Conviction of John Proctor’s murderer eloquent riposte to John Larkin’s proposals

Two weeks ago to almost universal revulsion Attorney General John Larkin proposed an effective amnesty for the crimes of the Troubles. Now the legal process has provided the most eloquent rebuttal to his suggestions.

The facts of the murder of RUC reservist John Proctor were as loathsome as so many of the Troubles. Mr. Proctor had just left visiting his wife and newborn son in the Mid Ulster Hospital when he was murdered with an assault rifle by Seamus Martin Kearney who lived only a mile from him. Kearney’s name was mentioned to Mr. Proctor’s widow as involved in her husband’s murder just a day after the killing. She told the News Letter:

“I believe he pulled the trigger. I was convinced for 32 years it was him that done it. For 32 years he would drive by my place of work.
“I would see him. He would just look at you, knowing he knew who I was and that I knew who he was.”

Mrs. McMullan (formerly Mrs. Proctor) is clearly aware that Kearney will only serve two years. However, she opposed the suggestions of any form of suspended sentence, truth commission, amnesty etc. saying:

“I would not like to see him walk free. Murder is murder and life is life…. Surely everyone deserves their day in court. After 32 years it was good to hear the judge say he was guilty. I am relieved it is all over.”

This conviction was obtained using DNA obtained from a cigarette smoked by Kearney immediately before Mr. Proctor’s murder. Using such techniques unknown in 1981 somewhat undermines Larkin’s assertion that “…every competent criminal lawyer will tell you the prospects of conviction diminish, perhaps exponentially, with each passing year.” TUV leader Jim Allister (himself a more than competent criminal lawyer) said the conviction highlighted

“the absolute folly of the attorney general’s call for an amnesty for pre-1998 offences”
“The particularly callous nature of Reserve Constable Proctor’s death highlights the nature of the crimes Mr. Larkin was suggesting should be forgotten,”
“I know from my discussions with this family how crucial the pursuit of the killer was to them.
“Their relentless insistence on justice was rewarded with the emergence of DNA findings. Such can happen for other families.”

Predictably Sinn Fein opposed Kearney’s prosecution with Ian Milne stating:

“Like the previous case of Gerry McGeough, it is our position that Seamus should be released and allowed to return home to his family.”

Kearney will of course be back with his family in two years: unlike Mr. Proctor. As Jim Allister says: “Murder is murder and has no sell-by date.”

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  • SDLP supporter

    The murder of John Proctor was particularly sordid and vile, even measured by the standards of our squalid, dirty war.

    I feel that some measure of justice has been delivered in this case.

    As John Hume so often said, being unionist or nationalist was just an accident of birth and no killing of someone because of what they are perceived to be was ever justified,

  • Red Lion

    I believe Ian Milne from Sinn Fein called the prosecution of the murderer Kearney a ‘vindictive act’. It’s hard to get one’s head around that one.

    Do most nationalist seriously agree with Milne? I for one doubt it.

    And it is on this sort of thing that the SDLP wants to be putting itself 1 million honest, decent and normal miles from Sinn Fein, as SDLP supporter above has done.

    Just exactly like they didn’t do in the McGeough case.

  • Dec

    Red Lion

    Ask any unionist whether they want the murderers of Bloody Sunday prosecuted and prepare for your head to be further tested.

  • Unfortunately once people are finished with the emotional reaction they probably won’t get around to thinking rationally about the issue. To mount a fair trial costs the same whether the penalty is life or two years. Now people will have to decide if they want to incur those costs merely for the privilege of officially branding someone as as murderer. I doubt if the widow of the victim will feel satisfied when the murderer is released in two year’s time.

  • socaire

    SDLP supporter that is why your party is in the position it is. That’s why we’ll have our Christmas dinner and he won’t.

  • fordprefect

    SDLP supporter and Red Lion
    So, some measure of “justice” has been delivered in this case!? And, do most Nationalists agree with Milne? I for one doubt it. I don’t know whether any of you two smoke (and don’t care either), but, (no pun intended) that’s more or less what sent this man to gaol. Cigarette butts were found in a public car park, one of which contained his DNA, that’s evidence? As I saw on another blog, that butt could have been carried there on the sole of someone’s boot (reasonable doubt). SDLP, how would you feel if your DNA was innocently transferred to the scene of a killing and you had nothing to do with it? Red Lion, you asked if most Nationalists agreed with Milne? Well, I would say yes, that most of them do as they see this as vindictive, especially as it was held in a non jury Diplock court and a “bad character” reference was used to “convict” Seamus Kearney. The killing of Mr. Proctor was of course horrible (as are all killings), especially as he had just visited his wife and newborn son. But, that doesn’t get away from the fact that if you “convict” someone on dubious “evidence” that we are not going down the road of “justice”, but revenge, and that it doesn’t matter who is “convicted” of it, as long as somebody is.

  • Alias

    If the objection to delivering justice is that the murderer will only receive a maximum two-year sentence then that objection can be easily overcome by increasing the maximum sentence to whatever number is deemed necessary.

    Contrary to myth, there is no treaty or other complex mechanism to be undone. The GFA is not a treaty – it is merely all-party agreement, so its sentiments on prisoner releases are not in any way binding.

    All that is required is a simple change to the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 and subordinate legislation. Westminster has parliamentary supremacy there.

  • fordprefect

    Alias
    Would you extend that “justice” to the murderers of Nora McCabe? A mother coming home from the shop with groceries that the RUC murdered and then lied about why they did it? (I’m still waiting on a trial and/or conviction for that). Carole Anne Kelly, Julie Livingstone (schoolgirls who were murdered by faceless individuals hiding in armoured cars/tanks). I think you and (probably) Mick will accuse me of whataboutery, but I’m not about that. If it applies in one case, why not the rest!?

  • Some predictable responses here. But if the evidence is acceptable to the Court, as it has, then justice has been served and, although only a token in practice (unless he is ever recalled), a life sentence is appropriate.

    Alias, I understood that a formal treaty was signed by the UK and Ireland and was registered with the UN.

  • Turgon,

    That should be “riposte”. Reposte is a pantry (little used). Please delete this comment if you wish.

  • longoldlane

    I read this story in the paper yesterday, and I must say it made me think,
    the pure cold blooded way Kearney carried it out, being a so call “neighbour” he would have had knowledge of the family’s situation,
    If my neighbour murdered my loved one in similar circumstances could I live with that for 32 years,
    I really have to question how many Roman Catholics can vote for SF considering how they try to justify and support these murderers.

  • Turgon

    Thanks Joe: fixed now.

  • Charles_Gould

    I want to hear more from the victims.

    This womans story as posted by Turgon above, of what she had to go through, is very moving.

    It must have been a horrible experience, seeing her husband’s murderer regularly, It is good he is proven guilty.

    It must be hard to accept the two year sentence, but at least it is something.

  • Charles_Gould

    These killings by the IRA were morally wrong.

  • redstar2011

    longoldlane (profile) 1 December 2013 at 9:41 am
    I read this story in the paper yesterday, and I must say it made me think,
    the pure cold blooded way Kearney carried it out, being a so call “neighbour” he would have had knowledge of the family’s situation,
    If my neighbour murdered my loved one in similar circumstances could I live with that for 32 years,
    I really have to question how many Roman Catholics can vote for SF considering how they try to justify and support these murderers

    Yawn yawn

    Presumably in the same way unionists try to justify state/ unionist terror gang murderers

    And so it goes on…….

  • These murders by the IRA (and others) were heinous crimes.

  • Charles_Gould

    Mister Joe: I agree 100%. Didn’t you find the murdered man’s wife offered a very moving story?

  • redstar2011

    Mister Joe obviously not all murders were heinous crimes- thats why not a single security forces murderer got life…….

  • tacapall

    “I was convinced for 32 years it was him that done it. For 32 years he would drive by my place of work”

    Obviously the above is a bit of innuendo introduced by yourself Turgon for some reason or the former Mrs Proctor is talking about someone else. Was Seamus Kearney not sentenced to 16 years in prison in 1984 two years after Mr Proctors murder. Nothing can justify the taking of life and the murder of Mr Proctor cannot be justified anymore than using “Bad character” evidence and DNA evidence from a single cigerette butt in a public carpark, can be justified as absolute certainty to convict a person to a life sentence. If the courts were as liberal in using such flimsy evidence against those bad apples in the security forces life sentences would be handed out like confetti at a wedding. Justice needs to be served but the scales of justice need to be balanced and in this case using bad character evidence sets a precedent that can and will be used in the future against any former political prisoner deemed a threat who might be in the unfortunate position of innocently or otherwise, of having his or her DNA found in an area where a crime has taken place.

  • babyface finlayson

    fordprefect
    “Cigarette butts were found in a public car park, one of which contained his DNA, that’s evidence? As I saw on another blog, that butt could have been carried there on the sole of someone’s boot (reasonable doubt).”
    That being the case surely Kearney would have been elsewhere and could have offered an alibi. Did he?

  • “any former political prisoner”

    tacapal, according to this newspaper report, Seamus Kearney was convicted on an attempted murder charge.

    In December 1984 Kearney was jailed for attempting to murder UDR soldiers, whose Land Rover came under fire from the same AR15 rifle used to kill Constable Proctor, as it drove through Swatragh in the direction of Maghera in November 1982.

    Ian Milne concedes that the man he knew well ‘had served a long period of imprisonment for IRA activities’ but he doesn’t go into detail.

  • Son of Strongbow

    Reprehensible whataboutery and ‘legal’ opinion from some of Slugger’s most notable ‘justice campaigners’.

    Hardly surprising given their views of the past seem always to be facing away from the actions of nationalist terrorists.

    tacapall plumbs even lower depths than usual when he attacks the police officer’s widow concerning the calendar accuracy of her emotional reflections on the 32 years of anguish she has suffered following the murder of her husband within her hearing as she lay in a hospital bed nursing their newborn son.

    He then compounds his offence by attributing the quote to Turgon in a weaselly attempt to distance his attack from Mrs McMullan.

    But haven’t these commentators a lot to be ‘proud’ of? No doubt this IRA ‘battle honour” (a three-man gang shooting to death an unarmed man with military weaponry in a hospital car park) was yet another glorious day in the “war”? I’m sure there’s a song about these ‘brave’ ‘soldiers’ and the blow they struck for Ireland those 32 years ago.

  • tacapall

    Yes Nevin I did acknowledge that fact but regardless of Kerneys previous conviction using the same weapon that does not prove he was the person that pulled the trigger the day Mr Proctor was murdered. Are we to believe IRA members had their own personal weapons and only they used them no-one else had access to them ? The bad character evidence is

    Strongbow coming from someone like yourself who dismisses the overwhelming evidence of security force collusion with terrorists from both sides in the murder of innocent people you have a brass neck lecturing others. By the way how many security force members were used to execute those IRA men at Loughall, up to 100 for 8 men and over a thousand rounds fired into their bodies.

  • tacapall

    For some reason Nevin this line was omitted. The bad character evidence is further compounded by the use of a diplock court judge, how can this conviction be seen as being proven beyond all doubt.

  • tacapall, paramilitaries would have had few qualms about intimidating witnesses and jurors, up to and including the use of lethal means.

  • Alias

    “Alias, I understood that a formal treaty was signed by the UK and Ireland and was registered with the UN.”

    You’re confusing the GFA (an all-party agreement) with the British Irish Agreement (a treaty). There is not a single mention of prisoner releases in the treaty. Therefore, there is no binding commitment on either state on prisoner releases (not that is any sanction for derogation or abrogation anyway). Both the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 can be repealed by the UK parliament at its discretion.

  • Charles_Gould

    Interesting point Alias.

    Does the 1998 sentences act apply to *all* murders or only those by people who were members of combatant organisations?

  • “Therefore, there is no binding commitment on either state on prisoner releases (not that is any sanction for derogation or abrogation anyway). Both the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 can be repealed by the UK parliament at its discretion.”

    @Alias,

    The GFA/St. Andrew’s Agreement is a package deal. To go selectively voiding parts of it risks undoing the whole thing–just ask David Trimble. The IRA and loyalists thought that they could undo the decommissioning clauses without endangering the GFA. They were wrong.

  • Greywind

    Whatever our personal or corporate desires regarding the future government of Ireland, the fact is that we have all signed up to the GFA – its an all-party agreement. We are committed to all of it – every clause, we cannot be selective – and that includes the two year sentence for pre-98 murders. Seamus Kearney could not have been sentenced to less, for he was found guilty of murder, and the judicial process would have stepped outside the terms of the GFA. He could not have been sentenced to more than two years, even with magnitude of the atrocity, because the judicial process does not exist to give personal satisfaction to families of victims, however real and severe their suffering. Everything that Mr Proctor’s widow has experienced is appalling, and there is help available in all sorts of places which will be genuinely compassionate. But the courts are there to maintain the rule of law, and the GFA and the two year sentence is part of that. Going beyond in either direction sets the GFA aside, and the GFA is the peace process. Without it, we are back to…we all know what.

    Regarding degradation of evidence, when it comes to new witness statements, there will be a huge amount of doubt at this stage. In the present case, the evidence has simply been preserved and subjected to investigation not available in 1981. That’s perfectly sound. But I’m not so sure about bad character evidence. If that’s allowable, then I could be convicted of drug smuggling because I once – just once – smoked cannabis as a teenager! Whether Kearney is the sort of person who would commit murder is not the question. The only question is – did he? Again, it’s the rule of law that counts – not the rule of political or popular opinion.

  • Son of Strongbow

    tacapall

    If the “evidence” that you, and others, so promiscuously refer to exists then cases, like the one presented against the murderer Kearney, will have their day in court.

    Should that happen and result in convictions I, unlike you, will not decry the verdict or question the court makeup or the forensic findings presented.

    As to the IRA terrorists “executed” (your sympathy underskirts showing again) at Loughgall, I take it you are referring to the ones who were in the act of exploding a bomb whilst armed to the teeth with an assortment of assault rifles and pistols (at least one of which had been stripped from the dead body of a police officer murdered by the same murder gang at Ballygawley)?

  • “the British Irish Agreement (a treaty).”

    Alias, is this the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement which was superseded by the 1998 Agreement?

  • Old Mortality

    Is there any point in this thread?
    Surely Turgon should realise that no Irish republican has ever been properly convicted. All have been victims of the most outrageous miscarriages of justice.

  • fordprefect

    Babyface,
    You asked why Seamus Kearney didn’t give an alibi if he wasn’t there. Why should he? We still have the right (of sorts) to silence in this shithole (although they’ve pissed about with that, something shocking, you know, like bugging a solicitor while he was talking to his clients).

  • babyface finlayson

    fordprefect
    Why should he? To establish his innocence perhaps?
    If I was facing a life sentence and I had some kind of alibi I would certainly put it forward, regardless of any misgivings about the fairness of the system.
    Would you not?

  • Alias is only partly right. The GFA consists two parts, an agreement between those Parties who signed it and a shorter British-Irish agreement, the formal agreement which replaced the Anglo-Irish agreement.
    The former included provisions for accelerated prisoner release for those groups on ceasefire although the specific maximum of 2 years was not detailed.

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/events/peace/docs/agreement.htm#rights

  • fordprefect

    Mister Joe
    “Some predictable responses here. But if the evidence is acceptable to the Court, as it has, then justice has been served and, although only a token in practice (unless he is ever recalled), a life sentence is appropriate”.
    Really? I know you are an SDLP supporter, and you wonder why their vote is going down the drain! Firstly, “evidence” (you obviously seen what I wrote about that earlier). “Acceptable to the court”, what “court”? You mean a judge sitting on his own and deciding someone’s fate. I reckon a jury faced with the “evidence” they said they had, would have found him not guilty. I think that before you are appointed a “judge” in this place, that you would have to assure the panel that you are totally and utterly anti-Republican. To take one example, when the “judge” Gibson congratulated RUC men for killing three unarmed Republicans in Lurgan in 1982 (and remember that the “evidence” and forensics in that case was beyond doubt, i.e. that the RUC set out to kill those men), and that the RUC had brought them to the final court of justice! To borrow one of your phrases, Mister Joe, compare and contrast!

  • fordprefect

    Babyface
    Did you not read my post? He still has the right (of sorts) to silence here. Also, remember the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four (and I could go on) gave alibis, and what happened? Oh, that’s right, they all got life in prison!

  • fordprefect,

    You are wrong in what you “know” about me.
    The fact that some state agents committed murder also,and have not been brought to justice, in no way excuses the murders carried out by the armed gangs.

    For certain others, none of us heard all of the evidence offered in this case (I assume) so I don’t think that on-line apologists have grounds for complaint.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Fordperfect

    Stephen Nolan interviewed Gerry Kelly recently when he lauched his book about the Maze escape. He asked him if he had shot a warder during the escspe. Kelly replied that he had found not guilty by a court when tried for the offence. No issues with diplock courts there.

  • babyface finlayson

    fordprefect
    He has that right yes .
    I imagine his lawyer would have advised him that his silence could be seen as incriminating and yet he apparently said nothing.
    But I actually agree with you that the evidence does not seem all that strong as presented. Apparently the butt was clean and dry suggesting it was not likely to have been carried there on someone’s boot. It could have been planted I suppose, but surely that would have had to be done later. How would they have got a butt with his DNA inserted to the crimescene?
    I would have thought an alibi would be enough to counter such circumstantial evidence.
    I don’t actually know for sure if he gave one or not, which is why I asked.

  • son of sam

    Fordprefect
    What’s your take on the I R A murder of Judges during the Troubles?

  • tacapall

    Old Mortality its people like yourself who wear blinkers when it comes to British justice. The last known people who had possession of one of the guns used in the murders of seven people were members of the RUC, does that mean we can take it as certain that those RUC officers were involved in the murders of those seven people and have any charges been brought against any RUC officer for involvement in those murders.

  • Barney

    Fordprefect wrote

    He still has the right (of sorts) to silence here.

    Well I’m sure if he thinks his rights have been abused he will let us all know.

    The beauty of the GFA is that well known historical cases like the xenophobic jailings in England, political sentencing or the non investigation of others are less likely to happen now.

  • fordprefect

    Son of Sam
    “What’s your take on the I R A murder of Judges during the Troubles”?
    I don’t know why you are asking me that, but I’ll give you an honest answer, I couldn’t give a shit!

  • fordprefect

    Mister Joe
    “You are wrong in what you “know” about me”.
    If that’s the case, then why did you keep finishing your posts with, for example, Connall McDevitt/Gerry Adams compare and contrast?

  • fordprefect

    Alan N/Ards
    Yeah, once in a while, normally he would have went down for a long time.

  • fordprefect,

    Never have. Obviously you’re confused for some reason.

  • Alias

    “Alias, is this the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement which was superseded by the 1998 Agreement?” _ Nevin

    No, it’s the treaty that replaced the Anglo-Irish Agreement. You can read the full text of this treaty here.

    Incidentally, you might also be interested in reading this Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of Ireland on Co-operation on Criminal Justice Matters given your interest in Athboy.

    “The GFA/St. Andrew’s Agreement is a package deal. To go selectively voiding parts of it risks undoing the whole thing–just ask David Trimble. The IRA and loyalists thought that they could undo the decommissioning clauses without endangering the GFA. They were wrong.” – tmitch57

    The deal has never been implemented as “a package” – and it has been chopped and changed many times requiring new statutes and new treaties. Why should the paragraph on prisoner releases be set in stone but not any of its other parts?

  • Alias

    Joe, try reading paragraph 3 of the section of the GFA on prisoners for the “detail” on prisoner releases that you missed. As I have already told you, the GFA is an all-party negotiation and not a treaty. There is no mention of prisoner releases in the treaty. The treaty is nominally binding on the British government but only nominally because of Dicey’s Doctrine, whereas the GFA has no binding status at all.

  • Alias

    “To go selectively voiding parts of it risks undoing the whole thing–just ask David Trimble.”

    Just to add that an amnesty would ‘selectively void’ the part of it that says that a convict should serve at least two years of its sentence before being entitled to a review. If it can be selectively voided to the benefit of criminals then it can also be selectively voided to the benefit of their victims’ families.

  • “The former included provisions for accelerated prisoner release for those groups on ceasefire although the specific maximum of 2 years was not detailed.”

    @mister_joe,

    The GFA went into effect in May 1998 and all prisoners were to be released by May 2000–a two year maximum period to serve on all sentences after the GFA went into effect.

    “Just to add that an amnesty would ‘selectively void’ the part of it that says that a convict should serve at least two years of its sentence before being entitled to a review.”

    @Alias,

    What Larkin has suggested is an “administrative amnesty” in that no court cases would be pursued. Those not pursued and sentenced cannot be convicts–only those convicted are convicts.

  • Old Mortality

    Tacapall
    I was referring only to court proceedings. I seem to remember that RUC officers were convicted.
    Out of interest, could you name any republican who you could accept was properly convicted for the offence of which he or she was accused even if you believe that it was not an offence in the first place.

  • Alias

    “What Larkin has suggested is an “administrative amnesty” in that no court cases would be pursued.”

    Where is this proposed in the GFA? It selectively voids paragraph 3 of the section on prisoners which holds that prosecution and conviction for criminal offences committed pre-1998 is legitimate and that it is also is legitimate that they should serve at least two years of their sentence.

    To now claim that prosecution and conviction for criminal offences committed pre-1998 is illegitimate is a direct violation of those two principles conceded in the relevant section.

    So it the GFA can ‘selectively voided’ to benefit criminals then it can also be selectively voided to benefit their victims’ families.

  • tacapall

    Old Mortality Im sure you could post a link to those RUC officers convicted of being a party to the murder of those people in the Ormeau Road bookies and the Devenish Arm murders. The RUC were the last people in possession of one of the weapons used in the murders of seven people who were killed during those two shootings and contary to what you believe I dont think there was any RUC officers convicted for their part in those murders.

    There was thousands of republicans in the past convicted for the offenses of which he or she was accused of and lots of them pleaded guilty so obviously I cant argue no-one convicted felt they didn’t get a proper trial. But for those who pleaded not guilty and defended themselves within the diplock court system with a single peer being judge jury and prosecution there was no fair trial. The judges simply wrote guilty at the end of the book of evidence before the trial started and filled it in as he went along during the trial. How can a judge in his role as a jury dismiss both the prosecution and the defense version of events that formed the basis of a case and introduce his own percieved version that ultimately he would in his role as judge find in favour of to convict the defendant. He is threfore judge jury and prosecution how in any shape or form can that be called a fair trial or a fair system of judgement.

  • Barnshee

    .” The RUC were the last people in possession of one of the weapons used in the murders of seven people who were killed during those two shootings and contary to what you believe I dont think there was any RUC officers convicted for their part in those murders.”

    How many “butts” with the DNA evidence of policemen were found in the vicinity of the shootings ?

    How many policmen were found in actual physical; possession of a gun immediately afer an attempted murder ?

  • Alias

    Just to add that if the section of the GFA on the length of incarceration of prisoners wasn’t deemed to apply to those convicted after 1998 then we wouldn’t be having this debate, would we? It clearly holds that further convictions and sentences are valid. To try to invalidate that principle, as Larkin has proposed, is a ‘selective voiding’ of the GFA.

  • Charles_Gould

    Alias

    Good point – larkin’s idea is a violation of the GFA. So, if it is to be applied then a quid-pro-quo for the victims and those who never broke the law should be obtained……….whatever that might be.

  • “To now claim that prosecution and conviction for criminal offences committed pre-1998 is illegitimate is a direct violation of those two principles conceded in the relevant section.”

    @Alias,

    Larkin didn’t claim that it was illegitimate, but rather that it was impractical: difficult to secure convictions and expensive in relation to the sentence being imposed. The chief reasons for legal incarceration are: 1) punishment and rehabilitation; 2) protection of the community; 3) deterrence. These do not apply to felons who commited crimes 15 years ago or more. Punishing people now after the GFA is likely only to have an embittering effect. The people being incarcerated are not likely to repeat and unless they have joined the dissident republicans or are actively working with the UVF or UDA they are not a threat to the community. The exception that I would make for this would be in prosecuting the officers responsible for the Bloody Sunday massacre as a deterrent and lesson for future officers.

  • tacapall

    “How many “butts” with the DNA evidence of policemen were found in the vicinity of the shootings”

    Barnshee now your getting on like SOS even though the evidence of RUC involvement in the murder of seven innocent people is staring you in the face you plead ignorance and ask me to prove it, I dont have to its up to the RUC to prove its innocence. We dont need any DNA evidence, the last place the weapon was recorded as being was in the RUC armoury.

    “How many policmen were found in actual physical; possession of a gun immediately afer an attempted murder”

    An RUC officer or officers signed that weapon out of the armoury and regardless whether that officer or officers DNA was found immediately after the murders he or they should be in a court of law explaining how a weapon that was in RUC custody was used in the murder of seven innocent people. Do those seven victims families and all those injured not deserve that ? Either an RUC officer or officers was or were involved in those murders or the RUC officer or officers who were last in possission of that weapon handed it over to terrorists who used the weapon to murder those people.

  • Old Mortality

    Tacapall
    “The judges simply wrote guilty at the end of the book of evidence before the trial started and filled it in as he went along during the trial.”
    I’ve no idea whether that’s true or not but I’m pretty sure a high proportion of jurors would have taken the same view before they’d even read the evidence. I’d go as far as to say that quite a few more people would have been convicted if jury trials had been retained.

  • Son of Strongbow

    “its [sic] up to the RUC to prove its innocence”.

    As I have always suspected tacapall has no grasp whatsoever of how the Justice system works (although I confess that even I didn’t expect him to prove it so succinctly and conclusively).