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Full Hearings

Hearing: 22nd April 2008, day 6

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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, 22nd April 2008
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Tuesday, 22nd April 2008

2 (10.15 am)

3 Opening submissions by MR PHILLIPS (continued)

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

5 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, before we resume the story of the

6 Loughran complaint, can I just say for the record that

7 in part as a result of helpful comments made by Full

8 Participants, we have made some small corrections to the

9 two Garvaghy Road chronologies we provided yesterday,

10 and they have gone through to the Participants, and also

11 some amendments to the witness list in relation to

12 client complainants.

13 You will appreciate, sir, that one of the

14 difficulties is that matters in relation to witnesses

15 are in a state of flux; new statements come in,

16 decisions have to be made, and the same applies with the

17 question of ciphering and redacting names. And however

18 many times -- and in the case of those documents, there

19 were many, many occasions on which they were checked and

20 rechecked -- errors do, I am afraid, occur.

21 Now, the final thing we have handed out this morning

22 is something I found time to prepare this morning and it

23 is a transcription of an illegible statement at

24 RNI-215-149. Do you remember, this is where we arrived

25 at close of play yesterday afternoon and I hope you

 

 

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1 have got a copy of this transcription as, I hope, do

2 the Full Participants. (Handed)

3 Thank you.

4 Now, sir, to put it in context, if you remember,

5 we've already seen in fact two statements in identical

6 terms, the first dated 6th November and signed, the

7 second dated 26th January and signed and witnessed at

8 26th January 1998, and then the third, which is, I

9 think, in the handwriting of the investigating officer,

10 P146, which is the one at RNI-215-149. And you will see

11 the transcription, which may be subject to error, but it

12 is my version of this anyway:

13 "Inspector [P146] has asked me to give a few more

14 details about the statement I gave him today. That was

15 about remarks made to me by police about my solicitor,

16 Rosemary Nelson. I can't remember exactly what date I

17 was in for interviews. I was in for three days. I

18 can't remember which day these remarks were made, but

19 Special Branch and CID spoke to me each day. I knew

20 these two men were Special Branch because they said they

21 were from Special Branch. The one who made the remarks

22 was sort of stocky, about 5'6", 5'7", with dirty fair

23 hair, aged between 30 and 32. He was clean shaven. He

24 said just what I put in the statement I gave today. The

25 complaint is just against him.

 

 

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1 "The other man was tall, short black hair, clean

2 shaven as well, blue eyes, around about 30 to 32 years

3 old."

4 Then he deals with the older matter, which he says

5 was a comment made about three years ago:

6 "I can't remember exactly the date was ... being

7 interviewed in relation to a stolen car which was left

8 in my garage. I can't remember give a description of

9 the car. I think it was man ..."

10 Then the name is given:

11 "... from Special Branch that said that. He said,

12 when he was taking me from the inquiry office at Lurgan

13 along the corridor on the way to an interview room ..."

14 Then the statement gives the name again:

15 "... about 40-ish, about 5'8", can't really remember

16 what he looks like, to tell you the truth. I didn't

17 report it until now because I just thought it was one of

18 those odd ..."

19 Then the transcriber has inserted the possible

20 alternative "old", odd or old:

21 "... comments. I didn't think much of it. I told

22 Rosemary Nelson about it when I was telling her about

23 this in November 1997."

24 Now, sir, those are the somewhat sparse details

25 which was provided of the first matter, which was the

 

 

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1 subject of the two previous statements, November

2 and January, and then of the older matter -- if anything

3 even less detail, you may think -- some three years

4 before.

5 Now, I should say for completeness, although I can't

6 show you this at the moment, that this complainant,

7 Mr Loughran, also gave a statement to the Pat Finucane

8 Centre just after Rosemary Nelson's murder on

9 24th March. I can't show it to you at this stage,

10 simply because of the difficulties, I think, with the

11 scanning of it into the computer system, but suffice is

12 to say it adds no new detail and we will see it in due

13 course when we see his witness statement to which it is

14 an exhibit.

15 Sir, the final thing in terms of Mr Loughran's

16 account of events to mention here is that he was one of

17 a number of contributors, client contributors to the

18 Panorama programme I have mentioned before, from which

19 we saw an extract at the start of I think it was the

20 second day of this opening, called "Careless Talk",

21 broadcast on 21st June. And I should have mentioned

22 earlier in relation to C215, one of the Mulvihill LAJI

23 complainants, that he also was interviewed on the

24 programme, as was Shane McCrory, to whose complaint I

25 will turn next.

 

 

5

 

1 We have a script or transcript of the programme at

2 RNI-104-207. That is the relevant passage and I would

3 like to show it to you, because the casual reader would

4 find it very difficult from this passage to work out

5 that Mr Loughran had in fact been interviewed by the

6 programme.

7 You will see there are passages of the script or

8 transcript, and the third one is attributed to

9 Colin Duffy, who also was interviewed and appeared on

10 the programme, on 21st June. In fact, as far as we can

11 tell, the third paragraph is in fact what Mr Loughran

12 said when interviewed in the programme, and we have

13 disclosed a tape of the programme to the Full

14 Participants. And you will see that it is what we have

15 just been reading in the various statements:

16 "Two Special Branch men came in, started saying

17 about Rosemary Nelson, that she was hit by the ugly

18 stick and what happened to her face and all, they were

19 having a good laugh."

20 So just a very brief extract there.

21 Now, sir, returning to the mechanism of the

22 complaint investigation itself, you will remember that

23 the investigating officer was the same as in the

24 Mulvihill cases, and he wrote, on 13th January 1998,

25 setting up the appointment which resulted in this

 

 

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1 statement we have seen dated 26th January, that month.

2 So far as the circumstances of the original arrest

3 and detention are concerned, you will see them on the

4 chart, but as a result of information provided to the

5 Inquiry by PSNI, we believe that Mr Loughran was

6 arrested and interviewed at Gough on 16th and

7 17th October 1997 and was interviewed by, I think,

8 a total of four police officers, and again, in his case

9 was, it would seem at any rate, released without charge.

10 The same applies to this case as indeed to the others:

11 first, that we will provide little lists for each

12 complaint with the relevant complainant and officers,

13 showing whether they have provided statements that are

14 to be called to the hearings to give evidence, and also

15 to make the point that in the interviews conducted by

16 the investigating officer with two of the interviewers

17 on 12th and 16th February, the allegations which were

18 quite brief, it would appear, were put to them. They

19 were denied and there was, as far as one can see, simply

20 the short statements of Mr Loughran to put to them, and

21 again, the conclusion of the investigating officer was

22 that no disciplinary action was recommended. The form

23 and report of the officer was submitted in March 1998

24 and the result was disclosed to the complainant in

25 a letter from the ICPC of 17th June. No action was

 

 

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1 taken.

2 The final thing I would like to say about this

3 complaint is just to remind you, sir, that this was one

4 of the client statements which Rosemary Nelson provided

5 to Jane Winter of British Irish Rights Watch in the

6 latter part of 1997. And it follows that -- and we can

7 see this in the files, we did see it earlier -- that

8 version of the statement of this client was the first

9 statement, i.e. the one that he made on, I think,

10 6th November 1997.

11 With that brief run-through Brian Loughran, can we

12 turn to the next on my list, which is the complaint of

13 Shane McCrory. A warrant for his arrest was issued on

14 4th December 1997. It was issued in connection with an

15 incident of alleged disorderly behaviour in Lurgan,

16 which had taken place about ten months before, in fact,

17 on 2nd February that year, 1997. He was arrested in

18 a shop in Lurgan, Woolworths store in Market Street, and

19 the McCrory complaint is distinct from the others we

20 have been looking at to this point in a number of

21 respects: first, as I hope is clear from the sheet, it

22 did not involve a client held in one of the detention or

23 holding centres; secondly, the events which became the

24 subject of the complaint were said to have taken place

25 not, as it were, in the police station itself but in the

 

 

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1 car on the way, in other words after he had been

2 arrested.

3 What we can see in the material in file RNI-216

4 shows how the incident developed. Can we look, please?

5 at RNI-216-120. (Displayed) This is the warrant for his

6 arrest. Then at RNI-216-121, we see that he was indeed

7 arrested, if you look at the right-hand side at the top,

8 on 15th December. That custody record was generated

9 after his journey back to the Lurgan police station,

10 which is, as I understand it, a very short distance

11 away.

12 Now, it looks as though Rosemary Nelson was informed

13 about half past nine that evening and I am going to

14 show you, sir, the first of the many custody records

15 which are in these files, RNI-216-182. As I say, you

16 shouldn't assume for a moment there aren't similar

17 records for most of the other complaints; it is simply

18 that I have spared you their consideration at this

19 stage. But you will see the third entry down,

20 15th December, 21.30:

21 "R Nelson informed. For DP court verification."

22 I think that says.

23 Now, the complaint emerged some months later, in

24 fact, as far as we can see in April of 1998, and we have

25 the correspondence at RNI-216-003. I was slightly

 

 

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1 cautious in the way I put that, because you will see

2 there is reference in that short letter to "previous

3 correspondence". As far as we can ascertain, there is

4 no previous correspondence about this complaint.

5 Whether it was intended to be a reference to previous

6 complaints of a similar kind, one doesn't know; it may

7 be that our records are incomplete. But there it is,

8 and with it came the statement and that is to be found

9 on RNI-216-004. It is dated 27th February, so rather

10 over two months after the events in issue and

11 considerably before the initiation by letter of the

12 complaint.

13 It is signed in a typed form and witnessed, and it

14 says:

15 "On Monday, 15th December 1997 at about 9 pm, I was

16 in Woolworths store with my girlfriend. Two policemen

17 were in the store and two were outside. One of the

18 policemen in the store approached me and said there was

19 an outstanding bench warrant for my arrest."

20 We have seen it:

21 "He brought me to Lurgan Barracks, he put me in the

22 back of the police car, he sat in back beside me and

23 there was three other policemen in the car. He said to

24 me, 'Nelson won't help you this time'. Another officer

25 who was driving the car and who I know to be called

 

 

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1 [P218], said, 'She won't be here that long, she will

2 be dead'. They kept me in the barracks overnight and

3 had an special court in Lisburn the next day."

4 As I said to you yesterday, although, as we will

5 see, this is a complaint which is dealt with at

6 a relatively low level, certainly compared to the

7 tremendous time and effort expended on the Mulvihill

8 complaints, in fact what it discloses is if the

9 complainant is correct and telling the truth, she won't

10 be here that long, she will be dead, something that goes

11 directly to the types of threat issue, comments

12 concerning Rosemary Nelson's personal safety, as it is

13 put in the List of Issues, which are at the heart of the

14 Inquiry.

15 Now, it looks as though this complaint was received

16 just a few days later at the head office of the

17 Complaints and Discipline Department, and it was

18 categorised and allocated in the normal way, with the

19 form 17/2, which is worth looking at, at RNI-216-012

20 (displayed).

21 It follows the usual format: gives the name of the

22 complainant, it gives his solicitor's details, it says

23 how it was received and then it sets out the nature, and

24 the nature is said to be incivility. Obviously, one of

25 the questions which arises is whether that, as

 

 

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1 a categorisation, even at this very initial stage, did

2 justice to the substance of the allegation being made.

3 It may be, one doesn't know, that there were, as it

4 were, standard labels or terms, and everything, every

5 type of complaint, covering the full spectrum had to be

6 allocated a label or given a particular pigeon hole.

7 But the suggestion that the suspect's lawyer would be

8 dead or "will be dead", as it was put, is perhaps, you

9 may think, curiously described as an allegation of

10 incivility.

11 This form made its way, in accordance with the

12 system, to the Commission, and on 29th April the

13 Commission requested that the investigating officer to

14 be appointed should have no connection with J or

15 H Divisions. It was explained -- and we will see this

16 at RNI-216-015 (displayed)-- it was explained exactly

17 why that stipulation was being made in the third

18 paragraph:

19 "Given the degree of public interest in complaints

20 alleging threats against solicitors by police officers,

21 the Commission considers it appropriate to appoint an

22 investigating officer with no connection to either J or

23 H Divisions. The Commission wishes to be informed of

24 the identity of the new investigation officer as early

25 as possible in order that the appointment can be

 

 

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1 approved and the investigation initiated."

2 And there is then enclosed a similar letter or

3 letters notifying the involvement of the Commission and

4 the initiation of the complaint process to

5 Rosemary Nelson, as the solicitor, but also to the

6 complainant himself. We can see that briefly at

7 RNI-216-016 (displayed). It is said that arrangements

8 will be made to conduct an interview and that there will

9 be supervision by the same member of the Commission who,

10 as we have seen, dealt with the Mulvihill matters.

11 Looking at RNI-216-014, (displayed) you will see

12 there in the letter to Rosemary Nelson herself, which is

13 a rather fuller letter, there is an explanation in the

14 second paragraph of the decision to supervise, but also

15 a fuller summary of the relationship between the

16 Commission on the one hand and the RUC on the other, and

17 in relation specifically to the interview, if we look,

18 please, at the fourth paragraph, the point about the

19 location or venue of any interview:

20 "If Mr McCrory has any difficulty or feels uneasy

21 about attending at a police station, we will of course

22 arrange for the interview to take place at the

23 Commission's offices in Belfast or other suitable venue,

24 if it can possibly be arranged."

25 In this case, we have a full range of the internal

 

 

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1 notes made by the Commission on the Commission's file.

2 Again, sir, this is a category of material that I have,

3 by and large, spared you at this stage, but it is

4 important to note it because you will be seeing

5 references to it in some of the evidence; obviously,

6 evidence in particular from Commission employees and

7 indeed Commission members, which -- the way the files

8 were maintained makes them extremely easy to read and

9 understand, if I may say so, because they simply proceed

10 chronologically. You can see in each case -- and at

11 each stage -- of the investigation, consideration being

12 given to a proposal, to the next stages, to what should

13 be done, and it all being recorded. And if one compares

14 that in general to the correspondence which then flowed

15 to and from the Commission, it actually presents us now,

16 many, many, many years later, with a clear record of the

17 various stages of each of the investigations.

18 For everybody's notes here, we have a full set which

19 begins at RNI-216-072.500 and takes us all the way to

20 RNI-216-109. So even in the case of this complaint,

21 which I have said is dealt with at a much lower level,

22 there is a substantial amount of paperwork generated,

23 there is a substantial amount of effort evidenced by the

24 notes from the Commission that we have been able to

25 examine.

 

 

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1 In due course in May, an investigating officer was

2 appointed; not one who has been involved in the

3 complaints we have looked at before and not one who is

4 a witness in the Inquiry. The situation in brief

5 outline is that there was not cooperation from either

6 the complainant or his solicitor, Rosemary Nelson, as

7 the officer required, and the file gives the relevant

8 details of the various attempts made to arrange

9 interviews, re-arrange them and generally to move the

10 investigation forward. I don't wish to take you to all

11 of those, but in RNI-216 we see what is by now, I am

12 sure, a familiar pattern.

13 Look, please, at RNI-216-030, (displayed) at where

14 the investigating officer suggests, for example, that an

15 interview might take place in June. As far as we can

16 see, there was no reply to that letter, and on

17 15th June, just two days before the interview at

18 RNI-216-031, the officer writes asking to be advised by

19 return if it was her intention to attend. And as far as

20 we can tell again, there was no reply to that letter.

21 If we look on at RNI-216-054, (displayed) which is

22 his witness statement setting out all the various steps

23 that he had taken, towards the bottom of the page you

24 will see, having recited all the correspondence in May

25 and then in June, he recites, going over the page to RNI-216-054:

 

 

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1 "Further attempts continuing into July."

2 And the long and the short of it is that no further

3 interviews or statements were provided despite these,

4 you may think, considerable efforts on the part of the

5 investigating officer.

6 Now, undeterred, however, he did indeed conduct

7 interviews with the officers who had been involved in

8 the arrest, and again, let us look, please, at the

9 formal material which begins in the first case at

10 RNI-216-067. (Displayed)

11 Again, we have seen examples before but this is

12 a completed form 17/3. If you remember, it set out the

13 caution in the small type, in the middle box at the

14 bottom. There, set out in full, is the statement of the

15 client we have seen and the officer is required to and

16 does sign the acknowledgment that he has been served

17 with the form, and you will see the response, which is

18 not required but which, in the case of this officer, he

19 elected to give, at the next page RNI-216-068

20 (displayed). Nothing at this stage.

21 In relation to the other officer at RNI-216-062,

22 (displayed) the form 17/3, same details, signed

23 acknowledgment by the officer, and then at RNI-216-063

24 (displayed) his response:

25 "I totally refute the allegations."

 

 

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1 So again, sir, just by way of keeping up some level

2 of variety, I thought it would it be interesting to see

3 these short examples, but they are obviously repeated in

4 the rest of the files; the same process is gone through.

5 They were then interviewed and Miss McNally was

6 present; you will remember she was the supervising

7 member. And the officers both denied the allegations

8 which had been put to them and which formed the subject

9 matter of the complaint.

10 The third officer provided a statement on

11 13th October and we can see that, I think -- yes -- at

12 RNI-216-059. (Displayed) Again, in the presence of

13 Miss McNally, and he sets out his account of matters and

14 deals with the arrest, and says at the bottom of this

15 page, the third line from the bottom:

16 "The journey would have been about 300 yards.

17 I said it was a very short distance from the store to

18 the station, and I cannot recall any conversation taking

19 place."

20 Then over the page at RNI-216-060 (displayed):

21 "At no time during the journey did I hear ..."

22 And the name of the constable:

23 "... say ..."

24 And the words are repeated from the statement, the

25 client statement:

 

 

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1 "I cannot recall Mrs Nelson being mentioned at all

2 during the journey."

3 Again, sir, that is just a flavour of what we have

4 great numbers of in the files, which is, as I have said

5 before, denials, firm denials, by the officers as

6 against whom the allegations were being made.

7 So on the basis of that, you may think, somewhat

8 slender material, the report is compiled. It is

9 RNI-216-153 (displayed), and again, in a familiar

10 format. The officer goes through what had happened in

11 his investigation at RNI-216-155 (displayed), the

12 attempts that he had made to advance the matter by

13 conducting interviews. And then the interviews which

14 did take place at RNI-216-157 (displayed), with the

15 various officers, leading him to his conclusions at

16 RNI-216-158 (displayed).

17 In that passage under the heading "Conclusions", he

18 sets out his reasoning, deals first with the fact that

19 they had not attended for the purpose of discussing the

20 complaint, sets out in brief the allegations, makes the

21 point that one of the officers, supposed to have been

22 involved, nobody of that name currently served in the

23 police. Then he dealt with the other officers and

24 proceeds to his conclusions and makes the point, indeed

25 that I have already flagged up to you, that the initial

 

 

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1 complaint which referred to earlier correspondence did

2 not refer to correspondence in relation to this

3 complaint, and concludes:

4 "There is no evidence at this time to support the

5 allegations made by Shane McCrory."

6 So, unsurprisingly, he recommends that "no

7 disciplinary action" be the mark put upon the file.

8 It may be interesting in relation to this complaint

9 to look at Miss McNally's note at RNI-216-095

10 (displayed). This forms part of the long record

11 I mentioned earlier. And in the middle of the page you

12 will see her handwriting, and she notes the previous

13 minute and says:

14 "I would say only that the interviews of ..."

15 Then the two constables:

16 "... were in my view properly conducted and

17 disciplined interviews, that Mr McCrory attended for

18 interview and clarified amongst other things the matters

19 highlighted by ..."

20 There is a reference to an employee of the

21 Commission:

22 "... at minute 23, and further evidence, if given,

23 may have justified a criminal interview being conducted

24 in respect of the above officers. I am satisfied that

25 the investigation has been completed."

 

 

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1 That is indeed what did happen, and the Commission's

2 statement of satisfaction is at RNI-216-043 -- or rather

3 that is the covering letter and the statement is at

4 RNI-216-044 (displayed). Again, this is the short form

5 that we have seen in earlier cases.

6 Now, sir, that then is the beginning and end of the

7 complaint matter. You will have seen the allegation

8 made and how it was dealt with in the supervised but

9 otherwise low-key way that I have outlined.

10 There was, however, a coda or further development,

11 because as I mentioned earlier, Mr McCrory was one of

12 the clients who was interviewed in the Panorama

13 programme "Careless Talk", and we have the relevant part

14 of the script or transcript. I use that expression

15 because it is not entirely clear to me whether what we

16 have disclosed to us in the written form is, as it were,

17 a record of what was broadcast or rather a record of the

18 script prepared for the programme for the broadcast; in

19 other words, before the programme appeared on the

20 television.

21 But, sir, we can see his contribution at RNI-104-213

22 (displayed). At the bottom of the page, it is

23 Mr McCrory who is described in this document as "male

24 speaker":

25 "I said I want a solicitor, and he says to me,

 

 

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1 'Who?' I says Rosemary Nelson, and he says 'Don't get

2 her'. I says 'Why?' and he says 'Because she will be

3 dead soon'. I just sat there. I was very, very

4 surprised at what he said."

5 Then John Ware, the interviewer, says:

6 "She will be dead soon?"

7 And he repeated:

8 "She will be dead soon."

9 Now, Mr McCrory has given a statement to the Inquiry

10 and will give evidence to you, and in that statement he

11 recites his involvement in the programme, and then in

12 a passage of his statement from paragraph 19 onwards,

13 also suggests that following the programme and as

14 a result of it, he was subjected to what, on his account

15 at any rate, was a vicious beating by police officers.

16 That will obviously be a matter to be carefully

17 considered as and when he gives evidence to you, and in

18 particular you will have to consider whether indeed

19 there is a connection between the various events, even

20 if they occurred as he describes, which he outlines in

21 great detail in his statement.

22 However, sir, I should point out at this stage that

23 what we appear to see here is a complainant who makes

24 a statement, which is submitted in support of his

25 complaint, in April 1998. The complaint is then taken

 

 

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1 up and the proper processes are followed, and he is

2 invited to be interviewed about the allegations he has

3 made. And based on the material we have, he does not

4 appear for interview, is not interviewed and then some

5 time later, after -- you may think this is

6 significant -- after the murder of Rosemary Nelson, he

7 speaks in public, indeed in the course of the Panorama

8 programme and, at that point, sets out in brief the

9 substance of the allegation that he made, by that stage

10 well over a year earlier.

11 And that is one of the whole range of matters that I

12 would suggest you must consider in looking at the

13 general issue of these complaints and why it was and in

14 what circumstances some of them appear not to have been

15 pursued, and what it says or may say about their

16 original substance and validity.

17 Sir, the final one of the nine, I think it is,

18 complaints which were made and investigated and involved

19 the police relates to another ciphered client, C200, and

20 you will see from your sheet the circumstances of his

21 detention. He was detained at Castlereagh between 21st

22 and 27th February 1998.

23 Now, on the basis of the material we have, it seems

24 that he was arrested under section 14(1)(6) of the

25 Prevention of Terrorism Act on 21st February, and he was

 

 

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1 arrested in relation to a murder which had been

2 attributed to the IRA and which had taken place locally.

3 He was detained, as I have said, over that six-day

4 period. On the 27th, he was released without charge.

5 He was interviewed by two pairs of detectives during

6 that period on a number of occasions and he had

7 consultations with Rosemary Nelson and with her

8 colleague, Pat Vernon, at least once a day and sometimes

9 twice a day.

10 Now, the area of our interest and focus begins

11 rather late on in this period of detention, when he was

12 seen by Rosemary Nelson at about midday on 26th, so well

13 into the period -- on 26th February, and I think we can

14 see that -- I hope we can -- from the custody record,

15 which we find at RNI-217. I should have said earlier

16 that the file relating to this complaint is RNI-217.

17 RNI-217-089 (displayed); the date column, the time

18 column and then the details reveal that on 26th February

19 at 12.37, there was a visit from Rosemary Nelson,

20 a legal visit. And you will see it ended at 13.26.

21 That is the last entry on the page.

22 Now, if you turn over the page to RNI-217-090 and if

23 we can enlarge the third entry (displayed), you will see

24 at this point:

25 "Interviewed prisoner re allegations he wished to

 

 

23

 

1 make. Written statement declined, verbal comment noted.

2 Somebody informed ..."

3 I think the name is covered up by a redaction; it is

4 a reference to another officer:

5 "... who directed no further immediate action

6 required."

7 This is, you may think, evidence of a complaint in

8 fact being made to the custody sergeant, I think it is,

9 Sergeant Elwood. No statement is made, but a record is

10 taken of his remarks, and the allegation was that the

11 detectives were writing down questions but not asking

12 them, and saying that his solicitor was giving him the

13 wrong advice.

14 Sir, I can make that good by taking you to

15 RNI-217-048 (displayed). Here is the statement and it

16 sets out what I have just said to you:

17 "Made the following verbal statement. During the

18 first interview this morning, the detectives were

19 writing down questions but not asking them. They also

20 said my solicitor was giving me the wrong advice. He

21 had nothing further to add."

22 Sir, I should explain why it is in this case that I

23 am taking you to complaints recorded contemporaneously,

24 but not of the kind with which we are particularly

25 concerned, and that is that the procedural history of

 

 

24

 

1 this complaint is such that it would appear, at any

2 rate, that the allegation which goes to the matters with

3 which we are concerned -- in other words, the allegation

4 about comments or threatening remarks made about

5 Rosemary Nelson -- at no stage formed part of the

6 complaint process. And what I will seek to untangle for

7 you is why that came to be, why it was that the

8 complaints machinery did not have to work on that

9 allegation but proceeded on the basis of this and other

10 matters raised during the detention by way of complaint.

11 So, sir, this is a case, therefore, where the

12 custody records, which evidence what was in fact being

13 said, are of some importance, and for everybody's note

14 they begin in the file at RNI-217-075 and continue to

15 RNI-217-093.

16 Now, those matters -- we have just seen them -- then

17 were processed in accordance with the system, and you

18 will see the first one goes through in the 17/2 form at

19 RNI-217-002 (displayed). There is the name of the

20 complainant's solicitor and then the nature of the

21 complaint. You will see it is the matter we have just

22 been looking at.

23 In accordance with procedure, the sergeant completes

24 the details of the officers involved, the officers

25 involved in the previous interview, the subject of the

 

 

25

 

1 complaint, and recommends -- and we can see that on the

2 final page of this form at RNI-217-005, box 23,

3 (displayed) just above the enormous redaction -- he

4 suggests or recommends that an investigating officer be

5 appointed to investigate.

6 Sir, this complaint, therefore, made in detention,

7 begins its way through the system.

8 Now, returning to the custody records, at

9 RNI-217-092 (displayed), you will see that at 11 o'clock

10 on the following day, the 27th -- and this is five

11 entries from the bottom of the page -- it says:

12 "11 o'clock: request legal visit, office informed."

13 In fact, you can see that what happened

14 thereafter -- this is actually quite difficult to read,

15 but at 11.19:

16 "Superintendent [redacted] gave authorisation for

17 interviews to continue despite request for ..."

18 And the bit which hasn't been enlarged is the word

19 "solicitor". You wouldn't be able to tell it from that,

20 but I think that is what it is intended to say. And

21 from the next entry, we can see indeed that the

22 interview proceeded beginning at 11.28.

23 Now, the legal visit began some one hour after that,

24 and you can see it at the bottom of the page, 12.27, and

25 going over to RNI-217-093 (displayed), it finishes at

 

 

26

 

1 13.26.

2 Again, at half past one on the 27th, the second

3 entry of this page -- if we can enlarge that, please

4 (displayed) --:

5 "Interviewed subject in his cell ..."

6 I think that my be "re":

7 "... allegations he wished to make. Written

8 statement declined, verbal comments noted. Inspector

9 [redacted], Castlereagh informed. He directed no

10 further immediate action was necessary."

11 This involved the same custody sergeant and in fact

12 the same process that we have seen with the earlier one.

13 The details of this one are at RNI-217-049 (displayed)

14 in another short statement prepared by the sergeant, and

15 it says, the substance of it:

16 "During the fist interview this morning, the

17 detective said my solicitor, Rosemary Nelson, had

18 concocted my statement."

19 And so that allegation was then processed by the

20 sergeant in the way with which we are familiar. The

21 17/2 form is at RNI-217-006, the allegation at box 4 in

22 the middle of the page; there it is. (Displayed)

23 And the same result at RNI-217-009 (displayed):

24 "Appoint an investigating officer."

25 Just above the large redaction.

 

 

27

 

1 So two complaints go forward in this way.

2 Now, that is, as it were, the internal side of

3 things. So far as Rosemary Nelson's involvement is

4 concerned, there is a letter addressed to an officer at

5 Castlereagh of 27th February at RNI-217-016 (displayed):

6 "Name of client."

7 This is the last day of detention, if you remember:

8 "I understand that during the course the first

9 interview with my client this morning, certain

10 derogatory comments were made about me. In view of that

11 and in order to protect my own position and that of my

12 client, I request that I be permitted to remain with my

13 client during all future interviews."

14 If we could turn back on the same day at RNI-217-015

15 in the bundle (displayed), she wrote to the Commission

16 itself with a copy of the letter we have just seen,

17 simply saying:

18 "Please find enclosed copy letter I have today faxed

19 to the investigating officer at Castlereagh in relation

20 to my above-named client."

21 This letter was then responded to very quickly, in

22 fact later the same day, from Castlereagh. We see at

23 RNI-217-018, a very short communication (displayed):

24 "Dear Madam, I note your fax of this date. As your

25 client has now been released, obviously your request is

 

 

28

 

1 no longer applicable."

2 That is the request to be involved in the

3 interviews:

4 "If I can be of any further assistance, please do

5 not hesitate to contact me."

6 So far as the pursuit, as it were, of the complaints

7 were concerned, we can see from the Commission's letter

8 of 5th, I think it is, of March, RNI-217-022

9 (displayed), that they received the letter we have seen

10 on 2nd March, and you will see their reaction:

11 "It appears Mrs Nelson is complaining that

12 derogatory comments about her were made during the

13 interview of her client at Castlereagh on the 27th. The

14 Commission takes the view this matter should be recorded

15 as an Article 2 complaint."

16 However, this was by no means the only thing that

17 was being done to publish the allegations and to make

18 them more widely known. If we look, please, at

19 RNI-217-017 (displayed), we will see an attendance note

20 effectively, "TC", telephone call, I think, from

21 Rosemary Nelson. This is compiled by, I think,

22 Jane Winter of British Irish Rights Watch. It is:

23 "At 10 pm on the day of the client's release, last

24 weekend, her client was arrested on suspicion of

25 involvement in the murder of ..."

 

 

29

 

1 Then a date by:

2 "... by the IRA. He was taken to Castlereagh. No

3 specific allegations were put to her client, and she

4 advised him, therefore, to remain silent. However, her

5 colleague took an alibi statement from him which he did

6 not disclose to the RUC as it did not seem necessary to

7 do so at that point in time. She also advised her

8 client to ask for her if RUC questioning became more

9 specific.

10 "On Tuesday or Wednesday, the questions became more

11 specific and he asked for her. The colleague attended

12 the client. He served the alibi statement on the RUC.

13 The client reports that the RUC officers had not been

14 particularly abusive of her up until that point. But

15 when they saw the alibi statement they said to him,

16 'Tell half-face ..."

17 A reference to her facial disfigurement:

18 "'... we have been doing this for 30 years and she

19 won't be able to stop us. There was a law passed in

20 1989 against solicitors who concoct statements'.

21 Because Patrick Finucane was murdered in 1989,

22 Rosemary Nelson took this to be a reference to him, but

23 1989 was also the year that the law on the right of

24 silence came into force and it was more likely to be a

25 reference to that."

 

 

30

 

1 That may well be a comment by Jane Winter. It is

2 not entirely clear. Then she refers to two NGO

3 officials, Halya Gowan and Julia Hall, both of whom I

4 think have given statements to the Inquiry:

5 "... happened to be in Northern Ireland on that day

6 and they advised Rosemary Nelson to serve a letter on

7 the RUC asking to be present during any further

8 interviews of her client in order to protect both his

9 interests and her own in view of this abuse. Her client

10 was then released without charge on 27th February."

11 Now, sir, if this is an accurate record, therefore,

12 first of all, and most importantly, it discloses

13 allegations about comments which do not appear by this

14 stage to have emerged in the complaints, brief oral

15 statements made by way of complaint by the client, to

16 the custody sergeant. And you will see the

17 interpretation put upon it and the connection made on

18 the basis of this note, a connection made by

19 Rosemary Nelson, between her position and that of

20 Pat Finucane.

21 But also, sir, you can see, if this is right, that

22 behind the correspondence we have seen, the letter faxed

23 to Castlereagh, there was consultation or discussion

24 with these representatives of NGOs and that appears to

25 have led to the terms of the initial letter that we have

 

 

31

 

1 just seen, i.e. if you see, the point about protecting

2 both the interests of the client and her own, that is

3 exactly the way it is put in the letter of 27th February

4 that we have just looked at.

5 Very shortly after that, you will see that

6 Rosemary Nelson raised this case in the course of

7 a conversation with a civil servant from the Irish

8 Government, and we can see that at RNI-217-019.

9 Now, here it is (displayed). It is signed on the

10 3rd March. It sets out under the heading "Allegations

11 Against Mrs Nelson by RUC":

12 "Mrs Nelson, a Newry-based solicitor ..."

13 I'm afraid that is an inaccuracy in this note:

14 "... who handles many high-profile Nationalist

15 cases, including Colin Duffy and the Robert Hamill case,

16 contacted me yesterday concerning continuing allegations

17 against her by the RUC. A client of Miss Nelson's was

18 arrested last Saturday week and taken to Castlereagh for

19 questioning in connection with the murder ... she is

20 angry at media coverage suggesting it was Colin Duffy

21 who had been arrested and accuses the RUC of mischief

22 that this regard.

23 "According to Rosemary Nelson, the client was told

24 at Castlereagh that the purpose of his detention was 'to

25 keep Sinn Fein permanently excluded from the talks'.

 

 

32

 

1 During his interrogation, she claims that he was told

2 that, 'Rosemary works for the IRA and takes her orders

3 from them'. On hearing this last Friday morning,

4 Miss Nelson requested that she be present at all future

5 interviews with her client. Her client was released

6 without charge that day."

7 Then it continues at paragraph 4:

8 "Miss Nelson has arranged for the client to make

9 a deposition setting out what ..."

10 Then there is a typo:

11 "... what allegations were made against her during

12 the interrogation. Miss Nelson has similar statements

13 from other clients who were subjected to derogatory

14 comments and suggestions of paramilitary connections on

15 her part.

16 "She is very worried and asked if it would be

17 possible to meet with the minister to discuss her case.

18 I suggested that in the first instance it might be

19 better for me to meet with her and discuss and take

20 details of the more recent incidents. I reminded her

21 that we would raise the issue of allegations against her

22 through the framework of the intergovernmental

23 conference and would do so again on receipt of the

24 details. She is happy with this approach and we agreed

25 to meet next week."

 

 

33

 

1 Now, sir, a number of things, if I may, to note

2 here. First, it is in a sense a repeat of a familiar

3 pattern whereby the allegations grounding the complaints

4 are given wider prominence by taking them and discussing

5 them with outside bodies. We have seen reference now to

6 the NGOs, and here is the Irish Government through one

7 of the civil servants.

8 But you will note also that between the original

9 complaint, as recorded by the custody sergeant, it is

10 the description of the same complaint, or apparently the

11 same complaint, as given to Jane Winter.

12 Then finally this note. There are striking

13 differences. The matters raised in particular in

14 paragraph 3 were not, it would appear, raised in the

15 account of the matters to which exception was taken in

16 the conversation with Jane Winter. You won't find at

17 RNI-217-017 the material about the motive for detention

18 being to keep Sinn Fein permanently excluded from the

19 talks, nor indeed the specific point raised about

20 working for the IRA.

21 Secondly, in this conversation, the specific

22 complaint or the allegations arising out of this

23 client's detention, are put by Rosemary Nelson in

24 a broader context as part of a pattern. This is

25 paragraph 4, and she says that she is very worried and

 

 

34

 

1 she asks to meet the minister -- a minister, that must

2 be -- in the Irish Government, and the civil servant

3 suggests, as it were, a halfway house; that they should

4 meet, the two of them. And the note, or this part of it

5 at any rate, ends with an agreement to meet.

6 Then finally, sir, can I draw to your attention the

7 last three paragraphs of this note, because they take us

8 right into the middle of the row which had erupted by

9 this stage in relation to the draft report by

10 Mr Cumaraswamy, and here, in the second sentence of

11 paragraph 5, one of the most contentious aspects of it,

12 namely the alleged view of the Chief Constable that

13 solicitors may in fact be working for paramilitaries as

14 part of their political agenda. Because as we will see

15 in greater detail later, Rosemary Nelson was aware at

16 the time of the dispute of the ways in which, as

17 a result of another hotly contested paragraph, her own

18 position was caught up with the disputes between the RUC

19 at this very high level and the Special Rapporteur about

20 the terms of the report.

21 It is yet another example, therefore, of how one

22 simply can't view these individual complaints in

23 isolation. There is absolutely no reason to do so, not

24 least because those who are dealing with them at the

25 time -- and I don't just mean Rosemary Nelson -- did not

 

 

35

 

1 see them in that way. They did not see them in

2 isolation, and we have seen many, many examples of that

3 and will see more.

4 So, sir, that, so far as Rosemary Nelson is

5 concerned, was what was going on with the complaint, but

6 there are further documents in the file showing the

7 involvement of the NGOs and I will show you one more at

8 RNI-217-020 (displayed).

9 This is a letter from CAJ to the Minister of State,

10 Mr Ingram, 5th March. It is a letter which comes into

11 the Inquiry's investigations for various different

12 reasons, but so far as we are concerned at the moment,

13 it is significant because it is sets out the case of the

14 client that we are now considering. So I am going to

15 skip over the first two paragraphs, simply noting at the

16 end of the first paragraph reference to the Special

17 Rapporteur; in the second paragraph, the point about the

18 number of complaints, death threats and allegations that

19 Mrs Nelson is involved in paramilitary activity; and

20 also to draw to your attention the final sentence,

21 namely the allegation of assault. We will come to that

22 later in relation to the Garvaghy Road incident in 1997.

23 But the client's case is then set out in a number of

24 paragraphs of the letter:

25 "Mrs Nelson recently contacted this office to

 

 

36

 

1 express her concern that further death threats and

2 allegation of involvement with a paramilitary group were

3 made to a client of hers detained in Castlereagh this

4 week. We have since interviewed the client. He was

5 arrested on Saturday, 21st February and held for over

6 six days, finally being released on 27th. No adverse

7 mention was made of his solicitor until the first

8 interview on the morning of Friday, 27th. While he is

9 unable to identify the detectives who made the comments

10 by name, as he claims that neither they nor any of the

11 detectives who interviewed him that week identified

12 themselves by name, he is able to give a good physical

13 description of those involved.

14 "Firstly, he claims that this was the one set of

15 detectives who interviewed him every day of his

16 detention."

17 Then he gives some physical description details and

18 then sets out what he describes as the relevant excerpt

19 from the statement, and this is dated 5th March:

20 "They then started talking about Rosemary. In the

21 first interview on the Friday morning, they said that

22 the IRA had given her statement which I had given them."

23 That is the alibi statement:

24 "They said that the IRA were pulling her strings.

25 They also said there was a new law passed in 1989 which

 

 

37

 

1 meant they could do away with solicitors who concocted

2 stories. Mrs Nelson took the comment in relation to the

3 law in 1989 to be a reference to the murder of

4 Pat Finucane who was killed in 1989.

5 "After these comments were made, Mrs Nelson

6 consulted were her client and advised him to make

7 a complaint. He tried to do this with the uniformed

8 officer, who initially advised him that his complaint

9 was not a matter for the police in Castlereagh, and that

10 the solicitor should make any complaint. Eventually,

11 the client believes he took note that a complaint was

12 being made although he did not record the detail.

13 "As a result of the consultation, Mrs Nelson faxed

14 the police asking that as comments of this nature had

15 been made about her, she should be allowed to attend the

16 rest of the interviews with her client. The client was

17 in fact released later that afternoon, and when the

18 police responded to Mrs Nelson's fax they simply stated

19 that her request was no longer relevant as her client

20 had been released.

21 "No comment was made on the serious allegation which

22 had been made. Although the client was released later

23 that day, he was also interviewed again after lunch, and

24 again, comments were made about Mrs Nelson."

25 Then another quote from the statement:

 

 

38

 

1 "There was then another interview after lunchtime.

2 It was the same two detectives and the tall one said to

3 me that he heard I had been make complaints. He said

4 that this had been going on for 30 years and it was not

5 going to change now. He said to tell half-face that.

6 They said I made this statement and Rosemary got the

7 witnesses and told them what to say."

8 Then Mr Mageean, CAJ, says:

9 "We are sure you agree that it would be completely

10 unacceptable for police officers to behave in this way."

11 And refers to the fact that the authorities have had

12 notice of this problem for a considerable number of

13 years:

14 "Little has been done to prevent its repetition. If

15 the police are unable to deal effectively with this

16 problem, then it becomes the responsibility of

17 Government to ensure that the UK does not continue to

18 breach its international obligations. We look forward

19 to receiving confirmation as to how you intend to deal

20 with this particular problem and the pattern of police

21 harassment of defence lawyers in general."

22 Now, sir, that letter clearly raises a whole variety

23 of points --

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Would that be a convenient moment, then?

25 MR PHILLIPS: Yes.

 

 

39

 

1 THE CHAIRMAN: I look forward to hearing you on those points

2 at quarter to 12.

3 (11.30 am)

4 (Short break)

5 (11.45 am)

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

7 MR PHILLIPS: So, sir, we were looking at Mr Mageean's

8 letter in which this client's case is addressed. And

9 bearing in mind its date, 5th March, one can note the

10 following things, I would suggest: first, at this stage

11 the allegations which are set out on the second page of

12 the letter had not formed part of the complaint process;

13 secondly, the client had not at this stage provided

14 a statement on these or indeed any other topics to the

15 investigating officer, and yet it would seem that he had

16 already been interviewed. And indeed, you can see that

17 from the last paragraph of the page on RNI-217-020, by

18 CAJ. It says in the third line:

19 "We have since interviewed the client in question."

20 And then two substantial extracts from the statement

21 apparently taken on that occasion are set out on the

22 second page, and we will look at that statement in due

23 course.

24 Note also, please, that there are some differences,

25 although this is only so far extracts, in the

 

 

40

 

1 presentation, the themes stressed by CAJ, as compared to

2 those that emerge from both the British Irish Rights

3 Watch note, and indeed the record made of a conversation

4 with Rosemary Nelson by the Irish civil servant.

5 May I also draw your attention to the third

6 paragraph, the second full paragraph, of

7 page RNI-217-021, because this addresses the issue

8 I raised earlier, which is that on the custody

9 sergeant's account of events, set out in those two short

10 statements, these matters, the much more serious

11 matters, were not drawn to his, the custody sergeant's,

12 attention by the client in the account he gave of his

13 complaint. And what is suggested at this point is that

14 the detail of the complaint was not recorded.

15 Well, we have seen what was recorded and we have

16 seen for ourselves what the sergeant then did about it

17 in initiating two complaints based on those much

18 narrower matters, which he said had been the subject of

19 comment by the client on those two occasions.

20 Now, it may be of significance, you may think, that

21 the letter which came through from Rosemary Nelson,

22 referred to in the second half of that paragraph, does

23 indeed say that she should be allowed to be present at

24 the interviews. And it may be that the connection which

25 is there made between the comments made in interview and

 

 

41

 

1 her request sounds plausible. Suffice it to say,

2 however, that those matters, as I have said, did not

3 enter the system, nor did a copy of the statement from

4 which the extracts are here quoted come as an enclosure

5 with this letter. In other words, the Minister of State

6 was provided with an account by the NGO. He was told

7 that an interview had taken place. He was given two

8 extracts from a statement, but he was not provided with

9 the statement itself.

10 As far as we have been able to ascertain, that

11 statement did not make its way to the investigating

12 officer who dealt with these complaints at any stage,

13 nor again, as far as we can tell, did it make its way to

14 the NIO.

15 Now, it in fact took some four months for this

16 letter from CAJ to receive a reply, and I will take you

17 to the reply in due course, but can we look first,

18 please, at the statement itself, and that is at

19 RNI-217-050. (Displayed)

20 As far as one can tell from this copy at any rate,

21 it is unsigned, it is in a format, indeed a typeface,

22 which is familiar from the statements we saw in the

23 Mulvihill LAJI complaints taken by CAJ from the two

24 clients, C215 and C206.

25 It then sets out, beginning on RNI-217-050, an

 

 

42

 

1 account of the arrest and describes the client's arrival

2 at the holding centre at Castlereagh. Then the progress

3 of the interviewing, and you will see the second full

4 paragraph. He says that:

5 "Later, they started interviewing me about the

6 murder and membership of the IRA."

7 And you will see in the last sentence of that

8 paragraph:

9 "They said that evening that whenever they charged

10 me with the murder and membership, that would get

11 Sinn Fein out of the talks for good."

12 So in the client's statement -- now we have the

13 chance to look at it in full -- you will see that the

14 comment made and recorded by the Irish Government

15 official at RNI-217-019 (displayed) finds its echo. And

16 moving on, the account of the interviewing continues.

17 There is reference to attendance on him by

18 Mrs Nelson's colleague under the heading "Sunday",

19 reference there also to Mr Duffy in the penultimate

20 sentence of that paragraph. And at the next paragraph,

21 "Monday", he recites how he asked for his solicitor and

22 how Mrs Nelson came to see him and she took from him

23 a statement. Then you will see set out what then

24 followed at that stage of the interviews; obviously

25 quite a few different points or allegations were covered

 

 

43

 

1 with him.

2 Moving through over the page to "Tuesday", reference

3 to asking him whether he wanted to do a deal, and

4 another appointment with Rosemary Nelson. On Wednesday,

5 the process continues and he is, he says, served with

6 a written caution on that day and the statement comes

7 back to him. Then more questioning about the statement,

8 he says, on the Thursday, and a reference which echoes

9 something we saw in 208's statement: a suggestion that

10 he could be set up by the LVF and a suggestion that

11 certain names who have been redacted "would get me".

12 And on the following day, so far as we are concerned,

13 the relevant comments are set out, and in the sentence

14 beginning:

15 "Then they started talking about Rosemary ...

16 "In the first interview on the Friday morning, they

17 said that the IRA had given her the statement which I

18 had given them."

19 This was the statement, if you remember, he gave

20 them on the Wednesday and which was greeted, in the

21 client's words, by laughter. When they received this

22 statement, as he puts it, one of them start to laugh and

23 said that he didn't know "I had a typewriter in my

24 cell":

25 "They said that the IRA were pulling her strings.

 

 

44

 

1 They also said that there was a new law passed in 1989

2 which meant they could do away with solicitors who

3 concocted stories."

4 Then he goes into detail about the officers and

5 identifies the one who, as he put it, "made all the

6 comments about Rosemary". Then two lines down from

7 that:

8 "I told Rosemary about what had happened and she

9 advised me to make a complaint. I asked to speak to the

10 officer in charge and I told the officer who appeared

11 that I had wanted to make a complaint about the CID,

12 that they were making remarks about my solicitor. He

13 said that that was nothing to do with him and that my

14 solicitor should complain. I said she had advised me to

15 make a complaint. So then he recorded my complaint, but

16 not in detail."

17 That is the passage set out in the CAJ letter that

18 we have just seen.

19 There was then another interview -- this is over the

20 page at RNI-217-052:

21 "This was the same two detectives and the tall one

22 said to me that he'd heard I had been making complaints.

23 He said that this has been going on for 30 years and it

24 was not going to change now. He said to tell half-face

25 that. They said I made this statement and Rosemary got

 

 

45

 

1 the witnesses and told them what to say."

2 And at the bottom, he says:

3 "It turned out that they had been out with my wife

4 on a number of occasions when I was in Castlereagh

5 asking her about my movements and threatening to take

6 the children's clothes."

7 Now, sir, in the course of this long statement,

8 which deals of course with a very long period of

9 detention, you, therefore, have so much which is now

10 familiar to us.

11 In the context of the interviews and, it would

12 appear, after the statement he prepared with his

13 lawyer's assistance was produced, the comments, not

14 about him, not about the offence, but about his lawyer.

15 And that is the paragraph under the heading "Friday",

16 and again, it is familiar: the direct connection has

17 been made between the lawyer and the IRA, that the IRA

18 were pulling her strings, and then the more sinister

19 comment about doing away with solicitors who concocted

20 stories. And there is no doubt, on the face of the

21 statement, that it was Rosemary Nelson they had in mind,

22 because of the later comment that:

23 "They said I made the statement and Rosemary got the

24 witnesses and told them what to say."

25 So these are allegations, therefore, of very close

 

 

46

 

1 connection with the paramilitary organisation, with

2 improper behaviour on the part of the solicitor, the

3 concoction of evidence and with, you may think, clear

4 implied threat as to what the fate would be of

5 solicitors who behaved in that way.

6 Now, in that context, the other offensive comments,

7 including the one about Rosemary Nelson's personal

8 appearance, may be said to take a lesser place, but they

9 are nevertheless all of a piece, you may think, with

10 other statements that we have read, as is also the

11 context, the broader and threatening context of the

12 comments made. And you will see under the heading of

13 "Thursday", that there are threats there in relation to

14 the client putting, as it were, other members said to be

15 of the LVF on to him so that:

16 "They would get me."

17 And that is a very similar, although briefer,

18 account, you may think, to that given in the long

19 statement we saw yesterday of C208, who was also

20 detained at Castlereagh, albeit some three months later.

21 Now, sir, despite the fact, as I say, that it

22 discloses such serious allegations, this statement did

23 not get put into the complaints process; it did,

24 however, get sent to Jane Winter by CAJ -- I don't want

25 to take you to that, but it is at RNI-115-151 -- and was

 

 

47

 

1 later referred to and relied upon in a letter at

2 RNI-106-132 from Jane Winter to the Secretary of State.

3 So RNI-106-132, please. (Displayed)

4 This is a letter which I think we have seen before

5 and it is a reminder again that this is precisely the

6 time at which the controversy concerning the Special

7 Rapporteur had not only broken out, but more importantly

8 perhaps had become widely known. And you will see

9 reference to the specific allegation referred to in the

10 Irish Government note of 3rd March, then in the third

11 paragraph of this letter dated the 10th.

12 But, sir, for present purposes, our concern with it

13 is with the penultimate paragraph at RNI-106-133

14 (displayed), when she begins with a reference to the

15 Chief Constable:

16 "... whose insensitivity to the problem is

17 undoubtedly responsible for the fact at that RUC

18 officers on the ground continue to abuse Mrs Nelson. As

19 recently as 27th February, she again complained to us

20 about comments made to a client by a RUC officer who

21 alleged that she had concocted an alibi statement for

22 a client on the say so of the IRA. Her client also

23 reported that after he had complained about these

24 comments, an RUC officer referred to her as 'half-face'

25 and boasted that the matters her client had complained

 

 

48

 

1 of had been going on for 30 years and were not about to

2 change."

3 So there are extracts from the statement which, as

4 I say, by then had reached Jane Winter and which we have

5 just seen. And what she is asking for at the end is for

6 an instruction to go out from the top to all the

7 officers in the force to stop making derogatory comments

8 about any lawyers and tell them in no uncertain terms

9 that any further reports will lead to disciplinary

10 action:

11 "If he cannot be made to appreciate that it's

12 fundamentally wrong to confuse lawyers with their

13 clients’ alleged acts or affiliations then he should

14 resign."

15 Putting aside the particular way in which this is

16 expressed, you will see that there is an echo here, as

17 it were, on the other side of the dispute of the way in

18 which these complaints were seen. And I will have

19 something more to say about this in due course, but they

20 were not seen, as I have said, at a low level specific

21 to the particular client and the particular officers,

22 just as the officers, when they were interviewed by

23 Commander Mulvihill, said that the complaints were part

24 of a propaganda war and an attempt to discredit the

25 force, the entire organisation.

 

 

49

 

1 So here, in, as it were, setting out the other side

2 of the matter viewed from a very different perspective,

3 it is also put on this very wide basis, in other words

4 that this is in effect a systemic problem which it

5 requires the Chief Constable, the head of the

6 organisation, to step in and deal with, so that the

7 message goes down from him through the ranks, and that

8 it requires that sort of intervention in the

9 organisation to bring what is perceived to be a pattern

10 of intimidation and abuse of defence lawyers to an end.

11 Now, this letter, therefore, and unsurprisingly, you

12 may think, did go to the RUC -- indeed it went up to the

13 Chief Constable's office -- and we can see that at

14 RNI-101-246, I hope. (Displayed)

15 Yes. This is a memo enclosing the letter sent from

16 the NIO to Command Secretariat and it encloses the

17 letter we have just looked at, and there is a discussion

18 of getting a draft done. And note in the second

19 paragraph that there is going to be a meeting with,

20 amongst others, Mr Steele, who is emerging not only, as

21 we saw earlier, in June as, as it were, the high level

22 fixer, if I can put it that way, I hope, without

23 disrespect, but also on this issue, the Cumaraswamy, and

24 other matters. And that is the note, as I say, which

25 encloses for attention at the Command Secretariat the

 

 

50

 

1 letter we have just seen.

2 Now, in the light of all that, it is perhaps to

3 return to the prosaic, if I mention what was actually

4 happening with the investigation. But we do need to

5 follow it through and we can see the investigating

6 officer, who, of course, was dealing with matters at an

7 altogether lower key, at his statement at RNI-217-132.

8 (Displayed)

9 He sets out in the statement he prepared on

10 26th August that he was the investigating officer for

11 these two complaints, and he says that they were not

12 supervised by the Commission. And we can see support

13 for that at RNI-217-026, if we can just look at that

14 (displayed), because it is simply a letter saying that

15 the investigating officer is in charge and is trying to

16 set up the relevant meetings. That is a letter

17 addressed to the complainant, the client.

18 Again, the attempt to set up an interview on

19 30th March did not succeed because the client did not

20 attend. On 12th June, we can see, from RNI-217-036

21 (displayed), the same position pertains with

22 Rosemary Nelson herself and she is asked in the last

23 paragraph to make contact by the 1st July, failing

24 which -- again, it is so familiar to us -- the

25 regulation 17 dispensation would be sought.

 

 

51

 

1 Now, on 30th June, the last day before the deadline,

2 and at page RNI-217-040 of the file (displayed),

3 Rosemary Nelson does respond in relation to this

4 complaint:

5 "Re complaint against the police by the client.

6 I refer to the above and to your letter of 17th June.

7 It is somewhat inconvenient at this stage for my client

8 to attend for interview. However, I shall endeavour to

9 take a comprehensive and detailed statement and forward

10 same to yourselves."

11 Now, as I have said to you already, such a statement

12 taken by Rosemary Nelson, would presumably be in

13 addition to the statement that already existed, which is

14 referred to nearly four months earlier in the letter

15 from CAJ. As far as we can tell, no such statement from

16 Rosemary Nelson, which would be, as I say, an additional

17 statement, was ever supplied to the investigating

18 officer.

19 However, the process continued and we can see, at

20 RNI-217-053 (displayed) -- I am only going to take you

21 to one example, you will be relieved to hear -- that the

22 officers involved received their caution form 17/3 and

23 acknowledged its receipt. And the allegations set out

24 on this form and RNI-217-053 are, of course, the

25 allegations set out in the original form completed by

 

 

52

 

1 the custody sergeant, which initiated these complaints.

2 In other words, the matters that were being put and in

3 relation to which the caution was being administered did

4 not include the serious matters we have seen in the

5 statement.

6 Two of the officers were interviewed under caution

7 on 19th June and they provided short written statements,

8 and again, I hope that it is appropriate just to take

9 samples here in order to relieve you of looking at a lot

10 of material. But at RNI-217-062, we see one of the

11 statements (displayed), and it is very short indeed:

12 "I have been made aware of allegations made by the

13 client in respect of an interview I carried out with him

14 on 27th February. I totally deny these allegations."

15 And in similar terms we will see the answers in the

16 bundle from all of the various interviewees, i.e. the

17 interviewed officers, a slightly longer one at

18 RNI-217-068 dated 3rd August, and the allegations are

19 totally untrue is the response of that officer. And

20 there are further responses in the bundle at RNI-217-092

21 and RNI-217-071.

22 If we look at that final piece of evidence put in

23 response to that complaint, it is of some interest, not

24 least in the last sentence. RNI-217-071, therefore, is

25 the statement dated 7th August of one of the officers on

 

 

53

 

1 whom the form 17/3 was served, and he confirms that he

2 did indeed carry out an interview on 26th February:

3 "I totally deny the allegation and I would like to

4 say that I believe that this is a concerted effort not by

5 the person making the complaint, but by the solicitors

6 to attempt to show system in complaints made against me

7 and then by blackening my character, and I am

8 considering taking legal advice about the matter."

9 I show that to you, sir, because unlike the very

10 general comments made to Commander Mulvihill, this is an

11 officer who suggests that this complaint is a concerted

12 effort by Rosemary Nelson or her firm -- it says the

13 solicitors plural -- in order to blacken his character.

14 If you read, which we are certainly not going to do

15 now, all of the similar statements in the bundle, this

16 is striking, as I say, because it suggests a more

17 personal, more directed motive for the making of the

18 complaint, as opposed to the one we have seen, which is

19 that it, is at a fundamental level, to discredit or

20 undermine the force as a whole.

21 Now, sir, by this stage, after, as I say, four

22 months, the letter sent by the NGO had received

23 a response, and it is a response from Mr Ingram's

24 private secretary. It is dated 7th July 1998 and we can

25 see it at RNI-217-041 (displayed):

 

 

54

 

1 "Thank you for your letter of 5th March. The

2 Minister has asked me to reply on his behalf and to

3 apologise for the lengthy delay in so doing.

4 "In your letter, you set out some very serious

5 points and concerns about the alleged treatment of

6 Mrs Nelson and the client by the police. You also note

7 that Mrs Nelson and other clients have lodged the

8 complaints against the RUC.

9 "The Minister has asked me to say that the

10 Government regards all these complaints as extremely

11 serious and it has made it clear, as indeed has the

12 Chief Constable, that it will not tolerate harassment or

13 intimidation of lawyers. Where allegations are made,

14 such as those you refer to, then they are investigated.

15 In the case of the client, there are three complaints

16 currently under investigation, two are also being

17 investigated. Most of them are being investigated.

18 Most of them are being supervised by the Independent

19 Commission for Police Complaints."

20 It looks to me, if I may say so, as though this

21 letter had perhaps not been carefully enough checked

22 before it was released, because I have tried to make

23 sense of those last sentences and it is very difficult

24 to do so. There appears to be quite a lot of

25 unnecessary repetition:

 

 

55

 

1 "Obviously, I cannot go into the detail of

2 investigations. However, the Minister has asked me to

3 point out that there are safeguards in the existing

4 system, for example, the role of ICPC, its oversight or

5 supervision is important. The members of the Commission

6 are independent of Government and of the police.

7 "In addition, the Director of Public Prosecutions

8 will examine the powers in due course, and he too, as

9 you are aware, is independent of the Government and of

10 the police.

11 "The Government has encouraged those who have

12 concerns in this area to make complaints so that they

13 can be investigated. It does, however, acknowledge that

14 there is lack of confidence in the current system. That

15 is why it is taking legislation through Parliament at

16 present which will introduce a new Police Ombudsman

17 arrangement. It hopes that the new arrangement will win

18 confidence, whether from solicitors or others.

19 "On the more general issue that you refer to, of an

20 alleged pattern of police harassment of defence lawyers,

21 I have to say that the Government is not aware of

22 evidence of this. It believes that the systems in place

23 are capable of identifying the facts and until the new

24 Police Ombudsman is in place, it has encouraged

25 solicitors to lodge complaints where they have concerns.

 

 

56

 

1 Mr Cumaraswamy also made this point in his report."

2 Sir, just taking the points made by the private

3 secretary, the balance of the letter is in fact

4 concerned with the general comments made by Mr Mageean

5 all those months ago, and that is perhaps not surprising

6 given the nature of the correspondence and the fact that

7 it is coming not from the police charged with the

8 investigation, but in this case from the private

9 secretary to a Government minister.

10 The point taken about independence -- these are

11 familiar points from other letters -- the elements

12 relied upon are the Commission and the

13 Director of Public Prosecutions, although of course in

14 this particular case there was no supervision, as we

15 know.

16 So far as the final paragraphs are concerned, again

17 this is a familiar theme. We know -- I paraphrase -- we

18 know the system does not encourage the confidence that

19 we would hope. However, it is the system and we

20 encourage people who have complaints to use it until the

21 legislation setting up the new arrangement can be put in

22 place, and we hope that the new arrangement will win the

23 confidence which, by implication, is lacking -- see the

24 report of Dr Hayes in the present system.

25 Now, the passage at the end of the letter became

 

 

57

 

1 controversial and it may be, I don't know, that this is

2 a question of unsatisfactory or inept expression, but

3 you will see the broad statement that the Government is

4 not aware of evidence of an alleged pattern of police

5 harassment of defence lawyers.

6 Put in those terms, you may think that is

7 a surprising statement to be made in July 1998 given all

8 the material that even so far in this opening I have

9 shown you.

10 The distinction is not drawn in this letter between

11 matters which are proven or established in investigation

12 and the allegations that were being made. You may think

13 that there was a wealth of material which was in the

14 public domain, generally known by ministers and indeed

15 others -- we have seen many references to it -- to the

16 allegations of police harassment.

17 Now, this is a letter commented upon in the

18 evidence, you will be unsurprised to hear, and

19 specifically in the statement of Mr Ingram, who will be

20 giving evidence to you, and that is a matter which can

21 no doubt be explored with him. Suffice it to say for

22 the moment that that first sentence of the final

23 paragraph did cause controversy.

24 Now, getting back to G Department, the report was in

25 due course prepared by the investigating officer. From

 

 

58

 

1 our point of view, it is interesting only in that it

2 does not address any of the matters with which the

3 Inquiry is particularly concerned, so I am not going to

4 spend any time on it at all, save to say that it begins

5 at page RNI-217-122 and ends, the substance of the

6 report, at RNI-217-128 with this recommendation:

7 "There is no evidence whatsoever that what is

8 alleged by the complainants took place. Under the

9 circumstances, I would recommend no further action be

10 taken against any police officer."

11 And that went through to the Commission, and the way

12 that it was then dealt with can be seen at RNI-217-044

13 (displayed). The senior officer, I think this would

14 have been -- I think this letter may have been complete

15 in our bundle -- passes it on, the report, I mean, to

16 the Commission and you will see the brief details set

17 out there. In fact, I think you can see as a result of

18 misfiling, I think, the end of the letter comes at

19 RNI-217-045 in the bundle, and between the two pages of

20 it we will see that the Commission concludes on

21 4th November, in a letter at RNI-217-045.500 (displayed)

22 addressed to the client, as I say -- the thrust of it is

23 in the penultimate paragraph:

24 "After looking carefully at the documents relating

25 to your complaints, the Commission considers that the

 

 

59

 

1 evidence is not it strong enough to warrant the referral

2 of disciplinary charges against the officers involved.

3 "At a disciplinary hearing, the case has to be

4 proved beyond reasonable doubt. A copy of this letter

5 has been forwarded to your solicitor, Rosemary Nelson."

6 The matter, so far as the complaints process is

7 concerned, ends there.

8 Sir, that is the last of the police complaints that

9 I want to focus on in my opening. As I say, there are

10 files dealing with a large number of complaints in all

11 in section 2 of part 1 of the bundle. I showed you

12 extracts from some other complaint files in my general

13 remarks about the complaints system, and in a minute I

14 will be taking you to just two complaints involving Army

15 personnel.

16 But if I may, at this stage, try to draw some themes

17 out in relation to the police complaints, the List of

18 Issues requires you to consider what threats were made

19 to Rosemary Nelson's personal safety and what adverse

20 behaviour or comment she was subject to and, in both

21 cases, to consider the nature and extent of and the

22 reasons for such threats or adverse behaviour and

23 comment. That is issues 2 and 4.

24 The list also requires you to consider the extent to

25 which the various organisations, including the RUC in

 

 

60

 

1 this case, were notified or otherwise aware of threats

2 as well as of such behaviour or comment. That is

3 issues 3 and 5.

4 Pausing there, sir, the importance of that is that

5 when you look at the material in the complaint files,

6 you do so not only with the complaint questions in mind,

7 but with the broader question of what, as a result of

8 that information, that material, was known, was drawn to

9 the attention of the relevant organisations, quite apart

10 from the question of complaints, because the issues are

11 posed in a much more general way.

12 Finally, in relation to the specific complaints,

13 which is issue 6, to what extent were complaints about

14 her alleged mistreatment investigated. Then finally,

15 you will remember, I showed you, as it were, the

16 procedural questions posed in our List of Issues at

17 22.25, which are concerned with the mechanisms which are

18 in existence and whether there have been any changes

19 since, and looking further on to the future.

20 So the first matter to be considered in relation to

21 each of these nine cases is whether, on the material you

22 have and the evidence you read and later hear, threats

23 or adverse behaviour or comment in fact occurred, and

24 you have to weigh up the material and the accounts given

25 in what I hope I can be forgiven for describing as the

 

 

61

 

1 usual way. You will want to take into account the

2 investigations which have gone before, but of course you

3 are not, in the case of any of the reports we have seen

4 from investigating officers in G Department or from

5 Commander Mulvihill, bound by or constrained by their

6 conclusions.

7 Sir, you will want to consider familiar questions,

8 such as consistency: is this the account which the

9 witness has given at all stages of the matter? You may

10 think of importance in relation to the officers is this

11 question of consistency, because they have consistently

12 denied the allegations from the outset. But you will

13 also want to bear in mind, of course, time, the time

14 which has elapsed now since the events in question, but

15 also time which elapsed in some of the cases between the

16 events said to have given rise to the complaints and the

17 first initiation of a complaint, and also the first

18 occasion on which an account or statement about those

19 events was made. And of course, you will also want to

20 look carefully at the other matters referred to in their

21 reports by the investigating officers, the cogency of

22 accounts, their level of detail, their consistency, of

23 course, the way in which the accounts emerged, and all

24 the matters which we have looked at in the course of

25 considering these nine complaints.

 

 

62

 

1 So far as the hearings are concerned, in the case of

2 witnesses, including the clients, where, despite the

3 efforts of the Inquiry, they do not attend, you will no

4 doubt factor that also into your consideration of the

5 material as a whole. You will want to think carefully,

6 for example, about the weight to be attached to the

7 evidence of anyone who makes serious allegations but

8 then elects not to come and give evidence about them

9 and, in that sense, submit himself to questioning during

10 the Inquiry's hearings.

11 But may I suggest that other broader matters may

12 also have to be borne in mind, and these are the

13 background matters that I have referred to at various

14 stages during the opening. For example, the context of

15 eight of the nine complaints that we have considered is

16 that the complainant was detained in a holding centre

17 and under the emergency legislation which was then

18 current, and that meant, as we have seen, that the

19 interview of only one of them, C208, which took place,

20 if you remember, at the end of June 1998, was recorded

21 on tape, and that interview, if you remember reference

22 to this, was recorded on, as it were, silent video tape.

23 So what we have is the interviewing notes of the

24 officers and their accounts on the one hand, in the vast

25 majority of cases, and the statements of the clients on

 

 

63

 

1 the other.

2 As must be apparent now, in each case they are at

3 complete variance, the one with the other. The

4 exception to that, sir, which springs immediately to

5 mind is of course the last complaint that we have

6 considered, because in relation to that matter, the

7 serious allegations which we have focused our attention

8 on at no stage formed part of the complaint

9 investigation, and therefore, you do not have, as it

10 were, these balancing sides in relation to the

11 allegations made.

12 But for the most part, the situation which presents

13 itself to you is black and white. Either on the client

14 or complainant's accounts, a pattern of derogatory

15 references to Rosemary Nelson emerges over all the cases

16 with some consistent themes: the unpleasant personal

17 remarks; the suggestions that she has only her interests

18 at heart and not their interests, the interests of her

19 clients; and again and again, the links drawn between

20 her and her clients, between her and the paramilitary

21 organisations, and adverse and specific comment made, if

22 you remember, to others about her work for one client in

23 particular, Colin Duffy.

24 If it is true that pattern is correct and made out,

25 what then emerges is a repeated set of interrogation

 

 

64

 

1 tactics, which was both abusive -- and I mean by that

2 not only abusive in the simple sense, but also in the

3 sense of abusive of power, the power conferred on those

4 detaining the suspects by the emergency legislation and

5 by the absence of independent records of what was being

6 said in interview. So both abusive and also apparently

7 unsuccessful.

8 That is the comment made forcefully, you may think,

9 by Commander Mulvihill, that if these were the

10 interviewing tactics being generally employed, they

11 yielded no particular result so far as the

12 investigations were concerned. That is the original

13 criminal investigations conducted by the police.

14 So that is one side of it. On the other side, you

15 are faced with the suggestion that these are no more

16 than a set of fabricated allegations put forward in

17 a cynical attempt to obtain advantage in any criminal

18 proceedings or, more broadly, and as I have said this

19 morning, in an attempt to undermine and discredit the

20 police as a whole, the RUC itself.

21 Can I mention two points in this connection? First,

22 the way in which this explanation was put to and

23 recorded by Commander Mulvihill is as broad as that; he

24 recounts, as you remember, a number of the interviewed

25 police officers putting it in that way. So with the

 

 

65

 

1 striking exception of the case I showed you just

2 a minute ago, the aim of this propaganda campaign is not

3 to undermine individuals but rather to discredit the

4 force.

5 And so on this side also, the matter is put very

6 high and I have shown you expressions at that level in

7 the correspondence. But looking again at the slightly

8 lower level of contention, namely that these complaints

9 were made to obtain advantage in any criminal

10 proceedings, you will want to weigh that up too because

11 of the particular nature of the complaints with which we

12 are concerned.

13 These complaints are not the complaints of suspects

14 who say that they had been forced into making

15 a confession by threats or by beatings, they aren't

16 saying that any confessions, for example, were

17 fabricated. We are looking at a completely different

18 set of circumstances. And so although in a number of

19 the cases, we see the complainants making allegations of

20 personal threats against them or their family -- the

21 cases of C208 and C200 spring to mind -- what we are

22 concerned with here are allegations in relation to the

23 suspects' solicitor, and it is, therefore, legitimately

24 to be questioned what advantage allegations at that

25 level might have given to any defendant when criminal

 

 

66

 

1 proceedings thereafter followed. As we know, in fact,

2 in the vast majority of these cases no charges followed

3 the periods of detention.

4 The other alleged motivation for this campaign, if

5 you remember -- and it is one referred to by Dr Hayes --

6 was that complaints of this kind were made cynically as

7 a platform for subsequent civil actions. And you

8 remember I showed you a short example right at the

9 outset of a case where the substance of the complaint

10 had been dismissed, but subsequently there was

11 a settlement of the civil claim made by the client. And

12 again, one can see here, I would suggest, the

13 distinction between alleged assault and what is

14 sometimes described in the papers as overholding, which

15 would lead presumably to a claim for false imprisonment

16 and cases such as our own, because the making of

17 allegations about comments made in interview about the

18 suspect's solicitor could on no conceivable basis found,

19 you may think, a civil action. There was no procedural

20 advantage to be gained in the forum of civil

21 proceedings.

22 Now, sir, from the Inquiry's particular perspective,

23 what emerges from these files and what is, you may

24 think, crucial about this side of the Inquiry's

25 investigation is what the files show us about attitudes.

 

 

67

 

1 And that applies, if I may suggest, whichever contention

2 of the two broad contentions I have just mentioned you

3 choose to look at.

4 If you are inclined to the view that these

5 complaints were part of a political complain to

6 discredit the RUC, that might, you may think, shed

7 a good deal of light on many other matters involving

8 Rosemary Nelson which you have to consider. It would,

9 to take just one example, place her in a particular part

10 of the political landscape of Northern Ireland at that

11 time. It would form part of the picture of relations

12 between some in Northern Ireland and the police at that

13 time. It might also assist you, for example, in

14 considering the question of whether it is likely that

15 Rosemary Nelson would have sought the assistance of the

16 police in relation to her personal security or taken

17 their advice in respect of issues of that kind.

18 So the complaints would provide material for you in

19 that wider sense. If the complaints were indeed part of

20 such a propaganda campaign and without any substance,

21 then you will no doubt also want to consider what the

22 impact of that on the police would have been, because on

23 this hypothesis, Rosemary Nelson was the orchestrator of

24 a cynical campaign to undermine the RUC by making

25 spurious complaints via her clients about comments

 

 

68

 

1 concerning her.

2 And the cynicism is further to be detected in the

3 failure to pursue those matters, failure to cooperate

4 with the interview, as it were, as if the goal of the

5 whole process, the whole campaign, is to launch the

6 complaint to force the machinery into operation and then

7 to do the bare minimum to cooperate with it and to allow

8 it to do its work.

9 Now, that she was regarded in this way is, you may

10 think, tolerably clear from the material, the comments

11 in the files that we have already seen. And it takes no

12 imagination at all to work out that the perception of

13 her as someone bent on doing harm to the police force

14 itself -- that is the way it is put in the Mulvihill

15 Report -- would, or might have had, a strong impact on

16 the way in which she was treated or regarded by police

17 officers. And that, of course, sir, goes to the very

18 heart of issue 1 of our List of Issues: what was it

19 about her work for her clients that caused or created

20 conflict with the various organisations, including the

21 RUC.

22 But if, on the other hand, you take the view that

23 some or all of the matters alleged were indeed said, the

24 comments were indeed made, then by the same token you

25 will have to take that into account as part of the

 

 

69

 

1 material which shows how she was in fact regarded by at

2 least some police officers. The attitudes which are

3 described in the complainants' accounts are clear and

4 there is, you may think, a certain level of consistency

5 running through them.

6 On this hypothesis, you may think that

7 Rosemary Nelson seems to have been the object of very

8 strong feeling indeed on the part of some police

9 officers, who seem at various points in the accounts

10 more concerned to talk about and indeed to insult her

11 than to deal with the suspect or complainant.

12 Apart from the perception, which is, I would

13 suggest, overwhelming in this these accounts, you may

14 think, that she was a Provo lawyer, you will also see

15 that for some officers, her success in the Duffy case

16 concerning the murder of the two police officers was a

17 particular cause of irritation.

18 So if those allegations are soundly based, you will

19 have material which also goes to issue 1, for it was on

20 this hypothesis plainly her, in this case, successful

21 work representing that particular client which caused

22 conflict, which created the strong feeling which appears

23 to have found its outlet in these comments made in

24 interview.

25 But, sir, more broadly even than that, I would

 

 

70

 

1 suggest, is the following point: that if one steps back

2 and considers, as it were, both the black and the white

3 positions taken up here by the two sides, one sees first

4 a picture painted of consistent and consistently

5 unprofessional, if not disgraceful, conduct by

6 interviewing officers, and on the other, put by those

7 operating the complaints system by the individual

8 officers, and no doubt others, that none of the

9 allegations are correct and indeed the result of the

10 investigations was, as we know, that there was no

11 prosecution and no disciplinary action.

12 So the positions are not only taken at a high level,

13 but they are also very extreme, and those positions are

14 maintained in the files right up to the moment of

15 Rosemary Nelson's murder. There is no concession, as it

16 were, no limited admission, as it were, on either side.

17 The position is absolutely maintained on both. And

18 that, you may think, reveals something important at that

19 general level about the situation in Northern Ireland at

20 the time of her murder.

21 For despite the changes which I have mentioned,

22 despite the steps forward, not least in the context of

23 policing and indeed in the very forum of police

24 complaints, these battles which were taking place along

25 old and very familiar lines were still being fought, and

 

 

71

 

1 peace in that sense and at that level had not broken

2 out.

3 Now, sir, the remaining complaints on our little

4 list, as I have said, involve not police officers but

5 members of the armed forces, and I would like to look at

6 both of them reasonably briefly next.

7 Now, the first in time -- they both occurred

8 in October 1997 -- is the complaint of

9 Christine McAuley, and sir, what I am going to do with

10 both of these complaints, hers and that of the ciphered

11 client, C150, is to go through the material which was

12 generated, which we have in our files, show you the

13 limited amount of information which is there disclosed

14 about the way the matters were dealt with by the Army,

15 as opposed to the police, and simply highlight whether

16 and to what extent these were complaints in the sense

17 that we have come to understand them, because the

18 mechanisms are so different, and secondly, whether in

19 substance, as opposed to in form, either of them in fact

20 amounted to a threat.

21 So, sir, first of all, Christine McAuley. The

22 events giving rise to this complaint took place on

23 7th October, and in the file what we see is that late

24 that day, at about 11 o'clock in the evening, an

25 inspector at Lurgan police station received a telephone

 

 

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1 call from Rosemary Nelson to complain about an incident

2 in which members of an Army patrol had made a derogatory

3 remark about her.

4 Now, if we look, please, at RNI-215-032, we will see

5 the relevant memorandum (displayed). Over the page, RNI-215-033, it

6 reveals that it is written by the inspector. I won't

7 show you that now, but at RNI-215-032 in this memo

8 addressed to the sub divisional commander, he says that:

9 "At 11 pm on 7th October, I received a telephone

10 call from Mrs Rosemary Nelson. She alleged that

11 a client of hers, Mrs Christine McAuley, was stopped by

12 an RIR patrol ..."

13 Royal Irish Regiment. I think that is the first

14 time we have seen that:

15 "... in Lurgan at 10.30 pm on that date, that a

16 number of members of the patrol had mentioned

17 Mrs Nelson's name in derogatory terms. She informed me

18 that the patrol had produced to her the patrol

19 identification number, which was M42B. After hearing

20 the complaint from Mrs Rosemary Nelson ..."

21 This is the inspector reciting what had happened:

22 "... I informed her as to the contents of

23 Code section 35, paragraph 23, relating to the

24 non-criminal complaints against Her Majesty's forces."

25 And you will be perhaps be relieved to hear that

 

 

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1 I don't intend to take you to the Code at this stage:

2 "I informed Mrs Nelson that the complaint would be

3 recorded at the RUC station and ..."

4 This is the key part:

5 "... that the relevant Army authorities would be

6 informed."

7 The inspector then sets out that about a quarter of

8 an hour later he made contact with a sergeant in the

9 3 Royal Irish Regiment who was in charge of the relevant

10 patrol, and the sergeant gives his side of the matter,

11 which is a different side, that Mrs McAuley was abusive

12 to them, had obstructed them in the course of their

13 duties, so much so that they had requested the

14 assistance of local police, and says that:

15 "At no time were any of the patrol abusive to either

16 Mrs McAuley nor to her solicitor, Mrs Nelson."

17 Then the inspector records that he had contacted

18 another sergeant, colour sergeant, and informed him as

19 to the nature of the complaint, and thereafter spoke to

20 a police constable who had been summoned to the scene in

21 accordance with what the sergeant had described. He was

22 not able to give any evidence of abuse to either

23 Mrs Christine McAuley nor to her solicitor:

24 "... as all matters had been resolved on police

25 arrival."

 

 

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1 The complaint was logged in the occurrence book at

2 11 pm on 7th October. And that completes, so far as

3 I wish to show it to you, the note here.

4 The occurrence book is indeed completed and you can

5 see it in, I think, this officer's handwriting, at

6 RNI-215-015 (displayed).

7 The key points about it from our perspective is the

8 categorisation complaint against Army. So at a very

9 early stage, the inspector satisfies himself, not least

10 by speaking to the constable, that all relevant events,

11 i.e. the matters giving rise to these allegations, had

12 concluded before the arrival of any member of the RUC;

13 in other words, that it was, in this case, a matter for

14 the Army.

15 What we then have set out in the bundle at various

16 pages -- and I am not going to show you all of them --

17 is the contemporaneous Army material, which was got

18 together when the matter became investigated. The

19 first, which is in some ways a puzzling document, is at

20 RNI-215-056 (displayed). It is puzzling, at least to

21 me, because it appears to be dated a month before the

22 event took place, but I think we must assume that that

23 is simply an error:

24 "Statement for the incident."

25 This is the incident we are discussing:

 

 

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1 "At approximately ten past ten, a red Renault with

2 the client in it had been pulled in by a member of the

3 patrol on the old Portadown Road, the Portadown/Lurgan

4 junction. I was asked by Sergeant [name redacted] to

5 assist another soldier, logged the details of the car

6 and driver. As the private [name redacted, A191] looked

7 a bit apprehensive about logging the driver, I took over

8 and the private gave me cover on the pavement. I went

9 to the car and asked the woman if she was in a hurry.

10 She said no ..."

11 And the rest of the statement is, I am afraid,

12 difficult to read.

13 We have, however, something perhaps a little bit

14 more -- certainly more vivid. At page RNI-215-057,

15 there is an extract from the log sheet (displayed).

16 This is timed at 22.24, and this is the 3 Royal Irish

17 log sheet, as you see at the top left-hand corner, and

18 it is a request that comes out from the patrol -- that

19 is the letter and number, if you remember, M42B --:

20 "Can you task RUC to my location, junction of

21 Portadown Road, old Portadown Road. We have

22 Christine McAuley stopped and she has just assaulted

23 a member of the PTL whilst they attempted to search her

24 vehicle."

25 Without forming any judgment about it, there was

 

 

76

 

1 clearly an incident which took place. And you can see

2 another brief record of it at RNI-215-058 (displayed),

3 where somebody has completed a note concerning the

4 incident, and on the right-hand side, against

5 "Attitude", this is, one infers, attitude of the

6 complainant:

7 "Anti SF."

8 That does not stand for Sinn Fein, but for "security

9 force" or "security forces":

10 "Very uncooperative, very stroppy, complaint card

11 issued to her."

12 The incident was further recorded in perhaps a more

13 moderate way at RNI-215-060 (displayed), another Army

14 document, halfway down:

15 "She was stopped driving her car ... "

16 We have seen reference to it:

17 "She alleged that the patrol used abusive language

18 while she was at the VCP."

19 This is, as you will see, the substance of the

20 complaint:

21 "She later reported to her solicitor who, in turn,

22 reported it to RUC Lurgan."

23 And we have seen that:

24 "RUC Lurgan are happy that military patrol dealt

25 with the incident professionally and correctly."

 

 

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1 Now, plainly, if this was an incident to be

2 investigated by the police, one wouldn't have expected

3 such a rapid conclusion to be reached. And that simply

4 serves to emphasise that what later happened to this

5 complaint, although it took on what is now a familiar

6 character -- in other words, it was widely published --

7 was in terms of investigation and remained a matter for

8 the Army.

9 Now, sir, in terms of the wider publication, we see

10 first of all at RNI-215-018, a note which I think we

11 have seen before. Oh, no. Sorry, this is a note which

12 came just after the material I showed you in relation to

13 the charging and subsequent release of Colin Duffy in

14 relation to the murder of the two police officers.

15 The relevant paragraph for us now is on the next

16 page, RNI-215-019, and paragraph 6, where the details of

17 the matter are set out:

18 "We are particularly alarmed that further reports

19 that members of the security forces in the Lurgan area

20 have made threats about Mr Duffy's solicitor,

21 Rosemary Nelson. We understand that members of an RIR

22 unit, bearing 3RI insignia at a checkpoint on the

23 Portadown Road, Lurgan at 10.30 pm yesterday,

24 7th October, made abusive and threatening remarks about

25 Mrs Nelson while carrying on what appears to have been

 

 

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1 a very aggressive interview of a Miss Christine McAuley.

2 We understand Mrs Nelson reported this to the RUC duty

3 officer at Lurgan and that complaints would be lodged

4 with the ICPC."

5 Just finally, sir on this document -- and it is

6 a familiar feature -- that complaint is put in a general

7 context, and general in this case, of course, because we

8 are now looking at incidents involving personnel other

9 than police officers. That is paragraph 7, the final

10 paragraph of the note.

11 Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, thank you.

13 (1.00 pm)

14 (The short adjournment)

15 (2.00 pm)

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

17 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, we had reached a relatively early stage

18 of the Christine McAuley matter, and we had been looking

19 at the note written by one of the Irish civil servants

20 which, in the latter part of the note -- I don't think

21 we need to look at it again, RNI-215-018 -- at

22 RNI-215-019 had referred to the Christine McAuley

23 incident which had in fact occurred the previous day, on

24 7th October.

25 Now, in due course, that concern of the Irish worked

 

 

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1 its way through the system and we will see at

2 RNI-215-038 (displayed) how it was processed: a matter

3 raised by the Irish side and then a log number in fact

4 under Rosemary Nelson's heading, as it were, as opposed

5 to the name of the client:

6 "The Irish side have passed a note to us expressing

7 their concern at reports that members the security

8 forces in Lurgan have allegedly made threats about

9 Colin Duffy's solicitor."

10 That is the way she is described. But in fact the

11 substance of the note relates to this complaint:

12 "The Irish side allege that at 10.30 pm on

13 7th October, members of an RIR unit at a checkpoint on

14 the Portadown Road, Lurgan made abusive and threatening

15 remarks about Mrs Nelson while carrying out what appears

16 to have been a very aggressive interview of

17 a Miss Christine McAuley. It is believed that

18 Mrs Nelson reported the matter to the RUC duty officer

19 at Lurgan and complaints were lodged with the ICPC."

20 Then the thrust of it:

21 "The Irish side have asked that the above incident

22 be investigated and a full account be provided. They

23 have also registered their ongoing concern at the

24 alleged threats directed at Mrs Nelson and would be

25 grateful for reassurance that steps are being taken to

 

 

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1 deal with this matter, including offering some form of

2 reassurance to Mrs Nelson."

3 So yet again, quite outside the complaints system,

4 another body or organisation, in this case the Irish

5 Government through the mechanism of the Anglo-Irish

6 Secretariat, is (a) raising the specific allegations,

7 the subject of what became the complaint, but also, and

8 importantly for us, (b) are putting it in a much wider

9 context. And that is the second sentence of the

10 penultimate paragraph:

11 "They have registered their ongoing concern at the

12 alleged threats directed at Mrs Nelson and would be

13 grateful for reassurance that steps are being taken to

14 deal with this matter, including offering some form of

15 reassurance to Mrs Nelson."

16 So that is just another example -- it is one we

17 haven't seen before -- of how the matters were viewed at

18 the time by those who were writing about them.

19 Now, getting back to the business of the complaint

20 itself, on the next day, 14th October, Rosemary Nelson

21 wrote to the Chief Superintendent at the Lurgan police

22 station and we can see that at RNI-215-025 (displayed),

23 and I will just read it first. Under "Re RIR":

24 "I refer to the above, my telephone conversation

25 with the duty inspector. I was contacted by a client

 

 

81

 

1 who instructed me that during the course of a search

2 carried out on her by three members of the RIR, my name

3 was mentioned on a number of occasions in derogatory

4 terms. You will appreciate that intimidation of defence

5 solicitors in this fashion is most certainly not

6 acceptable and indeed the entire incident is most

7 disturbing.

8 "I can confirm that I logged a complaint with the

9 duty inspector is Lurgan RUC station on that night and

10 my client, Christine McAuley, has indicated that she is

11 willing to give a full statement regarding this matter.

12 Please confirm this matter has been investigated and

13 arrange to let me know the outcome of such

14 investigation."

15 In that letter from Mrs Nelson, therefore, she also

16 puts the specific incident, the Christine McAuley

17 incident, in a wider context in her third paragraph:

18 "You will appreciate that intimidation of defence

19 solicitors in this fashion is most certainly not

20 acceptable, and indeed ..."

21 Then she refers to the incident as being "most

22 disturbing".

23 Now, a copy of that letter was sent by her to the

24 Chief Constable; we see that at RNI-215-026

25 (displayed). But it was also sent to some of her other

 

 

82

 

1 correspondents. We can see the copy sent to the Irish

2 Government at RNI-215-024, and then the copy sent to

3 British Irish Rights Watch at RNI-215-023.

4 So on the same day she launches a complaint

5 effectively to the Chief Superintendent, copies it to

6 the Chief Constable, but also more widely.

7 Now, what then happens is that the letter addressed

8 to the Superintendent would appear to have reached the

9 Command Secretariat, because on 6th November, at

10 RNI-215-042 (displayed), we can see a letter written by

11 the Superintendent on behalf of the Chief Constable to

12 her saying:

13 "Further to my letter of 16th October ..."

14 That is, as it were, a holding letter, simply

15 acknowledging receipt for everybody's notes. That is

16 RNI-215-027 (displayed):

17 "I can now advise you that your complaint of

18 7th October has been referred to the military for

19 investigation."

20 As far as we can tell, no statement was obtained in

21 the subsequent investigation from either

22 Christine McAuley or from Rosemary Nelson. But the

23 distinction I draw to your attention here is that there

24 is no evidence of an attempt to obtain such a statement

25 from either of them by whoever was investigating the

 

 

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1 matter on behalf of what is described here as the

2 military.

3 I think I am right in saying the most detailed

4 account of the events in question appeared in fact in

5 the press, and we can see it in very vivid terms at

6 RNI-215-066. This is Republican News and the title

7 serves to indicate that the piece is not just concerned

8 with this incident; it begins in an arresting way:

9 "'Where is fucking Rosemary Nelson now? She will

10 not fucking get you out of this.'

11 "These words were spoken by a member of the RIR as

12 he dragged Lurgan woman, Christine McAuley, from her car

13 late at night on 7th October. She was driving home when

14 she was stopped at the RIR checkpoint. 'It was

15 a frenzied attack,' she said, 'One of the RIR dragged me

16 from the car, he was screaming. He kept going on about

17 my solicitor, Rosemary Nelson. They made me stand at

18 the side of the road and refused to get the RUC or give

19 me a gold card (an unit identification card) when

20 I asked for one.'

21 "When at last the RUC did arrive, Christine was

22 allowed to go. She has since made a statement to her

23 solicitor and a formal complaint about her treatment.

24 Coincidentally, on the same night, Christine's

25 solicitor, Rosemary Nelson, was stopped at another RIR

 

 

84

 

1 checkpoint and harassed. She was returning from

2 a meeting in a car driven by a friend when the car was

3 stopped."

4 The piece continues with reference to the Special

5 Rapporteur and with various other incidents amounting,

6 as it said at the start of these, to constant harassment

7 in Lurgan.

8 Now, you will note there the suggestion that

9 a statement had been given to the solicitor. I may be

10 wrong, but as far as we have been able to establish in

11 the files, there is no such statement, and as I say, in

12 what follows there is no evidence that any interview was

13 requested or statement sought from Christine McAuley.

14 In correspondence with the Ministry of Defence, it

15 has been explained to the Inquiry that there is

16 a distinction between the Army procedures for criminal

17 on the one hand, and non-criminal matters. And the

18 non-criminal matters, the abuse, essentially, which are

19 defined as being "allegations of unprofessional

20 behaviour or misconduct with no criminal facet such as

21 verbal abuse or harassment", are dealt with under one

22 system and there is apparently a claims investigation

23 team within the Royal Military Police, whose job it is

24 to investigate the matter and report.

25 Now, we obviously can only do what we can with the

 

 

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1 material that we have and what I intend to do with that

2 introduction is to show you what material we have seen

3 on this matter.

4 Now, so far as that is concerned, the next step

5 would appear to be a memorandum which goes not through

6 the Army or the Ministry of Defence, but through the

7 police hierarchy and RNI-215-028 (displayed). This

8 comes from the Command Secretariat. It goes down to the

9 Assistant Chief Constable for the south region, and it

10 is headed "Complaint against Royal Irish Regiment

11 Patrol, 7th October, Rosemary Nelson". In the second

12 line:

13 "There is no suggestion in the papers of a complaint

14 against police."

15 But this is an attempt to get an answer to the

16 letter I showed you raising the Irish side's concern on

17 the 13th.

18 It was then referred down to the Divisional

19 Commander of J Division by the Assistant Chief Constable

20 at RNI-215-031, and eventually makes its way to the

21 inspector, and he creates at RNI-215-032 the memorandum

22 with which I began.

23 And that is the material generated during this chain

24 of correspondence, chain of memoranda, down to the

25 police side. And it then, in a way that will become

 

 

86

 

1 very familiar to us, makes its way back up the chain and

2 eventually arrives at the moment for a draft reply,

3 which is at RNI-215-036, and that in turn results in the

4 very short letter we have already seen from the

5 Chief Constable, essentially saying that this is

6 a military matter.

7 In fact, as far as the Inquiry has been able to

8 ascertain, that is the end of it. In other words, I

9 cannot point you to any evidence in the material we have

10 seen to support the suggestion that this complaint was

11 in fact ever investigated, and some support for that is

12 derived from the fact that at a much, much later stage

13 during the murder investigation itself, the murder

14 investigation team came upon this incident as one of

15 a number of incidents of a similar kind that they

16 investigated and started their own chain of enquiries

17 about it. We can see an officer's report in here. This

18 is within the murder investigation team at RNI-215-045

19 (displayed), and the conclusion drawn in the fourth

20 paragraph is this:

21 "However, no complaint or claim was received or

22 investigated by the claims investigation team of the

23 Royal Military Police."

24 Then there is a report about the work that they have

25 done to investigate the matter.

 

 

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1 Confirmation comes in to them eventually

2 in November 2001 at page RNI-215-050 (displayed), from

3 the relevant part, the claims investigation team of the

4 Royal Military Police, 18th November 2001, addressed to

5 the murder inquiry team, and sets out the allegation

6 that was made in the first paragraph and deals with the

7 question of what enquiries had been made. It says in

8 the second -- sorry -- yes, the second sentence of the

9 second full paragraph:

10 "No complaint or claim, however, regarding the

11 incident was received or investigated by this office."

12 Then there is an enclosure with all of the

13 underlying material, some of which I have already shown

14 you.

15 Sir, that is as far as we have been able to take it.

16 So it is difficult at this distance in time to be

17 certain or even to hazard a suggestion or two about what

18 went wrong. It seems clear that so far as the RUC was

19 concerned, this was not a matter for them. By the time

20 any RUC personnel arrived on the scene, the incident had

21 come to an end. The allegations, so far as one can

22 tell, were not being made against any member of the RUC

23 and, you may think understandably, they took the view on

24 the basis of what they had been told that it was being

25 investigated elsewhere.

 

 

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1 The letters of complaint, although they are

2 distributed to various other organisations, appear to

3 have gone to the police rather than to the Army, to the

4 Royal Irish Regiment, and it may be that that is where

5 the gap opened up. But for whatever reason, although

6 this -- if the account in the newspaper is to be

7 believed -- is a case where there was, on the face of

8 it, abuse directed at Rosemary Nelson, it did not result

9 in an investigation and that, I am afraid, is as far as

10 I can take it.

11 Now, sir, the other matter involving members of the

12 armed forces is in its way equally unsatisfactory, you

13 may think, and that involves the ciphered client, C150.

14 In a nutshell, the situation with this case would

15 appear to be -- and I will show you the brief history in

16 a minute -- that again, the matters which are of

17 interest to the Inquiry did not result in a complaint.

18 So, therefore, the trigger in relation to those

19 particular matters was not activated.

20 So again, it is something that, as far as the

21 Inquiry is concerned, if it has substance, registers as

22 a threat rather than as the investigation of a complaint

23 at the heart of which there was a threat.

24 This matter again emerged after the murder of

25 Rosemary Nelson in the course of the work of the murder

 

 

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1 investigation team. We can see that in the statement of

2 the relevant client, which begins at RNI-215-070

3 (displayed).

4 Now, as you will see from the opening lines of this

5 statement, the allegation raised at this stage at the

6 end of March 2000, relates to an event or events which

7 were said to have taken place at the end

8 of October 1997. The client sets out the background to

9 the matter, he had an appointment with Rosemary Nelson

10 in her office and that he had known her for some time.

11 She had been acting for him for a number of years, and

12 she was meeting with her to discuss an incident which

13 she says was the subject of civil litigation.

14 However, what happens is that the meeting is

15 interrupted by the arrival of a member of staff who

16 reports that somebody had been put through a window by

17 soldiers:

18 "I immediately got up to find out what was going on.

19 I was going down the stairs of the premises. [The

20 ciphered person] came into the premises through the

21 front door with another person. It transpired that it

22 wasn't [the first person] who'd gone through the window,

23 but his friend, [the second person]. There was then

24 a report of what had happened and [that person] pointed

25 to a soldier on the other side of the road and told me

 

 

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1 that he was the person who had put [the second

2 character] through the window.

3 "The soldier then shouted out 'I'll do the fucking

4 same to you'. I started to walk over to the soldier and

5 Rosemary ran past me and shouted 'I heard you threaten

6 ..."

7 That is the name of the client:

8 "The soldier then started to abuse Rosemary, made

9 remarks about her face, stated that she was ugly, that

10 she was a Provie bastard for getting them out of prison.

11 The soldier then told Rosemary he was going to nut her or

12 do her, or words to that effect. Rosemary told the

13 soldier that he had threatened her. One of Rosemary's

14 members of staff, a lady called Annette, then took the

15 two individuals to the police station to make

16 a complaint of assault."

17 He says that he went with them and recorded

18 a statement "myself", and gives a description of the

19 soldier, deals with the time of the event at the bottom

20 of the page, the fact that the lighting was good, it was

21 only a few feet away, an unobstructed view -- this is on

22 over to the top of the next page, RNI-215-072:

23 "Hadn't seen him before."

24 But he has seen him on a number of occasions since.

25 He then goes on to explain that he hadn't made any

 

 

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1 statements to the police in the past in respect of the

2 murder -- that is Rosemary Nelson's murder:

3 "... because I did not want to speak to RUC

4 officers."

5 Then he goes on to deal with events which he says

6 took place on the day of the murder.

7 Now, this matter, or part of it, did indeed form the

8 subject of a complaint which was registered at the

9 Lurgan police station, and it was made by one of the

10 other individuals to whom redacted names have been given

11 and the second individual I have referred to. And we

12 can see their complaint forms at RNI-215-083.500.

13 (displayed).

14 This is a note from the police, as I understand it,

15 through to, I think, an Army office:

16 "A criminal complaint has been registered at Lurgan

17 by the above-named, forwarded herewith for your

18 information is a copy of form 35."

19 We can see the form at the next page,

20 RNI-215-082.501 (displayed). It is a form for complaint

21 against Her Majesty's forces. We have two such forms,

22 obviously, one each, and details are given of the

23 complainant, his solicitor, the member receiving the

24 complaint -- that is the member of the RUC -- the medium

25 and details of the complaint are given, on 29th October:

 

 

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1 "What is the nature of the complaint?"

2 Well, the allegation is that the complainant was

3 assaulted by a soldier, and no details can be given of

4 the relevant members of the armed forces, but various

5 further contacts and information details are recorded.

6 And you will see over the page at RNI-215-082.502

7 (displayed) that at paragraph 2:

8 "All statements and other relevant documentation

9 have been forwarded to the Royal Military Police."

10 There is a similar form, which we can look at

11 briefly, at RNI-215-085 (displayed), and I just want to

12 draw to your attention, the same allegation is made:

13 "Nature of complaint: assault by a soldier."

14 Now, this, by contrast to the previous example, was,

15 it would appear, investigated by the Army in accordance

16 with the procedure which they have described to the

17 Inquiry. And we can see the report at RNI-215-087

18 (displayed).

19 There follows -- and I will show you various

20 passages -- a substantial report setting out all of the

21 information and material considered and obtained in the

22 course of the investigation and reaching conclusions

23 about it.

24 But the key aspect, so far as we are concerned, is

25 first that neither the client, C150, nor Rosemary Nelson

 

 

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1 herself is referred to at any point in the report, and

2 secondly, that this is the report of the investigation

3 into the allegations of assault made by the two other

4 individuals whose complaint forms I have shown you. And

5 so, therefore, this investigation does not,

6 understandably, you may think, touch on the aspects of

7 the matter with which we are concerned and interested,

8 namely the abuse, the threats to nut, as it is put in

9 the client's statement, Rosemary Nelson.

10 It is an investigation involving a substantial

11 number of members of the Royal Irish Regiment, but it is

12 concerned with whether these two individuals were

13 assaulted or not.

14 The report, as I say, begins at RNI-215-087 and I

15 can take it, I hope, in the light of what I have just

16 pointed out, relatively briefly. But in fairness to

17 those who operated the Army complaints system, you will

18 see that it is not unlike the format of some of the

19 police reports we have seen.

20 It begins with background, it deals at the bottom of

21 the page with the evidence obtained. At the top of

22 RNI-215-088, it records that no medical evidence has

23 been received. It sets out the relevant civilian and

24 military evidence and then proceeds to analyse the

25 material produced by the RUC, and that includes the

 

 

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1 statements provided by the two complainants in support

2 of their complaints. And there are then a series of

3 summaries or précis of the interviews and evidence

4 obtained by the investigating officer in relation to

5 this incident.

6 I am going to take you straight on to RNI-215-091

7 (displayed), and it describes the investigation which

8 they say had taken place by the police because they rely

9 on, as I have pointed out, some police statements and

10 evidence. The comment is made that, unfortunately, the

11 DPP's decision not to prosecute -- and that is in

12 relation to the claims and cross-claims which arose out

13 of this incident and weakens the defence, and it says:

14 "Although this office is not privy to the reason as

15 to why no prosecution was recommended, unconfirmed

16 sources suggest that some of the RUC officers directly

17 involved have had a number of complaints made against

18 them."

19 There is then some considerable amount of

20 speculation, comment is made about the complainants and

21 their own motivations and political leanings, and the

22 officer continues with the conclusion which appears at

23 the end of that paragraph.

24 What is clear from the statements given by the

25 soldiers who were questioned about this is that they

 

 

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1 regarded themselves as being the abused parties, abused

2 by youths, that they attempted to stop this and there

3 then followed an altercation in which they say that one

4 of them, not one of the youths, ended up being pushed

5 through the shop window, hence the claim and cross-claim

6 involving assault and the investigation of that matter

7 by the RUC.

8 But so far as the allegations recorded after the

9 murder in the interview of C150 by the murder

10 investigation are concerned, there is not a trace in

11 this material, and it follows, therefore, that neither

12 he nor Rosemary Nelson took that matter to a complaint

13 and that it emerged after the military had completed its

14 own investigation in November 1998, and only then. And

15 it takes its place, therefore, again, so far as we are

16 concerned, more, you may feel, as a threat,

17 a threatening comment made to Rosemary Nelson in the

18 street, said by the client to have been made by one of

19 the soldiers, rather than as a useful example of the way

20 the Army's complaints system dealt with such matters.

21 Now, sir, the final complaint that I want to take

22 you through is in terms of its factual background and

23 significance politically; perhaps the most obviously

24 important of them all because it is the complaint made

25 by Rosemary Nelson arising out of events on the

 

 

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1 Garvaghy Road on 6th July 1997.

2 The task of summarising these events is more

3 formidable than in most cases, because first of all we

4 have huge a amount of material generated at the time and

5 during the subsequent investigation; secondly, we have

6 the material which was obtained from the police present

7 on the Garvaghy Road from eye-witnesses and others,

8 provided to the Inquiry, the statements which they have

9 given us, but we also have evidence in the form of

10 television and video material, which we have disclosed

11 to the Full Participants.

12 Of course, a key distinction between the background

13 circumstances of this complaint and all of the other

14 complaints is that whereas those other complaints arose

15 from an interview with an individual client in an

16 individual case, and the complaints he made about the

17 conduct of police interviews or, in the case of the Army

18 matters, a reasonably small incident involving

19 a relatively easily identified group of people, this

20 incident, the alleged assault, arose in the middle of

21 a huge public order incident where there were deployed

22 on the ground hundreds and hundreds of police officers,

23 of members of the armed forces, where there were also

24 a large number of protesters on both sides present,

25 where events were often confusing, confused, where

 

 

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1 tensions were very, very high and where, certainly on

2 one view, the police found themselves caught between two

3 sides trying -- as you remember from my explanation of

4 this when looking at the chronology -- to enforce

5 a decision taken very late in the day to effectively

6 force the Orange Order march down the Garvaghy Road.

7 Now, sir, because it arises against that background,

8 it is, as I say, much more difficult to get to the meat

9 of it. What we have done, in order to assist you and

10 the Full Participants on that, is to divide the material

11 we have into two parts and to prepare a chronology,

12 a very detailed chronology dealing with both.

13 Now, the first part, obviously, is what happened on

14 the day, and the second is what happened during the

15 investigation of the complaint. Regrettably, although

16 what happened on the day took place over a relatively

17 short period of hours, there is a lot of material about

18 it and although the complaint dealt with a single

19 incident which probably took -- or appears to have been

20 a single incident or maybe a couple of incidents which

21 took no more than seconds in their actual duration, the

22 investigation of the complaint went on for literally

23 years and was not finally concluded until the early part

24 of 2002.

25 Now, it follows that the way I am proposing to treat

 

 

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1 it by using these chronologies is to skim the surface of

2 the material, and at later stages it may be appropriate,

3 when the relevant witnesses give evidence, to look, for

4 example, at some of the video or television footage to

5 give you a sense of what it was like on the

6 Garvaghy Road in the early hours of 6th July 1997. But

7 for now and just to give some shape to these two areas,

8 I would like to take you, please, through first the

9 chronology of the events we prepared -- it looks like

10 that (indicated) -- and secondly, through the chronology

11 of the investigation.

12 Turning then to the chronology of events, most of

13 the documents which I will show you, which will be just

14 some the ones referred to here, are in file 303. The

15 sensible starting point, I think, is to take you

16 immediately to the statement which was given by

17 Rosemary Nelson to Paul Mageean on 7th July, the next

18 day.

19 That is at RNI-303-014 (displayed). It recites the

20 circumstances in which it was taken, and then she begins

21 her statement. I observe that it was not signed:

22 "I am the solicitor representing the Garvaghy Road

23 Residents Coalition."

24 Sir, many aspects of this part of Rosemary Nelson's

25 work led to controversy and dispute, and one of them is

 

 

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1 raised by that very sentence. There is some difference

2 in the evidence, you will see, as to whether she was

3 a member of the Coalition or whether she was acting for

4 the Coalition as a solicitor. It becomes an issue of

5 significance later in the history, when we look at

6 events in 1998, and the question of whether protection

7 was requested, security protection was requested for

8 members of the Coalition and the extent to which that

9 extended to her and, as you know, the related dispute,

10 as to whether she was specifically identified as

11 somebody who required protection.

12 But moving on:

13 "I had instructions from the Coalition to institute

14 judicial review proceedings in the event that a decision

15 was made to allow the parade to go ahead."

16 You will remember that this is the year where

17 negotiations continued and it was simply not clear to

18 the residents, and maybe to the Orange Order, how the

19 authorities would finally decide to deal with the march:

20 "In order to be available to begin such proceedings

21 as soon as possible, I stayed in the Garvaghy area from

22 Friday night. This was to allow me to begin to draft

23 affidavits as soon as a decision came through.

24 "In the evening of the Saturday, a fax arrived in

25 the community centre from the Secretary of State to

 

 

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1 Breandan Mac Cionnaith ..."

2 He is he is the leader of the Coalition:

3 "... asking him to telephone her. He did this and

4 she asked him if there was any change in the position.

5 He replied that no one was speaking to them, so how

6 could there be a change in position. I then rang the

7 office of the Secretary of State's office at midnight

8 ..."

9 That is midnight between the 5th and 6th July, I

10 think:

11 "... and spoke to the Secretary of State's personal

12 secretary. I said that my clients were anxious for

13 a decision so that they could reserve their legal rights

14 for judicial review. I told her that I might have to

15 get a High Court judge out of bed. She said the

16 Secretary of State was not available, but that she would

17 stress the urgency of the position to the Secretary of

18 State. That was the last contact I had with the

19 Government.

20 "We became aware that bollards were being placed at

21 the church, so there was then a consensus that the

22 parade would be rerouted. There was no noticeable

23 security force presence on the ground. I was in a house

24 in Churchill Park off the main Garvaghy Road when I

25 heard a siren which the community was using as a warning

 

 

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1 was sounded. When I got out to the road, it was a false

2 alarm. I actually told the people to go back to their

3 houses.

4 "Some time later, maybe more than an hour, I heard

5 the siren again. I ran to the road again. I went

6 straight to the police lines. They were standing with

7 their shields in front of me. I explained who I was and

8 asked to speak to the officer in charge. I told them my

9 name and that I was representing the Residents'

10 Coalition. I said that no decision had been

11 communicated and I would like to know what decision had

12 been taken, because we had a right to go to court to

13 review such a decision. I was on my own as most of the

14 residents were sitting down in the road.

15 "One officer grabbed my right arm and pulled me into

16 the middle of the police."

17 Then Mr Mageean comments:

18 "(Rosemary's right arm was visibly bruised on the

19 upper part when I was taking this statement.) I was

20 surrounded by police officers. One said, 'Rosemary, you

21 Fenian fucker'. I said, 'Could I have your number' and

22 he told me to fuck off and he spat at me on my face. I

23 am not sure if the police were touching me during this,

24 but other people who witnessed the incident said that I

25 was being pushed by the officers. I have bruises to my

 

 

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1 right shoulder and to my legs. I am also extremely

2 stiff and sore.

3 "I saw some reaction from the crowd and I shouted to

4 them not to react. The police then let me walk away.

5 I then went to find a female journalist who was to the

6 scene, Susan McKay from the Sunday Tribune who

7 accompanied me from thereon and may be able to

8 corroborate much of what happened."

9 Sir, you will remember that one of the clips

10 I showed you earlier on last week was an interview which

11 eventually formed an extract, part of the CAJ video

12 "Policing the Police", which contained this account

13 using the expressions attributed to the police, and you

14 will remember at the end of that piece that she said

15 that she had never been so frightened in her life.

16 Sir, I have taken you to this because this is the

17 foundation of the complaint, but also because it sets

18 the scene which we then follow through in our chronology

19 of events. So, so far as Rosemary Nelson was concerned,

20 she was there in her capacity as the solicitor to the

21 Coalition. She had instructions, which is obviously

22 language consistent with her occupying that role, to

23 institute proceedings by getting the judge out of bed,

24 presumably to get an injunction to bring the march to

25 a halt and to challenge the decision.

 

 

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1 Everybody was poised to take those urgent legal

2 steps, but as you see from her statement, nobody knew

3 what decision had been taken because there was no

4 communication.

5 Now, you then see in the second paragraph that there

6 was a false alarm. The siren which the community is

7 using to warn residents of something happening goes off,

8 but it is a false alarm. And she then says that maybe

9 more than an hour later she heard the siren again and

10 then went out on to the road. And reading the rest the

11 statement, one gets the impression that the assault of

12 which she complained took place just after that; in

13 other words, just after the hour or whatever it was had

14 elapsed after the false alarm. Because we will see,

15 sir, when we look at this chronology and at the

16 investigation of the complaint, that one of the

17 difficulties in trying to piece together the jigsaw of

18 events is the time at which the assault, if that is what

19 it was, took place, and you will see that differing

20 views were expressed.

21 Sir, that is the background, sir, and looking

22 briefly at our chronology of events, you will see the

23 first entry is 0.16 am, and I just want to show you

24 where a lot of entries come from in the chronology.

25 There, a document called the "Command Room Log", and

 

 

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1 it begins in our bundle at RNI-303-107 (displayed).

2 What the chronology does is to trace this through with

3 very short periods between entries, as the incident

4 which became violent and difficult to manage proceeded.

5 The chronology I mentioned goes on to

6 page RNI-303-128 of the bundle, although in fact, it

7 does not occupy and simply records events from midnight

8 on the 6th until about 42 minutes past 4 that afternoon.

9 Now, sir, the first thing I want to draw to your

10 attention specifically is the statement referred to at

11 the bottom of the first page under the heading

12 "2.30 am", and this is a statement of a man called

13 Gerald Lally and he was a member of the bar in the

14 United States of America. He was present on the

15 Garvaghy Road that year as an international observer.

16 I can't remember if we have seen reference to the

17 presence of such people at parades before -- I think we

18 have -- but they were a feature of the parades. They

19 were brought in to provide independent witness, as it

20 were, of what was going on in this hotly contentious

21 atmosphere and they are a feature too of the

22 investigation of the complaint.

23 He says in his statement -- look, please, at

24 RNI-303-031 (displayed). It is about three quarters of

25 the way down this page:

 

 

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1 "At around 2.30 am on 6th July 1997, I was awakened by

2 the family I was staying with, and at about 3.30 am

3 I took up a vantage point at high ground overlooking the

4 Garvaghy Road. This was in the general area of what was

5 described as the peace camp."

6 Sir, helpfully in the bundle we have a map, which is

7 at RNI-303-129. You remember that I have shown you

8 a graphic map with the routes of the marches. I think

9 for your purposes this is more useful at the moment. It

10 is part of the investigation material. You will see the

11 cipher there of the investigating officer, who, as we

12 will discover, was the same one who dealt with the

13 Mulvihill and other complaints, and the reference by

14 Mr Lally to the peace camp there is helpfully pointed

15 out.

16 You will see the top left "to Drumcree church".

17 Underneath the peace camp, there is a little box

18 referring to the sitdown protest and running through the

19 map, going diagonally down from top left to bottom

20 right, is the road itself.

21 Now, returning to Mr Lally and RNI-303-031, please

22 (displayed), what he does is to tell us that the family

23 woke him up at half past 2, and I have shown you that

24 because, as we will see, other evidence suggests that

25 this was the time of the false alarm, so 2.30, the time

 

 

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1 of the false alarm, and that would mean on

2 Rosemary Nelson's account certainly that after 3.30, one

3 hour later, as she put it, the time of the assault.

4 Look, please, at the next entry in the chronology,

5 RNI-303-109 (displayed), because here the command room

6 log says under "Persons Gathering, 0233", that a siren

7 has gone off, people are coming out of their homes on to

8 the road. So again, it may well be that that was the

9 first siren and what turned out to be a false alarm

10 referred to by Rosemary Nelson in her own statement.

11 If we follow it through to later on RNI-303-109 at

12 the bottom of the screen where we have it now:

13 "Crowds are dispersing."

14 And that may fit in with what Rosemary Nelson said

15 about urging people back into their houses.

16 Moving through our chronology to 0300 am, we will

17 see at RNI-303-028 (displayed) the statement of

18 a redacted witness, who says at the bottom of that page:

19 "What I did see ..."

20 This is about six lines up from the bottom:

21 "What I did see was when we were awakened at about

22 0300, there was an Army and police operation to secure

23 the Garvaghy Road. There was what turned out to be

24 a false alarm. This was at 3 am, and then when

25 operation proper began about half an hour later, I was

 

 

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1 at the far end and I didn't see the operation to clear

2 the road up."

3 Now, this witness in what, as I say, is almost bound

4 to have been a confused and tense time, puts the false

5 alarm at 3 and, as it were, the operation proper half an

6 hour later, by which route we still arrive at the

7 operation proper beginning at 3.30.

8 Now, we have at this stage further evidence at

9 RNI-303-145 (displayed) on this in a statement of

10 another redacted witness with a helpful list of timings

11 on the left, where he puts 3.30 as the moment when the

12 police and the Army, as he puts it, the RUC, backed up

13 by the British Army, moved in. And his statement, to

14 which we shall return, then sets out events during the

15 rest of the early morning.

16 There is further corroboration of this in the

17 British Irish Rights Watch files, and can we look,

18 please, at RNI-115-303 (displayed) and in a familiar

19 way, this is a note from Jane Winter, we think,

20 certainly from British Irish Rights Watch, recording

21 a conversation with Rosemary Nelson on the next day,

22 7th July. And she says at the beginning of the third

23 paragraph reporting the conversation:

24 "At around 3.30 am, she was summoned by the

25 residents."

 

 

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1 There you see her account given the next day to

2 Jane Winter. It is the same day as the statement was

3 taken by Mr Mageean of what had happened.

4 "She went up to a RUC officer and asked who was in

5 charge. He replied, 'Fuck off'. She explained that she

6 was a lawyer acting for the residents and asked again

7 who was in large. At this point, she was grabbed by the

8 shoulder and, in her words, thrown around like a wet

9 rag. The RUC officers concerned in this assault were

10 wearing balaclava face masks and their identification

11 numbers were obscured so she was unable to identify any

12 of them.

13 "In the course of this assault, the police officer

14 called her a Fenian Republican fucker and another

15 officer spat in her face. Residents who witnessed the

16 incident called on the RUC to leave her along but she

17 appealed to the residents not to become involved.

18 "After the incident, an American observer whose

19 identity Rosemary Nelson does not know asked her if she

20 was all right."

21 Now, sir, the significant thing about this is

22 that -- again, dated 7th July, I remind you -- it goes

23 on to record from the same conversation a second matter

24 taking place over an hour later:

25 "At around 4.40 or 4.45 am, Rosemary Nelson was

 

 

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1 again assaulted by an RUC officer. On this occasion,

2 she witnessed an RUC man who was holding a boy aged

3 about 14 by the hair and was about to strike him in the

4 face with a baton. She intervened, warning the RUC

5 officer that she was observing his acts. He let the boy

6 go. Immediately afterwards, Rosemary Nelson was struck

7 on the shoulder with a police riot shield. She is sure

8 that the RUC officers concerned knew that she was

9 a solicitor and was present at the request of her

10 clients."

11 Then the note records her explaining that she was:

12 "... black and blue with bruises, especially on her

13 shoulder and says that she was stiff and sore. She

14 found it very frightening being surrounded by

15 unidentifiable and violent RUC officers whom she felt to

16 be out of control. Susan McKay ..."

17 That name again:

18 "... a journalist with the Sunday Tribune, witnessed

19 at least some of these events, and Rosemary Nelson gave

20 video interviews to observers from Amnesty International

21 and Human Rights Watch concerning the assaults."

22 Now, we certainly have video material -- I am not

23 sure it comes from either of those organisations, or

24 rather not on this point, the one we saw earlier -- but,

25 sir, this note made of a conversation which took place

 

 

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1 the very next day, therefore discloses a second incident

2 not of abuse, verbal abuse, but of assault. And as we

3 will see, as the matter develops and the investigation

4 continues, there was an attempt to get to the bottom of

5 what had happened on both of these occasions.

6 There is one further point I wish to draw to your

7 attention on the British Irish note, if we could turn

8 the page, please, at RNI-115-304 (displayed):

9 "She was and remains very concerned about numerous

10 incidents of ill-treatment of her clients by RUC

11 officers which she witnessed. Various Irish TDs,

12 including Eamon O'Cuiv and an Irish MEP,

13 Patricia McKenna, also witnessed these incidents."

14 We will see in the investigation that TDs were

15 approached to see what light they could shed on the

16 matter with significant results.

17 So the way it is put then by Rosemary Nelson herself

18 in this -- can we go back to 303, please -- in this

19 attendance note is the first incident is 3.30, as

20 I suggested, and the second just over an hour later.

21 Now, looking again at the contemporaneous material,

22 you will see in another report by Mr Lally, this time to

23 a law society, at RNI-303-171 (displayed), he puts the

24 matter as getting started so far as the security force

25 operation was concerned at 3.30, which he does in his

 

 

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1 third paragraph:

2 "At approximately 3.30 am on 6th July 1997, over

3 1,500 British troops and RUC officers arrived in

4 Drumcree. Shortly thereafter, the RUC began to

5 violently remove about 200 peaceful protesters from the

6 top of Garvaghy Road."

7 Now, in that statement, as in a number of accounts

8 given by people present, there is no reference to the

9 incident of assault with which we are concerned. And in

10 the statement Mr Lally gave to the police, the same is

11 true, that in relation to this particular matter, he

12 does not describe the incident at 3.30, although he

13 does, as we will see in a minute, describe what may have

14 been a later or separate incident involving abuse and

15 a confrontation between Rosemary Nelson and the police.

16 Now, sir, if that is, as it were, one side, we can

17 look next, please, at the other and the chronology at

18 page 5 at the top, because here we have a statement

19 referred to 3.30 am, a statement of Sergeant P221, and

20 that is at RNI-303-040 (displayed). He introduces his

21 statement by saying that:

22 "At that time on that date [he] was on public order

23 duty with a mobile support unit and other police in

24 relation to the church parade and counter-protest. All

25 police were dressed in full public order kit and we were

 

 

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1 deployed in the Ashgrove/Churchill Park area."

2 He is a witness then to an incident involving

3 Rosemary Nelson, and I am going to read the relevant

4 passage in full:

5 "While on this outer cordon, I observed

6 Rosemary Nelson, solicitor, approaching the police lines

7 to my left. I noticed that she was accompanied by

8 a TV cameraman and female journalist who was taking

9 notes. It looked to me as if Rosemary Nelson was

10 speaking to every policeman in the outer cordon line as

11 she walked towards our unit from my left-hand side.

12 "As she got closer to me, I could hear that she was

13 asking the police officers for their name and numbers

14 through their shields. Although I did not hear any

15 police officers reply, on reaching me I could see that

16 she was very upset and she asked me for my number.

17 I spoke to Rosemary Nelson and I told her that my

18 numerical number was ..."

19 Then he gives it:

20 "As I was telling Rosemary Nelson this, I could see

21 that the female journalist was taking note of this.

22 I also think that I gave her my name, rank and station

23 too, but would not be 100 per cent certain of this. When

24 I gave Rosemary Nelson my number, she stated for the

25 press that she wasn't sure if I was the police officer who

 

 

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1 pushed her and called her a Fenian bastard. I noticed

2 that the journalist was still writing and I made no

3 reply to Rosemary Nelson's untruthful

4 statement/allegation against me. Rosemary Nelson then

5 left the area that I was in.

6 "I did not physically or verbally abuse

7 Rosemary Nelson, nor did I see any other police officer

8 do so. The only abusive remarks ..."

9 I think that should be gestures:

10 "... that were being made were from the local

11 residents' protesters towards our lines. I reported

12 this incident to my bronze commander and

13 Inspector McKee, my own inspector. I was not in

14 a position to obtain further details from

15 Rosemary Nelson in relation to this incident due to the

16 hostile environment and area we were in."

17 If I may say so immediately, that is a point to be

18 recalled about all of this evidence, that the witnesses

19 are not describing events which took place in a peaceful

20 or calm context; they were describing events in the

21 middle of what turned out to be a very, very unpleasant

22 confrontation indeed.

23 Sir, this is, you may think, a significant piece of

24 evidence, not only in relation to what may have happened

25 but also in relation to timing. The statement begins

 

 

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1 with the single, as it were, look at the clock and that

2 is at 0330, the one we have seen. However, it does not

3 assist us with any further timings, particularly in

4 relation to the incident involving Rosemary Nelson.

5 What is notable, however, is that by the time this

6 officer sees her approaching the police lines with the

7 TV cameraman and the journalist who is taking notes --

8 and it may be that this is the same journalist,

9 Susan McKay, whose name you have seen earlier -- she

10 was:

11 "... very upset and asked me for my number."

12 And the exchange which then occurs between the two

13 of them, where she is asking or commenting, as he says,

14 for the press, that she wasn't sure if:

15 "... I was the police officer who pushed her."

16 Is all of piece with the assault or the events she

17 described in her statement "having already taken place".

18 In other words, what this police officer describes

19 is the aftermath and not the event; it is the moment at

20 which she is upset, the event has happened, she goes to

21 the lines to get details to, as it were, take up the

22 matter and effectively to raise what has happened to her

23 with those at the police line.

24 As I say, unfortunately he doesn't give us, perhaps

25 unsurprisingly, a more precise timing of this because it

 

 

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1 might in turn help us to fix more accurately the likely

2 timing of what appears to have been the preceding

3 events, the preceding assault.

4 Now, you will remember, sir, that the sergeant

5 refers to his bronze commander, and we will see the

6 statement of what I think is the bronze commander at

7 RNI-303-061. It is Superintendent Boyd, and he also

8 helps us with timing in the sense that he deals with

9 events in the early hours of that morning, where he was

10 in command on the ground, as it were, and times his area

11 of supervision to 3.30 at the bottom of

12 page RNI-303-061, and explains that he was there with

13 his men and there was also a strong military presence.

14 That statement -- I don't wish to dwell on it any

15 further for the moment -- deals with his account from

16 this position of command amongst the police of what

17 thereafter happened, including the business of having to

18 remove sitdown protesters from their position in the

19 middle of the road.

20 Sir, I mentioned earlier that in the investigation

21 which took place there was an attempt made to obtain

22 comment or evidence from the three Irish elected

23 representatives, and this was done, of course, through

24 the Irish police. And we will see the results of it,

25 which also relates to this issue, at RNI-303-026

 

 

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1 (displayed). There are their names set out. You will

2 see in fact that one of them was a minister. One of

3 them was the Deputy Chairman of the Irish Parliament and

4 the third was the leader of the Green Party in Ireland.

5 Although we don't have statements from them, we do

6 have this letter which gives brief details of their

7 comments. The first, the minister, said that he was

8 there adjacent to the Garvaghy Road at the time in

9 question. He said the situation was extremely tense.

10 He has no memory of any assault on Mrs Rosemary Nelson

11 at this time and his recollection is that:

12 "Uniformed members of the RUC were certainly acting

13 in a manner which was not civil towards Mrs Nelson. He

14 did say, however, that he would not be in a position to

15 identify any specific RUC officer who was involved."

16 Then he deals with some of the other people present

17 and the fact that a local councillor had been taken to

18 hospital, and he makes the suggestion that the

19 officer -- that is the Irish police officer -- should

20 speak to the third Irish politician. Then on the second

21 page, at RNI-303-027, Dr O'Hanlon said that he was

22 present at the time:

23 "Mrs Nelson was in negotiations with the RUC in

24 relation to what was happening at the time. He said

25 that the RUC acted with incivility not only towards

 

 

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1 Mrs Nelson but against the general population present at

2 the time."

3 Then he refers to other people who were there, and

4 in the last sentence of that paragraph:

5 "Again, Dr O'Hanlon says that he would be unable to

6 identify any specific officer who was involved and he

7 did not witness any assault on Mrs Nelson. Based on

8 what the minister said to me, I spoke to [the third

9 politician] Mr Sargent in relation to the matter, and

10 again, he confirmed he was on the Garvaghy Road on the

11 occasion. His recollection is that he observed

12 Mrs Nelson acting in the role of negotiator and that she

13 was treated with disdain by RUC personnel on the

14 occasion. He also stated that RUC personnel present had

15 treated Mrs Nelson with a distinct lack of respect as

16 a woman, as a solicitor and as a negotiator. Again,

17 Mr Sargent did not witness any physical assault on

18 Mrs Nelson and he would not be in a position to identify

19 any specific officer.

20 "All three persons outlined above have confirmed

21 they are willing to be interviewed in relation to what

22 they know, though they accept they have no specific

23 knowledge or they can't specifically identify any

24 individual RUC officer involved in any wrongdoing."

25 And the letter concludes.

 

 

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1 Now, sir, what that seems to disclose is that none

2 of the Irish politicians could speak to the alleged

3 assault and that, as we will discover, was the matter

4 that was being investigated when this letter was

5 written.

6 But what they all speak to is the way in which in

7 their view she, Rosemary Nelson, was being treated and

8 spoken to by RUC personnel on the Garvaghy Road.

9 Sir, would that be a convenient moment for our

10 15-minute break?

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly. Just after half past.

12 (3.17 pm)

13 (Short break)

14 (3.30 pm)

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

16 MR PHILLIPS: Now, sir, we were looking at the material

17 which might help both on the assault itself and when it

18 might have taken place. There is a further piece of

19 material I should show you on timing and it is at

20 RNI-303-110 (displayed), and that is an extract from the

21 command log we have seen part of before. But the key

22 aspect for present purposes is at "0330 Deployment":

23 "Insertion deployment by all units."

24 So the various accounts we have got from the bronze

25 commander down on that side and indeed from the

 

 

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1 residents or eye-witnesses rather, points to this: 0330

2 is when the actual deployment intended eventually to

3 clear the road so as to enable the decision which had

4 been taken, namely that the march should be allowed to

5 proceed down the Garvaghy Road, to take place.

6 And it sets, as it were, the starting point for the

7 clock which we will have to follow through so far as

8 when the events we are particularly concerned with might

9 have taken place.

10 Now, moving down the chronology to 4 am, we see

11 there a reference to another redacted witness, and that

12 is at RNI-303-056 (displayed), his statement and he says

13 that:

14 "At approximately 0400 hours on this date, I was

15 part of the cordon at Ashgrove Road, Garvaghy Road, I

16 was standing beside ..."

17 And this is the sergeant whose statement I showed

18 you just a little while ago at RNI-303-040 and

19 RNI-303-041 of the same file, the sergeant who described

20 Mrs Nelson approaching the police line and asking for

21 information:

22 "I observed a female, who I know to be

23 Mrs Rosemary Nelson, approach the police line.

24 Mrs Nelson addressed a number of the officers asking to

25 speak to someone in command. No one responded to

 

 

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1 Mrs Nelson. I then observed Sergeant [then the ciphered

2 name] step forward and overheard him give Mrs Nelson his

3 identification details. At no time did I observe any

4 member of the police line assault or spit at Mrs Nelson.

5 To my knowledge, the only member who spoke to Mrs Nelson

6 was Sergeant [then the cipher]."

7 He then recites how long after the event he was

8 shown by the investigating officer,

9 Chief Inspector Oliver, a photograph of Mrs Nelson and

10 identified her from that.

11 Sir, these two statements, therefore -- this

12 statement, P230, and the statement of P221, I showed you

13 earlier -- do appear to fit neatly together and this

14 statement, unlike the previous one, does contain a rough

15 timing for the approach to the police line. The

16 question, therefore, which arises is: is it right,

17 therefore, that by approximately 0400 hours, as he puts

18 it, the assault, if that is what it was, had already

19 taken place, thus explaining why the previous officer

20 said that Mrs Nelson was very upset. And also

21 explaining why she should be asking for police

22 identification and numbers.

23 Now, moving the chronology on to 4.20, we see

24 a reference at the bottom of page 6 to the statement of

25 Susan McKay, and we have seen her name on a number of

 

 

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1 occasions now. Her statement is in the form I think of

2 a letter and begins at RNI-303-023. It is dated

3 31st May, so a considerable amount of time after these

4 events had taken place and after the murder of

5 Rosemary Nelson.

6 She writes to the investigating officer:

7 "Thank you for your letter of 19th May. I was in

8 Portadown covering events connected with the disputed

9 Orange Parade at Drumcree for the Sunday Tribune

10 in July 1997."

11 Then she says that she was staying in a bed and

12 breakfast place on the night:

13 "At about 4 am on Sunday, 6th July, I arrived at

14 Ashgrove to observe what was happening on the

15 Garvaghy Road having heard that a large number of riot

16 police had moved in and that it appeared the way was

17 being cleared for the Orange Parade to proceed.

18 "Near the community centre, I met Rosemary Nelson

19 who he knew to be the solicitor representing the

20 Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition. We had spoken the

21 day before. She told me that the RUC had assaulted her

22 and used abusive language to her. She said they threw

23 me about the road and said I was nothing but a Fenian

24 bitch. She seemed very angry and shaken by the incident

25 as well as by the general situation. She said she had

 

 

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1 been unable to get the identification number of the

2 officer who had done this and wished to do so in order

3 to make a complaint.

4 "I accompanied her as she approached a RUC man

5 standing in Ashgrove. She said, 'I am

6 Rosemary Nelson, solicitor for the residents group'.

7 The RUC man said in a sneering way, 'So?'. She

8 continued, 'One of your officers threw me about the road

9 like a sack of potatoes. I asked for his number.' The

10 RUC man said, 'If you want to make a complaint, go to

11 Portadown police station'.

12 "I walked with Mrs Nelson up to the police lines

13 along the main Garvaghy Road. The protesting residents

14 were on the road behind the line. We approached

15 a policeman who was near the line on the Ashgrove side.

16 Mrs Nelson said, 'Can I get through here?' The

17 policeman said, 'Go to the complaints officer'. He

18 walked off. I spoke to several people in the area back

19 from police lines. I then approached the lines again

20 with Mrs Nelson. An RUC man said to the crowd,

21 including us, 'There is a demonstration going on and you

22 go up there at your risk'. Mrs Nelson said to a RUC

23 man, 'Could one of you please identify the RUC man who

24 threw me about the road like a sack of potatoes?' The

25 man walked away. Another RUC man said, 'Sorry,

 

 

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1 Rosemary, you can't get through'. This man's number was

2 ..."

3 Then she gives the number:

4 "Mrs Nelson said, 'Can I have access to my clients?'

5 He said, 'Go to the inspector'. She repeated, 'Can

6 I get through to my clients?' He said, 'Not at the

7 present time'. It was 4.20 at this point."

8 In fact, just pausing at this stage, this gives us

9 a set of times which is, if I can put it this way, not

10 completely inconsistent with the material we have seen

11 already. The starting point is 4 am or at about that

12 time. She meets Rosemary Nelson at that point and on

13 her account the assault has already taken place, because

14 Rosemary Nelson describes what has happened to her and

15 describes how she had been unable to get the numbers.

16 And then they go together to various police officers at

17 the bottom of RNI-303-023 and over on to RNI-303-024,

18 and there is then a conversation which, looking and

19 comparing the two statements, would appear to have

20 been -- and this is in the middle of page RNI-303-024 --

21 the officer who says 'Sorry, Rosemary, you can't get

22 through', that would appear to be the same officer whose

23 statement I showed you, P221. And then a conversation

24 takes place which she puts at 4.20.

25 Reading on:

 

 

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1 "Mrs Nelson went through the crowd urging people to

2 keep it a peaceful protest. She continued to ask RUC

3 men on the line, 'Could somebody please get me the Chief

4 Inspector?' She asked this twice, adding the second

5 time, 'I want to see my clients'. She was meanwhile

6 attempting to keep people from trying to push through

7 the police. She shouted at one man to get back. It was

8 4.35 and we could hear what sounded like plastic bullets

9 being fired nearby. Mrs Nelson again asked to be

10 allowed through, a RUC man said no.

11 "We approached an RUC officer whom I took to be of

12 senior rank. He was standing back from the lines.

13 Mrs Nelson again demanded access to her clients. He

14 replied, 'I can't talk to you if someone is taking

15 notes'. She introduced me by name and said I was a

16 Sunday Tribune journalist. He said, 'I am not prepared

17 to be used to further your desire for publicity'."

18 Then over the page at RNI-303-025:

19 "I saw no further exchanges between Miss Nelson and

20 the RUC. The above is based on my recollection from

21 that morning with quotations taken from my reporter's

22 notebook of that day."

23 Indeed, if this was the journalist described by the

24 officers, she was indeed, on her own statement, taking

25 notes, writing down what exchanges took place and using

 

 

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1 them, as she says, to put together the statement with

2 the various accounts of conversations between

3 Rosemary Nelson and the officers.

4 This statement, therefore, deals with, as it were,

5 the aftermath; it does not describe an assault. It

6 describes events after that, an attempt, various

7 attempts being made in the middle, it must be

8 remembered, of this very difficult public order

9 situation by Rosemary Nelson to get details and to take

10 her complaint up, and being met with reactions of

11 varying kinds from the officers present.

12 It is important, as I have said before, to keep hold

13 in one's mind of the events that were actually going on

14 around these exchanges, and can I just illustrate by

15 looking at the command log again at RNI-303-112

16 (displayed). If you remember, Susan McKay's statement

17 referred to something happening at 4.20:

18 "4.19. Police under attack from bronze 4. His

19 units are coming under attack at Ballyoran Hill in

20 Garvaghy Road. 4.36: stoning is continuing."

21 There you will see at the top of the page, reference

22 to PBR, plastic baton round, casualties, and then again

23 at 4.38 and below that at 4.22, in fact, that baton

24 rounds were being fired.

25 At that point, we move into another part of the

 

 

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1 evidence and this is in the chronology on page 7 against

2 4.40 am, and the reference is to file RNI-115-111.

3 (Displayed)

4 Sir, this is the note I showed you and it records

5 the telephone conversation that I mentioned, and it is

6 at this point then, 4.40, that it is said that the

7 second assault took place.

8 Looking at it in a little more detail than we did on

9 the first pass with this document, note that the detail

10 provided is limited and that the assault consists of

11 being struck on the shoulder with a riot shield. And

12 the point that she was keen to make to Jane Winter is

13 that the officers concerned knew what her role was, knew

14 why she was there, i.e. as a lawyer representing her

15 clients, the residents on the road.

16 In the short extract, the interview that we saw last

17 week, there is, as far as one can see at any rate, no

18 reference by her to this particular incident. The

19 matters covered in the interview, if you recall, were to

20 do with the first one, where there was not only, she

21 says, assault but also abuse; the one where, in this

22 note, she says that she was thrown around like a wet

23 rag.

24 Moving on through the chronology to the top of

25 page 8, we get to 5.30 and we have a statement referred

 

 

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1 to there at RNI-303-028. Now, this is a statement

2 I have mentioned at an earlier stage to get us a timing

3 for the matters and at RNI-303-028 at the bottom of the

4 page -- we have already looked at the reference to

5 0300 -- the witness stays, the very last line:

6 "The incident I did witness happened at about

7 5.30 am when a group of about 75 people sat down on the

8 road. The police operation to clear them was very

9 organised and professionally executed. Three officers

10 would lift each sit-down protester and take them through

11 the outer police line to effectively eject them from the

12 roadway area. A lot of the time the protester would run

13 back, attack the riot police, but invariably this was

14 futile as they were fully clothed in protective

15 equipment."

16 He then sets out the rest of the observations that

17 he made on the road, but said, so far as we are

18 concerned, if you turn over to RNI-303-030 (displayed),

19 please, the second line of RNI-303-030:

20 "In relation to Mrs Nelson, I did not have any dealings

21 with her at any time, so I cannot say anything about any

22 complaints concerning her."

23 The command room log deals with the matter of the

24 protest from the other side at RNI-303-114 of the same

25 file, RNI-303-114. And at 0038:

 

 

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1 "Removal of protesters from the road. A certain

2 amount of resistance."

3 Sir, the next statement I wish to show you in the

4 chronology, which deals with around 6 am -- we are still

5 to page 8 -- is the statement of somebody called

6 Tom Cusack, and that can be seen at RNI-303-019.

7 Now, this is dated at the end of the month, July --

8 31st July 1997 -- and I intend to read it all:

9 "On the morning of 6th July 1997 at around

10 6 o'clock, I was with other residents. We were between

11 Churchill Park and Ballyoran Park. The Army stopped and

12 would not let us go any further. Rosemary Nelson,

13 solicitor, was with us as an independent observer. She

14 asked could she go through the Army lines because she

15 was an independent observer. They let her through, but

16 they would not let us through. I seen her going through

17 the Army lines towards the police lines, outside Judge's

18 shop at Ashgrove Road.

19 "When I seen her go through the Army lines on her

20 own, I began to fear for her safety. When she

21 approached the police lines, I could see her getting

22 physically abused. The police were throwing her around

23 like a rag doll. When she came back down through the

24 Army lines, she was badly shaken and crying. We had to

25 try and comfort her.

 

 

129

 

1 "A couple of hours later in the Ballyoran Estate

2 I witnessed a policewoman nudging her colleagues on the

3 police line and pointing out Rosemary Nelson. They were

4 laughing and shouting abuse at her."

5 This statement, therefore, introduces a new timing

6 to the relevant events, because although a familiar

7 expression, i.e. that the police were throwing her around

8 like a rag doll or, in her expressions given by other

9 witnesses, like a sack of potatoes, like a wet rag, this

10 witness puts the timing considerably later, i.e. at around

11 6 o'clock. But it comes to take on some significance

12 here because of a statement in fact given by

13 Rosemary Nelson herself during the course of the

14 investigation which I would like to show you now, not

15 least because it is very short. It is at RNI-303-015,

16 dated 21st September (displayed):

17 "Further to my statement of 7th July ..."

18 That is the statement we have seen given to

19 Paul Mageean:

20 "... I would like to add that a Tom Cusack from ..."

21 Then she gives his address:

22 "... witnessed the incident involving me and may

23 well be willing to make a statement in support of my

24 complaint.

25 "I have nothing further to add to my statement dated

 

 

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1 7th July 1997, which was taken by Mr Paul Mageean. I

2 understand that Gerald Lally has already supplied

3 a statement in support of my complaint. I am unable to

4 identify or describe any of the police officers who were

5 involved in the incident with me. They were wearing

6 balaclava-type helmets and the nature of the uniform was

7 such that their numbers were covered."

8 Sir, just pausing there, in the material which

9 surrounded the marches every year -- you will remember

10 I referred to reports compiled by NGOs and others

11 concerning these incidents -- there was a regular theme,

12 which is that identification marks on officers' uniforms

13 were covered up, whether deliberately or not, so that if

14 there were incidents of this kind, officers could not be

15 identified by their numbers, by their identification

16 marks, and thus complaints about them could not be

17 brought home.

18 Again, we have seen various discussions in the

19 material about those complaints and how they were dealt

20 with by the police. Just to complete the picture, at

21 this time, September 1998, of course, the

22 Patten Commission had already begun its work. And in

23 this area, as with a large number of other areas, it was

24 the Patten Commission who finally disposed of this for

25 once and for all in their report. And in

 

 

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1 paragraph 9.18, for everybody's reference, they said:

2 "The police must be fully accountable for public

3 order policing as for any other aspect of their work."

4 Then in recommendation 72, they said that:

5 "Officers' identification numbers should be clearly

6 visible on their protective clothing, just as they

7 should be on regular uniforms."

8 That, so far as the Patten Commission was concerned,

9 was the end of that.

10 Now, Mr Cusack gave another statement later, during

11 the investigation, which is relevant to us on this

12 question of timing and what had happened. It is at

13 RNI-303-020 (displayed) and it is referred to at the

14 very bottom of page 8, reading over to the top of page 9

15 of our little chronology.

16 You will see here that in more detail than in the

17 statement we have seen already he gives the

18 circumstances that he says he witnessed, and says in the

19 second line:

20 "Further to this statement ..."

21 The one I have shown you:

22 "... and with particular reference to the incident

23 involving the police and Rosemary Nelson outside Judge's

24 shop, I wish to state that I was only about 60 feet away

25 and had an clear view of events.

 

 

132

 

1 "When I say that, I could see Rosemary Nelson

2 getting physically abused, I actually saw about three or

3 four police push her to the ground and drag her by the

4 shoulder. I would not be in a position to identify

5 these police as they were in monkey suits. However,

6 I did have a clear view of the assault."

7 Moving on a few lines:

8 "When Rosemary Nelson returned to our position, she

9 was badly shaken and crying. As far as I can remember,

10 the reason that she approached police at this time was

11 because they were holding residents on the road."

12 Then he repeats his evidence about seeing

13 a policewoman pointing out Rosemary Nelson to her mates

14 and they were laughing and shouting abuse to her, and

15 describes more incidents which she says were of abuse,

16 although it is not accompanied by an assault, as he

17 says, on the next page, RNI-303-021, says that:

18 "There were three or four of them around the

19 policewoman and including her, shouting abuse. There

20 was no assault at this point. I heard the policewoman

21 shout, 'Away back to Lurgan, you beast, you' and the

22 other police were shouting things like, 'You whore,

23 you'."

24 Then he gives a description and explains in the last

25 sentence why it was he had made a statement in July,

 

 

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1 because of a result of his indignation and disgust at

2 the police action in the Garvaghy Road and area that

3 day, i.e. 6th July 1997.

4 Now, this statement, sir, is devoid of any timing

5 indications. It does not assist us with the suggestion

6 that he first made, that the events took place at

7 6 o'clock rather than considerably earlier. It also, as

8 you will have seen, contains fuller detail than is set

9 out on his short statement at RNI-303-019, in relation

10 to the second part of the incident, namely the abuse.

11 He describes the number of people involved and the

12 particular abuse that was hurled, he says, in the

13 direction of Rosemary Nelson.

14 Some further material on timing comes from

15 a statement given on 24th May 2000 by Paul Nelson. That

16 is in the bundle at RNI-303-022 (displayed). He

17 explains that he is the husband of the late

18 Mrs Rosemary Nelson:

19 "Around 6 am on Sunday, 6th July, Rosemary

20 accidentally phoned me on her mobile telephone. She was

21 very agitated and upset. She said the police had

22 invaded Garvaghy Road and that she had been pushed and

23 shoved. She did not identify any police. She said that

24 she would contact me later. That was about it. She did

25 not provide any further information later. She told me

 

 

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1 the police involved had no identification and were

2 wearing boiler suits."

3 Sir, just pausing there, if that and its timing is

4 right, then the agitated or upset state that the police

5 witness puts rather earlier in the course of the night

6 was either repeated later, or in fact on this line of

7 statements I have now been showing you, is properly to

8 be put later in the night at about 6 o'clock.

9 Now, so far as the police side of things is

10 concerned, can we look at the statement of Norman McKee,

11 which is at RNI-303-038. He was on duty that day, in

12 charge of one of the mobile support units, and his unit

13 were in full riot gear. And he explains that he

14 witnessed events at about 6 o'clock:

15 "I recall Mrs Rosemary Nelson and a gentleman with

16 an American accent approached the line and asked to

17 speak to me. I recall, as best to my knowledge, that

18 Mrs Nelson requested to speak to the senior officer in

19 charge of the operation. I explained that the bronze

20 commander was in charge and that I would have to make an

21 effort to track him down and get him to speak to her.

22 Mrs Nelson and this gentleman then left my position and

23 walked away."

24 He then explains how he knew he was an American. He

25 went to find the bronze commander who, as I suggested to

 

 

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1 you, is Superintendent Boyd -- that is at the top of the

2 next page, RNI-303-039 -- but he was unsuccessful. He said:

3 "During this time, there was nothing untoward

4 happening. Things were relatively peaceful. No

5 allegations of assault or any altercation were made to

6 me at this time."

7 Then he describes a video, which you will see

8 reference to later, which I think I am right in saying

9 in fact came from the Army, although at this point it

10 was held at the local police station, in which he

11 identified both Rosemary Nelson and the American he had

12 seen walking away from the police lines.

13 Sir, it is a very short clip of film and you can no

14 doubt see it in due course. Suffice it to say that it

15 does not appear, does not appear, to show somebody who

16 is in the immediate aftermath of an unpleasant assault,

17 is perhaps all I will say about it for the moment.

18 Now, so far as the command log is concerned, I will

19 just show you the passages from after 6 o'clock,

20 RNI-303-115 in the bundle. The road is now clear, it

21 says, at 6.14, and the log continues on to the next

22 page, RNI-303-116.

23 At 0700, there is logged a complaint against police

24 and I have given you this as an example:

25 "At 4 o'clock this morning, Father Stack ..."

 

 

136

 

1 He is of the Residents' Coalition:

2 "A number of people being removed from the road were

3 beaten and kicked by police officers."

4 And that matter is recorded and you will see just

5 below it:

6 "Complaint against Army."

7 Indeed, what one sees going through the whole of

8 this log is various incidents, injuries, arrests,

9 complaints, casualties sustained by the police,

10 everything of interest and importance is recorded,

11 including, for example, damage to property. It is not

12 restricted by any means to physical injury, but at no

13 point in the log does one see a report of the events

14 that we are concerned with now; in other words, that

15 a complaint is received and recorded that

16 Rosemary Nelson had been assaulted.

17 Moving on to the top of page 10, we have more here

18 from Mr Lally, whose statement we have already seen at

19 RNI-303-033 and RNI-303-034. And if we start at

20 RNI-303-033, you remember Rosemary Nelson in her own

21 statement said that she thought he, Mr Lally, had

22 supplied a statement which supported her complaint.

23 Well, here it is, about ten lines:

24 "In relation to the confrontations between

25 Mrs Nelson and the police, I saw some from afar and one

 

 

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1 I witnessed closely was near the junction the Drumcree

2 Road and Garvaghy Road. I cannot recall there was

3 anyone else with Mrs Nelson. A group of mainly elderly

4 residents were trying to get up to their church, but had

5 been prevented from doing so. Mrs Nelson spoke to the

6 police officers and requested to speak to their

7 commanding officer. In my opinion, Mrs Nelson was

8 treated in a very unprofessional manner. Within my

9 earshot, she was called a Fenian bitch and she was

10 pushed about and manhandled. This would have been after

11 it got light and would have been around 7 to 8 am.

12 "I also saw other occasions where Mrs Nelson was

13 attempting to speak to police officers. Mrs Nelson

14 would approach a police line and I could see her at

15 various times being pushed back, sometimes by the riot

16 shields the officers were carrying. I could not hear

17 what was being said at the subsequent confrontations,

18 however, as I was too far away.

19 "I later spoke with Mrs Nelson and she related an

20 account of what had gone on. The incident that

21 I related where Mrs Nelson was assaulted and pushed

22 within my earshot was located close to the junction,

23 maybe the first or second set of houses in from the

24 Drumcree Road, and close to the sidewalk where the

25 police officers were holding the line. There were about

 

 

138

 

1 10 to 12 police officers at that point, but only two or

2 three were directly involved with Mrs Nelson in the

3 pushing and shoving. Although I cannot identify any

4 individual police officers, I am prepared to attend any

5 police disciplinary hearing if so required."

6 Now, this statement, which was made on

7 9th November 1999, so well over two years after the

8 events, introduces some new factors to an already

9 complicated picture. The background to the assault is

10 different. Here, Rosemary Nelson is apparently trying

11 to ensure that elderly residents can get to their

12 church, and secondly, and importantly, it introduces

13 a completely new timing, namely after it got light and

14 around 7 to 8 am. And although he refers to other

15 incidents of her being pushed back, sometimes by the

16 riot shields, it is this one that most closely resembles

17 the main incident with which we are concerned, because

18 of the words "Fenian bitch" that were used, as well as

19 the assault described in that incident.

20 So at this point we, therefore, have the first

21 incident of assault -- I am using the expression first

22 and second, because of Rosemary Nelson's own version of

23 events in the British Irish note -- which took place at,

24 according to what she says and what others seem to

25 suggest, some time after 3.30. However, events which at

 

 

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1 least resemble her description are said by other

2 witnesses to have taken place respectively after

3 6 o'clock, Mr Cusack, and between 7 and 8, Mr Lally.

4 And then there are a variety of other incidents

5 described, one of which in the same British Irish note,

6 7th July, takes place at 4.40, 4.45. There is no abuse

7 cited -- an assault with a riot shield on the shoulder,

8 as I say, it is not clear that that is mentioned in the

9 video'd interview. But others describe -- and I am now

10 referring to the Irish politicians, amongst others --

11 further incidents/encounters where they say that she was

12 treated with incivility. And the final element, you may

13 think, is added by Mr Lally, who says there were other

14 incidents. He couldn't hear what was being said, but he

15 could see her being pushed back, sometimes by the riot

16 shields.

17 Now, sir, the rest of the chronology simply recounts

18 the remainder of the events on the ground and looking at

19 page 10, you will see 10.15, the Orange Parade is

20 forming, the parade reaches the church just before half

21 past 11, and there are Orange supporters, as it is put,

22 gathered at 11.52, up to 1,000 of them. And then you

23 will see the parade ends at 1.30, 926 participants,

24 baton rounds are fired at 1.40, the mayor telephones to

25 congratulate the police on a job well done at 2.45, and

 

 

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1 favourable comment is also made to the divisional

2 commander by the Chairman of the Parades Commission.

3 But that happy picture is somewhat qualified by the

4 final entry, which shows that in fact, as we saw in the

5 chronology, the problems of violence, protest and

6 incident which were provoked by what happened on the

7 Garvaghy Road that day were in fact only just beginning;

8 as you remember from the chronology, it continued for

9 some days thereafter.

10 Sir, that is the material in very summary form, so

11 far as the events on the ground are concerned, and one

12 can see immediately that trying to get to the bottom of

13 what might have happened, given all the various

14 different accounts by eye-witnesses and no doubt

15 eye-witnesses who were doing their best, in relation to

16 the events of this highly charged night on the

17 Garvaghy Road, would have been a very, very daunting

18 undertaking.

19 Even doing what we have done for you in reducing it

20 all in the chronology, you can see, when you actually

21 look at the underlying material, that the picture is, to

22 put it mildly, confused.

23 So let us look now at the second chronology, which

24 is a chronology of the investigation itself and it is

25 a longer chronology, 20 pages, but, as I say, it in fact

 

 

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1 summarises events which take us on until August of 2002,

2 some five years after the events in question.

3 Now, the starting point here, so far as the

4 complaint is concerned, comes on 15th September at

5 RNI-301-012 (displayed). This is the letter from

6 Rosemary Nelson herself, some three months after the

7 event, in which she writes to the Chief Constable about

8 her assault:

9 "Dear Sir, I write in regard to an incident which

10 took place on second, 6th July last on the

11 Garvaghy Road, when I sustained injuries.

12 "I believe the cause of such injuries lies with

13 yourself, and as it is my intention to claim for all

14 personal injuries, loss and damage sustained, I would

15 advise you to pass this letter of claim on to your legal

16 department."

17 Understandably, perhaps, a question is posed by

18 response at RNI-301-016:

19 "Well, is this a civil claim or is it a complaint?"

20 That letter goes to Rosemary Nelson on

21 24th September and she responds at RNI-301-020 saying

22 that it is both. That means that, so far as we are

23 concerned, the matter enters the system. And you will

24 see, at RNI-301-021 another allocation form for this

25 complaint. The nature of the complaint is assault, the

 

 

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1 date 6th July and it is given a reference and the matter

2 proceeds.

3 It is interesting, you may think, to note that this

4 complaint begins in October 1997, which was when, if you

5 remember, the LAJI client statements started to emerge

6 and Mr Lynch, of course, was the man who began that

7 complaint. In the slightly different context but at the

8 same time, he was also active in this matter, and you

9 can see at RNI-301-032 his letter to the investigating

10 officer, who in due course became the investigating

11 officer for this complaint as well, enclosing the LAJI

12 report in relation to the marching season.

13 This covered, sir, three years: 1995, 1996 and 1997,

14 and contained comment and observation about what had

15 happened in those years, and was drawn by him to the

16 attention of the investigating officer in the hope that

17 he, the investigating officer, would respond favourably

18 to the recommendations.

19 It is worth pausing on, from our point of view,

20 because it does indeed deal with our year of concern,

21 1997. It begins at the bottom of page RNI-301-035 with

22 a reference to Miss McKenna, whom we have seen mentioned

23 earlier. Then a fair number of points are made and

24 quotations included. At the bottom of RNI-301-036, it

25 refers to the large number of plastic bullets which were

 

 

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1 fired, 2,400.

2 There is a reference at the top of the next page,

3 RNI-301-037, to a report from the Pat Finucane Centre,

4 the suggestion that the RUC had beaten residents and

5 begun firing plastic bullets, various other matters

6 mentioned.

7 From our point of view, it is interesting, because

8 despite this detail and despite Mr Lynch's involvement

9 with Rosemary Nelson and the LAJI complaint, as far as

10 we can see at any rate, there is no specific reference

11 in these pages to the incident which had apparently

12 taken place on the Garvaghy Road on 6th July.

13 Now, the investigating officer, having had the

14 benefit of that submission, as it were, then commenced

15 the investigation at RNI-301-027, introduced himself to

16 Rosemary Nelson on 21st October, and in a way that we

17 are now very, very familiar with, set up a proposed

18 meeting at Craigavon on 5th November. That is the

19 fourth paragraph.

20 What of the issue of supervision? At RNI-301-030,

21 we can see that the Commission's video, expressed to the

22 head of the Complaints and Discipline branch was that

23 supervision was not appropriate in this case. And there

24 is an interesting insight into their reasoning which we

25 refer to in the chronology, if you look at the next

 

 

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1 page, RNI-310-031. This is the file note made before this letter

2 goes out by the official in the ICPC. He says at (i)

3 the date of the complaint, and he gives some details at

4 (b):

5 "Rosemary Nelson, solicitor, has alleged that she

6 sustained injuries at Garvaghy Road, Portadown on

7 6th July and that the cause of the injuries lies with

8 the police ... this letter is fundamentally notification

9 of intention to take legal actions. No details of

10 Mrs Nelson's injuries are known.

11 "(d) I do not believe Mrs Nelson merits any special

12 consideration simply because of her status and without

13 any medical evidence, supervision is not recommended at

14 this stage."

15 It proceeds as an unsupervised investigation and

16 there is then the introduction into the investigation of

17 Rosemary Nelson's statement. You see that at

18 RNI-301-056. It comes from the Command Secretariat,

19 please note, and is sent across, as it were, or down to

20 Complaints and Discipline. And we will see the

21 statement, one we have already seen, at RNI-301-057.

22 And it is obviously important to note on RNI-301-056

23 that it is said at paragraph 3, "The Chief Constable

24 aware".

25 Now again, as the chronology shows you at the top of

 

 

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1 page 3, the investigating officer's efforts to get

2 attendance did not succeed. However, Rosemary Nelson

3 did write on 19th November. You will see that at

4 RNI-301-072, and we have seen this letter before, in the

5 context of two other clients, C138 and Brian Loughran.

6 But in fact, its origin is in this complaint; it is an

7 illustration of all the various matters that

8 Rosemary Nelson had on the complaints front and also

9 of course an indication of the various matters that this

10 particular investigating officer was trying to deal

11 with.

12 The officer then receives a further contribution

13 from the United States of America, from Mr Lynch, and

14 this, as you again will have seen, dealt with various

15 matters. The letter from Mr Lynch is at RNI-301-062

16 (displayed). It is forwarded by the Commission to the

17 Complaints and Discipline branch at RNI-301-062

18 (displayed). This, if you remember, we saw earlier. It

19 is the letter that Mr Lynch eventually forwards the

20 contents to the Chairman of Congress.

21 It deals not only with the three ciphered clients

22 there, but also with a statement of Gerard P Lally, and

23 that is the statement to be found at RNI-301-066, the

24 statement concerned with his attendance on the

25 Garvaghy Road that year. And that statement goes on

 

 

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1 from RNI-301-066 all the way through to RNI-301-069.

2 Its language is rather more highly coloured, you may

3 think, than the statement, the police statement which we

4 have already seen from him. And he, after dealing with

5 matters in that way -- I hope I will be forgiven for not

6 reading it all to you -- he comes to, so far as we are

7 concerned, the crunch at RNI-301-069 in the penultimate

8 paragraph, where in the first sentence, he says:

9 "One final matter that disturbs me greatly as an

10 attorney. The local residents' association was

11 represented by a solicitor, Rosemary Nelson. On

12 numerous occasions from the beginning of this armed

13 invasion, at 3.30 to its conclusion about 11 hours

14 later, Mrs Nelson attempted to resolve matters between

15 the residents and the Government forces.

16 "I personally witnessed many of these exchanges. To

17 say that Mrs Nelson was not treated professionally would

18 be a joke if this matter were not as serious as it is.

19 To put it succinctly, she was generally referred to as

20 a Fenian bitch. She was threatened and received many

21 bruises in attempting to professionally discharge her

22 obligations as legal representative to the community."

23 And this is dated 8th July. There are obviously

24 distinctions here between what he says very shortly

25 after the event, if that date is correct, and what he

 

 

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1 said to the police in his statement some time later.

2 But returning back to the investigation itself, you

3 will see in the chronology, 3rd December. There is

4 a letter from the officer dealing with the fact that

5 Rosemary Nelson might attend for interview on

6 15th December, but if no further information is

7 received, it seems by Christmas Day, perhaps overly

8 hopeful, the application may be made to request

9 a dispensation.

10 That indeed is what happened, and we can see that in

11 another file, RNI-303-101 (displayed):

12 "I am a Chief Inspector in the Royal Ulster

13 Constabulary."

14 He says, and sets out the investigation that he was

15 charged with conducting and sets out the history of

16 attempts to make contact. And at the bottom of the next

17 page, RNI-303-102 (displayed), seven lines up, you will

18 see that:

19 "She did not attend for interview on 15th December."

20 He says:

21 "To date, Mrs Nelson has consistently failed to

22 cooperate in any meaningful way with this complaints

23 investigation."

24 He then refers to his exchanges with Mr Lynch and

25 the statement from Mr Lally -- and this is now at

 

 

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1 RNI-303-103 -- which we have seen and says at the end of

2 his statement at 103:

3 "In late October, I also received an unsigned

4 statement and covering correspondence from CAJ.

5 Mr Brown ..."

6 I think that is Paul Mageean:

7 "... states that this account was recorded by him in

8 from Rosemary Nelson, solicitor. In the absence of an

9 interview with Mrs Nelson, it is not clear if this

10 statement refers to her specific complaint."

11 And the discipline department machinery continues in

12 its operation at RNI-301-078, with the report on the

13 form 17/30 (sic) and here the investigating officer sets

14 out all of his efforts and says in relation to officers

15 that at RNI-301-081:

16 "None identified, none interviewed. The

17 investigating officer has liaised closely with the

18 Drumcree Inquiry team based at Mahon Road RUC station,

19 Portadown. To date, no evidence has been uncovered

20 which would link any police officer to the allegations

21 referred to."

22 There appears to have been a separate, not

23 a complaints matter, a separate inquiry team, based at

24 that station looking into the whole incident, and there

25 is a good deal of material taken from them in the files

 

 

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1 most of which I haven't troubled you with.

2 Look back one page at RNI-303-080 (displayed), where

3 he deals with a number of witnesses, who have made

4 contributions, one of whom we have seen, Mr Lally, and

5 he makes this comment:

6 "The status and objectivity of these international

7 observers remains open to question. Their references to

8 Rosemary Nelson may or may not refer to the issues she

9 is complaining about, but in any case they remain vague

10 and lacking in the necessary detail. Their wider

11 allegations have already been dealt with under complaint

12 number ..."

13 Then there is another complaint referred to.

14 So his reasoning begins at RNI-303-082 (displayed),

15 not a very good copy, I am afraid:

16 "The complainant has made serious allegations, but

17 she has not cooperated in providing information which

18 would enable a satisfactory investigation to be carried

19 out. Indeed, her failure to cooperate has obstructed

20 progress in this investigation.

21 "It is worth noting that before she made her

22 complaint to police, statements from her and others

23 relating to Garvaghy Road were circulating on the

24 Internet international observers site which perhaps

25 indicates that she was more interested in generating

 

 

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1 international publicity than cooperating in

2 a fact-finding investigation.

3 "It should also be noted that the unsigned statement

4 forwarded on her behalf by the Committee for the

5 Administration of Justice is an exact copy of the one

6 being circulated on the Internet, but with half of it

7 missing. This was only received from the CAJ in

8 late October, and it is by no means clear whether the

9 matters contained in it are the matters that Mrs Nelson

10 is alluding to in her letter of complaint dated

11 15th September.

12 "It is known that Mrs Nelson was active on the

13 Garvaghy Road for much longer than the period referred

14 to in the statement."

15 Then he sets out the deficiencies, as he sees it, in

16 the information which has been provided, and refers in

17 particular, for example, to the failure to provide the

18 exact time, the exact location, the identity of the

19 officers, the absence of medical evidence, the absence

20 of witnesses:

21 "The investigating officer would have welcomed an

22 opportunity to interview Mrs Nelson in an effort to

23 identify individual officers or indeed individual units

24 which may have had close contact with her. It would

25 also have been useful to know what steps she took to

 

 

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1 complain to the numerous and easily identifiable senior

2 officers on the scene at Garvaghy Road that morning.

3 "In the absence of such cooperation, it is difficult

4 to avoid the conclusion that much of the international

5 concern on her behalf is based on hearsay and

6 exaggeration.

7 "Meanwhile, the statement provided by the CAJ and

8 indeed Ms Nelson's letter of complaint lacked

9 credibility because of their lack of meaningful detail."

10 Turning the page, RNI-303-083:

11 "In conclusion, neither Ms Nelson nor the observers

12 provide any cogent evidence which would be sufficient to

13 identify and proceed against any police officer," I

14 think that says:

15 "This file should be cross-referred with the more

16 general file on the Garvaghy Road operation."

17 I should mention, sir, that there is in our bundle

18 a further file dealing with a related but distinct

19 complaint. It is file RNI-304, but you will probably be

20 relieved to hear that I don't propose to refer to it at

21 all at this stage.

22 So, the conclusion which follows from that reasoning

23 is:

24 "There is insufficient evidence to proceed with

25 criminal charges against any police officer.

 

 

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1 I recommend no prosecution."

2 The matter proceeds up the chain, and

3 Rosemary Nelson is informed, RNI-303-085 of the same

4 bundle, at the beginning of the next year that the

5 papers have been submitted to the Director of Public

6 Prosecution, and the papers then return with

7 a direction, at RNI-303-090:

8 "The investigation reported in this file does not

9 sufficiently indicate what criminal offence is alleged

10 or suspected and the commission of an offence is not

11 apparent from the evidence. The file is returned

12 without any direction being given."

13 And that statement was as far, on the material he

14 had been provided, as the director was prepared to go,

15 it appears, and the complaint file is simply returned.

16 That results in a letter going, at RNI-303-094 -- in

17 our chronology, page 4 -- to the complainant,

18 Rosemary Nelson, from the relevant department.

19 Second paragraph:

20 "The Chief Constable has asked me to advise you that

21 the matter has been investigated as far as practicable

22 and the papers sent to the Commission, and you will be

23 informed of the result in due course."

24 So, sir, just pausing for breath here in the middle

25 of page 4, in the light of the investigating officer's

 

 

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1 report and the conclusions that he had expressed, one

2 might be forgiven for expecting at this point that the

3 Commission would draw a line under the matter and that

4 would be the end of it.

5 However, as we all know now, in fact the

6 investigation had, as it turned out, many years still to

7 run, and we can see the reason for that in the same file

8 at RNI-303-096, because the decision taken by the

9 Commission -- and the writing at the bottom of this page

10 is Geralyn McNally's handwriting -- is that there should

11 be what is described as "revised supervision".

12 You will see the passage in the chronology on

13 9th April, and we draw attention there to the terms of

14 the minute from Stephen Herron of 8th April -- this is

15 the internal minute -- at the Commission, and it

16 addresses the investigation at paragraph 2, and that

17 leads, in the last sentence of the first paragraph,

18 under 2, to this:

19 "Certainly, if the political implications were left

20 aside, in the light of the fact that Mrs Nelson has

21 provided no medical evidence, details of witnesses or

22 any other information which would assist in identifying

23 the officers allegedly involved, dispensation would be

24 appropriate. However, the present international focus

25 on the relationship between the RUC and the legal

 

 

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1 profession and the media attention thereon brings a new

2 dimension to the complaint and creates a case for

3 revised supervision of this complaint in the public

4 interest. The alleged sectarian comments to Mrs Nelson

5 by police lend further weight to this course of action.

6 "Whether supervision by the ICPC would lead to the

7 required cooperation from the complainant to facilitate

8 a satisfactory investigation of this complaint remains

9 to be seen but it may add more credence to the

10 investigation in the eyes of interested observers."

11 So, sir, there is this very considerable contrast

12 between the investigating officer, to whom the

13 international dimension is an unsatisfactory distraction

14 of no probative value in his work, on the one hand, and

15 the Commission officials and the Commission member, who

16 take into account the points about the evidence, the

17 material gathered by the investigating officer so far

18 but for whom it is exactly the same dimension, the

19 international dimension, that tips the balance.

20 And that leads to the decision in April 1998 not

21 only to supervise the complaint but in a sense to revive

22 the complaint and the investigation, and that in turn

23 leads to a huge amount of further activity over the next

24 years.

25 Now, sir, would that be a convenient moment?

 

 

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1 THE CHAIRMAN: Can you deal with the next years in

2 five minutes?

3 MR PHILLIPS: No, sir, no.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: It is a pity.

5 MR PHILLIPS: Yes, it is a pity.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Right, we will rise until 10.15 tomorrow.

7 (4.42 pm)

8 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)

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1 I N D E X

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Opening submissions by MR PHILLIPS .............. 1
3 (continued)

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Associated Evidence

Reference Title Description
301-033-054 A Report upon the Conduct of the Royal Ulster Constabulary - Case Histories upon the Violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by the Royal Ulster Constabulary During the Marching Seasons of 1995, 1996 and 1997
104-194-220 Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan Speaking to John Ware - BBC Panorama - Careless Talk - 2 June 1999 - 2200 Hrs - Finucane and Nelson Murders
216-154-158 Complaint Against the Police - by Rosemary Nelson
301-078-084 Complaint Against the Police - Formal Investigation - Complainant - Rosemary Nelson - Solicitor
215-083.501 - 083.502 Complaints Against HM Forces - C277/13/98
215-085-086 Complaints Against HM Forces
215-066-068 Constant Harassment in Lurgan
216-121-132 Custody Record - Custody No JL64/97
216-177-188 Custody Record - of McCrory
215-032-033 Division J - Sub-Division/Department - Lurgan - Station/Branch J - Complaint Againt Royal Irish Regiment Patrol on 7 October 1997 by Rosemary Nelson
303-145-146 Eyewitness Account of Observer
215-018-019 Facsimile about Colin Duffy - Refer to Your Fax (SF No 1018) of 2 October
215-070-074 Incident J404 050303 A105566 - Statement Record Print - Document S999
217-041-042 Letter about 5th March Letter to Mr Ingram about Rosemary Nelson Regarding Alleged treatment of Ms Nelson and Gary Marshall
217-044-045 Letter about Article 10(7) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Order 1987 Memorandeum to Commission on Non Supervised Complaint Investigation - Complaints by Gary Marshall
303-026-027 Letter about Complainant Against the Police by the Late Mrs Rosemary Nelson - Alleged Incident at Garvaghy Road - Portadown on 06/07/97
303-023-025 Letter about Events in Portadown Connected with the Disputed Orange Parade at Drumcree
215-087-092 Letter about Ministry of Defence and Chief Constable - Royal Ulster Constabulary -Incident Date 29th October 1997
217-020-021 Letter about Rosemary Nelson Regarding Harassment
106-132-133 Letter about Rosemary Nelson
215-059-060 Message Form - Line 3 DE 0003 - Precendence - Action - Immeadiate - Info - Routine - DTG 07 2350
216-094--095 Note about Miss McNally
215-045-046 Officer's Report - Action CCA99
217-075-093 Release/Removal from Police Custody - Gary Marshall - Custody No 97/98
303-171-172 Report to the Brehon Law Society
115-111-112 Rosemary Nelson - TC from Rosemary Nelson - on Saturday 5-7-1997 she Telephoned the Secretary of State's Office to Ask Whether a Decision Had Been Made as to Whether the Orange Order Would be Allowed to March down Garvaghy Road
115-303-304 Rosemary Nelson - TC from Rosemary Nelson - on Saturday 5-7-1997 she Telephoned the Secretary of State's Office to Ask Whether a Decision Had Been Made as to Whether the Orange Order Would be Allowed to March down Garvaghy Road
216-012-013 RUC - Complaint Against Police - by Shane McCrory
217-002-005 RUC - Complaint Against Police - Gary Marshall
217-006-009 RUC - Complaint Against Police - Gary Marshall
217-050-052 Statement of Gary Marshall
301-066-069 Statement of Gerald P Lally Esq
303-038-039 Statement of Witness - Norman McKee
216-059-060 Statement of Witness - of Andrew Meeke
216-053-055 Statement of Witness - of Chief Inspector in the Royal Ulster Constabulary
303-040-041 Statement of Witness - Statement of Edward Fergus Millar
303-031-034 Statement of Witness - Statement of Gerald Patrick Lally
303-101-103 Statement of Witness - Statement of P146
303-061-063 Statement of Witness - Statement of Robert Andrew Boyd
303-020-021 Statement of Witness - Statement of Tom Cusack
303-028-030 Statement of Witness -
215-149-150 Statement of Witness
217-132-137 Statement of Witness
303-107-128 Sunday 6 July 1997 - Summary of Events at Drumcree
843-001-003 Witness Statement of Robert Cardwell - Statement No 1 - Exhibits Robert Cardwell 1-2