not in a position to make available all the relevant material to PPS for the purposes of disclosure”

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 Féin’s 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.

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  • joeCanuck

    The police said this material did not originate from either them or the security services.

    That’s a very puzzling statement. Did the PIRA intelligence department share info with MI5? If it came from an informer then obviously MI5 could be said to be the originator.
    Murky world.

  • Pete Baker

    Whoever shared it with the police are refusing to allow it to be further disclosed.

    Or for it to be used in court.

  • joeCanuck

    In that case, an application should be made in court to force the police to hand over their computers and notes to someone or other. PPS?

  • redhugh78

    Intersting choice of headline for this article Pete.You had to go into overdrive to try and spin this one into an anti-republican article but you got there eventually.

    Yet again another high profile case collapses, nothing new there then, the northern bank robbery comes to mind.

  • Dave

    “Recently, other material (which did not originate from the PSNI or the security and intelligence agencies) was drawn to the attention of the PSNI.”

    What a teaser! The latest twist in a case that would merit a full public inquiry anywhere else but in NI even secret shenanigans that brought down a democratically elected administration, drew the ire of the Police Ombudsman, led to a top Shinner and Adams man being self-exposed (pre-emptively) as a British agent, etc, merits nothing but a ‘nothing to see here, folks’ response.

  • Pete Baker

    Hugh

    The headline is a quote from the BBC report of the police statement.

    I’m not sure where you see the anti-republican spin though..

    Dave

    Well, to be fair, they are saying that there is something to see.

    But they can’t/won’t show us what that is..

  • dunreavynomore

    “Well, to be fair, they are saying that there is something to see.

    But they can’t/won’t show us what that is..”

    Meanwhile we are expected to believe that we have an acceptable justice syatem and to give our support to that system.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    It seems a bit odd to concentrate so much on Donaldson and Stormontgate when yesterday’s news was about Zaitschek and Castlereagh. I don’t think they’ve been directly linked (though no doubt some of the same players were involved), but if the connection is that they combined to bring down Stormont, then why not mention Colombia?

    Only the first link, to a brief piece by Mick in which only one link still works, actually refers to Zaitschek. The others are to Pete’s previous entries, all on the separate scandal of Stormontgate, though one post – about Bill Lowry – is indirectly linked to the Castlereagh break-in. (But not to Zaitschek.)

    If you thought it was because there was nothing else on Slugger related to Zaitschek and his extradition case, you’d be wrong. The Slugger archives do indeed contain useful nuggets related to the latest developments.

    You’d find some relevant information here, here and here.

    This analysis I wrote four years ago may also be of interest towards the end, and is particularly relevant in the context of how the Chilcott Report may have fed into the devolution of policing and justice.

    While today’s statement is indeed tantalising, surely it must somehow feed into P&J?

    Slugger’s search didn’t bring up any previous entries by Pete on the subject, linkspam fans, for some reason.

  • fin

    What noone has pointed out is that in June 2006, he began High Court action against the Public Prosecution Service and this is the result.

    The accused a ‘wanted’ man took the police to court to move things on!!!

    The ‘breakin’ happened in 2002, the police claimed to have a case against him, the BBC report says the new information is recent. The wording of the statement seems to imply that the information is favourable to Zaitschek, also the wording implies that the information came from a non-UK source, my guess is the FBI who have been involved in all this.

    another useful link would have been to Ronnie Flannagan stating it looked like an ‘inside job’

    The PSNI linked this to Stormontgate, the PSNI have gotten away with not explaining Stormontgate, Castlereagh, or Gareth O’Connor, it would be nice if someone grew a pair of balls and nailed them and finally put an end to political policing

  • Pete Baker

    Gonzo

    You may regard them as separate scandals, and you’re free to blog them as such, but I view them as being connected.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Clearly. But you don’t say how or why, or even hint!

  • fin

    Pete, even the PSNI don’t even try to claim that anymore, I suggest you get down to the local police station with your information.

    The only scandal is the political policing that still exists in NI

  • Belfast Gonzo

    fin

    They are separate events in a single Cold War, but may well be linked through certain people. For example, Donaldson was supposed to have met with Larry in the past. And no doubt Bobby Storey was in the mix somewhere, and Bill Lowry on the other side.

    But you simply can’t tell from the blog. Which makes mentioning Denis so much look a bit random. I think Pete has a point. I just wish he’d spit it out sometimes.

  • fin

    Gonzo, Pete won’t spit it out because I believe he’s trying to peddle the line that the PSNI fed to the media regarding Zaitschek been closely connected to Donaldson, the connection just didn’t exist.

    What Pete left out of his blog speaks volumes, no mention that this court case was started by Zaitschek, no mention that Ronnie Flannaghan called it an ‘inside job’ in fact no detail around the case just referrals to Donaldson and Stormontgate.

    As with every other case that Pete and unionism carps on about from Stormontgate, to Castlereagh, to Gareth O’Connor, to Quinn, to the NI robbery, its spin fed to the media by the PSNI and lapped up by unionism without question, it all gets a bit boring in the end.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    To be fair, we don’t know whether Larry didn’t have any connection to Donaldson either.

  • fin

    Zaitschek had met Donaldson previously, he’s stated publically that he hadn’t had contact with him for 1.5 years prior to taking the post at Castlereagh, I’m guessing this is the connection Pete is trying to create. If Pete or the PSNI know differently they have the beginning of a case.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Since that’s in the public domain, I don’t know why it wasn’t in the blog entry or links. Hence my puzzlement at Pete’s deliberate coyness.