Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

“At the time Sinn Féin condemned the arrest and subsequent charges and pointed to a political motivation behind the entire episode…”

Wed 9 January 2013, 7:08pm

The BBC reports that the long running saga of the charges against “prominent Co Tyrone republican” Brian Arthurs, who was named in this 2005 Times report as a member of the PIRA army council, and his wife, Paula Anne, has ended with guilty pleas to “three charges of obtaining a money transfer by deception and two counts of possessing £31,718 worth of criminal property”.

The couple from Finulagh Road, Castlecaulfield, had been due to stand trial at Belfast Crown Court.

But they changed their plea on Wednesday.

Subsequently, further charges of obtaining services by deception and possessing and converting criminal property were left on the books.

Arthurs admitted making three fraudulent mortgage applications totalling £345,250 from the Bank of Ireland, Birmingham Midshires and The Mortgage Business PLC.

The particulars of the case suggest he inflated his income by £34,500, claiming he had another job and had no other debts.

His wife told the Bank of Ireland that she was a hair salon manageress earning £18,500. The single charge against her dates back 16 years.

She admitted obtaining a money transfer by deception, namely a £52,000 mortgage from the Bank of Ireland between 3 November 1996 and 10 January 1997.

The trial had been due to be heard by a non-jury Diplock court. The couple’s appeal against this was unsuccessful.

Arthurs was once a member of Sinn Féin and acted as an election agent on behalf on Michelle Gildernew.

In 1995, he was sentenced to 25 years in jail for possessing explosives. He was later released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

When Arthurs was arrested in May 2007, Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey complained to the  British Government about “the nature of [the] arrest operation”.

His May 2007 bail hearing was attended by Sinn Féin MLA Francie Molloy – now the party’s candidate to replace Martin McGuinness as Mid Ulster MP - who claimed at the time that the charges were part of “a politically driven vendetta against a number of republicans in the East Tyrone area.” 

At that hearing Brian Arthurs’ solicitor stated

…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.”

Fifteen months later, as noted on Slugger

Mr Justice John Meehan refused prosecution requests for a further adjournment in the case and acquitted Arthurs on all counts, stating that despite 15 months having passed, it had failed to provide any evidence to the court.

That prompted the following statement from Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, then-MP, MLA, NI deputy First Minister and now Crown Steward and Bailiff for the Manor of Northstead.

“Last year Brian Arthurs home was raided and he was arrested by the PSNI. After this a number of charges were put to Brian and significant media briefing followed. At the time Sinn Féin condemned the arrest and subsequent charges and pointed to a political motivation behind the entire episode.

“At the time we were criticised for our response to this operation by unionist parties. Our stance has today been vindicated and those within unionism and within sections of the media who attempted to try and convict Brian Arthurs without so much as a shred of evidence have now been exposed.

But it didn’t end there, and in December 2009 the BBC were reporting that Arthurs had “launched a legal action against his forthcoming trial being heard without a jury.”

Brian Arthurs, 45, of Finulagh Road, Castlecaulfield, Dungannon, is charged with deception and possession of criminal property. The Director of Public Prosecutions has issued a certificate for the trial to take place in front of a judge alone. Mr Arthurs’ barrister argued his client had “a fundamental right to trial by one’s peers.”

The legal action began in May 2010, with Arthurs reportedly represented by London barrister Raza Hussain QC, from Cherie Booth’s Matrix chambers.  And that legal challenge was subsequently rejected in June of that year.

Arthurs told the Sunday Tribune in October 2010 that he had left Sinn Féin at some point in 2008.

Arthurs and [Peter] McCaughey said that, despite long-standing reservations about the direction of Sinn Féin’s strategy, they and others had remained loyal to the leadership because they didn’t want to split the movement.

“Two years ago, it reached the point that we couldn’t stay,” McCaughey said.  “We were told at a meeting in Tyrone that Sinn Féin’s support for the PSNI wasn’t just a written policy, we had to implement the strategy in full or leave.  So we left.”

Although it was reported that Arthurs’ legal challenge to a non-jury trial was due to go to the UK Supreme Court I can’t find a reference to an outcome at that level.

Which brings us back to today, and Brian Arthurs pleading “guilty to three charges of obtaining a money transfer by deception and two counts of possessing £31,718 worth of criminal property.”

[Is he still a "good republican" too? - Ed]  Not any more…

Share '“At the time Sinn Féin condemned the arrest and subsequent charges and pointed to a political motivation behind the entire episode…”' on Delicious Share '“At the time Sinn Féin condemned the arrest and subsequent charges and pointed to a political motivation behind the entire episode…”' on Digg Share '“At the time Sinn Féin condemned the arrest and subsequent charges and pointed to a political motivation behind the entire episode…”' on Facebook Share '“At the time Sinn Féin condemned the arrest and subsequent charges and pointed to a political motivation behind the entire episode…”' on Google+ Share '“At the time Sinn Féin condemned the arrest and subsequent charges and pointed to a political motivation behind the entire episode…”' on LinkedIn Share '“At the time Sinn Féin condemned the arrest and subsequent charges and pointed to a political motivation behind the entire episode…”' on Pinterest Share '“At the time Sinn Féin condemned the arrest and subsequent charges and pointed to a political motivation behind the entire episode…”' on reddit Share '“At the time Sinn Féin condemned the arrest and subsequent charges and pointed to a political motivation behind the entire episode…”' on StumbleUpon Share '“At the time Sinn Féin condemned the arrest and subsequent charges and pointed to a political motivation behind the entire episode…”' on Twitter Share '“At the time Sinn Féin condemned the arrest and subsequent charges and pointed to a political motivation behind the entire episode…”' on Add to Bookmarks Share '“At the time Sinn Féin condemned the arrest and subsequent charges and pointed to a political motivation behind the entire episode…”' on Email Share '“At the time Sinn Féin condemned the arrest and subsequent charges and pointed to a political motivation behind the entire episode…”' on Print Friendly

Comments (38)

  1. Bit lost between the ‘acquitted Arthurs on all counts’ and the admission of guilt on charges. Is there something missing from this post?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  2. derrydave (profile) says:

    Hardly crime of the century !! If they charged everyone who inflated their income on a mortgage application or didn’t declare other debts over the last 10 years then the court system in NI would be backed up for years and years !
    It does actually appear that this guy was singled out because of who he was more than anything else ! What a waste of money by the state.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  3. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    dissenter

    The only thing you seem to have missed is the DPP charging him again.

    The judge acquitted him the first time after refusing the prosecution’s request for an adjournment to allow them more time to prepare the case.

    So the DPP started the process again…

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  4. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    derrydave

    Try this detail from the linked post on the 2007 bail hearing

    ..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.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  5. derrydave (profile) says:

    Try what exactly ? Not really sure what you’re getting at ? Maybe I’m missing something – please explain to me what he was convicted of ? Maybe I’ve missed it but the only thing I spotted was inflating his income on a mortgage application, and not declaring other debt on a martgage application – a completely widespread practice over the past 10-20 years.
    But, but, but….the policeman said this was part of a multi-million dollar fraud…blah,blah,blah…..Proceeds of crime act….blah, blah, blah…..and he was found with the massive sum of twenty grand ! Ridiculous waste of police time.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  6. Many, many people across Ireland and beyond have inflated their incomes to ensure they recieved a mortage from a Bank or Building Society…

    I bet everyone’s credit & bank balances aren’t checked by the so-called Police with a view to bringing charges against them…

    However, in the case of B. Arthurs his was and clearly points to the continued existence of political policing in the North! Had Brian not had a promient background in Republicanism or wasn’t a former H-Block Prisoner. His inflated accounts would not have been subjected to a rigourous check…

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  7. Ulick (profile) says:

    A long-winded way of telling us that Arthurs inflated his income on a mortgage application. Lock him up and throw away the key!

    FFS…

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  8. What Pete is trying his best to explain to you dd is that it is likely this is part of a wider investigation into the activities of said gang and time may well show there is more to it then a couple looking to get a mortgage. Wonder where that 20k came from?

    Besides, the fact that having senior SF personalities from the other side of the country speak up for you (directly to the government!) is an admission of something to many.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  9. son of sam (profile) says:

    It may be better to wait until sentencing when the full facts of the case will be outlined by the prosecution.It will also be interesting to see if the same litany of references are wheeled out on behalf of Mr Arthurs.There does however seem to be a disconnect between being sentenced to 25 years for possession of explosives in 1995 and playing a part in the “peace process”.It appears that almost every Sinn Fein person charged with any criminal offence nowadays played a crucial role in that process!

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  10. derrydave (profile) says:

    St Etienne, oh so it’s ‘likely’ to be part of something bigger, and you ‘wonder’ where the twenty grand came from. As Ulick so elequantly said, FFS !

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  11. ArdoyneUnionist (profile) says:

    So the now law abiding shinners don’t see any irony in a senior member of Sinn Fein being charged with IRA membership, as he carried out an investigation into the murder Sinn Fein/IRA murder of Robert McCartney???

    On the same issue the now law abiding shinners that were in McGuinness bar were not tripping up over each other to tell the PSNI who or what they saw??? Now they weren’t all in the toilet were they???

    And on the same topic there were several days of rioting when the PSNI went into the Markets to make arrests, and what shinner politico was ranting about PSNI heavy handedness at the time none other than Alex Maskey.

    How was all over the media beating the recent Loyalist rioters.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  12. ArdoyneUnionist (profile) says:

    So now mortgage fraud is not a crime according to the now law abiding shinners.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  13. ArdoyneUnionist (profile) says:

    Sorry that should be “Sinn Fein/IRA murder VICTIM Robert McCartney???”

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  14. derrydave (profile) says:

    AU, there seems to be a glitch on Slugger – it seems it’s posted your last post on here when it was meant for some other thread years back re the McCartney murder – god knows there were plenty of them at the time.

    Or are you just wasting everybodys time going completely off-topic for the hell of it ?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  15. derrydave (profile) says:

    A crime it may be AU, but I would contend that it’s probably not a crime that merits a new thread on Slugger ! Particularly given the fact that it’s a ‘crime’ that hundreds of thousands of us are all guilty of – not me though before you send in the stormtroopers :-)

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  16. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    Just a reminder of some of the details of this case.

    Arthurs admitted making three fraudulent mortgage applications totalling £345,250 from the Bank of Ireland, Birmingham Midshires and The Mortgage Business PLC.

    In addition to “two counts of possessing £31,718 worth of criminal property”.

    And

    further charges of obtaining services by deception and possessing and converting criminal property were left on the books.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  17. Jack2 (profile) says:

    Some of the posters are missing an important point.

    Suspected criminals are gaining political coverage and support.
    Two Sinn Fein heavyweights rolled out to fight for an already convicted criminal.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  18. Jimmy Sands (profile) says:

    Particularly given the fact that it’s a ‘crime’ that hundreds of thousands of us are all guilty of

    Including one former SoS it must be said.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  19. Dec (profile) says:

    From
    ‘..a detective inspector told the court in Dungannon the charges were part of a multi-million pound fraud investigation. ‘

    to
    ‘Arthurs admitted making three fraudulent mortgage applications totalling £345,250 from the Bank of Ireland, Birmingham Midshires and The Mortgage Business PLC.
    In addition to “two counts of possessing £31,718 worth of criminal property”.’

    Not quite the crime of the century but it’s up there, I suppose.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  20. Reader (profile) says:

    Ardoyne Republican: Many, many people across Ireland and beyond have inflated their incomes to ensure they recieved a mortage from a Bank or Building Society…
    Multiple mortgages from multiple sources. And, since it doesn’t seem prractical to use multiple fraudulently acquired mortgages on the same property, I suspecvt it wasn’t about getting a roof over his head either. Especially since he would have had a problem meeting the payments based on his visible income.
    So, AR, what’s the purist republican politician on preperty speculation?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  21. derrydave (profile) says:

    Not sure what the purist republican position is, but I was all for it a few years ago – not so much now mind you :-)

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  22. Reader (profile) says:

    Oops typo’s:
    suspecvt = suspect,
    politician = position

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  23. Reader (profile) says:

    derrydave: Not sure what the purist republican position is, but I was all for it a few years ago – not so much now mind you
    Did you get out in time?
    Strangely enough, though an unreformed capitalist in many ways, I was too cowardly and too principled to play in a market that was obviously heading for a bust. Even if I had got out in time, that would have been through selling to some other poor sap and letting them take the hit.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  24. RegisterForThisSite (profile) says:

    Bet Matt Baggott is hoping that Ian Hislop doesn’t read Slugger or the PSNI may replace Neasden Police Station on Private Eye’s funny pages.

    This example along with Lennons £120,000 (+costs) payout (allowed to go uncontested despite legal advice to the contrary) really shows that Unionism is the gift that keeps on giving, do republicans need to do anything more to destroy NI than to let unionism get on with the job.

    Anywhere else the public would cry WTF, but stick a republican in the frame and it gets lapped up in NI.

    Really it is like unionist turkeys voting for Christmas ‘cos fenian turkeys are going to cop it…hahahaha

    I mean feeling good that the cops have secured a conviction in 2012 on someone falsifying a mortgage application in 1996, you really have lost the run of yerselves.

    So next time someone complains about the lack of police action on the riots or parades or all the various murders, rapes, mugging etc that they don’t have the manpower to act upon just remind them about this case

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  25. tacapall (profile) says:

    “a detective inspector told the court in Dungannon the charges were part of a multi-million pound fraud investigation. The police officer said the alleged offences took place under the Proceeds of Crime Act and involved a criminal gang.”

    So why was there not charges like this brought against all those politicians who fiddled their expenses accounts, like over inflating the actual costs of items like £1200 for heavy drapes, £800 for a pen, one even claimed £1 for a charity donation he made or even the £1000s for a duck moat. Was that not part of a multi-million pound fraud by a criminal gang or is that somehow different. If the law is not going to be impartial then the law should apply to no-one in cases like this.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  26. Reader (profile) says:

    tacapall: So why was there not charges like this brought against all those politicians who fiddled their expenses accounts,
    Several who put in fradulent claims were actually sent to prison, but they aren’t republicans, so you didn’t notice. Start here:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/dec/15/mps-spared-paying-legal-costs
    The more usual cases that you listed were simply people riipping the piss out of a lax system, and the non-legal penalties included grovelling apologies, deselection and loss of the seat. However, as ripping the piss out of the system is practically a badge of honour among some Slugger republicans, you might feel this group were hard done by.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  27. RegisterForThisSite (profile) says:

    worthwhile finding out the cost of this conviction for a 16 year old mortgage fraud, just so it can be compared to the cost of any murder inquiries when unionists start whining about wasting money

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  28. RegisterForThisSite (profile) says:

    or indeed when unionists complain about the lack of convictions of IRA volunteers, they can at least be point to this case to show where police resources are being tied up

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  29. MALCOLMX (profile) says:

    This is a non story but some with their fetish for all things republican seem to need their republican fix given that recents months have seen all one way traffic about the goings on within loyalism-unionism.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  30. tacapall (profile) says:

    “The more usual cases that you listed were simply people ripping the piss out of a lax system”

    Reader is that not what Brian Arthurs did, and the numbers of MP’s actually charged over defrauding the taxpayer are minute compared to the actual defrauding that went on, it was wide scale and regardless of the amounts involved its still fraud. In fact the powers that be saved most of them from embarrassing revelations like claiming for lets say ‘erotic movies’ that others in their own parties would call perverted manifestations of a sick mind.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  31. Dec (profile) says:

    Ian Duncan Smith thinks £70 a week JSA is too much. He also recently spent £39 on breakfast, then claimed it back from taxpayer on expenses.

    Ripping the piss or not? You decide.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  32. Reader (profile) says:

    tacapall: Reader is that not what Brian Arthurs did,
    No he obtained loans by deception – loans he had no hope of repaying apart from by speculating (gambling) on property. He was making a one way bet with other people’s money.
    There were perfectly legal ways to rip the piss out of the system at the time – 100%+ mortgages or equity release for instance.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  33. tacapall (profile) says:

    “No he obtained loans by deception – loans he had no hope of repaying apart from by speculating (gambling) on property. He was making a one way bet with other people’s money.”

    Just like all those bank managers who instead of being charged were bailed out by the government by taxpayers money to do the same all over again. Then we can move on to all those mortgage advisers and bank managers who facilitated all those unemployed council house owners in Britain and the six counties to buy their homes without a steady income other than their social security benefits.

    Yes there was and still is plenty of legal ways to rip off the system but unfortunately not everyone is a member of the royal family, a politician or a bank manager.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  34. sonofstrongbow (profile) says:

    Things have come to a pretty pass when a guy can’t fraudulently rip off a third of a million without folks getting all precious about it.

    Nationalists appear ok with this sort of thing, perhaps the rest of us just don’t get the day to day minutiae of life on an Average Industrial Wage.

    What with all the whataboutery flying about maybe it suggests that criminality is so much the norm in certain quarters that a few hundred ill gotten grand doesn’t amount to a hill of (fraudulently obtained) beans. You just never know.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  35. Dec (profile) says:

    ‘loans he had no hope of repaying apart from by speculating (gambling) on property. He was making a one way bet with other people’s money.

    Maybe instead of criminal proceedings the Government should just have nationalised him.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  36. Reader (profile) says:

    Dec: Maybe instead of criminal proceedings the Government should just have nationalised him.
    Like a Nordie NAMA with a load of cash stashed in the car? Or maybe just treat him as a small scale Quinn.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  37. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    Guys

    The flailing around and the whataboutery?

    It’s not convincing anyone, you know…

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  38. Knucklehead Smiff (profile) says:

    Particularly interested in the partial policing line of argument here. Soooo…some people would regard apolitical policing as desirable, meaning the PSNI turning a blind eye to crimes of fraud on a cross-community basis…much like presumably they’re supposed to do with respect to riotous behavior, attempted murder and so forth depending on who’s involved ?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Copyright © 2003 - 2014 Slugger O'Toole Ltd. All rights reserved.
Powered by WordPress; produced by Puffbox.
212 queries. 1.075 seconds.