“a sealed envelope containing the commission’s reasons..”

Interesting detail from this Irish News frontpage story today, [subs req for now] and mentioned in the daily newspaper round-up on the BBC here. Sinn Féin’s former publicity director Danny Morrison looks set to have his 1991 conviction for false imprisonment of Alexander ‘Sandy’ Lynch overturned, following the intervention of the CCRC, despite his previous failed attempts to do so.

Earlier this year the 55-year-old and co-accused Gerard Hodgins had their cases referred back to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates alleged miscarriages of justice. However, in a highly unusual move the commission refused to publicly explain its reasons for referring either man’s case back to the Court of Appeal. Instead a sealed envelope containing the commission’s reasons was presented to the Court of Appeal but never opened.

Only the commission and the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) are aware of the reasons for Mr Morrison’s conviction being referred back to the appeal court. Previous attempts by Mr Morrison and Mr Hodgins to have their convictions overturned were rejected by the courts. However, last Friday the PPS unexpectedly informed the Court of Appeal that it would not oppose the latest appeal. The two men are expected to have their convictions officially overturned at a hearing on October 3. A PPS spokesman last night confirmed that it would not contest the appeal.

The report also notes the denials of involvement in the case by Freddie Scappaticci.

In 2003 west Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci publicly denied that he was the British army agent known as ‘Stakeknife’.

He denied having tipped off police that Mr Morrison was to visit the house on the Lenadoon estate where Mr [Sandy] Lynch was being held prisoner by the IRA.

Mr Morrison said he had gone to the house to hold a press conference at which Mr Lynch would admit to being an informer.

Rusty has noted previously journalist and author Greg Harkin’s view of the options available to the PPS in this case

Once there, there are two options for the Crown – a re-trial, which would expose the role of agents in the case, giving official and public confirmation to the roles of Scappaticci and the second IRA man as informers and chief prosecution witness Lynch as a double murderer. Or the Crown agrees to drop all charges and Morrison’s conviction is quashed. Few would be surprised if the second option is preferred.

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  • picador

    Er, wonder if it’s anything to do with Scap’s involvement in this case.

    How long until Ingram shows up? Or has he been decommissioned?

  • Lurker

    I always knew that Danny was a fine man who would never contemplate any harm to any living person.

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    Right, that’s it! First the McCartney case, now this. If these judges don’t start giving us the justice that suits our prejudices we should do away with them. I’m going to be blogging about this at considerable length

  • picador

    Interesting article by Harkin. I wonder why he didn’t name the other agent. Reading between the lines the second agent is ….

  • The report in the Irish News doesn’t tell us much more than we know already.

    Can anyone shed any light on this bit….

    However, in a highly unusual move the commission refused to publicly explain its reasons for referring either man’s case back to the Court of Appeal.

    Instead a sealed envelope containing the commission’s reasons was presented to the Court of Appeal but never opened.

    Only the commission and the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) are aware of the reasons for Mr Morrison’s conviction being referred back to the appeal court.

    Why all the secrecy?

  • 0b101010

    From that Sunday Life article back in April:

    Here we had two agents starting the interrogation of another agent.

    One commentator described such a scenario as “like something out of Monty Python”. Lynch knew Special Branch were watching over him, but he had no idea until later that Scappaticci and the second man were on his side. Scap knew Lynch was a tout – but Scap had no clue of the other man’s role.

    Unlike Monty Python, of course, it’s not funny; not at all. As time goes on it becomes more and more apparent that the paramilitaries were/are almost exclusively controlled by intelligence agents and informers. The powers that be had turned our country into a war-game between their own players, for no discernible benefit.

    I don’t believe for one moment that what we have now is the result of a well-thought long-range plan by the various intelligence agencies; more likely their attention was demanded elsewhere, as supported by their refocussing and departure.

  • 0b101010

    *April 07

  • heck

    It appears that the only person telling the truth in this whole affair was Danny Morrison. The police were in on the set up. Morrison was entrapped by a british agent who was also a murderer, the prosecution service with held evidence and the judge made sure the whole thing went down as planned. The legal system in this case was nothing more than a propaganda cover for locking up someone the authorities thought was too articulate to be allowed to roam free.

    So when, Pete, is you next posting on “the rule of law.”

  • paddy thompson

    fair play to dan he is and always will be a gentelman