Slugger O'Toole

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Sinn Fein’s defence borrowing a page from the Scientology play book?

Tue 18 December 2012, 2:15pm

I’d treat with caution any attempt to estimate the Sinn Fein’s costs, not least because they don’t seem to have gone in to the trial with anything much resembling a case.

In disclosure, they offered only copies of the press releases, with one defendant confessing he was a inveterate re-cycler. And as Sam McBride notes in the News Letter today:

Amid a series of disputes about the conduct of the protracted trial — which was listed to last five days but yesterday ended after entering a fourth week — there were frequent sharp exchanges in court between Sinn Fein’s barrister, Martin McCann, and the judge.

Many of those arguments stemmed from Sinn Fein’s decision not to plead justification — that is, not to argue that the words in the press releases were true — which ruled out putting in front of the jury anything which may suggest that Mr Gormley deserved to be sacked as a NI Water director by former Sinn Fein minister Conor Murphy.

It becomes clear that one motive for running such an expensive trial was some kind of retrospective rearguard on the party’s former minister (now, former Assembly member) Conor Murphy. McBride tells a revealing story of how SF conducted the case:

Mr Justice Gillen excluded the jury and was visibly cross. He told Mr McCann: “If there’s one more question from you that suggests this man should have lost his job, I’m going to discharge this jury and award full costs against you.”

He added that it was wrong to have “these hints all the time that somehow Gormley lost his job because of misconduct by the board”.

Within a short space of time and with the jury present, Mr Justice Gillen again stepped in and told Mr McCann: “You will not run this case on the basis that this man should have been dismissed.”

It’s hard to figure why the party would go to such trouble on a thread bare defence. The whole affair has more than a touch of the unreal.

There was more than just a touch of L Ron Hubbard’s fair game strategy to it all:

Suppressive Acts are clearly those covert or overt acts knowingly calculated to reduce or destroy the influence or activities of Scientology or prevent case gains or continued Scientology success and activity on the part of a Scientologist.

As persons or groups that would do such a thing act out of self interest only to the detriment of all others, they cannot be granted the rights and beingness ordinarily accorded rational beings and so place themselves beyond any consideration for their feelings or well being.

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Comments (7)

  1. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Hubbard wrote a great book called ‘Diarrhea’. I think I’ve got the title right. Whatever the case, Mick, your quotation reminds me of vexillogical rioting.

    ‘As persons or groups that would do such a thing act out of self-interest only to the detriment of all others, they cannot be granted the rights and beingness ordinarily accorded rational beings, and so place themselves beyond any consideration for their feelings or well-being.’

    One Saturday morning, many years ago, I was greeted by a beautiful clipboard-bearing Scientologist girl who was standing outside a big house on North Bridge in Edinburgh. She asked me in for a half-hour personality test. I often wonder what happened to her.

    Both SInn Fein and the DUP suffer from what might be called constrained thinking, which seems to lie at the root of SF’s present little problem.

    Ron L Hubbard used to have transgressors keel-hauled. In a time of crisis we should be prepared to learn from anyone.

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  2. son of sam (profile) says:

    The more one reads Sam Mc Brides piece in the Newsletter ,shambolic seems an apt description of how the case was run on behalf of Sinn Fein.Given that the instructing solicitors have a reputation for organisation and efficiency,it must be assumed that the material they had to work with was indeed threadbare .No doubt there will be “full and frank “discussions between the Party and its legal team over the holiday period.

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  3. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    David,

    I’m going to move on to the NI Water stuff in the next few days, but I think what actually happened here is the Minister was political ball watching and not paying attention to what was being done behind his back in the department.

    To some extent all politicians are generalists put in charge of a specialist department of government. And to one degree or another they are all out of their depth. But to a large extent, whilst I don’t think Murphy connived at the sackings (none of which by the way can be justified, anymore than this malicious libelling was) of the Board of NI Water at the start, nor did he question the veracity of any of the material presented him by his PS.

    He wanted the headlines for sacking ‘corporate fat cats’, even though it left NI Water drifting and without a cohesive board or direction for another couple of years…

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  4. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Thanks, Mick. We are a young democracy, trying to run our own affairs, and people have to learn.

    All the same, it’s a terrible thing when you’ve got trouble with your water.

    I’m really surprised at Mr McCann. That boy needs to watch a few episodes of ‘McBride’.

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  5. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    I’m not sure we ought to be quite so generous to a malicious libel…

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  6. wild turkey (profile) says:

    ‘nor did he question the veracity of any of the material presented him by his PS’

    a question i have asked before, and ask again now. just what was the ultimate outcome of Mr Paul Priestleys input to this affair?

    was he disciplined?
    if so, who ultimately was ultimately responsible for the investigation ?
    what were the outcomes?
    who was the head of the NI civil service when Mr Priestly testified to the PAC and drafted letters relevant to the overall NI Water Investigation?

    Was, or is, Mr Priestly a member of the freemasons?
    Was, or is, Mr Bruce Robinson a member of the freemasons?

    If the answers to either of the above may be affrimative, does this have a material bearing on the issues to hand?

    I could ask other questions, but having a lack of knowledge of UK libel and slander laws, but a first hand verifialble experience of the ‘refined’ behaviour of Mr Robinson, I will leave at there for the moment

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  7. Zig70 (profile) says:

    Part of it is that the ruling class don’t vote dup or sf and there is comtempt for their incompetence whether it is libel or sacking a competent nhs chairman. Sf don’t have the friends in high places that the tory or labour party would have.

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