According to the BBC report, Larry Zaitschek, the New York chef who was charged with aggravated burglary, assault and imprisonment of a police officer and of having information of use to terrorists following the Castlereagh burglary in 2002, will not be brought to trial. The theft of Special Branch files at the Belfast Headquarters of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and subsequent allegations of a Sinn Féin spy-ring, led to the suspension of the NI Assembly. Needless to say the Slugger archive contains useful nuggets, from an early note of the investigation in 2002, to a timeline of events up to December 2005 following the revealing of Sinn Féins former Head of Administration in the Assembly, Denis Donaldson, as an informer and his eventual murder. And in January 2006 a post on “conflicting narratives” noting a Guardian report of the then Secretary of State Peter Hain’s refusal to open up intelligence files to clear the air after the Stormont affair or to give a full public explanation of who was spying on whom and why. He wasn’t the only one ushering everyone along from a moment of governmental memory loss. There’s even a coherent theory on the events of the time. From today’s BBC report.
The PPS said it had decided to drop the case against him because he would not receive a fair trial. They took the decision after the police said they could not make all relevant material available to the PPS. The police said this material did not originate from either them or the security services.
“Despite the efforts of the PSNI, we are not in a position to make available all the relevant material to PPS for the purposes of disclosure,” a police statement said. “Consequently, the PPS have concluded that Mr Zaitschek could not receive a fair trial and PSNI are in agreement that a prosecution could not proceed in those circumstances.”
Adds The BBC have the full text of the police statement. And In the comments zone, Gonzo points to his look at the “unhealthy rivalry” between elements of the police and security services. Also worth noting Brian Rowan’s short report.
Text of police statement
The PSNI has pursued a rigorous and thorough investigation into the events concerning the aggravated burglary at Castlereagh Police Station which occurred on March 17 2002.
All materials and evidence gathered during the course of that investigation and known to the PSNI were properly presented or revealed to the public prosecution service who initially concluded that the test for prosecution was met.
Recently, other material (which did not originate from the PSNI or the security and intelligence agencies) was drawn to the attention of the PSNI. This was relevant to the facts at issue and the PSNI agreed was such that its disclosure would be necessary in order for Mr Zaitschek to receive a fair trial.
Despite the efforts of the PSNI, we are not in a position to make available all the relevant material to PPS for the purposes of disclosure.
Consequently, the PPS have concluded that Mr Zaitschek could not receive a fair trial and PSNI are in agreement that a prosecution could not proceed in those circumstances.