Stormont spy case collapses…

Bad news for the PSNI. The case against the so-called Stormont spy ring, the impetus for the collapse of the local devolved Assembly, has itself collapsed in court. Thanks for the heads up to reader Pat. See the BBC News site for the latest details.

  • Pete Baker

    I’ll highlight this line from the report, Mick –

    However a prosecution lawyer told Belfast Crown Court today that no further evidence was to be put forward in the case and declared that the prosecution was no longer in the public interest.

    and point out that it allows conspiracy theorists from all sides a field day with this.

  • Henry94

    From the time

    On Monday, the acting deputy chief constable said the breakthrough followed the investigation into the break-in at Belfast’s police headquarters in Castlereagh in March.

    Mr McQuillan said the investigation had taken the police “into the very heart of the Provisional IRA”.

    Thousands of documents and hundreds of computer disks are being examined by 40 detectives who are working on the Castlereagh case and the alleged IRA intelligence gathering operation at Stormont.

    Can we be excused our scepticism about current investigations.

  • Eloot O` Regguls

    How strange!! All the Unionist furore all the psni statements and private briefing to damage these mens creditibility all for nothing.

    And the TV directed raid by heavily armed PSNI men and their 20-30 landrovers, all for what.

    How can anyone expect Nationalists to truely believe that the PSNI works in an impartial fashion.Maybe now the Psni should listen to one of the few within the Nationalist community who gaves credence to this force, Alastair McDonnell who recently stated that the Psni was starting to lose the support from the Nationalist quarter which supports it.

    Political policing, it hasn`t gone away you know.

    Now remind me who robbed the Northern Bank!!!!!

  • TAFKABO

    Can we be excused our scepticism about current investigations.

    As long as you don’t mind some of us being sceptical about your scepticism.

  • seabhac siulach

    Ahh, yes,…that would be the good ol’ PSNI that we are all to put our trust in. So, there was no Stormont spy ring. It was all a concoction of the police and media? My ,my, whoever would have thunk it?
    Should we ask for an apology that they have been engaged in blatant political policing? Should all those unionist politicians and others who so happily bleated about republican guilt come out now and apologise? Will they now admit that the basis of them pulling out of Stormont was fallacious?
    The PSNI tried to save David Trimble’s bacon. It’s as simple as that. It didn’t work. We now have had years of political stagnation as a result as well as the DUP crowned as the largest unionist party.
    So, all in all, I’d say the raid was a success…
    Public relations as policing, the 6 county way…
    Are we still to believe that the PSNI has reformed? This just adds more weight to the argument that policing and justice powers be transferred immediately to local control.

    I see also that this story is tucked away from public view…a bit different from the media circus that appeared at Stormont on the day. Funny that…

  • Belfastwhite

    So when can we expect the Assembly to be up and running again?

  • Keyston cop

    So SF where right all along, this was nothing to do with spying but attempts again by the Unionist politcal police force, the psni to discredit SF.

    So what will all the stoopies have to say for themselves. All those noble members of the Sdlp who at the time stood shoulder too shoulder with the police and backed them to the hilt when these raids occurred.

    Can we expect apologies from the Sdlp? Where does this leave their support of the Psni? Do they actually believ that Nationalists will just forget this and hopefully support the Psni?

    Planet reality calling, the Psni haven`t changed and their actions speak louder than their words.

    Will the Police board be able to get to the bottom of this, will they criticise the Psni for its clear attack on Democracy? Don`t hold your breathe.

    Another clear example that the sdlp jumped too soon on the policing bandwagon.

  • Henry94

    Let’s refresh our memories of the way this was reported. Who remembers the alleged code-name the IRA “spies” had for Tony Blair? Useful Idiot. I suppose it’s better than Usless Idiot.

    And of course the briefings from “security sources” were everywhere

    “The raid caused the breakdown of the province’s fragile interim power-sharing agreement between Unionists and the IRA’s political wing, Sinn Fein, amid bitter recriminations from Unionist leaders.

    It also brought a vast haul of thousands of secret documents purloined by the network, largely for sale or barter with foreign terrorist groups with whom Irish republican extremists have been long associated. The spies got hold of transcripts of confidential telephone conversations on secure lines between Tony Blair and President Bush, sending them to Belfast by means of ring members that included British civil servants and Irish Catholic politicians.

    Their activities were not confined to top-secret briefing materials laid before Blair on the political and military situation in Northern Ireland. They also went after intelligence memos and encrypted messages passing between the British and American leaders in their exchanges on military and intelligence preparations for the Afghan War, the campaign against Iraq, the post-Taliban situation in Kabul and highly sensitive data pertaining to the global war on terror, including anti-al Qaeda tactics.

    The recovered documents cover a period running from April 1, 2000, five months before the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, up until October 4, 2002. The Irish spy ring therefore operated undisturbed for 30 months at least, up until the security-police raid at the home of Ulster democracy.

    Immediately after that raid, the British prime minister made a grim report to President Bush who, thereupon sent a special CIA team to London for an initial independent assessment of the damage to American security interests. Our sources add that last week’s London trip by the American Homeland Minister, Tom Ridge, was also connected with the affair. It came on the heels of several discreet rounds of inquiries by the CIA director George Tenet in London, Belfast and Dublin.

    The most urgent purpose of the parallel probes is to track down the recipients of the secret documents. It is believed that some materials reached interested parties in the Middle East. Thus far, two such parties have been identified as Palestinian agents based in Cyprus and Lebanon and Greek Cypriot agents who work the region. Both groups have longstanding ties both with the IRA and with Lebanese and Palestinians associated with Iraq and al Qaeda operatives in Lebanon and the Persian Gulf.

    Our intelligence experts note that, if indeed these sensitive papers are shown to have reached Iraqi or al Qaeda hands, it will mean that elements of America’s most secret war plans have been compromised. US security authorities fear the IRA ring has blown to Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda agents and supporters data on US war plans against Saddam Hussein and on undercover operations still afloat against al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.

    Denis Donaldson, Sinn Fein’s chief administrator has been charged with five counts of possessing documents useful to terrorists in carrying out acts of violence. Fiona Ferrelly, a republican community worker, faces two similar charges. William Mackessy faces two charges of aiding terrorists while working at the Northern Ireland Office in Belfast.

    Those three arrests are just the beginning. The IRA is suspected of running a network of spies in many areas of government, some employed in unobtrusive jobs as clerks, clerks and chauffeurs. British and American agents need to lay hands on many more informants in and outside Ireland and the UK to be able to evaluate the amount of damage wrought by the Stormont Ring.

  • seabhac siulach

    “However a prosecution lawyer told Belfast Crown Court today that no further evidence was to be put forward in the case and declared that the prosecution was no longer in the public interest.”

    Mere legalese that means they haven’t a leg to stand on…nothing more. ‘No longer in the public interest’ as any continuation of the case would just embarrass the PSNI and show how slight was their ‘evidence’ for pulling down an elected parliament…the first time that armed police have stormed into an elected parliament building in these islands…
    By the way, all done on the word of Mr. Orde…the man who tells us that the provos were also involved in the Northern bank raid. This man’s credibility is at zero! No wonder they gave him a knighthood. Does that mean that he will soon be pensioned off?

  • Butterknife

    BBC Headliner seabhac siulach:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4509858.stm

    You cann’t blame the state for Sluggar being so good. I was going to say a Sluggar spy but i didnn’t want you to make a pun on the SS abreviation:-)

  • Betty Boo

    Will there be any consequences regarding the power sharing executive, since its fall was based on false allegations? In other words: The executive should not have been suspended on unproven allegations alone.
    What is the legal situation?

  • headmelter

    no real surprises here.

  • Crataegus

    I don’t like commenting about the PSNI as my views are coloured by peripheral personal experience, but I earnestly see the need to have a Police Force that we all can have utter confidence in.

    We seem to have a series of this sort of incident and if there are lessons to be learnt they should be;
    1 The Police need to be a lot more circumspect about making statements and attributing blame.
    2 People are innocent until proved guilty. Public speculation is not within the remit of the PSNI.
    3 There is a need to distance the Police from the politics of this place. Is it deliberately in the political mire or are its actions are being used by others is a matter of conjecture. The PSNI needs to be mindful of its position and responsibility to the whole community, and if it is unable to limit its role to Policing and is unable to distance itself from politics then we need replace current management with people who can.
    4 Who actually assesses the evidence and decides on a raid of this nature. How good is their judgement? Was the response measured and appropriate?

    The action and its timing caused major political problems and I do feel that an independent enquiry is needed into this and similar and that the people should be appointed by an international body for if government appointed it runs the risk of being branded a Hutton Mark 2. This needs to be sorted out one way or the other as a mater of urgency for it is crucial that we all can have total confidence in the PSNI.

  • After several years of “over-hype” by the media regarding the “acheivements” of the Chief Constable, it will be interesting to see how this farce will re-define media and public perceptions of Hugh Orde. Let’s not forget it was Orde who admitted afterwards that the public ‘storming’ of Stormont by the PSNI during their searches had been a mistake. Well that is but small fry compared to the collapse of this entire enquiry. This is an enquiry that brought down a government. Somebody will have to pay for this.

  • Jo

    I have a thesis as to why the raid happened the way it did.

    Money – and money on a scale which dwarfs the Northern Bank robbery. Follow link for details.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    So all of a few weeks after the independent (sic) Public Prosecution Service decided that there was a case to answer against one of the men allegedly arrested in connection with the Northern Bank raid, that same PPS has now decided there is no basis for any charges at all.

    So a professional person, now recognised as totally innocent, has now been publiclly linked with the Northern job and as anyone fron this place recognises, mud does tend to stick.

    An absolute scandal and contradicts the lie that innocent people have nothing to fear from this investigation.

    Luckily for the PSNI and PSS personnel involved in this case it is unlikely that BBC and UTV camera crews will arrive at their homes to identify to the public where they live and what their homes look like.

  • Have Sinn Fein issued a statement yet?

  • Congal Claen

    As a Unionist, I think this is absolutely wild.

    The shinners will be able to say that all the charges were fabricated and it’s political policing. And who could argue against this without knowing why its “no longer in the public interest”?

    Unionists will be saying it’s “no longer in the public interest” in the same way that Father Chesney’s alledged involvement with Claudy was not investigated as it was not int he public interest.

    A big bloody mess. We should all know the basis of “no longer in the public interest”.

  • seannaboy

    At least Ronnie Flanagan ( where is he now?) had the ‘you know what’ to threaten certain actions if his judgement ( I am paraphrasing here but you get the drift) was wrong, in doubt, challenged etc etc How can the current head of the RUC, oops sorree, PSNI have any crediblitiy after the events of the lasr few days Calling Hugh Orde, calling Hugh Orde come in please.

  • Pat McLarnon

    They had 3 years and 2 months to prepare any case they may have had, they didn’t.

    Even today before withdrawing the charges they asked for another adjournment, trying to drag it out for another few months. They didn’t get it and the not guilty verdicts were the result.

  • PS
  • Henry94

    The English Queen met the President of Ireland in Belfast today. Isn’t that nice.

  • seannaboy

    Where did she meet him – Sevastopol Street or Connolly House?

  • Paul

    I agree 100% with the above, we should be told what “not in the public interest” actually means. Either, there was a spy ring within Stormont (at the time Shinners took the, “so what if there was? Everyone’s at it” line) but there is not enough evidence to prosecute specific individuals; or this was blatantly political policing, in which case a lot of heads should roll. But how are we supposed to figure it out? And, any shinners out there, don’t try to say that no prosecution, of itself, means no crime, that’s rubbish.

  • Sir Sidney Roughdiamond

    Aaah all our Unionist friends here are really annoyed that their Protestant police force, the psni has again been shown for what it really is, namely A political police force that is still totally anti-Nationalist.

    So each and every stick the ruc/psni has given their Unionist political masters to attack SF and the Nationalist community with suddenly starts to collapse, fade away, disappear into the big beyond.

    What will all you anti-SF`s complain about now, what will you try and pin on SF in a vain attempt to discredit them.

    Maybe Orde will accuse Republicans of being behind the assassination of Kennedy, the Watergate scandal, the break in at Castlereagh, another little gem the psni quietly dropped.

    Strange the silence from the psni`s lapdogs the stoopies.

  • seannaboy

    Ach, now come on now Sir Sidney, in todays Irish News the SDLPs Alex Attwood concedes that the PSNI are stretching the ( Nationalist) community – no, now don’t be silly Sir Sidney, not in the history section but the current affairs section. Whats that? Pity Alex is about five years late kopping on to the PSNI.

  • Thanks PS

  • Belfastwhite

    Jez theres a lot happening today Stormontgate collapses, another Northern Bank internee released, the Rossport five vindicated and another Fianna Failer allegedly caught dipping! Methinks we’ll see 29 minute news of the English Queens visit tonight followed by 1 minute of the rest of the news:0P

  • Betty Boo

    “Police investigated that activity and a police operation led to the recovery of thousands of sensitive documents which had been removed from government offices. A large number of people were subsequently warned about threats to them.

    “That police investigation has concluded. There are no further lines of inquiry and no individuals are being sought by the police.” (UTV)

    So thousands of sensitive documents were removed on the day but with no one sought for gathering them in the first place since there are no further lines of inquiry.

    Buy one – get one free?

  • barcas

    Post 19 from seannaboy, above, asks “Where is Ronnie Flanagan now?”.

    Just where I heard the rumour and exactly when, I am not sure. But I am sure that, within the last 24 hours I heard/read a report that the bold Ronnie was off to Iraq to sort out the corruption in the police force there.

    As they say, it takes one to know one.

  • bog warrior

    Apparently the Boul Sir Ron is off to Iraq to investigate infiltration of the new police force out there by Iraqi insurgents…
    You couldn’t make it up.

  • DK

    Has anyone thought that maybe this has been dropped as a concession to Sinn Fein?

    Perhaps HMG is keen to get the executive up and running and knows that this will continue to be a thorn in the side and has got the DPP to quietly drop it. This will remove another reason for DUP/UUP to refuse to speak to SF. Dropping this only benefits moving forward progress to devolved government again. HMG have a clear interest in that, as do SF. Hmmm – come to think of it, didn’t those two parties have a deal recently over the OTRs – maybe this was a part of that deal.

  • Henry94

    DK

    Has anyone thought that maybe this has been dropped as a concession to Sinn Fein?

    If there is that kind of political interference in the police then nobody can have confidence in the administration of justice. Can they?

  • Paul

    DK, I think that’s one conspiracy theory too far, but I would still like a better explanation as to what “in the public interest” means. Sometimes I wish the PSNI would just release all their evidence, nothing ever comes to trial anyway, and let us pick the bones out ourselves.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The concession to SF line was bound to raise it’s ugly head. Easily circumvented by the fact that the PPS had over 3 years to bring this case to trial. They singularly failed to do so.

    The anti agreement stool of Castlereagh, Stormontgate and Colombia is looking distinctly wobblier.
    Castlereagh (the first raid not the RIR one) is still all over the show and you can pay your money and take your choice on that one. Suffice to say the Larry the Chef extradition case is certainly not going anywhere despite involving the UK’s best friend ie the USA.
    Stormontgate has disintegrated before our very eyes. Leaving only Colombia, an innocent verdict that was over-turned in camera by the Colombian Executive.
    Unfortunately for the anti agreement clique the Northern Bank cupboard is already starting to look pretty bare as well.

  • Alice through the looking glass

    Paul if the ruc/psni revealed all their evidence if any, you`d still be claiming that these men were still guilty just because they were Catholics and SF supporters.

  • Comrade Stalin

    their Protestant police force, the psni

    Have you got a problem with Protestants in particular that you’d like to tell us about ?

  • Brian Boru

    Disturbing. Clearly there was no spyring.

  • Achilles

    Comrade Stalin says
    “Have you got a problem with Protestants in particular that you’d like to tell us about ?”

    (Inhale) Ahh the smell of the green green grass of home…..The beauty of a Northern Ireland based debating forum is that no matter the subject matter, a few iterations later you get a comment like this.

    The word “Us” must surely signify that this post represents the protestant people. Powerful stuff indeed. Comrade Stalin must be non other than Big Ian. I always thought he looked a little Georgian myself.

    It also means that I must be one of “them”, if not one of “us”.

    Gerry, as our saviour – sort this man out for us – will ye? 😉

  • Comrade Stalin

    The word “Us” must surely signify that this post represents the protestant people.

    It actually meant the readership of the blog. But you just carry on there.

  • martin

    Keystone cop – re: SDLP’s reaction at the time.

    It might be an idea to check facts before the “they are all agin us” reflex. This is what Durkan said at the time, from UTV’s news website archive.

    http://www.utvinternet.com/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=24189

    SDLP leader Mark Durkan said his party did not yet have enough information about the circumstances surrounding Friday`s raid on the Sinn Fein offices at Stormont to make any “definitive judgments“.

    He said serious questions arose from the police`s handling of the raid and its timing in the wake of an Ulster Unionist Council decision to withdraw from the executive if the IRA did not disband by January.

    “We are not in a position to make any definitive judgments about any of these issues and I don`t think anybody else is,“ he said.

    Mr Durkan said Sinn Fein had serious questions to answer about the issue. However, he said other serious questions also arose.

    `Why has this come out now given the coincidence of other political events and other political circumstances,“ he added.

    Republican supporters have almost identical statements to unionists on these matters. Select one from, “republicans are never guilty” or “republicans are always guilty”.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    CS: “their Protestant police force, the psni

    Have you got a problem with Protestants in particular that you’d like to tell us about ?”

    I dunno, Stalin, weren’t you the one telling me that there was some substance to the IRA spying case? That it wasn’t just a PSNI publicity stunt? Wasn’t that you?

    As for the reference to the “Protestant police force,” wasn’t there a big to do, something about the Protestant-dominated RUC being a “bad” thing?

  • Dualta

    The case for complete Irish independence is so compelling now that there are those within the current establishment, who were involved in the older establishment (as if there is that much difference really,) who will use whatever means at their disposal to thwart the political progress of Nationalists.

    It is incidents like these that reaffirm my belief that the northern state is fundamentally corrupt and undemocratic and should be abandoned by all progressive people on both islands.

  • Fair play to John O’Dowd for really getting to Jeffrey Donaldson last night on Lets Talk. I thought O’Dowd did really well. I’ve seen him very briefly interviewed before (mainly on local government issues), but this was a big step-up for him. He interrupted Jeffrey’s ususal diatribe right from the word go and his interventionist tactics seemed to gratly unsettle the usual morbid Donaldson demeanour.

  • martin

    To the other person named Martin,

    I will switch to using the identity Martin T to distinguish us from each other

  • seannaboy

    I think that the last couple of days confirms what many many other people have been saying for over eighty years or more about the Northern State. Where to start? ‘carnival of reaction’, ‘orange state’ ‘failed political entity’, not viable’ etcetera ectcetera

  • Comrade Stalin

    Dread Cthulhu :

    I dunno, Stalin, weren’t you the one telling me that there was some substance to the IRA spying case? That it wasn’t just a PSNI publicity stunt? Wasn’t that you?

    Yes, I did think there was something to the case and it seems pointless for me to try to defend that now given what has transpired. However, I wouldn’t go as far as the republicans are to declare victory – the prosecution withdrew their case for reasons unknown, so the court did not have an opportunity to make a ruling based on the evidence. Some people are using the word “acquittal” but where the defendants actually acquitted ?

    As usual, the Sinn Fein people involved have threatened to sue the police – but as usual, they will do nothing. They may bluster now, but they won’t risk any further investigation into the circumstances under which the police arrested them.

    As for the reference to the “Protestant police force,” wasn’t there a big to do, something about the Protestant-dominated RUC being a “bad” thing?

    I’ll leave you to form your own opinion of people who judge others based on their religion. I don’t; the argument that the police are bad because there are too many dirty black Prods in their ranks is fundamentally sectarian.

    Dualta:

    The case for complete Irish independence is so compelling now that there are those within the current establishment,

    This is pretty silly. Some people where prosecuted and then the prosecution was aborted – albeit under circumstances that pretty much everyone agrees were very suspicious – and suddenly this, by itself, has an effect on the case for Irish unity. I refer the honourable gentleman to the utterances of Michael McDowell and his ongoing role in the Irish government. Even if Sinn Fein are gone tomorrow they are going to get a hard time from everyone – quite rightly so, having a private, unaccountable standing army within reach of government power is a fundamental threat to the Irish state.

    I don’t have any objections to Irish reunification but to think that we’re going to be welcomed into the state as old friends is seriously blinkered stuff. Sinn Fein are regarded as a serious threat and are therefore hated outsiders in political circles in Dublin. It’ll be some time before that is overcome.

  • barnshee

    another dirty deal

    1 Did SF office have details on file of police/judges/civil servanta etc?
    (A simple yes no should do here)

    2 if yes why? if no what was the evidence examined by O`Loan ?

    3 Why were these $64000 questions not put to the protagonists at the press conference?

    I rest my case

  • Henry94

    Comrade Stalin

    – the prosecution withdrew their case for reasons unknown, so the court did not have an opportunity to make a ruling based on the evidence. Some people are using the word “acquittal” but where the defendants actually acquitted ?

    There is no distinction between a case that is thrown out because the Judge or Jury think the evidence is shite and one where the evidence is so shite that it’s not even brought into court in the first place.

    Some people are hanging on to the spin as if there is some shadow over the accused. There is not. they are innocent in law and in justice.

    In this case there isn’t even evidence that a crime was committed in the first place.

  • spartacus

    stalin

    are you so seriously impaired that you can not understand objections to a sectarian state in which the institutions of law and order are overwhelmingly made up of people from one side of the divide, with extensive connections to paramilitary organizations and sectarian institutions like the OO? does your high-mindedness amount to nothing more than insinuating that anyone who dare object to this arrangement is a sectarian? would you say the same, say, to black americans who objected to nearly- or all-white police forces in the southern states pre-1970?

  • Comrade Stalin

    There is no distinction between a case that is thrown out because the Judge or Jury think the evidence is shite and one where the evidence is so shite that it’s not even brought into court in the first place.

    There is an important distinction. People are using the word “acquittal” when an acquittal has – to my understanding – not taken place.

    Some people are hanging on to the spin as if there is some shadow over the accused. There is not. they are innocent in law and in justice.

    Either they are innocent and the PSNI is guilty of fabricating an entire case from nothing – an extremely serious charge – or they are guilty and the PSNI took the correct action. Either way, unsubstantiated allegations are being made here with little in the way of evidence to back them up.

    I’ve a hard time believing that the PSNI would believe that they would get away with causing £millions to be spent on rehousing civil servants and bringing a court case with no basis at all.

  • Comrade Stalin

    are you so seriously impaired that you can not understand objections to a sectarian state in which the institutions of law and order are overwhelmingly made up of people from one side of the divide,

    These days, I see little basis for these objections. If this is all to do with sectarianism and bigotry, then explain why Michael Copeland had his office raided a few days before an election ? Why are loyalists shooting bullets and crossbows at police lines ?

    oes your high-mindedness amount to nothing more than insinuating that anyone who dare object to this arrangement is a sectarian?

    Of course it is sectarian. What is the difference between saying “your factory is producing poor quality goods because there are too many lazy workshy Catholics working in it” and “your police force is too bigoted and politically biased because there are too many Prods in it” ? Both arguments are sectarian and must be rejected with equal force. There is no such thing as “good” bigotry.

    would you say the same, say, to black americans who objected to nearly- or all-white police forces in the southern states pre-1970?

    Would you say it is impossible to get impartial policing from someone who is white ? Would you say that someone who is black will always deliver impartial policing without fail ?

  • Henry94

    Comrade Stalin

    There is an important distinction.

    There is no distinction at all. They are innocent. As innocent as you.

    People are using the word “acquittal” when an acquittal has – to my understanding – not taken place.

    No case was presented. In the same way as no case was presented against you.

    Either they are innocent and the PSNI is guilty of fabricating an entire case from nothing – an extremely serious charge – or they are guilty and the PSNI took the correct action.

    They are innocent. If you want to draw conclusion from that then do so. But not of guilt. Certainly there is a suspicion that the PNSI or element within it brought down the assembly on the basis of a lie. That’s what I believe happened. But belief and proof are two different things.

    Either way, unsubstantiated allegations are being made here with little in the way of evidence to back them up.

    The terminology matters. I would like to see an international public enquiry but I doubt we will. All four parties should come together to demand it.

  • Betty Boo

    If, as Peter Hain repeated today, hundreds of files of evidence were taken from the office, why couldn’t a case being mounted against the accused?
    You either have evidence of a crime committed or you don’t.
    To have evidence and not to prosecute is something no law enforcement wants to be caught in public. It leaves me with no other conclusion that the evidence gathered was no evidence at all supporting the allegation made. Maybe, that what ever was taken that day might proof something else but not the alleged crime and the allegation of spying has no evidence to proof that spying took place even if it did.

  • Comrade Stalin

    There is no distinction at all. They are innocent. As innocent as you.

    Henry, have been acquitted of the matters concerning that car I didn’t steal, and that handbag I didn’t pinch ? Yes or no.

    Betty:

    To have evidence and not to prosecute is something no law enforcement wants to be caught in public.

    Note that the PSNI does not prosecute, the DPP does. The wording of the PSNI’s statement on the matter suggests that they might have been annoyed about the DPP’s decision to pull the plug on the case.

    It leaves me with no other conclusion that the evidence gathered was no evidence at all supporting the allegation made.

    An extremely serious matter. I agree with Henry when he says that a major enquiry into this matter needs to take place to establish what happened. One way or another, heads need to roll.

  • Betty Boo

    Comrade,
    wrong choice of words (law enforcement).
    And with the PSNI being uncomfortable with the DPP’s decision while the DPP is properly agreeing with the PSNI only puts them in the same dilemma as SF when they try to proof state collusion. In the power game of influence is no space for sentimentalities such as truth or justice. It is “ no longer in the public interest” I couldn’t have described the heavy handiness of stay out it doesn’t concern you any better. The public has been made redundant. The name of the game and while you are at it, vote the next time how you have been told.
    I wish I could agree with you and Henry on an independent investigation. I just doubt that anything will come out of it.

  • Letsbringthisnonsensetoanend

    Let’s bring all of this nonsense to a swift end. O.K. folks, here goes. Counsel for the three Defendants had sought disclosure of all surveillance and infomer-led evidence used in the build-up to their arrest. The ‘Disclosure Judge’ in the case (a judge, different from the Trial Judge, appointed to deal specifically with such pre-trial issues) ordered that the PPS provide any such disclosure – they immediately pulled the plug. The factual case against the three boyos was very strong – e.g. fingerprints galore, thousands of highly sensitive documents found in one guys bedroom (he claimed to have “no idea” where they came form) etc. etc.

    Short form – any bleating from the Shinners about the whole thing being trumped-up and without foundation is utter, bare-faced, opportunistic shite.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LBTNTAE: “Counsel for the three Defendants had sought disclosure of all surveillance and infomer-led evidence used in the build-up to their arrest. The ‘Disclosure Judge’ in the case (a judge, different from the Trial Judge, appointed to deal specifically with such pre-trial issues) ordered that the PPS provide any such disclosure – they immediately pulled the plug. The factual case against the three boyos was very strong – e.g. fingerprints galore, thousands of highly sensitive documents found in one guys bedroom (he claimed to have “no idea” where they came form) etc. etc.”

    The only reason not to present the evidence is either A) The evidence would not stand or B) The evidence would been damning, harmful to the state or embaressing in some other fashion. To be frank, these are the only two realistic possibilities. Secret evidence and unsourced evidence is anathema to a democracy. The credibility of the witnesses against the accused has to be challenged by the accused and their representative. The PPS knew that going in. To pull the plug over a sucessful discovery request smells awful funny.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DC: “I dunno, Stalin, weren’t you the one telling me that there was some substance to the IRA spying case? That it wasn’t just a PSNI publicity stunt? Wasn’t that you?”

    CS: “Yes, I did think there was something to the case and it seems pointless for me to try to defend that now given what has transpired. However, I wouldn’t go as far as the republicans are to declare victory – the prosecution withdrew their case for reasons unknown, so the court did not have an opportunity to make a ruling based on the evidence. Some people are using the word “acquittal” but where the defendants actually acquitted ?”

    No, they haven’t been acquitted — all that has happened is that the prosecution has been dropped. That said, for a case that commanded such headlines, it seems that it was done solely for political reasons. Why else fold like a cheap camera?

    CS: “As usual, the Sinn Fein people involved have threatened to sue the police – but as usual, they will do nothing. They may bluster now, but they won’t risk any further investigation into the circumstances under which the police arrested them. ”

    Contrary-wise, you implied there had been a full and thorough investigation of the matter, with prosecutions — honest, legitimate charges, not the usual PSNI political nonsense, to follow. Instead, in the face of simple, standard discovery requests, the DPP folded up their tent as quickly, with a loud “nothing to see here” as they ran out the door. To complain that they threaten to sue but do not is simply sour grapes.