No charges from McCord case?

The speculation is that the Public Prosecution Service has decided not to prosecute the ex-RUC and PSNI officers criticised in O’Loan’s report because of insufficient evidence. If this is correct, this leaves the civil courts as the remaining route for redress. The report will be released tomorrow. The primary impact will of course be upon the families of the victims. However it is likely to feed into the lively policing debate in the nationalist community.

Republican opponents will probably argue it proves the police are irreformable and inherently sectarian with Sinn Fein countering that it proves the need to make the police accountable and to have control “in Ireland”. The fact some of those criticised in the report are still serving in the PSNI will bring one part of Sinn Fein’s AF motion into particular focus:

Ensure Sinn Fein representatives robustly support the demands for…to ensure that there is no place in the PSNI for those guilty of human rights abuses

As the report focuses on inteliigence gathering, the SDLP may raise the concerns about the accountability of MI5 too.

Government will take a battering but most likely argue the new structures mean it can’t happen again and in terms of the political process that the past shouldn’t stop progress. Despite not being responsible for security since 1972 Unionism will probably not let the focus rest where it should with government and try and offer a dissipatory defence about ‘bad apples’, the debt everyone owes to the security forces etc.

My apologies but I am feeling very cynical this morning.

  • Bemused

    May I be the first to congratulate you Fair Deal on a conspicously fair, reasoned and balanced assessment of the situation? (And yes, I know we’ve had our disagreements in the past) A pity all bloggers weren’t this balanced in their postings (no names, but we all know who I’m talking about).

    I would expect all manner of judicial review proceedigns to kick-off on the back of this report. It will be very difficult for the British to defend the retention of any officer implicated in skullduggery in the report and there will be a perfectly legitimate clamour from all reasonable people for these officers to be given the boot forthwith.

  • ingram

    FD,

    QUOTE The speculation is that the Public Prosecution Service has decided not to prosecute the ex-RUC and PSNI officers .UNQUOTE

    What a disgrace.But not a surprise.

    This is the police force Sinn Fein have agreed to join, they say it is different to the Old RUC.

    Same officers, different badge. Same methods of operating, same protection and no charges offerd for illegal activity.

    No change since John Stalker identified illegal actions way back in the 80`s.Today we have two officers who admit to fabricating evidence within the Hoey case and yet remain in a job, granted the Ombudsman is investigating but they remain today in their job and have not been suspended.

    Still Sinn Fein say they (PSNI) have changed? would one of our current on duty Sinn Fein blogging team take a few moments to explain to me the difference between the RUC/PSNI.

    Regards.

    Ingram

  • My apologies but I am feeling very cynical this morning.

    FD, I feel cynical every morning.

    One week to go before the Pendulum of Pain swings towards Unionism.

    I am surprised that the people of Ireland don’t rattle when the walk , with all the bitter pills they are expected to swallow.

  • parcifal

    agreed bemused, fair play to you fair-deal.
    I sincerly hope some of these senoir RUC officers will be named.. fat chance

  • gerry

    FD I think we all share your cynicism this morning.

  • joeCanuck

    Doesn’t our resident troll know the names?
    He seems to know everything else.

  • grimesy

    Read the Sunday World this morning & I found the interview with Raymond’s mother to be both poignant & moving (nearly had to stop reading it at one point).

    It’s terrible that Raymond Senior feels that the only way he can get justice is through violence.

    However, I don’t blame him & hope his family find peace.

    I said yesterday on another thread that tomorrow would also vindicate Jonty Brown’s outing of the “dark” elements that existed during his service in RUC SS.

    Sadly, that no longer looks like happening.

  • grimesy

    Sorry – an unfortunate typo on my part in the above:-

    I meant “RUC SB”, not “RUC SS”.

  • Bemused

    ‘Unfortunate typo’ my arse….

  • Ingram

    Joeey,

    quote Doesn’t our resident troll know the names?
    He seems to know everything else.unquote

    You have been warned about playing the man! keep to the topic old Canadian boy.

    LOL

    Ingram.

  • Jeremy

    JoeC, Apparently not.

    Anyhow, I have read a few interviews with Ray McCord snr. and have been impressed by the decency of the man, not to mention his strength to continue this struggle. I truely hope that Breen is wrong and that people go to jail.

  • grimesy

    Jeremy,

    The editorial stance of today’s SW is that it will be incomprehensible if people don’t do time for the 12 murders the report investigates.

    Interesting that Suzanne takes a different stance on it.

  • ingram

    Jeremy,

    As it happens I dont. Jonty Brown does though, lets see if he finally finds the courage to put names out into the public domain, like I did with Brigadier Gordon Kerr and Mags walshaw and the PSNI police Officer who said he colluded with Brian Nelson to conspire with others to take life.

    That Officers remains on bail awaiting the DPP decision.

    Regards.

    Ingram

  • Thinking Prod

    What we all should remember is Raymond McCord was himself a UVF member! he will have been involved in some seedy incidents in his time.

    That does not make his killing right but it re-inforces the point made sometime ago by Ingram, you live by the sword you should be prepared to die by it also.

    Raymond was also an ex RAF man,he only left a short time before. Do you think the FRU would miss the opportunity to recruit one of their own? what do you think Ingram?

    Not all is Black and White in this case, there is some shade of grey. Like Ingram said above, Brown needs to name those involved and only then can the family take a civil action, the state will not allow a criminal prosecution.That is certain.

    Of course if Sinn Fein had got their way last year along with the British Govt the NI offences bill would have allowed these people to go scott free.

    Thank God for the DUP and the SDLP.

  • joeCanuck

    Looks like someone just admitted to being a troll.
    So sad.

  • grimesy

    Thinking Prod,

    Murder is murder.

    As for his UVF membership, he was 22 yo FFS – we all make mistakes.

    Nobody deserves what happened to him.

    Ingram,

    I can’t see Jonty naming the corrupt SB officers (the real name of “Alex”, for example). 27 years of convicting terrorists & SB sniping has taken an immeasurable toll on him & his family.

    What would he gain from it? Another bomb attack on his home?

    Jonty is retired – the onus is on Nuala O’Loan (publishing the facts) & the DDP (imparital prosecution) to put this right. Brown has served his country well – time for someone else to take up the slack.

    What’s the point in a Police Ombudsman & Patten Reforms if they all get off, scot-free?

  • Ingram

    Grimesy,

    Jonty Brown has named NO PSNI officers who he claims have committed crimes.Sometimes you have to shit or get off the potti or accept retirement.You cannot do half and half.

    The Ombudsman was threatened after Omagh by the now Home secretary John Reid that her funding could be withdrawn. Todate she has not taken on the establishment since Omagh. I doubt very much whether she will over McCord.

    She has refused and bowed to pressure over the 3 years inquiry into Colleen McMURRAY and the IRA agents?

    Now that would be a bowel buster!

    In relation to the criminals ! none should be let off. They should admit their crimes do a short term and then be released upon licence like they are today under the GFA.

    What some wanted was for ALL to be let off and a line drwn in the sand to quote Kelly.

    That would suit Sinn Fein and HMG!

    Joe,

    Grow up.

    Thinking Prod,

    Unlikely. Nelson was the Only Prod on the FRU books, FRU is targeted against republicans. End of. Although he could technically be recruited without Police agreement being an ex serviceman.

    Regards.

    Ingram

  • grimesy

    Ingram,

    Leaving aside his genuinely personal reasons for not naming names, surely he’s bound by the OSA from dishing the dirt?

  • Ingram

    Grimesy,

    The OSA can be used. That is where you need to be brave and have the will to fight the might of the state( Treasury solicitor).

    It took me 3 years from being arrested to the police bail being released although I still remain under a high court injunction today which forbids any disclosures.

    Although I do not play ball and have released Stakeknife the book subsequent to that injunction , although Freddy Scap and his solicitors did try and have it enforced just prior to him being exposed.They failed.

    Human right legislation today does provide some comfort although the state would have to show REAL DAMAGE TO NATIONAL INTEREST to succeed.

    That is what I focused upon and the state bottled it.The last thing they want is a court Ding a Ling.

    The state would find it difficult to argue DAMAGE in this scenerio(mc Cord) .One aspect which would concern me though is Diplock! I would take a chance with a jury but not with a one man judge?.

    It is his decision but he shows no desire or intent to really open up this hornets nest if or when the Ombudsman bottles it and lets these criminals avoid justice.

    Regards

    Ingram

  • Jimmy

    I know this is slightly off the point … just wondering if anyone heard the interview with the holocaust denier David Irving on Radio Ulster this morning? I was surprised to see air time being given to a racist like Irving. Some historians refuse to engage with him in public debates because they regard him as beneath contempt. By the end of the radio debate with him I changed my mind because he exposed himself as a bigot pretending to be a historian. This week is holocaust memorial week and it was courageous to interview a holocaust denier on the weekend before the commemoration.

  • Gonzo

    It seems to be the case that the names will be published in the 200-page report that remains confidential, but is already in the hands of Orde and Hain.

    The public report will not name names. I’d imagine this is because of the lack of evidence ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ – as it’s likely that evidence implicating officers has been destroyed. The retired Special Branch officers know that there just isn’t enough hard evidence to convict in a criminal court. They have prepared an extensive statement which will be published tomorrow.

    Surely any remedy for victims would seem more likely to come through a civil action, where the burden of proof has to be ‘on the balance of probabilities’?

  • Ingram

    Gonzo,

    Yes , It does look like it. The Ombudsman cannot compel the retired police officers to cooperate with her inquiries.The serving ones will keep stum.

    The Civil courts route is a recipe for only the poor lawyers, the PSNI officers will be represented by the Police association so costs will not be a factor.

    I would caution Mr McCord to be careful with that route although I would be more than willing to donate to a fighting fund if he did proceed .

    In relation to evidence. That is where Jonty and the other CID officers would be invaluable although I doubt they would be prepared to go that far to support justice.

    Regards mate and Happy New Year.

    Ingram

  • Gonzo

    It seems to be the case that the names will be published in the 200-page report that remains confidential, but is already in the hands of Orde and Hain.

    The public report will not name names. I’d imagine this is because of the lack of evidence ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ – as it’s likely that evidence implicating officers has been destroyed. The retired Special Branch officers know that there just isn’t enough hard evidence to convict in a criminal court, and have been told they won’t be prosecuted, even though the Attorney-General is still supposedly considering O’Loan’s recommendation to prosectute a few of them.

    The ex-SB officers have prepared an extensive statement which will be published tomorrow.

    Their attitude appears to be that what they did was within policy agreed with or laid down by the government and that it saved many lives, or that their actions were for the ‘greater good’.

    In my opinion, this is not the same as ‘acting in the public interest’, since members of the public ended up dead. Special Branch simply doesn’t know if more lives were saved than lost through its collusion with the UVF. Nor does it have the right to act as God with anyone’s life.

    Surely any remedy for victims would seem more likely to come through a civil action, where the burden of proof has to be ‘on the balance of probabilities’?

  • Gonzo

    Apologies for the semi-double post. Must have hit submit at the wrong time.

  • Rory

    Grimesy is oh so wrong in concurring with McCord Snr. that he may now only obtain justice through violence. He could only possibly obtain revenge by that means.

    Besides which justice in this case, as in others belongs not solely to the bereaved but to society as a whole and if their is a failure of justice, as yet again seems likely, then society loses and its trust and confidence in the process of justice becomes impoverished.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Some have been talking about McCord Snr. being in the UVF when he was young. Sorry to state the obvious (and apologies for “won’t somebody think of the children”), but his son deserves his death to be taken seriously no matter who his father is.

    Anyway, we either need to push this investigation all the way to prison sentences, or be honest and give these RUC a straightforward ‘You Killed Illegally Pre-1998 Get Out Of Jail Free Card’ just the same as all the paramilitaries.

  • Gonzo

    Suddenly, the amnesty for the security forces in the failed Hain legislation for IRA fugitives becomes clear…

    Course, if the Attorney General is recommending no prosecution for the police’s role in terrorist murder, he’s hardly going to recommend the OTRs be prosecuted.

    Queen’s pardons all round? Quietly, of course.

    I think it will be interesting to watch the unionist reaction tomorrow.

    Unionists tend to defend the police blindly, so they may end up defending the indefensible, while saying the IRA fugitives should still be prosecuted. I predict they will take the absurd line about the lack of evidence, possibly combined with the usual ‘few bad apples’ shite.

    They will look very stupid, particularly as it is becoming more and more clear that the biggest threat to their voters’ lives in post-ceasefire Northern Ireland came from loyalists, not the IRA.

    And what did they do about it?

    Fuck all. Big pat on the back there lads. Best to maintain the fiction.

  • lies, damned lies

    And this is the barely changed organisation SF are demanding their voters support. Staggering, really.

  • JR

    The normally vocal Unionist politicians have gone very quiet. Will they now admit to the RUC collusion?

  • POL

    I think its amazing that people on this thread are debating non prosection in regards to these RUC/PSNI/SB thugs.These so-called security personnel were trusted to keep the peace, yet they were out murdering people they were trusted to protect.In the case of paramilitaries they were not entrusted to uphold any such moral responsibility. These security personnel should be held to account,however how far up the political ladder did these murders go.And that i believe is the reason there will be no prosecutions.

  • Oranges for Sale

    Theres a lot of republicans here crying crocodile tears over a dead prod (McCord jnr), if he was an IRA victim it would be a different story……

  • Yokel

    Oranges for Sale…such cynicism.

    You are probably right though.

  • Dessertspoon

    Sorry to wander off topic but I have an appeal for info. I thought that I had heard that David Jameson, former UVF and who knows what else..was arrested at the weekend re intimidation and blackmail charges. Anyone else hear this?

  • Aaron McDaid

    Yokel, Oranges for Sale,
    You may or may not be right about some republicans, but it’d be a great leap to say it was true about all of them (not that this is your opinion or anything). Name me any group in NI, based on religion or politics or anything else, and there will be heartless people within. By that logic, nobody should give a damn about anybody in NI.

    Casting aspersions about some unspecified republicans/unionists/whatever is easy to do but delivers little or nothing of substance.

    The idea that an entire political movement is united in disregard of the beating to death of Raymond McCord Jnr is cynicism in the extreme. I’m not cynical enough to believe this is your position though.

  • Oranges for Sale

    Aaron McDaid

    Not only do I think that there is a great deal of crocodile tears here from certain people, but I also believe that the ombudsman’s report has merely been released at a time when policing for republicans has become the ‘make or break’ issue of the moment. The release of the O’Loan report is a pointless attempt by the government to illustrate the openness of the new police service and to highlight how things have changed in an attempt to encourage republicans to sign up. It’s pointless because there won’t be any prosecutions. If there will not be any prosecutions for pre 1998 murders then one can only conclude that the release of the report was purely political. It simply serves as another excuse for a bit of Unionist bashing and nothing more.
    For the record, I don’t think that Unionists in general have any problems with the report at all, simply the fact that whilst there is a police ombudsman resurrecting cases of collusion from years ago, there is no ombudsman to probe the republican leadership on their past crimes, or maybe Gerry and Martin will provide some vital evidence now that they have endorsed the crown forces, who knows?

  • Aaron McDaid

    Oranges for Sale,
    RUC-bashing is not Unionist-bashing. If some unionists have wedded themselves irrevocably to defending the RUC no matter what, that’s their problem.

    The public, unionist or nationalist, are entitled to criticize the police when appropriate; and as you rightly point out many unionists will agree with nationalists that this example RUC-loyalist collusion is a disgrace.

    So you can score cheap points against some in the SF leadership if you like, just as easily as I could do the same with unionist politicians, but this is no comfort to the people on the ground from all communities who suffered. I’m happy for McCord, and wish him success seeking the whole truth in the future.

    If you think the timing of this is political, then what’s your alternative? The only fair alternative is for the British government to admit fighting dirty and only then ask for an amnesty. Total denial and coverup is not acceptable surely?

  • Oranges for Sale

    Aaron McDaid

    I will concede that at least some of what you say sound reasonable. However I have two points;

    1) Most in the Unionist community view the ombudsman’s office with distrust, and see it as a sweetener that was made to facilitate nationalists during the Belfast Agreement. But the main problem for us is that there is no dedicated organization to investigate past republican activists. Yes, police collusion was probably this country’s worst kept secret but how many senior Sinn Fein activists are just as guilty as those senior police officers? Will there ever be an investigation with the full co operation of SF? No! With respect, this isn’t cheap point scoring but a valid point of view.

    2) Yes it was a dirty war. However, some people say that government organizations co-operating with ‘patriotic’ guerrilla groups to suppress rival insurgents is an acceptable tactic. This is entirely what has happened here over the past three decades. Indeed the British make use of this very method today in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Americans have used it in the past during Vietnam. Its a cold blooded and heartless method of war which causes bitter tribal rivalries for generations. Yes your quite correct, total denial and subsequent cover up is not the answer.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Rory: “Grimesy is oh so wrong in concurring with McCord Snr. that he may now only obtain justice through violence. He could only possibly obtain revenge by that means. ”

    Revenge, in and of itself, is not unjust, Rory. As a matter of natural law, it is as near perfect justice as one can manage — eye for eye, tooth for tooth. It is only in this modern “civilized” era that a simply balancing of the scales is presented as being somehow inappropriate. Ironic, as the perpetrators would appear to be wholly above the law.

    Rory: “Besides which justice in this case, as in others belongs not solely to the bereaved but to society as a whole and if their is a failure of justice, as yet again seems likely, then society loses and its trust and confidence in the process of justice becomes impoverished.”

    Mayhap you have not been paying attention, Rory, but one can make the arguement that society, in this instance, is bankrupt, having condoned this behavior for so long and now lacks the stomach to clean up its own mess, preferring to simply bury it ‘neath the foundation of power-sharing.

  • Aaron McDaid

    OfS, your point about investigating IRA activities is indeed valid. Would it be fair to say we both support truth and justice for the likes of McCord and (innocent) victims of any organisation, and the only outstanding issue is whether third parties are making political capital out of it hypocritically? If so, they are two separate issues, on the one hand the fact of the collusion and the entire public’s right to some honesty and on the other hand SF making political capital.

    Anyway, isn’t the HET investigating past activities, including IRA? The IRA do cooperate with the Ombudsman just the same as many RUC officers did, i.e. not at all. Unionists could more easily turn the spotlight on the IRA if the RUC officers cooperated fully.

    The systematic destruction of files adds a new element to this which I have only just recently understood fully. The SB-wide policy, as decided formally by the top brass and confirmed by everybody and denied by nobody, was to destroy all files regularly. No matter how justified the dirty war, one would expect the state to keep some records. As of now, this is in some ways the most suspicious of all the findings. Almost any killing can be justified by some people, but a police force automatically destroying all documents with no shame is really suspicious.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Oranges for Sale: “Most in the Unionist community view the ombudsman’s office with distrust, and see it as a sweetener that was made to facilitate nationalists during the Belfast Agreement.”

    Ah, but no small number of Unionists would look askance at it, regardless of the timing — as noted above, there are those who have wedded themselves to the notion that the RUC was above reproach and will defend them to the bitter end.

    Oranges for Sale: “Yes, police collusion was probably this country’s worst kept secret but how many senior Sinn Fein activists are just as guilty as those senior police officers? Will there ever be an investigation with the full co operation of SF?”

    Hmmmmm… disregarding the whataboutery in your questions, you’re comparing apples and… well, oranges. As a minimum, no one hired, trained and deployed SF as constables. Like it or no, representative of the state got in bed with thugs. If anything, that exacerbated problems on two fronts, undercutting the legitimacy of the police and, as a consequence of the first, supporting the political theater of PIRA. Without getting into the “chicken or the egg” issue over which came first, RUC collusion or PIRA’s accusation of the same, the police played the role of Saxon villian well enough for most propaganda purposes. Likewise, their behavior is, apparently, still paying political dividends to some in the arena.

    Oranges for Sale: “Yes it was a dirty war. However, some people say that government organizations co-operating with ‘patriotic’ guerrilla groups to suppress rival insurgents is an acceptable tactic.”

    Ain’t it funny that its only a war, albeit a dirty one, when Loyalists are in the dock?