Evidence to ombudsman is admissible!

Looks like Sinn Fein might have found a way round its difficulties with the PSNI, in relation to the McCartney killing at least. Nuala O’Loan has made an unconventional offer to make her office available to eye witnesses to take evidence as to what really happened on that tragic night in and around Magennis’s Bar.

Update: See Pete’s piece for the family’s reaction.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    I can’t see how a reasonable person would object to the Police Ombudsman accepting statements rather than directing people straight to the police themselves. Sure the information will eventually get to the police, but if SF are willing to push this avenue as a way of moving the investigation forward then this is good. By the sounds of things it will not hinder the investigation much if at all.

  • pakman

    Let’s not get carried away on what a court may or may not deem admissable. If people are spinning that a statement to Ms O’Loans’ investigators is all that is required of witnesses then they are wrong. The witness would still be required to come forward and give sworn evidence in court. Only if certain clearly defined circumstances prevailed could an application be made to the trial judge to admit the statements without the presence of the witness. Sinn Fein would have been well advised of this and this just another smoke and mirrors job to help spare the conference blushes.

  • barney

    Nuala o’Loan, Hugh Orde, Dermot Aherne and Paul Murphy have been trying to get this message across for a few days now, along with the caveat that the courts still need to have the witness appear in person to back it up. You’d need the heart of a Stoop to find fault with that.

  • Ringo

    Barney –

    not sure if you just don’t read stuff that doesn’t agree with you or if it is penned by someone outside the republican movement but I’ll try again (this is a repeat of a post to two days ago).

    This is what Dermot Ahern said (See: the thread Provisionalism or Republicanism – Dermot Aherns speech to the Dáil)

    But let us be clear about this. The only information that will help put the killers of Robert McCartney behind bars is information given directly to the PSNI, information that lead to statements that can be used as evidence in a court of law.

    Now can you explain what bit of that do you not understand?

  • PaddyCanuck

    Its seems Mr. Ahern is wrong on his one, ah well.

  • Ringo

    PaddyCanuck –

    No, he’s isn’t. We won’t know until it is put out in court whether evidence other than that given to the police will work. On the other hand evidence give to the police WILL be accepted.

    If a future case collapses beacuse of this will you be so quick to admit how very wrong you got it, or will you just spout someting about the British Judicial system? Will the defendants not challenge the legitimacy of the evidence?

    This is utterly reckless behaviour by Sinn Fein – the only thing that is likely to suffer as a result, is the possibility of convictions. Who’s supposed to be playing politics on this one?

  • pakman


    statements given to the police may or may not be admitted as evidence depending on why a witness refuses or is unable to testify. What is required here is for the culprits to to make admissions under caution in a police interview. Mr Ahern may be correct about the situation in his own country but he needs very careful advice before pronouncing on the rules of evidence that pertain in NI.

  • Will

    Does this mean that the Shinners hand over the evidence to Nuala O’Loan who then hands it to the Police, and then when the Shinners take umbridge at some part of the investigation they get Nuala O’Loane back in to investigate the handling of the case?

  • Alan McDonald


    The answer to your question is, Yes. There is no other logical answer, since investigating police operations is the Ombudsman’s job.

  • Moderate Unionist

    I am extremely concered about loss of independance of the Ombudsman. It reinforces the perception that she is nationalist/republican rather than totally independentant. Her latest intervention is ill advised.

    I know it is only a perception from the other side of the fence, but the problem appears to be IRA intimidation rather than concerns at the PSNI. The Ombudsman’s intervention appears to suggest the contrary. This is hugely damaging.

    This whole thing is about (so called) paramilitary justice, and thuggery. The Ombudsman should be supporting the police general and sorting our problems in specifics.