“reasonable, proportionate and necessary in the circumstances”

Several media outlets pick up the outcome of a Police Ombudsman investigation which stated “A police officer was justified in shooting a man who planted a bomb in Belfast city centre” in November 2002. The investigation would in line with Regulation 20, although it doesn’t seem to be online yet. But there are a few details worth highlighting.There’s the question of why it’s taken over 4 years for the report to be made public. The man who was shot is named in this UTV report

The use of live fire by police had been “reasonable, proportionate and necessary in the circumstances”, said Mrs O`Loan, following a lengthy investigation.
The officer who opened fire had no alternative but to do so, she added.

Paul Donnelly was critically injured when undercover police intercepted him and an accomplice as they sped away after planting a bomb in a car outside the motor tax office in Upper Queen Street in November 2002.

and it’s worth noting that having been given a sentence of only 5 years – for possessing explosives with intent to endanger life – he’s probably already been released. His accomplice, unnamed, received a sentence of 12 years.

The UTV report also notes

Mrs O`Loan described as inadequate the fact that the police log for the operation consisted of two pages of A4 and did not provide a full account of the options considered, decisions taken and rationale for the operation, nor of the briefings given to officers.

The PSNI has since implemented a series of recommendations made by the Ombudsman following the investigation, she said.

A file was supplied by the Ombudsman to the Public Prosecution Service in March 2004 and in May 2006 the PPS directed that no officer should be prosecuted.

And according to the BBC report

Her report said police mounted an operation in advance of an anticipated attack in Belfast.

They saw two vehicles travelling in convoy, one of which was left outside the DVLA offices. The driver then got into a second car which drove into Howard Street.

Just how was the attack anticipated and what type of operation was mounted? – “undercover police” are referred to here.

Did the anticipation, for example, arise from the use of an informant? Given previous criticism of police handling of informants it would seem to be a point worth making if it was the case.

,

  • Gonzo

    Don’t be afraid to elaborate.

  • Dec

    The officer who opened fire had no alternative but to do so, she added.

    Already looking forward to the Ombudsman’s report into the recent PSNI discharge of shots in Ardoyne, which by my calculations should be due in July 2011.

  • brian blessed

    How can anyone care what happened to this scumbag? Only a shame he wasn’t killed. And his relatives’ homes bulldozed.

  • pedant

    Note to Pete:

    Sorry to be pedantic but the office in question was the belfast LVLO in Upper Queen Street (at the time although subsequently has moved) of the DVLNI and not the DVLA. The DVLNI has responsibility for vehicle licensing in Northern Ireland whereas DVLA based in Swansea has responsibility for Great Britain.

  • Pete Baker

    pedant

    That note should be directed to the BBC – where the quoted section came from.

  • Cato

    I think it’s worth remembering that investment in GCHQ and the relative amateurishness of some of these idiots could make it possible for information to have been picked up on the airwaves.
    Another possibility is that there was an informer. Let us postulate for a moment that this particular informer came voluntarily to the PSNI from within the ranks of dissident republicans.
    Are the PSNI supposed to turn away such potentially excellent information in the interests of purely ‘civic’ policing?
    Or do we all agree that if such information is used to prevent a serious bomb attack, then it is welcome and necessary?

  • blogrus

    “How can anyone care what happened to this scumbag? Only a shame he wasn’t killed. And his relatives’ homes bulldozed.”

    Let’s keep scum like this off the website. If someone is guilty of a crime, no matter how heinous, they deserve the right to a trial and appropriate judgement. Brian Blessed should be expunged from your records. It is comments like this one would expect from the likes of Sadam or Idi Amin. We are supposed to be a civilised society. Do we really want street justice?

  • bollix

    i like o’loan. she seems to be doing a good job. some days she lays into the police for collusion, other days she says they are justified shooting suspects.
    Its almost as if she is trying to do her job impartially. Most of our reactions are determined by our political identity, we then put a veneer of intellectual argument on top to justify our emotional and intuitive reaction. So far hats off to o’loan for being an annoyingly stubborn woman who ploughs on with her own job regardless of which side she is currently being criticised by.

  • Belfastwhite

    The driver was told to put his hands where they could be seen. Instead, officers stated that he appeared to try to pull something from the waistband area of his trousers,” said the report.

    I would be interested to know just what he was actually reaching for in the waistband of his trousers as it is quite evident that there were no firearms found. Ok call me a cynic but hasn’t this “I thought he was going for a gun or detonator” excuse been used in the past?

  • picador

    Ok call me a cynic but hasn’t this “I thought he was going for a gun or detonator” excuse been used in the past?

    Zillion of times JW. I believe that is on Page One of the cover-up manual. However on this occasion there were civilian witnesses who supported the police’s version of events regarding warnings given.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I’m still unclear about what the “point worth making” is. A number of points could be made.

  • Pete Baker

    “Did the anticipation, for example, arise from the use of an informant? Given previous criticism of police handling of informants it would seem to be a point worth making if it was the case.”

    Gonzo

    What part of that paragraph is unclear to you?

  • Call me a cynic

    and it’s worth noting that having been given a sentence of only 5 years – for possessing explosives with intent to endanger life – he’s probably already been released

    …aye and it’s worth noting what this guy got up to when released!

    Didn’t anyone notice?

  • Gonzo

    Pete

    Assuming that there was anticipation of the incident thanks to an informer, I’m wondering how previous criticism of informant handling relates to this shooting.

  • Pete Baker

    Gonzo

    None. To the shooting, that is. However, to a successful police operation which apprehended those responsible for planting a bomb and prevented that bomb detonating…