Cases dropped against two Northern Bank suspects

Now this is interesting. The cases against Dominic McEvoy and Martin McAliskey have been dropped. Resident Magistrate Paul Mateer said: “The court having been informed that the evidence has been carefully examined and the decision is not to proceed I will allow the matter to be dropped.” Only one suspect remains in custody. Chris Ward has been remanded until 31st January.

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  • marty (not ingram)

    FFS, do any cases that get taken to court over here ever lead to a conviction?

    And when they don’t it would be useful if the magistrate / CPS / whoever would make a clear statement so that the public know on what grounds the case has been dismissed.

    Is it political?
    Is it police incompetence?

    Never mind SF’s move to potentially support policing that will still leave us with the same broken system. Rhe whole system over here needs to be looked at as it’s a shambles.

  • joeCanuck

    Rush to judgement overturned once again.
    Ward will be released without prejudice shortly.
    The dance continues.

  • Padraig Óg

    “Interesting” Mick? Why so?

    It was inevitable and comes as no surprise

    By the way have they found the little, inconspicuous van made carried the swag yet?

  • Dec

    Mick

    I believe, despite the BBC’s report, Chris Ward has been further remanded on bail until the 31st of January. Presumably the PPS want to spread out the bad news over amonth as opposed to a spectacular triple-whammy.

  • Dec

    Marty

    And when they don’t it would be useful if the magistrate / CPS / whoever would make a clear statement so that the public know on what grounds the case has been dismissed.

    Is it political?
    Is it police incompetence?

    Or, more likely, absence of evidence.

  • Quaysider

    You’re right Dec – the deal with SF was clearly one PPS payment in advance of the special ard fheis and another one after. Looks like the Brits are keeping their word!

  • Am I the only one confused?

    A few simple questions:
    1. Who is the piper?
    2. Who is paying the piper?
    3. What is the tune?
    4. Who is calling the tune?

  • Henry94

    Quaysider

    Are you saying the Public Prosecution Service is courrupt? I’d hate to think you had less than full confidence in the system of justice. You’ll never get into government with the DUP if that’s your attitude.

  • What a nostalgic thread this is. Takes me right back to the days when Her Majesty’s subjects of the chucky disposition gave themselves RSI typing their furious denials that the Ra was in any way involved in the job.

  • heck

    before there is any support for the “justice system” in Nor Iron the PSNI/UVF plus the prosecution service and the judicary need to be totally overhauled.

    Does anyone know the basis on which the prosecution service makes decisions? What is the “public interest” shit that allows them to drop cases against government agents? It looks like it’s not just republicans who are unhappy with the prosecution service

  • Jill

    Curious how this has turned out!

  • Crataegus

    Marty

    Is it political?
    Is it police incompetence?

    Either way it is bad, no extremely bad.

    Worse still people like myself assume it is political and that gives a fair indication of how much damage has been done and the mountain that has to be climbed before any confidence can be restored.

    Paradoxically if political the timing is a two edged sword and supports the arguments raised by the dissidents.

  • Hells

    “the deal with SF was clearly one PPS payment in advance of the special ard fheis and another one after”

    You’ve missed the point Quaysider. SF’s Willie “Pontious Pilate” Clarke washed his hands of Mr. McEvoy before he had his bum in the back of the police car! These boys were sacrificial lambs and SF wouldn’t touch them with a 10ft pole.

    Luckily, it seems the PSNI have given up the chase before they were exposed as utterly incompetent and bereft of any evidence, yet again.

  • The Pedant

    As a point of interest, why was this brought before a mere magistrate?

    I quote the (British) Department for Constitutional Affairs:

    “[Q.] Do magistrates have to have formal qualifications, or knowledge of the law?

    “[A.] No. Formal or academic qualifications are not required. No knowledge of the law is required because each Bench sits with a court clerk who is legally qualified. The clerk is there to advise magistrates on relevant aspects of the law and sentencing guidelines are also provided.”

    I presume those criteria apply to Northern Ireland. Surely such an important matter must merit the attention of a qualified person. A judge, for example.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    marty (not ingram): “FFS, do any cases that get taken to court over here ever lead to a conviction? ”

    That, usually, requires evidence, leastwise in any court outside taht of the court of public opinion, where each member of the public simply assigns guilt based upon their political preferences.

    heck: “Does anyone know the basis on which the prosecution service makes decisions? ”

    Not wholly familiar with N.I. justice sytem, but in the U.S., indictments are easy, convictions are hard. There are tactical reasons for indicting someone on incomplete or weakly persuasive evidence, but the expectation is that more evidence will developed whilst the indictee is wrapped in judicial red tape.

    Crataegus: “Either way it is bad, no extremely bad.”

    Only if you falsely assume that this is a binary equation with only one of those two outcomes. There is many a slip between the cup and the lip beyond these two options.

  • marty (not ingram)

    Crataegus – agreed.

    Even if all parties support the police, with a system as shoddy this the public are still not getting proper law and order (regardless of the root cause for the cases being dismissed).

  • marty (not ingram)

    Dread
    Apologies, I should have been clearer – I was not making an assumption of the people in question’s guilt. It was more of a rant against the CPS etc about the number of times this has happened of late.

  • Mick Fealty

    Not in Northern Ireland. Magistrates are legally qualified (a lawyer of at least seven years standing), and the first point in any case no matter how serious.

  • Quaysider

    Didn’t know that about Willie Clarke, Hells.

  • Hells

    Quaysider,

    He stood outside McEvoy’s house and denied all knowledge of him, and made it explicitly clear that McEvoy and two other men arrested (one of whom was never charged and another who subsequently had charges dropped), were not SF members and neither were they known to SF.

    The PSNI were still searching McEvoy’s and other houses while Clarke made his statement.

    Its hardly surprising that no-one remembers. No doubt SF will be stamping their feet about political policing tonight about this issue, but they absolved themselves of all responsibility for these innocent men as soon as Clarke could get someone to write a semi-cohesive statement for him.

  • The Pedant

    Thank you for clearing that up, Mick. It puts a fresh complexion on matters, for me at least.

  • Mick Fealty

    No problem. During the troubles they were clearly regarded by the IRA as a “legitimate target“. Not sure they would have been if they simply carried out the functions of an English Magistrate.

  • Belfastwhite

    Watchman are you forgetting all others who gave themselves RSI typing post after post convincing themselves that indeed republicans were involved only difference is it looks like the republicans were right again.

    What’s next the castlereagh break in?

  • Quaysider

    Republican apologists do themselves few favours by denying that the IRA robbed the bank – just look at what a fool Jude Collins made of himself by spinning out that yarn until it snapped.
    The issue here is not which outfit conducted the robbery but what legal/political/policing shenanigans have followed – and for what purpose?
    This is peace processing at its most ridiculous.

  • joeCanuck

    This is one of the oldest tricks in the book for an incompetent police service.
    There is a major crime so you are under public pressure to solve it. So you arrest someone, anyone (in small towns the like of which I grew up in, probably the first person P.C.plod met after exiting the stationhouse).
    The arrest makes front page news. A few months later, you drop the charges and hope that, at most, it gets a tiny paragraph on page 16.
    Duh.
    Seen it happen too many times.

  • This was never in doubt, it was the timing that needed to be sorted out.

    The “Grand Old Duke of York” Policing is the best way to describe the justice system in NI.

    They march them up to the top of the hill, accusing them of all manner of serious crimes, only to march them down again when the political time is right.

    Republicans and Loyalists alike, must concede, the criminal justice system in NI has more floors than the Twin Towers, before they were demolished.

  • iluvni

    Even though these two have had their charges withdrawn and no-one has as yet been convicted, will the PSNI record in their crime statistics that the Northern Bank robbery has been solved (on the basis that arrests have been made at some stages of the investigation)?

  • Here lies the difference in Policing on Mainland Britain and in NI.

    The Kent cash robbery last year, netted £53 million, of which £20 million was recovered, suspects have been charged, the trial will start in the next few months.

    The whole investigation of the Kent robbery was conducted in the public spotlight, authorities even arrrested a suspect in Rabat Morrocco with several million, drugs, and a gun.

    In contrast, the Northern bank raid has been used for political purposes.

    Compare both investigations and decide if NI criminal justice system is fit for use?

  • Mr Angry

    Where’s McDowell and his forensic evidence when you need him?

  • jone

    From what I can remember of McEvoy’s bail app the evidence against him was thin to say the least.

    Bail apps are interesting in that the PPS will generally put everything they have in front of a judge, even material that ultimately doesn’t make it into the trial.

    In his case all they seemed to have was a hat with traces of his DNA on it was found near the bank official’s house in Loughinisland. If anyone has the copy from that bail app could they please post it.

  • Rhodey

    The Kent robbery was carried out by a bunch of ass clowns, northern bank was carried out by a paramilitary organization who generally has a high level of training and experience when it comes to robbing banks and the ability to keep people from talking and being very forensicly aware , that could be a major difference when it comes to why the police have a hard time catching them, you cant point to the ability of a police force or criminal justice system to solve and prosecute crime as the biggest factor when it comes to this particular operation

  • Gerry

    Rhodey writes :
    ‘northern bank was carried out by a paramilitary organization…’

    Who told you that pal ? Judge Orde ?

    Gerry :o)

  • The Kent robbery was carried out by a bunch of ass clowns,

    This may be apparent after the trial.

    northern bank was carried out by a paramilitary organization

    Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, is not real evidence.

    Perhaps Irish criminals are much more sophisticated than their Brit counterparts?

  • Rhodey

    gerry are you trying to say the IRA didnt do this?, and ART hostage that is exactlly my point the IRA is much more sophisticated then your average criminals

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Rhodey: “gerry are you trying to say the IRA didnt do this?, ”

    Given the dearth of hard evidence, very little can be said about this crime, one way or the other.

    Rhodey: “that is exactlly my point the IRA is much more sophisticated then your average criminals”

    Actually, I think you will find that Art Hostage comment was far broader “the IRA.”

    To quote: “Perhaps Irish criminals are much more sophisticated than their Brit counterparts? ”

    Assumptions and preferred political narrative is not evidence.

  • Gerry

    Rhodey writes :

    ‘gerry are you trying to say the IRA didnt do this?’

    My post is in plain English mo chara. :o)
    Who told you that a paramilitary organisation executed the alleged event ?

    Gerry

  • Doctor Who

    Art Hostage.

    “In contrast, the Northern bank raid has been used for political purposes.”

    So this excuses the crime. Unionists get a bit of mileage out of the fact that the IRA carried out the biggest heist in European history.

    Are we to excuse the murders carried out by the IRA sectarian thugs because Unionism condemned their actions. Oh sorry they have already been excused, by releasing these animals from prison.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Dr Who: “So this excuses the crime. Unionists get a bit of mileage out of the fact that the IRA carried out the biggest heist in European history. ”

    And your tangible proof of this is? There have been no convictions, save in the kangaroo court of Unionist opinion. There are a diminishing number of arrests. There have been occasionally heralded pronouncements, although these ahve been quick to fade into silence. In the end, the closest thing to “proof” are some newspaper stories based primarily on “unnamed sources” and bizarre pronouncements that the lack of proof is proof enough.

    Its a nice theory — fits your political preferences, even. But a theory of the crime is not proof, even when it fits your political preferences.

  • Rhodey

    The fact that i was talking about the northern bank robbery and the IRA and then art hostage started talking about irish criminals made me think he was still talking about the IRA and just saying they were criminals, even though there has been no prosecution, does not mean the IRA didnt do this, I just read a book called ripe for the picking the northern bank robbery, and that auther concluded that this was done by the IRA.

  • I heard that some of the Kent robbers voted Labour at the last election.

    Are the Labour party, short of cash as they are, behind the Kent robbery?

    Whoever carried the northern raid out acted in a criminal way, rather than from any political standpoint.

  • Rhodey

    I remember hearing that one possibility for the reason to the robbery was to create some form of a pension or retierment fund for IRA members now that would no be on active duty and no longer get paid

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Rhodey: “I remember hearing that one possibility for the reason to the robbery was to create some form of a pension or retierment fund for IRA members now that would no be on active duty and no longer get paid ”

    And its a nice theory, but that is *ALL* that it is — a theory.

    I’ve always found the Northern bank robbery to be a paradoxical mix of professionalism and amateur hour. The planning and execution was professional, but the target (primarily bank scrip in limited circulation, rather than “real” currency) and the size of the take suggest otherwise.

  • I remember hearing that one possibility for the reason to the robbery was to create some form of a pension or retirement fund for IRA members now that would no be on active duty and no longer get paid
    Posted by Rhodey on Jan 04, 2007 @ 10:27 PM

    Whereas the Loyalist UDA, partiqularly in South Antrim are given £20 million by the Brit govt to fund their pensions.

    Working on your theory, the Republicans are expected go and steal their pension, whereas Loyalists are given theirs.

    If so, nothing has changed in Ireland, collusion with Loyalists, persecution of Republicans.

    There is nothing other then nudge nudge wink wink or inadmissible evidence so without any real evidence blaming the IRA is so conveinient, even if true.

    I can tell you now that the Brit and Irish govt are trying to recoup the northern Bank money via a sectarian prosecution of General Thomas Slab Murphy.

    £10 million of the £15 million tax demand of the Murphy family is regarded as payback for the amount percieved to be what the IRA has gained out of the Northern raid.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Art Hostage: “I can tell you now that the Brit and Irish govt are trying to recoup the northern Bank money via a sectarian prosecution of General Thomas Slab Murphy.”

    Slab is as much a General as Emperor Norton I was an Emperor.

  • His Irish Republican track record and Quartermaster experience means in the eyes of true Irish Republicans, General is the least that is deserved, President, more apt.

    I did, however enjoy your reference to Joshua Abraham Norton, even if I maynot agree.