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Full Hearings

Hearing: 5th March 2009, day 120

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

on Thursday, 5 March 2009
commencing at 10.15 am

Day 120









1 Thursday, 5 March 2009

2 (10.15 am)

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Currans, the checklist. Is the public

4 area screen fully in place, locked and the key secured?

5 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the fire doors on either side of the

7 screen closed?

8 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

10 and securely fastened?

11 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

13 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

14 of this chamber?

15 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

17 Can the video engineer please confirm that the two

18 witness cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

19 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they are.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: All the other cameras have been switched off?

21 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

23 Bring the witness in, please.

24 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

25 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be





1 switched back on.

2 Would you please take the oath?

3 B141 (sworn)

4 Questions by MR SKELTON

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Please sit down.

6 Yes, Mr Skelton?

7 MR SKELTON: For the purpose of this Inquiry, you are known

8 as witness B141, although I think it is right to say

9 that another cipher, B514, appears on some of the

10 documents which originally bore your name. Your

11 statement we can find at RNI-846-927 (displayed). You

12 can see that on screen there. That's the first page of

13 it, and the final page is at RNI-846-960 (displayed),

14 where you can see your signature has been replaced with

15 your cipher number and the date 16 February 2009.

16 Can I ask you first of all to confirm that that's

17 your statement and it is true to the best of your

18 knowledge and belief?

19 A. Yes, I can confirm that.

20 Q. Thank you. Just a few questions, if I may, about your

21 background in the RUC. When did you first join?

22 A. I first joined the RUC in 1978.

23 Q. And you joined Special Branch some four years later, did

24 you, in 1982?

25 A. That's correct, sir.





1 Q. And moved to Portadown in 1992?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Were you a DC at that stage?

4 A. That's correct.

5 Q. Did you remind a DC during your career?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. When did you retire?

8 A. 2006.

9 Q. And from 1992 to 2006, were you stationed in Portadown

10 or did you move elsewhere at some point?

11 A. No, I remained in Portadown for that time.

12 Q. I would now like to move on, if I may, to some reporting

13 to do with Rosemary Nelson, most of which you comment

14 upon in your statement and I will take to you the

15 statement references if that would help during your

16 evidence. The first document is at RNI-541-013

17 (displayed) and the date of this, you can see,

18 is April 1996 and it is a PRISM document. The subject

19 says:

20 "Rosemary Nelson gathers information for PIRA,

21 Lurgan."

22 And the originating officers are yourself, B514, and

23 a colleague of yours, B572, and I think you should have

24 a cipher piece of paper next to you which will allow you

25 to identify who that person is, unless you can recall.





1 If we go overleaf to see the text of it, you can see

2 it says:

3 "Rosemary Nelson, Lurgan is using her position as a

4 solicitor to gather information for PIRA in Lurgan.

5 [It] includes details of RUC members who she comes into

6 contact with."

7 And there is a comment after it which says:

8 "Nelson is known to represent a number of PIRA

9 activists in the Lurgan area."

10 You received this intelligence and were one of the

11 originating officers. Can you recall it now?

12 A. No, sir, I cannot recall the particular intelligence

13 having been received.

14 Q. Well, if we look at the content of it, it appears to

15 indicate that she -- Rosemary Nelson, that is -- is

16 actively gathering information for the IRA in Lurgan.

17 In other words, she is engaged with assisting the IRA.

18 It doesn't say who it is in this redacted version, but

19 one can assume that that would involve Mr Duffy, for

20 example, who is the senior commander, as we understand

21 it at that time. Is that your understanding of what

22 this intelligence means?

23 A. My understanding is that the intelligence is what it

24 says. I don't see here -- and maybe it has been

25 redacted or otherwise, I don't know, but it doesn't say





1 anything in relation to Mr Duffy. The intelligence at

2 that time from any source would have been reported as

3 reported from our agent.

4 Q. What kind of information do you think is being referred

5 to here?

6 A. Simply that -- I mean, it is what it says, sir. It is

7 information [redacted] that

8 Rosemary Nelson is using her position as a solicitor to

9 gather information for PIRA in Lurgan. It is what it

10 says.

11 Q. And that would include details of RUC members who she

12 comes into contact with?

13 A. That's what the intelligence in this instance states,

14 yes.

15 Q. Now, would one infer from that, if she is indeed passing

16 details of RUC officers to the IRA, that she is

17 assisting potentially with the targeting of RUC

18 officers? Is that an inference you made at the time?

19 A. Could you just repeat that question again, please, sir?

20 Q. It says there that some of the information that she

21 appeared to be gathering for the IRA included details of

22 RUC officers.

23 A. Hm-mm.

24 Q. Now, what did you think that was for? Why was she

25 gathering the details?





1 A. I can't recall now what I thought at the time. It is

2 simply, sir, what it says: it is intelligence to say

3 that she was using her position as a solicitor to gather

4 information for PIRA in Lurgan. I really can't infer

5 anything more than that. I can't remember the

6 intelligence, I can't remember formulating the report.

7 It is what it says.

8 Q. Well, looking at it 13 years on, would you, do you

9 think, have drawn the inference that she was assisting

10 the IRA?

11 A. 13 years on -- I mean, I'm reading this 13 years on. If

12 I had never seen it before, I think that I could infer

13 from this report that she was assisting the Provisional

14 IRA.

15 Q. And that's an obvious inference from the basis of what's

16 there, isn't it?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And were there discussions about that within your

19 office, that here was a solicitor who appeared to be

20 providing assistance to a terrorist organisation?

21 A. Not that I can specifically recall. However, in the

22 nature of every day Special Branch work, I would say it

23 probably was.

24 Q. Well, how unusual was it to receive intelligence that

25 a solicitor was involved in this kind of activity?





1 A. I think it would -- yes, it would be unusual. Having

2 said that, sir, it is unusual to get a report that

3 a motor mechanic or an estate agent is involved in

4 passing intelligence to the Provisional IRA. It is

5 a significant development.

6 Q. Do you think it put the local officers in Lurgan at

7 risk?

8 A. I really have no way of quantifying that for you, sir.

9 Really all I can do is say to you that's the

10 intelligence received at the time.

11 Now, obviously if anybody is engaged in passing the

12 details -- or were engaged in passing the details of

13 police officers at that time to terrorists, yes, it

14 would place a risk.

15 Q. And I think in your statement you say -- this is

16 paragraph 58 on page RNI-846-943 (displayed) -- that

17 ordinary policemen may have been concerned if they had

18 known about this?

19 A. I am sure they would have been, yes.

20 Q. Do you think this is the kind of information that would

21 have been given to ordinary policemen to allow them to

22 be careful in their dealings with Mrs Nelson?

23 A. I have no way of knowing if that was disseminated right

24 down to that level. I don't know from the documents

25 that I have here.





1 Q. Do you remember discussing this intelligence about

2 Rosemary Nelson with your detective sergeant or

3 detective inspector?

4 A. No, sir, I don't remember any specific incident of that

5 or any time that happened.

6 Q. What about being tasked to find follow-up information

7 about it; in other words, to flesh out the bare bones of

8 this initial report?

9 A. Tasking of this nature would have been carried out. I

10 can speculate on that. It would have been carried out

11 [redacted]

12 [redacted]

13 [redacted].

14 Q. The comment you can see there:

15 "Nelson is known to represent a number of IRA

16 activists in the Lurgan area."

17 That's a comment from you or your colleague, is it,

18 rather than a comment that is originating from the

19 intelligence itself?

20 A. 13 years later, it is hard to say. I would imagine,

21 looking at that -- actually, to be quite honest, it is

22 hard to say. I'm not sure where that comment has come

23 from.

24 Q. Was it something that you were aware of at the time,

25 that she represented activists?





1 A. I am afraid I can't remember that.

2 Q. Were you aware, for example, that she had represented

3 Mr Duffy in his appeal for the conviction for the murder

4 of John Lyness, which had occurred some years

5 previously?

6 A. I could have been at the time, but I can't remember now

7 whether I was or not.

8 Q. But you would have known who Rosemary Nelson was, would

9 you?

10 A. Certainly.

11 Q. From what?

12 A. Simply this report.

13 Q. Did you know her from other areas of her practice, for

14 example, with the GRRC?

15 A. Not that I recall. I actually can't remember if in 1996

16 she was involved with the GRRC. I can't remember if

17 that's a fact.

18 Q. I believe she was.

19 A. Okay.

20 Q. Can I ask you some questions about the GRRC?

21 A. Certainly.

22 Q. Because, again, this is something which Portadown

23 Special Branch had an interest in, the Drumcree

24 developments and so on.

25 One of the points you make in your statement is that





1 everything the GRRC did was approved by Rosemary Nelson

2 from a legal perspective. So you did know something

3 about her role as the legal adviser to the GRRC?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. You also say that everything that she did -- and this is

6 at paragraph 29 at page RNI-846-934 (displayed) -- you

7 had the impression that everything Rosemary Nelson did

8 was in the public domain. Do you see that comment?

9 A. Just give me a moment, please. (Pause)

10 Yes. Could you repeat the question, please?

11 Q. You say there in paragraph 29 that you had the

12 impression that anything Rosemary Nelson did was in the

13 public domain. What gave you that impression?

14 A. It is hard for me to comment on that. The part before

15 that, the paragraph before that, has been redacted and I

16 don't know in what context I made that comment.

17 Q. I think you go on, if you look at paragraph 30, just to

18 help you, it says:

19 "She appeared at several press conferences for them

20 [the GRRC] and gave opinions on, for example, police

21 brutality."

22 Might it be that you've gained that impression from

23 those sorts of press conferences that you are talking

24 about here?

25 A. Yes.





1 Q. It may be that?

2 A. It could be, yes.

3 Q. Could you describe what you recall was being said at

4 those sorts of conferences by Mrs Nelson about alleged

5 police brutality in the context of Drumcree?

6 A. No, sir, I can't remember specific times in which she

7 would have said anything, or any specific incident. I

8 can say that generally at that time she was known to

9 appear at press conferences and speak on legal matters

10 for the GRRC.

11 Q. But the point about police brutality is an important one

12 because it puts her in an adverse position, if I may

13 term it that way, in relation to the police. It allows

14 the police to think that she was anti-RUC. Was that an

15 impression that you had?

16 A. I certainly did have the impression that the GRRC as

17 a whole were looking for various ways in which to

18 denigrate the police and the police officers on the

19 ground at the time as part of their overall campaign

20 over the Drumcree issue.

21 Q. And presumably these press conferences were part of that

22 process, were they?

23 A. Yes, they would have been, yes.

24 Q. Of which Mrs Nelson took a what looks from here to be

25 a prominent role?





1 A. I wouldn't say that her role was prominent. I would say

2 that she was there as a legal adviser to the GRRC. I

3 don't think that she was in any way engaged in

4 formulating policy.

5 Q. Let's look at some of the reporting that we have in

6 relation to her and the GRRC. The first one that

7 I would like to show you, please, is at RNI-541-032

8 (displayed) and this is dated late 1996, which does at

9 least confirm that she was engaged with the GRRC in

10 1996. And you can see there that you are the

11 originating officer of this particular piece of

12 reporting.

13 If we go overleaf -- a lot of it has been redacted,

14 so the only paragraph that I would like to show you

15 really is this paragraph 4, which concerns her. And you

16 can see that it says that she was coordinating the

17 GRRC's legal matters, et cetera. But the key bit that

18 I would like to show you is really the middle of that

19 section:

20 "Under her guidance, the GRRC has arranged for

21 approximately 120 people to make complaints to the RUC

22 regarding Drumcree. [Redacted]

23 [redacted]."

24 Now, what inference did you draw about her

25 relationship with the GRRC from this sort of report?





1 A. I don't think that report provided any particular

2 inference. She simply was the legal adviser to the

3 GRRC, and obviously from the intelligence here she was

4 making arrangements for people to make complaints to the

5 RUC regarding Drumcree. I don't really know how to draw

6 an inference from that.

7 Q. Ordinarily legal representatives, legal advisers, are

8 meant to be neutral and candid in their presentation of

9 legal cases. In this case it looks like there is

10 a strategy behind complaints which is being formulated

11 and guided by Mrs Nelson; in other words, the strategy

12 is to somehow confound the RUC with large numbers of

13 complaints about their activities in relation to

14 Drumcree, which is, at least from the conventional

15 standpoint, unusual. Would you accept that?

16 A. In today's terms unusual, yes. In the context of the

17 times, probably not that unusual. Tactics like this

18 were adopted by people -- how shall I say -- from both

19 sides of the divide that were critical of the police.

20 Q. Did you then think that she had effectively aligned

21 herself with that one side of the divide and was being

22 critical of the police and anti-police?

23 A. Well, certainly I would have to say that she was the

24 legal representative of the GRRC. The GRRC was, how

25 should I say, an inherently sympathetic organisation to





1 the Republican movement.

2 Q. Are you saying by that that you had perceived within

3 Lurgan Special Branch that there were connections

4 between the GRRC and mainstream Republicanism, which

5 would include Sinn Fein and the IRA?

6 A. Within Lurgan Special Branch, sir?

7 Q. Sorry, Portadown, my mistake.

8 A. Could you repeat that question, please?

9 Q. You were careful in the way you phrased your answer

10 there. Is what you are trying to say that the GRRC was

11 perceived to be aligned with the mainstream Republican

12 groups such as Sinn Fein and, indeed, the IRA?

13 A. The GRRC, like probably any community organisation, was

14 fairly complex. Certainly there were a lot of activists

15 on the street who were Nationalist-minded. Some were

16 Republican-minded. But certainly at the very top of the

17 GRRC there was regular contact between

18 Breandan Mac Cionnaith and leading members of Sinn Fein

19 and PIRA.

20 Q. And, therefore, by association, in becoming their legal

21 adviser, Mrs Nelson was bracketed in that grouping,

22 was she?

23 A. I'm not entirely sure if Rosemary Nelson would have

24 known the extent to which Breandan Mac Cionnaith was

25 connected with the leadership of the Republican





1 movement. I don't know, is the answer to that.

2 Q. Another report which refers to her is at RNI-541-092

3 (displayed) and this is seven months on in June 1997

4 and, again, you are one of the officers that has

5 produced the report, it would appear from the face of

6 it. Can I look at the content overleaf, please? It is

7 a short report. It says:

8 "Rosemary Nelson, solicitor, Lurgan was present in

9 a legal capacity for the [GRRC] at their meeting with

10 the Secretary of State, Mo Mowlam, on 17 June.

11 "Comment: Nelson has firm PIRA sympathies."

12 Now, first of all why was this of significance, the

13 fact that she was present during that meeting? Why were

14 you reporting it?

15 A. I don't know if it was of particular significance.

16 [Redacted]

17 [redacted]

18 [redacted]

19 [redacted].

20 Now, there is no particular significance that I can

21 see about this. But it's not for the handler to turn

22 around and make up his mind that he won't report

23 a specific item of intelligence. What our job is is to

24 report the intelligence [redacted] and let people

25 who assess the intelligence make a decision as to





1 whether that intelligence is relevant or valuable or

2 not.

3 As a handler, you don't know the big picture that

4 maybe somebody sitting at a desk in Headquarters would

5 know, somebody that would analyse the intelligence. You

6 simply put the intelligence in. It might not mean

7 anything to us as a handler, but to people who see

8 intelligence from various sources it might mean

9 something. So it is not for us to omit or change the

10 intelligence in any way. You simply report it as you

11 find it. So there might be no significance to that

12 piece of intelligence, or it might be significant to

13 somebody.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: [Redacted]

15 [redacted]

16 [redacted]

17 [redacted]?

18 A. [Redacted]

19 [redacted]

20 [Redacted].

21 MR SKELTON: [Redacted].

22 A. [Redacted]

23 [redacted]

24 [redacted]

25 [redacted]





1 [redacted].

2 Q. Just returning to the issue of the comment, I would like

3 to show you the back sheet, if I may, which is the next

4 page. It says there:

5 "Comment added by: RUCHQ/E3AS ..."

6 It's unclear from other documents we have seen,

7 which unfortunately are redacted so we haven't shown you

8 them, whether the comment was in fact added by a member

9 of the RUC in Headquarters or by yourself as the

10 originating officer. Would you have added that comment,

11 do you think, or would you have relied on E3A to have

12 drawn that to the attention of the reader?

13 A. From my experience, I would say that was probably added

14 by myself, the originator. That's my assessment but, I

15 don't know that for sure.

16 Q. Why did you add it?

17 A. [Redacted].

18 Q. Well, what has led you to conclude that she had IRA

19 sympathies?

20 A. Simply the intelligence that you received [redacted]

21 [redacted]. I can't remember -- when was that? 1997. I

22 can't remember having actually formulated the report or

23 what was in my mind. All I can say is that the

24 intelligence [redacted] was

25 processed and put on paper by myself.





1 Q. Looked at in the cold light of day now, many years on,

2 it would look like the detailed intelligence is just the

3 fact of her presence at the meeting, and the comment is

4 added so that a reader reading that intelligence can

5 understand who Mrs Nelson is. In other words, it is

6 something added by the officers producing the report to

7 assist understanding of the potential significance of

8 the intelligence, it is not something that has come

9 directly from the intelligence itself. It is background

10 information which you have picked up. Is that not the

11 more likely explanation?

12 A. I don't know, sir, it is very possible, I don't know.

13 Q. One of the things you speculate about in your statement

14 is whether the comment was added in order to assist the

15 Secretary of State herself in her meeting. Do you

16 remember --

17 A. That's very possible as well, yes.

18 Q. Given that it is a retrospective report -- in other

19 words, it appears to be reporting on a meeting which has

20 already occurred -- do you think that's likely?

21 A. It is very possible. I don't know whether it is likely.

22 Q. The point I'm trying to make really is that the meeting

23 had already occurred so the briefing couldn't have been

24 given in advance to the Secretary of State. Do you see

25 my point?





1 A. I do.

2 Q. So that this comment wouldn't be of assistance to her in

3 meeting Mrs Nelson?

4 A. Okay.

5 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Are you about to move on?

6 MR SKELTON: I'm going to move on.

7 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Can I then, before you do, just

8 ask -- leaving aside the comment, just what's in the

9 intelligence -- it does seem a remarkably bland piece of

10 information that Rosemary Nelson and no doubt a number

11 of other people were present at a meeting. Why would it

12 be thought of interest to write that this particular

13 person was present at a meeting with Mo Mowlam?

14 A. Basically, as I said before, ma'am, at that time it

15 might not have been of any particular interest. The

16 responsibility that you have as a handler is to take the

17 intelligence and make sure that it is reported.

18 Now, if events had have turned out in some way

19 different and we or I have omitted that piece of

20 intelligence, somebody in the future could have come to

21 me and say, "There was intelligence in relation to that.

22 You didn't include that in a report. Why did you not do

23 it?" It was --

24 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Please understand, I'm not

25 criticising you for reporting a piece of intelligence.





1 A. I understand that, yes.

2 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I'm just curious to know why

3 information about this particular person was thought to

4 be of interest.

5 A. It is not a particular person. It is any person that is

6 in that position will be reported on.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I just follow up on that? We have

8 had evidence presented at this hearing about persons

9 present at GRRC meetings, some, it might be said, of

10 more interest to Special Branch. For Mrs Nelson's name

11 to come forward [redacted]

12 [redacted] tasked to report intelligence on

13 Mrs Nelson?

14 A. At the time we had a small unit of handlers. The amount

15 of intelligence that was coming in to our office from

16 both sides of the political divide was huge. To be

17 quite honest, Rosemary Nelson was never on our radar, so

18 to speak. She was of very, very little interest to us.

19 Our interest lay in the overall impact of the Drumcree

20 crisis that was in Northern Ireland at the time. People

21 were being badly injured, people were being killed,

22 there was a crisis nearly every day on the

23 Garvaghy Road, a lot of violence. And in that context

24 Rosemary Nelson was of very little or no interest to us.

25 We were interested in the people on both sides of





1 the divide that were involved in the violence and

2 perpetrating the violence and any activity, any

3 terrorist activity, which would have resulted in the

4 loss of life. I don't specifically remember any

5 particular tasking on Rosemary Nelson or anybody else.

6 Our tasking was simply -- and all we had time for really

7 was the protection of life or the prevention of damage

8 to property and that really was what we were working at

9 at that time.

10 Rosemary Nelson was just simply not on our radar.

11 If a source reported on an individual who was associated

12 with the GRRC, we reported it, but we didn't put any

13 particular importance to Rosemary Nelson or, indeed,

14 anybody else.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: If she was of very, very little interest and

16 wasn't on your radar, why would this comment be made?

17 A. Which comment, sir?

18 THE CHAIRMAN: The comment in this SIR report.

19 A. The comment that she -- sorry, I do not have it here --

20 "has firm PIRA sympathies".

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Has firm PIRA sympathies.

22 A. [Redacted]

23 [redacted]

24 [redacted].

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.





1 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: I mean, again -- just forgetting the

2 comment point, just go back to the general text, where

3 Rosemary Nelson is singled out for comment.

4 A. Okay.

5 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: No other members of the GRRC mentioned

6 there as being present at the meeting. Could it be

7 that, because [redacted] felt that Rosemary Nelson had

8 PIRA sympathies, that this was the reason why she was

9 singled out for comment in the SIR?

10 A. In this context, sir, it may appear that an individual

11 has been singled out for attention. It is quite

12 possible that [redacted], two people

13 were mentioned, three people were mentioned, seven

14 people were mentioned. They wouldn't all appear on the

15 same report. That is simply for security [redacted].

16 [Redacted]

17 [redacted]. It would have

18 generated seven SIRs -- separate reports.

19 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay, thank you.

20 MR SKELTON: Sir, I think the point of context is important

21 here. I have not prepared my examination on the basis

22 that we would look at whole of the context of this

23 reporting, but it is fair to say that there is other

24 reporting about lots of meetings which refers to lots

25 more people other than Rosemary Nelson, and we have





1 chosen this one particular --

2 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: That's helpful, thank you.

3 MR SKELTON: May I move on to another report which refers to

4 Mr Duffy. That's at RNI-541-095 (displayed).

5 Now, this is dated June 1997 and, again, you are one

6 of the officers whose name is on the top sheet of this

7 SIR, as it is called. Can we look at the contents,

8 please. It just says simply:

9 "Collie Duffy was one of the gunmen involved in the

10 murder of the two RUC members in Church Walk, Lurgan on

11 16 June 1997."

12 Do you remember receiving this intelligence?

13 A. I don't remember this specific day or the specific

14 incident, but I do remember that there was intelligence

15 to say that Colin Duffy was involved in that murder.

16 Q. Well, the incident itself, as we understood it, caused

17 a considerable degree of public outrage because it was

18 late in the peace process, as it were, and was the cold

19 blooded murder of two officers in the middle of the town

20 centre. Do you remember the murder itself and its

21 consequences?

22 A. Yes, sir, I do remember the murder, yes.

23 Q. And is it correct then that your intelligence, the

24 intelligence that you can see here, precipitated

25 Mr Duffy being arrested and charged for the murder?





1 A. I don't know if that individual piece of intelligence

2 precipitated that. There could have been other

3 intelligence [redacted]. I don't know if that

4 piece of intelligence on its own precipitated that

5 action.

6 Q. Did you have any discussions with your senior officers

7 about the arrest of Mr Duffy and the prosecution?

8 A. I don't remember that, but I doubt that I would have had

9 any discussion about his arrest.

10 Q. Did you, for example, know that he was represented by

11 Mrs Nelson?

12 A. I can't specifically remember that, but I am sure I did.

13 I can't remember specifically, but I'm sure I did.

14 Q. We have heard that there was some publicity attaching to

15 the case that Mrs Nelson and Mr Duffy portrayed his

16 arrest as being part of a harassment campaign against

17 Mr Duffy. Do you remember that being discussed?

18 A. Not specifically, but now that you mention it, yes,

19 there was some question of that.

20 Q. And what thoughts did you have about that at the time,

21 given that you had been personally involved in receiving

22 intelligence that linked him with the crime?

23 A. I honestly can't remember. Probably very little because

24 that was a piece of intelligence -- it looks like

25 a serious piece of intelligence now, but at the time





1 intelligence like that, we were in receipt of that -- it

2 is routine. And we received a piece of intelligence

3 that looks serious now, but you didn't dwell on it. You

4 went on to the next piece of work that you had and you

5 reported it.

6 Q. Did you become aware of intelligence [redacted]

7 [redacted] to the effect that

8 Mrs Nelson was trying to contact a prosecution witness

9 in relation to this offence?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Did you hear any talk of her pressurising another

12 witness to discredit the prosecution witness?

13 A. No.

14 Q. So no further intelligence about Mrs Nelson's engagement

15 with this defence came to your attention during this

16 period?

17 A. Not that I can recall, sir.

18 Q. What about just an informal discussion about Mrs Nelson

19 with your DI as being someone that was concerned with

20 the GRRC, but also had a connection to Lurgan IRA

21 through her client, Mr Duffy? Was that something which

22 was talked about?

23 A. I can't recall any specific incident, but I would -- I

24 would say, yes, we would have to have had discussed the

25 GRRC and the various people that were associated with





1 it, yes.

2 Q. And you said earlier that you perceived a link between

3 certainly Mr Mac Cionnaith and the Republican movement?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Did you see there being a link between Mr Duffy and the


7 A. I think that there is intelligence to say -- well, not

8 the GRRC, certainly Breandan Mac Cionnaith.

9 Q. And did Mrs Nelson have a role in that process? Was she

10 in some way an intermediary between the IRA and the

11 GRRC, as you saw it?

12 A. No, I wouldn't have thought that Rosemary Nelson was an

13 intermediary in any way. I don't think that

14 Breandan Mac Cionnaith and the IRA needed an

15 intermediary. They met face-to-face.

16 Q. When did you first hear the rumour that Mrs Nelson and

17 Mr Duffy were having an affair?

18 A. When did I first hear that rumour? I honestly can't be

19 sure. I have to say during the time of my interviews

20 with the Inquiry here, I was shown various documents and

21 intelligence which I had previously been unaware of, and

22 in some instances I have difficulty remembering did

23 I know that prior to having been shown or did I learn it

24 then. I'm not actually quite sure in some instances

25 when I learned. It is hard to say. I would say,





1 probably, yes, I had heard rumours of an affair between

2 Mr Duffy and Rosemary Nelson.

3 Q. Can you help us with how you may have heard it? Who

4 would have told about it?

5 A. I honestly can't say. I have subsequently heard those

6 rumours from various people in the street, people that

7 I'm acquainted with.

8 Q. More recently than --

9 A. Most certainly, yes.

10 Q. Did you hear at the time that there had been

11 surveillance that had seen Mr Duffy and Mrs Nelson in

12 a car late at night?

13 A. Sorry, did I hear that?

14 Q. Did you know about that?

15 A. No, I didn't.

16 Q. Did you know generally that they had been seen late at

17 night, not simply from surveillance but, for example, by

18 VCP checkpoints?

19 A. No, I didn't.

20 Q. What did you think the rumour was based on?

21 A. I can't say now, I don't know.

22 Q. Do you think it was a rumour which was prevalent within

23 the whole of the local RUC station, as in not just

24 Special Branch but within uniform and CID as well?

25 A. It would be very hard for me to comment on that. By the





1 nature of our work, we were somewhat separated from

2 other police officers. I would really have no way of

3 knowing that.

4 Q. Did you yourself not have contact then with your CID

5 counterparts, the DCs that may have been involved in

6 investigating murders?

7 A. I certainly did, and we had a working relationship with

8 members of the uniformed police in the local area as

9 well. But certainly the fact that somebody was having

10 an affair, I mean, there was that much deal with, I

11 don't really think it would ever really have come up.

12 Q. Well, the significance may have been that Mrs Nelson was

13 a prominent legal adviser for the GRRC. She was also

14 a prominent solicitor for the man who was perceived to

15 be the local IRA commander and, indeed, have been

16 connected with two really unpleasant murders that had

17 occurred in that period, and that she was also being

18 connected with him in terms of a personal relationship.

19 So in that sense, it sort of ties in with her link with

20 the IRA and with the GRRC. Would you not see those as

21 being connected?

22 A. Certainly, yes. I wouldn't have an argument with that.

23 Q. You say in your statement that the affair was, as you

24 put it, "normally briefed to me", which is something you

25 say at paragraph --





1 A. Sorry, could you repeat that, please?

2 Q. If we look at paragraph 94 on page RNI-846-956 on

3 screen, please (displayed) -- the reference I think is

4 wrong there. I think I said paragraph 94, which is at

5 page RNI-846-956 (displayed). Thank you.

6 Can you see that, where you discuss the affair and

7 you make the point:

8 "I knew about the affair between Rosemary Nelson and

9 Colin Duffy. I did not see recorded intelligence on

10 this. I believe the affair was normally briefed to me."

11 What does that mean, "normally briefed"?

12 A. From time to time we would have meetings with the

13 handlers and our supervisors. Anything that we needed

14 to know we were briefed on, things that were happening

15 in other offices that might impact on the -- on our own

16 activities, and I would assume that that's where I was

17 briefed in relation to that.

18 Q. In your statement at paragraph 33 on page RNI-846-935,

19 you make the point that Rosemary Nelson was, as you put

20 it, pretty much an ordinary girl caught up in it all.

21 Now, having seen some of the reporting you have seen

22 today, again, afresh, which includes the reporting

23 I showed you at the start that she is said to have been

24 gathering details of RUC officers for PIRA and, from the

25 GRRC side, that she was engaged with producing blocks of





1 complaints in an effort to waste police time, do you

2 think that this portrayal of her as an ordinary girl

3 caught up in the events is how you felt at the time?

4 A. I'm not sure how I felt at the time about

5 Rosemary Nelson. I don't think that, as I said earlier

6 on, that with everything on -- with everything else that

7 was happening, she wasn't on my radar or, as far as

8 I know, my colleagues' radar. As far as I know, there

9 was no taskings in relation to Rosemary Nelson.

10 As far as assessment of her and her unfortunate

11 murder, I do think that Rosemary Nelson was just an

12 ordinary person and a competent solicitor, by all

13 accounts, who became involved with the GRRC. And as

14 I say there, she was exposed to a lot of media

15 attention, important personalities from -- including

16 personalities from other governments that she met at

17 a high level. I think that she was caught up in the

18 whole impetus and drive of the GRRC and I don't think

19 that there is any indication that before her involvement

20 in it she was in any way -- I don't know how to phrase

21 this correctly, but in any way connected with the

22 Republican movement.

23 I think -- I could be incorrect, there could

24 intelligence reports from somewhere else, but as far as

25 I'm aware, she was not involved or had any sympathies





1 with the Republican movement prior to this.

2 Q. Well, bearing in mind the report I showed you at the

3 start which was about gathering information for the IRA,

4 and the report I then took you to that said in its

5 comment, "she has firm IRA sympathies", do you not think

6 that was a view which was prevalent at the time?

7 A. Yes. My comments are prior to this. Until she reached

8 Lurgan and had contact with elements in the GRRC or

9 other elements -- I don't know who they are. But before

10 that, there is no indication that she had any Republican

11 tendencies or any tendencies at all that would be

12 against the police or anybody else.

13 Q. What about afterwards, by the time she died? Was she

14 perceived to be allied with the Republicans and

15 anti-police?

16 A. Well, certainly her association with the GRRC -- I'm

17 very, very certain that Loyalist elements in the North

18 Armagh and Portadown area would have perceived her to be

19 certainly a Republican. I've no doubt about that.

20 Q. And would have considered her to be a high profile

21 target?

22 A. Anybody associated with the GRRC and people -- as you

23 know from events yourself -- anybody from a Nationalist

24 area was perceived as a target.

25 Q. Do you think she was particularly well-known for her





1 representation of the GRRC and, indeed, of Mr Duffy?

2 A. Yes, I think that Rosemary Nelson had a prominent

3 profile, yes.

4 Q. Do you think that's why she was killed?

5 A. Well, I think she was killed because she was a soft

6 target. That's my opinion.

7 Q. You make a number of comments about her alleged

8 murderers in your statement and, indeed, you may know

9 that the LVF were suspected of being responsible for it.

10 I don't want to ask you any great detail about your

11 knowledge of the LVF in Portadown, but I would like to

12 ask you about your knowledge of their use of undercar

13 booby traps and, indeed, their capability to operate

14 such devices.

15 First of all, did you consider from your knowledge

16 of their activities that the LVF, the local LVF

17 personalities, were capable of an attack such as this?

18 A. It would depend how simple the operation is. Until

19 I was interviewed by members of your Inquiry, I wasn't

20 exactly sure what sort of device was used on

21 Rosemary Nelson's vehicle.

22 From the information that I received and my

23 knowledge of LVF terrorists in Portadown at the time,

24 I'm not quite sure whether -- I don't know how simple it

25 is to place that device. I would be no expert on it.





1 But I know that the intelligence of the LVF members in

2 Portadown at that time was extremely basic.

3 Q. Some of the evidence that the Inquiry has received about

4 the device would indicate that it was a relatively easy

5 thing to have placed under a car?

6 A. Okay.

7 Q. It operated by way of a mercury tilt switch so that all

8 one had to do was make sure the mercury was away from

9 the switch because it was the mercury that allowed the

10 connection to be made that set the device off, and

11 attach it to the car in that position, so that when the

12 car moved and came to a stop, the mercury fell backwards

13 and made the connection. And really it was a question

14 of calibrating it and then attaching it.

15 Now, do you feel able to comment upon that and

16 whether or not your knowledge of the LVF would lead you

17 to conclude they were able to do that?

18 A. Again, I'm not -- I'm not familiar with the make-up of

19 the device. From my knowledge of people involved in the

20 LVF at that time, I'm not sure that they would be able

21 to, in your words, calibrate the device. I don't know.

22 That's speculation, I don't know that. That is mere

23 speculation.

24 MR SKELTON: Thank you.

25 Sir, I'm going to move on, I think, to threat





1 assessment. It may be that we have a break now and then

2 we can deal with him in one final session.


4 MR SKELTON: Thank you.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: We will have a break of a quarter of an hour.

6 Before the witness leaves, can the video engineer

7 please confirm that all the cameras have been

8 switched off?

9 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

11 Right, 25 to.

12 (11.17 am)

13 (Short break)

14 (11.35 am)

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Is the public area screen fully in place,

16 locked and the key secured?

17 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the fire doors on either side of the

19 screen closed?

20 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

22 and securely fastened?

23 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

25 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body





1 of this chamber?

2 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Can the video engineer please

4 confirm that the two witness cameras have been switched

5 off and shrouded?

6 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: All the other cameras have been switched off?

8 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

10 Bring the witness in, please.

11 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

12 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

13 switched back on.

14 Yes, Mr Skelton?

15 MR SKELTON: I would like now to deal with the issue of

16 threat assessment which you produced in August 1998, and

17 I would like to have on the screen, first of all,

18 please, RNI-101-345 (displayed).

19 I think, to put the issue in context, a leaflet had

20 been passed to the RUC, as it says there in that

21 document, of very poor quality by the

22 Northern Ireland Office and it had been a leaflet

23 distributed around Portadown that referred primarily to

24 Breandan Mac Cionnaith who, we have discussed in the

25 earlier session, was connected with the GRRC, but also





1 made reference to Rosemary Nelson personally. And as

2 you can see, it says there:

3 "Please see attached copy leaflet, very poor

4 quality, which has been passed to me by the NIO. I am

5 advised that the leaflet is being distributed in

6 Portadown and was passed to the NIO from Rosemary Nelson

7 via a third party. The NIO informed me that Mrs Nelson

8 is extremely distressed by the leaflet and is seriously

9 concerned about the threat to her personal security

10 posed by the claims in the leaflet and by the

11 circulation of her address and telephone number.

12 I would appreciate whatever information you can provide

13 on this matter and an assessment of whether or not you

14 consider those named to be the subject of any threat."

15 That comes from P136, who is a superintendent in the

16 Command Secretariat and is addressed to both the ACC of

17 South Region and the ACC of E Department.

18 For ease of reference, I'm going to put on the

19 screen a chart which has been produced by the Inquiry,

20 which is the August 1998 chart, which shows where the

21 request went to and how it came to your attention.

22 Thank you.

23 Now, we can see the letter I have shown you is the

24 fourth box down:

25 "The RUC Command Secretariat, Superintendent P136."





1 And you can see he is sending off a request down on

2 the left-hand column, down to the bottom there, via the

3 ACC of E Department, which winds up with the sergeant

4 P236 in E3C and, on the other side, the ACC South,

5 Mr Craig; it goes down through the Subdivisional

6 Commander of Portadown and then comes across to

7 SB Portadown. I think it is right, isn't it, that it

8 originally would have gone to your sergeant but he was

9 away on leave so it fell to you to have a look at this

10 issue. Can you remember that?

11 A. No, I didn't remember the specific time that happened,

12 but my memory had been refreshed by the Inquiry's

13 interviews, so I'm aware of it.

14 Q. Just to help you on that point, at the previous page,

15 RNI-101-344 (displayed), we can just see -- this is

16 a document which I'll come back to in due course, but

17 you can see there that your cipher number, B141, is on

18 the document as the detective constable:

19 "pp detective sergeant on annual leave."

20 So it looks like you were covering, in effect, for

21 your sergeant?

22 A. Okay.

23 Q. Did you get the memo that I have shown you previously

24 from P136, the memo which explained the background to it

25 and Rosemary Nelson's distress? Do you remember





1 receiving that?

2 A. No, I don't.

3 Q. So what did you know about the request for an assessment

4 on Mrs Nelson's safety and its context?

5 A. As far as I can recall, all I seen was the document that

6 you have in front of you:

7 "To detective sergeant, Special Branch forwarded for

8 urgent report by return."

9 That's what I would have received, unless there were

10 other documents attached to that, which I can't recall.

11 Q. Presumably you had the leaflet itself, which we can see

12 at RNI-106-289 (displayed). This is what we term the

13 "Man Without a Future" pamphlet. Do you remember seeing

14 that?

15 A. I have seen it before. Again, the Inquiry's interviews

16 showed that to me. I can't recall if I seen it at the

17 actual time that I done the assessment.

18 Q. Do you think it is likely that you did, given it is this

19 leaflet which precipitated the request?

20 A. I will say probably, yes.

21 Q. Just a point of context, really, this leaflet, which

22 appears to have been circulated round the Portadown

23 region at this time, i.e. still in this Drumcree period,

24 how many of these sorts of leaflets would have been

25 circulating in the area?





1 A. I'm not sure now how many. I mean, generic leaflets of

2 a similar nature or this particular --

3 Q. Generic leaflets.

4 A. Yes, it was -- not common, but it wasn't uncommon to see

5 different leaflets having been distributed, particularly

6 from the Loyalist side.

7 Q. What kind of things did they say?

8 A. Basically just basic Loyalist propaganda.

9 Q. Did they usually specify particular individuals that

10 they had a gripe against?

11 A. Certainly in this instance. There could have been other

12 instances in which that happened as well. I can't

13 remember anything specific.

14 Q. Do you remember pictures of other individuals being

15 posted around with these kind of comments being made

16 about them?

17 A. It is quite possible that happened but I don't remember

18 any specifics, no.

19 Q. Now, the bit about Rosemary Nelson, you see it sort of

20 midway down the text of this document. It says:

21 "Under the command of Storey. [Eamon] Stack,

22 a Jesuit priest, and with advice from Lurgan solicitor

23 and former bomber Rosemary Nelson ..."

24 Then it gives her address of 8a William Street,

25 Lurgan and, indeed, her telephone number:





1 "... this motley crew have, for the past six years,

2 been trying to put into place a plan that was first used

3 by the Jesuit, Philip Muller."

4 And then it goes on to explain what that plan was.

5 Then it says at the end:

6 "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for you

7 Mac Cionnaith ..." et cetera.

8 The point about Rosemary Nelson mentioned in the

9 leaflet as being a former bomber, was that something

10 which you were knowledgeable about from your background

11 in Special Branch? Had you ever heard about that

12 allegation?

13 A. No, sir, never.

14 Q. And similarly, Rosemary Nelson's connection with the

15 IRA, as it is alleged here, Bobby Storey, IRA

16 Chief of Staff, as it were, masterminding the GRRC's

17 efforts, was that something you knew something about?

18 A. No, sir, I don't recall any intelligence in relation to

19 Bobby Storey's connection with the GRRC. Not to say

20 that there wasn't, but I don't recall any.

21 Q. But there was some intelligence, I think you told us

22 earlier, that connected the IRA to the GRRC via Mr Mac

23 Cionnaith?

24 A. Correct.

25 Q. Did any of that intelligence link Mrs Nelson to the IRA?





1 A. I don't honestly recall.

2 Q. Are you sure of that?

3 A. No, I'm not, no.

4 Q. Would you in your office in Special Branch have already

5 known about this kind of leaflet, this sort of threat,

6 before being alerted to it by the Command Secretariat?

7 A. Generally speaking, if we had come across a leaflet of

8 this nature, we would have initiated a report ourselves

9 and sent it up through our own internal reporting system

10 to Command Secretariat for their information, and for

11 the information of our local subdivisional commander as

12 well.

13 Q. What sort of report?

14 A. Basically just to say a leaflet of this nature was being

15 circulated in the streets of the locality, or in

16 whatever area it was being circulated, and to draw the

17 attention of our local officers to it.

18 Q. For what purpose?

19 A. Simply to make them aware there was -- this was on the

20 streets and to make them aware of it.

21 Q. Would you make the subject of leaflet aware of it,

22 i.e. Mr Mac Cionnaith and Mrs Nelson? Would you have told

23 them about it?

24 A. Certainly.

25 Q. That would have been the case?





1 A. Yes, certainly.

2 Q. Why?

3 A. It is intelligence. If we received the intelligence,

4 again, we process it, and we would report it. And if

5 there is a perceived threat to any individual they are

6 reported about it.

7 Q. In the initial memo that I have shown you, it says:

8 "... for urgent report by return:"

9 As you identified, and this is back on page

10 RNI-101-344 (displayed). What did you understand by

11 "urgent report"? What was the request in effect for?

12 A. Basically could the Special Branch office in Portadown

13 shed any light on the -- probably the origins of the

14 leaflet and did it constitute a threat against any

15 individual, I would assume.

16 Q. And what did you then do in response to this request?

17 A. Well, you see the product there on the document in front

18 of you.

19 Q. That's the end product, but what process did you go

20 through to get to this point? What research did you do

21 into the background of the people named?

22 A. Basically you checked the intelligence that you have to

23 ascertain if there is anything to indicate the specific

24 threat to the individuals named. If they lived in

25 a different area, you made contact with your opposite





1 number in that area to make sure that there was no

2 intelligence that they were aware of which hadn't yet

3 been processed and accessed by ourselves on the

4 intelligence system, just to make sure that there was

5 nothing else that we needed to know before we made our

6 report.

7 Q. So taking that in stages, you would have researched the

8 local intelligence, i.e. the Portadown intelligence, about

9 Mrs Nelson?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And what did you come up with?

12 A. I can't particularly remember what I come up with then,

13 but being guided by what's on this document, it states:

14 "There is no intelligence held at this office to

15 suggest that Rosemary Nelson is under specific threat

16 from Loyalist paramilitaries."

17 Q. Did you, in doing the check on Mrs Nelson, pick up the

18 intelligence reporting that we have seen earlier, which

19 refers to her gathering information for the IRA, for

20 example?

21 A. Certainly when you -- that intelligence would have been

22 there, yes.

23 Q. Do you think that intelligence would be relevant to the

24 background of her safety?

25 A. In what context, sir?





1 Q. Well, if it were known presumably that she were

2 assisting the IRA or even perceived that she were

3 assisting the IRA, presumably that would put her at

4 a degree of risk?

5 A. Do you mean known by ourselves or known by the

6 originators of the leaflet?

7 Q. Known by the originators of the leaflet.

8 A. That was fairly sensitive information to Special Branch.

9 I don't think that the originators of the leaflet would

10 have had access to that information.

11 Q. And more generally about Mrs Nelson's connection with

12 the GRRC, which we have seen there was at least some

13 reporting on, do you think that was relevant to

14 a consideration of her safety?

15 A. In what context?

16 Q. Well, in your answers in the first session this morning,

17 you told me that it would have led to her having a high

18 profile?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Both her representation of Mr Duffy and her position as

21 legal adviser to the GRRC would have led to her being

22 well-known in the community and would have put her at

23 a degree of risk. Do you think your knowledge of that

24 was relevant to consideration of this leaflet?

25 A. I can't honestly say. I can't honestly say because I





1 don't know -- I don't know now what I knew then, if you

2 can follow.

3 Q. Well, the sort of things you knew then were that she was

4 representing the GRRC because we have seen that some of

5 your reports which you were the officer for --

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. -- say that and, indeed, she did so publicly. One

8 didn't need intelligence to understand her relationship

9 with the GRRC.

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And likewise with Mr Duffy, she was a public solicitor

12 for him during a time when his prosecution was a high

13 profile case. So that's background which you must have

14 known, mustn't you, in 1997?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Do you think that was relevant to her safety?

17 A. I think that her connection with the GRRC would

18 certainly have raised her profile, particularly in the

19 eyes of local militant Loyalists. It would have raised

20 her -- there was no specific threat from Loyalists to

21 say that they intended to murder Rosemary Nelson.

22 However, she would have reached a level which many

23 people were at, that included police officers,

24 contractors engaged in police stations, local

25 politicians of whatever hue, retailers.





1 Q. You have referred to some different types of people

2 there, but surely --

3 A. Yes, it would have raised her profile from just a normal

4 person unknown to somebody who was in the public eye and

5 there would have been a general measure of threat

6 towards her.

7 Q. But more prominent I think than just being an anonymous

8 police officer working in the local area or

9 a contractor. Isn't she on a par with, for example,

10 local politicians?

11 A. I don't know if police officers were anonymous. The

12 very fact that they had to turn up at their place of

13 employment on a regular basis and could be easily

14 targeted, certainly didn't render them anonymous.

15 I would say in the context of the time that any

16 police officer in North Armagh was at least at as much

17 risk as Rosemary Nelson or, indeed, anybody that was

18 involved in any organisation or political organisation

19 in the area.

20 Q. So the fact that she was talking to the media about

21 police brutality, the fact that she was representing the

22 man perceived to be the local IRA commander and

23 represented the GRRC, which had an international profile

24 at this time, wouldn't make her in any way exceptional

25 when compared to local police officers?





1 A. Certainly local police officers were under a fairly

2 severe general threat, every one of them.

3 Rosemary Nelson was under a general threat as well; no

4 more, no less than other local politicians or people

5 connected with different organisations. There was

6 definitely a general threat, but nothing certainly

7 specific.

8 Q. When you say "specific threat", which is the phrase you

9 use in your answer to the request, what you mean is that

10 there was no intelligence to say that the Loyalists were

11 targeting her. Is that what that means?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. Does it cover anything else than targeting?

14 A. Such as?

15 Q. Well, interest in her, knowledge about her, knowledge

16 about her and Mr Duffy? Were you aware of that being

17 common knowledge amongst Loyalists?

18 A. Well, leaflets of this nature tend to indicate that.

19 Q. And the claim in the leaflet is that she was an IRA

20 bomber, and that appears to have emanated, if the

21 leaflet is indeed a Loyalist leaflet, as it probably is,

22 from someone in that community. Does that not imply

23 that she is considered to be a member of the IRA by

24 Loyalists?

25 A. I don't know. You are asking me to make an assessment





1 of somebody's mental condition when they formulated the

2 leaflet. I really don't know. I mean, I think that the

3 assertion that Rosemary Nelson was an IRA bomber is

4 ridiculous.

5 Q. Is that what you thought at the time?

6 A. Certainly.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: A member of the public reading the leaflet,

8 or a Loyalist sympathiser, wouldn't necessarily regard

9 it as ridiculous, would they?

10 A. That would be correct, sir.

11 MR SKELTON: The original request, which I showed you -- and

12 we may go back to it, if it is helpful, at

13 page RNI-101-345 (displayed) -- was, as it says in the

14 final paragraph:

15 "... whatever information you can provide on this

16 matter, and an assessment of whether or not you consider

17 those named to be the subject of any threat."

18 It doesn't narrow the focus in relation to

19 Rosemary Nelson alone. It says "those named", and that

20 would include presumably Mr Mac Cionnaith as well. Can

21 you remember whether the request was wider than simply

22 a request in relation to Mrs Nelson?

23 A. No, I am afraid I can't, sir.

24 Q. And it follows from that then that you weren't asked to

25 produce a threat assessment in relation to him arising





1 from this leaflet?

2 A. I don't recall. It is possible that I was. I just

3 don't recall.

4 Q. One thing we haven't seen really is an intermediate memo

5 between the memo we have seen to you, which was a very

6 basic request of one short line, and this fuller memo

7 that came originally from the Command Secretariat.

8 Do you think there was an intermediate memo which we

9 may not have seen?

10 A. Quite possibly. I don't know.

11 Q. By this time, which is August 1998, were you aware of

12 allegations that had been made that Mrs Nelson had been

13 threatened by police officers, CID officers who had

14 interviewed her clients at Gough Barracks?

15 A. I don't think so, sir.

16 Q. Are you certain of that?

17 A. No -- not absolutely.

18 Q. As we understand it -- and, indeed, it has been

19 a feature of this Inquiry to look into those

20 allegations -- it was the case that a number of

21 complaints arose in the context of interviews of alleged

22 terrorist suspects by CID officers at Gough Barracks,

23 and in those interviews it is said comments were made

24 about Mrs Nelson, some of which bore upon her safety and

25 were threatening towards her. Do you not think that





1 that would have been something that would have come to

2 your attention as a Special Branch officer working in

3 the same area?

4 A. No. If I understand you correctly, Rosemary Nelson or

5 a representative of Rosemary Nelson was making

6 a complaint about threats to her emanating from police

7 officers; is that correct?

8 Q. Indeed.

9 A. That would not necessarily have come to our attention.

10 If that's a complaint against the police, that was dealt

11 with in another manner.

12 Q. You are clear now, are you, that you wouldn't have known

13 about those, as it were, complaints, if I can put it

14 that way, back in August 1998, when you were doing your

15 own threat assessment?

16 A. All I can really do is try and speculate. I can't say

17 whether I recall, in all honesty.

18 Q. Can you see now, looking back, how knowledge of that

19 might have been relevant to consideration of

20 Mrs Nelson's general profile and her safety within the

21 community?

22 A. That a police officer threatened to kill

23 Rosemary Nelson?

24 Q. Indeed.

25 A. I see that as a complaint against the police. I don't





1 see that as a piece of intelligence produced by an

2 agent, which Special Branch would submit further on to

3 the system.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Surely it is a piece of information that you

5 should take into account when making a threat

6 assessment?

7 A. Sir, I have to say now my knowledge of the police

8 service, I don't think that any police officer involved

9 in the interviews with Rosemary Nelson would constitute

10 a threat to her life.

11 Now, I can't recall whether that was brought to our

12 attention or not. I suspect not. I suspect not. But

13 had it been, I still don't think that it would have

14 constituted a piece of intelligence which said that

15 Rosemary Nelson was going to be murdered by any

16 subversive or terrorist organisation.

17 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Would you have regarded your role in

18 this as simply to check what intelligence you had got?

19 A. That's correct, ma'am.

20 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: And if such other factors -- if

21 there were such other factors -- were to be brought into

22 the assessment, would you have expected that to have

23 been done by somebody else within the police?

24 A. The term "threat assessment", I think, is a bit of

25 a misnomer. Basically, what it is, in my own words, is





1 a check. It is really an intelligence check. We are

2 asked to ascertain if there is any intelligence locally

3 held in our own office or on our records that would

4 indicate that threat to an individual.

5 Now, as far as I understand it, that goes to other

6 relevant local offices where the individual may be

7 employed, working or be living.

8 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I just follow on? It is fair to

9 say, isn't it, that Mrs Nelson was a resident of Lurgan?

10 A. That's correct.

11 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: A different subdivision entirely?

12 A. That's correct, sir.

13 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: A different subdivisional commander?

14 A. Correct.

15 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And your only involvement with

16 Mrs Nelson was in relation to the GRRC?

17 A. Correct.

18 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And this leaflet related to Drumcree?

19 A. Generally, yes, sir.

20 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: The "Man Without a Future"?

21 A. Yes.

22 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So just to reflect on what you said to

23 us, because I want to be absolutely clear on this,

24 I think your last comment before I raised the point was

25 very helpful and you saw this as a check in relation to





1 the leaflet, which was a Portadown matter?

2 A. Yes, sir.

3 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Did you telephone or contact anyone at

4 Lurgan?

5 A. I don't particularly remember doing so, but that was

6 standard procedure.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So you think you may have done it?

8 A. I would be pretty certain I did, sir.

9 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And you would expect any details of

10 complaints relating to Mrs Nelson and any alleged

11 threats made against her, those sorts of details would

12 have come from the local station?

13 A. Correct.

14 MR SKELTON: In terms of the contact you had with the Lurgan

15 office, would you have called the detective sergeant

16 there? That would be the ordinary process?

17 A. No particular individual, as I have already said before.

18 The units in the local stations were quite small. You

19 contacted the office and anybody who you were in touch

20 with was competent to help you with the matter.

21 Q. Earlier in 1998, in February, the Lurgan Special Branch

22 office had themselves done a threat assessment in

23 relation to Mrs Nelson arising from concerns about her

24 safety. Was that conveyed to you when you made contact

25 with them, that there had previously been another





1 concern?

2 A. I can't recall, sir.

3 Q. Can you recall, if there was any other discussion about

4 Mrs Nelson's perceived involvement with the IRA, how

5 that may have caused a degree of general risk to her

6 safety?

7 A. I'm sorry, I can't even remember if there was

8 a conversation at all.

9 Q. Can I have on the screen another document, please, at

10 RNI-115-351 (displayed)?

11 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Before you leave that, Mr Skelton, can

12 I just -- you completed your report on the "Man Without

13 a Future" document?

14 A. Yes, sir.

15 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And you submitted that back through the

16 normal structure to ensure it got back to

17 Command Secretariat.

18 Did at any stage any more senior officer query with

19 you the content of your report or in any way show an

20 interest in the content of the report?

21 A. Not that I recall, sir.


23 MR SKELTON: Now, the document that we have on screen is

24 another note which was directed towards Mrs Nelson and

25 you can see there it is addressed to her again at her





1 office, the same office that we have seen mentioned on

2 the "Man Without a Future" pamphlet. It says:

3 "We have you in our sights, you Republican bastard.

4 We will teach you a lesson. RIP."

5 Now, as we understand it, this leaflet should have

6 made its way down for assessment, in association with

7 the "Man Without a Future" leaflet. Can you remember

8 seeing a copy of this letter or leaflet at the time?

9 A. No, sir, I can't.

10 Q. Bearing in mind the answers you have previously given,

11 do you think it may have added to your assessment about

12 risk to her safety?

13 A. Very difficult. Actually it is difficult in both

14 instances because the leaflet really isn't a piece of

15 intelligence. The leaflet -- its provenance is unknown,

16 we don't know where it come from. It is the same with

17 the letter. It is not really a piece of intelligence,

18 it is basically a document which could have emanated

19 from anywhere. If this particular document was

20 received -- I take it that was Mrs Nelson's work

21 address, business address?

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. Okay, the matter could have been dealt with -- I don't

24 know if this is the case, but it could have been dealt

25 with solely by members of Lurgan Special Branch. I





1 don't know if that's the case. I wouldn't -- not

2 necessarily have seen this.

3 Q. So your role was really a formality, was it? You

4 checked the system, if there is a specific threat you

5 note it and record it and refer to it in your report.

6 If there isn't, you make that clear and you double-check

7 with Lurgan Special Branch to see if they have got any

8 intelligence to that effect, and if they haven't, that's

9 the end of the matter?

10 A. That's correct, sir.

11 Q. And the actual detail of the original request, i.e. the

12 leaflet and what it says about Mrs Nelson and another

13 document such as this, don't really have any relevance

14 in that context, do they?

15 A. I'm not quite sure I understand your question, sir.

16 Q. We saw on the "Man Without a Future" pamphlet that this

17 mentioned, for example, Mrs Nelson's address and it said

18 that she was a former bomber, but your checks don't

19 really bear upon those sorts of issues. Your checks are

20 really about whether there is any live intelligence that

21 could compromise her safety?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. And so to that extent the leaflet wasn't significant for

24 you?

25 A. Well, I wouldn't say it is insignificant. It could have





1 constituted a threat to Rosemary Nelson. Reports of

2 this nature were a fairly -- maybe routine is the wrong

3 word for it, but it was a fairly common occurrence in

4 our office. In my experience, anybody that intends to

5 murder another person certainly -- most certainly --

6 doesn't them tell them beforehand.

7 Q. Around this time, another assessment took place in

8 relation to Mr Joe Duffy, whom you have mentioned

9 previously was a prominent member of the Garvaghy Road

10 Residents Coalition and thereby an associate of

11 Mrs Nelson.

12 It wasn't undertaken by you; it was undertaken by

13 E Department in about July 1998 and I would like to show

14 you a few documents in relation to that so that we can

15 compare his case with that of Mrs Nelson. It is at

16 RNI-101-321.503, please (displayed). This is a request

17 from Mr McAuley, the Superintendent from Security,

18 dated 29 July 1998 to the Detective Superintendent of E3

19 Special Branch saying simply:

20 "Please provide me with a report of any known past

21 or current intelligence which would indicate a terrorist

22 threat to the following person: Councillor Joe Duffy."

23 Then someone has written in manuscript:

24 "(Provisional Sinn Fein/GRRC)."

25 Was this the ordinary way for threat assessments to





1 be made? It is request from Security Branch to

2 Special Branch. Is that the standard route for them?

3 A. I'm not quite sure. You see the subject at the top is

4 "Request for Intelligence". I'm not quite sure between

5 departments what their methods of communication was, to

6 be quite honest.

7 Q. If we have on screen document RNI-101-321.512

8 (displayed), now this appears to be the response to that

9 request. You can see it is a pro forma document which

10 has been filled in, again, in manuscript, by, it

11 appears, B161. And it says:

12 "Subject: intelligence assessment."

13 The date is 31 July 1998:

14 "Result. States: no intelligence re any threats to

15 subject, however, as he was elected on GRRC, he would be

16 a prime target for Loyalist paramilitaries."

17 Now, really the key point here is to establish what

18 the difference is between Mrs Nelson and Mr Duffy and

19 why this conclusion is reached by B161 in the context of

20 his assessment, and how that compares to the assessment

21 you reached in relation to Mrs Nelson.

22 I think you said previously that he was of no more

23 or no less risk than she was. That was an answer I

24 think you gave a few minutes ago. Why is it then that

25 she would not be assessed in the same category as him,





1 i.e. as a prime target for Loyalist paramilitaries?

2 A. I can speak for the assessment, or rather the

3 intelligence report rather than the assessment, that

4 I made. I don't know what the information is that B161

5 had access to. I don't know what their mode of

6 assessment was. I don't know what they were thinking

7 when they wrote the report and I don't understand the

8 phrase:

9 "... as he was elected on GRRC."

10 I don't know what that means.

11 Q. Taking it in stages. First of all, it says:

12 "No intelligence re any threats to the subject."

13 So it looks like what B161 has done is the same sort

14 of exercise that you did in relation to Mrs Nelson. He

15 has interrogated the computer database. It has come

16 back with a nil return in relation to specific threats.

17 So that's what he is saying in the first part of that

18 sentence.

19 A. Okay.

20 Q. The second bit, he is saying:

21 "... however, as he was elected on the GRRC ..."

22 That presumably means because the GRRC was

23 a democratic organisation, he was elected on to the

24 committee by the local residents. I see you are

25 laughing. I don't know quite know why.





1 A. The GRRC was anything but a democratic organisation.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Anything but democratic?

3 A. Yes.

4 MR SKELTON: What do you mean by that?

5 A. Simply what I say. It was formed by local Republican

6 activists and run as such.

7 Q. To be fair to the GRRC, evidence that has been given,

8 for example, by Eamon Stack, who was one of the early

9 members, was that the GRRC was originally linked to the

10 Drumcree Faith and Justice Group, which was a pacifist

11 organisation in the locality --

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. -- and then it comprised people that specifically lived

14 in the area, i.e. part of the Nationalist community, and

15 was consistently democratic in its functioning. It

16 democratically elected Mr Mac Cionnaith to be its

17 spokesperson without any allegations of it being

18 a rigged election and so on. And there certainly hasn't

19 been any suggestion to us that Mr Duffy was somehow

20 pushed into the position or that his election on to the

21 GRRC was somehow rigged.

22 A. Well, sir, I can tell you now that there is abundant

23 intelligence to show that there was a transformation

24 from the Drumcree Faith and Justice Group into what the

25 GRRC was during the Drumcree protest. You are quite





1 right to say that they were a pacifist organisation.

2 The GRRC that dealt with the Drumcree crisis that

3 affected the whole of Northern Ireland certainly wasn't

4 pacifist and I can tell you now that there was

5 an abundance of intelligence to say in effect that

6 Breandan Mac Cionnaith was the GRRC.

7 Q. Going back to this document that we have in front of us,

8 as he was elected on the GRRC can we just explore that?

9 Are you saying, reading that now, that you don't think

10 he was indeed elected on to the GRRC and this is

11 incorrect?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. He was given that position, in effect?

14 A. That's correct, yes.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Are you saying that in your view the GRRC, by

16 this time, was a front for Republican activists? Is

17 that what you are saying?

18 A. I don't think it was a front, sir. I think it was

19 compromised of Republican activists.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: And wouldn't that put at risk anybody who was

21 associated with it --

22 A. Could I just --

23 THE CHAIRMAN: -- including Mrs Nelson?

24 A. Can I just clarify my previous comment there?

25 There were there were a number of people connected





1 to the GRRC which had really no really Republican

2 connections. Those people weren't completely aware of

3 the extent of the nature of connection between the

4 Provisional IRA and the GRRC, so it would be unfair to

5 say that all members -- but certainly the core, which

6 was Breandan Mac Cionnaith, was totally connected to the

7 leadership of the Republican movement.

8 MR SKELTON: Now, as we understand it, Mr Duffy was an

9 elected Sinn Fein councillor. Were you aware of that?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And there is no suggestion that the local election that

12 led to that was in any way fixed?

13 A. Not that I'm aware of, sir.

14 Q. I'm sorry, I'm told it is independent councillor?

15 A. I think that's correct, yes.

16 Q. Now, what it says here is:

17 "... as he was elected on the GRRC ..."

18 In other words, as he was part of the committee at

19 the centre of the GRRC:

20 "... he would be a prime target for Loyalist

21 paramilitaries."

22 So the very fact that he was one of the members of

23 the committee would lead him to be a target. Do you

24 accept that as a legitimate conclusion drawn by B161?

25 A. In the context of the time, sir, I think that anybody





1 affiliated with nearly any political movement or party

2 was potentially a prime target. That's anybody.

3 Q. And that would include, therefore, Mrs Nelson?

4 A. Correct -- no, when you have that many people, in the

5 context of the times, that were affiliated to political

6 parties or members of the Civil Service, police service,

7 military body, contractors who worked in police

8 establishments or provided petrol for police vehicles,

9 all those people, all those people were at risk.

10 Q. Now, that may be the case, but you were asked to produce

11 a threat assessment in relation to only one such person.

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Mrs Nelson.

14 A. Yes, and the assessment was that she was at general

15 risk, but there was no specific threat to her life.

16 Q. Where do you say that in your conclusion, if we go back

17 to the document RNI-101-344 (displayed)?

18 A. But whether it says that or not -- but the assessment,

19 from what I can see in front of me, would be based on

20 that.

21 Q. All you say is:

22 "There is no intelligence held at this office to

23 suggest that Rosemary Nelson is under specific threat

24 from Loyalist paramilitaries."

25 A. Correct.





1 Q. What you are in fact saying now is that you would have

2 been aware at the time that she was under a general risk

3 of threat from her position as a prominent member of the

4 GRRC or associated with that organisation?

5 A. What I would say is she was under a level of threat, the

6 same as anybody from any -- there was nothing more

7 specific on anybody else that was involved in politics

8 at the time in the locality.

9 Q. Why not mention that in your --

10 A. In the context of the times that would have been

11 understood.

12 Q. Well, B161 took a slightly different approach, didn't

13 he? He appears to have specifically said, "Because

14 Mr Duffy is connected with the GRRC, he would be a prime

15 target."

16 That's a simple comment and it may be that he had

17 the same view as you that there were other people who

18 were prime targets, and presumably the other members of

19 the Coalition would have been in that category. There

20 isn't any reason why you couldn't have written that in

21 in your report, is there?

22 A. No. But equally so, there is no reason why I should

23 have.

24 Q. You were being asked to assess the risk to her life?

25 A. That's correct.





1 Q. And that was a risk, albeit a risk which was applicable

2 to many others?

3 A. I cannot speak for -- the gentleman concerned was an

4 intelligence analyst or assessor of intelligence. He

5 had never been involved in handling agents. I don't

6 know what intelligence -- other intelligence that he had

7 access to and I don't know what was in his mind when he

8 wrote that report. I can only speak for what I have

9 written.

10 Q. And assuming that your report ended up going back up the

11 chain that we have seen, i.e. it went back to the NIO,

12 would you assume that the Northern Ireland Office

13 themselves would know that she was at a degree of

14 threat?

15 A. I honestly -- I don't -- I wasn't aware at that time of

16 where the reports went to from the intelligence

17 management system in Belfast. I wouldn't have known

18 that.

19 Q. But in not reporting the general risk that she was

20 under, you are, I think, assuming that the people

21 receiving your report must already know about it?

22 A. Well, in the context of the times, okay, everybody in

23 Government, everybody involved in the police or

24 associated with that sort of work, every politician,

25 every retailer involved in supplying petrol to the





1 security forces or service for their buildings or

2 anything like that, all knew that they were at that

3 level of risk, and that's the context of the time in

4 which that report was written.

5 In today's context, if that report had come and

6 somebody would have said, you know -- the report could

7 very well have read differently because the context of

8 the times are different now.

9 MR SKELTON: Sir, I don't know whether the Panel have any

10 further questions? If not, I'll ask the witness --

11 Questions by THE CHAIRMAN

12 THE CHAIRMAN: In the second paragraph of your -- this is

13 the document that's on RNI-101-344 -- you are rather

14 playing down, aren't you, the threat contained in the

15 leaflet?

16 A. No, sir, I don't think I'm playing it down. It is what

17 it says. The information is easily obtained. It is

18 designed to intimidate. All I can say is at that time,

19 there was no threat, specific threat against

20 Rosemary Nelson, but obviously this has been designed to

21 intimidate. This is designed to go out on to the street

22 and to provoke a response from Rosemary Nelson.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: If it goes out on the street, people on the

24 street might think that she was a legitimate target for

25 Loyalist paramilitaries, mightn't they?





1 A. They might indeed, sir.



4 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Can I just go back to the threat

5 note, the one that, as far as we know, you never saw,

6 and I think you made a comment to Mr Skelton that if you

7 are going to kill somebody, you don't normally warn them

8 beforehand.

9 A. Correct.

10 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: And I can well believe that the

11 writer of that threat note probably had nothing to do

12 with the murder of Rosemary Nelson. But if there is

13 somebody who is writing that kind of note, wouldn't you

14 think that that might be indicative that there are other

15 people who do not write notes, but who do go out and

16 murder people?

17 A. Certainly, ma'am.


19 MR SKELTON: Is there anything else you would like to add in

20 this session?

21 A. Yes, I thank you. Just a few words there.

22 I am fearful, and I'm quite certain that with the

23 passage of time, the intelligence which is now in

24 circulation within this Inquiry will enter the public

25 domain.





1 Now, I would just like to say that the activities of

2 agents in Northern Ireland have been described in many

3 ways. Now, I have been an agent handler for 25 years

4 and the agents, the sources of forward intelligence, be

5 they Loyalist or be they Republican, are the reason --

6 and the primary reason -- that we are where we are

7 today. Without them this Inquiry and society as we know

8 it as a whole would not be possible.

9 I think it is incumbent on us all -- I really do

10 feel that in several years, maybe ten years, that a lot

11 of this information will reach the public domain.

12 I would just like to remind the Inquiry of that and

13 there are people that are still active out there, okay?

14 As I say, there has been a lot said about these

15 people, but in the main they come, when they work for

16 Special Branch or police officers or people engaged in

17 gathering intelligence, quite simply because they are

18 afraid of what they see and they find that murder is

19 repugnant no matter where it comes from. And I think

20 that they have been badly maligned. Most of them are

21 honourable people and I would ask the Inquiry to be

22 extremely careful safeguarding the information.

23 I really am afraid that the terrorists -- mainstream

24 Republicanism has embraced the political way forward,

25 but the terrorists who are engaged in the campaign of





1 murder and wanton destruction are still there, although

2 dormant. And you can be sure that any information that

3 emanates from any source which would identify any of

4 these agents, they will be murdered.

5 Other than that, I would like to offer my sincere

6 condolences to the Nelson family. I'm sorry for your

7 loss and I wish that our endeavours could have

8 prevented it.

9 Thank you.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. I can assure you, we

11 fully appreciate and will take full note of what you

12 said in your last few words.

13 A. Thank you, sir.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for coming to give

15 evidence before us.

16 MR SKELTON: Sir, before we close the session, may I just

17 give a very short announcement about the number of

18 witnesses, that I have been asked to do by the powers

19 that be.

20 147 witnesses have come to give evidence before you

21 now at this Inquiry and an additional 197 witness

22 statements have been taken into account by yourselves.

23 That makes 192 witnesses who provided statements and

24 were not called and five witnesses who provided what we

25 call "28 day" statements and were also not called,





1 i.e. their evidence was taken into account by yourselves

2 despite their statements not being signed.

3 Thank you.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much.

5 Before the witness leaves, can the video engineer

6 please confirm that all the cameras have been

7 switched off?

8 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

10 Would you, please, escort the witness out.

11 We will adjourn until 2 o'clock.

12 (12.28 pm)

13 (The short adjournment)

14 (2.00 pm)

15 (Closed hearing)

16 (3.05 pm)

17 (The Inquiry adjourned until Monday, 27 April 2009

18 at 1.00 pm)











1 I N D E X

B141 (sworn) ..................................... 2
Questions by MR SKELTON ...................... 2
Questions by THE CHAIRMAN .................... 66
Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 67