“I wrote a letter to a prominent republican with connections in the republican movement”

For a second time, the re-trial of Nick Mullen, 61, from Acton, west London, and Máirtín’s “mate”, Ronald McCartney, 56, from Belfast, in the Provisional IRA extortion case has ended with the jury unable to reach a verdict – “A CPS spokeswoman said a decision had not yet been taken on whether there would be a retrial.” The first trial began in January 2009 and, as previously noted, McCartney’s early release licence was revoked by Shaun Woodward in May 2008. And from an earlier post, the defence case again.

[McCartney] claimed that he had been attempting to patch up a dispute between a bankrupt businessman called Declan O’Hara and one of the alleged victims. McCartney told Southwark Crown Court that O’Hara had been so furious with the man — who had Sinn Fein connections — that he had blackmailed the party. He claimed that O’Hara had threatened to contact the DUP with false information about Sinn Fein which would be potentially damaging to the entire political settlement.

McCartney said he decided to threaten the businessmen in a bid to alert senior Sinn Fein members so that the problem would be resolved “within the republican family”. McCartney said: “This was a risky strategy. “I believed he (O’Hara) has suffered from mental illness, and was very dangerous. I did not go to the police. “I advised him to seek psychiatric help.”

He added: “I had studied politics in Ireland for 40 years and I believed that this here had the potential to undermine the peace process. “I wrote a letter to a prominent republican with connections in the republican movement, and hoped that he would be angry and deal with it. “I believed that this here would be resolved internally within the republican family. It’s a high-risk strategy, it’s a stupid strategy , it was ham-fisted, but I believed it was the only thing that would work.”

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  • percy

    peteb,
    I know you don’t trust anyone, but one day you’re going to have to talk about this:
    Did you lose a family member or a close friend to the IRA?

  • Wooooaah. Inappropriate question Percy. Besides, Pete takes on all comers.

    As for the story itself. Thanks for it Pete. Reading the press reports, I confess myself somewhat surprised that the jury couldn’t reach a verdict.

  • There’s an essential problem here (says this emigré to Norf Lunnen): how do you trust anyone from Acton?

  • percy

    garibaldy
    I’m interested in why people are interested in these stories… don’t mean to offend

  • slappymcgroundout

    “A CPS spokeswoman said a decision had not yet been taken on whether there would be a retrial.”

    Will they be taking an internal poll, with the question being, third time the charm?

  • McGrath

    So the “baffle them with bullshit” defence worked!

  • aquifer

    Make up an odd, very involved and convoluted story for court, complete with misunderstandings and human frailty, that carefully avoids conflicting with the known facts of a case? I am sure it has happened at least once before.

    I know that judges would never give leniency for entertainment value, but giving the benefit of the doubt can be overgenerous.

  • granni trixie

    Percy:I am disgusted with you.

  • Drumlins Rock

    “He claimed that O’Hara had threatened to contact the DUP with false information about Sinn Fein which would be potentially damaging to the entire political settlement”

    Percy I think that line is enought to make it of at least passing interest to the readers of slugger, and thanks to Pete for bringing this strange saga to our attention, alot of us forget that the “complexities” arising from the troubles spread further than NI.

  • joeCanuck

    I confess myself somewhat surprised that the jury couldn’t reach a verdict.

    This happens to me sometimes too.
    I think the reason is that we didn’t sit through the trial and hear all of the evidence and get to read the body language of the witnesses.
    Limited reported snippets can give a false impression.
    I’m not talking about this trial; just in generalities.

  • “I wrote a letter to a prominent republican with connections in the republican movement”

    Dear Gerry, ….

  • Rory Carr

    My understanding was that if a trial of a defendant on a particular case resulted for a second time in a jury failing to return a verdict the prosecution were then obliged not to enter any evidence at a third hearing so that the defendant was then discharged as a matter of course. To subject ant defendant to a third ordeal after failing twice to convince a jury of the case against him would be quite improper and I cannot see that the Crown would, or indeed should persist.

    Since Nick Mullen, whom I knew quite well and with whom I have enjoyed many a heated discussion on political matters (as well as a drink now and then), has already spent some considerable time in prison as a result of what the Court of Appeal belatedly ruled had been a “blatant and extremely serious failure to adhere to the rule of law” by those responsible for bringing him to court, I am happy to see the state’s case fail for a second time and I trust he will now be allowed to enjoy the rest of his life in peace.

  • percy

    granni
    means I must be doing well