Slugger O'Toole

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Arthurs charged under Proceeds of Crime Act

Wed 23 May 2007, 6:18pm

Now that the bail hearing Fair Deal noted earlier has taken place, we have some of the detail of the charges against Brian Arthurs, who was named in this 2005 Times report as a member of the PIRA army council. He has been charged with converting criminal property and obtaining a money transfer by deception. The hearing was attended by Sinn Féin MLA Francie Molloy who has claimed the charges were part of “a politically driven vendetta against a number of republicans in the East Tyrone area.” BBC Video report here [RealPlayer file]

..a detective inspector told the court in Dungannon the charges were part of a multi-million pound fraud investigation. Mr Arthurs was released on bail to appear in court again next week. Bail was granted on two sureties of £20,000 each and the defendant’s own bail of £50,000. The police officer said the alleged offences took place under the Proceeds of Crime Act and involved a criminal gang. He said the officers who arrested Mr Arthurs had found more than £20,000 in sterling and euro hidden in his car. However defence solicitor Peter Corrigan said it was “an example of political policing at its worst”.

UpdatedThe Irish Times today notes the brief reaction to Francie Molloy’s claims from a PSNI spokesman [subs req]

The PSNI rejected Mr Molloy’s claims. “This is tired old rhetoric which has no basis in reality,” said a spokesperson.

And the report adds this detail from Brian Arthurs’ solicitor at the hearing

Mr Corrigan said there was no question of Mr Arthurs not returning for subsequent hearing. “In addition, my client takes great exception to the allegation made that he is involved in a criminal gang.”

“Mr Arthurs is an honest, hard-working man, and I am in possession of references provided by MLAs supporting his efforts made in the peace process and his role in actively involving police in his community. This is what he gets in return.”

References provided by MLAs?

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Comments (10)

  1. Gilbert-Paul Jeannon says:

    “an example of political policing at its worst”.

    Without doubt another example of the British state targetting individuals it has political beef with.

    Unable to beat Irish republicans military or politically the British establishment has again misused the law to detain republicans.

    This case will be dropped as so many in the past, but of course the media coverage of the dropping of charges will not make as much news space as these false accusations.

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  2. Rubicon says:

    GPJ – you’re making a lot of assumptions there – and then using them to create a sense of being wronged. The case has just started (you’re declaring its end – but, that aside) and evidence will now need to be produced. If none emerges then I’ll sympathise with your view – but to assume “political policing” at this point suggests your approach is prejudiced or guided by a belief that certain criminal activities are fair game and not a crime.

    Let the man (and state) have their day in court. If you think the court has no jurisdiction then say so. Enough of this “political policing” knee-jerk reaction. It’s not only republicans that have people suspected and charged with criminal actions.

    I’m not going to comment on the case other than to say I’ll watch it with interest. I can’t help but wonder though whether you believe the charge a crime? If convicted – would it be a crime to you?

    If yes, I guess we’ll both be watching the case. I remain far from convinced that the security forces “here” (Conor Murphy speak) shouldn’t have been charged for the raid on Stormont in 2002. It could be that nefarious action explains these charges – but why not let the evidence be presented before reaching a conclusion? Since evidence hasn’t halted you from reaching a judgement – I can only suspect it to be irrelevant to you; i.e., the charges are not a crime.

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  3. againtthehead says:

    SF have given up their trump cards, in terms of joining the peelers and decomissioning. There is no reason for the authorities not to chase after IRA/SF criminals.

    Watch out for a string of high profile republican arrests – not as a means of ‘political policing’; but rather because SF can throw their dummy out of the pram all they want, but they’ve signed up to law and order – as I said the authorites no longer have a reason NOT to arrest these individuals. Previously I believe they were protected to stop the peace process from falling apart!!

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  4. crow says:

    “£20,000 in sterling and euro hidden in his car”.There must be an innocent explanation for this.I myself have just found 30 grand in the pockets of a pair of jeans i was about to wash.

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  5. Mickhall says:

    “Unable to beat Irish republicans military or politically the British establishment has again misused the law to detain republicans.”

    I just wish supporters of SF would use opportunities like Mr Arthurs arrest to look at there strategy rather than cry big bad wolf, what they hell did they expect sections of the British state to do when they became part of the northern establishment.

    Of course this arrest is political policing, as almost all policing has a political context, which is why all the shinner talk of a civic police force is absolute tosh. For no matter who the police answers to it will always be political as it is a bastion of the state.

    We made it perfectly clear that by supporting the PSNI the shinners were supporting the British state, now they cry like babies that the very police they support is acting in a political manner.

    By the way what the hell does Gilbert-Paul think SF politicians are doing when they have been telephoning Peter Hain to complain about Brian Arthurs arrest, they have been asking the Viceroy to put political pressure on the PSNI to bring this charade to an end, is it any wonder his phone has been engaged.

    The real question that the shinners need to ask themselves is which one of their exalted leadership will be next in the frame, and by the way perhaps they might like to give some thought to the rumor that Brian Authors was amongst those senior republicans who have been against the abolition of the army Council etc.

    Thus what we may be seeing is a less bloody political version of Loughgall.

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  6. Rapunsel says:

    Lets wait and see what happens. I noted though that SF representatives stated that Paul Arthurs had played a decisive role in getting republicans to support the PSNI. Do they expect that because someone says they support the police that that should given them immunity from police action if suspected criminal activity had taken place. Next I suppose we’ll hear that republicans shouldn’t get investigated/prosecuted for driving offences or other relatively minor matters and that this is political policing too.

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  7. Yokel says:

    Mickhall

    As much as we come from very different political angles, you are pretty much spot on.

    SF has been making all the usual calls and it will be interesting to see if any are answered at some point. There has always been a suspicion that the British Government & its apparatus have put SF and the part of the of republican movement that they carry pretty much where they want them.

    Not only is it more difficult for SF but also for the likes of Hain to do a few favours and lean on the cops to drop criminal cases. In the new, apparently open era, its lead balloon stuff if he is seen to be doing too much of that. Thus he has to tread carefully too.

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  8. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    I’ve added the PSNI’s brief response to the claims by Francie Molloy.

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  9. De Sade says:

    Has there ever been a guilty republican? Was he forced by the “conflict” to stick £20K in the boot of his motor?

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  10. cynic says:

    “Unable to beat Irish republicans military or politically the British establishment has again misused the law to detain republicans”

    But they have beaten them!

    The reason that PIRA stopped the war was that they were beaten. They still had the capacity to kill some people but they were so penetrated with agents that they were ineffectual, the risks to volunteers were reaching unacceptable levels and the Unionist population had shown that, whatever PIRA did, they could absorb it. They could still bomb the Brits in England but even that was counterproductive and taking them further away from a United Ireland.

    And unable to beat Irish republicans politically? The Brits spent the last 20 years carefully nurturing them politically to try to give them a political route out of violence. They dont want to beat them politically – they have ‘no selfish or political interest’ in Irleand – they want to encourage them.

    Sorry …but wrong on all counts!

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