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Full Hearings

Hearing: 6th May 2008, day 14

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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 Tuesday, 6th May 2008
commencing at 1.00 pm


Day 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Tuesday, 6th May 2008

2 (1.00 pm)

3 (Proceedings delayed)

4 (1.33 pm)

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

6 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, may I just make a few introductory

7 remarks before we swear the first witness, Mr Leeson.

8 Sir, today's evidence and much of the rest of this

9 week, if things proceed according to plan, will be

10 devoted to members of Rosemary Nelson's staff, people

11 who worked for her and alongside her in her office.

12 We provided to the Full Participants this chart,

13 which sets out their details, where their statements are

14 to be found, whether or not they are to be called and,

15 so far as we can, an indication of the period during

16 which they worked at the office.

17 From that you will see that in addition to the

18 witnesses being called to give evidence, there are

19 a number who are not to appear and whose statements will

20 therefore be taken as read. So far as they are

21 concerned, sir, you remember I said that I would make

22 announcements about that. They are Colette Curran at

23 RNI-803-053, Sharon Keeley at RNI-811-104, Angela

24 McCaroll at RNI-813-121, Michelle McCollum at

25 RNI-813-410, Ken McKee at RNI-813-174, Mark McNulty at

 

 

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1 RNI-813-335, and finally Annette Sheridan at

2 RNI-820-139.

3 So far as their evidence is concerned, as you will

4 hear and read, they deal of course with life in the

5 office, the nature of the work done and how it changed

6 over the years, the question of threats and security,

7 relations with the police, work for prominent clients

8 during the time they were in the office and for those

9 who were still working there at the relevant time, their

10 experiences on the day of the murder and in the

11 aftermath of it, and finally what happened to the

12 practice after Rosemary Nelson's death.

13 There is a further witness whose name I would like

14 to mention at this stage, also not to be called, and

15 this is Seamus Collins, RNI-803-001. He is a partner in

16 PJ McGrory & Co, he, along with Mr McGrory, took over

17 the practice after Rosemary Nelson's death and his

18 statement deals with the various statistics, the figures

19 in relation to the practice as he then found it, he

20 obviously being a lawyer in practice in Northern Ireland

21 at the time.

22 Sir, I am also going to enter a caveat in relation

23 to this evidence, because of course there are a number

24 of other witnesses whose statements you doubtless recall

25 who give their own view as outsiders to the practice on

 

 

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1 the nature of Rosemary Nelson's work over the years. I

2 am not going to attempt to list them now. Suffice to

3 say that as we go through their evidence and their

4 statements, you will see other bits and pieces, if I can

5 put it that way, of evidence on this topic.

6 Then, so far as this week is concerned, there are

7 two other witnesses listed to be called: the first,

8 Emmett Sheridan and the second, Joe Campbell. They were

9 not members of staff. Mr Sheridan was in fact married

10 to a member of staff, and he gives evidence about his

11 own dealings with and points he wishes to make about

12 Rosemary Nelson, in particular in relation to threats,

13 and Joe Campbell, who was a client of the firm. So

14 those are in addition to the staff witnesses that I have

15 already mentioned.

16 Sir, the final point to note at this stage is that

17 so far as questioning is concerned, the protocol which

18 was set out in the Inquiry's letter of 1st January this

19 year applies. So far as its application in practice is

20 concerned, I can tell you that the Inquiry received last

21 night at about 10.45 pm some suggested questions or

22 lines of questions from counsel representing the PSNI.

23 You will remember, sir, the terms of the protocol, and

24 so far as relevant that applies today and for the

25 remainder of the witnesses.

 

 

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1 Sir, that is all I wish to say by way of

2 introduction.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

4 MR BRIAN LEESON (sworn)

5 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

6 MR PHILLIPS: Mr Leeson, will you give us your full name,

7 please.

8 A. Brian James Leeson.

9 Q. You have made a statement to the inquiry. We can see

10 it, please, on the screen at RNI-812-001 (displayed).

11 Thank you. And if we turn over, please, to RNI-812-008,

12 is that your signature and the date of 11th February?

13 A. It is, yes.

14 Q. Now, there is one other statement which we will look at

15 in a minute. Can I show you that at the outset, please?

16 It is RNI-302-143 (displayed), dated 11th August,

17 a statement you made to the murder investigation team.

18 If we go over to the end of the statement,

19 RNI-302-145 (displayed), we will see that it doesn't

20 appear to be signed. But do you remember making

21 a statement at that time to the police?

22 A. Yes, I do.

23 Q. Now, Mr Leeson, starting, as it were, at the beginning,

24 you tell us in your statement -- which I think you have

25 with you, do you?

 

 

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1 A. Yes, I do.

2 Q. Thank you -- that you practised as a solicitor before

3 coming back to Northern Ireland in 1996. Can I ask you,

4 how many years qualified were you at that point?

5 A. I qualified 1994, I believe, so approximately two years

6 or so.

7 Q. What led you to apply to work for Rosemary Nelson's

8 firm?

9 A. Well, I had been working for another practice in

10 Northern Ireland and I basically had thought about

11 setting up on my own at some stage in the future and

12 thought I needed a little experience in relation to

13 claims and criminal work. And someone had indicated to

14 me that it was a very busy practice and a job had come

15 up in the newspaper and I applied for it.

16 Q. So it was the reputation of the firm as a busy practice?

17 A. Yes. I had not personally heard of Rosemary Nelson at

18 that stage, to be honest.

19 Q. So far as your period of employment at the firm is

20 concerned, I think you say that you left in 1997. Can

21 you put it more precisely? Can you remember the month

22 in 1997 that you left?

23 A. No, I don't, honestly. I would need to give it a bit of

24 time, but I could certainly find out for you it that was

25 necessary. I could go through my diaries, et cetera.

 

 

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1 Q. Now, so far as the work you did on joining the practice,

2 you say in paragraph 3 that you did mainly civil

3 litigation, road traffic accidents with a bit of medical

4 negligence thrown in and you did basic Magistrates'

5 Court work in the mornings.

6 Can I just ask you, how much of your time was spent

7 doing criminal work?

8 A. Well, I spent a lot of time. As you've said, in the

9 mornings I would go to the Magistrates' Court, I would

10 do the bulk of the petty sessions work. So probably

11 half my day, my normal working day.

12 Q. If you look at RNI-302-143 -- that is your earlier

13 statement made to the police --

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. (displayed) you will see there the fourth paragraph:

16 "Whilst working for Rosemary I was primarily

17 responsible for the run-of-the-mill criminal work."

18 So you were running, were you, the Magistrates'

19 Court work at the practice?

20 A. Yes, I would have taken on the bulk of that, yes.

21 Q. Was that for the greater proportion of the work that you

22 did or was the civil work that you mention in your more

23 recent statement dominant as far as your practice was

24 concerned?

25 A. There was more civil work to do. There was generally

 

 

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1 a surplus of civil work that I wouldn't get dealing with

2 by the end of the day. There was too much civil work.

3 Q. What sort of civil work, was it?

4 A. Just civil claims work generally, RTAs, traffic

5 accidents, medical negligence, that kind of thing, which

6 would have required and demanded more attention. But as

7 I spent most of the morning up to lunchtime in the

8 Magistrates' Court dealing with petties, I did not have

9 an awful lot of time left to offer to it.

10 I put that to Rosemary a number of times, but it was

11 just a burgeoning practice and it was difficult to

12 control.

13 Q. I mean, the impression one gets from your statement

14 and a number of others is that the practice was

15 permanently at full stretch. Is that fair?

16 A. Yes, that is right.

17 Q. Did that continue throughout the time you were working

18 there?

19 A. Yes, it did and, you know, you did your best to handle

20 it and get through the work as quickly as you could, but

21 it was sort of, you know, fighting the flames a bit, you

22 know.

23 Q. Firefighting?

24 A. Firefighting, yes.

25 Q. I get the impression from your statement that that had

 

 

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1 a pretty disadvantageous impact on you. Is that fair?

2 A. It didn't really distress me, to be honest. I got on

3 with it, I was happy to be very busy. I made it known

4 to Rosemary a number of times. She said, "Look, just do

5 your best, get on with it", you know. So I did.

6 Q. But she didn't recruit to help you?

7 A. No.

8 Q. Is that one of the reasons you left in 1997?

9 A. Yes, that would have been one of the reasons. It had

10 just become unfeasibly busy for me personally, and maybe

11 I wanted to move on at that stage I think as well.

12 Q. Now, can I just ask you about the practice when you

13 joined it. Can you remember which other solicitors were

14 working there at the time?

15 If you look at paragraph 3, you have given us some

16 details. This is RNI-812-001 (displayed).

17 A. Yes, Sharon Keeley was there but she was the only other

18 solicitor apart from Rosemary.

19 Q. As you say, you came in to replace Ken McKee?

20 A. That is right.

21 Q. And in terms of legally qualified staff, apart from

22 Rosemary Nelson, it was just Sharon Keeley?

23 A. That is right.

24 Q. How was your working relationship with Rosemary Nelson

25 herself?

 

 

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1 A. Very good.

2 Q. And was that typical of relations between

3 Rosemary Nelson and other members of staff?

4 A. Yes, generally good relations all round. It was quite

5 a nice atmosphere to work in. There was no

6 difficulties.

7 Q. How was she as an employer?

8 A. She appeared fair and allowed you to get on with it and,

9 you know, it was great experience for me at that time

10 because you were handling a lot of technical

11 difficulties in cases without much assistance apart from

12 counsel's assistance, so you really had to get on with

13 it. But she didn't really -- she would have called you

14 in at the end of a couple of days, a week, just to see

15 how you were getting on. So she did show an interest.

16 Q. Can I ask you some questions about the work that she did

17 while you were there. Can we look, please, at

18 RNI-302-143 (displayed).

19 Thank you.

20 Now, you say in the fifth paragraph there:

21 "Rosemary, for her part, dealt with conveyancing and

22 the non-high profile criminal cases, in particular the

23 paramilitary-type cases."

24 The first thing I wanted to ask you is am I right in

25 thinking that the "non" in that sentence may be an

 

 

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1 error?

2 A. Yes, exactly.

3 Q. Thank you. This is a statement you made in August 1999.

4 Is that a fair summary, as far as you are concerned, of

5 the nature of Rosemary Nelson's own work: conveyancing

6 and high profile criminal cases?

7 A. Yes, that would be about right, yes.

8 Q. And were those cases that she dealt with on her own or

9 did she have support from you or others?

10 A. No, I would have had very little to do with the work

11 that Rosemary dealt with in that regard, apart from, as

12 I say, when the Colin Duffy trial -- I wasn't involved

13 in the first one obviously. I knew about that -- I had

14 heard about it when I joined. So I was aware of other

15 high profile actions. But I didn't really become

16 personally involved until she required that I did in

17 relation to the Colin Duffy indictment.

18 Q. We will come to that in a moment, but so far as your

19 experience is concerned, you then didn't get involved in

20 any other of these types of case. Is that right?

21 A. That is right.

22 Q. As far as you know, did any other solicitor -- did

23 Sharon Keeley, for example, get involved in those types

24 of case with Rosemary Nelson?

25 A. Not that I am 100 per cent aware of that. I know Sharon

 

 

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1 was closer to Rosie than I would have been. She would

2 have discussed things maybe at a more personal level

3 that I would have, I am not sure.

4 Q. She was closer to Rosemary Nelson than you were?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. In paragraph 5 of your statement you make, if I may say

7 so, some interesting comments about the way that she

8 conducted her work. This is at RNI-812-002 (displayed).

9 You say this:

10 "I don't remember her necessarily doing an awful lot

11 of work herself but that would have been a waste. She

12 was a businesswoman who was out in the community

13 generating work."

14 So if I can just ask you by reference to the amount

15 of time she spent in the practice, am I right to glean

16 from that that she spent a good deal of time drumming up

17 business as opposed to working on specific files?

18 A. She was a good delegator of work, as all bosses are,

19 I suppose, but it wasn't so much that she was out in the

20 community trying to drum up business; there was just so

21 many interest in Rosemary's practice. She was a popular

22 lady. She got a lot of work and she had to devote a lot

23 of time to that kind of work. So the run-of-the-mill

24 workaday legal practice work, she delegated that pretty

25 well and that made sense.

 

 

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1 Q. So who was delegated the run-of-the-mill work if it

2 wasn't you?

3 A. When I say that -- the high profile stuff, there wasn't

4 an awful lot of that. When I joined first, the original

5 Colin Duffy hearing was over, but during my time the

6 Garvaghy Road residents issue came along, along with the

7 second Colin Duffy trial. They were the main ones when

8 I referred to the high profile stuff and that took up

9 a lot of her time. And then she drafted us in a little

10 to take statements, et cetera, and assist in those

11 areas. But they were the main areas where -- she was

12 approached first and then she went into the community to

13 various -- halls, community halls to speak on their

14 behalf.

15 Q. So you say, you see, in the same paragraph:

16 "She was a businesswoman."

17 What do you mean by that? Do you mean she was

18 financially acute?

19 A. No, I think that she was doing what good business people

20 do in relation to delegation of work, but I don't think

21 she was that concerned financially.

22 Q. No. You mean by that that she was very much the front

23 person?

24 A. Yes, certainly the financial aspect would not have been

25 her driving force at all.

 

 

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1 Q. Is it right that work came to her personally?

2 A. Yes, absolutely.

3 Q. Did she attract that work by getting publicity for it?

4 A. Yes, I think as a consequence of it, maybe not purposely

5 so.

6 Q. If you look, earlier in your paragraph you say she was

7 a brilliant publicist and drew in a lot of work for the

8 firm. It sounds like she went out to create publicity

9 in order to get the work. Is that fair?

10 A. I don't know what her reasoning would have been behind

11 it. It is very difficult to suggest. I just know it

12 was an extremely business busy practice, but it was not

13 a successful practice in financial terms, as far as I

14 could see; not as successful as it should have been.

15 But I think she enjoyed the high profile side of it, but

16 I don't know if she did it necessarily to get the

17 publicity. I think she enjoyed doing that kind of high

18 profile work, but maybe there was an element of that.

19 Q. I wondered what you had in mind when you said she was

20 a brilliant publicist because that rather sounds as if

21 she went out to create publicity and was very good at

22 it. Is that fair?

23 A. She was good at it in that she -- her popularity, I

24 think, sprung from the fact that she was able to

25 converse with the regular Joe and they felt very at ease

 

 

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1 with her, and she could empathise with them greatly.

2 Her popularity bred more success and maybe it was just

3 by being a popular and attentive lawyer she gained the

4 publicity. I am not sure whether she actually set out

5 to publicise herself for any other reasons.

6 Q. But was the net effect of this, while you were at the

7 practice, that both Rosemary Nelson herself and the firm

8 increased its profile?

9 A. Yes, that is correct.

10 Q. So in that sense the work that she did, the way that she

11 did it, drew attention to her and to her practice?

12 A. That would have been the net result, yes.

13 Q. Now, I asked you earlier about this expression

14 "businesswoman" that you use in paragraph 5 and you

15 responded by giving your view of whether the practice

16 was well run, as I understood it. This is what you deal

17 with, isn't it, in paragraph 6? It looks as though you

18 believed that the practice could have been more

19 efficiently run, could have been more successful in

20 financial terms and that was something you observed

21 while you were there?

22 A. Yes, definitely.

23 Q. Is that right?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. With Rosemary Nelson out generating contacts, presumably

 

 

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1 delegation, ie doing the actual work, became extremely

2 important, and is it right that a number of cases and

3 files were delegated to non-lawyers?

4 A. I was aware that the conveyancing, I think, was dealt

5 with by maybe a deal executive, paralegal type.

6 Q. And secretaries?

7 A. Possibly, yes.

8 Q. Did that cause any friction within the staff?

9 A. Not to my knowledge, not to my recollection; not any

10 friction at all. Maybe good natured bantering but I had

11 nothing to do with the conveyancing department at all.

12 Q. So you didn't have any concerns about her absence from

13 the practice generating work, as opposed to doing the

14 cases?

15 A. She was in the office as well. I mean, I don't want to

16 mislead you. She wasn't out of the office 24 hours

17 a day. She appeared to be in the office. She worked

18 late. She would have been there -- she probably got

19 through a lot more work than I was aware of, but there

20 was still a lot of delegating so I was busy too.

21 She went about it in the way that she saw fit. The

22 bulk of the work was attended to but there was a notable

23 slippage as time went on because the mass workload that

24 we weren't able to cope with it.

25 Q. Is that where those two cases you mentioned earlier, the

 

 

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1 second Colin Duffy case and the Garvaghy Road case, is

2 that where they had their impact?

3 A. They would have, yes, in that regard, yes.

4 Q. It sounds as though that really over--

5 A. That overwhelmed the office for a time, certainly.

6 Q. We will come back to them. Can I ask you about the

7 client base, the sort of clients she had when you first

8 arrived? Was it a mixed practice in terms of work and

9 the sort of people who came to her?

10 A. Yes, it was pretty mixed. It seemed like an

11 across-the-board mix of people but when I came on first,

12 there was a lot of, as I say, petty sessions work and

13 a lot of claims work. We weren't necessarily

14 overburdened at that stage; we were coping. As you

15 quite rightly point out, the more high profile cases

16 tipped the balance a little.

17 Q. Did that involve changing that client base?

18 A. Those high profile cases did they change the client base?

19 I wasn't aware of it. I think the bulk of Rosemary's

20 clients would have come from the William Street/Kilwilke

21 area, although not exclusively by any means. I don't

22 think that made much difference.

23 Q. You say in the last sentence of paragraph 5 that

24 everyone on the estate went to the firm if they had

25 a problem. Was that the position when you joined?

 

 

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1 A. I can't remember, to be honest with you. I wouldn't

2 even have been aware of the Kilwilke Estate before

3 I went in from Belfast and I hadn't actually heard of

4 it. It was new to me and it is a big area and it

5 appeared that that might be a slightly all-encompassing

6 remark, but it appeared that most of the people that

7 came -- most of the people who had difficulties in

8 Kilwilke Estate would have gone to Rosemary Nelson.

9 Q. Was that certainly the position by the time you left?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Now, just returning to the question of the amount of

12 work that everyone was doing, if you look at

13 paragraph 23 of your statement at 006 in this same file,

14 RNI-812-006 (displayed), it looks as though after

15 whatever it was, about a year, you had had enough. Is

16 that fair?

17 A. There were a couple of incidents that, you know, maybe

18 brought our sort of good relations to an end, but not

19 something that I was overly sorry about afterwards. It

20 just happened.

21 Q. You mention here the problem when you were ill and

22 indeed when you went on your honeymoon. What I wanted

23 to ask you about, however, is the next sentence, in

24 this you say:

25 "This, together with the fact that the nature of the

 

 

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1 work and the attention it got, made me feel a bit

2 uncomfortable and made me glad to leave."

3 Can you help us with that? What was it about the

4 work and the attention it got that made you feel glad to

5 leave?

6 A. It was really the Colin Duffy affair, you know. I

7 didn't like working on the case. It was pretty

8 distasteful work. It wasn't something I was used to.

9 Two young men had been murdered and I had no reason to

10 believe whether Colin Duffy was involved or not, but

11 I just had had enough of that over-emphasis maybe on one

12 particular case or one particular type of case and I was

13 happy enough to have dealt with it and learnt what

14 I learnt maybe in a slightly selfish way and moved on.

15 Q. Was that a concern that was felt by others who worked in

16 the office at that time?

17 A. Yes, I am pretty sure Sharon wasn't enjoying it much at

18 that stage, that whole Colin Duffy affair.

19 Q. Did it affect the atmosphere in the office?

20 A. A little bit, because we were chasing our tails on one

21 particular issue for a while and then the Garvaghy Road

22 stuff came hot on its heels. So probably the, you know,

23 the overworkedness was the overriding feeling, you know.

24 Q. What did you mean there by "the attention"? What was it

25 about that that made you feel uncomfortable?

 

 

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1 A. Well, there was really the -- I found it a little

2 distasteful, the constant confrontation with the police

3 even though we weren't doing anything wrong. It was

4 a system of work, I suppose in relation to Colin Duffy

5 and it was just that constant confrontation. It was

6 energy sapping, you know.

7 Q. We know that this was a case that attracted first of all

8 a great deal of press coverage, media coverage. Did

9 that make you uncomfortable?

10 A. Yes, it did a little. Just when I say about the

11 confrontation with the police, I don't mean that there was

12 confrontation. The confrontation arose when we would

13 take witnesses to the police station and we were

14 overburdening them, as they saw it, with witnesses at

15 one particular stage without any forewarning and that

16 was -- they weren't happy with that and I wasn't really

17 happy with the whole nature of having to -- you had to

18 stand up for your client but it was a constant sort of

19 battle, you know.

20 I don't remember being overly aware of media

21 attention, to be honest with you, at all.

22 Q. Was this an example where publicity was generated in the

23 course of Rosemary Nelson's work? Did that create a

24 tension?

25 A. I don't really remember it creating tension in the

 

 

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1 office, if that is what you mean.

2 Q. Now, moving on in the same paragraph, you say:

3 "From working within Lurgan, it was very clear to me

4 that it was a divided town. There were bad vibes on the

5 street. I was okay because no one knew me, but Rosemary

6 would have felt it although being fearless she would not

7 have cared one bit."

8 The murder of the two police officers caused a great

9 deal of strong feeling in Lurgan, didn't it?

10 A. Yes, it did.

11 Q. And so an already divided town would presumably have

12 been even more tense at that time. Is that fair?

13 A. Yes, that would be fair, yes.

14 Q. Is that what you had in mind when you said here:

15 "There were bad vibes on the street"?

16 A. I can't believe I actually put it in those terms, but

17 I must have done. Yes, that was really it and we were

18 the focal point. We were the vanguard of the Duffy

19 defence really and you felt, you know, a little tainted

20 overall by association, even though, you know, the man

21 was -- I mean, I think he was charged and then released,

22 as far as I remember.

23 Q. Can I just ask you: how did you experience these bad

24 vibes?

25 A. Presumably by that I meant in relation to the interviews

 

 

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1 and the police station and just that confronting the

2 police at every turn, because, you know, we felt that

3 that was -- Rosemary felt that that was the way to

4 approach it, which was probably not wrong but it was --

5 you know, maybe I hadn't expected it to turn out that

6 severe, the severe bad feeling. It wasn't really on the

7 streets -- I don't know what sort of remark that is, but

8 it was really in the police stations, you know.

9 Q. So there were tensions in your dealings with the police?

10 A. Yes, constant.

11 Q. And in your view were they associated with the fact that

12 you were representing Colin Duffy?

13 A. Yes, absolutely, yes.

14 Q. So they were in that sense generated by the work?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. But you draw a contrast here between your position and

17 Rosemary Nelson's, and what you say is:

18 "She would have felt it but she would not have cared

19 one bit."

20 That is how she came across to you at the time,

21 is it?

22 A. Yes, she would have been personally driven to, you know,

23 to defend her client to the last -- you know, there

24 would have been no question of relenting to any degree.

25 She had, you know, just a drive, a sensational drive to

 

 

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1 answer every demand of her in that regard. It was her

2 practice after all as well. She had the vested

3 interest.

4 Q. But part of the contrast then is because, as it were,

5 she was the well-known figure, the front person and you

6 were not?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Now, can we look in slightly more detail at the

9 Colin Duffy case? You deal with it in your statement in

10 paragraphs 9 and following and that is at RNI-812-003

11 (displayed).

12 Now, you have helped us with the effect of the

13 murder locally, and you say just before this passage of

14 your statement that the murder was a brutal act. This

15 is at the end of paragraph 8:

16 "... very distasteful, symptomatic of the brutality

17 of the town."

18 So the way you saw it then was that this murder

19 symbolised, was an emblem of the brutality of Lurgan.

20 Is that right?

21 A. That seems very harsh on Lurgan. I just think around

22 that time it was particularly a daunting period with the

23 Drumcree, et cetera, and you were right in the heart of

24 it in that part of Armagh. I wasn't from there, as

25 I say, so I wasn't used to that dividedness. I wasn't

 

 

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1 blind to it, you know, brought up in Northern Ireland,

2 but it seemed particularly divided, Lurgan itself, at

3 that time, I think. Although the people were grand;

4 they were as nice as anywhere else.

5 Q. So that was the background to your work on this case?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Now, you describe the tactics deployed and you deal with

8 that in paragraph 10, and you say that the tactic was

9 Rosemary Nelson's tactic.

10 Is that right, the first sentence?

11 A. Yes, she made it clear -- it wasn't something that I was

12 used to even dealing with criminal law of that nature.

13 So I was learning as it was going along and she seemed

14 to know exactly what way she wished to defend the case

15 from the outset.

16 Q. So it is not something, that tactic, that you had never

17 experienced before at this point; is that right?

18 A. No, it was not something I had experienced before.

19 Q. And you describe it as a tactic of being "to swamp the

20 police with witness evidence". And that, I think, picks

21 up a remark you made a little while ago.

22 As far as you know, was this a tactic that she

23 seized on, having had discussion with other members of

24 staff?

25 A. With other members of staff?

 

 

24

 

1 Q. Yes.

2 A. I am not aware of it.

3 Q. No. And how did the tactic get put into operation, as

4 far as you were concerned?

5 A. There were a lot of people to be interviewed. I don't

6 know how Rosemary came about them, whether they

7 approached her or she went into, you know, Kilwilke to

8 take statements from people. But she was approached, it

9 appeared, by a number of people who were willing to give

10 evidence as to the whereabouts of Colin Duffy at the

11 time of the murder.

12 Q. Do you know whether the suggestions as to witnesses came

13 from the client?

14 A. Sorry, repeat that, please?

15 Q. Do you know whether the suggestions as to these

16 witnesses came from the client?

17 A. I am not aware of how the witnesses came to the office.

18 Q. No. But you interviewed them, you say, in your

19 statement?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And your instructions were to, as you put it, be pushy

22 and to make sure that the statements got filed?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. So I am clear about this: that means to make sure they

25 got, as it were, served on the police. Is that right?

 

 

25

 

1 A. Yes, exactly, yes.

2 Q. This was obviously something that made you rather

3 uncomfortable because you say it wasn't in accordance

4 with your own nature?

5 A. Yes, that is how I saw it.

6 Q. Not consistent with your normal approach to a case?

7 A. No, but I had no prior experience of criminal law to

8 that -- of that extreme nature.

9 Q. You also, slightly later in your statement, describe the

10 approach, the tactic as being carpet bombing. What do

11 you mean by that?

12 A. Well, maybe it was another ill-judged remark to describe

13 something, but it was just that there were so many

14 witnesses made themselves freely available to give

15 statements and we had to go down with maybe half a dozen

16 people at a time to the police station. All these

17 people were voluntary attenders and wanted to give their

18 statements to, as they saw it, assist the police in

19 their enquiries. But there was so many people and

20 Rosemary was concerned that we would get them all to the

21 police as soon as possible in the best interests of her

22 client.

23 Q. Was there an expectation that the witnesses would be

24 gratefully received by the police?

25 A. No.

 

 

26

 

1 Q. So was the point of the tactic simply to produce a lot

2 of witnesses in the knowledge that they would not be

3 welcomed by the police?

4 A. No, I wouldn't have taken that as the reason for it. I

5 think it was the more witness statements to suggest that

6 he was somewhere else when the murder happened, the

7 better. I really didn't get that impression that it was

8 to antagonise the police. They were antagonised by it

9 but I didn't get that impression. It was just she was

10 driving us to get the statements down, get them over

11 there. Don't take no for an answer. We need to get

12 them in. That is as I saw it.

13 Q. To what extent, then, is the tactic seen in the last

14 sentence of paragraph 11, where you say:

15 "If we weren't allowed to file witness evidence on

16 behalf of Colin Duffy, it would be indicative of the

17 complacency within the police force that would be

18 inappropriate in relation to charges of this type."

19 Were you trying to show what you describe there as

20 complacency?

21 A. She probably figured in advance that these statements

22 were all going to be helpful to Colin Duffy's defence.

23 They, you know -- maybe they wouldn't have believed

24 them. There might have been a lot of people out there

25 they would have suspected as saying anything just to

 

 

27

 

1 assist, you know, a member of their community. So, you

2 know, it made sense that they were going to be annoyed

3 by it, but I think that was an incidental intent. That

4 was my recollection of it.

5 Q. When you went with the witnesses, were you expecting to

6 be made welcome?

7 A. Well, I would have expected that they would have been

8 dealt with and that would have been it.

9 Q. Do you remember a similar tactic being deployed in

10 relation to any other case while you were employed at

11 the firm?

12 A. No, that was the only one.

13 Q. Now, can we follow through the problems that you

14 encountered in trying to pursue this tactic on behalf of

15 the firm and look, please, at RNI-214-307 (displayed).

16 If we turn over the page to RNI-214-308 (displayed),

17 you will see that this is a letter from you, going back

18 to RNI-214-307, dated 3rd July 1997. It looks as though

19 this is a letter you wrote at the time dealing with the

20 difficulties you had encountered with certain witnesses

21 at the police station. Do you remember this incident?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, the letter bears your signature. Was it your idea

24 to write it?

25 A. No, Rosemary had indicated, after I had told her that

 

 

28

 

1 the difficulties I had experienced, that I should write

2 the letter.

3 Q. Was that also part of the tactic, do you think?

4 A. Well, she was extremely annoyed that -- at what had

5 happened and I think the tactic was to get the

6 statements in. That would have been -- that would have

7 been the best way to ensure the defence of Colin Duffy.

8 You know, I am quite sure she was of the opinion she

9 was not going to let them away with it.

10 Q. So she wanted it to be recorded in writing?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And it amounts, doesn't it, to a complaint about the way

13 the matter had been handled by the police?

14 A. Yes, that is right.

15 Q. Can you remember writing any other letter of complaint

16 about police behaviour during your time at the firm?

17 A. No.

18 Q. No. What reaction did you expect?

19 A. I can't remember expecting to get a reaction. I had

20 been sort of told to write it -- although I drafted it

21 and it was a reflection of what had happened, a true

22 reflection of what had happened, but once it had been

23 sent, I wasn't even sure if I would be dealing with the

24 response.

25 Q. So you had no expectation of following it up?

 

 

29

 

1 A. No, not really, no.

2 Q. Can we look, please, at RNI-214-306 (displayed).

3 Now, this is a curious letter, if I may say so. It

4 is addressed to Rosemary Nelson. It says:

5 "For the attention of Brian Leeson."

6 And then begins:

7 "Dear Madam ..."

8 It is dated 4th July. This appears to be the

9 response, doesn't it, to the letter we just looked at of

10 the 3rd. Do you remember seeing this letter at the

11 time?

12 A. No, I have just seen it today for the first time.

13 Q. Right. So once you had written the letter at

14 Rosemary Nelson's suggestion, you didn't follow it up

15 and, as far as you know, you didn't in fact see the

16 response?

17 A. That is correct.

18 Q. Thank you. One other thing, if I may, in relation to

19 the Colin Duffy case at this point: you describe in

20 paragraph 14 of your statement, which is at RNI-812-004,

21 the relationship between Rosemary Nelson and

22 Jane Winter. (displayed).

23 Do you see that paragraph?

24 A. Yes, sorry, yes.

25 Q. Do you remember that there was involvement of the NGOs,

 

 

30

 

1 including Jane Winter's organisation, at this time, at

2 the time of the Colin Duffy charging for the policeman

3 murder in Lurgan?

4 A. Yes, I remember there was an involvement, yes.

5 Q. Did you take part in any of the discussions or liaison

6 with the NGOs?

7 A. No.

8 Q. Did it help to generate the publicity that we have been

9 discussing earlier for the case?

10 A. I really have no idea.

11 Q. But as far as you knew, there was a connection or

12 relationship between Mrs Nelson and this particular NGO?

13 A. Jane Winter, yes, certainly, I remember her mentioning

14 her name, yes.

15 Q. Just returning to the Colin Duffy case for a moment, can

16 I ask you to look, please, at paragraph 12 of your

17 statement, on the same page, RNI-812-004 (displayed).

18 Having dealt with your role in the case, you

19 describe yourself there as "just her minion"?

20 A. In relation to that case, yes.

21 Q. So you were not independently acting as a lawyer forming

22 your own judgments, but merely obeying her instructions;

23 is that right?

24 A. Yes, but the work that I was tasked to do by her would

25 have been peripheral work and I was always to report

 

 

31

 

1 back to her in relation to it. She had taken full

2 control of it.

3 Q. And then you say this:

4 "However, Rosemary was convinced that Colin Duffy

5 had not been involved. If he had been, I would have

6 been out of there in a second."

7 Now, I would like to ask you about both parts of

8 that statement. First, how did you glean that

9 Rosemary Nelson was convinced that Colin Duffy had not

10 been involved?

11 A. She must have made it known to me. She took us in, as

12 I say, into her confidence, you know, occasionally in

13 her room and she must have said to me that she was

14 convinced -- I don't remember her exactly saying that to

15 me, but she must have said to me that she thought that

16 Colin Duffy wasn't involved. Maybe she was aware that I

17 was aware -- I just felt that -- such a brutal event

18 that -- maybe she was concerned that I felt a bit of

19 distaste for the whole issue and maybe I wanted to

20 assuage my own concerns that she was confident -- as

21 confident as she could be that he wasn't involved.

22 Q. That is what I wanted to ask you about, because it is

23 obviously a very long time ago now.

24 Do you remember expressing to Rosemary Nelson your

25 own sense of discomfort about the firm's involvement

 

 

32

 

1 with this case?

2 A. No, I wouldn't have expressed that in any specific

3 terms, definitely not.

4 Q. Can you remember then in any specific terms the

5 conversation in which she made it clear to you her

6 conviction that he was not involved?

7 A. I don't remember a specific time, I don't really.

8 Q. Then the second part of what you say, if I can just ask

9 you about that:

10 "If he had been ..."

11 I think that means if he had been involved:

12 "... I would have been out of there in a second."

13 Do you mean by that that you would have left the

14 practice?

15 A. Yes, I was thinking about that earlier. I am not

16 100 per cent sure whether I would have said to Rosie,

17 "Look, I am not comfortable dealing with this case any

18 longer", in which case I would be out of the practice

19 anyway, out of the practice.

20 I remember going to sign the book of condolences for

21 those two young men that had been killed and I remember

22 being very disturbed by the whole incident and felt

23 keenly that I was being, you know, you were marked as

24 being on one side or the other, which -- I was a lawyer

25 at the end of the day. It just happened to be a client

 

 

33

 

1 of our firm's. It didn't seem fair that you couldn't

2 deal with it as professionally as possible and not be

3 labelled sympathetic, but that was the way it was

4 really, you know.

5 Q. You sense that you, as a lawyer acting on the case, were

6 being labelled?

7 A. Yes, I felt that I did -- a little bit, yes.

8 Q. So you were being linked in people's minds with your

9 client?

10 A. It was maybe my own particular sensibilities but I felt

11 uncomfortable about it.

12 Q. Sorry to interrupt you: was that based on anything that

13 anybody said to you?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Was it based on any behaviour that you observed?

16 A. Well, just the police obviously but nobody outside of

17 that, no.

18 Q. Am I right, then, in suggesting that the police's

19 behaviour gave you that impression, ie that you were

20 being labelled?

21 A. Yes, I felt that maybe -- maybe they thought I was going

22 about my task with too much relish. You know, you were

23 doing your job but if you were going to defend the guy,

24 to do it properly, and I was conscious of the fact that

25 they, you know -- you know, their two young colleagues

 

 

34

 

1 had been murdered. It was an understandable reaction,

2 feeling, but it was difficult -- you couldn't really put

3 it to these people that, "Look, I am really just doing

4 my job", although I think I probably did say it a couple

5 of times.

6 You have to understand we are pushing at the issue.

7 Maybe the bulk of them did accept that that is what I

8 was doing, but my particular sensibilities maybe were --

9 maybe I was just too sensitive to that feeling, you

10 know.

11 Q. To what extent do you think that the tactic that was

12 being employed in the case, which you have described for

13 us, exacerbated the situation?

14 A. Yes, I think to a large extent that probably did. It

15 wasn't really making their life easy but that wasn't our

16 main concern.

17 Q. So far as you were concerned, therefore, did that make

18 it more likely that you would be identified with,

19 labelled with your client?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Now, I would like to turn, please, to the other

22 prominent piece of work that you have already mentioned

23 to us, which is to do with the Garvaghy Road. And you

24 have already indicated, when talking about the

25 atmosphere in Lurgan, that there was a connection

 

 

35

 

1 between that and the Drumcree dispute. Is that right?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. So in your view, at the time that contributed to the

4 atmosphere of division and tension in the town?

5 A. I felt that, yes.

6 Q. Now, so far as the particular events on Garvaghy Road

7 involving Rosemary Nelson are concerned, you deal with

8 those in paragraph 16 at the top of RNI-812-005.

9 (displayed).

10 And you say you have been asked to comment about an

11 alleged assault at the Garvaghy Road:

12 "I don't remember much about this incident."

13 Can you look, please, at the your earlier statement,

14 RNI-302-114 (displayed). Do you see the penultimate

15 paragraph on this page and then the final paragraph?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. That is, as I said, written -- and the statement made --

18 in August 1999. You say then that she told you that:

19 "While the police were on the Garvaghy Road ..."

20 That is misspelt, I think:

21 "... an officer had assaulted her. She stated that

22 she had been verbally abused. I can't remember the

23 nature of the verbal abuse."

24 But at that stage you say:

25 "I can recall that I saw bruises which, to the best

 

 

36

 

1 of my recollection, were on her arms. I am fairly

2 certain that Rosemary received treatment for injuries at

3 ..."

4 I think that must be Craigavon Hospital?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. As far as you can tell now, all these years later, was

7 that an accurate statement when you made it

8 in August 1999?

9 A. Well, if I made it then, then, yes, it was accurate,

10 yes.

11 Q. Do you remember her showing you the bruises?

12 A. It is hard to remember it now but, you know, I made the

13 statement then, my recollection would have been better

14 obviously.

15 Q. But as you are sitting here now, can you remember where

16 the bruises were --

17 A. No.

18 Q. Were they on both arms? Can you remember that?

19 A. I definitely don't remember -- it is difficult to say

20 now. I don't remember seeing bruises, but I do remember

21 in her room reflecting on the events of the evening

22 before -- obviously I hadn't been there -- telling me

23 about the Garvaghy Road and the police officer and the

24 assault. I remember that clearly. I made the statement

25 then so I am sure that was the way it was.

 

 

37

 

1 Q. Do you remember her mood when she was telling you what

2 had happened?

3 A. No, not the subtleties of her mood. She wasn't happy

4 with it, obviously.

5 Q. But it looks as though she gave you a description of

6 what had happened?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Are you saying this was the next day?

9 A. I can't remember that now but it would have been shortly

10 thereafter. I was aware that -- the incidents had

11 occurred within days before, maximum.

12 Q. Now, in relation to the treatment at the hospital, do

13 you remember ever seeing a medical report?

14 A. No.

15 Q. And did she ever ask you to make a statement about the

16 incident?

17 A. No.

18 Q. And you didn't make a statement, did you, in the

19 complaint that she made which followed?

20 A. No, not that I am aware of.

21 Q. No. You described earlier for us the impact on the

22 practice of the Garvaghy Road work. Now, I assume by

23 that you meant not this particular incident but the work

24 done for numbers of clients who were making complaints

25 arising out of the events in July 1997. Is that right?

 

 

38

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Yes. And you describe that as being quite a big thing

3 in paragraph 20 at the bottom of page RNI-812-005. You

4 went down to the Town Hall, and am I right in thinking

5 that the office turned out -- you were one of them --

6 the office turned out and you all took statements. Is

7 that right?

8 A. Yes, I was there with certainly one or two of the other

9 girls from the office, yes.

10 Q. And what were the statements for?

11 A. We were there on hand really if Rosemary was speaking in

12 relation to the marching issue and the blocking of the

13 road, but we were there in case anybody wanted to -- had

14 an complaint -- any assaults, the police, because there

15 had been -- I can't remember exactly the timing of this,

16 but there had been trouble and the police had been

17 involved and people had been coming into contact with

18 the police in whatever way, and if they had any sort of

19 complaint, anything that could be used and legally

20 inform -- and we could gain new clients and make an

21 application to Legal Aid.

22 Q. So the Legal Aid form would be for a proposed civil

23 claim. Is that right?

24 A. Yes, it can be either.

25 Q. You could get Legal Aid to make a complaint, could you?

 

 

39

 

1 A. It just depended. At that stage, it was -- the green

2 form as it was known -- for the initial contact with

3 your client and if it turned out to be valid work, then

4 it could be proffered to the Legal Aid Commission.

5 Q. Can you remember now how many such statements and

6 complaints --

7 A. There wasn't a lot. I remember maybe one or two at

8 most. We were there on hand just in case. We had a

9 bundle of Legal Aid forms. But very little, maybe one

10 or two, if I remember correctly.

11 Q. So only one or two statements at this point?

12 A. This was possibly incidental legal work even, because

13 there were so many people there and it was a way of

14 generating business, I suppose, as well.

15 Q. Am I right in understanding from that answer then that

16 the purpose of the meeting was not primarily legal?

17 A. The purpose of the meeting, as far as I remember, was

18 Rosemary was speaking and she wanted me to come along,

19 and she said "Bring some green forms with you", which

20 was a Legal Aid form for initial advice and

21 assistance -- an hour's coverage, that sort of thing --

22 for anything that might have arisen. Anybody who wanted

23 to see a solicitor and just didn't come to the office,

24 we would go and see them, you know.

25 Q. Was the purpose of the meeting political?

 

 

40

 

1 A. I don't remember what was said at the meeting, I don't

2 remember her speaking, but it was definitely involved --

3 her involvement with Breandan Mac Cionnaith and the

4 Garvaghy Road residents. So I suppose it was.

5 Q. You see, what I am trying to understand from you is

6 why --

7 A. She was the legal adviser, sorry, she was giving him

8 legal advice. That is ultimately why she was there.

9 Q. She was giving legal advice to Breandan Mac Cionnaith?

10 A. Yes, she was his legal adviser.

11 Q. And to some of the residents at least?

12 A. He was the head, at that stage, of the Garvaghy Road

13 Residents Committee in relation to the marching issue

14 and she had been chosen to represent them by him, and he

15 was the figurehead.

16 Q. You see, what I wanted to ask you was this: earlier you

17 told us that it was the work for the Duffy case and for

18 the Garvaghy Road that overwhelmed -- I think was the

19 expression you accept -- overwhelmed the practice, and

20 what I am trying to understand from what you have just

21 been telling us is what was it about the Garvaghy Road

22 work that took up so much time and energy? It can't

23 just have been the two statements, surely?

24 A. No, I think -- I can't remember exactly, but it seemed

25 to generate a lot more clients coming into the office

 

 

41

 

1 for related matters in relation to that.

2 I remember Joe Duffy was another gentleman involved

3 with Breandan Mac Cionnaith and I saw him at one stage,

4 and she wanted me to advise him in relation to -- I

5 can't remember exactly, but it was in relation to the

6 route blockage and that whole Drumcree incident. It

7 seemed to spawn lots of other bits of legal work, you

8 know.

9 Q. Were there any other high profile cases on the books

10 while you were working for the practice, apart from the

11 Duffy case we have talked about it and this one, the

12 Garvaghy Road matter?

13 A. Just the Robert Hamill one. I think that was quite

14 late on.

15 Q. Did you have any involvement in that?

16 A. I did, yes, very initial involvement. I think

17 I interviewed Robert Hamill's sister, the initial

18 complaint, and then I don't think I was there much

19 longer after that, maybe a month or so. So Rosie sort

20 of dealt with it afterwards.

21 Q. So in terms of prominence then, although that was a high

22 profile matter, did those two cases, the Duffy one and

23 the Garvaghy Road, dominate as far as you could see?

24 A. Well, they didn't dominate my work.

25 Q. No.

 

 

42

 

1 A. But, yes, they were issues within the practice. I mean,

2 I was dealing with my ordinary civil work as best I

3 could and the criminal stuff, so it is hard for me to

4 say if it dominated Rosemary's mind. I don't even know

5 if it dominated her work; she had her other work to do.

6 Apart from me dipping in and out of it when I was

7 required to do so, requested to do so, I just wasn't --

8 I wouldn't have known what exactly was going on with it.

9 Q. So as far as you can see, then, did those cases take up

10 most of her time?

11 A. That is what I mean, I don't know. It would be unfair

12 of me to say for sure. I really don't know. She -- I

13 was asked to attend, for instance, that Garvaghy Road

14 community meeting when Rosemary was speaking, but apart

15 from that, I did not have an awful lot -- apart from

16 bits and pieces that she would send to my office to deal

17 with specifically, I just don't know what percentage of

18 her work it was taking up.

19 Q. Did those cases affect the way people viewed the firm?

20 A. Well, I didn't really get a feeling of that until after

21 I had left, to be honest with you. Apart from the

22 police in relation to the Colin Duffy's incident we have

23 discussed, I am just not sure what people's view of the

24 practice was at that time.

25 Q. This is something that you realised -- is that right? --

 

 

43

 

1 after you had left the practice?

2 A. I think it is something that grew after I left the

3 practice as well because she became more high profile.

4 To be honest with you, before she was murdered, I don't

5 think -- most people in Belfast wouldn't even have been

6 aware of her existence, even though at that stage she

7 had represented the Garvaghy Road residents and

8 Colin Duffy. I think most people wouldn't have heard of

9 her. It was really the murder -- apart from the local

10 people, you know.

11 Q. So in the wider Northern Ireland perspective, you don't

12 believe that she had a high profile?

13 A. Not particularly, no.

14 Q. No. And that it was the fact of her murder that --

15 A. Generated that.

16 Q. Yes.

17 A. I think largely, yes. That is my view.

18 Q. Can you look, please, at the last sentence of

19 paragraph 22, because there you have a suggestion that

20 the Duffy case tainted all the other pieces of work that

21 she did as the perception was that she acted for

22 Republicans.

23 Now, that is what you said when you made this

24 statement. Is that a fair assessment?

25 A. Yes, I think it was people's perception, even though she

 

 

44

 

1 had acted for some high profile Loyalists, I understood.

2 That was before my time, but I think it was a perception

3 that people had, yes, some people.

4 Q. Is it also fair that some people saw her as being linked

5 to a directly Republican cause, a comment you make

6 earlier in the paragraph?

7 A. Well, I have no evidence to suggest that at all. I just

8 think that because of the Colin Duffy -- I think whoever

9 had defended Colin Duffy was going to be tainted in some

10 way, but it depends who you mean, in whose eyes was she

11 tainted.

12 Q. First of all, what do you mean by "tainted"?

13 A. I mean, well, if someone had murdered -- somebody

14 murdered, obviously murdered these two policemen. It

15 seems to defend the indefensible to defend someone who

16 was guilty. Who knows who was guilty.

17 So in her eyes, you have got to defend and everybody

18 has got to have a defence, so the man should be

19 defended. But, you know, there are a lot of people that

20 obviously thought they knew more about it than me and

21 thought that maybe if he had something to do with it,

22 she shouldn't have been defending him or nobody should

23 be defending him.

24 Q. But it is a fundamental principle that everybody is

25 entitled to be defended?

 

 

45

 

1 A. Absolutely.

2 Q. So who were these people who have regarded her as

3 tainted?

4 A. One side of the community perhaps.

5 Q. Is that something based on anything you have observed

6 other heard?

7 A. No, just -- no, I felt that obviously when I went to the

8 police station, you know, and certainly they weren't

9 overly enamoured with the fact that this man -- they

10 probably looked upon it he had got off before. I wasn't

11 involved in that case, and he was up again, and

12 Rosemary's tactics for defending him, which were all

13 perfectly acceptable as far as I could see but I could

14 understand why they were being annoyed about that and

15 they had to find somebody, they couldn't find the killer

16 or certainly didn't have evidence to convict, so it was

17 a frustrating time.

18 Q. So you mean, then, tainted in the eyes of the police?

19 A. Did I use the word "tainted"? I think I did. People

20 who wanted to be tainted -- wanted her tainted by it. I

21 don't know -- it seems, as you say, it is a fundamental

22 principle: you have to be defended by someone.

23 Q. This is based on your experience then at Lurgan police

24 station. Is that right?

25 A. I wasn't mistreated to any great extent. I had that one

 

 

46

 

1 incident at Gough Barracks, but apart from that it was

2 just really the lack of cooperation.

3 Q. What I am trying to understand, you see, when you say

4 the police -- and we have talked about how you think she

5 might have been viewed -- how you experience that; in

6 other words which police officers we are talking about.

7 A. I have no specific incidents. I don't know what

8 happened between Rosemary and the police, only -- she

9 would refer to, you know, a number of incidents but I am

10 not even sure -- I am just going by what she had said in

11 those incidents. But I know that when I was there with

12 witnesses, there was a certain degree of annoyance,

13 irritability, you know, and as I have said before, I can

14 understand that, these two fellows have been killed but

15 we had to get on with our job.

16 Q. As far as you know, was this something that she herself

17 experienced?

18 A. As far as I know, yes.

19 Q. Did you discuss that with her?

20 A. I would need to refer again to the statement but I think

21 there were incidents where she had indicated that the

22 police had been obstructive, but not -- nothing that I

23 could vouch for myself.

24 Q. Well, if you look at paragraph 15, which is at

25 RNI-812-004, that may help (displayed).

 

 

47

 

1 It sounds as though certainly at this stage your

2 recollection of this was pretty vague, if I can put it

3 that way. Is that fair?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. But you do say:

6 "However, there was certainly harassment taking

7 place."

8 Do you see that?

9 A. Yes, I do. There was an overall picture being painted,

10 you know, I was being told about incidents by clients,

11 by Rosemary, although I hadn't experienced it. So there

12 appeared to be something going on.

13 Q. You heard enough to convince you that there was some

14 sort of harassment going on?

15 A. A degree of harassment, I would have thought, yes.

16 Q. As far as you could see, what was the effect of that on

17 her?

18 A. On Rosemary?

19 Q. Yes.

20 A. Undaunted, spurred into greater and more expeditious

21 acts, really, you know.

22 Q. So the labelling, the harassment, however we put it,

23 just encouraged her to stick at it?

24 A. To stick at it, yes, absolutely, yes. She was convinced

25 what she was doing. She was convinced to defend her

 

 

48

 

1 client and she wasn't going about it in any incorrect

2 manner and, yes, she would just get on with it.

3 Q. Now, in your statement you deal with some threat

4 matters, and you say in paragraph 17 -- if we look at

5 that please, at RNI-812-005 (displayed) -- that you

6 can't remember the nature of the threats or the content

7 of what she said.

8 Again, can I ask you to look back, please, at

9 RNI-302-145, the police statement (displayed). Thank

10 you.

11 Do you see the second paragraph, after what I should

12 have shown you before but didn't, I am afraid, in

13 relation to the Garvaghy Road incident, because there

14 was a third paragraph on that. I am sorry about that.

15 If you look at the second paragraph, it deals with these

16 matters.

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And again, can I take it that this was your

19 recollection?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Truthfully recorded at the time?

22 A. Absolutely.

23 Q. So two occasions threatening telephone calls, threats

24 against her life. Can you assist us at all as to

25 possible dates for those events?

 

 

49

 

1 A. No, I really can't, I am sorry.

2 Q. Thank you. What was her reaction to the calls?

3 A. Difficult to remember now, subtleties like reactions

4 this long after -- I don't remember it. I just

5 remember -- I don't even remember -- if I wasn't reading

6 the statement again it wouldn't have been that clear to

7 me, but there were so many different incidents of

8 threats and allegations of harassment, et cetera.

9 Q. Did she seem troubled by them?

10 A. The only thing I ever remember her being troubled by was

11 anything in relation to the police. I think maybe she

12 was more troubled than I first remember now in relation

13 to the -- certainly the Garvaghy Road incident, with the

14 bruises, et cetera. She may have been -- there was one

15 incident anyway in particular where she did seem

16 a little shaken, more than normal.

17 Q. You think that may have been the Garvaghy Road?

18 A. It may have been the Garvaghy Road, I am not

19 100 per cent sure. I don't think it was the home calls

20 one.

21 Q. So far as these calls were concerned, did they appear to

22 have any effect on her behaviour at work?

23 A. Not between she and I, but at the end of the day I was

24 an employee; she didn't make everything known to me.

25 She wouldn't have discussed things of a very personal

 

 

50

 

1 nature.

2 Q. Did you glean anything from her about who might have

3 made the calls or any other detail about them that might

4 help us?

5 A. I couldn't, sorry.

6 Q. How did you react when you heard about these threatening

7 calls?

8 A. I was shocked, very shocked.

9 Q. Did it affect the way you regarded your work there?

10 A. No, not at all, no. It was an ongoing atmosphere there.

11 Q. An atmosphere in the office?

12 A. An ongoing -- there were so many different incidents

13 that were being reported that this was just another one

14 of them, you know.

15 Q. Were they discussed amongst the staff?

16 A. Amongst the staff, I wouldn't have discussed, I don't

17 think, anything of this nature apart from with Sharon

18 and Rosie. So I don't remember talking to any of the

19 girls about it, but maybe I did.

20 Q. Is that something that contributed to the atmosphere,

21 you mentioned? You mention it also in paragraph 17 of

22 your statement at RNI-812-005. (displayed) Were people

23 worried about their own safety as a result of these

24 sorts of calls?

25 A. I don't remember that being expressed to me. I don't

 

 

51

 

1 remember being worried about my own safety.

2 Q. What did you mean there by "atmosphere in the office"?

3 A. I think just it had been taken over to a degree with

4 these two or three high profile cases that I was dipping

5 in and out of and Rosie was dealing with.

6 There was an atmosphere probably in Northern Ireland

7 at that time as well that was sort of reflected in our

8 office.

9 Q. Can you look, please, at RNI-302-144 (displayed). What

10 you say there at the top of the page, the second

11 paragraph:

12 "Because of the high profile nature of Rosemary's

13 work, there would have been on occasions a prevalent air

14 of apprehension within the office. Rosemary will, on

15 occasions, make comments to the effect that the police

16 must have had the office bugged. These comments were

17 made in a joking manner. There was, however, a degree

18 of ..."

19 Then there is a word "snarity" in her voice. Could

20 you first of all help me with that?

21 A. Sincerity, I am not sure.

22 Q. Right. Is this the atmosphere you are describing, "the

23 prevalent air of apprehension"?

24 A. I think with the build-up of the three cases -- the

25 Robert Hamill and the Duffy and the Garvaghy Road

 

 

52

 

1 residents -- that is probably the way it felt. It is

2 difficult to remember now exactly how I felt when I made

3 this statement even.

4 Q. But it looks as though, certainly in 1999, you thought

5 that the air of apprehension was caused by the cases,

6 the work itself, rather than these threat calls, for

7 example. Is that fair?

8 A. Possibly. They were all linked, I think, you know, the

9 phone calls and the harassment. They were inextricably

10 linked with those particular cases.

11 Q. And the way she spoke to you, although light-hearted, I

12 think you are saying had a degree of sincerity?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Does that mean, therefore, a degree of concern?

15 A. Yes, I think so, yes.

16 Q. About the prevalent air of apprehension?

17 A. It is difficult for me to say. You know, she would have

18 pointed out jokingly across the road, because we were

19 right across the road from the police station and their

20 windows looked in ours, that it was bugged, you know,

21 the office was bugged. She joked about that, but she

22 was sort of half serious about it. It certainly wasn't

23 beyond the realms of possibility, we thought, at that

24 stage, you know.

25 Q. Did you believe that the office was bugged?

 

 

53

 

1 A. I had no idea. I didn't know whether to take her

2 seriously or not, to be honest.

3 Q. Did you think she was making those comments seriously?

4 A. I think, as I say, there was a degree of -- she didn't

5 know. So there was a degree of sincerity about it. She

6 felt that maybe that was possible, you know.

7 Q. In paragraph 13 of your statement, RNI-812-004, you say:

8 "She would always make the comments jokingly,

9 comments of this kind, but you could tell there was

10 a serious edge to what she was saying."

11 And you also mention that she suggested there was

12 a camera filming her from the police, and did you see

13 any evidence --

14 A. No.

15 Q. -- to support that?

16 A. No.

17 Q. But again, we get the impression -- is that right? --

18 that these comments were made in jest, as it were,

19 rather than being, as you put it, a manifestation of

20 paranoia. Is that fair?

21 A. I think they were made in jest but with, you know -- you

22 know, there was an issue there that she thought there

23 was a potential there that that could be the case. She

24 wasn't just joking about it. She wouldn't joke about

25 something like that.

 

 

54

 

1 Q. Now, sir, I don't know whether with the witnesses -- we

2 have now been going for I think something over an

3 hour -- this would be a good moment for the stenographer

4 to have a break?

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. We will have a 10-minute break.

6 (2.55 pm)

7 (Short break)

8 (3.05 pm)

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

10 MR PHILLIPS: Mr Leeson, could you look, please, at

11 paragraph 13 of your statement, at RNI-812-004.

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. You say in the third sentence:

14 "There was a police station that was right across

15 the road and it was clear that there was no love lost

16 between Rosie and the police."

17 Now, in the light of the comments you have been

18 making earlier, can you just help me, please: on what

19 did you base that view?

20 A. There are so many small incidents, I couldn't recollect

21 anything particular but I think this was during the

22 whole scenario of the Colin Duffy defence and -- I mean,

23 even the main example being when we were sending over

24 lots of people with different statements and they

25 weren't happy about it and they were going to blame

 

 

55

 

1 Rosemary for that, so ...

2 Q. But was it a one-sided position or did she have

3 a similar view of them?

4 A. Yes, I think no love lost in either direction, really,

5 as a result of -- you know, the kind of -- she viewed

6 that as obstructiveness, you know, unnecessary

7 obstructiveness and then, you know, she would have --

8 she would have voiced her opinion to them. And I wasn't

9 there for a lot of that and had a lot of it reported to

10 me. But you know, it was just the atmosphere didn't

11 seem to be overly, you know, pleasant.

12 Q. Were you ever there when she expressed that view about

13 the police?

14 A. She wouldn't have been -- I don't remember her making

15 any specific comments about the police. It always

16 tended to be in relation to the case, "Just get on with

17 it". You know, she wouldn't have been overly concerned

18 about their particular sensibilities, about being

19 swamped by potential, you know, witness statement

20 makers. She just said, "They should be there, take the

21 statements. Do not take any excuses, we need these in.

22 It is part of our defence." She wouldn't have cut them

23 a lot of slack in that regard, but she didn't see that

24 as her job.

25 Q. But did you ever witness Rosemary Nelson's own behaviour

 

 

56

 

1 to the police?

2 A. No, I don't remember being with her particularly by her

3 side when she was dealing with the police, no. I had my

4 own independent little travails with them and then

5 report back.

6 Q. Did you ever witness yourself the harassment we

7 discussed earlier?

8 A. No, I wasn't there for any of those incidents, certainly

9 not the Garvaghy Road one, no. They were just reported

10 to me.

11 Q. Can we look then at the incident you do mention in

12 relation to the police and your own experience, which is

13 at paragraph 24, at page RNI-812-007, under the heading

14 "Personal Intimidation".

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Can you help us with this: first of all, are you able to

17 put a date on these events?

18 A. No, I am not unfortunately, no, sorry.

19 Q. So save that it took place while you were working for

20 the firm, you can't give us any more help?

21 A. Not today, sorry, no. If it helps you, it was during

22 the -- obviously, I suppose the Colin Duffy case ran on

23 for some time, but it would have been at the very

24 initial stages of the Colin Duffy arrest, within

25 a month, within a few weeks really.

 

 

57

 

1 Q. That is what I was going to ask you to see if we can

2 make some progress. It looks as though it may have been

3 connected with the Colin Duffy case?

4 A. Yes, it was.

5 Q. Does that help you? And we know that Mr Duffy was

6 arrested in late June 1997. Does that help you to place

7 this incident?

8 A. No, I mean, I would have thought within weeks, maybe

9 a month of that, yes.

10 Q. Well, you set out a description of being cursed and

11 shouted at and you were obviously very surprised by the

12 behaviour of the police officer?

13 A. I was amazed, yes.

14 Q. But presumably it had never happened to you before?

15 A. No.

16 Q. Now, what did you do in relation to this incident? Did

17 you pursue it as a complaint?

18 A. Initially I did, and then I didn't; I dropped it.

19 Q. When you say "initially", in what way?

20 A. I reported it to the custody officer. I attempted to,

21 anyway. I did report it eventually to the police in

22 some form and then I took senior counsel's advice.

23 Q. Yes, you explain that in here. Did you discuss it with

24 Rosemary Nelson?

25 A. Yes, I did -- I definitely did, yes. I don't remember

 

 

58

 

1 exactly.

2 Q. Did she advise you as to what steps to take?

3 A. She would have -- she probably did, yes. She probably

4 assisted me but I don't remember being cajoled into it.

5 It was something that I was determined to deal with

6 myself.

7 Q. Do you think this incident contributed to your decision

8 to leave?

9 A. Yes, definitely, yes.

10 Q. And that was because, presumably, you were simply not

11 comfortable dealing with that sort of incident in your

12 work?

13 A. Yes, that was it, yes.

14 Q. Now, can you look, please, at RNI-103-000.502

15 (displayed).

16 This is a letter of 3rd July 1997 from Jane Winter.

17 Do you remember we discussed her a little earlier and

18 you referred to her in paragraph 14 of your statement?

19 You will see it is a letter to the Secretary of State.

20 You haven't seen this before, have you?

21 A. Just today.

22 Q. Thank you. The passage I would like to show to you is

23 towards the end of this document, but if you look at the

24 letter, what it shows is that a report is being made to

25 the United Nations -- this is the third paragraph -- in

 

 

59

 

1 relation to the Colin Duffy case. Was that something

2 that you were aware was going on at the time?

3 A. No, no.

4 Q. If you look, please, over to RNI-103-000.057

5 (displayed), thank you, you will see that there is

6 a request there for urgent intervention in that case.

7 I am not going to dwell on the details, but if you

8 turn over to RNI-103-000.508 (displayed), do you see in

9 the second full paragraph reference to witnesses who

10 have given statements to the RUC, and on the next page

11 at RNI-103-000.509 (displayed) a list of witnesses under

12 the heading "Summary of Witness Statements"?

13 Now, I know you haven't had long to it look at these

14 notes, but it certainly looks, doesn't it, as though

15 this is the group of witnesses who came forward and gave

16 evidence in support of his case?

17 A. That would appear to be it, yes. There is no names --

18 Q. No, the names have been redacted, absolutely right. But

19 if you look at the dates of statements, the statuses and

20 the content, it looks, doesn't it, as though this is the

21 group of witnesses?

22 A. That would appear to be the group, yes.

23 Q. So these were the people who were part of the carpet

24 bombing?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

60

 

1 Q. Thank you. Turn over, please, to RNI-103-000.512

2 (displayed), under the heading "Details of Colin Duffy's

3 Arrest and Interrogation", there is a full account there

4 set out. And finally, the project which relates to you

5 comes at RNI-103-000.514 (displayed).

6 I'll just read it to you:

7 "Another man was also arrested for the two murders

8 and also asked for Rosemary Nelson's firm. Another

9 solicitor, Brian Leeson, saw him. He had been

10 identified by the same identification witness. The firm

11 also asked to be present during the RUC interviews and

12 Brian Leeson was permitted to be present. He made

13 a complaint about one of the interviewing detectives

14 shouting at his client and pointing at him aggressively.

15 He ..."

16 I assume that was the client:

17 "... was released without charge."

18 Does that sound like the incident you described in

19 your statement?

20 A. It does sound like it, yes.

21 Q. It suggests, then, that you did make a complaint?

22 A. Yes, I did, yes.

23 Q. Can you remember anything more about that client?

24 A. The incident itself or ...?

25 Q. No, about what happened having made the complaint. What

 

 

61

 

1 happened to the complaint itself?

2 A. I wasn't expecting the complaint to have been dealt with

3 at all. I thought the only way I would have it dealt

4 with was if I dealt with it myself. So that is the

5 route that I took. But I think the complaint was made

6 as a matter of record, that it had to be made, yes.

7 Q. So you didn't make the complaint in the expectation that

8 anything in particular would happen?

9 A. No.

10 Q. You just did it so that the record showed that

11 a complaint had been made?

12 A. Yes, I would have needed it to bolster my argument if

13 a civil case was to be made.

14 Q. Did you follow through the complaint yourself?

15 A. Not to the end, no.

16 Q. Now, in your statement you deal in paragraphs 18 and 19

17 with two particular further experiences in relation to

18 clients. In paragraph 18, you deal with a ciphered

19 client, C227, and in paragraph 19 with another client,

20 Brian Loughran.

21 Can I just ask you first of all about the first

22 client, C227. Could you look, please, at your earlier

23 statement, RNI-302-145 (displayed).

24 Do you see in the third paragraph you say you can

25 recall:

 

 

62

 

1 "... two occasions where RUC officers had made

2 derogatory comment about Rosemary to clients"?

3 This is the first such occasion. You say you

4 visited him, acted on his behalf when he was in custody

5 at Lurgan and he told you:

6 "The officer in charge of the case made a sexual

7 reference to Rosie inferring that the client was

8 involved in a sexual relationship with Rosemary.

9 I never mentioned this to Rosemary and, as far as I am

10 aware, no official complaint was made."

11 So to be clear then, you didn't tell Rosemary Nelson

12 about this?

13 A. No.

14 Q. You didn't make a complaint?

15 A. No.

16 Q. And as far as you are aware, was a complaint made by the

17 client, C227?

18 A. I am not sure whether he spoke to Rosemary himself.

19 This was a common enough occurrence, it appeared to me.

20 It just wasn't necessary to trouble her with it. It

21 wasn't a threat against her.

22 Q. When you say a common enough concern, do you mean it was

23 common for clients to report derogatory comments?

24 A. During that time period, yes, there were a number of

25 incidents, as you are aware, harassment and references

 

 

63

 

1 to her, references about threats and phone calls and

2 that sort of nature. So there were more serious issues

3 than that one but that was just another one. I don't

4 remember I mentioned it to Rosie. I don't think I would

5 have.

6 Q. We dealt with the threats, the phone calls and the

7 incident at Garvaghy Road. This is a rather different

8 type of incident, isn't it, where the client tells you

9 that in the course of his detention, offensive remarks

10 had been made about Rosemary Nelson? Were there other

11 instances that you can now recall?

12 A. Yes. I mean, I don't remember exactly but I know that

13 Rosemary herself was aware of incidents being made.

14 Q. Was it regarded as common?

15 A. Well, I don't know what had gone on before I had

16 arrived. I wasn't there a long time. This was during

17 a specific time in the practice, as I say, when these

18 matters were being dealt with, and it was a more heated

19 time. So there appeared to be a number of remarks made.

20 I think Sharon Keeley had told me about other ones that

21 she had heard of.

22 Q. So during the time that you were at the practice there

23 were a number of such incidents that you heard about?

24 A. Yes, more just the distasteful references rather than

25 threats, that sort of thing.

 

 

64

 

1 Q. In the statement, as I say, you mention two of your

2 clients in paragraphs 18 and 19, but were there other

3 clients of yours who reported comments of this kind?

4 A. No, I think I would have said at that stage. I would

5 have remembered.

6 Q. Now, when you --

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Leeson, at times you are becoming

8 inaudible to the stenographer who is trying to take what

9 you are saying. Could you speak up and speak into the

10 microphone?

11 A. Sorry.

12 MR PHILLIPS: When you described your reaction to the

13 incident involving you and a client in interview -- this

14 is paragraph 24 -- you said you were very surprised by

15 what had happened. Were you surprised when the report

16 was made to you by C227 of the remarks made in

17 interview?

18 A. In relation to the matters of a sexual nature, that one?

19 Q. Yes.

20 A. No, not overly, no.

21 Q. Why was that?

22 A. As I say, there were a number of incidents, references

23 had been bandied about that -- I can't remember if Rosie

24 actually told me about incidents. She told me about the

25 threats but this seemed less serious than that. But

 

 

65

 

1 certainly Sharon and I had both encountered clients when

2 references had been made either to her appearance or

3 some sexual notion.

4 Q. But it sounds from the last sentence of this

5 paragraph 18 as though you were left in some doubt as to

6 whether this had actually happened. Is that right?

7 A. What paragraph is that, sorry?

8 Q. Paragraph 18, the last sentence. You say:

9 "I also wouldn't have been sure whether or not the

10 comments were genuine."

11 Is that something you felt at the time, can you

12 recall?

13 A. That may have been something that I felt at the time.

14 I just can't remember what my feelings were then.

15 They were certainly said to me, they were reported

16 to me, but maybe I had my doubts. Maybe I thought --

17 I mean -- maybe at that time, you know, there could have

18 been an issue of doubt there but I was certainly

19 reporting them as being said.

20 Q. Did you have a similar reaction when other reports came

21 to you? You mention from Sharon Keeley, for example,

22 about comments allegedly made to clients in detention?

23 A. It is hard to believe that somebody would say these

24 things. That is really the point that I'm making.

25 There seemed to be an awful lot of them. So it's hard

 

 

66

 

1 to believe -- on the one hand, it is difficult to

2 believe that people would make those comments; on the

3 other hand, it is difficult to believe that so many

4 people would make them up because there were a number of

5 them, and because of the atmosphere you could see them

6 being genuine albeit, you know, horrible.

7 Q. Was your doubt about whether or not they were genuine

8 one of the factors that influenced your decision not to

9 take a complaint forward?

10 A. Yes, the proof aspect of it and it being reported to me

11 and me not having witnessed it myself, just -- it would

12 probably rank further down the ladder of concern, you

13 know.

14 Q. Is the point, then, as a lawyer that this would have

15 been the client's word against the word of the

16 interviewing officers?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Now, can we move on to look at the next example,

19 Brian Loughran?

20 If you, again, go back to the earlier statement at

21 RNI-302-145 -- we still have it on the screen -- can

22 I assume first of all it is the same client although you

23 give the name there, or it had been recorded as

24 "Loughton"? I assume we are talking about the same

25 person?

 

 

67

 

1 A. Yes, it would appear to be -- I did not make that --

2 Q. While we are looking at the screen, did you see that in

3 1999 at any rate, you thought that you had left the

4 practice in October 1997?

5 A. Yes, that would be right.

6 Q. Can we take that as likely to be right?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Yes, thank you very much. You describe this very

9 briefly in this statement, and then, as I said, in

10 paragraph 19, and these were comments about

11 Rosemary Nelson's personal appearance.

12 Again, may I ask you, did you discuss this client's

13 complaints with Rosemary Nelson?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Did you take any part in the complaint that was made

16 about this?

17 A. No, not that I am aware of, no.

18 Q. Just to be clear about this, you said earlier that the

19 comments of a sexual nature were not a surprise to you.

20 In paragraph 19 you say that you think Sharon had heard

21 things that were similar too and there you are talking

22 about comments about Rosemary Nelson's personal

23 appearance. So those were reported to you as well, were

24 they?

25 A. What Sharon had encountered?

 

 

68

 

1 Q. Yes, but comments, as I say, of a different kind made to

2 clients about Rosemary Nelson's personal appearance. Is

3 that right?

4 A. Yes, she would discuss that with me, yes.

5 Q. Was your attitude to those also that you weren't, or you

6 couldn't be sure whether they were soundly based?

7 A. That would be an initial reaction, yes.

8 Q. So far as your leaving the practice is concerned --

9 which it now looks as though you are more confident that

10 it was in October 1997 -- can I just ask you to say

11 whether or not you agree with this analysis based on all

12 of the evidence you have given and your statement: that

13 you left because of the intense pressure of work on you,

14 which wasn't relieved by recruiting any other solicitor,

15 because of the atmosphere in which the work had to be

16 conducted and perhaps most of all because of the

17 specific incident which took place in the police station

18 which you described in paragraph 24.

19 Is that a fair summary?

20 A. Yes, that is a fair summary.

21 Q. Mr Leeson, I just want to ask you this question because,

22 as you know, this is an inquisitorial process: is there

23 anything else that you wish to say to the Inquiry panel

24 on the points we have covered today which I haven't

25 raised with you and which you think will help the Panel

 

 

69

 

1 in their work?

2 A. No, there is nothing further.

3 Q. Thank you. That is all I have.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Leeson, thank you very much for coming to

5 help us, albeit you were a bit late.

6 A. Yes, apologies for that.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: We will adjourn for 10 minutes.

8 (3.30 pm)

9 (Short break)

10 (3.43 pm)

11 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, our coordination is not quite so

12 impeccable this time. I think she is about to arrive.

13 (Pause)

14 MRS NUALA MCCANN (sworn)

15 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

17 MR PHILLIPS: Mrs McCann, can you give me your full names,

18 please.

19 A. Nuala Mary McCann.

20 Q. What I would like to make sure first of all is you have

21 got all the documents you should have around you. Do

22 you have a copy of your witness statement?

23 A. I do, yes.

24 Q. Can we look at that, please, on the screen. It is at

25 RNI-813-267 (displayed).

 

 

70

 

1 If you turn over all the way, please, to -- I think

2 it is RNI-813-301 (displayed), do we see there your

3 signature and the date of 2nd July last year?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Now, exhibited to it were, I think, four statements you

6 made to the police and we can see the first one at

7 RNI-831-149 (displayed).

8 If you look to the end of that, at RNI-831-151

9 (displayed), we can see it records that your signature

10 was there. Do you see that?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And then the next one at RNI-831-152 (displayed) dated

13 16th March -- the earlier one was the day of the murder,

14 the 15th -- and that comes to an end at RNI-831-153

15 (displayed).

16 Then the next one, 15th June, at RNI-831-154

17 (displayed) with your signature recorded as being at

18 RNI-831-157 (displayed). Then finally, a fourth

19 statement of 20th September begins at RNI-831-158 and

20 ends at RNI-831-159 (displayed).

21 Do you have all those statements with you?

22 A. I do, yes.

23 Q. Thank you very much.

24 Now, Mrs McCann, you, as we see from your statement,

25 worked for Rosemary Nelson, were working in her office

 

 

71

 

1 at the time of her murder?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. But you were also a neighbour?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And a friend?

6 A. Hm-mm.

7 Q. Can you remember how you were first introduced to her?

8 A. Rosemary had asked me to do her bookkeeping when I was

9 in another job, and at that time I was expecting my

10 third child so I said I couldn't. I would have done it

11 at another time, but I wasn't able to do it then. But

12 I put her in touch with another bookkeeper who then went

13 to work for Rosemary, but she only worked for a short

14 time. And then I think she worked for about a year,

15 maybe a year and a half, and then by that time Rosemary

16 had come back again to me and asked me would I be

17 willing to come to work after that. So I did.

18 Q. It looks from your statement -- this is paragraph 10 at

19 page RNI-813-270 (displayed) -- as though you started

20 work part-time in 1996. Is that right?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And worked between nine and three, five days a week?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. So was the job you did for Rosemary Nelson a bookkeeping

25 job?

 

 

72

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. What were your usual or typical daily tasks?

3 A. In the morning I would have lodged any cheques that had

4 come in, if they were conveyancing, that had been coming

5 in maybe for selling a house or maybe costs coming in,

6 anything -- any lodgements, I would have sorted those

7 out, put them on the ledger cards. If it were for

8 a claim, I would have put them on the ledger, paid out

9 any fees, any barristers or doctors that had to be paid.

10 I would have had the file then given over to

11 Rosemary and the cheques would have been sent out when

12 Rosemary would have been dictating. I would have also

13 entered up bills of costs. I would have written cheques

14 for any doctors going out or property certificates, land

15 registry, anything like that.

16 Q. So you say in your statement, if you look lower down on

17 the same page, RNI-813-270, paragraph 13 (displayed),

18 that it was a similar job to the one you had had at your

19 previous employers?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And that your responsibility was for all of the

22 financial affairs relating to the practice?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. But, as you say in the same paragraph, and as you have

25 confirmed to me, you were not only an employee but also

 

 

73

 

1 a friend?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. A close friend?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And a neighbour. I think you also lived on

6 Ashford Grange, didn't you?

7 A. Yes, I lived at number ..[redacted].

8 Q. Right. There is one point about that I wanted to ask

9 about, just to clear something up, if I may.

10 If you look through this statement to

11 paragraph 76 -- it is at page RNI-813-287 (displayed) --

12 what you are talking about there -- you see it has come

13 up in large print. Do you have it on the screen there?

14 It might be easier.

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. -- is how long Rosemary Nelson had lived in that road

17 where we know she was living at the time of her murder.

18 You say, do you see in the fourth line:

19 "I think that Rosemary had lived in Ashford Grange

20 for approximately eight years as she had just moved into

21 the house when I started work"?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Just pausing there, you said you started work for her in

24 1996. Now, do you think she had just moved into the

25 house then?

 

 

74

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Yes. So perhaps shortly before 1996, you think?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Thank you. Now, Ashford Grange was a residential

5 street?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. There were no shops on it?

8 A. No.

9 Q. And you make some comments about the sort of street it

10 was very early on in your statement, and I would like

11 you to look at those, please.

12 In paragraph 5, first of all, which is at

13 RNI-813-268 (displayed), you say that the development

14 where you live isn't far from the Kilwilke Estate:

15 "My development is a completely Catholic area,

16 a very friendly development. Most of the people living

17 here know each other."

18 Just pausing there, I assume that all of that was

19 true at the time of the murder?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. "The families living on the development are roughly the

22 same age and have children of similar ages. When

23 Rosemary was killed, it was a very big shock to us all."

24 You then make some comments about the sort of area

25 it was, and you say that:

 

 

75

 

1 "It is the sort of development where people would

2 generally notice cars or people that they didn't

3 recognise."

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. So that a stranger, a strange car coming into the street

6 would, you think, have been noted?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Right. And you explain that everybody knows everybody

9 else?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And it is very open plan, you say. What do you mean by

12 that?

13 A. No fences round front gardens. It is -- small cul de

14 sacs, but no -- you could walk across the gardens, and

15 at the time when Rosemary was killed -- the street comes

16 straight down and then our cul de sac comes like that

17 and I could look straight up the backs, because there

18 was no fences or trees or anything. I could see

19 straight into Rosemary's back yard from my front house.

20 Q. So in fact, it was a very difficult place to hide in?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. There was no cover?

23 A. No.

24 Q. You then go on in paragraph 6 to say that:

25 "It took a year or two to get back to normal, but

 

 

76

 

1 nobody moved away and no one feared that they were under

2 threat."

3 A. That is right.

4 Q. So despite this terrible event, the sense that you

5 described earlier of the close knit community, of it

6 being a safe place, continued?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Perhaps unsurprisingly, you say that people were more

9 alert --

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. -- to strangers, and you did describe there one occasion

12 where you noticed a car which you didn't recognise and

13 it concerned you?

14 A. Hm-mm.

15 Q. Now, how far away is it from Ashford Grange to

16 William Street?

17 A. About three quarters of a mile.

18 Q. So it is a walk or it is a short car journey?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Yes. What I would like to do now, Mrs McCann, is to

21 show you a map of Lurgan so that we can get some idea of

22 where these places are that we have been talking about.

23 So could we look, please, at the Lurgan map? Now,

24 just to explain, you will see there are various boxes on

25 the map which relate to other matters -- things I am not

 

 

77

 

1 going to ask you about but which are of interest to the

2 Inquiry. But do you see there is a little box in the

3 middle at the top? It is a black box with

4 "Rosemary Nelson, 5 Ashford Grange"?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And you see in red there a box for where the car came to

7 rest, where the explosion took place?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Now, Ashford Grange, therefore, is that little road

10 jutting off to the left from where Castor Bay Road comes

11 down and leads into Lake Street?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. So can you describe for us, please, perhaps by reference

14 to the map, how you would make your way from

15 Ashford Grange to William Street?

16 A. We would come out of Ashford Grange and you take

17 a right, you would carry on down Lake Street until you

18 come where the blue circle is, it says Victoria Street.

19 You turn right down Victoria Street right along to the

20 large yellow road, which says William Street.

21 Q. And there it is?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And near the office, around the corner from the office,

24 there is a car park, isn't there?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

78

 

1 Q. And it is a public car park, isn't it?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Now, the development you talked about and we were

4 discussing earlier, the Ashford Grange development, is

5 that just that single road, Ashford Grange, or are there

6 similar streets nearby?

7 A. Ashford Grange is just the one street.

8 Q. Right. So when you talked about the development

9 earlier, that is what you had in mind?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Thank you. Now, when you joined the firm in 1996 -- and

12 I am now looking through your statement at paragraph 17,

13 so you know where we are now. It is on page RNI-813-272

14 (displayed) -- you described for us the various other

15 members of staff. So there were two solicitors, Sharon

16 Keeley and Mr Leeson, whom we have just heard give

17 evidence, and what you say is that:

18 "Mr Leeson did most the litigation work and

19 Sharon Keeley assisted Rosemary Nelson on matrimonial

20 matters."

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. That was one of her special areas of work, wasn't it?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Now, what I wanted to ask you is: this paragraph goes on

25 to describe four secretaries, a receptionist, Angela

 

 

79

 

1 McCaroll, and various others. Are these people who were

2 working in the office when you first arrived in 1996,

3 can you remember?

4 A. Yes, everyone except Christine Magee.

5 Q. Yes. So far as the solicitors are concerned -- not the

6 secretaries and receptionists, but the solicitors -- can

7 you tell us who was still working for the practice at

8 the time of Rosemary Nelson's murder?

9 A. Pat Vernon.

10 Q. Was he the only solicitor at that stage, other than

11 Rosemary Nelson herself of course?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Yes. So there were two qualified lawyers working when

14 you arrived?

15 A. Hm-mm.

16 Q. But at the time, in March 1999, of the murder, there was

17 only one?

18 A. What happened was Sharon had decided her and Rosemary

19 were going to open an office in Armagh and Sharon was

20 going to move up to Armagh and take some of the work up

21 to Armagh, and then Pat Vernon came in. And Pat worked

22 overtime. He would have come in in the morning and

23 would have maybe worked to maybe 9 or 10 o'clock at

24 night to try and clear up the work.

25 Q. Effectively he was trying to do the work of what had

 

 

80

 

1 been two solicitors?

2 A. Hm-mm.

3 Q. Yes. Now, you mentioned Sharon Keeley and the office in

4 Armagh, I think, that that was a proposed expansion of

5 the firm effectively, wasn't it?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. I think it is right, isn't it, that that didn't work

8 out?

9 A. That is right.

10 Q. What you describe in your statement very vividly -- and

11 this is paragraph 19 now at RNI-813-272 (displayed) --

12 is an office that was a friendly place to work?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. That is how you saw it?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And can I ask you throughout all of time you were

17 working there, up to the moment of Rosemary Nelson's

18 murder, was that your view of it as a workplace: a

19 friendly place?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Where people got on with each other but also with the

22 boss, with Rosemary Nelson?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And that continued after work?

25 A. Yes, we would have some social nights out, yes.

 

 

81

 

1 Q. So the impression one gets from your statement is that

2 you were by no means the only person who socialised with

3 Rosemary Nelson?

4 A. No, we all did, yes.

5 Q. Do you think you were one of the closer people, closer

6 to her?

7 A. Maybe, her and Annette and I.

8 Q. Now, in the statement you have given us -- and I have

9 now gone back one page to RNI-813-271, paragraphs 14 to

10 16 (displayed) on that page -- you describe the

11 day-to-day business of working in the office and what

12 you set out for us is a list of things that you would do

13 other than just bookkeeping?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. So, for example, you would do some shopping --

16 A. Hm-mm.

17 Q. -- for Rosemary Nelson. You would often drive her to

18 court?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And back, when she needed to read the papers?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Perhaps to help her to read them before she arrived at

23 court?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And you were on the insurance of her car?

 

 

82

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. You would fill that car up with petrol when she asked

3 you to?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And you would run errands and try and help her?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. So that here also there appears to have been no

8 particular boundary between, as it were, office

9 activities and domestic activities. Is that fair?

10 A. That is fair, yes.

11 Q. And the same applies, as you tell us in paragraph 14, to

12 the finance, in the sense that you say that the office

13 account was used as if it were her own personal bank

14 account?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. So all of the types of expenditure, whether it be the

17 shopping or the office rent, would come out of the same

18 account?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And, as you put it, she used the office account like her

21 purse?

22 A. Hm-mm.

23 Q. And you were the person who monitored the comings and

24 goings from that account, weren't you?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

83

 

1 Q. As far as you know, she didn't have a separate bank

2 account?

3 A. I don't think she did.

4 Q. So she clearly was content for you to have access to

5 knowledge of her expenditure, the money that was coming

6 in and everything that she was spending?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Thank you. Now, then in paragraph 16 you talk about the

9 daily routine, and what you say there is that:

10 "She didn't tend to come into the office until late

11 morning."

12 A. That is right.

13 Q. So you told us earlier about what you would do when you

14 arrived at the office and the bookkeeping work you would

15 do, but it looks as though at some point, on a lot of

16 mornings, you would then go over to Ashford Grange?

17 A. Hm-mm.

18 Q. I wanted to ask you this: when you first started work at

19 the practice in 1996, was that the routine? Did

20 Rosemary Nelson not come in until late morning?

21 A. That is right.

22 Q. So that was the position throughout, was it?

23 A. Yes, because Rosemary would have always worked late at

24 night so then she would have come in later in the

25 morning.

 

 

84

 

1 Q. Right. So that wasn't something that changed during the

2 years you were working for her?

3 A. No.

4 Q. As far as you are concerned, from 1996, then, her

5 arrival time was usually late morning?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Right. And when you went over to the house, it looks as

8 though you would be taking work with you?

9 A. It would depend if she hadn't brought file home the

10 night before or if she needed something. Sometimes she

11 would just give me a call and say, "Come down for a cup

12 of coffee".

13 Q. So as far as you can tell, then, had she started work by

14 that stage?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Was she a late riser?

17 A. No, she would have had some work on the go as well.

18 Q. From what you said earlier, she was working late in the

19 evenings?

20 A. Hm-mm.

21 Q. Yes. So if you were asked to bring over files, as you

22 say in paragraph 16, you would arrive with the files and

23 then, as you put it, you would sit and chat over the

24 papers?

25 A. Hm-mm.

 

 

85

 

1 Q. And after that you would take her into the office in the

2 car?

3 A. If I didn't have my car with me. Sometimes I wouldn't

4 have had it and I would have got a taxi down and I would

5 have drove her car back.

6 Q. Sometimes you drove your own car and she was

7 a passenger?

8 A. No, she was never in my car. If I had drove my car down

9 I would have drove it back and she would have drove hers

10 back.

11 Q. I see, thank you.

12 Now, so far as the chat was concerned, so far as

13 your discussions, was that about work?

14 A. Not always, no.

15 Q. No. Was it sometimes about the files, about the cases

16 she was doing?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Yes. And would she go through with you the work she was

19 doing on a particular case?

20 A. No, she would have maybe mentioned something that she

21 was actually doing on a file but wouldn't have went into

22 detail, or if she was working on a particular file, but

23 I did not have any interest in what files -- you know,

24 all I did was the bookkeeping so I did not have much to

25 do with the actual files.

 

 

86

 

1 Q. That is what I wanted to ask you, you see, whether she

2 was having, as it were, a legal chat with you?

3 A. No.

4 Q. No. So she was talking about the file you had brought,

5 but not inviting your --

6 A. No.

7 Q. -- contribution to a legal discussion?

8 A. No.

9 Q. No, okay.

10 Is that why you say later in your statement -- can

11 you look, please, at paragraph 35 at RNI-813-276

12 (displayed), at the very top of the page -- do you see

13 you say you are talking about the Colin Duffy cases

14 there but you make it a general comment. Do you see:

15 "Rosemary did not talk to me about any of the cases

16 or the detail involved in them"?

17 Then you say more about that particular case, and I

18 will come back to that in a minute. But at the very end

19 of the paragraph, do you see, beginning "however":

20 "This is information ..."

21 That is information about that case, the Duffy case:

22 "... that I think I picked up in the local press at

23 the time as Rosemary did not really discuss any of her

24 cases with me"?

25 A. That is right.

 

 

87

 

1 Q. So you were there to help by bringing the work to her

2 and, of course, to bring her back into the office, but

3 you weren't there to have a discussion about these

4 cases, or indeed any of her cases?

5 A. No.

6 Q. So presumably then the chat was more general?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Neighbourly?

9 A. Yes, and maybe her saying that she had a lot of work on

10 this case or it was giving her bother, or something like

11 that, general.

12 Q. Would she discuss then her feelings about the work she

13 was doing?

14 A. No.

15 Q. No. So when you say she might mention whether something

16 was bothering her, what did you mean by that?

17 A. If she was having hassle with it or she was "This is

18 giving me grief", or something like that. That would be

19 her expression.

20 Q. But that would be the end of it, as it were?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Yes. Now, from that perspective, are you able to help

23 us on the question of her workload? Are you able to say

24 whether you think her workload, her personal workload,

25 increased during the time you worked for her?

 

 

88

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. You think it did?

3 A. She had a big conveyancing practice and matrimonial,

4 yes. Rosemary would have went to court in the morning

5 for matrimonial and -- which would have held her up then

6 coming back in the afternoon for her conveyancing. But

7 then Sharon took on a lot of the matrimonial, which

8 freed her up for conveyancing. Then she had a very good

9 secretary as well.

10 Q. Who was the secretary who worked for her on

11 conveyancing?

12 A. Bernie Rogers.

13 Q. Did she later become Bradshaw?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Yes, thank you. Who assisted her on the matrimonial?

16 A. Sharon Keeley.

17 Q. And after Sharon's departure?

18 A. Annette Sheridan did.

19 Q. Right. But as far as you are concerned then, the

20 workload -- you have mentioned matrimonial and

21 conveyancing work. What about the other, more high

22 profile work that she was doing, the criminal work, the

23 Garvaghy Road work, did that not add to her burden over

24 those years?

25 A. Yes, it would have. The litigation when Pat came, Pat

 

 

89

 

1 was working late hours for the -- to get on top of the

2 litigation. So he was looking after that and getting

3 caught up on that. And that left Rosemary then with the

4 Garvaghy Road, and with having a good secretary she

5 could pass on the conveyancing as well to her.

6 Q. Did she delegate the Garvaghy Road and the high profile

7 criminal cases in the same way that she delegated the

8 matrimonial and conveyancing?

9 A. I don't really know much about it. Listening to Brian,

10 I didn't know much. I was the bookkeeper and I sat in

11 the back office and didn't really know much of what went

12 on with the files, but I do remember when he had said

13 about going over to Garvaghy Road to take statements.

14 We all did. And I think we opened a cabinet with

15 complaints.

16 Q. Yes. So your recollection -- and you deal with it in

17 your statement -- is that there were a lot more than

18 just two?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Dozens?

21 A. Yes, because, I mean, I was a bookkeeper and I don't do

22 shorthand or anything, but I was brought over as well.

23 Q. So it was all hands to the pump?

24 A. Yes, because there was that many complaints.

25 Q. Yes, and the impression also one gets is that it was

 

 

90

 

1 very, very busy --

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. -- in this office?

4 A. Hm-mm.

5 Q. That everybody, whatever role they were playing, was

6 having to work very, very hard?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And very long hours?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Can I ask you something about the crossover between work

11 and domestic matters that you have mentioned in relation

12 to driving the car and doing shopping, et cetera? Was

13 that something that other members of staff also took on

14 for Rosemary Nelson, that sort of task, that sort of

15 errand?

16 A. Yes, Annette would have.

17 Q. Were they the same sort of things that she did for

18 Rosemary Nelson?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Yes. Now, from your particular perspective, talking to

21 her in the way that you did in her house, did you sense

22 at any point in those three years that the pressure of

23 work, the strain of work, was getting to

24 Rosemary Nelson?

25 A. No.

 

 

91

 

1 Q. No. Did she discuss with you at any point the concern,

2 any concerns she may have had about the pressure of

3 work?

4 A. No.

5 Q. You have talked to us about the conveyancing and

6 matrimonial work. If you look at paragraph 20 of your

7 statement at RNI-813-273 (displayed), you will see how

8 you set that out for us in your witness statement. And

9 you say that the matrimonial side was doing extremely

10 well. This is paragraph 21. Is that it right?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And the conveyancing practice was also growing. Now, we

13 have heard earlier today that one of the things that

14 Rosemary Nelson was very good at was bringing work in.

15 Is that how you perceived it as well?

16 A. She didn't need to go out looking for work. It just

17 happened that a lot of people, a lot of women would have

18 went to her for matrimonial, and then it would have went

19 on to conveyancing and then just through word of mouth

20 it passed on that people were happy with her service and

21 she got more and more clients.

22 Q. So the work increased due to client recommendation?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. To word of mouth?

25 A. Hm-mm.

 

 

92

 

1 Q. Rather than anything she actually did to go and generate

2 publicity about her practice?

3 A. That is right.

4 Q. Yes. And you say in the paragraphs at the bottom of

5 this page, 22 to 24, that it was first of all a big

6 client base, but it was also in this sense a mixed one,

7 both Catholic and Protestant clients, and that was

8 obviously something that she was proud of?

9 A. Hm-mm.

10 Q. Is that right?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Did she express that to you?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And you give some examples there. Can I ask to you look

15 at the example you give in paragraph 23, where you talk

16 about a female prison officer?

17 A. Hm-mm.

18 Q. You say this:

19 "I did ask her ..."

20 That is the prison officer:

21 "... if she was worried about coming to Rosemary to

22 represent her as it was well-known that Rosemary had

23 been acting for Republican clients. The prison officer

24 informed me she was not concerned by this and that

25 Rosemary had a good reputation. It was that that was

 

 

93

 

1 important."

2 Now, can I just ask you a few questions about that?

3 You were obviously aware then in this conversation that

4 Rosemary was known for her work for Republican clients?

5 A. Hm-mm.

6 Q. And that led you -- am I right about this? -- that led

7 you to ask the prison officer whether she wasn't worried

8 about coming to such a firm?

9 A. Hm-mm.

10 Q. Why might she have been worried?

11 A. I think the reason that I had asked her was she had come

12 into the reception and Colin Duffy was in Rosemary's

13 office, and Rosemary had buzzed me and asked her would

14 I make her a cup of coffee. So I brought her into my

15 office and we sat and had a cup of coffee, and I think

16 it was just in my head that prison officers and -- and

17 being in the prison and that with Republicans, that they

18 would be against each other. I mean, there would be

19 two sides to it, and that just -- we were talking

20 about -- she was talking about her work and she was

21 talking about being in the prison and how the prison

22 operated and that, and she was just talking (inaudible)

23 and she had told me about different things that happened

24 where prisoners were able to tell her things that were

25 happening in their personal life and that meant that

 

 

94

 

1 they knew everything about what was going on with the

2 prison staff. And I said did she have any problems with

3 coming to Rosemary's, because she knew that Rosemary had

4 acted for Republican, and she said no.

5 Q. No. But it sounds as though the Republican you had in

6 your mind particularly at that moment when you asked

7 that question was Mr Duffy?

8 A. Yes, because he was in the office.

9 Q. Yes. So far as the balance of the work is concerned,

10 can you look, please, at paragraph 29 on

11 page RNI-813-274 (displayed) where you first of all deal

12 with the conveyancing and matrimonial work, and then you

13 say in the second sentence, do you see:

14 "Her criminal practice did grow over the three years

15 that I worked for her, but even then it did not make up

16 much of the practice compared to the matrimonial and

17 conveyancing matters. The majority of criminal matters

18 were small in terms of fees and the time that Rosemary

19 spent working on them"?

20 Now, so just so I am clear about this, the volume of

21 criminal work grew during the time you were there,

22 before Rosemary Nelson's death?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. But I think what you are saying terms of fee income, the

25 majority of those cases were not big earners, if I can

 

 

95

 

1 put it that way?

2 A. That is right.

3 Q. And Rosemary Nelson herself didn't spend much time

4 working on those smaller criminal cases?

5 A. That is right.

6 Q. But it is right, isn't it, that she did devote

7 a considerable amount of her time during those three

8 years to the major criminal cases, including the Duffy

9 case?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Now, do you think that the time that she devoted to that

12 case and the Garvaghy Road case, which Mr Leeson was

13 talking about, do you think those cases came to dominate

14 her work?

15 A. No, because she also still had to keep up with the

16 conveyancing, and the matrimonial after Sharon left.

17 The matrimonial was shared between her and Annette.

18 Annette would have just taken instructions from

19 Rosemary. Rosemary would still have been the one in

20 charge of the matrimonial.

21 Q. But in order to cope with the high volume of

22 conveyancing and matrimonial and all the substantial

23 time she was spending on the high profile cases,

24 presumably she had to delegate more and more, didn't

25 she?

 

 

96

 

1 A. Yes, I mean, the files -- like, for instance, when the

2 complaints and things like that -- a lot of the girls

3 and Pat Vernon would have helped dealing with the

4 complaints after Mr Leeson left.

5 Q. Yes.

6 A. So, I mean, Rosemary was still working late. She still

7 brought files home with her at night. She still sat in

8 her living room at night working.

9 Q. You say at the bottom of this page in paragraph 30 that

10 Mr Vernon helped out with the criminal matters. He has

11 been given a cipher, but that is in fact Mr Vernon.

12 But, you say -- do you see the second sentence:

13 "If a call came in from the police station

14 specifically asking for Rosemary, she would go. It was

15 rare for her to pass work to the other solicitors if she

16 had specifically been asked for. If someone was lifted

17 in town, she would have got out of bed to help them.

18 She was often called at home out at night or in the

19 early hours of the morning as the police would hold

20 solicitors' telephone numbers and they would call her if

21 a client asked for her."

22 You see, what I was seeking to glean from you

23 earlier when I was asking about if the work grew in

24 volume it had an affect on her, and I talked to you

25 about that, the picture one gets from what you are

 

 

97

 

1 saying is somebody whose day must have been getting

2 longer and longer and longer in order to cope with the

3 volume of work. Is that what happened?

4 A. Yes, she would have had work home with her at night.

5 I wouldn't know what time she worked to, but I know she

6 would have walked out of the office at night with

7 a bundle of files and she always had files in the house.

8 So even though -- I mean, she maybe didn't come in until

9 late in the morning, she still would have been working

10 at home.

11 Q. Is it fair to say that in the last years of her life she

12 gave these high profile cases a priority over her other

13 work?

14 A. If Garvaghy Road would have had a meeting, yes, she

15 would have -- if there had been a meeting planned, she

16 would have left the office and left instructions if

17 something had to be carried out with someone else and

18 she would have went to the meeting, yes.

19 Q. So that would take priority over her other work?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Does the same apply in the period of intense work that

22 Mr Leeson described on the Duffy case? Would the same

23 have applied then?

24 A. If there could have been a special meeting or anything,

25 yes, she would have had to.

 

 

98

 

1 Q. So in those cases at those times, the other work, her

2 other workload, had to take a back seat?

3 A. Yes, the secretaries probably would have taken on more.

4 Q. Yes, I was going to say that must inevitably have

5 increased the workload and had an impact on others

6 working in the office?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Yes. So could you look, please, at paragraphs 31 and 32

9 which are on the next page, the one we are on now on the

10 screen, RNI-813-275 (displayed).

11 Now, other than the two we have mentioned,

12 Colin Duffy and the Garvaghy Road, can you think of

13 other high profile cases during these three years before

14 Rosemary Nelson's murder?

15 A. The only other one that happened was the Hamill.

16 Q. Yes. Was that also a major piece of work for the firm?

17 A. It didn't -- it started off more with Diane Hamill

18 coming over to Rosemary and having advice and that, and

19 then they set up the campaign, but that wasn't run by

20 the office. I don't think the Hamill case had taken off

21 much before Rosemary died.

22 Q. Right. Was there any concern expressed in the office

23 about the impact of these cases on the firm?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Not that you remember?

 

 

99

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. You don't remember other members of staff, even if you

3 didn't share these concerns, expressing their worry

4 about the impact on the practice?

5 A. About the heavy workload or ...?

6 Q. Let us start with that, yes, the heavy workload.

7 A. I think everyone, yes, was working hard but then you did

8 that for Rosemary.

9 Q. People were inspired to work hard for her?

10 A. She was just that sort of boss.

11 Q. But the other aspect I had in mind was not so much the

12 hard work as the sorts of things that Mr Leeson was

13 telling us, namely the way the practice came to be

14 viewed. Were you aware of this perception that the

15 practice was associated in people's mind with certain of

16 its clients?

17 A. No. When he said that it had been tainted and that, no.

18 I was surprised when he said that, because at the same

19 time that Colin Duffy was a client, Rosemary also had

20 a client who was a Protestant client and she was working

21 on it. This was a neighbour dispute that had ended up

22 where a man had killed his neighbour, and Rosemary had

23 that going on at the same time. So that was

24 a Protestant that came down to her office knowing that

25 Rosemary was acting for Colly Duffy.

 

 

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1 Q. Is that the sort of thing you had in mind when you

2 talked earlier about the balance of work between the two

3 sides?

4 A. Hm-mm.

5 Q. If you look at paragraph 24 of your statement, you will

6 see, I think, the case you have in mind at RNI-813-273

7 at the bottom (displayed).

8 Is that the one?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And what you are saying to us, which is very helpful, is

11 that that was going on whilst the Duffy work was also

12 going on?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Thank you. Now, looking at the Duffy case in particular

15 and at your statement at RNI-813-275, paragraph 33

16 (displayed), you explained to us what you were told by

17 Rosemary Nelson about how she had come to work for him,

18 and it looks as though that also had come from

19 a matrimonial case?

20 A. That is right, yes.

21 Q. So this is an example, is it, of where one type of work

22 leads to another?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Do we also see an example of the word of mouth

25 phenomenon in the sentences at the end of this

 

 

101

 

1 paragraph, where you say:

2 "From that point onwards, everyone on the Kilwilke

3 Estate went to Rosemary with their legal issues"?

4 A. That is right.

5 Q. So the word spread?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And the Kilwilke Estate -- we haven't got the map, but

8 that was close to where you and Rosemary Nelson were

9 neighbours?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And that was predominantly a Catholic estate, was it

12 not?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. But the work for Colin Duffy, as you explain in

15 paragraph 34, which is at the bottom of that page,

16 RNI-813-275, if we go back to the page (displayed), had

17 begun way before you began work with the practice in

18 1996?

19 A. That is right.

20 Q. Now, in paragraph 35 you deal with the 1997 case, the

21 Church Walk murders, and you say in the third sentence:

22 "There was a lot of talk in the local community

23 after the murders that Colin Duffy would be lifted for

24 the murders, and he was."

25 A. That is right.

 

 

102

 

1 Q. So I am interested to explore that with you. This is

2 talk that you heard before he was arrested; is that

3 right?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. So once the news of the murder had come through in the

6 town, people talked about the fact that he, Colin Duffy,

7 was likely to be accused of the murders?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And is that talk that you yourself heard?

10 A. No. It was hearsay.

11 Q. It was hearsay? It came to you second-hand?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. But anyway, when he was arrested, you can't therefore

14 have been surprised?

15 A. That is right.

16 Q. Now, you heard earlier a discussion between me and

17 Mr Leeson about the impact of those murders on the town?

18 A. Hm-mm.

19 Q. Do you also recall the feeling in the town when the news

20 of the murders came through?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Did it, as he said, increase the tensions?

23 A. It was just like a -- everything just died down in the

24 town. It was just -- people couldn't believe that it

25 had happened.

 

 

103

 

1 Q. It was seen to be a terrible event?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And did it make the town an even more divided place?

4 A. I don't think you could make it any more divided than it

5 already was.

6 Q. So was it a symbol, therefore, of the divisions which

7 already existed in Lurgan?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Did you sense, as Mr Leeson did, therefore, that to take

10 on the defence of the accused in that case was to step

11 into this area of great strong feeling?

12 A. I knew that Rosemary automatically would have probably

13 been acting for him, when she had acted for him before.

14 She was his solicitor, so it just followed that she

15 would probably act for him in this.

16 Q. But in the atmosphere of the town, did that cause you

17 concern?

18 A. No more concern than when I started there. She was his

19 solicitor and she had represented him the first time.

20 So I just accepted that Rosemary would be acting for him

21 the second time.

22 Q. But given the impact of the event, were you not at all

23 fearful?

24 A. Fearful for what?

25 Q. Fearful of what might happen when the firm was taking on

 

 

104

 

1 the defence of a client in such a divided town.

2 A. No, it didn't feel -- to me I felt it was Rosemary

3 acting for a client and that was it.

4 Q. But were you ever aware in Lurgan, or in

5 Northern Ireland more generally, that lawyers were

6 sometimes seen as being closely identified with their

7 clients?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And that is why I ask you whether that wasn't

10 a particular concern in this case.

11 A. It didn't make me fear that anything would happen to the

12 office or anything would happen to us, no.

13 Q. Did Rosemary express any concerns of that kind to you?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Can I ask you about -- I am going to come back to that

16 case, if I may, but can I ask you about politics. In

17 your statement -- and this is moving on to paragraph 89

18 on page RNI-813-290 (displayed) -- you are dealing with

19 the question of perception, the point we have touched on

20 already, and then you say:

21 "As far as I am aware, Rosemary separated the work

22 that she did for her clients from any personal beliefs.

23 I am not aware of her belonging to or taking part in any

24 outside campaigns or activities that were political in

25 nature."

 

 

105

 

1 The case I want to ask you about in particular is

2 the Garvaghy Road one, because that certainly had

3 a political side to it, didn't it?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Now, you have explained to us about going down and, with

6 everybody, taking the statements and opening a filing

7 cabinet for them, but isn't it right that

8 Rosemary Nelson would attend meetings, for example, of

9 the Residents Coalition?

10 A. As the legal representative?

11 Q. That is the question I am asking you really.

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Yes? Did you see that as being legal work or political

14 work?

15 A. Legal.

16 Q. Yes. Now, if you were asked where her political

17 sympathies lay as a friend, as a neighbour, somebody who

18 talked to her, what would you say?

19 A. I don't know.

20 Q. You don't know. You never discussed politics with her?

21 A. No.

22 Q. So therefore, taking you back to the beginning of this

23 paragraph, what I think you are saying is that, as far

24 as you were aware, she had no political side to her but

25 that, despite that, she was perceived, or it is

 

 

106

 

1 suggested to you she was perceived, that there was

2 a link between her personally and the Republican cause?

3 A. This was the Inquiry team asked me?

4 Q. Yes. Now, what I wanted to know is whether you

5 accepted -- because it doesn't appear in the statement,

6 whether you accepted that there was such a perception?

7 A. I don't think there should have been.

8 Q. No, but do you think there was?

9 A. You are asking if I think that other people --

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. Yes, they probably did.

12 Q. Yes. Can I just ask you about the contrast, if there is

13 one, between what you did in your work at

14 Rosemary Nelson's office and what you had done as

15 a bookkeeper in your previous work.

16 In your previous job, had you been asked to take on

17 errands, do the domestic tasks --

18 A. Not at all, no.

19 Q. So there, work was work and domestic life was different?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. So that was obviously a big distinction between the two

22 places?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Right. Now, as part of your experience of the earlier

25 office, your earlier employment, had you seen criminal

 

 

107

 

1 cases being conducted by the solicitors in that firm?

2 A. No.

3 Q. No. So you are not in a position to comment then on the

4 sorts of tactics that Mr Leeson was talking about

5 earlier?

6 A. No.

7 Q. One of the things that you do touch on in your statement

8 is the question of publicity, and can I just remind you,

9 it comes in paragraph 60 at page RNI-813-283

10 (displayed). You say you do not recall -- and this is

11 the third sentence -- you:

12 "... don't recall the press were ever at Rosemary's

13 office in the time that I worked for her."

14 It is right, isn't it, that she certainly gave

15 interviews and spoke to the press?

16 A. Hm-mm.

17 Q. So even if that didn't happen in her office, we know,

18 don't we, that it certainly did happen?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And indeed, we have collected a whole range of articles

21 in which she is quoted, talking about her cases to the

22 media. Were you aware of her doing that while you

23 worked with her?

24 A. I do not -- I didn't recall any interviews at the

25 office, no.

 

 

108

 

1 Q. Right. And what you are saying in relation to the Duffy

2 case in particular, in paragraph 61, is about what

3 happened afterwards when he was released on appeal --

4 was that, by the way, did that take place while you were

5 working in the office, his release on appeal? We think

6 it was in September 1996.

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Yes. But you are not sure what you were told by

9 Rosemary Nelson and what you remember from reading in

10 the papers or looking at on the television?

11 A. That is right.

12 Q. I wanted to ask you this particular thing, though, in

13 relation to paragraph 62: what you say is that there

14 were victory trips round the estate.

15 A. Hm-mm.

16 Q. But Rosemary Nelson did not take part in them and she

17 came back to the office to work.

18 A. That is right.

19 Q. Is it right, though, that there was a party in the

20 office to celebrate the result on the appeal?

21 A. No.

22 Q. You don't remember that?

23 A. This must be before I started.

24 Q. Right. Because there is certainly some suggestion in

25 witness evidence that there was a party in the office

 

 

109

 

1 with balloons, for example. You don't remember that?

2 A. No. That has been before I started, so I am talking

3 about when he -- it must have been when he got out the

4 second time.

5 Q. I see.

6 A. Because, no, I wasn't there when there was any party.

7 Q. Right. Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly.

9 Mrs McCann, thank you very much for coming this

10 afternoon. Would you be good enough to come back

11 tomorrow morning --

12 A. Yes.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: -- at 10.15?

14 A. Okay.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: And hopefully if you are here at 10.15 you

16 won't be in the witness box for too long. Thank you

17 very much.

18 A. Thank you.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: 10.15 in the morning.

20 (4.45 pm)

21 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)

22

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MR BRIAN LEESON (sworn) .......................... 4
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 4
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MRS NUALA MCCANN (sworn) ......................... 69
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 69
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