Ward charged for bank robbery…

Chris Ward has been charged for the Northern Bank robbery. So far, no there has been no speculation that Ward has any connection with the IRA, the organisation universally accused of masterminding the biggest raid in Europe. Gerry Adams believes this arrest and others are all political in nature. This is one to keep watching.

  • Maxi

    Having known Chris well for the last 15 years, I watch with growing interest to see exactly how they try to pin this one on him. They obviously had to hold him longer than anyone else thusfar so that they could have an extended period of “Hmming and haaing”. They obviously have nothing concrete against him otherwise they’d have been able to charge him when the heavy handed arrest took place originally.

  • seabhac siulach

    Perhaps it is just me, but is it not strange that on the very day that they charge Mr. Ward (who is not even being tentatively linked to the provos in the media, strange that…) details of a book speculating on provo involvement in the Northern bank robbery and including comments by Hugh Orde (that umblemished paragon of integrity) is given large coverage on the news in the 6 counties? An attempt to deflect attention back onto the ‘guilty until proven innocent’ provos and away from any troubling questions that the case is not as black and white as it first seemed??

  • Visioneer

    I’ll uphold the right of innocent until proven guilty, but I’d say the police held onto him for a good reason. Ofcourse this will bring alsorts of accusations from republicans but the police must have something concrete on him. I don’t know what it is but there must be something otherwise a judge would not grant the extended questioning times – despite what republicans would say.

  • iluvni

    So, are the PSNI saying that Ward put his parents through that ‘ordeal’, then acted the innocent victim in the TV interview…

    Surely a BAFTA is in the offing…

  • An attempt to deflect attention back onto the ‘guilty until proven innocent’ provos and away from any troubling questions that the case is not as black and white as it first seemed

    Could this comment be in line for the ‘Award for Most MOPEtastic statement ever’?

  • J Kelly

    Visioneer
    How do you square “I’ll uphold the right of innocent until proven guilty” with “the police must have something concrete on him”.

  • seabhac siulach

    “Could this comment be in line for the ‘Award for Most MOPEtastic statement ever’?”

    If so, I will happily accept any award (to be paid in used notes, naturally…)

    My comment was referring to the fact that over the last year there has been continual speculation over provo involvement, but…where is the hard proof? Speculation doesn’t cut it…the general public is supposed to believe every half-truth that is leaked to the media…

    If the police have suspects then they should put up or shut up. Blackening the name of people in the media, without even attempting to charge them, is not a very high form of justice.

  • Northern FF

    Can anyone explain to me why Gerry Adams and Mr Ward’s solicitor, Kevin Winters, have described his arrest as ‘politically motivated’?

    Just curious.

  • Briso

    Where does Gerry Adams describe the arrest of Mr Ward in this way? I must have missed it (quite possible!).

  • Paul

    seabhac siulach, “If the police have suspects they should put up or shut up.” From how SF have reacted to the PSNI even bringing people in for questioning regarding this crime, and others, “put up or shut up” obviously has different connotations in Rep circles. It’s quite obvious that SF do not want police on either side of the border looking too closely at what happened. Every time a line of enquiry is pursued they are screaming blue murder and organising demonstrations.

  • Henry94

    Paul

    Every time a line of enquiry is pursued they are screaming blue murder and organising demonstrations.

    If you believe the focus of an investigation is to pin a crime on you then it makes sense to make sure every aspect of the investigation is contested.

    For all we know Paul Ward is being pressured into making incriminating statements against innocent people. I think we should watching this very closely.

  • iluvni

    ..or else he’s singing like a bird!

  • Belfastwhite

    Any reaction from the stoopers with regards to these latest developments? If this is all the PSNI have got on this guy after having bugged him at home and abroad for the last year then Hugh Orde, the PSNI and the collective media will have a lot of egg to wash off their faces. I note that Mr Ward was questioned under terrorist legislation but no charged with any related offences nice new laws eh.

  • Ringo

    Henry

    If you believe the focus of an investigation is to pin a crime on you then it makes sense to make sure every aspect of the investigation is contested.

    Or –If you believe that the focus of an investigation is to prosecute you for a crime that you committed, it makes sense to make sure that every aspect of the investigation is obstructed.

    (Matter of interest, why did you say ‘you’? )

  • Paul

    Iluvni, “being pressurised into making incriminating statements against innocent people” is SFspeak for “singing like a bird.” Seriously, how is this crime to be investigated without the PSNI offending SF? They have to interview people, even to eliminate them from enquiries. SF acted hugely offended when people said the IRA did it, now it seems they want the investigation wound down and the usual collective/selective amnesia to be applied. No doubt bank-workers rights will be next on the whingelist.

  • Northern FF

    Paul

    “Where does Gerry Adams describe the arrest of Mr Ward in this way? ” – there’s a link to Nuzhound piece in Mick’s posting.

    Once again, can anyone out there explain why Gerry Adams and Kevin Winters (Mr Ward’s solicitor) are describing his arrest as ‘political’?

  • Henry94

    Ringo

    (Matter of interest, why did you say ‘you’? )

    What would you have said? One? I’m not great at grammer so I’m happy to be corrected.

  • Paul

    Why are SF so wound up about this guy being questioned anyway? I’ve read numerous posts on this site from outraged Shinners saying, “it wasn’t the IRA it was an inside job.” So now the PSNI are questioning a bank worker, what’s the problem?

  • Ringo

    Henry

    I’m not giving grammar (that’s with an ‘a’ not an ‘e’) lessons – to me it just read like you were suggesting anyone who called themselves a republican was being implicated in the robbery – as opposed to just the IRA. So if the IRA are the only ones implicated, why is every organ of the republican movement, as you suggested, making sure every aspect of the investigation is contested?

  • Henry94

    Paul

    I think we all have a facination with the case and the sceptical attitude remains irrespective of who is charged.

    I hope that if Willie McCrea himself was arrested we would still want to know what the evidence was.

  • Briso

    >Paul

    >“Where does Gerry Adams describe the arrest of
    >Mr Ward in this way? “ – there’s a link to
    >Nuzhound piece in Mick’s posting.

    Indeed there is, but I’ve read it twice and I see absolutely no mention of the Ward arrest? I think he could be talking about those described in the media as ‘known republicans’ from the Kilcoo area?

    As far as I know, Ward hasn’t been (publicly at least) linked with the IRA. I’d be amazed if he was in on the plot. It would be the best and coolest piece of acting I’ve ever seen, under unimaginable pressure. Brass neck wouldn’t begin to describe it…

  • Henry94

    Ringo

    So if the IRA are the only ones implicated, why is every organ of the republican movement, as you suggested, making sure every aspect of the investigation is contested?

    Sorry I get you now. As I deny I’m an organ of the republican movement I can only speculate that it is because the reason for wanting to pin the robbery on the IRA is to derail the Sinn Fein political project by association.

    We willl have a clearer idea when the cases come to court if they ever do.

  • Ringo

    Very early on in this, wasn’t there a story going round that Ward used to frequent some bar where his loose talk about the day job may have identified him as a target for the operation? Anyone know where that story came from?

  • Ringo

    I can only speculate that it is because the reason for wanting to pin the robbery on the IRA is to derail the Sinn Fein political project by association.

    fair enough

  • fair_deal

    “I hope that if Willie McCrea himself was arrested we would still want to know what the evidence was.”

    This is generally not the standard applied to political discourse especially whenever intelligence is put into the public domain and is even harder on a site which encourages debate and comments on day-to-day events usually without the full information.

  • Mickhall

    After holding the lad for eight days all the police admit to having is circumstantial evidence, i e your man worked in the bank and it was robbed. The lad himself denies the charge as he always has. This looks like a fishing exercise which has failed to attract even a tiddler. Hughies very own version of, shake me up sal, shake me up!

  • Paul

    I don’t think we need to know the evidence on which people are questioned, just when it comes to trial. The insinuation of such a demand is that the police should have irrefutable cast iron evidence thet people are guilty before they even question them, obvious nonsense.What if the PSNI were to reveal some this evidence? What would SF’s reaction be? Screams of outrage a short priced favourite. If the police are investigating a major crime then some people’s toes will get stepped on, often innocent people, there is no other way of doing it. SF’s problem is that they do not want any investigation into this crime and so will cry foul at anything the PSNI or Garda do to further the investigation. As regards “put up or shut up”, wronged parties can sue the PSNI for wrongful arrest. Of course that would mean the evidence being put in the public domain,I can’t see the “leading republicans” arrested going down that route, funny enough.

  • Fraggle

    How did some of the banknotes end up plastered into a wall in the PSNI recreation centre?

  • boredwithitall

    Yeah, I want to know how the money got into the police social club. (Maybe chris Ward worked there on the weekends)
    No one mentions this money, which was definitely linked to the robbery, yet they always say that the money found in cork was linked. To my understandingof this is that the garda are very sure that this money is linked to the robbery, but if there was any evidence surely they would have charged the men arrested in Cork

  • Ringo

    How did some of the banknotes end up plastered into a wall in the PSNI recreation centre?

    You’d have to ask the person that put it there – but maybe the person who provided the tip-off might know – The tip off about the money in the social club, came (coincidently) just hours after the Guards started turning up bin loads of sterling as part of an investigation into IRA money laundering. Funny that.

  • apalled

    While at least one news team is reporting him as part of an IRA Gang who robbed the bank isn’t there a surprising omission in the PSNI not charging IRA membership against Mr Ward?

    Are they suggesting this guy is some sort of mastermind, a Roger ‘Verbal’ Kint type character who got his kicks out of flaunting himself on a documentary and thumbing his nose up at the law as he got away for it for almost a year? I think not !!

    This guy’s life is ruined because a series of unfortunate events are being exploited by sinister elements playing high stakes politics

    Appalled

  • fair_deal

    appalled

    “isn’t there a surprising omission in the PSNI not charging IRA membership against Mr Ward?”

    No, if the organisation has been specified as “on-ceasefire” by the Secretary of State then a person involved in a crime can’t be charged with the offence of membership only the crime.
    This was highlighted when a dissident republican was attacked and his attempted abduction in Belfast city centre.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    As stated, if what has so far been disclosed at the remand hearing is anywhere near the sum of the PSNI evidence then the remanding in custody of Ward is scandalous. There is a whiff of increasing desperation around the PSNI investigation of this case given that they are still carrying out the type of discreditted trawling raids first tried all of a year ago.

    To the contributor Paul I would simply state that there are ‘screams of outrage’ (querying PSNI conduct) simply because the PSNI have pretty recent form in trying to fit people up in high profile cases.

    The arrest and subsequent acquittal of those involved in the Gareth O Connor informer case comes to mind as does the case of the men at the centre of another fit up case concerning a bomb find outside Newry. In that particular case the PSNI tried to conceal the involvement of another informer and tried to compromise forensic experts. When the PSNI behaves in such a way ‘screams of outrage’ are entirely justified.

  • The Thinker

    What a patethic bunch those of you are, who are just busting this Innocent guys reputation with inane innuendo in the vain hope that it bolsters your belief that the IRA carried out the robbery.

    This keystone cops approach at convicting an Innocent man by media stinks to the high heavens.

    Yes the guy is a Catholic, a Celtic supporter, worked in a GAA club part-time, thats it he`s guilty, forget the trial lets just jail him now???

    Listen to yourselves. Chris Ward will never get convicted of anything and months down the line this will be conviently brushed under the carpet.

    Take my word on it.

    So all those salivating at the mouth at this young man being charged, kets await and see does he get High court bail either tonight or more than likely in a months time.

  • TAFKABO

    Given the latest reports, it seems unlikely that Ward is “singing like a canary”, since he is robustly denying the charges.

    From what I can gather, the case against him is mostly circumstantial, but Ward has complained about the police bugging his home, and his foreign holiday, it also seems likely that he knows this since they have asked him about some things he said, or perhaps some people he met.

    I have yet to see Sinn Fein claim the arrest is political, and indeed, would consider it a sign of nervousness on their parts if they did.

  • Cahal

    “Ofcourse this will bring alsorts of accusations from republicans but the police must have something concrete on him. ”

    Perhaps they found his DNA in his home.

  • Pacman

    Or perhaps Cahal they found items that may be of use to a terrorist organisation in his home. Like a copy of Daily Ireland? Like a computer with internet access perhaps. Maybe he trawled the Slugger site and read pro-Republican replies on some threads? Oh no – All of us Taigs must be in the frame. I think I hear the sound of the landrovers outside the door!!

  • Brendan, Belfast

    Northern FF wrote:
    ‘Can anyone explain to me why Gerry Adams and Mr Ward’s solicitor, Kevin Winters, have described his arrest as ‘politically motivated’?/

    Don’t know if G Adams did say that but the solicitor certaibly did. dunno why but since this is the same solicitor in whose office the interview was filmed i am betting that Winters was ok with the interview taking place.poor judgement all round.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Please note, accusations against other people, either here or in the public domain, will be removed forthwith. Stick to an arguments, and back them with references to material already in the public domain.

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  • Comrade Stalin

    This case is indeed circumstantial, as the prosecution indicated. Going by the news articles, it sounds like the police are trying to suggest that the guy fiddled the rota around in order to place himself either in or out of work in a way that would benefit the robbery. The defence lawyer argued that the rota that Ward had drawn up had put himself and McMullan off duty.

    But if this is the best the police can come up with I don’t see how a jury could let it through – I assume this is not going to be a Diplock trial. I have to say that I agree with all of the comments that this appears to be a fishing expedition. The police had 7 days to decide to charge him; they clearly do not have a lot of confidence in their case or the evidence they have or he’d have been charged right off. I suspect that the whole thing is part of a grander exercise on the PSNI’s part to somehow stall things. If the case is thrown out however it will look bad for them.

    Prosecutions are not taken by the PSNI but by the Public Prosecution Service, who are theoretically independent from the police. In principle, they are supposed to reject cases where there is insufficient evidence. In practice, I do not know how often cases filed by the PSNI get rejected, or what kind of accountability there is on the issue.

  • Pete Baker

    Comrade

    “this appears to be a fishing expedition”

    You appear to neglect the implication of the surveillance. In other words, Ward has been a suspect for some time. Indeed, the initial reports, as I recall, indicated that inside knowledge of the bank’s procedures would have been required for the raid to be successful and, again as I recall, both Ward and McMullan took responsibility for the necessary authorisation for access to the vault only a few days before the raid itself – that authorisation being regularly rotated between the staff.

    If Ward did alter the rota, to put both himself and McMullan off-duty during that time, then that would appear to be a significant act on his part.

    As you say, the PPS bring charges.. and it will up to them to make the case against Ward based on the evidence collected.

  • Chris Ward has a lot of friends, two of them have already made themselves known on my site, claiming that what is happening to him is similar to what happened the Guildford Four… Did I just heard your chin hit the desk.. yes, my sentiments exactly.

  • Comrade Stalin

    If Ward did alter the rota, to put both himself and McMullan off-duty during that time, then that would appear to be a significant act on his part.

    Pete, surely you’re not serious. There are two points.

    (1) Ward was clearly on duty, not off duty. He had to be on duty for the robbery to work.

    (2) The robbery could have occurred irrespective of who was on duty. It happened to be Ward, but it could have been someone else. How does the fact that it ended up that Ward was on duty – in itself – prove a single, solitary thing ?

    The prosecution would have to show that there was something highly irregular in the adjustment of the rota. That is going to be very hard, and even if it is, it still proves nothing. You cannot argue that a coincidence on that level is impossible. I can assure you that any guilty verdict solely based on a rota coincidentally changed is going to be a travesty of justice.

    The recorded evidence is obviously not public at the moment, but it clearly doesn’t add up to much. If it had Ward saying “I robbed the bank” then the police would have charged him straight away. Instead the police waited days and got several extensions. I don’t think this is the result they’ve been looking for.

  • Pete Baker

    Comrade

    Although this isn’t exactly the place to debate evidence that hasn’t been revealed yet..

    Your first point is valid.. grant me a mis-definition on on[or off]-duty. I think that is a minor issue.

    But your second point –

    (2) The robbery could have occurred irrespective of who was on duty. It happened to be Ward, but it could have been someone else. How does the fact that it ended up that Ward was on duty – in itself – prove a single, solitary thing ?

    Yes it could have. But, as I said, and again as I recall, the bank regularly rotated both of the authorisations of access to the vault necessary for the raid to be successful. In other words, advance notice was needed to know which families would be required to be threatened.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Pete, it is possible that the robbers must have known somehow who needed to be threatened; it is possible that they took a guess and were lucky. It is possible that Ward tipped them off; it is possible that he didn’t. This is all reasonable doubt stuff.

    But what is so new about this observation ? It would have been known within days of the robbery about any change of the rota, and obviously it was known right off that the robbers knew who to target. Why wait 12 months to start charging people ?

  • Pete Baker

    “it is possible that they took a guess and were lucky.”

    However possible that may seem to be, Comrade, I’d suggest, given the clincial operation of the crime itself, it seems unlikely that such a basic part of the robbery would be left to chance.

    As for the rest of your doubts, I’d have thought that the strongest possible case against any individual would be sought.. whoever that was.

  • Betty Boo

    Coincidence is a form of necessity, Comrade. The only question remaining is who’s.

  • Comrade Stalin

    However possible that may seem to be, Comrade, I’d suggest, given the clincial operation of the crime itself, it seems unlikely that such a basic part of the robbery would be left to chance.

    I hope you wouldn’t say you would be prepared to send someone to jail on that basis. I know I wouldn’t. The robbers made one mistake that we already know about, namely to do with the quantity of money stolen and the nature of it (mostly useless marked notes). It’s a fly in the ointment in the story about an infallible crew with inside help. If they were working along with a readily co-operating bank worker, surely he’d have been careful to give them notes they could use ? During the TV interview, Ward said that there was a lot of money still left in the vault.

    Something about this just isn’t right. Circumstantial evidence isn’t going to cut it, and it is going to be a serious blow for the credibility of law and order in this country. It might be a start even if the police could link Ward to the other people they have charged – but it does not seem that they are able even to do that.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Coincidence is a form of necessity, Comrade.

    My bleary eyes don’t get your point here. I’m off to bed.

    Coincidence is regarded as a lot of people as improbable. I think on the other hand that it is always probable. Coincidences happen as often as they don’t happen.

  • Pete Baker

    Comrade

    I have already stated, and I didn’t feel I needed to restate that – “the PPS bring charges.. and it will up to them to make the case against Ward based on the evidence collected.”

    As for the “The robbers made one mistake”.. alternatively, the robbers calculated that the expense involved in replacing the currency would outweight the loss.. and they mis-calculated.

    And most of that take, as I recall, was not marked – as in new notes.. but old, unmarked, Northern Bank notes.. which are now difficult to pass because of the, expensive, action taken by the Northern Bank.

  • Betty Boo

    Fair enough, Comrade. I should have been there a couple of hours ago (off to bed).
    It’s a definition of the philosophical meaning of the word.
    But I for sure will leave it there for tonight.
    Today is already tomorrow.
    Oiche mhaith.

  • Paul

    This is hardly the place to be debating “evidence” not even disclosed yet. What is strange is the Shinner’s desperation to undermine any case, involving anybody, regarding the robbery. It’s like they are trying to convince us nobody did it, maybe it didn’t really happen, we all imagined it, what prove do any of you have that it happened? The word of securecrats and bank officials?

  • belfastwhite

    Equally Paul it would be fair to say that Sinn Fein opponents on this site are prepared to believe anything that might suggest republican involvement in the robbery including where this young man lives and will swallow anything that the PSNI produce and they don’t seem to be giving much away from day 1. There has been a lot of finger pointing and wink winking, fake raids and accusations if people are a bit dubious who can blame them. The fact is the PSNI accusation of republican involvement does not hold water unless they can prove the “inside man” theory how else would the IRA get the rota information.

  • Mickhall

    The one thing we should all keep in mind, is the worst of the miscarriages of justice cases involving Irish people happened because the police latched onto suspects early on, often for the most basic of reason and refused to consider any other options. Until they reached the stage that were they to do so and look elsewhere, it would have totally discredit how they had handled the inquiry. Thus they ploughed on down the wrong road.

    In this case the young man lives in a Republican area, probably votes SF, supports Celtic. One can almost hear the jail door clanking. Few senior police officers are going to admit the fortune they spent on surveillance and eavesdropping Mr Ward was money and police time down the drain. Hence the momentum to persecute him continues.

    I have no idea who was responsible for this robbery, but worrying signs as to the PSNI investigation are beginning to emerge, perhaps it is time an outside force was brought in to have a fresh look at the evidence. It cannot do any harm.

    good morning to all.

  • TAFKABO

    but an outside force is already involved, and they (An Garda Scichàna ) have arrived at the same conclusion that the IRA was involved.

    Perhaps you want a new force that reaches the conclusions you want reached ?

  • GerryH

    Mick you`ve answered your own question,

    “the young man lives in a Republican area, probably votes SF, supports Celtic.”

    Thats all the evidence the psni seem to have so it looks that in their eyes he`s quilty.

    Just read that all the charges in the stormontgate case have been dropped, heres betting the same will happen here.

  • TAFKABO

    Yeah, after all, since the charges have been dropped in the Stormont spying case, it naturally follows that the bank was never robbed?

  • Mickhall

    TAFKABO
    What’s your problem, it is common practice in other police forces to bring in a fresh pair of eyes from outside when enquiries into a major crime stagnate, is it the cost to the taxpayer of building a fireproof building to house them that you object to 😉

  • Dec

    TAFKABO

    Aren’t you the slighest bit concerned that after a year of listening to Chris Ward, at home and abroad, no doubt monitoring his every movement and holding over 60 interviews with him that the PSNI only have ‘circumstantial’ evidence against him? Add in the fact that all charges were dropped against Peter Kelly today, the somewhat spurious charges against two other men and don’t you think people are entitled to start raising serious questions about how this investigation is being handled in a legal sense. How much it’s all costing is anyones guess. Personally I expect more bangs for my buck.

  • TAFKABO

    What’s your problem, it is common practice in other police forces to bring in a fresh pair of eyes from outside when enquiries into a major crime stagnate, is it the cost to the taxpayer of building a fireproof building to house them that you object to 😉

    I don’t have a problem, I was simply pointing our that there is already another police service involved, and both have arrived at the same conclusions.
    Something certain posters seem determined to ignore, not wanting the facts to get in the way of their opinions.
    Neither do I think an investigation into a crime of this magnitude should be rushed, or indeed that it is entitely fair to call that same investigation stagnant when it is currently in the process of bringing charges.
    Tthe same people complaining about the legth of investigation would be gurning about a rush job if charges had been forthcoming in the recent aftermath of the robbery.

    Aren’t you the slighest bit concerned that after a year of listening to Chris Ward, at home and abroad, no doubt monitoring his every movement and holding over 60 interviews with him that the PSNI only have ‘circumstantial’ evidence against him?

    No, I’m happy to let the judiciary deal with the evidence, and make a judgement based upon it.

    Add in the fact that all charges were dropped against Peter Kelly today, the somewhat spurious charges against two other men and don’t you think people are entitled to start raising serious questions about how this investigation is being handled in a legal sense.

    I’ve never claimed people shouldn’t be allowed to question the investigation, after all, this is the very stuff of free and democratic societies.
    however, I do have the right to question peoples motives if I suspect they are acting out of partisan interests, rather than a noble desire to see justice done.

    How much it’s all costing is anyones guess. Personally I expect more bangs for my buck.

    Allowing the greatest robbery in Europe to go unchallenged would cost us all more than any nominal sum you could put on the investigation.

  • Calista

    once more..racial behaviour…i cant stand it anymore… catholics should be left in peace for good. Bounch of arrogant bastards r the psni
    Chris is innocent, time will prove it

  • Sinead

    How could a shagg lead you to jail for 2 days…….
    Really i was thinkin about the poor Former Bird of Chris Ward…….sure she wont shagg again with a fella from westbelfast….life is so so cruel 😉

  • Henry94

    b TAFKABO

    I was simply pointing our that there is already another police service involved, and both have arrived at the same conclusions

    Or one of them did and theother is backing them up.

  • TAFKABO

    Or one of them did and theother is backing them up.

    Let’s for the sake of the argument suppose that you are right.
    Wouldn’t the inclusion of another UK force just be as a likely to do the same?

    Or even if they did independantly asses the available evidence and come to the same conclusion, what is to stop you and others from suggesting that all they are doing is just backing up the original findings?

    The point being that I see little reason in bringing in a third police force