“a campaign of intimidation..”

No one has yet been charged in connection with the attack on the City Church in the Holylands area which sheltered Roma families after they left their homes. But, following the arrest of three men, including the law student son of a leading QC who appears to sit on the GAA’s Anti- Doping Hearings Committee, and despite the police reportedly saying at the time that there was “no indication of a racial motive to the vandalism”, Policing Board members are now apparently concerned about the accuracy of the initial reporting. From the Irish Times report.

Sinn Féin board member and MLA Alex Maskey said he was in the City Church the morning after the breaking of the windows and watched CCTV footage showing the attack and the attackers. He believed the incident was “allowed to get out of hand, partly driven by media assumption that this was part of concerted, sinister racist intimidation”.

Of course, that assumption was also evident in statements by the SDLP, the UUP and the DUP. But, although the Alliance Party came close, none were as definitive in their identification of those responsible as Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey.

“This attack is a new low for those racist criminals engaged in a campaign of intimidation against ethnic communities here in the south of the city.”

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  • Framer

    On Tuesday, June 23, 2009 I wrote on Slugger under thread called ‘Protest for the travelling people’:

    “Why would a clutch of hoodies from the Holy Land break the windows of a nearby Protestant church?

    Because they were racists and did not like the church helping Romanians?

    Because they were sectarians who did not like Protestants worshipping so close?

    Because they wanted the Village loyalists to get the blame?

    The police know it was entirely motiveless (i.e. non-racist) so we can sleep more easily but does the PSNI understanding of motiveless mask one or more of the above?”

    Posted by Framer on Jun 24, 2009 @ 11:35 AM

    [It now seems the police have decided the intimidators were just being middle class, laddish and nationalist and thus by definition unracist, unlike the Village teenagers]

    Neil responded at the time:

    “pointless speculation. The perpetrators will face court, and we will know who they are. Although I find it amusing that faced with a choice between a certain Loyalist community doing what it does best, and a conspiracy by the dirty fenians you choose the conspiracy.
    Personally I’m going to speculate that you’re talking shite, that they are the usual suspects doing what they have done in the past. If I’m wrong I’ll concede that on a post on this thread, how about it, will you do the same? If it walks like a duck etc.
    People from the Village should bear in mind that we are all conditioned by the things we experience and witness from birth on. So some of the kids who witnessed the braying mob trying to move the catholics out of their area will now accept that as normal behaviour.
    You have to be careful with these things, cause the kids of today are the thugs of tomorrow and if you keep acting like an utter arsehole in front of ‘em it might come back and bite you on the ass. One day when the Catholics and the immigrants have moved on, then what will they do? Just stop? Or move on to that old bastard who shouted at us for kicking a football through his window?
    Posted by Neil on Jun 24, 2009 @ 01:17 PM

  • villa

    No-one is to be charged over the Church incident. The damage has been paid for apparently and a programme of voluntary work undertaken. More interesting is how the name of one of those arrested reached the media and the other two names did not. More interesting still is how this name got out at the pre-charge stage? No-one deserves this.

  • Baker,

    Please can you explain, if you’d be so kind, exactly why the fact that the father of a suspect in a (relatively minor) criminal investigation sits on a GAA disciplinary committee is at all relevant to the reporting of the story?

    You seem to have gone to some additional length to add this little gem of information to your reporting. Quite obviously you have gone out of your way, [i]once again[/i], to make the most tenous of connections between criminality and the nationalist community. Could you just not help yourself, again?

    I’d also like to point out that the youth concerned has not been charged with any crime and, quite obviously, that his parents are involved in professions that might make a lawsuit in response to frivolous and blatantly libelous comments seem all that more attractive.

    I’d also like to point out that the youth concerned has not been charged with any crime and, quite obviously, that his parents are involved in professions that might make a lawsuit in response to frivolous and blatantly

  • Framer

    So the lads got an informal caution and the matter does not have to go the Public Prosecution Service.

    One law for poor Prods, another for rich Catholics?

    If Villa is concerned about details reaching the BBC and other media, why is he adding further new facts into the same media, via Slugger, such as, “The damage has been paid for apparently and a programme of voluntary work undertaken.”

    As to no-one deserving pre-charge publicity, they weren’t charged so we would never have known it was a sectarian, nationalist, racist incident and not more loyalist bigory if the media were silent.

    It is all a bit like the Reichstag fire and who did that? Dimitrov or the SS?

    On questions such as these lives hinge.

  • Framer

    just to clear up the confusion because I seem to be missing something somewhere, who exactly has been convicted of attacking City Church? I know Baker has implicitly accused the GAA and explicitly so the four main political parties but I think that might be slightly exaggerating the situation.

    It’s not like Baker has ever indulged in similar hysterics in the past, regardless of his voyeuristic fanatacism for all things potentially criminal that can remotely be linked to the nationalist community, is it?

  • Framer

    Perhaps Pat you have not read the BBC NI report which gave the name of one of those interviewed, he being the son of a top QC, also named (which is why Villa tried to put the frighteners on re libel suits etc).

    If the Holyland 3 have been given a police caution, as Villa seems to say, and had their pocket money docked for a fortnight, they will have had to have admitted their guilt to avoid going to court.

  • kensei

    Disappointing. Unless you are prepared to face down this stuff in your own communtiy, then you have no authority to start making complaints elsewhere. And if it wasn’t racist, what the hell was it – why that building?

    The GAA stuff is seriously irrelevant, however. Could you care to explain the reporting value of it, Pete?

  • No-one is to be charged over the Church incident. The damage has been paid for apparently and a programme of voluntary work undertaken.

    Villa

    Who paid for the damage and who’ll be undertaking the voluntary work?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/8130510.stm

  • Pete Baker

    Ken

    It merely serves to highlight the inaccuracy of the initial reporting.

    Nothing more.

  • Mark McGregor

    Wasn’t the Dad an SDLP candidate in the past? Maybe I’m wrong and he just shares a name but if so that would seem as relevant as the GAA stuff.

  • Driftwood

    So, breaking the windows of a church in a sectarian attack is not now considered a crime by the PSNI?

  • [i]It merely serves to highlight the inaccuracy of the initial reporting.[/i]

    Absolute rubbish. You saw a cheap shot and you took it.

    Ultimately what you are saying is that is was “your lot” who were blamed for it in the first place. That was wrong. In fact, it was “the other lot”. While that looks at least 33.3% true, your aim to “highlight the inaccuracy of the initial reporting” does not require you to highlight a tenuous connection between the crime and a sporting organisation – which just happens to have an almost exclusively Catholic membership. It’s pathetic, and you know it.

    Framer,

    [i]Perhaps Pat you have not read the BBC NI report which gave the name of one of those interviewed, he being the son of a top QC, also named… If the Holyland 3 have been given a police caution, as Villa seems to say, and had their pocket money docked for a fortnight, they will have had to have admitted their guilt to avoid going to court. [/i]

    I did read it and it gave no indication that any individual had been charged with any criminal act. I’ll ask you again: exactly who has been convicted of attacking City Church?

    [iIf the Holyland 3 have been given a police caution, as Villa seems to say, and had their pocket money docked for a fortnight, they will have had to have admitted their guilt to avoid going to court. [/i]

    So now you’re taking an anonymous poster’s comments on a website as fact? Good luck to you. You pick and choose what to believe as you wish.

  • OC

    Canada has recently reinstated visa requirements for citisens of EU countries like the Czech Republic and Romania, because of Roma landing in Canada and demanding asylum.

    Perhaps a more important issue is the Roma themselves.

    Are magnitudes of the crimes and anti-social behaviours attributed to the Roma generally true, or grossly exaggerated? What is the level of assimilation that a host country can demand of foreigners?

    Some of these issues go far beyond the Roma.

  • Framer

    Sorry Pat, accepting a police caution is a conviction – pleading guilty even if not in a court.

    As to beleiving what you indiscreetly wrote about the caution and compensation arrangements for our young law student, am I to take it you are accusing yourself of lying?

    Is that a first?

  • [i]As to beleiving what you indiscreetly wrote about the caution and compensation arrangements for our young law student, am I to take it you are accusing yourself of lying?

    Is that a first?[/i]

    No, because I didn’t write that, ‘villa’ did. Do keep up. That’s it – now, come down of your equally sanctimonious high horse.

    [i]accepting a police caution is a conviction – pleading guilty even if not in a court.[/i]

    1. No, it’s not.

    2. Again, you’re taking a version of events written by an anonymous poster as fact. You have no other basis for making your claims and simply pick and choose what to believe as and when it suits you.

  • Just to indulge in some more pedantry, see the answer to the penultimate question on the following page:

    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/powers/cautioning/

    So, even if the version of events stated by ‘villa’ is correct, you are entirely incorrect. Hope this makes it easier for you to keep up with the debate, Framer.

  • well well

    One thing is for sure, we haven’t heard the last of this. The media are going to pursue this until it’s made clear whether a prosecution is going to be forthcoming or not.
    I’m only amazed that the little tykes didn’t get driven to a cop shop in the paternal Merc to avoid those pics being shot, but I assume that was before they’d realised Pater had to become involved.

  • holyland res

    The man arrested is the son of Adrian Colton QC, who was a SDLP “young turk”, along with alex attwood in the 80’s and stood for the SDLP in mid ulster assembly elections and was presented at a recent sdlp dinner, as a likely future candidate.

  • ashamed

    Tis truly a day for rejoicing in the unionist community! For there are Fenian racists as well! The pressure is off us until we smash the next immigrants’ windows! Yay!

  • Pat the Baker

    So, even if the version of events stated by ‘villa’ is correct, you are entirely incorrect

    Not entirely incorrect, accepting a policd caution is surely an admission of guilt even if the crime involved doesn’t go on your record?

    Back to the original report:

    One of the three men arrested was released unconditionally.

    Theoretically couldn’t that have been Colton?
    If it was, need to tread very carefully with the speculation here.

    Reports have been sent to the Public Prosecution Service in relation to the other two.

    Would they have delivered a “verdict” back, or reached an agreement with the other two in such a short timescale?

  • Democratic

    One thing about the populace here can be guaranteed “ashamed” – the “other side” will always demonstrate themselves as perfectly capable of the same vile behavior as “themmuns” if you wait around long enough…..it has always been thus…..despite empassioned squealing to the contrary from certain quarters….

  • [i]Not entirely incorrect, accepting a policd caution is surely an admission of guilt even if the crime involved doesn’t go on your record?[/i]

    In future, it would be best if you actually read the comments that I was directly referring to which, in this case were the following made by ‘Framer’ (who, incidentally, seems unable to contain his unbridled joy that this attack cannot be attributable to members of the unionist community as things now stand):

    “accepting a police caution is a conviction”

    I have repeatedly highlighted the fact that the individual at the centre of this cyber witch-hunt has not been charged with any criminal act.

    Furthermore, this talk of accepting a police caution originated from a comment made by an anonymous poster, ‘villa’, and not from any news organisation or other media outlet.

    Indeed, as you admit, we [i]need to tread very carefully with the speculation here.[/i] Correct. So why the hysterics (not from you) and emphasis on a comment made by an anonymous poster?

    To summarise,

    –Nobody has been charged with a criminal act in relation to the attack on the Church

    –We have no evidence whatsoever that the police cautioned either of the two individuals that were not “released unconditionally”.

    –Hypothetically, even if an individual accepts a police caution this does not equate to a criminal conviction nor is it, as you put it, “surely an admission of guilt”.

    I really hope the speculators on this site are held to account for their unsubstantiated drivel and ignorance.

  • Framer

    Caution rules in NI are not the same as in England, Pat, thus I am surprised an adult got such a rapid caution without papers going to the PPS.

    None the less admission of guilt is a prerequisite to a police caution.

    I suspect the individual concerned was well advised and the police were nervous in the presence of high-powered legal eagles.

    Unbridled joy? No.

    I was suspicious from the start and thus did not want loyalists to get the blame for something they probably did not do.

    Otherwise the racism over the Roma was going to end up making another minority group (and one spoken for by nobody, let alone an NGO) more marginalised and alienated than they seem happy to be now.

    Not a crime, yet.

  • Pat the Baker

    And in future it would be best if you leave the selective quoting alone,; this was Framer’s full comment:

    “Sorry Pat, accepting a police caution is a conviction – pleading guilty even if not in a court

    My emphasis.

    And from the link you quoted:

    Police can only issue a simple caution if:

    ·there’s evidence an offender is guilty
    ·the offender is 18 years of age or over
    ·the offender admits they committed the crime
    ·the offender agrees to be given a caution – if the offender does not agree to receive a caution then they may be charged instead

    Again, my emphasis.

    By accepting a caution one is then admitting guilty to being of the crime, yes or no?

    And yes, it’s pedantic, but before you start accuse others of spouting unsubstantial drivel and ignorance you need to be 100% sure that you have the facts correct…still 100% sure?

  • Pat the Baker

    And in future it would be best if you leave the selective quoting alone,; this was Framer’s full comment:

    “Sorry Pat, accepting a police caution is a conviction – pleading guilty even if not in a court

    My emphasis.

    And from the link you quoted:

    Police can only issue a simple caution if:

    ·there’s evidence an offender is guilty
    ·the offender is 18 years of age or over
    ·the offender admits they committed the crime
    ·the offender agrees to be given a caution – if the offender does not agree to receive a caution then they may be charged instead

    Again, my emphasis.

    By accepting a caution one is then admitting to being guilty of the crime, yes or no?

    And yes, it’s pedantic, but before you start accuse others of spouting unsubstantial drivel and ignorance you need to be 100% sure that you have the facts correct…still 100% sure?

  • Pat the Baker

    And in future it would be best if you leave the selective quoting alone,; this was Framer’s full comment:

    “Sorry Pat, accepting a police caution is a conviction – pleading guilty even if not in a court

    My emphasis.

    And from the link you quoted:

    Police can only issue a simple caution if:

    ·there’s evidence an offender is guilty
    ·the offender is 18 years of age or over
    ·the offender admits they committed the crime
    ·the offender agrees to be given a caution – if the offender does not agree to receive a caution then they may be charged instead

    Again, my emphasis.

    By accepting a caution one is then admitting to being guilty of the crime, yes or no?

    And yes, it’s pedantic, but before you start accuse others of spouting unsubstantial drivel and ignorance you need to be 100% sure that you have the facts correct…still 100% sure?

  • Emmm…can Admin remove my first two posts above, the third one makes my point well enough;)

  • New Blue

    If an individual is clearly identified on CCTV causing an act of criminal damage, should the punishment be less if they have come from an advantaged background?

    Is this not the ‘theoretical’ issue being discussed here?

    Or do we have to make EVERY SINGLE ISSUE (my emphasis) about ‘ussuns v. themmuns’?

  • kensei

    Demo

    One thing about the populace here can be guaranteed “ashamed” – the “other side” will always demonstrate themselves as perfectly capable of the same vile behavior as “themmuns” if you wait around long enough…..it has always been thus…..despite empassioned squealing to the contrary from certain quarters….

    It’s not the point. No one denied that there are nationalist racists or stated all Unionist are racists. 20 attacks a week, 90% in loyalist areas. That leaves two outside them.

    It also makes clear where resources and attention need most urgently applied. That isn’t us vs them, its attempting to apply the facts at hand.