PSNI badly misjudge their harassment?

It looks increasingly like the PSNI have made a very serious miscalculation during an instance of harassing the family of a non-compliant republican. While it is no surprise they would arrest an ex-prisoner who is the RNU prisons spokesperson, targeting his family could backfire spectacularly.

The arrest of lay magistrate Delia Van der Lenden and her retired Dutch naval officer husband seems to echo the lazy harassment many nationalists can easily connect with the attitudes of the old RUC.

Mrs Van der Lenden told the BBC:

We were told they had intelligence that we were members of an illegal organisation namely Óglaigh na hÉireann and had intelligence that we were implicated in that appalling crime in Lagmore where a family was kidnapped.

And she is quoted in the Irish News saying:

There are two possibilities in our case.

Either the police knowingly targeted us for malicious reasons or their intelligence is so bad that they arrested three innocent people

As a Lay Magistrate her potential as a IRA volunteer looks limited and despite being stood down by the Lord Chief Justice while the case is examined her decades long involvement in and support of the British establishment in Ireland is clearly documented – regardless of her son’s political views.

It was 2010 when the Lord Chancellor (Ken Clarke) signed off on her appointment to the Charity Tribunal:

Ordinary Members of the Charity Tribunal

Date – 12 November 2010.
The Lord Chancellor has appointed Paul Artherton, Theresa Donaldson, Delia van der Lenden and Arthur Williamson as Fee Paid Ordinary Members of the Charity Tribunal on 12 November 2010.

Two SF Ministers have appointed and then reappointed her to the Agriculture Wages Board

She has helped draft the Code of Practice for Ministerial Public Appointments in Northern Ireland as an Assessor for the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

As a former Chief Officer of the SHSSC she presented to the Assembly on behalf of all four Health and Social Services Councils on child protection.

She has also sat on DSDs Committee wearing her Director of Childline NI hat.

Seems the PSNI didn’t check who they were about to harass! Whoops.

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  • Reader

    Yup. Inconceivable that posh people could be criminals; or that intelligent people could be dissidents; or that people receiving SF patronage could be in any way dodgy; or that parents could shelter their son.
    Isn’t it?

  • Mark McGregor

    Reader,

    Great thing is, as this one and her husband don’t have the ideological hang-ups Republicans do, they will be taking it to the Ombudsman, the Embassy, the courts etc.

    I sense an apology before crimbo and that not being enough!

  • Limerick

    Mark,

    If she is a Lay Magistrate then how come dissident republicans aren’t targetting her?

  • michael-mcivor

    Maybe it would be to easy just to call this bad policing- it seems that some in the p.s.n.i are going flat out to offend-

    Good luck to those 3 family members looking Justice-

  • HeinzGuderian

    Is she above the law ?

    Maybe the Police should just arrest who mark and marty think they should arrest ?

    No need for further investigation there lads,our leading nat/reps say she is innocent. Whoops 😉

  • Mark

    I wouldn’t repeat Limerick’s comment / question but pulling it from the thread is bullshit ..

  • Limerick

    “Good luck to those 3 family members looking Justice-”

    Good luck to anyone who expects to see republicans facing the same justice as everyone else in this country.

  • Limerick

    Isn’t it unusual for a Lay Magistrate of the hated British state to be living quite happily in a republican area?

  • Mark McGregor

    Limerick,

    I’ve no idea why that comment was removed or by whom. I’ve approved it again (I don’t generally remove comments).

    The censor whomever it was was wrong imho.

  • Mark McGregor

    In case it goes again, Limerick asked:

    “If she is a Lay Magistrate then how come dissident republicans aren’t targetting her?”

    That’s a big question for Ciaran Cunningham surely?

  • Whiteabbey

    Sould the police make checks of a persons CV now before making arrests?

  • Limerick

    Mark,

    Thanks. How do you think her son reconciles his Irish republicanism with her position in the Britrish judiciary?

  • Mark

    Ddin’t think it was you Mark .

  • Limerick

    On the question of who might or might not be terrorists would anyone have thought that a member of Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise would have made a likely Provo? Before Eamonn Collins I mean.

  • Mark McGregor

    Limerick,

    I have no idea. Seems the PSNI can’t reconcile the two positions though!

  • Mark,

    Interesting new (?) term; non-compliant republican. What is he non-compliant with?

  • sonofstrongbow

    Yet again I am in awe at the ability of Republicans to discern the innocent from the guilty. How do they do it? Some sort of scent in the air or perhaps they read it in the tea leaves?

    Whatever it is it is a potentially great boon in these straightened financial times. Society can stand down the cops and the courts and Republicans will pass amongst us pointing out the miscreants.

    The irony of this particular case is that Republicans bemoaned life in the ‘Orange State’ where, allegedly, there was a type of person that was out of bounds to justice. Now they want it back. But for different people of course.

    On many other places in the world the fact that police would follow the evidence and pursue justice without fear or favour would be celebrated. But sadly not in Shinnerdom. Oh no most certainly not in Shinnerdom.

  • Rory Carr

    “How do you think her son reconciles his Irish republicanism with her position in the Britrish judiciary?”

    Believe it or not, Limerick, the fact that his mother is an entirely separate person means that he is not required to attempt any such reconciliation..

    Even the most hidebound Freudian nightmare of a momma’s boy remains a separate entity whatever the maternal influence.

    This process of separation of mother and child is a necessary stage of development in a healthy human being. It is often referred to as ‘growing up’ or ‘attaining adulthood’.

  • Limerick

    Mark,

    It would seem that the PSNI have doubts about one of her positions. Luckily for her though the republican machine is weighing in behind her British Lay Magistrate credentials. Going by precedent I would doubt very much that she will be bothered again.

    When does the Marian Price campaign get underway?

  • Limerick

    Rory,

    Are mother and son estranged? Or does his rejection of the British state and judiciary not extend to Drumintee?

  • Mark

    Heroin is the one thing the Paramilitaries never let near the North during the troubles . They knew what would happen . Whole communities / potential recruits would have been wiped out the way Dublin still is today , the same with Cork , Galway etc .

    It’s obvious now that it’s a 32 couny problem . Before the Brits could use the usual methods of blackmailing people into becoming touts . We all know the reasons . Some people could hold out . Some were strong like your man from South Armagh ( pick anyone ) some like Collins were weak .

    But a bag of smack fears no nutting squad . After todays joke , I’m sure the PSNI know now the intelligence they get from junkies is fucking useless .

  • michael-mcivor

    If the .p s.n.i had anything serious or indeed anything on that family they would have held them for more than 1 day-

    This sounds political- not policing-

  • Drumlins Rock

    By “non-compliant Republican” Mark means a recently convicted terrorist.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Whats with the noose Mark? bit OTT even for you.

  • Limerick

    Anyone know what the reference to heroin and Collins is all about?

  • Mark McGregor

    DR – you think? The woman’s career has been destroyed on the basis of nothing but family relationships, tittle-tattle and fear. I was giving an image worthy of Salem. Works perfectly for me (though I love melodrama).

  • Mark

    No reference from where I’m sittin Alf ….. although I’m sure those Army doctors had him on something for his nerves .

    Gald to have you back me oul china .

  • Limerick

    “It’s obvious now that it’s a 32 couny problem . Before the Brits could use the usual methods of blackmailing people into becoming touts . We all know the reasons . Some people could hold out . Some were strong like your man from South Armagh ( pick anyone ) some like Collins were weak .”

    This makes absolutely no sense. Pick anyone from South Armagh you say. How about Eamonn Collins?

  • Mark

    LOL ….

  • Reader

    micheal-mcivor: This sounds political- not policing-
    Join the dots please. What would be the political motive?
    Most of the other complainants have just suggested it was a shockingly cavalier piece of harassment of a dissident ex-con suspected of something new. But it’s really hard to see any calculated *political* purpose.

  • Mark

    God loves a trier Alf ….Collins and his fate are yesterdays news .Although I do remember telling between the bridges to have a read . Maybe you went out and bought it too .

  • Mark McGregor

    DR – image removed so it doesn’t distract from the quite well linked content.

  • I would have thought that before a magistrate was arrested, the CC would have been informed, at least. What was Baggott thinking?

  • HeinzGuderian

    I couldn’t tell you what CC Matt Baggott was thinking Joe,but I’m sure a few others could !! 😉

  • michael-mcivor

    Reader-

    have you got something against the other 2 family members- 3 were harassed- you got some problem with counting-

  • Pete Baker

    Mark

    As the BBC report notes

    In a statement the police said they had “a duty to follow all lines of enquiry in an investigation”.

    “We do this within the law and with the objective of bringing criminals before the courts, mindful of the human rights of all,” the statement said.”

    Citing someone’s previous record is completely irrelevant.

    As for “The woman’s career has been destroyed on the basis of nothing but family relationships, tittle-tattle and fear.”

    Hardly.

    Again, from the BBC report

    Regarding her position as a lay magistrate, Mrs Van der Lenden said because of the disciplinary code of practice they work under, it would be “inappropriate to carry out any duties until the issue is resolved”.

    In a statement, the Lord Chief Justice said she could not “undertake any functions associated with her role until further notice”.

    It continued: “This instruction was issued on 22 August and will be reviewed subject to any representations she wished to make to the Lord Chief Justice on the matter.”

    “Seems the PSNI didn’t check who they were about to harass!”

    That would be arrest for questioning. Not “harass”.

    As Liam Clark pointed out previously

    In a modern democracy, politicians are expected to allow the police the operational independence to follow up whatever leads come up – even if many of them turn out to be false.

    The alternative would be for detectives to ring up senior politicians and to ask which suspects could be vouched for and which it would be wise to pull in for questioning.

    That is just the sort of old boys’ network that republicans claimed operated between senior unionists and the RUC under the old Stormont.

    Indeed.

  • Reader

    michael-mcivor: have you got something against the other 2 family members- 3 were harassed- you got some problem with counting-
    Firstly – I used the term ‘shockingly cavalier’, which ought to have set your mind at rest, especially since the people who are already certain it was harassment are mostly nationalist or republican anyway. Take the inconsistencies of the harassment theory up with them.
    The alternative theories would be: (2) this was a misjudged investigation; (3) this was an early stage in an investigation, and (4) the one I was asking you to explain – that it was political. Now, my favourites are (2) and (3). I was just asking you please suggest a political motive for (4), because your suggestion doesn’t make sense to me.

  • Into the west

    Mark b4 hand-bags time sets in .. Zzzz. very boring for us
    pls outline what you regard as the difference between harassment and questioning?

  • michael-mcivor

    Reader-

    You want a political motive- Sinn Fein and others are trying to get as
    many people as possible to support the police- some in the police can’t handle this- so people in Republican areas get arrested for 1 day-

  • Pete Baker

    “Mr Baker hints he thinks she is guilty”

    Mark

    Mr Baker does no such thing.

    Now go back and read my comment again.

  • Into the west

    End the oppression of equality, a shared future, free healthcare, housing benefits and generous social security payments NOW

  • michael-mcivor

    Into the west-

    Are you trying to say that those 3 family members who were harassed were on social security payments- if you are- you should check your so called facts out-

  • oracle

    The PSNI are completely justified in arresting close family members when investigating a serious crime against other members of the public.
    Remember the son was jailed for using his job in the hospital to gather information on members of the security forces so surely someone so closely related to him in a magistrates position must also be investigated properly.

    Or should that only happen to poor unemployed families of active republicans.

  • Alias

    “The PSNI are completely justified in arresting close family members when investigating a serious crime against other members of the public.”

    They’re not. Depriving a citizen of the right to liberty under Article 5 of the UCHR is only justified under the limited circumstances set out in the article. Being the parents of a suspect does not constitute “reasonable grounds” for arrest.

  • Cynic2

    “Being the parents of a suspect does not constitute “reasonable grounds” for arrest.”

    So the question is, what were the grounds? The Magistrate herself says that she was told by police that

    ” had intelligence that we were implicated in that appalling crime in Lagmore where a family was kidnapped.”

    So police seem to have been acting on specific information. Whether or not it was right has to be tested

  • sonofstrongbow

    The police are perfectly within their rights to make an arrest of a suspected person in order to gather evidence. Whether or not the original suspicions were justified can be tested at a later date but to suggest that an arrest as part of an investigation should not proceed until evidence to sustain a charge is present is nonsense. Such an approach would hamstring police and make effective crime investigation near impossible.

    Take the example of a person stopped by police who is suspected of drink driving. They can smell alcohol on his breath and his eyes are glazed. The police arrest the driver and return him to the station to undergo a test. At the station the machine shows he is under the drink drive limit. He is then released.

    Not surprisingly many people are arrested and not subsequently charged: and they’re not all Republicans.

    Republicans don’t want a police service they want a politically directed body that is all ways looking over its shoulder to check that the politicos are nodding assent. Only a few days ago some Shinner or other from Londonderry was on local radio gurning about a fifteen year-old arrested by police in “boiler suits” and in an “armoured jeep”.

    No doubt the Shinner knew the police were dressed to search the house, a necessary part of gathering evidence on foot of the arrest
    and they were in an armoured Land Rover because the Shinner’s past-and-future friends have a tendency to shoot at them.

    Now maybe the Shinner expected the police to turn up in a stretch-limo with a written invitation for the youth to kindly call at his earliest convenience or perhaps the Shinner supports the police so long as they don’t do any of that policing melarkey.

  • GreenBack

    Ciaran Cunningham has a track record of using his position to collect information on collecting information about police officers, soldiers, prison officers and other unnamed individuals. His mother is in a position where such information is readily available. The police are duty bound to investigate.

    Mrs Van Der Lenden said her husband Peter, “He has led an exemplary life in his own country. A country where abuses of human rights like this would not be tolerated, the police would be held accountable.”
    Nigerian environmental rights advocacy group, Environmental Rights Action (ERA) would beg to differ: “Ofehe was arrested by Dutch authorities from his Rotterdam since over two weeks and has been kept in detention. The Dutch authorities are keeping mute over the reason for his arrest while he has also been denied access to anyone except his lawyer who has also been barred from speaking to anyone on the matter.”
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1103/S00255/era-nigerian-group-critices-dutch-police-wants-ofehe-freed.htm

    As for ‘non-compliant republican’, I presume the non-compliat bit refers to having to live by the laws the rest of us live under. It’s clear Mark thinks republicans are special and shouldnt have to be concerned with such trivialities and when caught they are being oppressed.

  • Reader

    michael-mcivor: You want a political motive- Sinn Fein and others are trying to get as
    many people as possible to support the police- some in the police can’t handle this- so people in Republican areas get arrested for 1 day-

    As you describe it that’s not political, that’s a mental health issue. How many people in the chain of command do you believe are afflicted?
    For it to be political, there would need to have been a *purpose*. Picking up a mix of dissident and non-dissident republicans doesn’t seem to indicate a political purpose.

  • Dec

    ‘As Liam Clark pointed out previously

    In a modern democracy, politicians are expected to allow the police the operational independence to follow up whatever leads come up – even if many of them turn out to be false.

    The alternative would be for detectives to ring up senior politicians and to ask which suspects could be vouched for and which it would be wise to pull in for questioning.

    That is just the sort of old boys’ network that republicans claimed operated between senior unionists and the RUC under the old Stormont.

    Indeed.’

    Funny, Liam Clarke wasn’t so pious when the PSNI raided his home and scooped him and his wife a couple of years back. Then we had his Editor at The Times, the World association of Newspapers and World Editors Forum amongst others complaining to the British Government, the UN, Kofi Annan etc.

    But that was obviously different, I suppose.

  • odd_number

    Seems posters here would like to retry Ciaran Cunningham and his family for the offences for which he has already service a sentence. As Mrs VDL stated in her interview, despite being in custody for over 14 hours she was questioned for only 2 and released unconditionally. This was not an investigation, just pure harassment and a shocking waste of police time and resources.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mark, you seem to be fundamentally arguing here that the police should back off before pursuing a line of enquiry against someone who is a lay magistrate.

  • Alias

    “So police seem to have been acting on specific information. Whether or not it was right has to be tested.”

    Yes, but it is won’t to be tested if the intelligence came from the agency that directs police activity in regard to ‘republicans’ and which is not accountable to either the Northern Ireland Policing Board, PONI, or the justice minister, i.e MI5.

    It is a serious violation of a most basic human right for a person to be deprived of his or her right to liberty under Article 5 of the ECHR by the State without that deprivation meeting the limited circumstances in which it is permissable.

    Unfortunately, NI is not a region of the UK wherein it can be established whether or not such a condition was met or whether the Sate is willfully and maliciously abusing the human rights of its citizens by not respecting the limited permissable circumstances. That is a failure of democracy that has yet to be properly addressed.

    Violations of human rights are not permissable just because the police may engage in them.

  • ranger1640

    I read with great interest that prosecutors have issued a second subpoena for more information into the Boston College tapes. In particular the events around the abduction and murder of mother of 10 Jean McConnville.

    I would like to ask the republican posters here, who should the PSNI ask for permission if they need to ask any questions of a west Belfast man???

  • ranger1640

    Sorry I forgot to include, torture, in the abduction and murder of Jean McConville, by the IRA.

  • Carrickmoreman

    Ranger: I’d say McIntyre, Moloney, Hughes(probably still talking in the afterlife), and D. Price are always more than willing to talk about a certain gent from W. Belfast.

  • slappymcgroundout

    Maybe one of you can do the FOI request thing and get us a copy of the affidavit(s) used to support the request for issuance of the arrest warrant (so we can read both what it says and what it omits). In the meantime, Liam apparently is from another world (since of all witnesses to ever grace the witness box/stand, no group of humans tends to lie quite so much as the police).

    Lastly, do you need a security clearance to get that lay magistrate job? So she may have already been cleared. Relatedly, if the police have this info giving rise to probably cause to arrest, when did they get it? You see, she works in the Family Court, so has access to all sorts of rather personal information about all sorts of people, just the thing a terrorist organization would value (see her son’s conviction, for apparently taking information to pass on), so how long did the PSNI allow her to accumulate information to be passed on to the ONH? Bigots are usually brain dead folk. Same as it ever was.

    For one more, I’m sure the Dutch government is rather pleased that one of its retired naval officers (who apparently remains a Dutch national) was arrested on suspicion of being a member of an Irish paramilitary organization. Again, bigots are usually brain dead folk. Same as it ever was.

  • Cynic2

    My my Ranger..what was the red for? is mentioning certain persons even by inference now a sacking matter?

  • Juvenal was wasted on the Romans, he should have been here.We’ve had thge RUC an apology for a police force replaced by by a police force which apologises for being a police force.