Matt Baggot on the accusation of uneven treatment of witnesses by the HET…

Interesting little nugget from UTV last night on the accusation that the HET has been treating security forces differently from citizens witnesses, in which Matt Baggot reports that he has ordered an inspection of HET’s procedures, he also wryly notes:

I’m very mindful that the Historical Inquiries Team did meet with the researcher back in February again with explanations, but they don’t feature in her report at this stage…

The report by Dr Patricia Lundy is just the latest in a body of work on this and related matters, which you can find on her research page here

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  • cynic2

    Clearly we need an new enquiry team taking evidence from ‘story telling’ and ‘community initiatives’. Perhaps this could be staffed by sociologists backed up by some community leaders who would help ensure the right type of co-operation from key people in the community (but not necessarily all of them of course – cf blog above on the Boston Tapes) to ensure the ‘right’ outcome that will conform with the mores norms and carefully manufactured folk memories in those communities.

    All those professional ex-police officers in the current HET (drawn, I believe, from forces outside NI) clearly just get in the way with their pesky demands for evidence to back up allegations and refusal to treat as suspects people against whom there is no evidence.

    Far better to let sociologists deal with it! The public will have much more confidence in it then.

  • andnowwhat

    Well, now we know what it takes to get Baggot to come out in to the public, his own self interest.

  • andnowwhat

    Just saw on BBC News 24 that the sexist, sectarian, racist texts by PSNI members has gone national.

  • Mick Fealty

    Now, @DR, try that again. Only this time try to do it without playing the man (or woman). You too @anw…

  • andnowwhat

    Sorry Mick. I do feel that we are totally bereft of any sense of direction from the police and unlike the previous CC, Matt Baggot does not seem to be keen to come on the media and give us that.

    From petty crime to “terrorism” there’s no big statement that I can recall from the CC.

    Now, contrast that with this HET story and the Mc Gurk’s report and yes, the CC mane out fighting like, IMHO, a police union leader.

  • galloglaigh

    New century; same old!

    Will they ever learn from their mistakes?

  • Would rather the CC focus on the job than on his media profile. This one seems to get the balance about right.

  • Drumlins Rock

    atempt 2,

    Should we question reports from academia? I always do, espically those that grab headlines, looking at previous research and funding sources. The funding for this report seems to be entirely mainsteam academic sources, which is as it should be.

    However the report seems to follow a trend which often has the establisment of a “Truth Commission” somewhere within its content, many believe the HET is more effective than such a comission, SF of course do not co-operate with the HET in anyway whatsoever and seek to undermine it whenever possible.

    Whereas most Unionist representatives are strongly opposed to the establishment of a costly Truth Commision, Employing many expensive legal and pofessional experts, with little hope of reaching the truth as everyone knows there is no chance whatsoever the IRA will reveal even 1% of it actions.

    In the meantime the HET remains the only show in town investigating all deaths, the 10% by security forces, the 30% by loyalist gangs and the 60% by Republicans. Some would rather have the focus the other way round.

  • Framer

    I don’t know if Patricia Lundy’s research deals with the aspect of HET accelerated enquiries but they have disproportionately involved loyalist murders and security force killings, not to mention that criminal cases consequent on HET investigations have been entirely of loyalists. Is that bias?

  • andnowwhat


    We’ve just had a republican banged up due to a HET investigation. You want to talk about bias? How come the soldier that shot Majella O’ Hare isn’t in the pokey after what the report said about him and his patrol?

  • galloglaigh


    I often ask these questions, and rarely get a reply from the ‘PUL’:

    Do you think David Cameron, or the MOD’s apologies for the murder of Majella O’Hare and Bloody Sunday, is sufficient as an end of the matter?

    And, which organisation do you blame for the murders carried out by Torrens Knight or Freddie Scappaticci? These men, and hundreds of others worked for the state. Many carried out murders at the request of the security forces. This is fact and has accepted by the government. So where do their murders come into your 10/30/60 account?

  • Drumlins Rock

    ANW, double jepordy would probably apply as there was an original case where he was aquited, but I think it can be over ruled by the court of appeal in NI if compelling new evidence is introduced. The HET report cast considerable doubt on the existing evidence, but I doubt it is new and compelling enough, but i’m certainly no expert, morally there certainly seems to be a case to answer, legally the HET took it as far as they could.

  • cynic2

    “Do you think David Cameron, or the MOD’s apologies for the murder of Majella O’Hare and Bloody Sunday, is sufficient as an end of the matter?”

    No. If there is evidence he should be prosecuted

    “which organisation do you blame for the murders carried out by Torrens Knight?”

    Primarily Torrens Knight, but partly the UVF and its leadershiup which commissioned them

    “which organisation do you blame for the murders carried out by Freddie Scappaticci?”

    Mainly PIRA and its leadership which commissioned them

    “This is fact and has accepted by the government.”

    When? Who accepted it? Where’s the record?

  • salgado


    Prosecutions should be made if they can be made, but I don’t really know what legal practicalities are involved. I wouldn’t really draw a fixed line for matters being closed.

    I think too much focus is put on passing the blame between different organisations. I don’t really care either way, I’d probably blame Torrens Knight and Freddie Scappaticci.

  • cynic2


    Does Slugger not do satire any more?

    Baggot points out that the author visited HET and was given detailed accounts of the cases but didn’t feel able to even mention that in her report. If you read her own research profile it is heavily focused on the importance of story telling as a means of reconciliation and truth. I mildly take the p*** out of that approach (not her personally ) with I believe honest justification and get a yellow card.

    If we cannot even do this how will any of us ever challenge a Chris Donnelly post?

  • alex gray

    Trouble with Boston Tapes ? Then take the heat off with the Lundy “report” on evidence taking in the HET. Well worn formula is it not ? Its the academic equivalent of a local riot when the PSNI raid an area to arrest suspected terrorists. Surely in the interests of academic integrity, Lundy should have included PSNI responses and answers to her allegatrions in her report. This is the wors kind of academic practice and throws her neutrality in serious doubt.

  • “Should we question reports from academia?”

    DR, that would be the sensible thing to do and that was something that was missing from the UTV news item. The Chief Constable put a question mark on Patricia’s report but UTV appears not to have followed up on it. Political ‘balance’ was provided by SF and DUP.

    Have we missed the bigger picture? Patricia has criticised the approach to truth recovery:

    Central to this discussion was the ways in which transitional justice has been mediated, strategically adapted and ‘localized’ and the paradoxes. In particular, the state’s instrumental or strategic privileging of micro-level over macro-level ‘truth’ recovery was explored.

    Ironically, the UTV item localises even further by posing questions at the micro-micro level and the CC kicks the query into the long grass with an ‘independent’/police-led investigation. To add to the irony, Patricia has drawn attention to the very problem of police involvement:

    The complications of a police-led ‘truth’ recovery process in a divided society with a history of contested policing and the lessons for other societies in transition are discussed.

    Advocates of the ‘macro’ approach are hardly likely to be satisfied by the CC’s announcement. I say announcement because we don’t know whether or not he made the decision independently of the political process. The Dick Spring 1996 briefing that I’ve referenced on numerous occasions demonstrates that such decisions can go right up to London-Dublin level. [ctd]

  • [ctd]I can empathise with Patricia when she makes the following observations:

    A key lesson from the HET is that these deeper questions cannot be buried and an individualised process would work best in parallel with a more holistic and far-reaching mechanism that addresses ‘macro-truths’. The socially positive role of this type of process might be to mediate inevitable conflict in an honest and respective way. A further socially functional role of a ‘macro-level’ approach could be myth-busting and to delimit lies.

    Unfortunately she has missed out on context. We are dealing with contested truth in a contested space, a space contested by two states: the London-centred UK and a would be Dublin-centred UI. Sometimes the locals will intervene when they feel that either London or Dublin isn’t adequately representing their interests.

    This lack of context leads to this sort of comment:

    Brewer, 2010:169-171 discusses some of the problems Loyalists have with truth recovery; Lundy & McGovern, 2008b).

    with no mention of the problems faced by Republicans on the same issue.

    The UK state does have ultimate responsibility but the two states were important players during the course of the Troubles as well as much earlier.

    Patricia’s final comment needs to be viewed within her somewhat limited ‘macro’ theme:

    As this article has shown, memory work ‘post-conflict’ it is always going to be difficult, contested, messy and imperfect. The reality in Northern Ireland is ‘truth’ is seeping out anyway and in a manner that is potentially destabilising.

    Her theme went unchallenged by UTV.

  • tacapall

    I wonder if these soldiers will be treated any differently and will the outcome be any different than the one they came up with then when –

    ” John Laws, representing the Crown, told reporters there was no need for any further investigation.

    “We’ve had a good, full judicial inquiry according to British law as applied in Gibraltar and that’s the end of the matter,” he said.

    “THE shooting of three IRA members in Gibraltar is to be examined as part of a major review commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron”

  • cynic2

    ” the state’s instrumental or strategic privileging of micro-level over macro-level ‘truth’ recovery was explored.”

    What a pity that Google doesn’t provide a sociology to English translator

  • I was struck by this observation: “It is also important to carefully scrutinise what the HET may conceal, as well as what it may, or may not deliver in terms of ‘truth’ (Lundy, 2009a, 2010).” For HET you could substitute so many other terms, including news and academic reports. Are we readier to question assertions made by Government and its agents than those made by the media and by academia?

  • Professor Yattle

    The first part of this ‘research’ was not cleared properly with the University of Ulster’s ethics committee, for a variety of reasons, all of which the PSNI should be aware. Surprised Baggott didn’t just cut the good doctor off at the knees but I suppose kicking her into the long grass is the way things are done nowadays.

  • HeinzGuderian

    gal got it spot on..

    New century;same old !
    Will they ever learn from their mistakes?

    The nat/rep epitaph.