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Full Hearings

Hearing: 18th April 2008, day 4

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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 Friday, 18th April 2008
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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2 Friday, 18th April 2008

3 (10.15 am)

4 Opening submissions by MR PHILLIPS (continued)

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

6 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, at the close of play yesterday, I was

7 showing you how the Mulvihill complaints, by which

8 I mean the three groups of complaints which came to be

9 investigated by Commander Mulvihill, came to take on

10 their particular character.

11 It might be helpful simply to draw some strands

12 together before we look at some more documents. Can I

13 make the following points about the history to this

14 point, which is until end of June/beginning

15 of July 1997.

16 First, the origin of the complaints was unusual.

17 You will remember they came from LAJI via the Attorney

18 General. Secondly, the original correspondence from

19 Mr Lynch was not, at least on its face, intended to

20 initiate or to constitute a complaint; it was rather an

21 expression of concern about threats to Rosemary Nelson's

22 safety and about the behaviour of an unnamed detective

23 in the Gough holding centre.

24 Thirdly, we saw how the original decision of the RUC

25 to deal with the matter by way of criminal investigation

 

 

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1 was overruled by the ICPC, and it was thereafter dealt

2 with as a complaint.

3 Fourthly, at this point, end of June/beginning

4 of July, there were precious few details of the

5 complaint provided. Fifth, at this stage, no client, no

6 detainee to whom it was suggested such remarks had been

7 made, had come forward and no detail was forthcoming

8 from Rosemary Nelson, either to G Department, to the

9 investigating officer or to the Commission.

10 Finally, by contrast a good deal of communication

11 and exchange of information had taken place with the

12 NGOs; that information going precisely to the background

13 to these complaints.

14 Now, sir, can we look, please at RNI-202-053?

15 (Displayed)

16 Now, this is a letter from Mr Lynch at the same time

17 as the correspondence we saw earlier, which he forwarded

18 to the Home Secretary, Jack Straw. But this is a letter

19 to the Chairman of ICPC himself of the same date.

20 If you look the substance of it, he says in the

21 second paragraph that:

22 "Unfortunately, the threats and intimidation

23 directed against Mrs Nelson have not abated."

24 Then he moves on to the topic of Mr Duffy, and

25 remember we saw other material in which that new matter,

 

 

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1 new in terms of this chronology, was introduced, and the

2 various complaints or criticisms being made there. And

3 in the next paragraph:

4 "With specific reference to threats against

5 Mrs Nelson, the interrogating officers accused Mr Duffy

6 of murder and stated that Mrs Nelson condoned murder and

7 was acting as a front for the IRA, or words to that

8 effect. Not surprisingly, Mrs Nelson has received death

9 threats at her office."

10 That led him to make his comment about whether it

11 could be dealt with internally by the RUC and the point

12 about referring it to the Attorney General which we saw

13 in other correspondence earlier.

14 So, sir, the reference to the incidents surrounding

15 the arrest and detention of Colin Duffy are matters

16 which in due course came also to be investigated by

17 Commander Mulvihill. I should have flagged up yesterday

18 afternoon, but we see how they are introduced again in

19 this way from the United States of America, as well as,

20 as we will see, by complaint in that case made by

21 Rosemary Nelson.

22 Now, sir, can we then look on to RNI-202-059 in the

23 same file. (Displayed)

24 This is the response, not of the Chairman, but of

25 the Chief Executive of the Commission, and he says that

 

 

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1 the letter has been forwarded to the

2 Assistant Chief Constable, the Head of G Department, and

3 talks about the original investigation, and makes the

4 point in the second sentence of the second paragraph:

5 "However, despite repeated unsuccessful attempts to

6 obtain an interview with Mrs Nelson, it has not been

7 possible to date to obtain sufficient information on

8 which to base a meaningful investigation."

9 So, so far as the Commission is concerned, there, at

10 the beginning of July, that was the position in terms of

11 getting information together.

12 If we look on to the next page, RNI-202-060, we will

13 see the letter which went and the suggestion there that

14 Mr Lynch's letter is:

15 "A letter of complaint."

16 Now, sir, it then says that the correspondence, the

17 letter, one must assume, also refers to an ongoing

18 investigation. So, so far as the Commission are

19 concerned, there are now two matters essentially. There

20 is the ongoing investigation initiated originally

21 in March, and then the new matters about Mr Duffy which

22 were raised in Mr Lynch's letter of 30th June.

23 Sir, could we then move forward to RNI-202-061

24 (displayed), we will see that one of the other

25 recipients -- we saw this yesterday -- was of course the

 

 

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1 investigating officer. And here is his reply, and as

2 far as he is concerned, this was a letter about his

3 ongoing investigation, and he sets out again what he had

4 done to contact Rosemary Nelson in order to progress the

5 investigation.

6 Can we now, please, turn to RNI-202-063 in this

7 little passage of material. Now, this is an internal

8 memorandum within G Department, in which the issue,

9 ie is this a new complaint or is it a development in the

10 existing complaint, is addressed head-on by the

11 Chief Inspector who was investigating the original

12 matter:

13 "Please find attached fax message received from LAJI

14 dated 30th June. It should be read in conjunction with

15 previous correspondence on this subject.

16 "Although the fax appears to introduce new

17 complaints which are linked to the ongoing

18 investigation, it remains the case that the allegations

19 in their present form appear to be based on hearsay and

20 innuendo. Mrs Nelson has failed to attend for two

21 recently agreed interviews, and I have now sent her a

22 regulation 17 letter with a reply due by

23 24th July 1997."

24 And:

25 "In the meantime, I have appraised Subdivisional

 

 

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1 Commander, Lurgan, of the ongoing correspondence for

2 whatever action he considers necessary vis a vis

3 Mrs Nelson's ongoing security."

4 So, certainly in the mind of the investigating

5 officer there are these connected but distinct issues

6 raised. There is the question of the complaint,

7 possibly a new element or new complaint, but there is

8 also going on in parallel the question of her security.

9 And the reference here is of course to the senior local

10 officer, for it would fall to him and not to the

11 complaints department to take whatever steps he

12 considered necessary vis a vis ongoing security.

13 Now, at this point it would appear that the

14 correspondence on this matter goes rather quiet and the

15 rest of the material is now very much focused on the

16 complaints side of matters rather than on the personal

17 security side.

18 So the response to that memorandum given to the

19 investigating officer comes on 16th July. Can we see

20 RNI-202-065, please. His superior officer, writing on

21 behalf of the head of G Department, refers to his

22 memorandum and says:

23 "The recent letter from the Lawyers Alliance is part

24 of the continuing campaign and can be included in the

25 present enquiry. Your action in relation to informing

 

 

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1 the Subdivisional Commander, Lurgan, was prudent."

2 That is the action in relation to security.

3 Now, in fact, sir, as we will hear, what actually

4 happens in relation to the Colin Duffy matters is that

5 they are dealt with as a separate complaint, and it is

6 only at the Mulvihill stage, as it were, that they are

7 all considered together. So this is, or becomes at any

8 rate, as we will see, the second of the three groups of

9 complaints that Commander Mulvihill was required to

10 investigate.

11 Now, sir, moving back to the business of the

12 original investigation, on 28th July Rosemary Nelson,

13 still having failed to attend an interview or to make

14 contact with him, the investigating officer prepared

15 a report. Can we look, please, at RNI-206-002?

16 (Displayed)

17 This is the front page. It is a format which is

18 very familiar, we will see, in a number of the

19 documents. But this sets out his report on the case as

20 at this stage at the end of July. Can we turn the page,

21 please, to RNI-206-003. You will see the complainant

22 there; a very, very long title of the complainant, the

23 details of the incident and the incident, a very unusual

24 incident probably defined in the police complaints form,

25 refers to the letter from Mr Lynch. There is then

 

 

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1 quotation from the letter over the next page and to

2 RNI-206-005. If we can look at RNI-206-005, please, in

3 the main box at the top, the quotation which we have

4 seen from Mr Lynch's letter before is followed by this

5 sentence:

6 "To date, the complainants have provided no evidence

7 to identify this detective sergeant, the one referred to

8 in Mr Lynch's letter, or any of the other police

9 interrogators referred to."

10 Then in the next box -- if we could have that

11 please -- it recites the history so far as G Department

12 is concerned, the first investigating officer, and the

13 history of the correspondence. In the bottom box on the

14 page is something about the complainant, and you will

15 see this is a standard part of the form:

16 "Comment on reliability as a witness."

17 A question of previous convictions, and then

18 a description of Rosemary Nelson:

19 "A well-known solicitor who carries out a large

20 volume of work from her offices in Lurgan. There is no

21 reason to doubt reliability as a witness, but to date

22 she has not provided any evidence to support the

23 allegations made on her behalf."

24 Sir, the next page, RNI-206-006, simply continues

25 the investigation history, and the last sentence is the

 

 

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1 point we have arrived at. A regulation 17 letter -- we

2 have seen the form of those before -- was sent to

3 Mrs Nelson on 3rd July. Again, she did not reply.

4 Now, the position in relation to the new matter of

5 Colin Duffy is dealt with at RNI-206-007. Can we have

6 a look at that next, please, at the top box:

7 "Mr Lynch has made several references to Colin Duffy

8 who is a client of Rosemary Nelson's and may be in

9 a position to elaborate on the allegations. However,

10 Mrs Nelson has not given permission for the

11 investigating officer to approach her client."

12 There is a reference there to the letter of

13 3rd July. Can we just have a quick look at that,

14 please. It is RNI-202-058. If you look in the third

15 paragraph:

16 "I must inform you that it may not be possible for

17 me to carry out a satisfactory investigation until I

18 have had the opportunity of discussing the complaint

19 with you and, with your agreement, your client,

20 Colin Duffy."

21 So at this stage, the investigating officer is

22 treating Mr Duffy as effectively a witness to the

23 original Lynch/LAJI complaint; hence that particular way

24 of putting it.

25 Now, could we return, please, to 008 in the same

 

 

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1 file? I am so sorry, RNI-206-008. It is not in the

2 same file. (Displayed) Thank you. Top of the page:

3 "No police officer has been interviewed due to the

4 lack of detailed information provided. There is

5 insufficient evidence to interview any police officer

6 under caution."

7 Then the conclusion of the investigating officer is

8 at RNI-206-009 and it contains, as you will see --

9 I don't wish to read it all -- a summary of the state of

10 play as at this important stage of the complaint:

11 "Neither Rosemary Nelson nor those who have made

12 complaints on her behalf have provided any worthwhile

13 factual information to support the very serious

14 allegations made against police. Indeed,

15 Rosemary Nelson has failed to cooperate with this

16 investigation despite several attempts to arrange

17 a formal interview to discuss the allegations and obtain

18 the detailed information required. She has also ignored

19 a request for permission to interview her client,

20 Colin Duffy, who is presently in prison charged with

21 murdering two police officers. Written correspondence

22 from Mr Lynch infers that Mr Duffy may be able to give

23 evidence in support of the allegations."

24 That is the point we saw raised in the letter of

25 3rd July:

 

 

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1 "In the absence of this cooperation, the

2 investigating officer feels that a satisfactory

3 investigation cannot be carried out, for reasons which

4 include the following ..."

5 Then a whole list of the points about the paucity of

6 the information.

7 Can I draw your attention in particular to 6. The

8 others are points that I mentioned to you right at the

9 outset this morning. Of course, and ironically, the

10 only name of a client that had emerged at this stage was

11 that of Colin Duffy who in fact formed no part of the

12 background circumstances to the original complaint, as

13 we will see. But because of the way the information

14 emerged, because of the way it was put to the

15 investigating officer, that was, you may think, an

16 understandable mistake in those circumstances.

17 Then he makes a comment about Mr Lynch's

18 correspondence. And if we could just flick over to

19 RNI-206-010, please -- this is one of the continuation

20 sheets which are a feature of the file:

21 "The investigating officer is somewhat surprised

22 that a person speaking on behalf of the Lawyer's

23 Alliance for Justice in Ireland should provide so

24 little by way of factual and detailed information. In

25 addition, it appears clear that Rosemary Nelson, the

 

 

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1 subject of the alleged threats, is reluctant to get

2 involved in the investigation into the matter. In all

3 the circumstances, it is considered that a satisfactory

4 investigation is not possible. Nevertheless, senior

5 officers in CID and the Subdivisional Commander, Lurgan,

6 have been informed of the allegations."

7 Then this sentence:

8 "A threat assessment has been made and appropriate

9 action taken."

10 So, sir, just dealing with that sentence first, and

11 remembering our chronology, the first time I suggested

12 to you that something which might have been an

13 assessment but which, on the basis of the material

14 appeared not to have conformed with the rules, with the

15 force orders in relation to such matters, took place

16 in May, May 1997. It is the first of the three moments

17 I mentioned on the first day.

18 But here, the investigating officer clearly

19 believed, when he is writing at the end of July, that

20 a threat assessment had been undertaken and he repeats

21 the point that we have seen before: that the

22 Subdivisional Commander, Lurgan, has been informed and

23 indeed says that senior officers in CID have been

24 informed.

25 Now, going back, please, to RNI-206-009, we find his

 

 

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1 recommendations at the bottom of the page:

2 "I recommend that an application be made to the

3 Independent Commission for Police Complaints under

4 regulation 17 on the grounds that a satisfactory

5 investigation cannot be completed on the evidence

6 presently available."

7 Now, sir, we were looking across in relation to the

8 threat assessment, but the other related area is, of

9 course, what was going on, as it were, on the political

10 front, because at this same time there was involvement

11 by the NIO.

12 Can we look, please, at RNI-202-073. (Displayed)

13 This is a poor copy, I am afraid, and I think I am right

14 in saying that every copy in the bundle of this

15 particular letter is a poor copy:

16 "Rosemary Nelson, solicitor, alleged death threats

17 by RUC, previous correspondence."

18 We saw some of that yesterday:

19 "Rosemary Nelson's name has been very much in the

20 news lately, not least in connection with the

21 Colin Duffy case, who is on remand having been charged

22 with the murders of two police officers in Lurgan ... I

23 understand that the ICPC are supervising an

24 investigation into a complaint involving

25 Rosemary Nelson. I am currently dealing with a number

 

 

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1 of letters about the complaint..."

2 And again, we have see seen that sort of

3 correspondence earlier:

4 "... and should be grateful for clarification on

5 a number of points involving this case."

6 Certainly, given what we have now seen, a perfectly

7 understandable question:

8 "What exactly is the nature of the complaint made on

9 behalf of Rosemary Nelson? Who investigated it? What

10 is the current state of the investigation? I understand

11 that Mrs Nelson has refused to cooperate with the

12 investigation. I would be grateful if you could explain

13 what steps have been taken to encourage her

14 cooperation."

15 Then over the page, please, RNI-202-074:

16 "What further steps, if any, can be taken in the

17 event of Mrs Nelson's continued non-cooperation? Have

18 other witnesses been interviewed? I would be most

19 grateful if you could provide as much background

20 information on the above issues as soon as possible as

21 the issue ..."

22 I think actually that is "the case", not "the

23 issue":

24 "... the case has a high profile and needs careful

25 handling."

 

 

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1 So this obviously shows an understanding on behalf

2 of the civil servant in the police division that the

3 correct perspective in which to see these matters was

4 one involving a broader, wider context. This is, as she

5 says, a high profile case needing careful handling.

6 That was not the only intervention at this point.

7 At RNI-202-075, we see the same civil servant writing

8 direct to the Commission, to the Chief Executive,

9 enclosing a copy of her letter, the one we have just

10 seen, and setting out her understanding about the state

11 of play of the investigation:

12 "This undoubtedly will remain one of those high

13 profile cases which will run and run. I am currently

14 dealing with a number of treat official letters on this

15 very subject. It would be very useful for us to have on

16 file some details of the steps taken to encourage

17 Mrs Nelson to take forward her complaint. I would

18 therefore be most grateful for any input (in writing,

19 please) from yourselves which would assist me in this."

20 So this obviously adds another layer to a reasonably

21 complex picture so far as the bodies charged with

22 investigating the complaints were concerned, ie not only

23 G Department but also the Commission itself.

24 Now, we can see the response to that at RNI-202-089,

25 because as we will see with a number of interventions

 

 

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1 from outside the RUC, what happens is that the letter is

2 received, obviously, by the relevant officer and it is

3 then filtered out to those parts of the organisation who

4 might have a contribution to make by way of response.

5 And it looks as though this memo, undated but in August,

6 is part of the gathering of information, in this case

7 within G Department, which was intended in due course to

8 make its way back up the line so that a reply could be

9 provided to the questions raised by the civil servant.

10 You will see why I say that, because here are some

11 of the very points raised in the correspondence of

12 28th July, first about what is the exact nature of the

13 complaint. Well, there is the answer. This memo, I

14 should say, doesn't bear a signature so I can't tell you

15 who produced it, but it appears to be somebody, if not

16 the investigating officer himself -- see the reference

17 to him in 2 -- perhaps one of the higher level officers

18 within G Department:

19 "The exact nature of the complaint is as set out in

20 attached correspondence."

21 And all the correspondence we have been seeing thus

22 makes its way back up the line. He appears to be the

23 instigator of the complaint. The file was submitted --

24 we have seen this on 28th July, that was the report --

25 the recommendation set out, steps take to encourage are

 

 

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1 outlined and there are various witness statements, which

2 I don't propose to take you to, setting out the history

3 of correspondence:

4 "Difficult to see what further steps can be taken in

5 the event of Mrs Nelson's continued non-cooperation."

6 Over the next page, please, RNI-202-090:

7 "No other witnesses have been interviewed.

8 Mrs Nelson has ignored a request for permission to be

9 given to interview her client Colin Duffy. No other

10 'witnesses' have been identified. Mr Lynch's

11 allegations largely consist of hearsay, rumour and

12 innuendo, mostly of a very general nature."

13 Now, sir, so far as the correspondence with Mr Lynch

14 is concerned, because that is, so far as G Department

15 goes, another front which has been opened up, we can see

16 the latest there at RNI-202-087, the same file, and this

17 is the formal notification under the regulations, the

18 statutory instruments we saw, giving notice in the

19 second paragraph:

20 "... that the matter has been investigated as far as

21 practicable, the papers sent to the Commission."

22 So the officer's report that we saw in accordance

23 with the procedures will have gone off to the Commission

24 and it would be for them to consider the request for

25 dispensation. They, as you remember, had the final say.

 

 

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1 I will just take you briefly to the response to

2 that, which came back from the United States,

3 14th August. Mr Lynch, RNI-202-088:

4 "Thank you for your letter of 6th August. I am

5 sorry I cannot address you by name, but I cannot read

6 your signature.

7 "You state that the matter has been investigated as

8 far as practicable. What does this mean? Did you offer

9 Mrs Nelson confidentiality? Did you agree to provide

10 security to Mrs Nelson and protection against reprisal?

11 Did you solicit the assistance of an independent

12 investigator unconnected with the Royal Ulster

13 Constabulary?"

14 Then he turns to refer to quite different matters.

15 Sir, that is the position, therefore, at this point

16 in the period early to mid-August, and it therefore

17 would fall, as I say, to the Commission to determine

18 whether there should be a dispensation.

19 Now, that decision was not in fact forthcoming from

20 the Commission for a couple of months, and I don't wish

21 to investigate or to deal at the moment with why that

22 might have been but a substantial period elapsed at this

23 point in which the investigation, so far as G Department

24 was concerned, had gone as far as it could go, given the

25 level of cooperation. But, as you will see, the

 

 

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1 original instigator, Mr Lynch, was profoundly

2 unsatisfied.

3 Now, in the middle of the period of two months

4 during which, as it were, G Department waited for

5 a decision, Rosemary Nelson in fact gave a witness

6 statement to the investigating officer in relation not

7 to the original complaint, but to the Colin Duffy

8 complaint, and that happened on 16th September 1997.

9 And by that stage, as I said earlier, those matters

10 concerning Colin Duffy's arrest and detention had been

11 hived off, had been separated from the original LAJI

12 matters.

13 Thus, ironically, you may think, it was not

14 the March complaint that first made progress in that

15 way, but the complaint which had its origin in events at

16 Gough near the end of June, some three months later.

17 Can we have a look, please, at that statement

18 because although I am trying, as I go, to keep matters

19 distinct and thereby to make it as clear as possible, I

20 am afraid eventually they will all come together under

21 Commander Mulvihill's investigation, and to some extent

22 at least, I have to lay the ground for that as we go.

23 So could we look, please, at RNI-210-198. (Displayed)

24 Now, this statement was given to the officer, the

25 ciphered officer, whose cipher must now be familiar, the

 

 

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1 same officer investigating the LAJI complaints, P146, so

2 far as the Inquiry is concerned, and here is

3 a substantial statement. It is a statement, as I say,

4 whose main subject is the Colin Duffy case. I don't

5 wish to read anything like all of it because it is

6 a long statement and it is in the bundle and people can

7 read the whole thing for themselves, but you will see

8 what Rosemary Nelson does is to set out in some detail,

9 with very precise timings, what happened so far as she

10 was concerned in relation to the arrest of Colin Duffy.

11 And the complaints that she makes in that connection are

12 set out clearly in this statement and they formed, along

13 with the statement given by Mr Duffy himself, the basis

14 for that complaint.

15 But for our present purposes, can I, please, show

16 you RNI-210-200, at the bottom of the page, because of

17 course what concerns us about these complaints is not

18 the complaints about delayed access to the lawyer or the

19 improper way in which she suggests that the alibi issue

20 was dealt with -- you will have seen reference to that

21 in letters before -- but rather, and in particular, with

22 those aspects of the complaint which concerned

23 Rosemary Nelson herself.

24 Now, if you look at the bottom of this page, it is

25 nine lines up, there is a quotation beginning:

 

 

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1 "I am sure ..."

2 So she is, at this point, recounting at second-hand,

3 obviously, what occurred during one of the interviews

4 that he, Mr Duffy, had. The passage begins:

5 "Mr Duffy also told me that during the course of an

6 interview on 24th June, Detective Constable ..."

7 Then there is a cipher:

8 "... had told him ..."

9 Then the quotation:

10 "... 'I am sure your mother is proud of you and I am

11 sure your wife is proud of you and I am sure Rosemary is

12 proud of you as well'. I believe 'Rosemary' is

13 a reference to myself. I felt this was an attempt to

14 associate me with a terrorist act. I certainly wouldn't

15 be proud of anyone who is out shooting policemen, and

16 I feel it compromised my independence as a defence

17 lawyer. This appears to be part of an ongoing pattern."

18 Just pausing there. That then, so far as

19 Rosemary Nelson's statement, given on 16th September, is

20 the part of the complaint which concerns us.

21 Now, in due course I will show you what Mr Duffy had

22 to say about that and his own evidence as the person

23 obviously on the receiving end of those remarks.

24 However, as you will see, the sentence at the end of

25 the box we have on the screen, begins what turns out to

 

 

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1 be a quite different topic:

2 "During the course of this year, I have had quite

3 a number of clients who have been taken to the police

4 office at Gough."

5 Can we go over to RNI-210-201, please and can we

6 enlarge the first ten lines or so. Thank you very much:

7 "Almost invariably there have been reports of

8 derogatory comments being made and sometimes threats

9 that I was going to die. At one point it got so bad

10 that I got the Committee of the Administration of

11 Justice to come down and take statements from my clients

12 independently. I do not have dates and times or

13 identity of detectives, but the CAJ should have that and

14 I give you my permission to approach them to obtain

15 copies of these statements. Paul Mageean came down and

16 recorded them. I didn't make any representations ..."

17 Sorry, that is the end of that passage. So this

18 section in her statement of perhaps 10 or 12 lines

19 raises the LAJI complaint matters. This, albeit

20 expressed without reference to names, indeed to times,

21 is in fact where a whole new phase of the investigation

22 begins, because she reveals, first, that this was what

23 she described as part of an ongoing pattern. Quite

24 a number of clients, as she put it, almost invariably,

25 report of such comments and sometimes threats. And

 

 

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1 crucially, so far as the investigation is concerned, she

2 reveals at this point in September that statements have

3 already been taken from the clients concerned, not by

4 her but by CAJ. So she effectively refers the matter on

5 to CAJ and gives her permission and identifies the man,

6 Mr Mageean, who is a witness in the Inquiry, who took

7 down the statements.

8 Now, the remainder of her witness statement given to

9 the investigating officer in the presence of the

10 supervising member, Miss McNally, is concerned with

11 further complaints about the Duffy question, and the

12 statement ends with a reference, which is somewhat

13 confusing when you read it, to what was said apparently

14 in answer to the matters. In particular, it contains

15 her comment about the letter sent by Mr Lynch. If we

16 can see that, please. About halfway down the page there

17 is a sentence beginning:

18 "I have read the letter to Chairman Donnelly on

19 30th June by the Lawyers Alliance for Justice in Ireland

20 concerning me."

21 What she then does is to correct -- this is

22 obviously important -- some of the allegations or

23 assertions set out in Mr Lynch's letter, specifically

24 about the Duffy case, and it is in that context that

25 the, at first blush, rather confusing comments at the

 

 

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1 bottom of the page appear, where she says:

2 "I don't know. I am unaware of any comments by

3 police that I was acting as a front for the IRA, or

4 words to that effect. As far as I am aware, the words

5 'condoned murder' were not used."

6 In other words, the statement of 16th December falls

7 into three parts. The first deals with the Duffy

8 matters and her side of things; the second introduces

9 the LAJI matters in the way that I have explained; and

10 the third contains further comment on the Duffy matter,

11 but in particular contains her reaction to and

12 correction of some of the suggestions made in the

13 30th June letter from Mr Lynch, and is very precise in

14 the way that it distinguishes, as it were, between

15 points that she accepts and points that she does not in

16 relation to that complaint.

17 Now, as a result of the revelation, which is what it

18 was, in relation to Mr Mageean, the officer

19 investigating the matter, without waiting for whether

20 the Commission was going to listen or accept his request

21 for dispensation, takes an initiative and begins what

22 turns out to be a completely new phase of the

23 investigation. After his report had gone out saying,

24 "Is this a case? We think it is a case suitable for

25 dispensation", he starts all over again. And we can see

 

 

26


1 that on 8th October at RNI-202-093. (Displayed)

2 And this is a letter addressed to Mr Mageean. You

3 will remember the passage in the statement about this.

4 He had already spoken to him on the telephone, you can

5 see, and says:

6 "During which [the telephone conversation] you

7 indicated that your clients ..."

8 By which I think he means those who had been

9 interviewed by Mr Mageean:

10 "... may be available for interview in connection

11 with alleged irregularities by detectives who made

12 reference to Mrs Rosemary Nelson, solicitor, during

13 interviews."

14 Then he raises two important questions:

15 "(a) Can they be identified?"

16 And:

17 "(b) Are they willing to be interviewed by me?"

18 And then he asks for the relevant details.

19 Sir, we will follow the development of that -- what

20 turns out to be crucial -- in the complaint in a minute.

21 It is important to remember, however, at this point the

22 broader chronology. It was on 2nd October, you may

23 remember, that the Director of Public Prosecutions

24 directed that the charges against Colin Duffy in

25 relation to the murder of the two police officers be

 

 

27


1 withdrawn.

2 So, so far as the Duffy complaints are concerned,

3 from this point there were no longer criminal

4 proceedings pending.

5 Now, eventually on 14th October the ICPC gave its

6 determination in relation to the dispensation request,

7 and that is at RNI-202-097. (Displayed) It refers to

8 the request dated 6th August which we saw, and says:

9 "I ..."

10 This is the Chief Executive:

11 "... can now confirm that on 16th September,

12 Mrs Nelson attended for interview at Craigavon RUC

13 station in respect of other complaints and at that time

14 provided sufficient information on which to base an

15 investigation into the subject matter of this complaint.

16 Accordingly, the Commission does not accede to the

17 request for dispensation."

18 So it would appear, therefore, that what happened

19 some six months after the original letter was written

20 made the difference. It meant that the Commission

21 declined to accept the request for dispensation and so

22 the investigation in that formal sense continued.

23 Now, what then happens is that Mr Mageean -- this

24 is RNI-202-098 -- comes back to the investigating

25 officer on the 15th and confirms that the

 

 

28


1 interviewees -- that is his interviewees -- have given

2 permission for their identities to be disclosed:

3 "I am willing to be interviewed by you if that is

4 necessary."

5 That was obviously deemed to be necessary because

6 Mr Mageean was interviewed, and we can see evidence of

7 that at RNI-202-100 in the same file. It took place on

8 20th October and, again, the investigating officer was

9 present but also Miss McNally, the supervising member of

10 the Commission.

11 Now, it was in that interview on that occasion that

12 the first statements from the clients were handed over.

13 So again, thinking back to our chronology, Mr Lynch's

14 letter is 13th March, the clients, those who said that

15 such remarks had been made to them, handed over on

16 20th October.

17 Now, sir, these are two of what eventually emerged

18 to be four clients of Rosemary Nelson held in Gough

19 in February, in fact, 1997, who eventually provided such

20 statements over the next months and whose statements

21 gave some shape to the LAJI complaint. Thus, it turned

22 out that the unidentified number of clients referred to

23 by Mr Lynch was four and those four clients were

24 thereafter the basis of the investigation conducted

25 by P146.

 

 

29


1 You will see further down the page he asks for the

2 men to come for an interview either at Craigavon or at

3 the Commission's offices themselves, and confirms that

4 a member of the Commission would be present, and thus

5 begins the next phase of the investigation.

6 Now, if we look at Mr Mageean's statement, in

7 RNI-206-069 (displayed), it is a short statement:

8 "I was contacted in late February by

9 Rosemary Nelson, solicitor. She informed me that she

10 had been threatened by a number of her clients who had

11 been detained in Gough Barracks. She said that the

12 threats had come from interviewing detectives. I told

13 her that we would like to take statements from her

14 clients and we then made arrangements for that to be

15 done. So I subsequently visited her offices and, along

16 with another member of CAJ, we took statements from

17 a number of clients. Two of these clients were ..."

18 Then the various names are given in the original

19 statement:

20 "I have handed the statements to the investigating

21 officer and marked them ..."

22 Now, the two statements can then be seen -- and I

23 think this is the right moment to look at them. The

24 copy of the first statement of Client C215, please, and

25 that is at RNI-203-002 (displayed).

 

 

30


1 Now, this client had been detained between 11th and

2 14th February 1997 in connection with a rocket attack on

3 a RUC patrol in the Kilwilke Estate, Lurgan, on

4 6th February. And the statement, which is just over

5 a page long, describes the circumstances in which he and

6 the other client, C206, whom I will come to in a moment,

7 were arrested.

8 He says he was arrested three weeks before as well

9 and was taken to Gough Barracks. Then there is some

10 evidence given in the statement about the circumstances

11 of the search, and I don't think we need to dwell on

12 them.

13 You will see early on he says, in the second

14 paragraph, that he asked for Rosemary Nelson. Then in

15 the third paragraph, he says that after the first

16 interview he saw her:

17 "They ..."

18 That is the police:

19 "... said you are not getting out of this one. They

20 were shouting at me."

21 He then starts some descriptive passages which, for

22 the moment, I don't wish to dwell on, and there is

23 further material concerning the conduct of the interview

24 which, again, does not, I think, concern us.

25 And the relevant parts, so far as this complaint and

 

 

31


1 the Inquiry is concerned, come at the bottom of the

2 page:

3 "In the next interview, they asked if I had seen

4 Rosemary and I said yes. They asked what is Rosemary

5 telling you? They said Rosemary knows a lot about

6 rockets and started laughing. You and Rosemary and ..."

7 And then her name has been redacted:

8 "... shot the rocket. They knew all about me, where

9 I was signing on, my job, et cetera. They were waiting

10 on me at the DHSS one day. They said I had got the

11 wrong advice, look at how many people she put away.

12 They said she was the one who touted and I am going to

13 be shot. They put my family under threat. They said we

14 will shoot all of you. They went out of the room and

15 came back in and said he is hiding something. We need

16 to get it out of him, the fine bastard, you are dead.

17 Tell Rosemary she is going to die too. We are sending

18 people to arrest your family and torture them too. Give

19 it five minutes at the next interview and that will

20 do it. They told me to ask Rosemary about explosives

21 because they were going to match this rocket to me.

22 I went back to the cell and they asked if I had asked

23 Rosemary about explosives."

24 There was then a reference to what happened in

25 relation to offers made to him by two Special Branch

 

 

32


1 men, and at the end:

2 "They threatened to pass my photo and details to

3 Loyalists. They told me that Billy Wright would get

4 me."

5 Now, clearly, there are a number of aspects of this

6 which would be of interest, but so far as we are

7 concerned, in particular it is the material relating to

8 Rosemary Nelson rather than the general comment about

9 the way in which interviews were allegedly conducted.

10 Clearly the starting point is the sentence:

11 "Tell Rosemary she is going to die too."

12 Because that, of all of the four complaints we will

13 look at in the LAJI complaints, is, you may think,

14 a clear threat to the life of Rosemary Nelson.

15 However, it is not by any means the only aspect of

16 the matters alleged to have been said that relate to

17 her, and they say in terms that:

18 "She knows a lot about rockets. You and Rosemary

19 and the other man shot the rocket. They said I have got

20 the wrong advice, look at how many people she put away.

21 They said she was the one who touted and I am going to

22 be shot."

23 So these are suggestions of involvement -- not just

24 association, but involvement -- by Rosemary Nelson in

25 paramilitary activities and an attempt to suggest that

 

 

33


1 the wrong advice has been given and indeed that what

2 appears to be a solicitor behaving professionally is in

3 fact an informer or a tout.

4 Now, in the particular context of Northern Ireland

5 at the time, it is a statement of the obvious to say

6 that were remarks like that made, they would carry, at

7 least potentially, very grave consequences. The history

8 of the Troubles is littered with occasions on which

9 alleged informants have been murdered by paramilitary

10 organisations of both sides.

11 Now, the statement of the other client we can look

12 at now, please. That is at RNI-206-072. (Displayed)

13 This is client 206, C206, and his statement, like

14 the previous one, is typed on plain paper. It is

15 unsigned and it is undated, but it is the second of the

16 statements which Mr Mageean, in his own witness

17 statement, said he had taken on that occasion.

18 Now, there is the same history given in the

19 statement of arrest and of what transpired at C206's

20 house. And again, I think for our purposes I would like

21 to go straight to the material passages so far as they

22 concern Rosemary Nelson. And the first is at the

23 penultimate paragraph of this page, RNI-206-072. Can we

24 look at the first interview, please. It says:

25 "At the first interview I was asked who my solicitor

 

 

34


1 was. I said Rosemary Nelson. They asked is

2 Rosemary Nelson really a Provo? I laughed and said,

3 'Aye, she looks like one, doesn't she?' Then after this

4 interview I was brought back to my cell ..."

5 Then moving through the interview, there are various

6 remarks in it. If we go to RNI-206-073, please,

7 including remarks, as you will see, in the penultimate

8 paragraph here about Colin Duffy and the suggestion in

9 particular that:

10 "They would get him."

11 Get Colin Duffy. And at the end of the statement,

12 this paragraph:

13 "I saw Rosemary twice a day. They said she was

14 a friend of the Provos and of Colin Duffy's. They said

15 she is not that good. She won't get you off."

16 Sir, just summarising what appear to be the salient

17 points of this statement. Clearly, the direct

18 connection is made between Rosemary Nelson and the

19 Provisional IRA. In the last paragraph:

20 "A friend of the Provos and of Colin Duffy's ..."

21 And the references to him and also to the comment

22 they made that they would get -- and remember in this

23 connection, please, the comments I made earlier about

24 the effect of the perceived association, ie the question

25 of association with this particular client, and the

 

 

35


1 potential effects at any rate of a threat to the client

2 where there was a perception about that close

3 connection.

4 However, it must be said, I think, immediately that

5 this statement does not disclose, on the face of it,

6 a threat to life, and indeed the tone of the comments

7 made is, if I can put it this way, lower key. And it is

8 interesting to see in the penultimate paragraph on

9 RNI-206-072 that the client gives as his reaction to the

10 question "Is Rosemary Nelson really a Provo", that he

11 says that he laughed and said, "Aye, she looks like one,

12 doesn't she?"

13 That too may be significant in weighing up the

14 precise context and nature of those allegations, the

15 allegations by C206.

16 Now, we have seen a first effort by the

17 investigating officer to obtain interviews with these

18 two clients. It was made, if you remember, to

19 Paul Mageean of CAJ. He goes back to the fray on

20 21st October with Rosemary Nelson. At RNI-202-100, 202.

21 (Displayed)

22 Thank you. We saw this earlier because we saw then

23 that it evidenced the meeting and the handing over of

24 the statements. The key bit for present purposes is the

25 request for interview on 11th November. And it seems --

 

 

36


1 and I don't wish to take to you the documents -- that at

2 this stage also, and in accordance with normal

3 procedure, the investigating officer obtained the

4 interview notes of the relevant clients, the notes made

5 when they were held in custody at Gough. And, sir, one

6 of the features of section 2 of our part 1 bundle, and

7 one of the reasons why it occupies so many files, is

8 because included within the files and often within the

9 reports compiled by the various levels of investigating

10 officer, are complete copies, normally handwritten, of

11 interview notes with the relevant clients.

12 It remains my hope that only very few of those pages

13 will have to be considered in any detail and on, I hope,

14 very few occasions during the rest of our hearing.

15 Now, the involvement of outside organisations

16 continued in this new phase of the investigation. Can

17 we look, please, at RNI-114-099.501. (Displayed)

18 This is a letter from Rosemary Nelson of

19 29th October, so shortly after the statements had

20 emerged, as it were, in the investigation, in which

21 Rosemary Nelson dispatched copies of statements made by

22 three clients; the two we are now familiar with, C215

23 and C206, but also another client who emerged as the

24 third of the four clients detained at Gough at this time

25 in February 1997, and the third of the Mulvihill

 

 

37


1 complaint cases.

2 Now, at this point the existence of the third

3 client, C138, and certainly the fact that he had made

4 a statement, was unknown to those charged with

5 investigating the complaint. If we turn over the page

6 to RNI-114-099.502, however, we will see the statement.

7 Now, it is taken first of all on 27th October; in

8 other words, very shortly before the letter dispatching

9 it to LAJI, and it is taken some eight months after the

10 events to which it relates. It begins by saying that

11 the police started to question him on Thursday,

12 2nd February. The records that we have seen, the

13 investigations that we have done, suggest that in fact

14 this client was detained between 6th and 9th February in

15 connection with the discovery of a mortar bomb in a car

16 in his garage.

17 Now, he says:

18 "I refused to answer the questions and requested my

19 solicitor, Rosemary Nelson. I made my statement to

20 Rosemary who recorded same in writing and handed this to

21 the police. Rosemary then left me at the station ...

22 after Rosemary left, the following incidents occurred:

23 "The police -- namely ..."

24 Then he gives the name of an officer:

25 "... and another grey haired policeman (I would know

 

 

38


1 their faces if I seen them again) started to fire abuse

2 at me in relation to my solicitor, Rosemary Nelson.

3 They said she was a money grabbing bitch, she is only in

4 it for the money, she got him off. He's a Provo

5 bastard, and suggesting Rosemary Nelson was as bad as

6 Colin Duffy, saying she was a Provo solicitor. They

7 told me I'd have got out of a lot sooner if I had not

8 requested Rosemary Nelson, because the her film, and

9 that the only people who requested Rosemary Nelson are

10 the Provos. They made fun of the marks on Rosemary's

11 face, saying how did that happen? Is that a fucking

12 birthmark? They called her a bastard, fucker and said I

13 would not be in this place only for the fucking bastard,

14 meaning Rosemary. Each time I was questioned they

15 seemed more interested in Rosemary Nelson. They stated

16 that Sharon ..."

17 That is the name of an employee in her office:

18 "... was not too bad but Rosemary, she was the

19 bastard of the lot. They kept going on to me about

20 Rosemary getting Colin Duffy off and they said they knew

21 Duffy shot Lyness and she knew it too."

22 Now, sir, this is a statement that covers, again,

23 a number of the areas that I have opened to you as being

24 characteristic of the complaints with which we are

25 concerned: The focus on the solicitor, the stress to

 

 

39


1 the client that the solicitor is only in it for the

2 money, what appears to be the resentment powerfully

3 expressed of the fact that Colin Duffy had got off and

4 of Rosemary Nelson's role in that, the express

5 association of Rosemary Nelson with Colin Duffy, the

6 explicit comment that she was a Provo solicitor and that

7 the only people who requested her were Provos.

8 Now, the unpleasant, indeed disgraceful remarks made

9 about her appearance, are, so far as we are concerned,

10 perhaps most significant from this standpoint of

11 attitude, perception. If true, this evidence is an

12 approach to a solicitor doing her job which is utterly

13 unprofessional. It is also profoundly unpleasant on any

14 view, and the attempt in this client's account made by

15 the interviewers to suggest that his predicament -- "I

16 would not be in this place only for her" -- one can

17 quite see the potential impact of that.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Would that be a convenient moment? We will

19 break off for a quarter of an hour. We will come back

20 just after quarter to.

21 (11.32 am)

22 (Short break)

23 (11.45 am)

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips.

25 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, I was showing you the statement of the

 

 

40


1 third client in the Mulvihill complaints, C138. Sir, we

2 were looking at it, if you remember, because it was an

3 enclosure to the letter sent by Rosemary Nelson to

4 Mr Lynch, one of three clients' statements, and while we

5 are on this topic, can I ask you, please, to look at

6 RNI-114-099.501 (displayed).

7 That is the letter showing that 137, 215 and 206

8 went across the Atlantic. If we go on to

9 RNI-114-099.507, please. Here, a few days later, is

10 another letter to Mr Lynch from Rosemary Nelson:

11 "Dear Sir, I refer to previous correspondence and

12 enclose for your information copy statements which have

13 been supplied to the RUC by myself and Mr Duffy."

14 If we go on to RNI-114-099.508, we will see the

15 statement that we saw earlier of Rosemary Nelson, the

16 long statement I took you to. But moving on to

17 RNI-114-099.513, this is the statement made on

18 15th October by Colin Duffy in relation to the

19 complaints arising out of his arrest in June.

20 It is a statement which begins with the area of our

21 interest, namely what was said about his solicitor. And

22 he says:

23 "In relation to what was said about my solicitor

24 during interviews at Gough police offices in June, I

25 think it needs to be put in context.

 

 

41


1 "The nature of my questioning from I was arrested

2 was conducted in an abusive fashion."

3 Then he continues to make comment about the nature

4 of the interviewing, and takes up the history again in

5 relation to Rosemary Nelson in this sentence:

6 "In relation to the specific point at issue here,

7 ie what was said in relation to my solicitor, I was left

8 under no illusion as to the implication of what he was

9 saying, and that being that my solicitor in some way was

10 partial and that she would have in some way condoned the

11 specific allegations which were being put to me, which

12 were that my solicitor was proud of what I had done."

13 Then he identifies the officer he says made that

14 remark. And if we can turn over the page, please, to

15 RNI-114-099.514, there is a sentence -- yes, five lines

16 in:

17 "That [the comments he has made] was all that was

18 said in relation to the solicitor. My recollection of

19 the specific interview isn't too good. What was

20 specifically said when it was put to me that my

21 solicitor was proud of what I had done, preceding that,

22 similar reference was made to 'Was your wife proud of

23 you? Was your mother proud of you?' and this was also

24 said by ..."

25 And he names the interviewing officer, who he says

 

 

42


1 made those remarks.

2 Now, the remainder of the statement is concerned

3 with the other aspects of his detention. You will have

4 seen, however, that in the early part of this statement

5 he comes, as it were, midway into the story. And we can

6 see why that is if we look at another statement from him

7 made much nearer the time at RNI-114-099.516.

8 This is at a very early stage is him dealing --

9 indeed, at the time he was in custody, as far as one can

10 see. He is making his complaint, and you will see early

11 on in the fifth line:

12 "He put it to me in question form: was my solicitor

13 proud of what I had done?"

14 So looking at the origin of the aspect of the Duffy

15 complaint that concerns us, we can see, albeit in this

16 rather shorter form, that it was raised as a matter of

17 complaint, as it were, contemporaneously, at the very

18 time he was being detained or at least very, very

19 shortly afterwards.

20 So this material, as I say, and indeed other

21 material, is sent to LAJI in the United States. And

22 just to end this part of the story, could you look,

23 please, at RNI-114-101, because here Mr Lynch -- we have

24 his signature, in fact, on the next page which we don't

25 see -- Mr Lynch addresses himself to the Chairman, said

 

 

43


1 to be the Chairman of the Congress of the United States,

2 and enclosing within his letter three of the statements

3 we have seen: in other words, C138, C215, C206.

4 Then, having introduced all of that material, plus

5 some material that we needn't look at now, he says:

6 "I am providing a copy of this documentation to the

7 Inspector in charge, Office of Public and Congressional

8 Affairs of the FBI."

9 And suggests that there should be a suspension of

10 all cooperation with the RUC:

11 "... until responsible officials of the British

12 Government undertake a thorough-going reform of this

13 force. Thank you again for your interest in this matter

14 of concern to American lawyers."

15 Can we turn over the page, please, to RNI-114-102.

16 This letter signed by Mr Lynch is then copied to the

17 FBI, to Rosemary Nelson, to the investigating officer

18 back in Northern Ireland and to an official in the NIO,

19 I think, but I may be wrong, within the police division,

20 and then finally, as far as we are concerned, to

21 Mr Donnelly, the Chairman of the Commission.

22 Now, sir, I am showing you this letter now and

23 indeed the correspondence going across the Atlantic

24 partly, as I have said, to compare and contrast what was

25 going on within the investigation and what was being

 

 

44


1 released across the Atlantic. And I have made the point

2 to you that the statement of C138 had not, to this

3 point, entered the complaints department, had not been

4 disclosed to the investigating officer, one of the

5 reasons being of course that the statement, as we saw,

6 is dated 27th October, many months after the events in

7 question.

8 But there is another aspect to this, which I would

9 like to point out at this stage, and it is that these

10 matters, the detail of these matters, the statements we

11 have seen containing the allegations which I have read

12 to you, were being published in this way to individuals

13 in the United States, and in this case, by Mr Lynch to

14 what is described as the Chairman of Congress. That is

15 one of the features of what happens the next year: that

16 those within the NIO with, in particular, a wider

17 appreciation of the potential ramifications of what is

18 going on, of what is being said here -- by that stage of

19 course, the complaint investigation itself is in

20 issue -- but that understanding that not only

21 individuals and organisations in this country, in

22 Northern Ireland, but also around the world and in

23 particular in America, is understood to have potentially

24 great importance.

25 In other words, when you look at the wider picture,

 

 

45


1 you begin to see exactly why it was that the matter came

2 very fast up the political agenda.

3 Now, sir, returning to the relatively prosaic

4 territory of the complaint investigation itself, in fact

5 neither of the two clients who, so far as G Department

6 was concerned, were in issue here attended for interview

7 on 11th November, and we can see that fact recorded at

8 RNI-202-115 (displayed).

9 It is the letter from the investigating officer,

10 13th November:

11 "I refer to my telephone conversation with your

12 legal clerk ..."

13 Sorry, this is a letter to Rosemary Nelson, I should

14 have said:

15 "... Annette, on 12th November 1997 during which she

16 indicated that ..."

17 Then there are the two clients:

18 "... still intend to provide witness evidence to me

19 during interview despite their failure to attend for

20 previously suggested interviews, the dates and times of

21 which were sent to your office."

22 He then points out that:

23 "The failure to attend for interview or indeed to

24 say such arrangements were unsuitable before the

25 suggested date continue to cause myself and the

 

 

46


1 Commission Supervisor, Miss McNally, significant

2 inconvenience.

3 "This complaint was first raised in March, yet

4 eight months later we still do not have the full facts

5 which you wish to present surrounding the case.

6 I require this evidence before 1st December 1997,

7 otherwise the investigation will have to proceed on the

8 basis of the information already provided.

9 "Yesterday afternoon had been set aside for

10 interviews of the two clients. At 2.20 pm, I was told

11 they would not be attending."

12 Then he gives a further suggested date, on

13 20th November, when he and Miss McNally would attend.

14 Now, he also says in the next paragraph:

15 "I also confirm that a faxed statement of evidence

16 with the signature ..."

17 And this is the fourth client, C220:

18 "... was received from your office by me yesterday

19 ..."

20 So that would be 12th November:

21 "... afternoon, and a short time later it was shown

22 to Miss McNally as requested. A copy has been sent to

23 her office."

24 And he suggests that this client also should attend

25 for interview as a witness to your client on the same

 

 

47


1 day at a slightly earlier time. Then, at the very end

2 of his letter, he asks that Rosemary Nelson:

3 "... give this matter your personal attention in

4 order that the investigation be progressed."

5 Now, I will come back to the third client in

6 a minute, if I may. What happened was that, as far as

7 we can discern at any rate, there was no attendance on

8 20th November by, I think I am right in saying, any of

9 the three clients, and as far as we can see, no

10 acknowledgment of the fax or warning that they would not

11 attend.

12 However, as the investigating officer had observed,

13 he had been sent by fax the statement of the third

14 client, and we can see that coming in at RNI-202-111

15 (displayed).

16 Now, this is, as it were, the covering page. We can

17 see the date there, 11th November:

18 "Please find enclosed copy statement herein. Please

19 confirm with Annette in my office that the same has been

20 passed to the Chairman. Miss McNally."

21 Miss McNally was the supervising member, the

22 Chairman was Mr Donnelly. If we go on to the next page, RNI-202-112

23 we will see what, so far as the officer was concerned,

24 was the third statement. And so far as we are

25 concerned, in fact it is the fourth statement here and I

 

 

48


1 am afraid it is another very poor copy.

2 This client was detained between 11th and

3 14th February in connection with a pipe hide which was

4 discovered in the garden of, I think, his girlfriend's

5 house.

6 I should say again at this point that in relation to

7 all of the four clients with which we are concerned in

8 the Mulvihill complaints, the first four of the LAJI

9 clients, if I can put it that way, they were all

10 released without charge. So no charges were preferred

11 in relation to any of the matters I have mentioned in

12 respect of any of these clients.

13 He says:

14 "On March of this year ..."

15 Our investigation suggests, as I say, that it was in

16 fact in February:

17 "In March of this year, I was lifted by the police

18 and taken to Gough Barracks."

19 I am interpreting it, but I think it says:

20 "My girlfriend was also lifted. At the subsequent

21 interviews, Rosemary Nelson's name was frequently

22 brought up by the CID during the second day. They said

23 she was a terrorist with a deformed face. They asked

24 was I seeing Rosemary. They said I was a game bastard

25 and she had a face on her like a man's ball bag. The

 

 

49


1 interviews lasted approximately two hours on the second

2 day. During that day, a number of similar comments were

3 made to me."

4 Very, very short. It is undated. As far as we can

5 see -- it actually is signed, I am sorry. I think under

6 the box with the cipher there is in fact the signature

7 of C220, I apologise. It is undated, but it is or was

8 signed.

9 The points are familiar ones, obviously: the

10 suggestion that she was herself a terrorist, the remarks

11 about Rosemary Nelson's appearance and also something

12 suggesting the phrase "seeing", a relationship which was

13 not just a relationship between a solicitor and client.

14 And this is an example of the matters I mentioned

15 earlier in the opening, that this suggestion was made,

16 allegedly made by officers in interview.

17 Now, on 19th November, so the day before the

18 interviews which had been fixed by the investigating

19 officer with the three clients, there were further

20 developments, because Rosemary Nelson on that day, at

21 RNI-202-119, did respond to earlier correspondence. I

22 think not, in fact, the letter from the investigating

23 officer that we have looked at, or if it was a response

24 to that letter, she had the wrong date, because you will

25 remember the letter was 13th November, and she explains

 

 

50


1 the pressures of a busy practice, unable to attend and

2 she asks for an alternative date for her to attend the

3 next month. And in the meanwhile, she encloses

4 a statement made by C138.

5 So for the officer, this is the fourth client and,

6 as it were, the group of clients, so far as the

7 investigation of the complaint was concerned, is now, by

8 this letter of 19th November, complete.

9 And then she refers to a statement made by another

10 client, Brian Loughran, who was detained, and she says:

11 "I understand these remarks were made during the

12 time the United Nations Special Rapporteur was in

13 attendance in this country."

14 Thus, herself making a link between two of the areas

15 of particular interest to us that we will explore in

16 a little while.

17 The complaint of Brian Loughran is one of the other

18 individual matters on which we have focused our

19 attention, and its relatively brief history I can

20 outline to you in due course. But so far as the LAJI

21 complaint is concerned then, the importance of this

22 letter is that 138 is now part of the ongoing

23 investigation.

24 The Commission dealt with Mr Lynch's intervention,

25 which we have seen, on 18th November at RNI-202-117.

 

 

51


1 That is the previous day. And this is, if you remember,

2 a response to their receipt as one of the "copyees" of

3 his letter, I think the letter addressed to the

4 Chairman, as he put it, of Congress and their reference

5 to the enclosures, including 138.

6 So in fact, the Commission had received its own

7 copy, as it were, and apparently before G Department,

8 the investigating officer of that third client's

9 statement, in fact, via LAJI, via the United States of

10 America.

11 Now, the 19th November letter, the one we have just

12 been looking at, clearly introduced yet further matters,

13 including the Loughran case that I mentioned, and the

14 investigating officer then tried to work out how to deal

15 with that in a memorandum to his superintendent on

16 27th November. That is RNI-202-122 (displayed):

17 "At present, I am dealing with complaints from

18 Rosemary Nelson and complaints on behalf of

19 Rosemary Nelson, solicitor, relating to ..."

20 Then it gives the LAJI matters and the reference to

21 that, and then the Colin Duffy matters below it:

22 "Mrs Nelson continues to ignore or delay

23 correspondence relating to interview of alleged

24 witnesses. She frequently sends letters requesting

25 interviews to be arranged some days after an agreed

 

 

52


1 interview date has passed with her client's witnesses

2 failing to turn up. In addition, I continue to receive

3 a drip feed of new witnesses to be interviewed months

4 after the original complaints have been made.

5 Naturally, all of this has been documented but it is

6 beginning to cause administrative difficulties,

7 particularly in view of the latest correspondence which

8 introduces what I consider to be a new complaint from

9 a Brian Loughran relating to alleged irregularities

10 during interview by two Special Branch men at

11 Gough Barracks in October, ie abusive comment concerning

12 Rosemary Nelson. I suggest that this indeed be treated

13 as a new complaint."

14 Then he goes on to say:

15 "This will mean that the earlier complaints can be

16 ring-fenced and submitted in the next month with any new

17 complaints, post-Colin Duffy's release, being dealt with

18 separately and in due course. An early decision is

19 required in order that the Commission supervising member

20 has a clearer picture of our intentions."

21 One has, if I may say so, some sympathy for this

22 approach. The investigating officer with his

23 predecessor had been trying to move the matter forward

24 over a number of months and nothing very much had

25 happened. And suddenly, in September/October and

 

 

53


1 continuing into November, a range of new material was

2 produced and you can see his expression of some

3 exasperation at trying to deal with the matter.

4 Now, the response to that is in the memo which is

5 going up the chain at RNI-202-124, the same file. His

6 superior makes his suggestion:

7 "Any fresh complaints made in relation to the

8 interview of other persons where CID interviewers are

9 alleged to have made derogatory remarks about

10 Mrs Nelson, should be treated as new complaints. Her

11 tactics at present seem to be for the purpose of delay

12 in the investigation of her initial complaints

13 concerning herself and Colin Duffy."

14 Now, as I said earlier, what in fact transpired is

15 that the four complaints went forward under the LAJI

16 banner, as it were, the Duffy complaints remained

17 separate, where they were, and the Loughran matter again

18 was dealt with quite separately.

19 So far as the continuation of the matter was

20 concerned, however, the statement of the client C220,

21 which was the last of the four that we saw, was sent by

22 Rosemary Nelson on 21st November to Jane Winter at

23 British Irish Rights Watch, and that is at RNI-115-132

24 (displayed).

25 So out it goes, and we can see the statement at

 

 

54


1 RNI-115-133, and what then happened was that at

2 RNI-115-136, Jane Winter sent the statement on to the

3 Secretary of State, the letter of 27th November:

4 "Dear Mo ..."

5 And the first part of the letter is concerned with

6 correspondence, which we see in due course, concerning

7 the visit of the Special Rapporteur which had taken

8 place the previous month, and the general issues

9 concerning intimidation of lawyers you will see dealt

10 with in the third paragraph. And she accuses, or says

11 that she regrets that the Secretary of State is echoing

12 the Conservative administration's stance of only

13 addressing these allegations where they, I think it must

14 be, are substantiated, and then goes on to explain why

15 that is not the right approach:

16 "Clients inform lawyers of abusive remarks made

17 about them by RUC officers during interviews from which

18 the lawyers are excluded and where there are usually at

19 least two police officers present to contradict anything

20 the client may say. As the Special Rapporteur pointed

21 out during the press conference at the end of his recent

22 visit to the UK, the authorities need to take more

23 notice of the persistent pattern of complaints from

24 independent NGOs, including Amnesty International, the

25 Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, and Human Rights

 

 

55


1 Watch/Helsinki and to take steps to remove the

2 conditions that make such complaints possible."

3 Then can we have the next paragraph, please:

4 "Although we are glad that audio recording is to be

5 introduced in the holding centres, it's long been out

6 position that those suspected of terrorism in

7 Northern Ireland should be interviewed under the PACE

8 codes of practice, as they are in England. If this were

9 to happen, solicitors could be present during interviews

10 and much of the abuse about which we have been

11 complaining for the past five years or more, against

12 both lawyers and suspects, would disappear overnight."

13 Sir, you will see, as I said right at the outset,

14 the various strands being brought together in this

15 letter. But so far as our consideration of the LAJI

16 complaint goes, look, please, at the final paragraph of

17 RNI-115-136:

18 "Lest you or, more likely, your officials should

19 imagine this to be a technical matter, we enclose in

20 strictest confidence a letter recently received from

21 Rosemary Nelson about remarks made to one of her clients

22 last March. In view of their content, it is hardly

23 surprising that it has taken her some little time to

24 steel herself to obtain a statement from him."

25 You will remember that the statement of C220, which

 

 

56


1 we looked at, because this was the statement enclosed

2 with this letter, was undated:

3 "You have met Rosemary Nelson and seen for yourself

4 the unfortunate facial deformity from which she suffers

5 as a result of trauma at birth. We do not consider that

6 any professional police officer would think it

7 appropriate to make any of the comments reported,

8 reluctantly and with great embarrassment, by

9 Rosemary Nelson's client. Although this is

10 a particularly shocking example, I can assure you that

11 we continue to receive reports of very abusive remarks

12 against other lawyers on a regular basis."

13 Then this sentence:

14 "In view of his interest in hearing of official

15 responses to our reports, we are copying your letter and

16 our response to the Special Rapporteur."

17 Sir, as I say, this is for us at the moment just

18 a snapshot of other correspondence, another history

19 relating to Mr Cumaraswamy. But it was indeed C220's

20 statement that prompted the specific remarks made by

21 Jane Winter, who, as I have shown you, was herself sent

22 the material by Rosemary Nelson.

23 Now, this letter in turn was, unsurprisingly, you

24 may think, forwarded by the NIO to the Command

25 Secretariat of the RUC we think in February the next

 

 

57


1 year. Can we look, please, at RNI-202-134.

2 This letter here in fact attached -- I am sorry, I

3 should correct that, in fact attached the next stage in

4 the Jane Winter correspondence, because in fact she had

5 sent, in addition to the C220 statement, the other

6 statement we have seen reference to, the Brian Loughran

7 statement, not to Mo Mowlam but in fact to Adam Ingram,

8 who was the Minister of State. And actually, I would

9 like to look at that first. I am sorry about that. It

10 is RNI-115-142. Thank you. This refers again to

11 earlier correspondence.

12 What had happened in fact is that it was Adam Ingram

13 who dealt with the letter enclosing the C220 statement.

14 He had recommended that it should be passed to the

15 proper authorities so it could be investigated and

16 appropriate action taken, and Jane Winter then went on

17 to confirm, via Rosemary Nelson, that it had indeed been

18 passed on to the investigating officer. And this is an

19 attempt by her to emphasise her concern about

20 Rosemary Nelson.

21 We see that expressed at the bottom of the page and

22 her more general concern at the top of the following

23 page, RNI-115-143, that it wasn't just a question of her

24 position but also that of other solicitors in

25 Northern Ireland. And she enclosed with it, as I say,

 

 

58


1 the statement of Brian Loughran, which we can see on the

2 next page, RNI-115-143.500. A very short statement

3 dated 6th November which, as I say, we can return to in

4 due course, but you will see the terms in which comments

5 about Rosemary Nelson were alleged to have been made in

6 the interviews of that client when he was detained at

7 Gough Barracks.

8 Now, getting back to the investigation, the officer

9 now attempted to move forward the new matter, new as far

10 as he was concerned, on 19th November of client C138,

11 and we will see at RNI-202-126 the request he made for

12 an interview being recorded and him reporting in this

13 letter as to the steps he had taken in the investigation

14 up, as it were, to the Commission.

15 He then followed up on 4th December at RNI-202-130,

16 and that letter records the latest difficulties in

17 arranging interviews. He had set the interview for the

18 4th, a call received on the 2nd, understaffing and,

19 therefore, the suggestion being made that the interview

20 should wait until after the Christmas holidays. And at

21 this point now, nearly nine months after the original

22 letter in this complaint, he issues a protest:

23 "However, I feel that I must protest at the ongoing

24 difficulties and delays in forwarding of information and

25 the arrangement of interviews emanating from your

 

 

59


1 office.

2 "I fully appreciate the pressure of a business

3 practice as stated in your letter of 19th November, but

4 you will appreciate that, nine months from the original

5 complaint, I must progress my investigation.

6 Consequently, I intend to submit a further interim

7 report based on the evidence already provided.

8 "If you wish the witness to be interviewed,

9 I request that you suggest a suitable date and time for

10 interview to take place at Craigavon RUC station as soon

11 as possible in the New Year. If you do wish him to be

12 interviewed, kindly confirm this in writing."

13 Now, as far as we can tell, in fact there was no

14 further contact received by the investigating officer.

15 He in fact, as you will hear, when you see his

16 statement -- and he gives evidence to us -- had moved to

17 a new position in January 1998, the beginning of the

18 year. But there was unfinished business clearly, and he

19 continued to work on these complaints and from his

20 evidence it seems that at the end of January, despite

21 the absence of a response from Rosemary Nelson, he and

22 Miss McNally from the ICPC set down to decide which

23 officers should be interviewed in relation to the

24 various LAJI complaints, and that process led to the

25 identification of a number of offices in relation to the

 

 

60


1 four matters with which we are concerned.

2 Sir, we have, as I said, right at the outset,

3 obtained statements from a large proportion of them. So

4 far as the clients are concerned, I think I am right in

5 saying that we have, or expect to have, statements from

6 three of them. One, C220, has not provided a statement

7 to the Inquiry.

8 What I intend we should do as soon as we can and

9 well before the period during which these witnesses will

10 give their evidence, is to prepare series of simple

11 charts. At the moment, as you will appreciate, with

12 ongoing issues of anonymity and with the position that I

13 am not quite certain that we have all the relevant

14 statements at this stage, I think it would be better to

15 wait until we are sure we have reached the end of that

16 process and we will prepare the simple tables. They

17 will, I suspect, nevertheless still contain a number of

18 ciphers.

19 So far as the interviewing of the officers, once they

20 had been identified goes, we can see a statement from

21 the officer setting out that process at RNI-206-078

22 (displayed).

23 This is a formal statement. Although it has been

24 covered up by the redaction box for his name, I think it

25 is dated 1st April, and what he does in the course of

 

 

61


1 a very, very, very long statement indeed -- I think I am

2 right in saying that it goes on to page RNI-206-114 in

3 the same file -- is to set out what he did by way of

4 interview of all of the relevant officers, that they

5 were interviewed under caution on various dates

6 in March, and they all, as I said before, denied the

7 allegations set out in the four statements that we have

8 seen.

9 As we have also seen, the statements tended, if they

10 gave details of the officers at all, to give

11 descriptions rather than names, and that no doubt had

12 an influence on the business of decision-making as to

13 who should be interviewed, and indeed on the numbers of

14 interviewers who were interviewed by the investigating

15 officer.

16 Now, he also, of course, had to compile his report

17 and that we can see at RNI-206-049, the same file, and

18 as I have warned you before, the report not only

19 contained his conclusions, which we will look at, but --

20 and this, you will be relieved to hear, we won't look

21 at -- also the custody records and the interview notes.

22 However, there is one point which emerges from that

23 material which I should mention now, which is that as

24 far as we can tell, no contemporaneous complaint was

25 made by any of the clients or by the solicitors, either

 

 

62


1 Rosemary Nelson or others from her office acting for

2 them and who had access to them during their detention

3 at the time.

4 Now, the report, as I say, begins on RNI-206-049 and

5 it is, as you will remember, in relation to these LAJI

6 complaints, the second report. So a lot of it is

7 material that we have seen already. And I hope,

8 therefore, that we can proceed reasonably speedily to

9 RNI-206-051. And at RNI-206-051, we have, as it were,

10 the first of the new material, new since the last report

11 that he filed. If you remember, that was at the end

12 of July.

13 This is his brief description of the statements that

14 we have now seen, all four of them, and he deals with

15 them one after the other. A typed, unsigned statement

16 at RNI-206-215, at 206, he says that his surname and

17 address is spelt wrongly and then recounts the details

18 I have given to you about the fact they were arrested

19 and released without charge. And he summarises the

20 content of their statements and then makes the point

21 that neither has attended for interview and that no

22 complaints were made during their time in custody and no

23 improper comments appear on the interview records:

24 "In the absence of an interview, their reliability

25 as witnesses remains very much open to question."

 

 

63


1 Then he makes the point about delay.

2 C138. Again, he describes how the statement came

3 in, making the point also that the letter seems to have

4 taken ten days to reach him and referring to that

5 statement and correcting the dates in the way that I did

6 earlier, and again saying that he didn't attend for

7 interview.

8 In relation to C220, he makes some comments about

9 the nature of the statement. It is indeed a brief one,

10 you will remember. He points out that the dates of

11 detention are incorrect and says -- which I should have

12 mentioned earlier to you -- that he also failed to

13 attend for interview.

14 So at this stage, what the officer records is that

15 none of the four clients had attended to be interviewed

16 by him.

17 So moving on to RNI-206-053, this is a page which

18 now is rather difficult to read, in which it sets out in

19 summary all the interviews of officers he had conducted,

20 and at the very last line is what I draw to your

21 attention:

22 "All of the officers deny the allegations of

23 misconduct."

24 Now, in the course of this page -- we needn't dwell

25 on it now -- there is some clue given as to the process

 

 

64


1 I mentioned earlier, whereby officers were, as it were,

2 selected for interview on the basis of the statements

3 that had been obtained. Well, you will see that, to

4 take the example of Detective Constable P135, this is

5 the investigating officer saying:

6 "The grey haired officer with him."

7 That is P162:

8 "... in the interview appears to be ..."

9 There are similar comments in relation to facial and

10 other characteristics mentioned in the statements all

11 the way down the page.

12 Now, the meat of this report begins at RNI-206-054,

13 and this is of course, so far as we are concerned, an

14 important page and I am going to read it:

15 "Serious allegations have been made against

16 detectives and these must be seen in the context of what

17 was happening in the Lurgan area in the first half of

18 1997. At the beginning of the year there was an upsurge

19 in Provisional IRA activity in this part of the

20 Province. Incidents included a rocket attack on

21 a police vehicle. In February of that year, [the first

22 two clients] were arrested and questioned about this

23 offence. [Two other clients] were also arrested and

24 questioned about terrorist activity in the area. The

25 following points are worthy of note:

 

 

65


1 "1. The interview records contain nothing which

2 would support the allegations of misconduct by

3 interviewing detectives.

4 "2. The custody records indicate that no complaint

5 was made by any of the four prisoners regarding any

6 matter whatsoever. Furthermore, it is clear that they

7 had regular access to their solicitor. That being the

8 case, it is somewhat surprising that Mrs Nelson did not

9 lodge a complaint at the time.

10 "3. It beggars belief that detectives would

11 jeopardise interviews by stating the outrageous things

12 attributed to them. Such entries would serve no useful

13 purpose and that complaints could be anticipated with

14 the resultant disruption in interviews.

15 "3. Mrs Nelson's failure to cooperate in the early

16 stages of this investigation and the failure of her

17 clients to attend for interview casts serious doubts

18 upon their commitment to a thorough and searching

19 investigation. At this stage, their evidence remains

20 very much open to question and the manner in which

21 statements were forwarded gives serious cause for

22 concern. I would expect a solicitor to be more

23 professional in putting her case.

24 "5. Leading on from the previous point, the volume

25 and timing of the voluminous correspondence from various

 

 

66


1 international groups on Mrs Nelson's behalf gives rise

2 to the reasonable suspicion that these complaints are

3 more to do with generating propaganda against the RUC

4 than establishing the truth. Certainly the most serious

5 allegation that police officers made death threats

6 against Mrs Nelson has not been clearly stated by her

7 clients in their tendered statements."

8 Can we move to the next page, RNI-206-055 please:

9 "In conclusion, much has been said by international

10 bodies and human rights groups on behalf of

11 Rosemary Nelson, but very little has been produced by

12 way of factual evidence. The failure of clients to

13 attend for interview creates a major weakness in her

14 case, as do the [I think it is] late complaints. There

15 remains no convincing evidence to proceed against any

16 police officer."

17 Just turning back to RNI-206-054 and just a few

18 comments, if I may, at this stage, you can see here

19 a number of the points that I have already flagged up to

20 you as emerging during the course of the investigation,

21 and 4 deals head-on with the failure to cooperate. Not

22 only in the early stages but also when eventually the

23 clients' statements emerge, they did not attend for

24 interview.

25 Then 5 deals with the correspondence from, as he

 

 

67


1 puts it, the various international groups and he

2 suggests that that material gives rise to the reasonable

3 suspicion that the complaints have an ulterior purpose,

4 that they are not being put forward genuinely but as

5 part of an attempt to generate or to make propaganda

6 against the RUC.

7 So in those two points, sir, we see in a document

8 created in 1998, exactly the sort of points made in

9 Dr Hayes' report, that solicitors were said by police

10 officers investigating matters and also by officials at

11 the Commission not to be interested in cooperating and

12 pushing forward complaints, and again quoted by him that

13 police officers regarded complaints of this kind as

14 being more about generating propaganda than establishing

15 the truth.

16 So the interesting feature of the report in that

17 sense is that the investigating officer does not limit

18 himself to an assessment based on the specific matters

19 which had or when not occurred during the investigation,

20 but he himself widens it out, sees it in a wider or

21 broader context.

22 Now, whether his assessment or judgment about death

23 threats in particular in relation to the statement of

24 C215, is correct is obviously something that will be

25 considered further when you hear the evidence and see

 

 

68


1 more of the material.

2 Now, the end result of this, perhaps unsurprisingly

3 in the light of these views, is at RNI-206-055: that no

4 prosecution was recommended against any police officer.

5 At RNI-206-057, which is the parallel report on the

6 discipline side of the matter, he recommends in the main

7 box at the end:

8 "I recommend no disciplinary proceedings."

9 In accordance with the process that we are familiar

10 with, his superior submitted the report to the

11 Commission and that -- I don't want to take you to it --

12 is, for everybody's note, at RNI-202-155.

13 In the meanwhile, as we know, he had been

14 investigating the Colin Duffy complaint. We have seen

15 some of the statements which were obtained. That

16 investigation was also supervised by Miss McNally of the

17 Commission, and that report, which was in fact prepared

18 by an Assistant Chief Constable as well as the

19 investigating officer's superior officer, was put in.

20 Again, it was concluded that none of the allegations had

21 been substantiated, and recommended that there be no

22 prosecution and it went to the Commission on

23 29th April 1998. It we could we see that, please, it is

24 RNI-209-269 (displayed).

25 29th April, the Superintendent is sending to the

 

 

69


1 Chief Executive under the Article we have seen his

2 investigation report, and a copy of it alluding to the

3 criminal matters goes in, again in accordance with the

4 procedure, to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

5 Now, as we will hear, sir, shortly after this it

6 emerged that there were serious concerns at the

7 Commission as to the investigation of both the LAJI and

8 the Duffy complaints. Could we look, please, at

9 RNI-222-013. (Displayed)

10 Now, these are minutes of the Commission's meeting.

11 There are regular meetings. We have a number of the

12 minutes before and after this date in the bundle.

13 Mr Donnelly is in the chair, Miss Bryson and other

14 members given us a statement, and then Miss McNally.

15 The relevant part, so far as we are concerned today, is

16 at RNI-222-015 and this is paragraph 7.1. Could we blow

17 that up, please:

18 "Miss McNally gave an update on the supervised case

19 mentioned at 8.3 of the April minutes. She stated that

20 she had decided to issue a qualified statement referring

21 to her concerns regarding the investigation of the

22 complaint. After a full discussion, it was agreed that

23 the Commission would write to the Secretary of State

24 under Article 17(2) of the order expressing its grave

25 concerns. A copy of the report would be circulated for

 

 

70


1 comment and approval of the members before being

2 submitted to the Secretary of State."

3 Now, this internal minute and its reference to

4 Article 17 picks up something we saw, I think, when we

5 were looking at the regulatory material. That is the

6 Article that gives a discretion to the Commission to

7 make a report to the Secretary of State on any matters

8 coming to its notice in the performance of its functions

9 to which it considered that the Secretary of State's

10 attention should be drawn by reason of their gravity or

11 other exceptional circumstances.

12 So this is the moment then that the discussion and

13 then consideration takes place at the possibility of

14 declining to issue the certificate of satisfaction, and

15 as I have observed before, this is the first occasion in

16 the ten years of the Commission's existence when such

17 a situation had occurred.

18 Can we look, please, at RNI-209-271. (Displayed)

19 Now, this followed various meetings since the minute

20 we have seen, which was, I think, dated 22nd May, and

21 what the Chairman does is to draw the concerns directly

22 to the attention of the Chief Constable. It is headed

23 "In Confidence" and that becomes important later:

24 "Dear Ronnie, re complaints against officers the RUC

25 in respect of alleged threats to Rosemary Nelson

 

 

71


1 solicitor. I am writing to bring to your attention

2 concerns that I have been made aware of by the member of

3 the Commission to supervised the above investigation.

4 The matters in question are grave. Alleged death

5 threats and sinister innuendos have been made towards

6 Rosemary Nelson, a solicitor. It is claimed that these

7 were communicated to Mr Duffy while under arrest as

8 a suspect in the murder of two police officers in Lurgan

9 in June 1997, and to other persons while they were in

10 police custody."

11 Just pausing there. It will be a matter of

12 consideration when one looks at the actual allegations

13 made in the various complaints, both by Mr Duffy and the

14 other clients, to distinguish carefully between what was

15 alleged which might amount to a death threat and the

16 many other allegations about comments and abuse that

17 were made:

18 "The circumstances of this investigation are

19 exceptional. Firstly, there is a high degree of

20 interest expressed from external bodies, in particular

21 the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Lawyers

22 Alliance for Justice in Ireland and Human Rights

23 Watch/Helsinki.

24 "Secondly, for the first time in the history of the

25 Commission, we are unable to confirm the police

 

 

72


1 investigation has been conducted to our satisfaction.

2 The demeanour, behaviour and investigative approach of

3 the interviewing police officer, together with the

4 responses of those officers under question, combine to

5 fundamentally undermine the investigative process. In

6 spite of numerous efforts on behalf the Commission

7 representatives to challenge and redress the situation,

8 the investigation has been obstructed and obscured to an

9 extent that leads us to conclude that the final outcome

10 is irretrievably flawed.

11 "I share the Commission member's belief that this

12 case is of such significance both in terms of its

13 gravity and the exceptional circumstances surrounding

14 it, that I have a duty, in confidence, to bring the

15 matter to your attention."

16 Now, that is, as it were, the opening and it is

17 pitched obviously very high. You will see here -- and

18 inevitably the summary that I am giving you of these

19 events is very brief at this stage -- that behind it,

20 from that paragraph at the bottom of the previous page,

21 is a history of problems in the investigation between

22 the officer and, in particular, the supervising member,

23 Miss McNally.

24 Then returning to this page, RNI-209-272, he then

25 sets out the history of the matter and describes the

 

 

73


1 receipt of the LAJI letter, and indeed goes over the

2 very initial history of it being dealt with in one way

3 by the RUC and then that being effectively overruled.

4 It deals with the nature of the allegations,

5 complains about the way they have been characterised and

6 proceeds to deal with the problems in the investigation

7 itself. In order to do so, he produces what he says are

8 three examples to illustrate the pattern, and they are:

9 first of all, an attempt to suggest that the matter

10 should be resolved by informal complaint; difficulties

11 in securing the attendance of police officers with short

12 notice cancellations; general air of hostility to the

13 investigation on the part of those police officers whose

14 interviews were supervised, and the demeanour of the

15 interviewing officer did little to challenge this

16 attitude.

17 Then the point I have mentioned before, over the

18 page at RNI-209-273, about pre-prepared statements.

19 A direction had obviously been given that there shall be

20 no pre-prepared statements, but they were nevertheless

21 tendered on three occasions. An example, again, is

22 given of a statement being handed in at the beginning of

23 the interview and the officer simply answering every

24 question by the phrase "I refer you to my statement".

25 And an explanation of what had happened when that

 

 

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1 approach was challenged.

2 Then a recital of the problems between the officer

3 and the supervising member, and this final statement:

4 "Along with the supervising Commission member, I am

5 concerned that this investigation has been irreparably

6 undermined and that the facts of the case, whatever they

7 might be, cannot now be established."

8 Sir, one doesn't need a great deal of imagination to

9 work out how this letter is likely to have been received

10 when it arrived at the office of the Chief Constable.

11 As far as we can tell -- indeed, it was one of the

12 complaints made in the immediate aftermath by the

13 Chief Constable -- there was no warning of this. The

14 letter came, so far as he was concerned -- he certainly

15 says -- out of the blue.

16 In fact, Mr Donnelly wrote in the same terms, or

17 very similar terms, I should say, to the Secretary of

18 State. Can we just look very briefly at RNI-106-211

19 (displayed).

20 We don't, I think, need to go through it in any

21 detail because you can see just from the first

22 paragraphs very, very familiar text. And this, sir, was

23 therefore the trigger for the consternation, the running

24 around, the hurried meetings, discussions, briefing

25 papers being prepared, which eventually resulted in the

 

 

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1 appointment of Commander Mulvihill.

2 Sir, would that be a good moment?

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. I look forward to seeing everybody on

4 Monday.

5 (1.00 pm)

6 (The Inquiry adjourned until Monday, 21st April 2008)

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1 I N D E X

2
Opening submissions by MR PHILLIPS .............. 2
3 (continued)

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Associated Evidence

Reference Title Description
202-007-008 Fax from Attorney General's Chambers to the Law Officers to P166
222-013-015 Independent Commission for Police Complaints for Northern Ireland - Minutes of a Meeting of the Commission Held on 22 May 1998
115-142-143 Letter about Abuse of Defence Lawyers - the Statement Attached to my Letter to Mo Mowlem of 27th November Should be Passed to the Proper Authorities so that it Could be Investigated and Appropriate Action Taken
202-100-101 Letter about Complaint Against Police by Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers - Attorney General's Chamber on Behalf of Lawyers Alliance for Justice in Ireland on Behalf of Rosemary Nelson - Solicitor
209-271-273 Letter about Complaints Against Officers of the RUC in Respect of Alleged Threats to Rosemary Nelson - Solicitor- Alleged Death Threats and Sinister Innuendoes
106-211-213 Letter about Complaints Against Officers of the RUC in Respect of Alleged Threats to Rosemary Nelson - Solicitor
114-070-071 Letter about Rosemary Nelson - Reference No C752/97 9
202-073-074 Letter about Rosemary Nelson - Solicitor - Alleged Death Threats by RUC Previous Correspondence Ref COM SEC 97/195/21
114-101-102 Letter from Edmund E Lynch to Henry J Hyde of Congress of the United States
115-136-137 Letter of Thanks for Your Letter of 20 November 1997 - You Have Echoed the Previous Administration's Stance of only Addressing these Allegations Where they are Substantiated
202-122-123 Memo about Complaint by Rosemary Nelson (Solicitor)
202-089-090 Memo about Rosemary Nelson - Solicitor - Alleged Death Threats by RUC
233-001-153 Publication Entitled 'A Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland?' - A Review of the Police Complaints System in Northern Ireland by Dr Maurice Hayes
206-003-010 Royal Ulster Constabulary - Complaint Against the Police - Formal Investigation - Complainant - Legal Secretariat to the Law Officer's Attorney General's Chamber - 9 Buckingham Gate - London on Behalf of Lawyer's Alliance for Justice in Ireland - 445 East Main Street
203-002-003 Statement of Arrest - of Barry and Colm Toman
206-072-073 Statement of Colm Toman
206-078-110 Statement of Witness - by P146
114-099.516-099.517 Statement of Witness - Statement of Colin Francis Duffy
210-198-202 Statement of Witness - Statement of Rosemary Nelson - LLB - Solicitor
114-099.508-099.512 Statement of Witness - Statement of Rosemary Nelson LLB Solicitor