He said it was not the first time such a situation had arisen. “That’s my real frustration because we can’t talk in detail about these cases because of competing human rights basically, other people’s rights to life,” he said. Intelligence material kept secret had nothing to do with the PSNI and he was holding nothing back, he insisted. “What I can say is that there is nothing within my intelligence systems that I was not prepared to release to enable a fair trial to take place.
“There is a clue in that the issues that arose were out with my jurisdiction and I will not have my service criticised for something that was out with my responsibility. I think that would be very unfair,” he said. He added: “This is not the first case where the law of disclosure, as interpreted by the courts, has meant we have to make that hard choice – to disclose puts other people at risk. We cannot disclose, therefore the trial cannot take place because it cannot be seen to be fair.”