“that’s very different from apologising for his own involvement in the case..”

The BBC’s Vincent Kearney reports on the review of forensic procedures here in the aftermath of the collapse of the trial of Sean Hoey, while noting that the ban on the use of Low Copy Number DNA as potentially admissable evidence has been lifted elsewhere, but it was Channel 4 News who doorstepped Sir Ronnie Flanagan coming out of a meeting with Victor Barker and secured the following quotes from the former Chief Constable.

“I absolutely publicly apologise to the families in Omagh,” he told Channel Four news.

“I am desperately sorry that we have not at this point brought people to justice for that dreadful attack. I publicly apologise to all those families and all those victims; to all those who were injured, without reservation.

“Of course as Chief Constable, I have to take responsibility for the shortcomings that the judge highlighted and I take responsibility for those shortcomings”.

Asked if he would resign, Sir Ronnie replied: “I don’t think that is appropriate.”

The report also notes Victor Barker’s response

Mr Barker, who has been demanding Sir Ronnie’s resignation, said the apology didn’t go far enough. “He apologised that no one’s been brought to justice, that’s very different from apologising for his own involvement in the case,” he said.

“I don’t think he can morally justify remaining in his current position when he was the major responsible officer for an investigation that fell so short of what the relatives should have expected.”

But with the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, backing the man who is now the Home Secretary’s senior professional advisor on policing in his current job it’s unlikely that he will be pushed.

  • Does he really think an apology is sufficient? And on what planet does he reside if he thinks that he shouldn’t resign given the criticism of his stewardship of the Omagh investigation? The same one as Bertie Ahern who wants us to think that he’s ‘tax compliant’?

  • Siphonophore

    Low Copy Number Multiplex PCR can under ideal conditions generate a profile with about 100 picograms of DNA but this is really pushing current technologies and is very challenging when trying to amplify a single section of DNA instead of the multiple sections that are amplified for fingerprinting. Generally about 20 nanograms (ie 20,000 picograms) of DNA is the required minimum for PCR, so reducing that amount by 200 fold to only a handful of original copies is likely to increase the chance of artefacts created by the PCR process. Additionally, the very regions that are used for fingerprinting are stretches of repetitive DNA (like ALU repeats) and these are the types of DNA regions that are more likely to amplify incorrectly. This protocol has much merit but by itself it is not something I would feel comfortable stating satisfies the standard of reasonable doubt.

    1. Low Copy Number DNA Template Can Render Polymerase Chain Reaction Error Prone in a Sequence-Dependent Manner

    2. Efficacy and limits of genotyping low copy number (LCN) DNA samples by multiplex PCR of STR loci.

    3. Simplified low-copy-number DNA analysis by post-PCR purification.

    4. Role of short tandem repeat DNA in forensic casework in the UK–past, present, and future perspectives.

    5. Real-time PCR designs to estimate nuclear and mitochondrial DNA copy number in forensic and ancient DNA studies.

  • This was good old fashioned journalism at its best. More on http://www.oconallstreet.com .

    Well done Channel4.

  • cut the bull

    Ronnie Flanagan has shown once again that he was, is and always will be a true professional bullshitter.

    I think Ronnie remaining in his present position says a lot for the British Govt and the complete diregard it has for its citizens.

  • al

    Looks like a witch hunt to me…have to moan about someone after all?

  • Presumably Flanagan and O’Loan were both working within the political constraints laid down at the time of their appointments by the UK government, constraints probably arrived at by agreement with their Irish counterparts; one has been damned/knighted, the other damed.

    It’s hardly a secret that from the 90s onwards, at least, the police were constrained by a political policy of not ruffling paramilitary feathers without political clearance ie they could observe paramilitary wrong doing but not always intervene. Within that context how was a police officer supposed to handle evidence, evidence that might have put parapoliticians behind bars.

  • nmc

    The man’s job demands that he should be beyond reproach. It’s fairly obvious what happens under his watch – police lie, they are incompetent in their work and in return they can expect to be backed up to the hilt.

    Ronnie’s problem is that the judge didn’t do as expected, he called the police to account. As a result Sean Hoey has been found to be innocent, without having to prove anything. He was a victim (innocent or otherwise) of police corruption and this was enough to ensure he was not found guilty.

    Flanaghan responded to criticism of his investigation by saying that if it were found wanting he’d resign. Yet more lies from our top policeman. At the very least he should have the courage to respond to the people he made that commitment to, and to explain in what way the investigation was anything other than a total balls up totally down to the incompetence and illegal bahaviour of the policemen he backed up in the first place.

    Ronnie has shown his true spots. Lie. Say anything to take the heat off. Make commitments that you don’t intend to keep. Further your career, and spare no thought to the people’s lives you have affected – forever robbing them of the possibility of justice. And above all hide like a pussy from people who ask you why you told them lies when their loved ones were taken from them.

  • “The man’s job demands that he should be beyond reproach”

    nmc, surely you’d need to see the terms of a Chief Constable’s contract, written and unwritten, before you rush to judgement …

  • al

    Why would he need to resign from being Chief Con if he’s already left that position nmc?

  • nmc

    nmc, surely you’d need to see the terms of a Chief Constable’s contract, written and unwritten, before you rush to judgement …

    It’s implied that he should be beyond reproach in that he is a policeman, but to go further and say that in policing terms he holds one of the highest positions available in his chosen field. He reports directly to the government and as one of the highest ranking policemen in the UK I do not need to see a contract to know that he should be beyond reproach.

    Or perhaps it’s your opinion that a man who tells lies, whose previous job was as CC of a recognised corrupt force (so much so that the force was dismantled and replaced) is the most qualified and suitable policeman in the UK for his job? The one who presided over an investigation which he laid his job on that was to be a flawless investigation, which in turn was totally flawed and undermined by lies from the policemen from his force (the one that had to be dismantled).

    Ronnie’s achievements: RUC CC (well done old boy, but the force was a disaster for non protestants) Omagh (a last farewell where the police did what they have done here for decades, lie and fabricate to put someone in jail when the evidence wasn’t available). God knows what wonderful work he’s doing now.

    Why would he need to resign from being Chief Con if he’s already left that position nmc?

    He said he would resign if the Omagh investigation wasn’t up to scratch. He was a civil servant and a policeman then and he still is now. But he has the integrity of an old RUC man, so he won’t be handing in his notice nor losing a blink of sleep over the families of the victims in Omagh.