“Nevertheless, the decision does raise major questions about the motivation behind it..”

In yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph Alan Murray had some “stupid” questions about the CPS decision not to pursue the extradition of Pearse McAuley and Nessan Quinlivan. From the Belfast Telegraph article

Overall, political considerations aside, the question that has to be addressed is whether the expensive legal exercise of seeking |the extradition of McAuley or Quinlivan, and thereafter mounting lengthy trials for their alleged IRA deeds in England in the late 1980s, would have benefited the taxpayer. What it does, however, draw attention to indirectly is the purpose of the Historical Enquiries Team in Northern Ireland and its decisions to mount prosecutions in some old cases.

What if HET detectives arrive at a conclusion in the future that either or both of these fugitives from British justice was involved in the commission of a murder in Northern Ireland for which they were never interviewed, would its current boss, Dave Cox, approach the CPS or the DPP here seeking a new extradition warrant for either? Somehow, right now, I very much doubt it.

  • Dave

    “Lawyers for Quinlivan had argued that it would be largely pointless to extradite him to Britain because, under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, he would probably be freed by July of the following year.

    Perhaps therein lies the part motivation behind yesterday’s announcement by the Crown Prosecution Service in London that it was no longer seeking the extradition of Quinlivan and his fellow Brixton escaper Pearse McAuley.”

    There is undoubtedly political interference in justice here but I doubt it it related to what Alan Murray speculates. In the 2000 High Court case, Mr Justice Kelly said that Quinlivan would not be a qualifying prisoner for early release under the GFA because early release only applied to convicted prisoners.

    However, lawyers for Quinlivan also told the High Court that the minister for Justice, John O’Donoghue, had already accepted that Quinlivan was a qualifying prisoner and had granted him early release. Mr Justice Kelly said this was improper and then directed the gardai to take Quinlivan back into custody, reversing the political decision of the minister.

    It seems a little deal has already been done long ago.

  • Dave

    Actually, having just checked up on that 2000 case, I’ve got it wrong. While lawyers for Quinlivan argued that the minister [i]de facto[/i] accepted that he would be a qualifying prisoner because the minister had already grnted him early release for a [i]convicted[/i] offence, Mr Justice Kelly took him into custody by revoking his bail for an offense that he was no yet tired for, pointing out that he could not be a qualifying prisoner under the GFA for that offence. Seperate issue. Sorry about that!

  • joeCanuck

    It’s a waste of time and money to flog dead horses.

  • George

    The DPP isn’t doing its job if it takes a prosecution it can’t win and once again it seems people seem to be ignoring the problem of the administration of justice has been so compromised by the actions of British Ministers using the incident for political gains rather than showing a modicum of respect for the justice system.

    But why worry about reality when conspiracy theories are more interesting read.

  • Napoleon

    Why can’t we comment on Gerry Adams’ future as Uachtarán of Sinn Féin?

  • Oh my God!

    Because Pete Baker decreed it so. He declares that he is reluctant to close down commenting on the thread yet does it on a regular basis. In fact, just a few weeks ago he closed down open commenting on the whole site over a whole weekend.

    If you ain’t Adams-bashing he ain’t interested.

  • Dave

    “It’s a waste of time and money to flog dead horses.” – joeCanuck

    I think the metaphor you meant to use was “don’t upset the apple cart.”

  • Brian Walker

    The breakout of Brixton prison may not be covered directly by the GFA but the context is. The killing of Garda McCabe was doubtfully exempted as an “ordinary” crime due to public outcry in the south. Why should the north be any different, it may be asked? Because of the context of a political conflict which was ended by political negotiation, ovverruling the demands for individual justice. The treatment of this pair is a bitter pill for many to swallow.The CPS statement stretches credibility and may be disingenuous. The service should be pressed for a fuller explanation. But its ruling reinforces the belief that we are in a state of undeclared amnesty for terrorist crimes committed before April 1998. The Government is avoiding acknowledging this for fear of provoking fresh instability and wants to leave it the HET and “legacy”. I sense that the NI public as a whole are ahead of the unionist far Right in accepting the reality of the situation. There may be another minor convulsion on the amnesty question as the debate over justice and policing powers intensifies. But the protests from Jim Allister and others have a hollow ring to them. lt is callous and dishonest for politicians to raise false hopes of fresh prosecutions. This is not the reality of Northern Ireland today and in this respect, reality will not change.

  • fin

    The reality is that this story has not featured in the British media. The British government, the public and the British media have no interest in this matter and it would confuse the public to have this raised so long after the GFA.

    This is not the only story that was in the media this week, the major story (Slugger excluded) was Aidan McAnespie, the backwoodsman comments by Dodds (playing to the TUVite gallery)on that story shows how far behind unionism is.

    Others have moved on, unionisms only chance to cling to the past is if they can get the Tories to state that in government they would act differently and persue these cases.

    Personally can’t see that happening, perhaps Patterson will issue a local press release to people like Slugger, but I can’t see Davey getting involved.

  • Bruno Spiro

    The HET don’t do republicans. Isn’t it the Hun Enquiry Team?

  • fin

    Bruno, that will explain the lack of arrests, convictions and prison sentences, somethings never change

  • Ian

    Regarding the two individuals from the Garda McCabe case that remain on-the-run in South America, surely it would be in the interests of justice for the Irish Government to admit that the perpetrators do qualify for early release under the GFA? That way, the McCabe family could at least see them serve two years – they would be much more likely to return to Ireland to face two years in prison than at present when there is no incentive to return as they potentially face 40 years?