make

2 complaints, other solicitors had even greater

3 difficulties than I in respect of this conduct and were

4 better perhaps at logging it.

5 Q. We heard this morning, didn't we, from Ms Coyle about

6 her firm's systematic approach to it?

7 A. Yes, I think to Peter Madden's credit, he initiated

8 a systematic logging of this amongst his staff. He had

9 a bigger operation than ours and there were quite

10 a number of solicitors in Madden & Finucane who attended

11 the holding centres regularly. And I became aware from

12 conversations with them and their senior partner,

13 Peter Madden that this was a major problem for them too.

14 Q. Can you put a date on when it was that this NGO

15 involvement had the impact that you have been

16 describing?

17 A. It is definitely around the mid 1990s, 1994/5/6-ish,

18 it's becoming a local issue at NGO level. And those

19 NGOs, by virtue of their international contacts,

20 generated international interest in the issue. And it

21 was then that Mike Posner's group came over and that

22 group looked at a range of issues, not just the

23 treatment of solicitors. But I had a number of meetings

24 with them and I remember that they were struck by this

25 behaviour and conduct on the part of the police, and

 

 

146

 

1 hence obviously this fed through to these initiatives.

2 Q. And you deal with the consequences of this NGO work, NGO

3 involvement, in paragraph 27, also of your statement, at

4 RNI-813-472 (displayed). And you suggest there that it

5 was following that involvement that you realised that

6 the abuse and threats you have talked about earlier were

7 a form of deliberate and systematic intimidation?

8 A. Yes. By now, the evidence was so overwhelming and was

9 so widespread and was being experienced by so many

10 lawyers in this field that we came to the inevitable

11 conclusion that this was a policy.

12 Q. Yes. So to look at the overall period then, you have

13 described to us a watershed, a turning point being the

14 murder of Pat Finucane and how that changed your own

15 perception of things and made you more alert to and

16 aware of what was going on.

17 That would be, then, in the late 1980/early 1990s?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. So this appears then to be another shift a few years

20 later?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Some time after the mid 1990s, moving into the period

23 with which we are particularly concerned in this

24 inquiry?

25 A. Yes, by 1997 this was very much a live issue.

 

 

147

 

1 Q. And it was a live issue not just in Northern Ireland but

2 elsewhere, on an international basis?

3 A. Yes, by now it was becoming international.

4 Q. Yes. Now, returning to the Law Society, if we may, can

5 you look, please, at RNI-112-051 (displayed), because

6 this is a meeting of the Criminal Law Committee -- and

7 we see there that you were the chairman of it, and one

8 of the paragraphs is headed "Defence Solicitors'

9 Complaints of Intimidation by the RUC". There is then

10 reference to press reports that day, which is

11 15th October 1997, of verbal harassment of two

12 solicitors, Mr Winters and Rosemary Nelson.

13 Following that, you say there is a proposal that the

14 Society needed a system which would encourage solicitors

15 to report such harassment and subsequently register and

16 properly investigate the complaint, and an agreement

17 recorded that your committee endorsed the proposals of

18 the other committee and that a structure be implemented

19 urgently.

20 This meeting took place, didn't it, very shortly

21 before the meeting that you had yourself with

22 Mr Cumaraswamy?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Now, it looks, therefore, doesn't it, as though by the

25 time of that meeting, which we see noted at RNI-112-052

 

 

148

 

1 (displayed), the same file, 30th October, that the

2 various committees, two committees and the Council had

3 all agreed that something should be done.

4 Can you remember now when it was that something was

5 done to actually set up the complaints reporting system?

6 A. It was around this time but I just cannot recall

7 precisely. I need help with that.

8 Q. But I think I am right in saying, therefore, that

9 despite the fact that one of the recommendations that

10 came forward was from your own Criminal Law Committee,

11 it was still at this stage that you had an attitude of

12 cynicism; in other words, that you weren't at all

13 convinced, as I understand it, that the system which was

14 going to be set up would be effective. Is that fair?

15 A. That's fair.

16 Q. So what more then do you think you could and should have

17 done?

18 A. I thought we were doing all we could do, frankly, at the

19 time.

20 Q. Now, so far as dealing with the RUC is concerned, we can

21 see the minutes of the meeting which took place with the

22 Chief Constable at RNI-112-064 (displayed). And the

23 meeting was on 30th January.

24 Do you see you were present, but also C275

25 and the president, the then president of the

 

 

149

 

1 Law Society. (name deleted) , whose name appeared, was an

2 official, I think?

3 A. Yes, deputy secretary of the Law Society.

4 Q. Thank you. And as one can see from the notes here, the

5 meeting had been arranged to inform, to tell the

6 Chief Constable that following the Rapporteur's visit,

7 the Society had established a system. Do you see that?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. That might explain, I suspect, why you put it in that

10 way in your own witness statement?

11 A. Yes, I think so.

12 Q. Thank you. So looking at the third paragraph, it is

13 noted there that you and C275 gave your own

14 accounts based on your own experiences of what is

15 described there as:

16 "Experiences that they had had in the holding

17 centres arising from comments made about them by police

18 officers to their clients, and more significantly and in

19 more sinister fashion to clients of other solicitors."

20 Just pausing there, C275 then, provided, as

21 it were, exact mirror comments, did he?

22 A. He did.

23 Q. So the issue was not just that abusive and threatening

24 comments had been made to his clients but also that such

25 comments had been made to clients of other solicitors?

 

 

150

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Thank you. And it sets out the note of the

3 Chief Constable's reaction. It says:

4 "The Chief Constable noted these and made some

5 reference to the death of Pat Finucane, saying it

6 illustrated the danger solicitors faced through their

7 identification with clients."

8 Now, can I ask you: do you have any detailed

9 recollection of what was said at this meeting?

10 A. Not detailed. I remember the meeting. I remember the

11 venue. I remember the nature of the discussion, and my

12 one memory of it is that -- and I hope this is borne out

13 by the minutes of any meeting -- that the

14 Chief Constable would not accept that the conduct had

15 occurred.

16 His response was, "I don't accept that this goes on,

17 but if it does go on, I want to know about it and any

18 future complaints, I want to be immediately told about

19 them directly by you".

20 Q. Do you think that comment or that attitude is

21 encapsulated sufficiently by the expression, "the

22 Chief Constable noted these", ie the unpleasant

23 experiences?

24 A. No, my memory is that he noted what we were saying about

25 them but that he would not accept that they had actually

 

 

151

 

1 occurred. That is my memory. Now, that is subject to

2 correction.

3 Q. Was he saying to you, do you think, that he was not

4 aware of evidence that such events had occurred?

5 A. That may be one way of expressing it.

6 Q. In other words, he was saying, was he, "Look, I am not

7 aware of evidence of these matters, but if you produce

8 the evidence to me, then I will do something about it"?

9 A. Yes, but C275 and I sat in front of him and

10 gave him the evidence. We told him about our

11 experiences. We told him that many clients had been

12 reporting to us that these remarks were being made by

13 his officers. And the reaction wasn't, "Oh, dear, I

14 will make sure that must stop". The reaction was, "I am

15 not accepting necessarily that that was the case".

16 That's is okay. I mean, that is my memory of his

17 reaction. We left less than fully satisfied with the

18 response.

19 Q. Well, I will come to that in a moment, if I may, but in

20 your statement at paragraph 43 at RNI-813-476

21 (displayed) you say -- you quote him, I think, saying:

22 "I don't accept that these things go on, but if

23 I did I would be upset and do something about it."

24 Was he saying to you, "Look, I don't accept what you

25 are telling me, but if I see evidence that this sort of

 

 

152

 

1 thing is going on, you can be sure that I will do

2 something about it"?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. That was his attitude?

5 A. Yes. He accepted that such conduct was not acceptable

6 but he wouldn't accept that it had occurred.

7 Q. And his awareness of the potential risks that lawyers

8 ran seems to have been illustrated by his comment about

9 the death of Pat Finucane?

10 A. Sorry, where is that?

11 Q. Do you see in the note we were looking at RNI-112-064?

12 A. Sorry, can I have it back on the screen? (displayed)

13 Q. Do you see in the third paragraph, just after the

14 passage we started with:

15 "The Chief Constable noted these and made some

16 reference to the death of Pat Finucane, saying it

17 illustrated the dangers solicitors faced through their

18 identification with clients"?

19 A. Yes, I think he is talking about the dangers faced by

20 identification with your clients by paramilitaries, not

21 by his officers.

22 Q. I understand. But at the end of the meeting then, you

23 were not, if I can put it this way, holding your breath

24 for anything dramatic to happen at his end?

25 A. No.

 

 

153

 

1 Q. Now, he did, however, discuss with you, didn't he -- and

2 this is at RNI-112-065 (displayed), on the other page --

3 the question of first of all allowing access or greater

4 access to interviews, for solicitors to be present at

5 interviews, in relation to terrorist offences, but also,

6 as I understand it, to some form of training involving

7 both solicitors on the one hand and police officers on

8 the other?

9 A. Hm-mm.

10 Q. And in the next few months, is it right that that

11 proposal was followed through as well as the proposal

12 about a system within the Law Society for solicitor

13 complaints?

14 A. Well, there was -- I think there was an exchange of

15 correspondence between the police service and the Law

16 Society about whether or not such involvement by the

17 Law Society was appropriate, and we felt it wasn't for

18 a number of reasons.

19 Q. Yes. So that proposal, as it had been discussed in the

20 meeting, did not in the end bear fruit?

21 A. It didn't, no. We felt that -- to become involved in

22 the training of police officers as to how they went

23 about interrogating people you were representing, wasn't

24 appropriate.

25 Q. No. Now, so far as the complaints system was concerned,

 

 

154

 

1 can you look, please, at RNI-112-061 (displayed). And

2 somebody has handwritten a date in there for us, just

3 after these events. It is now December 1997.

4 This was an advert, wasn't it, or announcement

5 anyway, put in -- I think the magazine is called The

6 Writ, the Law Society's magazine?

7 A. Yes, it is our equivalent of The Gazette.

8 Q. Thank you. It is recorded there that the Council has

9 accepted recommendations from the two committees and an

10 invitation is issued in the last paragraph, isn't it, to

11 members of the Society to solicitors with complaints

12 about the RUC, Prison Service or any agency within

13 either the criminal or civil justice system to write

14 with details to the president.

15 Now, first of all, just based on what you can

16 recall, what was the reaction to that advertisement

17 within the Society?

18 A. I don't think there was a huge response. There was some

19 response, if I remember correctly, but it wasn't

20 overwhelming.

21 Q. So the Society over the next months was not flooded with

22 complaints?

23 A. No.

24 Q. Did that surprise you?

25 A. No.

 

 

155

 

1 Q. Why is that?

2 A. Again, I think there would have been a fair degree of

3 cynicism amongst those who practise criminal defence law

4 that this was really a cosmetic exercise in meeting the

5 concerns of the international human rights community

6 about the conduct of police officers towards defence

7 solicitors, and that it had no real meaning.

8 I think there would have been a view that at this

9 stage the game was up really for the RUC in this regard,

10 and that they had by now conceded that there should be

11 tape recording of interviews and that they were going to

12 show the international community, as best they could,

13 that they would not engage in such activity and would

14 allow themselves to be monitored in whatever way

15 possible and that -- I think there was a feeling that

16 well, really, by now this would no longer be a problem

17 for us in the holding centres.

18 Q. Well, now, looking at the way the system actually

19 worked, if we look at RNI-112-066 (displayed), there is

20 another minute here of your committee; this time, I

21 think you had switched to the Human Rights Committee and

22 you were the chairman of that?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Again, we see C275 was on that committee?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

156

 

1 Q. And under "Matters Arising" at 1, do you see there is

2 a recommendation for a specific system for the

3 complaints; in other words, how to deal with them as and

4 when they came in by a register with the details, by

5 initial scrutiny -- turning the page, RNI-112-067

6 (displayed) -- by consideration by the president and

7 reporting back periodically to your committee.

8 Something at least roughly like that was agreed

9 eventually, wasn't it, and put in place?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Now, the other part of the minutes on this same page

12 which I would like to draw to your attention concerns

13 Mr Cumaraswamy.

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. We saw that you and C275 and others met him at

16 the end of October of the previous year, and at this

17 stage, as we know from other evidence, his draft report

18 had emerged. And it is clear, isn't it, from this

19 minute that somehow it had come, or part of it had come

20 to your attention?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Can you remember how that happened?

23 A. No, but I do remember that -- the Society must have been

24 sent an advance copy or something, or at least an

25 extract, or that perhaps that extract which was critical

 

 

157

 

1 of the Society.

2 Q. Well, that is the first thing you deal with in this

3 minute, or the committee deals with, because it says

4 first of all that -- five lines down:

5 "Some publicity might be expected and the Society's

6 PR consultants have been briefed accordingly."

7 That is the first point you discuss.

8 Then you note that the report would repeat the

9 criticisms of the Society, which I think he made in

10 a press conference at the end of his visit, didn't he?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And that there was to be some tempering of that by

13 welcoming the very initiative we have just been looking

14 at, namely that to receive complaints. Do you see that?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And you were also made aware from the draft that he

17 frankly thought that wasn't enough and that the Society,

18 and indeed the Bar Council, should be more vocal in

19 support of members and his recommendation of the opening

20 of a dialogue with the RUC.

21 The next sentence:

22 "Given the steps which had already been taken by the

23 Society ..."

24 Presumably the complaints and, in this case, talking

25 to the Chief Constable:

 

 

158

 

1 "... it was considered that a positive response

2 could be made to these criticisms."

3 That appears to be the second point?

4 A. Yes. We took the criticisms on board and he felt that

5 lawyers could have done more to help themselves and that

6 the Society should have done more. I don't think I

7 could disagree with that, being one of those lawyers

8 myself.

9 Q. Not just one of those lawyers but one of the lawyers

10 occupying a reasonably important position within the

11 professional body?

12 A. Yes, and -- but I have explained why we were perhaps

13 discouraged from taking the matter up more vocally. And

14 I think at the time I and some others might have felt

15 that Mr Cumaraswamy didn't allow sufficiently for

16 those -- those issues. But nevertheless, we had to put

17 our hands up and say it has taken outsiders to come in

18 and give us a good kicking and tell us to speak up about

19 this.

20 Q. This was, as it were, the second example in relation to

21 the Law Society, was it? We had the first with

22 Mr Posner?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And now we have the Special Rapporteur coming in from

25 outside, from abroad, in both cases and giving you all

 

 

159

 

1 a bit of a shake-up?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. You then move on in this minute to a further topic also

4 arising from the draft report, and this is the:

5 "... note with serious concern the comments

6 attributed to the Chief and Assistant Chief Constable in

7 which he asserted that solicitors may work for the

8 paramilitaries. It's suggested that solicitors convey

9 messages from the paramilitary organisations to

10 detainees and accepted that police officers may suggest

11 to a detainee that his solicitor has given bad advice."

12 You then agree in the minutes that the comments

13 should be the subject of an immediate enquiry in writing

14 by the president.

15 In the light of the discussions you had had recently

16 with the Chief Constable and of your own experience, did

17 you react with surprise to reading this in the draft

18 report?

19 A. We might not have been surprised that those thoughts

20 might have occurred to the Chief Constable, but we were

21 surprised that they were spoken.

22 Q. Now, we can see the action that was taken on the next

23 page, RNI-112-068 (displayed). The president,

24 Antoinette Curran, writes to the Chief Constable and

25 raises exactly this point.

 

 

160

 

1 Was this a letter that you saw in draft?

2 A. I presume so. I can't actually recall it. It is a long

3 time ago.

4 Q. But did it put the matter as you would have wished it to

5 be put?

6 A. If you will forgive me if I have -- I know I saw it this

7 morning, but ...

8 (Pause)

9 Yes, I think that meets our concerns and met our

10 concerns at the time. I daresay I was consulted by the

11 president about it as chairman of the committee.

12 Q. And the response came back at RNI-112-070 (displayed),

13 a letter of 16th March from Command Secretariat which

14 encloses the Chief Constable's letter of the 13th to the

15 Rapporteur, which is the next page, RNI-112-071

16 (displayed).

17 Now, in addition, the Chief Constable came to the

18 Law Society's office, did he not, on 27th March?

19 A. He did.

20 Q. And he did that to set out his position for you?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And specifically to deal with the allegation made by

23 Mr Cumaraswamy in the draft report?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And we will see a record of that on the next page,

 

 

161

 

1 RNI-112-072 (displayed). This is in a letter from him

2 to the president. The president's letter is the

3 original one we saw, and we will see recorded there

4 a reference to that meeting and that you and C275

5 were also present.

6 Now, as far as I can see, we do not have a note or

7 minute of that meeting and this letter is brief in its

8 reference to it. Can you help us with what was

9 discussed at that meeting?

10 A. Yes. I remember the meeting well because obviously this

11 controversy as to whether or not the Chief Constable had

12 made these remarks was very much in the media at the

13 time. The meeting was held in a council chamber of the

14 Law Society, which is a big room, and it was really the

15 Chief Constable and myself, Mr C275 and [Deleted]

16 present, and that he was at pains to deny that he ever

17 made such remarks or indeed that he ever would have

18 thought such a thing.

19 Q. How did the discussion continue?

20 A. Well, we could only but listen to his protestations that

21 he didn't utter those remarks and move on from there.

22 I do think we pointed out to him that we were

23 concerned that this was the sort of thing that his

24 police officers thought about us and that it would have

25 concerned us greatly that the Chief Constable would have

 

 

162

 

1 shared those views as someone who should have known

2 better. But he assured us that he didn't.

3 So I didn't think there was much more that could

4 have been said about that.

5 Q. So to be clear, he denied having made the comment and

6 also denied holding the views?

7 A. That is my memory.

8 Q. Thank you, yes. Finally, in relation to that meeting --

9 you deal with it in paragraph 50 of your statement at

10 RNI-813-479 (displayed) -- the other detail about it

11 I wanted it to check with you is that he telephoned the

12 Law Society and requested the meeting. Is that right?

13 A. He did.

14 Q. Thank you. I wanted to ask you finally in relation to

15 this about one further meeting with the Chief Constable,

16 this one in January 1999. Now, is that meeting that you

17 can recall? I can't, I am afraid, show you a document

18 or minutes about it.

19 A. Do I refer to it in my statement?

20 Q. I don't think you do. I just wanted to see whether you

21 could recall for us now that there was a meeting at the

22 beginning of 1999, on the 19th, in fact, of January?

23 A. Was that back at Brooklyn, was it?

24 Q. I think it was, yes.

25 A. I do remember a second meeting, yes.

 

 

163

 

1 Q. Can I show you an extract from another witness

2 statement: Mr Bailie, who I think was the chief

3 executive at the time?

4 A. That would help.

5 Q. Let us look at RNI-802-097, paragraph 40 (displayed).

6 A. Law Society House.

7 Q. Yes. And it looks as though this was a meeting held to

8 further discuss this question of intimidation in

9 circumstances where the complaints system, the new

10 system which we have just talked about, had been in

11 operation for several months?

12 A. Yes. I remember the discussion but I can't remember

13 much about it, I am afraid.

14 Q. No. Now, so far as Rosemary Nelson is concerned, she, I

15 think, did respond to the invitation of the Society to

16 report concerns or complaints, didn't she?

17 A. She did.

18 Q. And we can see her letter to the president at

19 RNI-112-079 (displayed), dated 6th April, and with it

20 came -- and of course it is very difficult to do this on

21 the screen, but with it came various clients' statements

22 which takes us all the way to RNI-112-087 (displayed).

23 I wanted to ask you whether you remember seeing this

24 letter and the enclosed material at the time?

25 A. I think I do, yes.

 

 

164

 

1 Q. And were you, therefore, one of the people who

2 considered and reviewed it under the system?

3 A. I must have been.

4 Q. Now, we can see in relation to the way in which the

5 Society dealt with it that there was an acknowledgment

6 on 22nd April, RNI-112-088 (displayed), but in fact no

7 response, no substantive response until the latter part

8 of November that year. And we can see that at

9 RNI-112-094 (displayed). Do you see a letter from

10 Mr Bailie to Rosemary Nelson there?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So what I wanted to ask you before we look at some more

13 documents is what you can remember about how the

14 complaint that she had registered with the Law Society

15 was addressed in those seven months?

16 A. Do you know, I have very little recollection of this.

17 It would appear from the documents that Mr Bailie asked

18 me to look at the papers at least towards the end

19 of August 1998, because I have written back to him on

20 20th August saying that I have looked at the material

21 and agreed that the complainant should be asked for

22 their consent to use the material in any complaint to

23 the Chief Constable.

24 Q. Can we look at the letters then? It is probably easier

25 to do it that way.

 

 

165

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Can we start first with his letter to you? I think it is

3 to you anyway. It is 3rd August, RNI-112-089

4 (displayed).

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And it looks as though discussion was still continuing

7 about how to deal with or structure the mechanisms of

8 this new system.

9 He tells you that the Society has received four

10 complaints as at this point and they have been

11 registered and acknowledged, and it records here:

12 "And we are agreed that our preference would be to

13 raise these with the Chief Constable. The committee

14 recognise the complaints received so far arise in

15 a variety of circumstances."

16 Then various particulars are given, and the next

17 paragraph continues that:

18 "The committee recognise the need to develop an

19 initial response to the complaints ... and that he

20 [Mr Bailie] was tasked to prepare for agreement of the

21 president and you a suitable pro forma letter."

22 He uses Rosemary Nelson's example, Rosemary Nelson's

23 case, as the example for the pro forma. Do you it see

24 it at the bottom of the page?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

166

 

1 Q. And continuing over to the next page, RNI-112-090

2 (displayed), he raises various questions for you to

3 consider, and he says at the end that:

4 "It has also been copied to the senior vice

5 president and to [Deleted]."

6 It is that which results in your letter you have

7 just mentioned of the 20th at RNI-112-091, isn't it?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And it looks as though you gave your approval to the

10 draft he had put forward. Do you see that?

11 A. Yes, I also expressed the view that I doubted that

12 consent would be withheld to use the material; otherwise

13 it wouldn't have been sent in in the first place, but

14 that people should be asked.

15 Q. So you didn't think the issue he had raised about

16 getting confirmation in relation to consent would be

17 a problem?

18 A. No, I didn't.

19 Q. And you said:

20 "If they do ..."

21 That is if solicitors do have any difficulty:

22 "... so be it."

23 Do you see?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. That led, did it, to the letter which we have seen of

 

 

167

 

1 23rd November to Mrs Nelson?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Which is indeed a substantive response to the letter she

4 had sent seven months before?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And --

7 A. I am reminded of how slowly the wheels of the

8 Law Society turn, I am afraid.

9 Q. Indeed it is striking, if I may say so. And five

10 requests for confirmation and information are then set

11 out?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. With the assurance at the end that the writer looks

14 forward to hearing from her?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Now, as far as you are aware, he never did, did he?

17 A. He wouldn't appear to have, he wouldn't appear to have.

18 Q. It is not, therefore, clear which, if any, particular

19 aspects of the information he was asking for caused any

20 difficulty, as you put it in your own letter, which is

21 still on the screen, but for whatever reason, as far as

22 you are aware, nothing more came from Rosemary Nelson,

23 did it?

24 A. I don't remember, so.

25 Q. No.

 

 

168

 

1 A. And I don't know how soon after Rosemary submitted the

2 material in April it was shown to me, but it was

3 obviously at least shown to me in August.

4 I would guess I was on holiday when the material

5 came in at the beginning of August and I responded on my

6 return on the 20th.

7 Q. But can I suggest this to you: using Rosemary Nelson's

8 case as an example today, as Mr Bailie did in the summer

9 of 1998, it doesn't look as though the system was

10 proving to be very effective, does it?

11 A. No, it doesn't.

12 Q. No. Now, when you tell us in your statement about your

13 own dealings with and conversations with

14 Rosemary Nelson, one of the things you suggest is that

15 she may have wanted to speak to you because she knew of

16 your position at the Law Society?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Is that based on something she said to you?

19 A. She would have known very well that I was chairman of

20 the Human Rights Committee and that I was on the

21 Council, and in the conversations that I had with her on

22 the -- in the prison and on the telephone, this issue

23 came up, I think, every time.

24 Q. And did she ever complain to you about the way in which

25 her complaint had, or perhaps more accurately hadn't

 

 

169

 

1 been dealt with by the Law Society?

2 A. No, I have no recollection of that. Had she done so, I

3 would have taken action.

4 Q. If, as we believe, the meeting with the Chief Constable

5 in January 1999 was an opportunity to discuss complaints

6 received, it follows, I think, doesn't it, from the fact

7 that you never got the consent, you never got the

8 information from her, that you were not able in the

9 meeting in January 1999 to raise with the

10 Chief Constable her case?

11 A. Probably not specifically.

12 Q. So that you weren't able in that meeting, as an official

13 of the Law Society, to draw his attention specifically

14 to the matters of which she complained?

15 A. I don't believe I would have been, without her express

16 consent.

17 Q. No. Now, returning to your dealings with

18 Rosemary Nelson much more generally, you describe how

19 you first met her, which was on a prison bus at the Maze

20 in paragraph 4 on RNI-813-464 (displayed).

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And it sounds as though from the very first you were

23 able to have easy conversations with her. Is that

24 right?

25 A. Yes, Rosemary was easy to talk to in that regard and we

 

 

170

 

1 would have struck up a rapport immediately, and we did.

2 Q. The impression you give is that on this first encounter

3 on the bus you immediately fell into conversation about

4 your respective experiences as defence lawyers?

5 A. We did.

6 Q. Yes.

7 A. We did.

8 Q. How often in the succeeding years did you run into her

9 and talk to her?

10 A. Not very often really, because we would have met at the

11 prison on a number of occasions but not too many, and

12 then Rosemary would have phoned me from time to time,

13 particularly in the context of the signing of the

14 petition. And we had always discussed this issue of

15 intimidation of lawyers, and I recall very clearly that

16 she was particularly concerned that Pat Finucane's

17 murder wasn't receiving enough attention and we had --

18 that was always the basis of our conversations.

19 Q. So just so I am clear about that, this was a theme of

20 hers, was it?

21 A. Very much so.

22 Q. In your conversations?

23 A. Very much so.

24 Q. And she was part, wasn't she, of the campaign to get an

25 inquiry in relation to that murder?

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And I think in fact she spoke, didn't she, at a meeting

3 which took place to mark the 10th anniversary of the

4 murder, very shortly before her own?

5 A. I believe so.

6 Q. Yes. Going back to your very first meeting with her on

7 the bus, are you able to give us a more precise date for

8 that? Would it have been in the mid 1990s, for example?

9 A. Later 1990s.

10 Q. Later 1990s?

11 A. The later part of the 90s, I am sure.

12 Q. And in relation to the discussion about your respective

13 experiences, was that something that she opened up as

14 a topic in the conversation?

15 A. It could have been me.

16 Q. It could have been you, you can't remember?

17 A. It was something we would have been both happy to talk

18 about.

19 Q. Did she at that stage give you detail of any particular

20 experiences, particular examples of her difficulties as

21 a defence lawyer?

22 A. I can't recall specifics, but I just -- I remember the

23 meeting because I had heard of Rosemary Nelson as

24 someone who was gaining prominence as a defence

25 representative, and I immediately -- for somehow or

 

 

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1 another, I recognised her for who she was on the bus and

2 we immediately started talking about these things, but I

3 can't remember the specifics.

4 Q. But you were aware, were you, even in this first

5 meeting, that she may have hoped that your particular

6 position in the Law Society might in a sense assist her

7 to get wider recognition for the particular problems

8 that she was encountering? Is that right?

9 A. I think that is a fair enough description about my sense

10 of the discussion.

11 Q. Now, it seems that perhaps at a later stage -- and

12 I have now moved on to paragraph 8 of your statement --

13 that in conversation with her it became clear to you

14 that she was shocked at how widespread the problem --

15 that is the problem of the negative attitude of the

16 police, as you put it, towards defence lawyers -- how

17 widespread that problem was.

18 Again, is that based on comments she made to you?

19 A. Oh, definitely. It is based on a number of

20 conversations that I had with her.

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. I was struck by how shocked she was by all of this, and

23 I suppose perhaps because I had been dealing with this

24 for so many years, as I say, I had perhaps become a bit

25 case hardened about this and was struck by Rosemary's

 

 

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1 deep concern and shock that solicitors would be treated

2 in this way. And I got the impression that this was new

3 to her and that she had perhaps come from a type of --

4 a legal background that wouldn't have exposed her to

5 this and was now being exposed to it and was very taken

6 aback, and wanted to know do you guys get this all the

7 time, you have been doing this for a while, and I would

8 have said of course we do.

9 Q. One of the points in play here, I think you suggest in

10 this paragraph, is that whereas you were (a) more

11 experienced, you were also, (b) working in a bigger

12 firm, weren't you? You weren't a sole practitioner?

13 A. No.

14 Q. And she was working, as you put it in this paragraph, as

15 a sole practitioner in a small town?

16 A. Yes, and you have to understand that Rosemary's practice

17 was by and large an ordinary high street civil practice,

18 very much so.

19 She had a significant case load of matrimonial work,

20 conveyancing work, personal injury litigation. She had

21 a very small number of contentious, high profile

22 criminal cases, but very small compared to the general

23 client profile of her practice.

24 So I was coming from a background where I had really

25 done nothing else but criminal defence work even though

 

 

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1 our practice was broader than that, and she was coming

2 from a background of having done nothing else but

3 ordinary work and then now coming into this type of work

4 and being rather shocked at the hostility she was

5 facing.

6 Q. But was there difference also between the locations in

7 which the two of you practised; in other words, the

8 difference between practising in Belfast on the one hand

9 and in Lurgan on the other?

10 A. Yes, and I think I might not have quite appreciated it

11 at the time I was talking to Rosemary, but certainly

12 with hindsight and perhaps with more information that

13 I have now, the degree of the hostility Rosemary was

14 facing in the area where she practised in Lurgan,

15 Portadown, seemed to be much more intense.

16 Q. Now, in paragraph 32 of your statement, where you touch

17 on this point at RNI-813-474 (displayed), you indicate

18 that it is difficult to distinguish between what you

19 believed, what you were aware of, what you knew at the

20 time, and what you have learnt since. And it sounds as

21 though the point we have just made is an example of

22 that?

23 A. Yes. I want to be it as candid as I can be and I don't

24 want to appear as an advocate. I want to appear as

25 a witness. So I have to make it clear to the panel that

 

 

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1 I know a lot more about Rosemary now than I did then.

2 Q. Yes. And this point, the appreciation of what was going

3 on and in particular because of the area in which she

4 worked, was, you think, not something you fully

5 appreciated at the time?

6 A. I really don't think I did until I became closely

7 involved with her practice and her family.

8 Q. Was there a point, as a result of these conversations

9 you had with her, at which you became concerned for her

10 safety?

11 A. I can't say that I personally did, though I was aware

12 that through the Cumaraswamy controversy he had

13 a concern and that CAJ had a concern, and so I did

14 become aware at some point before Rosemary was killed

15 that her situation was regarded as perhaps a bit

16 different than the situation the rest of us were dealing

17 with.

18 Q. But it wasn't a view that you had formed, as it were,

19 for yourself?

20 A. No, I can't say I did.

21 Q. And it looks as though that issue of her personal

22 security, her safety, did not come up as an issue in the

23 course of your conversations. Is that right?

24 A. I don't believe it did.

25 Q. No. Now, can I turn to a related topic, which is

 

 

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1 something you have touched on earlier, I think, which is

2 the petition at RNI-115-341 (displayed).

3 You explain to us that she was the person who asked

4 you to sign up to this. Is that right?

5 A. She was.

6 Q. And that she contacted you possibly more than once. Is

7 that right?

8 A. Yes, I have a memory that I was basically in and out of

9 court and busy and that it was something that I hadn't

10 attended to and needed to.

11 Q. There was no reluctance, was there, on your part to sign

12 up to it?

13 A. No, not at all, but I would have taken care to read the

14 petition and to find out who precisely was behind the

15 petition before I had signed it. So that might have

16 caused a little bit of delay in that I hadn't maybe

17 a lot of time at my disposal to do that, but once I did,

18 I willingly and happily signed it.

19 Q. That is what I wanted to ask you. We can see your name

20 at RNI-115-343, please, (displayed) with "Belfast" next

21 to it. Do you see?

22 So again, it follows, doesn't it, that once you had

23 had a chance to look at it and consider it, this was

24 something with which you agreed and which you were happy

25 to put your name to?

 

 

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1 A. Yes, I wouldn't have put my name to it otherwise.

2 Q. Thank you.

3 Mr McGrory, that is all I wish to ask.

4 MR BEER: My Lord, before you dismiss the witness, which

5 I feel you were about to do, I have an application to

6 make on behalf of the NIO.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: We will adjourn for 10 minutes. Do you have

8 it in writing?

9 MR BEER: It arises as a result of Mr Phillips' decision

10 not to ask questions.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Has Mr Phillips had notification of those

12 questions?

13 MR BEER: Yes, in accordance with your protocol.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Is that right, Mr Phillips?

15 MR PHILLIPS: I don't know, sir, because I don't know what

16 they are.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: We will adjourn for 10 minutes and perhaps

18 you will have a discussion with Mr Phillips as to what

19 those questions are, and then we will have a ruling.

20 Mr McGrory, would you mind remaining around about?

21 We will have a 10-minute break.

22 (4.17 pm)

23 (Short break)

24 (4.26 pm)

25 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, I have had a discussion with Mr Beer and

 

 

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1 I am proposing to put a few more questions to

2 Mr McGrory.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

4 MR PHILLIPS: Mr McGrory, can we look again, please, at

5 RNI-112-094 (displayed).

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Can we have it on the screen, please. (displayed).

8 Thank you.

9 Now, you agreed with me when we spoke earlier about

10 this that there was no reply to this letter, as far as

11 you are aware, from Mrs Nelson?

12 A. Not that I am aware. If there had been, I am sure the

13 Society would have it.

14 Q. Certainly there is no reply on the records that we

15 can see?

16 A. No.

17 Q. Did you discuss this issue with Mrs Nelson?

18 A. I have no recollection of it.

19 Q. No. Are you able to help us, therefore, as to why she

20 did not reply?

21 A. You see, she may have needed to get her client's

22 consent. Indeed, the letter suggests at subparagraph

23 (c):

24 "We sought confirmation of whether you or your

25 client has any objection to his or her name in the

 

 

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1 circumstances and personnel mentioned in the statement

2 being bought to the attention of the Chief Constable."

3 This reminds me of a difficulty I referred to

4 earlier in my evidence that I encountered in deciding

5 whether or not we could pursue these complaints; that

6 you were asking someone who was a suspect, and

7 frequently a defendant, in a serious criminal case to

8 enter into a situation of cooperation with a branch of

9 the police. And in the Northern Ireland context, that's

10 asking a lot of your client.

11 These are very hotly contested cases and most

12 clients you would ask to engage in such an exercise

13 would not welcome it. Therefore, you would be reluctant

14 to do so.

15 So I can see that if Rosemary Nelson, having

16 received this letter, and it is some six months before

17 she was killed, would have had to locate the client or

18 all of the clients and consult them about whether or not

19 she could put them forward as potential witnesses.

20 Q. But you are not able to help us as to whether that was

21 in fact the reason?

22 A. I am not.

23 Q. No. Can you remember whether there was any discussion

24 at the Law Society about the fact that no response had

25 been received?

 

 

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1 A. Yes. There was some discussion that we weren't

2 overwhelmed with responses and why that might be, and

3 there were various views expressed, and I think I would

4 have been of the view that, look -- I think I said this

5 earlier -- that at this stage of the game there had been

6 so much of a stink created about the conduct of police

7 officers in holding centres that they would be careful

8 to no longer engage in it and that in fact, we had, by

9 virtue of this system, we had succeeded in putting

10 a stop by and large to this conduct.

11 Q. But did you, for example, following that discussion,

12 make any attempt to encourage her to respond?

13 A. I don't recall doing so.

14 Q. Well, the complaints that she sent in were, on the face

15 of them, on the basis of this statement, serious

16 matters, and the Law Society's complaints structure was

17 in its infancy. It is surprising, isn't it, that

18 further attempts weren't made to encourage the solicitor

19 concerned to respond?

20 A. You know, people have to remember how busy we were. We

21 were very busy people. We had busy practices. We

22 practised in a very intense world. We put our clients'

23 interests first.

24 I would like to think that we did and that -- I

25 think that part of the reason why there wasn't such

 

 

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1 a big uptake was that people might have seen it as

2 a distraction from the business that they ought to be

3 carrying out on behalf of their clients rather than

4 looking after themselves. I think that is as much to

5 our credit as it is to our discredit, but people were

6 under a lot of pressure.

7 Q. But can I ask you this. You were involved in the

8 setting up of this new system, weren't you? We have

9 seen that from the documents.

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Didn't you, therefore, feel some sort of obligation to

12 do what you could to make sure that it actually worked

13 in practice?

14 A. Well, with hindsight perhaps we could have done more,

15 but I wouldn't underestimate how deeply cynical we were

16 about the value of this system either. I think we felt

17 that this system was a reaction to the international

18 criticisms that not enough was being done and that it

19 was really a smokescreen to show that the

20 Chief Constable and those in positions of responsibility

21 were taking it seriously and would do something to

22 prevent it from happening again, and that in reality we

23 felt that we were no further on, because at the end of

24 the day we still had to put forward a defendant as an

25 uncorroborated witness against a policeman, and that in

 

 

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1 no circumstances would your witness be believed.

2 Q. Just to be clear, the thing you have just described as

3 a smokescreen was the complaints system that you helped

4 to set up. Is that right?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. So you were being cynical about your own system?

7 A. It wasn't necessarily my personal system. I was on the

8 Council of the Law Society. We were being pressed by

9 human rights groups, whom I felt were at times naive

10 about the reality of the situation, to do more on behalf

11 of ourselves to prevent this from happening. And I felt

12 that to be cynical about it the system which we set up

13 really took us no further, other than to mark the card

14 of those who were engaging in this behaviour, that they

15 were now being watched and that by setting the system

16 up, we had achieved that purpose.

17 Q. Now, there is one further matter I want to raise with

18 you briefly: did you hear Patricia Coyle give evidence

19 about the DPP court clerk speaking to her after the

20 murder of Rosemary Nelson?

21 A. Yes, I did.

22 Q. His name is Kevin Graham. He's dead now. Did you know

23 him?

24 A. Yes, I knew him. Professionally, I came across him

25 many, many times.

 

 

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1 Q. Do you know what he did before he became a court clerk?

2 A. I understood he was a policeman.

3 Q. Is that based on something he told you?

4 A. No, my memory is that Kevin Graham was a former

5 policeman who became a DPP clerk. That could be wrong

6 but that is my memory.

7 Q. It's based on something that somebody else told you?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Thank you.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mr McGrory. We will

11 adjourn until Monday at 1.00 pm.

12 (4.35 pm)

13 (The Inquiry adjourned until Monday, 19th May 2008 at

14 1.00 pm)

15

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1 I N D E X

2
MR PADRAIG MCDERMOTT(sworn) ...................... 1
3
Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 1
4
Question by THE CHAIRMAN ..................... 28
5
MS PATRICIA COYLE (sworn) ........................ 29
6
Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 29
7
Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 73
8
MR BARRA MCGRORY (sworn) ......................... 74
9
Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 74
10
Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 136
11
Questions by MR PHILLIPS (continued) ......... 137
12

13

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18

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20

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