Monday, 31 August 2009

Political Policing



The dismissal of all charges against a member of a well-known republican family from County Derry after a process of remand and highly restrictive bail lasting three years has once again exposed the use of discredited evidential practices in the Six Counties.

On Friday [August 28], British crown prosecutors were forced to concede, not for the first time, that the presence of low copy DNA cannot be construed as evidence.

This was only the latest high profile case, involving the use of low copy DNA, to collapse in the Six Counties. Indeed, the use of this type of dubious forensic technique appears to be primarily confined to controversial cases involving republicans.

As such, its use appears to be the latest tactic in the British state’s armoury to ensure lengthy periods of detention, in the form of selective internment by remand, for those who oppose the British occupation in Ireland.

In that respect, this latest British tactic merely replaces the notorious forced and fabricated confessions, often made under circumstances tantamount to torture, which the state used for years to imprison many innocent people for lengthy periods.

The use of highly dubious forensic evidence was an integral part of the notorious frame-ups and miscarriages of justice in cases such as the Birmingham Six that led to the imprisonment for 16 and a half years of six Irishmen for offences of which they were later proven to be totally innocent.

More recently, the widely discredited low copy DNA technique falsely implicated a 14-year-old teenager from Sussex, England in the Omagh bombing, who would have been around six years of age when the bombing took place. His DNA is understood to have been included on a British DNA database as part of a previous paternity test.

However, despite being identified as a potential suspect, his details were not passed on to the PSNI as the forensic scientists were obviously aware that an English schoolboy, who had never even been in Ireland, could not have been involved.

However, had that boy had been from South Armagh, East Tyrone, West Belfast or elsewhere in the Six Counties, he and members of his family would most likely have been imprisoned because of that false and misleading low copy DNA result.

That case followed on from a statement made in a court by a leading forensic scientist, Ann Irwin, which revealed that PSNI members had attempted to coerce scientists into covering up “mistakes” made in PSNI investigations. Irwin insisted that this was a practice going back many years. In her evidence to a Belfast court at the trial of a Tyrone man in 2003, she outlined how the PSNI had asked her to collude in covering up the fact that materials for forensic examination had already been open to contamination by British military personnel as a result of the PSNI’s own failure to implement proper procedure for handling the evidence.

In another case in 2003, charges against two County Down men [originally arrested in 2002], were dismissed after 14 months when their solicitors unearthed documents which clearly showed that there had been tampering with evidence, as well as falsification of forensic results.

Among the documents discovered by those solicitors was a letter from a forensic scientist, Gerry Murray, which stated: “On 19/06/03 at 15.00 hours I met Detective Chief Inspector Derek Williamson PSNI, Ardmore, Newry, at FSNI [Forensic Service] to discuss my statement of 8/4/03 in relation to case number 4891/02. Detective Chief Inspector Derek Williamson requested that I prepare a modified statement, omitting a number of sections from the original statement. He provided me with a copy of my original statement with the relevant sections highlighted.”

Despite clearly seeking to intimidate a forensic scientist into making changes to an evidential statement which would be later used in court, no disciplinary or other action was ever taken against Williamson.

On the contrary, Williamson has since been promoted and is now the detective chief superintendent in charge of the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch. One of the investigations which Derek Williamson now leads is that into the attack on Masserene British army barracks in March – where the presence of low copy DNA appears to be central to the continued internment by remand of those charged.

Between December 21 2007 and January 14 2008, the Crown Prosecution Service [CPS] in the Six Counties conducted what was announced as a ‘precautionary internal review’ of current cases involving the use of low copy DNA analysis. Despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, a CPS spokesperson unsurprisingly later claimed the review did not find anything “to suggest that any current problems exist” with low copy number DNA profiling and that it would remain available as potentially admissible evidence.

A number of other existing cases involving low copy DNA, which amount to internment by remand, are also due to be contested.

That such practices are still used by the forces of the British state in Ireland clearly shows that British rule in Ireland can only be maintained by coercion, defamation, slander and the denial of the most basic civil and human rights.

The CPS and the PSNI have both colluded in falsifying cases against republicans in the Six Counties. Were it not for the diligence of their defence teams, those republicans would now be serving lengthy terms of imprisonment because of political policing.

It is highly unlikely that any members of the CPS or any PSNI personnel will ever appear before the courts accused of perverting the course of justice.

One fact which is completely clear is this – the same corrupt political policing practices allied to a pliable political prosecution service, which, 35-years-ago, led to the Birmingham Six spending over 16 years in prison, are still operating today in the Six Counties.

The silence of the two constitutional nationalist parties in the Six Counties in relation to the British state’s efforts to imprison people on the basis of spurious, tampered and altered evidence makes a mockery of those parties same demands for a return of limited policing and justice powers to the Stormont administration.


Sunday, 30 August 2009

Concerns Raised Over DNA Evidence


















Declan McGlinchey was held in captivity for over 3 years. Recently he was released due to lack of DNA evidence. This seems to be happening quite a lot recently, Sean Hoey, Chris Ward, Martin Brogan, and Mark Carroll have been through similar ordeals.
Republicans can be arrested and held on remand for 3 or 4 years without being found guilty of any charge, then the case collapses.

Will this also be the case with Colin Duffy and Brian Shivers?
This is a de facto form of Internment and should be highlighted and opposed by all Republicans.

Here's an interesting piece on the Friends of Colin Duffy website

The family of Colin Duffy would like to take this opportunity to wish Declan McGlinchey and his family well for the future following the recent collapse of the British State's case against him. The initial prosecution and charging of Declan as well as the evidential basis for it also needs to be challenged by all human rights organisations and legal bodies. It is not acceptable that it took over three years for Declan to learn of the decision of the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) not to offer any evidence in the Diplock, Non-jury case against him.

Lawyers for Declan said "the weakness of the case" was clear from the beginning.

Niall Murphy of Kevin Winters & Co said: "The evidence has not changed a single iota (since he was charged in 2006) yet the PPS saw fit to sustain the prosecution for a further three years before deciding to withdraw the charges

The Belfast solicitor was right to contend that Declan Mc Glinchey's case has proved, as had others, that evidence based on all forms of Low Template DNA were "now dead ...... and not sufficient for prosecution purposes".

The solicitor is also right when he stated that had Declan McGlinchey lived in England "he would never have been charged" as all of the authorities there "dictate that prosecutions should not be undertaken with this type of evidence alone".

The Public Prosecution Service's actions in this case raises serious questions, not only in relation to this case, but also other high profile DNA cases which have collapsed during trial or discovery, and most importantly pending high profile DNA cases against Colin Duffy and Brian Shivers.Declan Mc Glinchey’s case is merely the latest in a series of failed prosecutions based upon discredited DNA evidence to collapse. The trial of Sean Hoey collapsed after a trial in which there seemed to be strong evidence that evidence had been planted, fabricated or otherwise contaminated.The charges against Mark Carroll and Martin Brogan from South Down were dismissed after their solicitors’ unearthed documents showing attempts at tampering with evidence and falsification of results.Now after three years, a consultation with a 'forensic witness' who presumably was available before charges were brought in 2006 has forced the PPS to concede that there was never any credible evidence against Declan Mc Glinchey.

Colin's family feel that there are a number of important questions arising out of this recent development:

Why has it taken three years for the problems with the DNA evidence to surface?

Are these weaknesses also relevant to the pending cases of Colin Duffy or Brian Shivers?

Are there issues of planting or contamination of evidence either by witnesses or in the lab which should be disclosed to the defence as a matter of justice?

Will Colin Duffy and Brian Shivers have to wait three years only to be told that there was never a case against them as has happened to Declan Mc Glinchey?.


Sunday, 16 August 2009

Free Colin Duffy mural erected in Newry

Supporters of the Free Colin Duffy campaign today erected a 24ft long mural in the Derrybeg estate to show their support for Colin and his family. The National flag was also erected alonside the mural.

The mural which also highlights the continuation of Internment took 2 weeks to complete was erected by local Republicans.

There was initially a " FREE COLIN DUFFY" slogan on the fence, this was painted the night Colin was charged, sadly this was removed 2 weeks ago by unknown individuals.

Local Republicans then came up with the idea to paint a proper mural and this is the result










Friday, 14 August 2009

Loose lips, sink ships!


Over the past few days the news headlines have been dominated by the tall ships challenge. These majestic ships sailed into Belfast and thousands have turned out to view them. Indeed this will be a great event for everyone young and old but why did the organisers have to politicise this event by including British terrorists in the celebrations?

We certainly have nothing to celebrate in terms of the Royal Marines, they have murdered Irish Citizens over the past number of years and they have just arrived back from a tour in Afghanistan were they murdered at least 2,000 civilians last year.
They shot dead 16 year old IRA Volunteer Michael Hughes from the Derrybeg Estate in Newry on the 18th October 1974 as he attempted to hijack an Ulsterbus, the unit of Marines lay hidden in undergrowth on the opposite side of the road. No warning was given as they opened fire, shooting him dead.

Michael was just one of many Irish citizens murdered by these terrorists, there are simply too many to mention.
Today, Republican Socialist group éirigi will be protesting against the presence of the Royal Marines. So far they are the only Republican group who have announced they will be protesting. Their presence is just another attempt to "normalise" the British occupation.
This event recieved backing from Belfast City Council, so why did the SDLP or Provisional Sinn Fein not object to the presence of these terrorists?

The British Army currently have roughly 5,000 troops garrisoned on Irish Soil. Due to the unfortunate succes of the British policy of "normalisation" many people are not aware of that fact.

They haven't gone away you know!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

FREE COLIN DUFFY


I thought it would be appropriate to post this as it was recently the anniversary of the introduction of internment.

For two decades Colin Duffy has been the target of an unrelenting campaign of persecution and victimisation by state forces within the Six Counties. That campaign has encompassed the full spectrum of harassment experienced by nationalists in the Six Counties, from petty stop-and-search harassment to arbitrary arrest and detention, from verbal and physical abuse to collusion and the use of murder. The following information sets out the views of Colin's family and details the background to the British state's campaign of persecution against him.


In the aftermath of the fatal shootings in Antrim and Craigavon on March 7th 2009 the media and some local politicians hysterically engaged in a frenzy of finger pointing and "felon setting".

As each politician and reporter attempted to outdo the comments of the other regarding who may have been responsible, a deliberate picture was created whereby sections of the media and politicians identified those who they alleged ought to be arrested.

Our family member Colin was one of those unfairly and unjustly identified. In due course the northern police force, the PSNI, previously known as the RUC, obliged.

Colin's arrest came as no surprise to us, his family. Due to the unsubstantiated comments made by sections of the media and certain politicians, it was our great fear and worry that, once again, he would be 'set-up' as a scapegoat.

Our family's fears and worries were reinforced by two very important facts that both the media and politicians have failed to report or comment upon.

Firstly, Colin had been visited at his home four days before his arrest by the PSNI to inform him that a threat had been made on his life. The PSNI photographed Colin at his front door. Why did the PSNI not arrest him then?

Secondly following his arrest Colin's legal representative was astounded to be informed that the arrest was "not based on evidence". In the absence of any evidential basis for Colin's arrest, it was clear to our family, that the PSNI had other sinister motivations for detaining him.

The family's belief regarding the PSNI's perverse motivation was vindicated when the High Court ruled on Wednesday March 25th that Colin's arrest and prolonged detention, under legislation which permits a person to be held for up to 28 days, to be unlawful. It also became apparent during his legal challenge initiated by Colin's solicitor that Colin had not been questioned at all by the PSNI since the previous Friday.

Our family has always believed from the outset that Colin's Original arrest and his prolonged detention on March 14th was motivated by vindictiveness on the part of the PSNI. The actions of the PSNI in immediately rearresting Colin after the High Court had ruled that his continued detention was unlawful, shows the complete disregard which the PSNI has for its own justice system and for the European Convention of Human Rights.

Furthermore Colin was not even permitted to leave his place of detention before being re-arrested, thereby putting a question mark over the legality of that subsequent arrest. It is also no mere coincidence that Colin was subsequently charged within 48 hours of this re-arrest thus precluding the PSNI from having to re-submit any application for further detention before a judge. Colin had been held for a total of THIRTEEN days before he was charged.

We believe the PSNI's actions demonstrate the lengths that they are prepared to go in order to conduct this vendetta against Colin. It also shows that the PSNI believe themselves to be above their own courts.

It should not be forgotten that this campaign of persecution also involved a murder attempt which resulted in the death of a close family friend, Sam Marshall. It later emerged, in a US court, that vehicles involved in that murder belonged to British military intelligence and to the RUC.

Colin has previously been the victim of persecution by the state and its forces which include previous periods of imprisonment which were proven to be completely unjustified. It was similar vindictiveness, spurred on by a hostile media, which led to the wrongful arrest and lengthy imprisonment of innocent people in the past such as the Birmingham Six, the Maguire Family and the Guildford Four. More recently we have witnessed, in the cases of Sean Hoey and Chris Ward, exactly what the PSNI are capable of. How many more people will be wrongfully detained for prolonged periods of time under the new form of internment before someone says "Stop not in my name".

We call for Colin's immediate release and are appealing to all those interested in justice to support us in our campaign to return Colin safely home to his wife, Martine, his children and his wider family
For more information and regular updates you can visit http://friendsofcolinduffy.com/default.aspx

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

RUC/PSNI beat 14 Year old child and gas bystanders

I came across this video of the RUC/PSNI beating and dragging a 14 year old boy into an armoured landrover, when residents from this area in Derry came to the boys assistance they were also assaulted and had CS gas sprayed in their face.





video


What was the young lads crime i hear you ask?

He kicked the tyre of an armour plated, bomb proof, bullet proof, 9 ton landrover!!!!!!!!

Is this the new face of policing we were promised?

Is this the manners being put on them as was promised?

Im of the stern opinion that the only manners being meted out is on the Republican/Nationalist community.

We are always told that they are being held to account. When exactly have they been held to account? (apart from the time they admitted a hurl is not an offensive weapon)

How can this "police force" be held to account when they can order in British "special forces" at the drop of a hat, without even consulting the policing board?

This young lad and his family, friends, neighbours and those residents who came to his aid are certainly not going to support the masked and armed paramilitaries.

Welcome

So here i am folks, i've now entered the world of blogging. This blog will take on a mainly political theme, the reason being that is what interests me the most. I'm a lifelong Republican and Political Activist.

I'll try my best not to depress everyone with all the bad news though. I think debate is healthy and good for your beliefs, it keeps the mind working and you can learn a thing or two especially from others that might be of a different opinion.
So over the next while i will be posting various things of interest and i look forward to your opinions.
Slán