“the climate of today” – redux

Three men have been remanded in custody following the shooting of a policeman in Carrickfergus at the weekend – during the stand-off between the ‘good’ and ‘not-so-good’ UDA. But, according to the Irish News, another man was released without charge despite being on bail.[subs req] The individual concerned, Alan John McLean, had been ordered to leave the country, by the Courts, in January this year because of threats from the mainstream UDA [that would be the ‘good’ UDA? – Ed] but apparently those bail conditions were relaxed in May – as were Ihab Shoukri’s in March. It’s also worth reminding ourselves of the charges against McLean et al, charges which the DPP have been given clearance to proceed with. From that recent ruling

McLean is charged with a single count of supporting a proscribed organisation by assisting in managing a meeting on behalf of the UDA, contrary to section 12(2)(a).

A charge which, I’d suggest, could be levelled [see second detail noted] at one or two others..The case against McLean noted in that ruling is worth repeating too

The case against McClean

[38] McClean is charged with a single count of supporting a proscribed organisation by assisting in managing a meeting on behalf of the UDA, contrary to section 12(2)(a). The evidence relied upon by the prosecution falls into two parts. The first is that he was found in the Alexandra Bar by the police amongst a group of males who were wearing combat trousers and boots. There is also evidence that images of people in paramilitary uniform were found on his mobile phone; a video found at his home contains what the prosecution say is footage of a UDA/UFF show of strength; and a CD with the theme music to the “Young Guns” movie was found in his house.

[39] Whilst this undoubtedly gives rise to suspicion that McClean may be a member of the UDA, without more it falls short of evidence, as opposed to speculation, which could lead a court to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that by his mere presence in the bar in these circumstances, and by possession of these items, he was assisting in arranging or managing a meeting on behalf of the UDA. At best it is evidence of sympathy for the UDA but nothing more.

[40] The remaining evidence relied upon is that his fingerprints had been found on Exhibit KB9, the contents of which have already been quoted. The handling of a document containing such sentiments, taken with the other material relating to him, could lead the court to conclude that his presence was not merely indicative of sympathy for the UDA, but was evidence of his involvement in arranging a meeting at which such a speech was to be delivered. I am satisfied that this is evidence which could justify the court in concluding that a person who was present in the circumstances in which McClean was found, and who had handled a document of such a nature, was present to assist in managing a meeting on behalf of the UDA. I therefore refuse the application for No Bill on Count 10.

As for those others.. well.. we have photographs..

Not, though, that the police the NIO et al should have been better prepared this time..

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