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Full Hearings

Hearing: 19th May 2008, day 22

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

on Monday, 19th May 2008
commencing at 1.00 pm

Day 22









1 Monday, 19th May 2008

2 (1.00 pm)

3 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, we have two more staff witnesses, if I

4 can put it that way, people who worked in

5 Rosemary Nelson's practice, to be called to give

6 evidence, and the first is Aine Murray, the second is

7 Mr Vernon. And I don't know whether you have still got

8 this chart, but you will be able to see from it the

9 respective periods in which they were employed at the

10 office.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

12 MRS AINE MURRAY (affirmed)

13 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

14 MR PHILLIPS: Mrs Murray, can you give us your full names,

15 please.

16 A. Aine Murray.

17 Q. And do you have in front of you a copy of the statement

18 you made to the Inquiry?

19 A. Yes, I do.

20 Q. Can we have that on the screen, please, at RNI-813-719

21 (displayed)? If we turn over to RNI-813-720

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

23 of 8th July 2006?

24 A. Yes, you do.

25 Q. Just going back to the previous page, RNI-813-719





1 (displayed), can I ask you, you tell us that you began

2 working for Rosemary Nelson in September 1994. Had you

3 worked in another office before then?

4 A. Yes, I had.

5 Q. Where had you worked?

6 A. Harry McPartland & Sons solicitors for ten years.

7 Q. That was your job at that firm?

8 A. Mostly matrimonial matters. I was a secretary.

9 Q. You were a secretary dealing with matrimonial matters?

10 A. Yes, I was.

11 Q. And would that include disputed cases?

12 A. No.

13 Q. So when you came to the end of that period -- I think

14 you said ten years, is that right?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. What led you to Rosemary Nelson's practice?

17 A. Better wages.

18 Q. Better wages?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And you say in paragraph 2, that you were principally

21 engaged in litigation?

22 A. Yes, I was.

23 Q. Can I just ask you: what did your job consist of?

24 A. Filling forms, attending court, answering telephones,

25 interviewing clients. That's it.





1 Q. So just to be clear then, you would do the sort of

2 secretarial work?

3 A. Yes, I would.

4 Q. The typing?

5 A. The typing, yes.

6 Q. But also from time to time you would attend court?

7 A. Yes, I would.

8 Q. What sort of cases was that on?

9 A. Some were matrimonial.

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. And others were -- let's see -- fraud cases like

12 stealing. One comes to mind, a bookmakers, a lady had

13 stolen from her employer.

14 Q. So criminal cases then?

15 A. Criminal, yes.

16 Q. You said you took statements from clients. Is that

17 right?

18 A. Yes, when -- concerning tripping accidents or -- just

19 filling out the forms or the details.

20 Q. So you would be taking them through their evidence and

21 preparing statements for the cases?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, in the course of your work on criminal cases, did

24 you ever attend police stations?

25 A. On one occasion.





1 Q. On one occasion?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. What sort of criminal case was that?

4 A. I can't remember.

5 Q. You can't remember. Now, compared to your previous work

6 at McPartland’s, what were the differences?

7 A. Rosemary's practice was busier.

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. I had never done any litigation so I had to be trained

10 how to -- and I was down at court, back and forth quite

11 a bit.

12 Q. So that was a difference?

13 A. That was a difference, yes, it was.

14 Q. Who did the training?

15 A. Mainly just the girls in the office.

16 Q. The other secretaries?

17 A. The other secretaries, yes.

18 Q. So as the years went on and your time in the office

19 continued, did you take responsibility for the files

20 that were on your desk?

21 A. Yes, I did.

22 Q. So that although there might have been lawyers in the

23 background, you were running the files?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Is that fair?





1 A. Yes, it was.

2 Q. And the office itself, you said it was busy?

3 A. Very busy, yes.

4 Q. All the time?

5 A. All the time.

6 Q. Were there particular periods while you were there that

7 you can remember when it was particularly busy?

8 A. No, not one particular time, just all the time.

9 Q. Because you --

10 A. Sorry. We did some overtime in the evenings and that to

11 catch up. It was always busy.

12 Q. So you would often do overtime?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Simply to keep up with the work?

15 A. Yes, because I had been out at court and various things

16 during the day.

17 Q. So were you the only one working long hours?

18 A. No.

19 Q. No. And that was general in the office, was it?

20 A. Yes, it was. Anybody that wanted to do it. We kind of

21 had to because the work was building up.

22 Q. So in order to keep up, you all had to work long hours?

23 A. Yes, we did.

24 Q. Did you enjoy that?

25 A. At the start, yes, later on, no.





1 Q. Why was that?

2 A. It was too much.

3 Q. The hours were too long?

4 A. It was too much and too much pressure. I wasn't trained

5 to be a lawyer and that. It was too much, I couldn't

6 handle it.

7 Q. You felt that pressure on you, did you?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Did you think you were being asked to do things that you

10 weren't trained to do?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Is that actually part of the reason that you eventually

13 left the practice?

14 A. Yes, it was.

15 Q. Were there other reasons?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. What were they?

18 A. As I have mentioned here in my statement, contract

19 matters. I am not too sure now -- it was a long time

20 ago -- exactly what point it was, but I approached

21 Mrs Nelson and she felt that I was -- I shouldn't have

22 been asking her and basically told me to get out of the

23 room. So I just went down and walked out.

24 Q. Can we look at that in your statement?

25 A. Yes.





1 Q. It is RNI-813-720 (displayed). Do you see it is

2 paragraph 8?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. So you say you were asked to sign a formal contract?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Was that the first time you had been asked?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And you raised --

9 A. A query. It was nothing to do with the contract, it was

10 just a query in it.

11 Q. And it sounds as though she didn't react particularly

12 well to that?

13 A. No, definitely not. She just went absolutely mad.

14 Q. Was that the end of it? Did you then leave?

15 A. Hm-mm.

16 Q. You then left?

17 A. Hm-mm.

18 Q. Immediately?

19 A. Hm-mm.

20 Q. Now, so far as the lawyers who were working in the

21 practice while you were there, who was there when you

22 were working?

23 A. Mr McKee.

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. Sharon Keeley.





1 Q. Yes.

2 A. I think that is all. Oh, I can't remember the other

3 gentleman's name. Markham, I think.

4 Q. Right. Another lawyer?

5 A. Another lawyer.

6 Q. Thank you. How much of the work that you have described

7 to us did you do for Rosemary Nelson herself?

8 A. Just the Colin Duffy case.

9 Q. Right. And what was your involvement in that one?

10 A. I went to the High Court in one -- just to sit in on

11 a hearing with regard to that. There was a lot of

12 typing, just dealing -- sometimes when Mr Duffy came

13 into the office, we would take some notes from him if

14 Mrs Nelson wasn't there to speak to him directly, which

15 she usually did.

16 Q. So we are clear, we know that there were two main

17 Colin Duffy cases. There was the John Lyness murder?

18 A. That one, yes.

19 Q. The first one?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Thank you. So you say you went to the High Court and

22 you did typing of statements for that case. Is that

23 right?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Now, just before you left in June 1997 -- I don't know





1 if you remember this event -- the two policemen were

2 murdered in Lurgan?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And he in due course was charged with their murder. Did

5 you have any involvement with that case?

6 A. No.

7 Q. No. Thank you. If you can help us with this, looking

8 at the overall nature of the work in the practice, did

9 it change during the time that you were there?

10 A. From when I started first?

11 Q. Yes.

12 A. Yes. Well, it did get busier.

13 Q. It got busier?

14 A. Yes. With the high profile case of Colin Duffy, it

15 became very, very busy because Mrs Nelson was taken up

16 with that and we had to do the running of the office

17 mainly between us all.

18 Q. So her time was taken up principally with that case, was

19 it?

20 A. Yes, most of the time.

21 Q. And that means that others had to take up the other

22 cases instead of her?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And do you think that that case had an effect on the way

25 the practice was viewed locally?





1 A. Yes, I suppose it had.

2 Q. What effect was that, do you think?

3 A. Well, people thought she was just -- Mrs Nelson was

4 a Nationalist and just really was interested in

5 political matters, which wasn't the case.

6 Q. It wasn't the case?

7 A. No.

8 Q. As far as you were aware, she had other types of

9 clients?

10 A. Yes, loads of other different -- yes.

11 Q. But it affected people's view of the practice, did it?

12 A. Yes, it did.

13 Q. Did you think it drove some of the clients away?

14 A. Not in my mind, no. The practice still was very, very

15 busy.

16 Q. Now, in paragraph 5 of your statement, if you look at

17 the bottom of the first page, RNI-813-719 (displayed),

18 do you see you say:

19 "After the murder of Pat Finucane, many lawyers

20 became anxious in case their representation of clients

21 was construed as support for one political cause or

22 another."

23 If you go over the page, RNI-813-720 (displayed):

24 "Rosemary was open to represent any client, whatever

25 their political or religious persuasion."





1 A. Yes, she was.

2 Q. Now, the point you made first in that paragraph, if we

3 go back to RNI-813-719 (displayed), was that something,

4 the anxiety of lawyers, that you were conscious of at

5 the time?

6 A. Yes, through hearsay really. Other lawyers wouldn't

7 have taken on any high profile cases like that because

8 they were afraid.

9 Q. So was she unusual in that way, Rosemary Nelson, do you

10 think?

11 A. Yes, I think she was, yes.

12 Q. Do you remember the moment where she took on the second

13 Colin Duffy case, the two murders?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And do you remember the feeling about that case in the

16 town at the time?

17 A. Not really. It is just in my mind, she was just doing

18 a job.

19 Q. So just going back to what you said about that -- about

20 the first Colin Duffy case, which was going on when you

21 arrived at the practice, I think --

22 A. Yes, it was.

23 Q. -- you say that Mrs Nelson devoted her time to that.

24 So, as far as you were concerned there, from your

25 position as a secretary working in litigation, this was





1 the case, was it, that had the top priority for her?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. I mean, how often would, for instance, Mr Duffy be

4 attending the office during that period?

5 A. Well, maybe once or twice a week, sometimes every day

6 for a short period of time.

7 Q. What of the situation after he had been acquitted on

8 appeal, which we know was in, I think, September 1996;

9 would it continue?

10 A. You mean did he come into the office after that?

11 Q. Yes.

12 A. No.

13 Q. You don't think he did?

14 A. Not so often, no.

15 Q. But he would come?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And apart from Rosemary Nelson herself and the work that

18 you have described that you did on the case, who else

19 was involved in that case in the firm?

20 A. Well, the other solicitors when they had time, but

21 mostly Mrs Nelson and her secretaries. But she took --

22 she done it herself.

23 Q. And devoted a large amount of time to it?

24 A. A large amount of time, yes, she did.

25 Q. Sort of day in, day out?





1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Now, so far as other high profile cases are concerned,

3 the one you mention in your statement is her involvement

4 in -- do you see paragraph 4?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. -- "contentious Loyalist parades". Is this the

7 Garvaghy Road case?

8 A. Yes, it is.

9 Q. And she was working on that, was she, while you were in

10 the practice?

11 A. Yes, she was, yes.

12 Q. And was that a high priority for her?

13 A. It was as well, yes. She was called out pretty regular

14 to attend meetings and things like that, and at that

15 time then I personally began to feel uncomfortable

16 working there.

17 Q. Why was that?

18 A. Well, I can remember at one point the Loyalists and

19 Nationalists fighting and Rosemary Nelson's office

20 apparently being targeted for this, that and the other

21 thing and I felt just completely uncomfortable.

22 Q. Did you feel unsafe?

23 A. Yes, I did.

24 Q. And was that feeling shared by other members of staff?

25 A. Yes, it was.





1 Q. Did you discuss it with them?

2 A. No. We just said at the time, yes, I feel a bit unsafe

3 here and one day in particular we went home early.

4 Q. Can you remember roughly when that was?

5 A. I can't.

6 Q. No.

7 A. Just at the height of the marching season.

8 Q. Might it have been in the summer of 1997?

9 A. I wasn't there.

10 Q. You had left by then, I am sorry. What about the summer

11 of the previous year?

12 A. 1995/1996, yes.

13 Q. Yes. Was that a factor in your eventual departure from

14 the firm?

15 A. Yes, I suppose it was. It just wasn't me. Everyone the

16 town felt it, because, you know, of the Protestants and

17 Catholics. It just wasn't me.

18 Q. You said a little earlier that there was an occasion, I

19 think you said, when you felt that the office itself was

20 under threat?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Can you help us --

23 A. I can't remember exactly why but I remember the shutters

24 being pulled down and doors being closed and we had to

25 make our way home by taxi and things. But other than





1 that, that is all I can remember.

2 Q. As far as you are aware, did anybody raise their

3 concerns with Rosemary Nelson herself?

4 A. No.

5 Q. Now, you told us a little earlier about the way you

6 thought people had changed their view of the practice as

7 a result of the Colin Duffy case.

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Did you have the same feeling about the Garvaghy Road

10 case?

11 A. No, most people was on her side with regard to the

12 Garvaghy Road situation.

13 Q. So there is a distinction, is there, between the two

14 cases, in your mind at any rate?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. So most people would have been on her side, as you put

17 it, in relation to the work she was doing for

18 Garvaghy Road?

19 A. For Garvaghy Road, yes, but Colin Duffy was seen to be

20 a different matter.

21 Q. How was he viewed by you and your colleagues in the

22 office then?

23 A. I bit arrogant, in my mind anyway, but I did not have

24 much dealings with him. He never ever -- he didn't have

25 anything much to say to anyone, only Rosemary. When





1 I came in, he just asked -- he hadn't time for anybody

2 else.

3 Q. Were his appointments given priority?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Were you ever aware of rumours in the office or

6 elsewhere about the relationship between Rosemary Nelson

7 and Colin Duffy?

8 A. No.

9 Q. You weren't?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Now, you told us earlier about, I think, only one

12 occasion when you -- in the course of your work -- had

13 to go to the police station?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And in the whole of your time then, two and a half

16 years, you think you only went on one occasion. Is that

17 right?

18 A. To the police station on one occasion, yes, I did.

19 Q. Was that the local police station?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Was there ever any discussion in the office that you are

22 aware of about the relationship between the office or

23 Rosemary Nelson and the local police?

24 A. Well, it was well-known that the local police and

25 Mrs Nelson -- they didn't like Mrs Nelson, it was





1 well-known. It wasn't a secret.

2 Q. Can you remember how you learnt about that?

3 A. Well, Mrs Nelson told me on a couple of occasions that

4 they made derogatory remarks about her facial

5 disfigurement.

6 Q. And again, I am sorry to keep pressing you for dates,

7 but can you remember roughly when that conversation or

8 those conversations took place?

9 A. At around about the Garvaghy Road situation.

10 Q. What sort of remarks were they?

11 A. I just can't remember now.

12 Q. No.

13 A. I am sorry, it will come back to me later. I can't

14 remember.

15 Q. Did she ever speak to you about her view of the police?

16 A. No, not really.

17 Q. No.

18 A. No.

19 Q. What view did you form for yourself then?

20 A. Well, they knew -- she was well aware they didn't like

21 her, they had no time for her. I think she found it

22 uncomfortable because she knew that they made fun of her

23 disfigurement, but other than that she didn't go into

24 detail with me.

25 Q. Were you aware during your time in the office -- which,





1 as you say, ended in March 1997 -- of complaints being

2 made by her office about the police's treatment of

3 clients?

4 A. Yes. Of clients? Yes. I don't know any dates, I don't

5 exactly know what she said, but yes.

6 Q. Were you aware of comments allegedly made to clients by

7 police while they were being detained?

8 A. No, I don't, no.

9 Q. No. Now, the next thing I wanted to ask you about is

10 your paragraph 6. If we look at that, please,

11 RNI-813-720 (displayed), do you see it begins with the

12 word "consequently". I think you are talking about what

13 you have just said in the previous sentence, do you see?

14 You say:

15 "Rosemary told me that she had started to take

16 precautions and had installed security cameras at her

17 house."

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Again, can I just ask you: can you remember when this

20 conversation with Rosemary Nelson took place?

21 A. Again, it would have been around that time.

22 Q. 1996?

23 A. 1996, yes.

24 Q. Can you remember where it took place?

25 A. Yes, I do: in her office. I was bringing her tea in --





1 Q. In her office on the first floor?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Was it just you and she in the room?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. What prompted the discussion?

6 A. I don't know. She just said that she had been

7 approached, that she was being watched and she would

8 need to watch her family. So she thought then she would

9 take some precautions and install cameras.

10 Q. So sorry, I am just trying to catch up with you: she

11 said to you that she had been approached?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And was being watched?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. By whom?

16 A. Billy Wright.

17 Q. Billy Wright?

18 A. Yes, who is now deceased.

19 Q. How did she learn that?

20 A. She didn't specify, but she said he came up -- she must

21 have been out. He came up from behind her and whispered

22 this into her ear, and at that stage then I began to get

23 a bit uneasy working there as well.

24 Q. So this was something that he had said to her?

25 A. Apparently, yes.





1 Q. Do you know --

2 A. No, I don't know where or when.

3 Q. But this is something that she explained to you?

4 A. To me, yes.

5 Q. In this conversation?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. That Billy Wright had spoken to her?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Where had they met?

10 A. She was outside. She was at something. She didn't

11 specify where it was. He came up and whispered in her

12 ear that she would need to watch herself and her

13 children and he knew where she lived.

14 Q. He knew where she lived?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And you think, do you, that this is why she was, as you

17 put it in your statement, starting to take precautions?

18 A. Yes, I do.

19 Q. And did she explain what the precautions were?

20 A. Just cameras installed and cameras.

21 Q. I see. So it is the security cameras which were the

22 precautions?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Right. Did she tell you who had given her advice or

25 help about --





1 A. She didn't go into details.

2 Q. She didn't.

3 A. No, she didn't.

4 Q. Did you subsequently go to her house?

5 A. Yes, I was at her house --

6 Q. Did you ever see the cameras?

7 A. No, I didn't.

8 Q. So, are you sure --

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Sorry to interrupt, but which house did you

10 go to? Where was she living at this time?

11 A. It was not the house that she was murdered at, it was

12 the one before that. Rosemount, I think it was.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Sorry to interrupt.

14 MR PHILLIPS: Not all.

15 A. Not the house --

16 Q. Not Ashford Grange?

17 A. Not Ashford Grange, no.

18 Q. But you remember visiting the previous house?

19 A. Yes, I did.

20 Q. But you didn't see cameras?

21 A. No, I never attended Ashford Grange.

22 Q. Did she discuss with you any other advice or help she

23 had received about her security?

24 A. No, nothing. We never discussed anything after that.

25 Q. And you weren't, therefore, sure whether she had sought





1 help or advice from anyone in particular about this?

2 A. No, I wasn't.

3 Q. But you said a little earlier that this had an impact on

4 you?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And it presumably added to your sense of discomfort and

7 concern?

8 A. Yes, along with the pressure of work, yes.

9 Q. Now, in the same paragraph, in the second sentence, you

10 say that:

11 "She complained to me that she had been subjected to

12 verbal harassment by police during the course of her

13 work."

14 Is this what you were mentioning earlier?

15 A. Yes. She attended the police station, they were rude to

16 her and made derogatory remarks which I have already

17 spoken about.

18 Q. But you can't assist us with any detail?

19 A. No. I remember her saying on one occasion they called

20 her "scar face". That is all.

21 Q. You can't remember anything else? Again, can you

22 remember when that might have taken place?

23 A. Just at any time she attended the police station during

24 the course of my employment. Most times even on the

25 street they had something to say to her.





1 Q. Can you give a specific example?

2 A. No, I can't.

3 Q. Was there an occasion when you yourself were present

4 when something like that was said?

5 A. No, I was never present.

6 Q. So this is --

7 A. Hearsay from her.

8 Q. Thank you. As a result of that conversation with her,

9 did it seem to you that she herself was concerned for

10 her safety?

11 A. Yes, at the time when she told me she would install the

12 cameras, yes. But other than that, no, it didn't seem

13 to -- well, outwardly it didn't seem to annoy her, she

14 just went on.

15 Q. You say outwardly it didn't seem to annoy her?

16 A. No.

17 Q. Outwardly did she seem concerned about it?

18 A. No.

19 Q. So other than in this one conversation --

20 A. That was the only time that she said she did feel

21 afraid.

22 Q. Now, we talked a little earlier about your own feelings

23 about your own safety, and in paragraph 7 you say that

24 you weren't the only one because, as you say, some of

25 the staff became concerned about their safety,





1 particularly during times of tension in the community,

2 such as the July marches. I think that is something you

3 referred to earlier?

4 A. Hm-mm.

5 Q. But did incidents such as this one, the one you have

6 described coming up in your conversation, did that also

7 have an impact on members of staff?

8 A. We didn't discuss that.

9 Q. You didn't?

10 A. No.

11 Q. But before you left at any rate, in March 1997, you were

12 aware, therefore, were you, that you weren't the only

13 person who was concerned about safety?

14 A. Oh, yes, I was.

15 Q. Thank you. And that was particularly bad during

16 the July marching season?

17 A. Yes, and once the marching season then went over,

18 everything went back to normal again.

19 Q. Things calmed down a bit, did they?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Now, the final thing I want to ask you about is about

22 Rosemary Nelson's own political views. You say in

23 paragraph 9 that she was nationalistic in her politics.

24 Is that understanding based on discussions you had with

25 her?





1 A. No, just -- I didn't discuss politics personally with

2 her at all.

3 Q. So how did you come to hold that view about her

4 politics?

5 A. Well, I don't know.

6 Q. Was it again something based on discussion in the

7 office?

8 A. Well, probably because of her work and her -- with the

9 Colin Duffy case, and she had a great -- she liked the

10 Irish language and things like that. So she was --

11 Q. So that was a conclusion about her politics that you

12 drew, was it?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Based on the sort of cases she took on?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And her interest in the Irish language?

17 A. Language, yes.

18 Q. Was there anything else that helped you form that view?

19 A. No, I don't think so, no.

20 Q. So just going back to the two points: your understanding

21 of her political position was partly based, was it, on

22 these cases that she took on?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. So you think, for example, the Colin Duffy, the

25 Garvaghy Road cases were taken on by her, do you,





1 because of her political views?

2 A. Both because of her political views and just it was

3 a job to do really. She was pretty generous and would

4 help anybody out no matter what their persuasion was.

5 Q. That is the question, isn't it, whether, if she had been

6 approached by somebody accused of a Loyalist murder,

7 whether you think she would have been prepared --

8 A. She would.

9 Q. She would?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And again, the final point you make in this sentence is

12 that she had no association with paramilitaries, as I

13 understand it, what you are saying, other than in the

14 course of her lawyer work?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Her work as a lawyer?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And again, that is based on your understanding at the

19 time, is it?

20 A. Yes, it is.

21 Q. And again, can I take it that that is not based on

22 anything that was said to you by her?

23 A. No.

24 Q. No. Thank you very much. Those are the questions I

25 wanted to ask you, Mrs Murray, but there is one final





1 point, which is: if you have anything you wish to say to

2 the Inquiry panel which we haven't covered in our short

3 discussion, this is your chance to say it.

4 A. No, I don't. No, I haven't. Nothing to say.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for coming to help us.

6 A. Thank you.

7 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, believing that this might prove

8 a slightly shorter witness that had originally been

9 planned we have tried to make arrangements to get

10 Mr Vernon to be here this afternoon and I think he may

11 be here by 2 o'clock. So if we could have a slightly

12 longer than usual adjournment, I think that would help.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: If we said 2.15 --

14 MR PHILLIPS: I think that would be sensible, sir, yes.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: We will adjourn to 2.15.

16 (1.35 pm)

17 (Short adjournment)

18 (2.50 pm)


20 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

21 MR PHILLIPS: Mr Vernon, can you give us your full names,

22 please.

23 A. Patrick Joseph Vernon.

24 Q. Do you have copy of the Inquiry statement you have made

25 in front of you on the table?





1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Can we look, please, at RNI-841-051 (displayed). We

3 will see it on the screen beside you. If we look to

4 RNI-841-061 (displayed), do we see your signature there

5 and a date of --

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. -- 11th March last year?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Now, it is right, isn't it, that you have, in addition,

10 been shown various other documents on arrival at the

11 Inquiry office today?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, as you explain in your statement, you

14 are a practising solicitor and you are still in

15 practice?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. You worked at Rosemary Nelson's firm from October 1997

18 until, I think, some time after her death. Is that

19 right?

20 A. That's right.

21 Q. Can you remember when you left the practice?

22 A. I think it was around May 2000.

23 Q. Right. And so far as that is concerned, you refer in

24 paragraph 10 of your statement -- do you see at

25 RNI-841-053 (displayed) -- to a case that was then going





1 on and which you describe as "ongoing" for Mr Duffy?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. It is right, isn't it, that in this Inquiry you

4 represent him?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And you indeed represent a number of other witnesses to

7 the Inquiry?

8 A. That's right.

9 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you, before you joined

10 Rosemary Nelson's practice, where were you working?

11 A. I was working in Belfast.

12 Q. In a solicitor's office there?

13 A. No, I wasn't in a solicitor's office, I was actually

14 teaching for several years before starting with

15 Rosemary.

16 Q. So did you qualify after --

17 A. Yes, I qualified, then took a break for several years

18 when I returned to teaching, and then Rosemary -- when

19 I started work with Rosemary again, that was the first

20 re-employment as a solicitor I had after that break.

21 Q. So you came back to the law with Rosemary Nelson?

22 A. That's right.

23 Q. Thank you. It sounds as though she in fact got in touch

24 with you, rather than the other way round?

25 A. Yes, I am not sure -- I remember her phoning me and





1 asking me was I available. Unfortunately, I can't

2 remember how that came about, whether it was through

3 mutual acquaintance. I just remember her phoning and

4 asking me if I would be prepared to work in Lurgan and

5 if I would be prepared to come up and speak to her.

6 Q. Because you had been working until that point in

7 Belfast?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. What did you know about her when you first spoke to her?

10 A. Nothing, to be honest. I didn't know who she was and I

11 can't recall even being aware of her -- in any way,

12 before the phone call.

13 Q. You say in paragraph 3, if you look at the bottom of

14 that page, which is RNI-841-051 (displayed), I think I

15 am right in saying what you are saying there is before

16 you went to work for her, you knew that she was acting

17 for these two particular clients. Is that right?

18 A. That's right, just from the news. But in terms of, you

19 know, knowing her and anything like that, I didn't know

20 her. I hadn't met her or anything like that.

21 Q. But you had picked up from the media, had you, that she

22 had these two clients in particular?

23 A. Yes, it was in the news quite a lot at that time.

24 Q. And so, before you started to speak to her, what was

25 your understanding of the sort of work she did?





1 A. Well, I assumed that there was -- it was just the usual

2 mix of criminal and civil cases, like any sort of small

3 country office. I wasn't aware that it was

4 particularly -- a particular type of work. I was aware

5 of these two cases, but not that it was anything other

6 than just two cases out of many.

7 Q. But is it right that when you first talked to her, she

8 explained that she needed you to deal with the small

9 criminal work so she could concentrate on the big cases?

10 A. That was the understanding, yes.

11 Q. So that was the basis for taking you on?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Right. And when you joined, when you arrived at the

14 firm in October 1997, did you find it as you believed it

15 to be?

16 A. Yes, it was just a typical office, as I say, doing all

17 the normal types of work, conveyancing, civil, criminal,

18 matrimonial, just the usual mix.

19 Q. You say in paragraph 6 -- this is at RNI-841-052

20 (displayed) -- that:

21 "It was a typical country town practice."

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Do I take it you mean with a full range of work?

24 A. A full range of work, yes.

25 Q. But presumably there was something which set it apart,





1 which was these big high profile cases?

2 A. Yes. I wasn't conscious that it was set apart because

3 of these two cases. I didn't associate them with

4 something particularly special. I just thought they

5 were two big cases that they had, but not that they were

6 in any way different from what -- a lot of firms would

7 have -- a lot of serious Crown Court work. I didn't

8 appreciate the political significance of them at that

9 time, just that they were there and that they were

10 taking up time.

11 Q. So although you had learnt from the media that she

12 represented these particular clients, you didn't on

13 arrival understand their significance?

14 A. No.

15 Q. But I think what you describe in this paragraph 6 is

16 what you discovered, as it were, when you first joined

17 the practice. Is that it right?

18 A. Yes, that's right.

19 Q. And you learnt, therefore, presumably, on arrival, that

20 Rosemary Nelson herself dealt with these big cases, as

21 you put it, almost exclusively?

22 A. That's right.

23 Q. Leaving it to the other members of staff and in

24 particular you, as the other lawyer, to run the files,

25 the other files?





1 A. Yes, that's right.

2 Q. At the time you were there -- can you help me? -- there

3 was one other lawyer present, wasn't there:

4 Sharon Keeley?

5 A. Sharon was there for a short period of time after

6 I started, but left after a -- I think it was a number

7 of weeks. As I understand it -- I think Brian Leeson

8 had left more or less the week before I started and

9 Sharon was still there, and I understood that Sharon and

10 Rosemary had agreed to open an office together in Armagh

11 and that Sharon would be leaving to run that. And she

12 did after a number of weeks, although that subsequently

13 didn't happen in terms of a joint enterprise.

14 Q. As you explain in paragraph 4, the arrangement between

15 them didn't work out?

16 A. No, it didn't work out and I know at one stage I drafted

17 injunction proceedings to -- in terms of preventing the

18 other office opening, but Rosemary and Sharon came to an

19 arrangement and that didn't happen. That was dropped.

20 Q. But after her departure then, you were there as the

21 other lawyer, and you and the secretaries who worked in

22 the office essentially ran the practice?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. While Rosemary Nelson dealt with her big cases?

25 A. Essentially, yes.





1 Q. Is that the situation that remained until the time of

2 her murder?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Now, so far as the Garvaghy Road matter is concerned, in

5 paragraph 6, I think what you are saying is that

6 although there was a particular build-up of work in and

7 around the marching season, in fact Rosemary Nelson

8 would spend a substantial amount of time on that matter

9 year round?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Is that right?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And that was both legal work, as it were, claims or

14 complaints arising out of particularly the 1997 season;

15 do you remember?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. But also it was her involvement in the negotiations

18 which you refer to at the bottom of this page. Do you

19 see?

20 A. That's right.

21 Q. The ongoing talks?

22 A. That's right. She would -- I mean, members of the

23 Garvaghy Road committee would come over to the office

24 quite a lot or she would leave and go over there and

25 have meetings.





1 Q. And so other than at the marching season, how much of

2 her time on average was spent on those questions during

3 the year?

4 A. Well, the vast majority of her time, right throughout

5 the year. It was ongoing.

6 Q. And you say in the same paragraph, do you see, about six

7 lines down that:

8 "More and more of her time was taken up by the

9 Garvaghy Road matter."

10 Do you see that?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Do you mean more and more of her time during the period

13 you were working in the office?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And again, that is up to and including the time of her

16 murder?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Thank you. But you yourself, as I understand it, didn't

19 get involved in that case?

20 A. No.

21 Q. And she didn't really discuss that case with you?

22 A. No, just occasionally when we would be having a coffee

23 in the office she would discuss it, but not in any great

24 depth.






1 Q. So far as other prominent or high profile cases are

2 concerned, you mention that in the months leading up to

3 her death she was involved in the South Armagh sniper

4 case?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. This is the matter you mention in paragraph 29 on

7 RNI-841-059 (displayed). As I understand it, your

8 assessment is that that case was not as high profile as

9 the Duffy case?

10 A. No. Well, I don't remember it being particularly high

11 profile, no.

12 Q. Why do you say that? Can I just ask you?

13 A. Just that in terms of the newspapers, et cetera, I -- I

14 don't recall it having the same prominence as the other

15 cases. I think maybe it subsequently did have in as

16 much as it was the last of that sort of situation, but

17 at the time I don't recall it having any significance in

18 terms of newspapers or people coming to speak to

19 Rosemary about that sort of thing.

20 Q. I wanted to ask you that question specifically. When

21 you say it wasn't so high profile, do you mean that

22 Rosemary Nelson was not giving so many interviews about

23 it as she was on the other cases?

24 A. Yes, that was my understanding.

25 Q. Because you describe vividly, don't you, in your





1 statement the amount of interviews and visits to the

2 office paid by broadcasters.

3 As I understand it, therefore, what you are saying

4 is that those visits, that media attention, was

5 principally to do with the Duffy case and the

6 Garvaghy Road case?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Is that right?

9 A. Yes, that's right.

10 Q. As opposed to this final sniper case?

11 A. That's right.

12 Q. Thank you. And this is a theme which runs through your

13 statement.

14 If we look back to paragraph 3, on RNI-841-051

15 (displayed), you say that there was a constant stream of

16 TV crews and journalists coming to the office to

17 interview her about her work for the residents?

18 A. That's right.

19 Q. So would this be at the marching season or year round?

20 A. I think it was year round, year round.

21 Q. As I understand it, these are journalists and

22 broadcasters of all kinds, not just the TV people but

23 also the print journalists. Is that right?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. So she would be, what, giving interviews to them?





1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Making statements?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And it looks from paragraph 7 of your statement at

5 RNI-841-053 (displayed) that the journalists were not

6 just local journalists but international?

7 A. That's right.

8 Q. They would come from organisations in North America and

9 Canada, for example?

10 A. That's right.

11 Q. You say at paragraph 31 at RNI-841-060 (displayed) that

12 it came to the point where she didn't even mention to

13 you that reporters were coming in because it was such

14 a regular occurrence and there were always camera lights

15 on in her room?

16 A. Yes. At first she would say to me, "There is somebody

17 coming to see me this afternoon, would you mind seeing

18 my clients?" But gradually -- quite often the first

19 thing you knew was you saw the lights of the TV crew,

20 you know, the lights were coming from her room and you

21 just knew it.

22 Q. It just became a standard thing?

23 A. Correct.

24 Q. Was this during working hours?

25 A. Yes.





1 Q. Now, is this something that you had encountered in your

2 legal work before?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Did she discuss with you this particular approach she

5 was taking to her cases?

6 A. She said it was the only way she could get publicity for

7 the cases and it was just her way of keeping the

8 spotlight on what was happening, what she saw was

9 happening -- at that time it was mostly the

10 Garvaghy Road situation.

11 Q. I mean, you describe her in paragraph 7 at RNI-841-053

12 (displayed) as keen to do these interviews?

13 A. Oh, yes, yes.

14 Q. And it looks as though from your statement your approach

15 was rather different, because you were advising her,

16 weren't you, that she was keeping her head up too much

17 and should keep it down a bit more?

18 A. I remember having a conversation with her and it must

19 have been -- her being particularly -- a number of them

20 recently and that -- I remember just using the words

21 "You may as well keep your head down and not give so

22 many interviews". But she said that -- her attitude was

23 that she wanted to make public what she thought was

24 a human rights issue.

25 Q. This was particularly in relation to the --





1 A. The Garvaghy Road, yes.

2 Q. The Garvaghy Road. So she was particularly drawing

3 attention to her clients' position?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Why were you concerned about her doing these interviews?

6 A. Just because I was aware that -- just from talking to

7 other members of staff -- that she had had a number of

8 complaints, you know, and threats to her life even

9 before I started and it just -- at that time there

10 seemed to be a particularly large number of interviews

11 that she was giving. And I don't remember anything

12 specific that made me say that; it was just one day in

13 her office.

14 What had happened was Rosemary usually wouldn't come

15 in until about half 11 or so and 12 o'clock and I would

16 usually be in court from about 10. So when I was coming

17 back about 12 or half 12, she would hear me coming in

18 and call me in and send down for coffees and have

19 a chat.

20 Q. You would then have a chat?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And catch up?

23 A. Just basically catch up, yes.

24 Q. Was it in one of those conversations you think that you

25 said to her --





1 A. It was one of those conversations.

2 Q. Did you say that more than once?

3 A. I remember using those particular words "You had better

4 keep your head down", I remember just the once. It was

5 just that particular once I remember using those words.

6 Q. Can you help us with a rough date for that conversation?

7 A. I don't, I am afraid. It was probably second half of

8 1998.

9 Q. Second half of 1998?

10 A. I would guess.

11 Q. And you can't remember what particularly prompted it?

12 A. No, I'm afraid not.

13 Q. You obviously thought, didn't you, that she was running

14 rather a risk in attracting so much attention?

15 A. Yes, I mean, that was -- several times, sort of, I sort

16 of raised it with her and about her security, that sort

17 of thing, but she didn't take any notice.

18 Q. Do you think there was a sense in which she thought this

19 sort of publicity might in some way protect her?

20 A. Well, I got the impression -- she just thought they

21 wouldn't go that far as what they did. Obviously she

22 was getting the letters and phone calls, but she

23 genuinely didn't think that they would go as far as they

24 ultimately did.

25 Q. Can I take it, Mr Vernon, that if you had been





1 representing these clients you wouldn't have been going

2 about it in quite this way?

3 A. Not in as public a manner, no.

4 Q. You would have kept your head down a bit more?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. As far as you were aware, at this time in

7 Northern Ireland was any other solicitor dealing with

8 the work in this way?

9 A. Yes, there were a number of solicitors. I mean,

10 I recall -- I recall, I think not long before Rosemary

11 died, that there was a letter came round that we -- that

12 I was asked to sign and I think Rosemary and I both

13 signed it, basically complaining about the way

14 solicitors were being treated by the police and -- in

15 terms of working for clients, and she basically asked us

16 to sign a letter basically protesting about the

17 treatment and asking for changes to be made that would

18 prevent that sort of harassment taking place.

19 Q. Yes, you refer to that in your statement. We will come

20 to it in a minute, if we may. But what I was getting at

21 was whether you were aware of another lawyer in

22 Northern Ireland at the time who was giving so many

23 interviews to the media and having so much contact with

24 the media?

25 A. Not that I can recall now, no.





1 Q. So when you said to her about keeping her head down, and

2 you explain to us that you were concerned about it, do

3 you think that that was a concern that she actually

4 shared?

5 A. Well, obviously -- as I say, I think she was annoyed at

6 getting the threats, but in terms of the concern about

7 her own safety, as I say, she didn't actually think that

8 they would actually result in the physical harm which it

9 obviously did. She didn't think it would go that far,

10 that that sort of thing would happen. She saw it more

11 as intimidation, trying to stop her, make her draw back

12 from helping the Garvaghy Road people, and she saw it

13 more as intimidating her to try and back off, rather

14 than a direct threat to her personal safety.

15 Q. So in terms of her concerns about her security, what you

16 are talking about then is the threats or the comments

17 which were passed back to her, which you refer to in

18 your statement?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. We will come to it those, if we may. What I would like

21 to do, though, is to ask you some specific questions

22 about the period immediately before her murder. You

23 were still working in the practice?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. You have given us an indication of your daily routine.





1 You would come in and go to court, she would come in

2 later, and then you would catch up perhaps just before

3 lunchtime?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Now, in paragraph 30 on page RNI-841-060 (displayed),

6 you say:

7 "I wouldn't say that ..."

8 That is the sniper case:

9 "... was particularly controversial and that the

10 Garvaghy Road case was still the most high profile

11 matter that she was involved in at the time of her

12 murder."

13 A. That's right.

14 Q. Now, you say slightly further down, do you see:

15 "In the weeks before Rosemary died, I had no sense

16 that anything was particularly wrong"?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Can I ask you: is that a sense, the sense that something

19 was wrong, that you had had at any point earlier during

20 the time you worked at the practice?

21 A. No, I think what I mean there was that there was no

22 sense that the situation had moved on and in that there

23 was a bigger threat to her or she was in more danger

24 than perhaps previously.

25 Q. Further down, you say:





1 "I do remember that she told me there was talk in

2 Portadown by people saying that it was her fault that

3 the talks were not going better because she was advising

4 her clients not to give up."

5 Can I ask you whether you can help on a date for

6 that conversation?

7 A. Again, it probably would have been around sort of late

8 1998. There were talks going on facilitated by the

9 Government. I think they were in Armagh somewhere. And

10 it was that time. So I think it was around late 1998,

11 at that time, that she told me that she was getting

12 these sort of vibes that she was being blamed for

13 basically blocking any agreement as she was advising the

14 Garvaghy Road people not to reach an agreement with the

15 Orange Order and that she was being seen as the main

16 stumbling block to an agreement.

17 Q. Did she tell you who was blaming her in that way?

18 A. No.

19 Q. Did you have any idea from the way she put it to you

20 what she was referring to?

21 A. I took it that it was just people from the Orange Order who

22 were there at the talks and -- but she didn't mention

23 names, you know, but I definitely took it that it was

24 people who were actually party to the talks. And

25 that -- as I say, that particularly annoyed her because





1 she didn't have that attitude, that she was there to

2 block the talks.

3 Q. As I understand it, her attitude was not to be worried

4 about this but to be irritated by it. Is that right?

5 A. That's right. As I say, we would have -- most mornings

6 we would have had, you know, a chat and a coffee, you

7 know, when I came back from court. And I remember on

8 a number of occasions when she was discussing this and

9 this type of attitude towards her, she said that it

10 annoyed her that people saw her as, you know, a Provo

11 lawyer.

12 On a number of occasions, she said that she saw

13 herself as a human rights lawyer, not as a Provo

14 lawyer, a Republican lawyer, but purely as a human

15 rights lawyer. And that is what annoyed her about these

16 references to her.

17 Q. So in these conversations then, she drew a distinction,

18 did she, between the work she was actually doing and the

19 perception people had of her?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And the perception they had was that she was, as you put

22 it, a Provo lawyer?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Now, did she tell you who these people were who had that

25 perception of her?





1 A. No, I just -- I took it that she meant just the people

2 in the Orange Order who were basically on all sides of

3 the Garvaghy Road conflict. But I am not sure whether

4 she meant them particularly or just people in general

5 who had that perception.

6 Q. Did she mean, for example, do you think, local people or

7 people in Northern Ireland generally?

8 A. Yes, I think it was just generally. That is how -- it

9 was people generally, the view people had of her, and

10 that particularly annoyed her because she constantly

11 reiterated that was not what she was.

12 Q. Were you yourself ever aware that people perceived her

13 in this way?

14 A. Yes. As I say, just -- as I say, I didn't really know

15 Rosemary at all really until I started in October 1997.

16 I think I sort of became aware during the subsequent

17 eighteen months that that is what she was seen as, yes.

18 Q. By whom?

19 A. Just people generally. I think the fact that Rosemary

20 herself kept making that remark on a number of occasions

21 to me that that is how people saw her. She was aware

22 that that is how she was perceived and, as I say, not

23 once but on a number of occasions she brought the

24 subject up and stressed that that is not what she was.

25 Q. But was this, as I asked you earlier, something, an





1 attitude to her, that you experienced from other people?

2 You have explained how she talked about it. Was it

3 something you experienced from other people?

4 A. Not directly to myself, no.

5 Q. No?

6 A. No, no.

7 Q. And do you think that was something that, as well as

8 annoying her, concerned her in relation to her own

9 safety?

10 A. Yes, absolutely, you know. That is obviously why she

11 felt she was getting these threats to her life, that

12 people were misconstruing what her intentions were. And

13 obviously there was that side of it that was causing

14 threats to be made to her, but she felt wrongly because

15 they were motivated by the wrong perception.

16 Q. So she herself made the connection, did she, in talking

17 to you about this, between the wrong perception and the

18 threats to her life?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Can you remember again in what context this came up?

21 A. As I say, just -- it was just a very casual

22 conversation. As I say, most mornings we would have

23 a chat or a cup of coffee and she would be saying about

24 how she was having these meetings in Garvaghy, and she

25 would bring up this attitude that she was getting





1 particularly from people involved in the Garvaghy Road

2 talks. But, as I say, I think it was a general thing

3 too. But particularly when she was involved in the

4 talks, she was getting that impression that that was the

5 view that people involved on the other side, from the

6 Orange Order, that that was their attitude towards her.

7 Q. So far as your perception of it goes in this period of

8 two and a half years before her murder, the context in

9 which this came up was particularly in the Garvaghy Road

10 context. Is that right?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And does it follow it was more, therefore, in that

13 context than, for example, in relation to her work for

14 Colin Duffy?

15 A. Yes, because as I understand it, Colin Duffy's two main

16 cases had concluded by about the middle of 1997 and this

17 was -- this was happening -- this was 1998, sort of six

18 months/a year before her murder. So by that stage,

19 Colin Duffy's cases were not particularly in the news;

20 they were -- they had been finished and it was very much

21 more the Garvaghy Road which was the dominant feature.

22 Q. As you said earlier, even the other case which was going

23 on at the time of her murder, the Armagh case, in your

24 view wasn't so high profile?

25 A. No, because, if I remember rightly there were a number





1 of defendants in that case and it was more Rosemary had

2 been asked by another firm of solicitors who were acting

3 for several of the defendants, would she act for this

4 particular person, because I think there was maybe some

5 sort of type of conflict possible. So Rosemary was

6 really just on the coattails of another firm rather than

7 actually running that particular case.

8 Q. Yes, I see. Now, going back to the Duffy case, you say

9 in paragraph 10 that by the time you started working

10 there, which, as we know, is October 1997, the second

11 case had come to an end?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. But that he continued to be in the office quite a lot,

14 and you explain why, namely that there was an action

15 going on?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. What was the action about?

18 A. Well, there were civil actions for malicious prosecution

19 and wrongful arrest in both cases.

20 Q. Is the case still ongoing?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. It is?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Are you now dealing with it?

25 A. Yes.





1 Q. Thank you. Were you surprised by the frequency of his

2 visits to the office?

3 A. If I remember, he was there quite frequently. I don't

4 think I was surprised.

5 Whenever I first started at the office in October of

6 1997, there was quite a lot of work to be done. There

7 was quite a lot of backlog of work to be caught up on,

8 which I was sort of caught up in, and I just remember

9 just walking in basically from court or somewhere and

10 seeing Mr Duffy sitting there, and I would just say

11 hello. I am not even sure if I was aware at that stage

12 that his cases were finished, but I recall that he was

13 there quite regularly. But I wouldn't go so far as to

14 say I was surprised, just I know he was there reasonably

15 regularly.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Vernon, there was an ongoing criminal

17 trial involving an alleged assault on a police officer,

18 wasn't there, involving Mr Duffy?

19 A. Yes, there was a Magistrates' Court case.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, and that went on for weeks and weeks?

21 A. Yes, there was, because I think, if I remember rightly,

22 after the second case was dropped, I think Mr Duffy

23 would have had a certain amount of what he would have

24 seen as harassment by the police when he was just out

25 and about around the town. And I recall one particular





1 case which resulted in a Magistrates' Court case, where

2 he was just get into his car, if I remember rightly, and

3 he was approached by the police and there was

4 a situation developed, as a result of which he was

5 prosecuted. I think he was --

6 THE CHAIRMAN: That wasn't completed until just after

7 Mrs Nelson's death, was it?

8 A. I don't recall the timescale, to be honest, now.

9 I remember I dealt with it. I remember dealing with

10 that, so it would have been about that, yes. But I was

11 aware there was a Magistrates' Court case. It wouldn't

12 have been a big Crown Court case or anything like that.

13 MR PHILLIPS: You handled that case, did you?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. You continued to handle it up until the time of the

16 murder?

17 A. I am not sure of the timescale, whether it was before or

18 after Rosemary's murder, but yes, I dealt with it.

19 Q. It is quite possible that his attendance at the office

20 was in relation to that case?

21 A. Yes, it could have been. I don't honestly know what he

22 was in for when the case -- I would have dealt with just

23 the attendances at the Magistrates' Court case and then

24 the contest (inaudible). I probably would have spoken to

25 him at the actual court date.





1 But in terms of when he was coming into the office,

2 I don't recall ever actually myself speaking to him in

3 the office much, it was always to see Rosemary.

4 Q. Even in relation to the Magistrates' Court case?

5 A. I am not sure if he was actually speaking to her about

6 that. I don't know. I assume it probably came up but I

7 don't know.

8 Q. The reason I ask you these questions about the work done

9 for him is because in paragraph 19 of your statement at

10 RNI-841-056 (displayed), you say that you think this

11 case was particularly important in terms of the way the

12 police treated Rosemary, because at the end of the day

13 she had got someone off who was accused of killing one

14 of her own, which must be a reference to the two

15 policemen murders?

16 A. The two policemen, yes.

17 Q. Why is it that you think that this case was particularly

18 important?

19 A. Which case are you referring to?

20 Q. Do you see in this paragraph here you say you think the

21 Colin Duffy case was particularly important in terms of

22 the way the police treated Rosemary?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. What do you mean by that?

25 A. Simply in the fact that there was two local policemen





1 who had been murdered and she was seen as getting off

2 the person who they would have seen as being responsible

3 for the murder.

4 Q. So are you saying that it had an adverse effect on her

5 relationship with the police?

6 A. Yes, well, yes.

7 Q. And how did you experience that yourself?

8 A. Well, personally I didn't. Any time I attended the

9 police station was -- particularly in Lurgan, I don't

10 recall myself getting any particularly sort of poor

11 treatment. It was certainly a case that there was no

12 proactive cooperation, but certainly I myself wasn't --

13 didn't receive any bad treatment or was, you know, dealt

14 with in any way wrongly. But from Rosemary's point of

15 view, and I think from the -- quite often what would

16 happen was if people were going over to make statements

17 to the police station, not so much to be interviewed as

18 such but to give statements, witness statements,

19 secretaries from the office -- it had long been

20 a practice of Rosemary's that girls would go over and

21 accompany them, and they had come back and sort of said

22 they weren't treated in a very friendly way. There was

23 just that feeling that, you know, they were from

24 Rosemary's office and that, as I say, there was no

25 particular warmth towards them.





1 Q. So these were reports that came back to you?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. But you also tell us that from the time you joined the

4 practice or shortly afterwards, Rosemary Nelson stopped

5 going to court and to the police stations?

6 A. Yes, she would have went to the police stations

7 occasionally. She didn't stop totally, but she stopped,

8 as I understood it, from -- because the hassle she was

9 getting at the police station. And certainly, in terms

10 of court, I don't recall her ever being at the court. I

11 think at one stage (inaudible) she said that if she went

12 over to the Magistrates' Court she would end up being

13 arrested herself. So she just stopped going because

14 there was too much hassle involved.

15 Q. What you suggest in your statement is she didn't go

16 because she wanted to keep out of the way of the police

17 as far as possible?

18 A. Yes, that was my impression speaking to her. As I say,

19 if she went over, she would be sort of harassed and she

20 just wanted to keep herself away from that situation.

21 Q. So other people would be sent instead, would they?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, coming from a different part of Northern Ireland,

24 it looks as though you were rather surprised by this

25 hostility?





1 A. Yes. I mean, it wasn't something that I had

2 particularly -- it wasn't something I had experienced at

3 all myself and I was very surprised at it.

4 Q. But the way I read your paragraph 22 at the bottom of

5 RNI-841-057 (displayed) is that the attitude of the

6 police, which you there describe, was something you

7 yourself experienced. Is that right?

8 A. Yes, as I say, it was something that -- it was just

9 a lack of sort of, you know, cooperation. It wasn't

10 anything I myself threatened or anything like that, but

11 it was certainly a case where no great effort was made

12 to be helpful or cooperative and you were left with the

13 impression that you were basically a nuisance by being

14 there. It was just that sort of feeling of, not

15 hostility but more just of being tolerated when -- you

16 know, when in the police station.

17 Q. What you describe in your statement goes a bit beyond

18 that sort of discourtesy, doesn't it?

19 A. Yes. Well, as I say, when I say that I was certainly

20 shocked by the frequencies of bad behaviour, that wasn't

21 directed towards me. I think what I am referring there

22 to is I was shocked at the number of occasions clients

23 would come in and make complaints about how they were

24 treated and abused, not just in the police stations but

25 also when being stopped, you know, at road checkpoints,





1 you know, that sort of thing.

2 I also was -- mostly because of the Garvaghy Road,

3 there would have been a large number of claims against

4 the police for, you know, things -- wrongful arrest and

5 assault, and we would have done a large number of those

6 and a large number of -- you know, the vast majority of

7 those would have been successful in terms of getting

8 compensations for the client. And I was just surprised

9 at, you know, how many -- the large multitude of cases

10 where it was proved the police had acted, you know,

11 illegally against people and which was subsequently

12 proved to be the case when cases were settled in court.

13 Q. So these were civil claims you were talking about?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Which were either resolved successfully at trial or

16 which were settled?

17 A. Settled, yes.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: How many went to trial, about?

19 A. Dozens, a large number.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: They actually went to trial and the decision

21 of the court was made?

22 A. Well, the way it worked -- most of them would have went

23 to trial in as much as we would have turned up in court

24 on the morning of the trial, but they would have been

25 settled on the morning basically, yes.





1 THE CHAIRMAN: Did any go to a full trial?

2 A. Some did, but a minority. The majority of them, if you

3 actually managed to get the cases through the door of

4 the court, they would have settled.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

6 MR PHILLIPS: But so far as what you perceived to be the

7 police behaviour is concerned -- you deal with this in

8 paragraph 15 -- as I understand it, what you are saying

9 is that this was part of the job. Paragraph 15 at

10 RNI-841-055 (displayed).

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So you shrugged your shoulders, did you, and got on

13 with it?

14 A. Yes, it was just part of the job.

15 Q. Because if you had made a fuss about it, as I understand

16 what you are saying, you say you would get less work

17 from the police?

18 A. It wasn't so much less work because the police didn't --

19 the police wouldn't have given us any work. I think

20 that is maybe wrongly -- not sort of said too well.

21 There was certainly not a case where the police would

22 have passed work on to Rosemary's office, but certainly

23 there was a case that -- you know, they would have not

24 pushed people towards Rosemary.

25 Sometimes at police stations somebody says, you





1 know, "I have no solicitor", the police would maybe

2 suggest someone or, as they are supposed to do, give

3 maybe a list and ask the person to pick. But certainly

4 there was never a case where work was passed to

5 Rosemary, absolutely not.

6 Q. But as I understand it, what you are saying here is that

7 you didn't protest because you had an eye on, you know,

8 commercial questions, i.e. getting more work for the firm?

9 A. Yes. As I say, there was a case where there were

10 occasions, I remember, where people did ask -- who

11 subsequently told me afterwards that when they were

12 asked what solicitor they had, that -- what solicitor

13 they wanted they would name Rosemary, but then they said

14 that they were told that nobody from Rosemary's office

15 was available, that sort of thing. So they would be

16 tried to be directed away from the office. That is the

17 point I was making.

18 Q. And you say that that happened on many occasions?

19 A. Yes, a number of occasions. People would come in and

20 say that that had been the case.

21 Q. But, when you say in the last sentence:

22 "We could, of course, complain about such behaviour

23 but most of us didn't want to antagonise the police",

24 that was an attitude held by a number of solicitors,

25 was it?





1 A. Yes.

2 Q. So in that sense Rosemary Nelson was an exception?

3 A. Yes, I would say so.

4 Q. And we see in your statement a number of examples where

5 complaints were made by the office?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. But where you, as an employee at the office, became

8 involved?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. So I can take it, can I, that the approach that the

11 office and Rosemary Nelson herself took would not have

12 been your approach if you had been running things?

13 A. No.

14 Q. Can we look at one of those first, please. That is in

15 paragraph 20, and if you look at that, at RNI-841-057

16 (displayed), you refer there to various complaints,

17 first of all in the third line, but you say you can't

18 remember the details now?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. So you are not able to help us about the sort of things

21 that were said or when they were said or how you come to

22 know about them?

23 A. No, I just recall, you know, clients -- because -- with

24 hindsight, I probably should have, but at that time

25 I just remember that phrase, you know, which various





1 clients had been saying that they were told during

2 interviews that Rosemary wouldn't be around too long and

3 that she would be basically no good as -- having her as

4 a solicitor.

5 Q. Because, as I say, you can't help us with any further

6 details of those?

7 A. No.

8 Q. What about the next example you give? You say that one

9 of the clients -- and he has a cipher, C150, you see?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. "... received a death threat himself after making a

12 complaint about the way he was treated by the police."

13 Again, you say you think you were acting for him.

14 Can you help us with any details of that; in other

15 words, when it happened, where it happened, whether

16 a complaint was made about that?

17 A. I'm afraid I don't, I am sorry.

18 Q. No. But you do say that generally the clients seemed to

19 be prepared to make complaints.

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. So they weren't at all concerned, were they, about being

22 interviewed by the investigating officer?

23 A. No -- well, what would have happened is they would have

24 come into the office and we would have made their

25 complaint and given us statements, and the complaints





1 would have been lodged. As I say, I think -- it was

2 probably fair to say that some of them did cooperate and

3 give statements and some didn't, that was just a letter

4 of complaint was lodged and it went no further than

5 that.

6 Q. Did that, do you think, happen in most of the cases?

7 A. I would think so, yes.

8 Q. Was the point of the thing just to make the complaint?

9 A. Yes. I think the feeling at that stage was that nothing

10 would happen anyway, so there was no point in really

11 going the full hog, so to speak.

12 Whatever complaint was made, whether they made

13 a statement or not, there would be no end result. So in

14 many cases, most cases, I would say, it was just

15 a question of lodging the letter -- the complaint, just

16 to make it known that it wasn't being, you know, forgot

17 about or left.

18 Q. So it sounds as though you didn't have much faith then

19 in the complaints system?

20 A. No.

21 Q. But you refer to the Ombudsman in this same paragraph

22 and can I take it, therefore, you think that that system

23 is a more effective system?

24 A. Personally I still have my doubts about the current

25 system in as much as I haven't seen too much difference





1 resulting from it. Certainly at that time, despite all

2 the complaints that were made of, you know -- I suppose

3 alleged illegal action by the police, I don't recall

4 ever being made aware of any disciplinary proceedings

5 being taken against any policeman.

6 Certainly as a result of all of this, there were

7 a large number of civil actions which we won against the

8 members of the police. I don't recall ever being made

9 aware that as a result of being found, in a civil court,

10 guilty of assault, no police officer was ever

11 disciplined in any way as a result of that court

12 decision.

13 Q. So you can remember specific examples, can you, where

14 a civil action succeeded but there was no disciplinary

15 action in the disciplinary side?

16 A. Yes. I think what happened was at that stage, if

17 a complaint was made, someone from the complaints

18 department would -- complaints section of the police

19 would come to the court, and basically I remember they

20 would sit at the back until the case was over and then

21 basically leave, obviously to see what the result was.

22 But, as I say, I don't recall ever being made aware

23 that a result of them knowing that police officers were

24 found guilty in a civil court -- not a criminal court, a

25 civil court -- that any disciplinary action was taken





1 against any of them. I certainly don't remember getting

2 a letter saying that as a result of that, such action

3 was taking place.

4 Q. Do you think the clients actually cooperated with the

5 investigation?

6 A. Well, as I say, probably in a lot of cases they didn't.

7 As I say, I don't remember exactly the details, but

8 certainly the officers from the complaints section of

9 the police would have been in the court and would have

10 been aware of the result of the civil actions.

11 Q. Presumably in the cases which were settled by the

12 police, which you also mentioned, they were settled

13 without admission of liability?

14 A. Oh, yes.

15 Q. Now, you say finally about this in the last sentence of

16 your paragraph 20:

17 "I got the impression that they had been told by

18 people higher up not to let complaints go any further."

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Can you help us with what you mean by that?

21 A. It is just the fact that none of them ever did go any

22 further and I just had the impression that it was just

23 endemic in the system, that the complaints procedure was

24 there, you know, in theory but that -- but just the fact

25 that none of them ever seemed to progress to any





1 meaningful action being taken. You were just left with

2 the impression that it was there just for show but not

3 to actually produce any disciplinary action if,

4 actually, police officers were found guilty of any

5 behaviour that they shouldn't have been involved in.

6 Q. But this is an impression you formed from your

7 experience rather than based on anything solid that

8 anybody had told you, I assume?

9 A. Oh, yes, just my impression from dealing with this at

10 that time.

11 Q. Now, you also tell us in this same context at

12 paragraph 21 what you perceive to be the attitude of the

13 police at the time. And again, can I take it that this

14 isn't actually based on any of your own experience; this

15 is just a suggestion?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And in particular that they didn't want solicitors

18 interfering with their work?

19 A. That's right.

20 Q. But can I ask you: was that something that you

21 experienced yourself in your dealings with the police?

22 A. No. As I say, I myself never had any direct actions by

23 them -- in that sense.

24 Q. Now, you mentioned earlier the petition, and you deal

25 with it at paragraph 17 of your statement at RNI-841-056





1 (displayed). You put your name to the petition,

2 didn't you?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. We can see that at RNI-151-343 (displayed).

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. So yours is the "O122" at the bottom of the page?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. You see, the impression I am getting there is that you

9 signed up to this not because of what had happened to

10 you personally?

11 A. That's right.

12 Q. But I think for two reasons -- but tell me if this is

13 right: first, because of what you had understood from

14 Rosemary Nelson about her own experience?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And also because of what was being passed back by

17 clients from their time in detention?

18 A. That's right.

19 Q. She was a leading light in putting this petition

20 together, wasn't she?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Did she ask you to sign it?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. In paragraph 17, you say:

25 "I think at the time we signed the petition we all





1 felt there was a certain amount of immunity that was

2 afforded to members of the RUC."

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Can I just ask you: do you mean, therefore, that, as you

5 have explained, whatever they did they would not be

6 subjected to disciplinary or other proceedings?

7 A. That's right.

8 Q. And, as you say:

9 "No matter how much we protested, nothing ever

10 happened to any of the police involved in any of the

11 complaints that were made."

12 Just pausing there, presumably they would say in

13 answer, "Well, your clients didn't cooperate with the

14 investigation so inevitably it was unlikely that their

15 complaints would be upheld"?

16 A. Yes, I think that is probably fair in a number of cases,

17 yes. As I say, I can't say what percentage cooperated

18 and what percentage didn't. Certainly there were some

19 who did cooperate and they still didn't go anywhere.

20 But, yes, I accept there were a number of people who

21 didn't follow up their complaint with giving statements.

22 Q. But the complaints that you are referring to there, were

23 they complaints that you handled as a solicitor?

24 A. Yes, I think I would have done -- Rosemary would have

25 done most of them, yes. And I think the ones that -- if





1 I would have seen the client initially, I would have

2 passed them on to Rosemary who then would have carried

3 them forward.

4 Q. We will come to some specific examples of this in

5 a minute, but is that a general picture then that even

6 where you were dealing with the client in the holding

7 centre or the police station, Rosemary Nelson herself

8 would have advanced the complaint on behalf of that

9 client?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Thank you. Can we look, please, at RNI-115-341 in the

12 same bundle, and this is the first page of the petition

13 (displayed). If you look at the bullet point at the

14 bottom of the page -- if we can enlarge that, please --

15 do you see about six lines from the bottom, there is

16 a reference in the petition to this:

17 "A working party of the Law Society of England and

18 Wales has reported that 'there have been persistent

19 reports that RUC CID officers interrogating detainees in

20 the holding centres routinely disparage/make threats

21 against particular solicitors'."

22 Now, this is a petition signed by lawyers working in

23 Northern Ireland?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Where you have your own law society, don't you?





1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Did you ever contact your own law society about this

3 problem?

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

5 Q. Are you aware that Rosemary Nelson made contact with the

6 Law Society in Northern Ireland about this problem?

7 A. I don't recall whether she did or not.

8 Q. Did you at the time, before her murder, have any

9 awareness of the involvement of the local law society in

10 this problem?

11 A. Personally, no.

12 Q. Now, you will see also at the bottom of the page there

13 is a reference to the Special Rapporteur. This is all

14 the petition that you signed.

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. We know he came on a visit to Northern Ireland just as

17 you started to work in Rosemary Nelson's office

18 in October 1997.

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Again, were you aware of his visit? Did you discuss it

21 with her?

22 A. Sorry?

23 Q. Sorry, do you see the last sentence:

24 "Such is the international concern with this issue

25 that the UN Special Rapporteur ..."?





1 A. Oh, yes. I know Rosemary had a lot of ongoing

2 connection with him, that she would speak -- she would

3 refer to him quite a lot, and a number of things which

4 would have happened she would have passed on the

5 information to him. Oh, yes --

6 Q. Mr Cumaraswamy?

7 A. That's right.

8 Q. Do you remember discussing his visit with her?

9 A. I don't remember particularly discussing the particular

10 visit. I just remember her mentioning him on a large

11 number of occasions when she had contact with him over

12 various matters.

13 I just said -- I don't remember any particular issue

14 that she met him or talked to him, but I remember she

15 mentioned his name on a number of occasions and that she

16 would have passed -- anything that happened, any

17 clients, she would have passed the information on

18 to him.

19 Q. Do you remember anything about the controversy

20 concerning the draft report that he prepared

21 in March 1998?

22 A. Nothing in particular, I'm afraid.

23 Q. Thank you. Sir, we have been going for just over an

24 hour, would that be a convenient moment?

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly. Thank you.





1 (3.52 pm)

2 (Short break)

3 (4.08 pm)

4 MR PHILLIPS: Mr Vernon, I would like to ask you some

5 questions about people's views of Rosemary Nelson.

6 Earlier on today, you said at one point that you

7 thought she told you that she thought that she was

8 getting threats because people were "misconstruing her

9 intentions"?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Can you help me: Who was misconstruing her intentions?

12 A. It wasn't any particular person or group. I think it

13 was just generally -- probably just around the

14 mid-Ulster area, because, as I say, I was from Belfast

15 and certainly I would have no, you know, prior

16 perception of Rosemary. So I think it was just around

17 the -- people generally and particularly on the -- you

18 know, on the Loyalist side and probably the police, I

19 think she would -- she felt that they saw her as a Provo

20 lawyer.

21 Q. So she felt, as far as you were aware, did she, that

22 Loyalists in that area, in mid-Ulster -- and the police?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Anybody else had that view of her?

25 A. No, I think -- no, I think that was her main concern,





1 that it was people on the Loyalist -- and the police

2 saw her in that light, which is, as I say, what she

3 herself very clearly did not see herself as.

4 Q. So they had a particular view of her which didn't accord

5 with her view of herself, but as I understood it, it

6 didn't also represent your own view of the work she was

7 doing. Is that right?

8 A. No, because at no stage did I ever hear a single word

9 from Rosemary that would, you know, put her in that

10 light. And in fact, on a number of occasions she would

11 have mentioned the fact that down the years she would

12 have acted for, you know, clients from both sides of the

13 community and, you know, without any hesitation.

14 In fact, I remember there was one particular case

15 just comes to mind. I remember there was a prison

16 officer -- I would have dealt with it because it was

17 a matrimonial thing -- who came to the office and I mean

18 there was absolutely no difference made and, as I say,

19 she would have referred to that fact on a number of

20 occasions that down the years she had always acted for

21 both sides of the community.

22 Probably in practice it turned out that most of the

23 clients were from a particular side of the community,

24 but that was not by design or by intent.

25 Q. But other than that case you have just mentioned, did





1 you handle cases for clients from the other side of the

2 community?

3 A. No, that is the one that comes to mind.

4 Q. Now, the second aspect of people talking about her or

5 holding views about her I want to touch on comes up in

6 your paragraph 19, and this is at RNI-841-056

7 (displayed). This is the bottom of the page. You say:

8 "There were also rumours regarding Rosemary's

9 relationship with Colin Duffy."

10 They were rumours which you heard at the time, were

11 they?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. What were they?

14 A. Just that there was perhaps a relationship, but --

15 Q. A personal relationship?

16 A. Yes. But, as I say, I was in the office every day and

17 there was absolutely no evidence of that at all.

18 Q. Was this something that was discussed in the office?

19 A. No.

20 Q. How did you hear the rumours, then?

21 A. I don't recall. I just remember being aware of it. But

22 any time that his name came up, it was totally in

23 a professional context and there was no suggestion at

24 all that it was anything other than that.

25 Q. Thank you. Now, moving back in your statement to the





1 question of the police, we talked earlier about the fact

2 that she didn't go to the police station.

3 If you look at paragraph 11 -- and this is at

4 RNI-841-054 (displayed) -- she obviously told you,

5 didn't she, that she thought the police strongly

6 disliked her?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Was that dislike mutual?

9 A. I think it was -- I wouldn't say it was dislike. It

10 was -- if there was an element of that, it was not

11 dislike of the police per se, it was dislike of the way

12 she saw them as treating her. There was more dislike of

13 their attitude towards her rather than, as I say, as

14 a police force; just the way she felt she was treated.

15 That is where her attitude came from.

16 Q. As you understood it, that was why she kept out of their

17 way, was it?

18 A. Yes, she made that comment she wanted to keep out of the

19 way. That is why she tried to avoid them as much as

20 possible, so as not to create any situations.

21 Q. Now, you say in this paragraph that there was

22 a suggestion in the office that she might be under

23 surveillance from the police?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. What were the grounds for that suggestion, do you





1 remember?

2 A. I am not sure if there was any sort of -- anything

3 specific. I think it was just the fact that the office

4 was so close to the police station that it was just an

5 assumption that, you know, a close eye was being kept on

6 the office. It was very much basically the front door

7 of the office was directly in line with the police

8 station, so it would have been very easy for the office,

9 you know, to be viewed, to see who was coming in and out

10 of it. So there was nothing specific; it was just the

11 assumption that that was --

12 Q. There was never any firm evidence that this was

13 happening?

14 A. Not that I recall, no.

15 Q. Is it something she mentioned to you?

16 A. She just assumed that the office was being watched, you

17 know. Simply because, as I say, there was such close

18 proximity that it would have been hard for them -- the

19 police not to see who was coming out of the office.

20 Q. But as I understand it, the basis for making that

21 suggestion in this paragraph is because her firm was the

22 only firm in the town that was prepared to take on work

23 of this kind?

24 A. Yes, at that time, yes.

25 Q. But is there anything more than that --





1 A. No, there was nothing specific where, you know, you

2 could say, you know, something happened to prove that I

3 am aware of.

4 Q. So by the time you joined the practice, hers was the

5 only firm, was it, in the area doing this sort of work?

6 A. Yes, certainly in the Lurgan area, that I recall, yes.

7 Q. Did that make the firm rather isolated?

8 A. It would have done, yes.

9 Q. Did it make her, as a sole practitioner, isolated?

10 A. Yes, I mean -- well, it would have made her isolated. I

11 don't recall her being sociable or friendly in any way

12 with any of the other solicitors in the town. She was

13 very much left on her own. There was no particular

14 camaraderie extended towards her.

15 Q. But did this position that the firm had in the town, did

16 that concern you?

17 A. Not that I can recall.

18 Q. It didn't lead you to be concerned for your safety, for

19 example?

20 A. No. Probably with hindsight it should have done, but at

21 the time I was perhaps a bit naive in that regard, but

22 not -- no, not at the time.

23 Q. Moving on to the question of specific complaints or

24 threats, you deal with a number in your statement, but

25 the first thing you say in paragraph 12 is that a lot of





1 clients tell you what was being said to them in

2 Gough Barracks in particular. Is that right?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. But you can't remember the names of the clients?

5 A. No. As I say, there was just so many at that time.

6 Q. So is it right that whatever recollection you have was

7 prompted in your interview by being shown documents?

8 A. Yes, yes, yes, I think that is fair to say.

9 Q. So nothing other than what you have learnt or what you

10 learnt in the interview or were shown in the interview

11 from documents has stuck in your brain, the specific

12 details?

13 A. No, just specifically the complaint that was made there

14 by C200.

15 Q. Yes.

16 A. I mean, I recall that without prompting. That is

17 something that did --

18 Q. Are you sure you recall that particular client?

19 A. Well, I am not sure -- I remember that phrase being

20 used. I am not sure -- I can't remember the actual

21 client who did it, but it is such an unusual phrase to

22 use that that sticks in my mind. But I can't honestly

23 say who actually told me who it was.

24 Q. Can we just have a look at that? It is at RNI-105-179

25 (displayed). Now, this, the particular phrase, you see





1 is in the fourth and fifth lines?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. But in fact do you see this is in fact -- it's

4 confusing, because both clients' names are ciphered, but

5 this is in fact the statement of another client,

6 isn't it?

7 A. Yes, it is.

8 Q. But can we go back to look at the full page, please

9 (displayed). Am I right in thinking this was in fact

10 a statement that you took from this particular client,

11 C220?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. So where you say in your statement in paragraph 1 -- if

14 we can go back to that, please, RNI 841-054

15 (displayed) -- that you remember this client

16 specifically, the client whose cipher appears there,

17 that that is wrong?

18 A. Yes --

19 Q. I am not quite sure why that is.

20 A. That's right.

21 Q. The relevant client is C220, isn't it?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Thank you very much. You say there in the same

24 paragraph, in the penultimate sentence:

25 "Rosemary was not concerned about these comments."





1 Do you mean by that the first comment about her

2 face?

3 A. Yes, I think she had just got so used to the comments

4 that --

5 Q. The comments of that kind?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. About her face?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. But did the same lack of concern apply to the next

10 comment you mention, which is that she had been involved

11 in making bombs?

12 A. Yes. Well, again, I think that had been a rumour that

13 had been basically doing the rounds, and I remember --

14 I remember sort of her telling me how that actually had

15 happened, because of a birth defect. But, as I say, I

16 think she had had -- I got the impression from speaking

17 to her about that that she had had so many comments over

18 the years, certainly long before I started, that she had

19 got used to them by now; they didn't particularly make

20 her angry or annoyed. She just got used to them.

21 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Mr Phillips, can I just come in? I am

22 sorry.

23 Can I just make absolutely certain that I understand

24 the sort of chain of evidence that you are explaining to

25 us here, please?





1 Are you in fact saying that the person who told you

2 this was not the individual who allegedly that comment

3 was made to when in custody?

4 A. Oh, no, it was --

5 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: It was that individual?

6 A. Yes. He came into the office and I took a statement off

7 him.

8 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: That was said to you and the statement

9 recorded?

10 MR PHILLIPS: Mr Vernon, I think we can clear this up

11 actually if you look, please, at RNI-227-021

12 (displayed). This is the statement given in the

13 Mulvihill investigation, do you see, to the detective

14 sergeant working for Commander Mulvihill, and it is the

15 statement of the witness C220 whose short typed

16 statement we have seen. And do you see in the fourth

17 line, it says:

18 "I have been shown a typed copy of a statement

19 I made to ..."

20 And that is you, as we know:

21 "... who wrote it and I have signed and dated it

22 06/11/97."

23 Which is the document we have just seen?

24 A. Yes. As I remember, there were a number of people at

25 the time who had been arrested and brought to





1 Gough Barracks. And if I remember rightly, a number of

2 derogatory comments about Rosemary had been made to

3 them, and they come into the office and -- to make

4 statements and others were seen by, you know, other

5 people in the office, when this particular person I saw.

6 Q. If we go back to the main page and then turn over,

7 RNI-227-022 (displayed), you will see that the statement

8 continues. He deals with the visits, during his

9 detention, of Rosemary Nelson herself and then at the

10 bottom of this page, he says, do you see, about seven

11 lines up:

12 "I didn't mention the personal stuff until about

13 three weeks later to a representative of her office."

14 Again, that is you?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. "The reason for not mentioning the personal comments to

17 Rosemary at the time was because it was embarrassing."

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. I will just ask you again: other than what you have just

20 read in this statement, do you have any recollection of

21 this client mentioning these comments to you?

22 A. Yes, I remember his embarrassment and I remember

23 actually taking the statement. He was reluctant even to

24 use the phrase and I had to sort of tell him that

25 basically he would have to tell us. But I have a very





1 clear recollection of his embarrassment because of the

2 phrase itself.

3 Q. If we go back to the first page, RNI-227-021, please

4 (displayed). Now, what we see about eight lines down is

5 the client explains that is he was arrested

6 in March 1997. Do you see that?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. For alleged terrorist matters.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. The statement which you took was dated

11 6th November 1997. Can you remember the circumstances

12 in which you came to take that statement some eight

13 months later?

14 A. I can't say. That was just after I started.

15 Q. Yes.

16 A. I just remember being asked just to see the person

17 because, as I say, a number of the -- a lot of these

18 statements would have been taken by secretaries and I

19 think he was reluctant to make a statement to one of the

20 girls, and this is why I was asked to see him and take

21 it. As I say, why it was sort of six months afterwards,

22 I don't honestly know.

23 Q. You don't remember that this was part of the complaint

24 process in relation to this client?

25 A. As I say, I just remember being asked to see him and





1 taking the statement off him. I remember his

2 embarrassment, but the context of where and why I was

3 asked to see him I don't know.

4 Q. And you don't remember what happened to the statement?

5 A. I don't, no.

6 Q. You weren't aware, therefore, who received the statement

7 after it had been taken?

8 A. No.

9 Q. Can we look on then to the next paragraph in your

10 statement, which is where you begin to deal with another

11 client, also a ciphered client, C208. Do you see that?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And I think it is right to say, isn't it, that this is

14 a client who you attended in, I think, June 1998?

15 A. Yes, I think it was around that, yes.

16 Q. Now, you deal with what happened when you went in to see

17 him at the top of the next page, which is 055,

18 RNI-841-055 (displayed). Now, what state was he in when

19 you got to see him?

20 A. He was fine. The first time I saw him he initially

21 wouldn't communicate with me because he had never met me

22 before, and I remember he just stood -- he wouldn't even

23 sit down at the desk, and eventually he asked me for ID

24 to prove that I worked with Rosemary and after that then

25 he sort of started to talk to me, although at that





1 stage, as I say, there was nothing untoward about his

2 behaviour, just he told me basically why they were

3 saying he had been arrested.

4 If I remember -- I am not sure, but if I remember

5 rightly I think Rosemary had already been down to see

6 him on one or two occasions before I went down. I think

7 I went down initially because Rosemary couldn't. So he

8 had already spoken to Rosemary a couple of times and

9 then I appeared. So I think that was what his initial

10 reluctance to communicate --

11 Q. Can I just stop you there? It is your recollection, is

12 it -- you see, you say in your statement that Rosemary

13 was unable to attend so she asked you to go instead?

14 A. That's right.

15 Q. Do you see that at the bottom of page RNI-841-054

16 (displayed)?

17 A. Yes, I am not sure.

18 Q. Bottom of page RNI-841-054, please. It may help for you

19 to keep an eye on your written statement as well as on

20 the screen, please. You see there it says:

21 "I remember there was one of Rosemary's clients,

22 C208 I think, who was arrested and Rosemary was unable

23 to attend the police station, so she asked me to go

24 instead."

25 Does that sound right?





1 A. That's right.

2 Q. Of the representatives of the firm, therefore, you would

3 have been the first to attend this client. Is that

4 right?

5 A. I am not sure, 100 per cent sure. It was just on this

6 particular occasion, this particular day, Rosemary

7 couldn't go and I asked me to go. But I think he had

8 already been in custody a day or two beforehand and I am

9 not sure whether Rosemary had actually managed to get

10 down to see him during that period of time.

11 Q. You are not sure whether she'd gone before you?

12 A. No. It was just on this particular day I remember she

13 couldn't go and she asked me to go. But, as I say, it

14 may have been that she had actually managed to go down

15 and see him before that, but I am not sure.

16 Q. You made a statement about this, didn't you, on

17 21st September 1998. You referred to it in

18 paragraph 14. Can we have a look at that, please? It

19 is RNI-219-078 (displayed).

20 Now, if you look at the second line, it says:

21 "On 29th June at about 9.30, I was told by someone

22 at the office that [name of client] had been arrested

23 and was being held at Castlereagh and that he had

24 requested legal advice."

25 It sounds, doesn't it, as though this was the first





1 mention of the client within the office?

2 A. Yes, well, certainly the first time I was made aware of

3 it, yes.

4 Q. But it looks, doesn't it, from that statement -- he had

5 been arrested, was being held and he had requested legal

6 advice -- as though this is the first call that came

7 into the firm?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Indeed, it looks as though --

10 A. Yes, it looks like that. Although that would have

11 been -- it says 9.30 am, which would have meant

12 somebody -- it would have been one of the girls in the

13 office probably would have told me they had got a phone

14 call to say that he wanted someone down.

15 As I say, I am not sure whether, as I say, he had

16 actually been in touch with the office before that, but

17 I mean certainly it was the first time I was asked to

18 attend.

19 Q. And he wasn't a client of yours and you had never met

20 him before, it says?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Do you know whether he was a client of the firm?

23 A. Prior to this?

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. No, I am not sure if he had ever been in --





1 Q. No.

2 A. No.

3 Q. So this statement, if we carry on down -- if we go back

4 to the page, please, RNI-219-078 (displayed) -- was made

5 obviously much nearer the events, within three months in

6 fact, than we are today, nearly ten years later -- it

7 sets out an account, doesn't it, of your dealings with

8 this particular client at the Castlereagh holding

9 centre?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. We see that you describe going on the first occasion and

12 that he didn't speak to you because he didn't know you

13 and, therefore, didn't trust you. Do you see that?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. You were asked for identification which you produced,

16 and then you had a discussion, and his mood at that

17 stage you describe as being confident that he had

18 nothing to worry about?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Now, you then say he had no complaints to make at that

21 time. Do you see, a few lines down?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And then you left and that was the end of that visit?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. The next thing you say -- do you see in the next





1 sentence -- is:

2 "These notes ..."

3 That is the notes of the consultation:

4 "... are with the case file held at my office"?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. We know, don't we, that these notes became something

7 that Commander Mulvihill in his investigation sought

8 from your office?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Were you aware that your notes were being sought at the

11 time?

12 A. It doesn't readily spring to mind, to be honest.

13 Q. You made this statement to the Mulvihill team, didn't

14 you?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. But were you in fact the lawyer at Rosemary Nelson's

17 firm handling the complaint?

18 A. No. Again, as I say, Rosemary would have taken that

19 over.

20 Q. Right.

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. So if a request was made to the firm for the notes, is

23 this right, it could have been made to

24 Rosemary Nelson --

25 A. It would have been to Rosemary, yes.





1 Q. It would have gone to Rosemary Nelson?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. So you don't think you were aware of that request at the

4 time?

5 A. No.

6 Q. Thank you. Now, then returning to the statement, you

7 say that you carried on working that day, so 29th June,

8 and then you have got another call from the same holding

9 centre, the same client, requesting your attendance?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And you went back between 7.30 and 8 o'clock in the

12 evening?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. What was his mood on this occasion?

15 A. Well, it was different from the previous day. The

16 initial confidence had gone and he told me that -- some

17 of the things that had been said to him during the

18 interviews. I remember he particularly said that they

19 had referred to the fact that Rosemary herself hadn't

20 come down to see him and, therefore, he couldn't be that

21 important to her. And you know, as I say -- he took

22 that to mean that they were trying to undermine the

23 relationship between himself and Rosemary. And I also

24 recall him saying that threats had been made to him that

25 if he didn't make a statement to the police, that his





1 name would be made known to various people, the LVF in

2 the Portadown area. That was, you know -- he took as

3 a threat to his life, that his details would be passed

4 on if he didn't cooperate, and that frightened him.

5 Q. We can see that at RNI-219-079 (displayed), the top of

6 the next page; do you see?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. In the second sentence. And the further comment you

9 made about in relation to Rosemary Nelson is something

10 you mention in this same statement a few lines down from

11 that. The sentence begins:

12 "He also indicated ..."

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And you offer the view in the statement, in the next

15 sentence, that it was your impression that the comments

16 were made in order to undermine his confidence in your

17 firm?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Now, you say that the consultation, the meeting with

20 him, took about an hour?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And that you yourself did not make a complaint that day,

23 on 29th June?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Why was that?





1 A. I don't recall the actual thought process that went --

2 that went into that. I think it was probably a mixture

3 of just my feelings that it wouldn't make any

4 difference, because also I was aware of Rosemary's

5 practice, you know, of lodging -- making complaints by

6 formal letter, and I would be pretty sure that that was

7 my feeling: to leave it to be made formally by letter.

8 Q. Were you surprised by either of these remarks reported

9 to you by this client?

10 A. I am not sure whether I was surprised at the time.

11 Probably by that stage I had sort of become aware of

12 the -- of those sort of things happening. So it

13 probably wasn't as much of a surprise as it maybe would

14 have been before I started working in the Lurgan area.

15 Q. This is June 1998?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Can you remember whether similar sorts of comments had

18 been reported back to you by clients by this stage?

19 A. Unfortunately, I am not sure of the timeframe, whether

20 it was before this or after. I honestly wouldn't be

21 able to say what the timeframe was.

22 Q. Anyway, for whatever reason, you didn't make a complaint

23 but you did discuss it the next morning, didn't you,

24 with Rosemary Nelson?

25 A. Yes.





1 Q. How did she react to the information that you passed on

2 to her?

3 A. Well, again, as far as I am aware, she did what she

4 would normally do: she sent a letter -- she would send

5 a letter down to the custody office and they would send

6 a letter to the police complaints section.

7 Q. Did she draft those letters herself or did you do that

8 for her?

9 A. No, she would have done that.

10 Q. Can we look, please, at RNI-115-185 (displayed)? We see

11 this is about this client, and the date 30th June, in

12 other words, the next day?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Was this a letter that you were shown by her at the

15 time?

16 A. No.

17 Q. No?

18 A. It is typical of the sort of letter that she would have

19 written.

20 Q. You see it refers there to derogatory remarks?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, I just want to ask you about the handwritten

23 comments at the bottom of this page. Is that your

24 handwriting?

25 A. No.





1 Q. Is it Rosemary Nelson's?

2 A. Unfortunately, I can't remember now what Rosemary's

3 handwriting looked like. It is certainly not mine.

4 Q. No. Do you recognise the handwriting?

5 A. No.

6 Q. No. Thank you. Then RNI-115-186, please, in the same

7 file (displayed). Here the same client, and the

8 suggestion that:

9 "... threats have been made to my client that his

10 name will be disclosed to members of the paramilitary

11 groups."

12 That is what he said to you in the holding centre?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Do you see the next line? It says:

15 "These remarks have been conveyed to various human

16 rights bodies who no doubt will be in touch with you in

17 due course."

18 Did she tell you that she would be referring this

19 complaint to human rights bodies?

20 A. I don't remember her specifically telling me, but that

21 would have been her practice to -- in instances like

22 this to, you know, make them aware of all these sort of

23 types of situations that arose.

24 She had a number of organisations that she would be

25 in direct contact with. That would be normal -- that





1 would have been normal.

2 Q. It would be normal?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Just so I am clear about this, she would register the

5 complaint itself and then she would inform various human

6 rights organisations?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. British Irish Rights Watch?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. CAJ?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Any other organisations or individuals you can think of?

13 A. The United Nations, Mr --

14 Q. Cumaraswamy?

15 A. Yes, people like him. I think she was in touch with the

16 Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin as well.

17 Q. In the Irish Government?

18 A. Yes, she would have referred things like that to them as

19 well.

20 Q. Going back to your statement, RNI-219-079 (displayed),

21 you say at the bottom of the same page -- do you see

22 four lines from the bottom:

23 "In relation to the second consultation ..."

24 That is the one we have just been talking about:

25 "... I made contemporaneous notes which are also





1 with his file at my office. I am willing to provide

2 copies of these notes to investigating officers."

3 So it looks as though this is a point that came up

4 in your interview with the Mulvihill team, isn't it?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. So far as you were concerned, then, the notes at that

7 stage were still there on the file, were they?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Do you know where they are now?

10 A. I don't, I am afraid.

11 Q. No.

12 A. No.

13 Q. You don't know what happened to this client's file?

14 A. I don't -- well, I assume they -- all the files -- I am

15 not sure once the office closed or not. They were left

16 with Mr Nelson's custody, so what happened to them

17 subsequently I don't know.

18 Q. But when you came back from this interview with the

19 Mulvihill team, did you not mention the question of the

20 notes to Rosemary Nelson?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And what was her response?

23 A. I don't remember that she had any response as such.

24 I mean, I just remember telling her that I had taken

25 notes of what he had told me, but (inaudible) sort of





1 say, you know, follow it up by the actions she did. I

2 don't recall any particular comments she made.

3 As I say, it was one of a number of similar types of

4 issues. So I think she probably would have just taken

5 it as one of many such incidents that was to be followed

6 up in her usual way.

7 Q. Now, eventually we know that Commander Mulvihill

8 produced his report on this case and I think it is one

9 of the documents you have been shown this afternoon,

10 isn't it?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And we can see at RNI-220-020 (displayed), that in the

13 last bullet point, the fourth one on the page:

14 "Despite several requests for the notes, nothing was

15 provided to him."

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Do you see that?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And as I understand it, you cannot help us as to any of

20 the dealings between the firm, between Rosemary Nelson

21 and Commander Mulvihill?

22 A. No. As I say, the notes were there but Rosemary would

23 have dealt with it at that stage.

24 Q. And do you see that there is reference in this same

25 paragraph to letters sent by him demanding the return,





1 or the provision of, the notes?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Did you see those letters?

4 A. No, I don't recall seeing them, no.

5 Q. Finally, I wanted to ask you: this report from the

6 Commander led eventually to a decision to dispose of the

7 matter, and that was notified to Rosemary Nelson on

8 19th February 1999, if we can look at that at

9 RNI-218-141 (displayed).

10 You see a reference there to the same client?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Addressed to Rosemary Nelson herself?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And if we turn over to RNI-218-142 (displayed), there is

15 the statement, and the ICPC are saying that the

16 investigation has been properly carried out.

17 Again, can I ask you: were you informed by

18 Mrs Nelson of the result of this complaint

19 in February 1999?

20 A. No, not that I recall, no.

21 Q. Was there any discussion between you and her about

22 Commander Mulvihill's investigation and the conclusions

23 which resulted?

24 A. Not that I recall, no.

25 Q. Sir, I am about to move on to another client and we have





1 a certain period of more questions about specific

2 clients. Would it be convenient to stop now and start

3 again tomorrow morning?

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Do you expect to be --

5 MR PHILLIPS: Half an hour, I would have thought.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. Would you come back tomorrow morning at

7 10.15, please.

8 A. Yes.

9 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, can I mention one other matter, which is

10 that the next witness on our timetable -- Mr Vernon, if

11 you remember, has come early and will finish early.


13 MR PHILLIPS: The next witness on our timetable is

14 Sir Louis Blom-Cooper and my understanding is that he

15 won't be available to give evidence to us until

16 2 o'clock.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Everybody has heard that. We will adjourn

18 until 10.15 tomorrow morning.

19 (4.47 pm)

20 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)










1 I N D E X

MRS AINE MURRAY(affirmed) ........................ 1
Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 1
MR PATRICK VERNON (sworn) ........................ 27
Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 27