As a curtain raiser to Lady Justice Heather Hallett’s review of OTRs’ “ administrative scheme” due out tomorrow (Thursday), the mild-mannered former Labour secretary of state Paul Murphy has told the separate inquiry into the affair by the Commons Northern Ireland Select Committee that more convictions might have been obtained if the rules of evidence were changed.
“Now my own personal view, which I expressed when I was chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee (at Westminster), was it should be allowed because the times that I have read names, right across the spectrum in Northern Ireland, of people who had done terrible things but couldn’t be prosecuted because there was no evidence allowable was very often very distressing and I would often ask the question, ‘why on earth can’t we prosecute this person?’.
And we couldn’t because the evidence gathered in the way it was could not be used in courts.
“Which is why I say I think it is wrong not to be able to use intercept, which most countries can.”
You can see the evidence session here.
Just another factor that makes it more difficult to achieve a clean sheet on the Troubles?
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London