More shocking revelations revealed on RUC/PSNI officers

RUC/PSNI officer had affair with associate of gang linked to Ronan Kerr’s murder

A POLICEWOMAN has been reprimanded but allowed to return to work after having an inappropriate sexual relationship with an associate of a criminal gang linked to PSNI officer Ronan Kerr’s murder.

The officer was suspended from duty some years ago after the affair emerged and the PSNI launched an investigation.

She was brought before an internal misconduct hearing last month where she was sanctioned, including having her pay docked.

However the policewoman is now free to return to operational duty.

It is understood the man whom the PSNI officer was romantically involved with is associated with members of a criminal gang linked to constable Ronan Kerr’s murder.

The 25-year-old Catholic PSNI officer was killed in April 2011 when a booby-trap bomb exploded under his car in Omagh.

No-one has ever been charged with his murder. Dissident republican paramilitaries have been blamed for the killing.

The criminal gang is suspected of involvement in the theft of cars for dissidents involved in the murder plot.

The misconduct proceedings against the policewoman were held around six weeks ago.

Read more: Analysis – Police likely to face more questions over sensitive Ronan Kerr case

The PSNI had in 2014 sent a file in relation to the case to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), but it decided not to pursue a prosecution.

A number of misconduct charges – two ‘integrity matters’ and two ‘professional duty matters’ – were upheld at the internal disciplinary.

On professional duty matters, the officer was found to have engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a person involved in and associated with criminality.

The policewoman was also reprimanded for failing to abide by property management procedures and retaining items of evidence at her home.

On integrity matters, the officer was found to have received information about persons of interest to police potentially breaching bail but failed notify colleagues. Another reprimand sanction was imposed.

The officer also breached police bail conditions placed on her, for which the hearing imposed a year-long pay reduction equating to more than £9,000.

The policewoman had initially been suspended while the PSNI carried out a criminal investigation, but she was later allowed to return to office-based work.

However, following the internal disciplinary, the PSNI has confirmed the officer has now returned to an operational role.

Police said the matter was never referred to the Police Ombudsman because it was “not the subject of a public complaint”.

The Irish News asked the PSNI why there were not more serious sanctions against the policewoman.

In a statement Chief Superintendent John McCaughan, head of PSNI’s professional standards department, said: “Following an investigation into the actions of a police officer by the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s professional standards department a file was prepared and sent to the Public Prosecution Service.

“They directed no prosecution in relation to all matters reported to them.

“The matter was not the subject of a public complaint, thus it was not referred to the Police Ombudsman.

“Following that, an officer appeared before misconduct proceedings in February 2018 to answer a number of charges.

“The charges were proven and the officer received a number of disciplinary sanctions as a result.

“As the misconduct proceedings have now finalised, the officer has returned to an operational role.

“The duty status of the officer was kept under review throughout the process.

“Decisions as to whether or not an officer required to be suspended from duty were guided by the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2000 in this particular case.

“This places an obligation upon the service to keep the duty status of an officer under continual review, to ensure that any decision is lawful, necessary and proportionate.

“An officer was initially suspended at the commencement of the investigation, and later returned to a non-public facing, outside the evidential chain until the misconduct proceedings finished.”

A PPS spokeswoman said: “The PPS received a file from the PSNI in February 2014 concerning a number of allegations against a serving police officer, including misconduct in public office and attempting to do an act with intent to pervert the course of justice.

“After careful consideration of all the available evidence in this case, it was concluded in September 2014 that the test for prosecution was not met on the grounds of insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction.”

With many thanks to: Brendan Hughes and The Irish News for the origional story.

3 RUC/PSNI officers facing investigation over woman’s road death

Officers had contact with Shannon McQuillan and her boyfriend shortly before she was hit by van.

THE Police Ombudsman has launched a “criminal investigation” into the circumstances around the death of Co Antrim woman knocked down and killed shortly after being spoken to by police.

Shannon McQuillan (19), was knocked down and killed on the Moneynick Road, her boyfriend was seriously injuried and remains in hospital.

Shannon McQuillen (19), from Dunloy, died after she was struck by a van on the Moneynick Road, near Toome in Co Antrim, in January, a short time after leaving the back of an ambulance which was taking her to hospital. Police Ombudsman officials have confirmed to solicitors for her family that after consideration of the material gathered during an initial probe it is now pursuing a criminal investigation.

It is understood the investigation is in relation to ‘gross negligence man-slaughter’ and misconduct in public office in relation to the officers who had last contact with the victim before the accident. It is believed three officers were in attendance at the scene. Ms McQuillan’s boyfriend Owen McFerran (21), from Ballymoney, was left fighting for his life after the accident which took place early on January 20 on the main Derry to Belfast road.

A spokeswoman for the Belfast Trust last night said Mr McFerran, who has been left with serious injuries, remains in a stable condition at the Royal Victoria Hospital. It later emerged that the young couple were being transported in an ambulance before the accident but that the journey was “terminated” close to Toome.

It is believed the RUC/PSNI was called to the scene by paramedics and the last contact officers had with the couple was at a bus layby on the outskirts of the village. It is understood that Ms McQuillan and Mr McFarran left the ambulance after a conversation with one of the officers. The pair were knocked down around 20 minutes after the ambulance which was called to treat her left the scene.

The emergency vehicle was initially called to attend to Ms McQuillan earlier in the night after she slipped and fell on ice outside a nightclub in Magherafelt during a night out. Niall Ó Murchú, of Madden and Finucane Solicitors, said the Ms McQuillan’s family recently learned of the Police Ombudsman decision. “Shannon’s father Paul would like to thank the media for the space and privacy he and his family have been given so far,” he said. “He now wants to await the outcome of this phase of the investigation in privacy, in what is still a very difficult time, to allow due process to run its course.”

With many thanks to: Connla Young and The Irish News for the origional story.

RUC/PSNI gives contract to company ‘Capita’ criticised over PIP assessments

PSNI refuse to reveal how much Capita contract is worth

Capita are to provide control room services for the PSNI

CONTROVERSIAL public sector contractor Capita (formily known as Atos) has been awarded a contract to provide command and control systems to the PSNI.

However, neither the PSNI nor Capita would reveal how much public money the contract was worth.

The company announced yesterday it had been awarded a contract to deliver its command and control system for contact centre and control room operations across the PSNI’s three regional contact management centres.

The contract is for an initial seven-year term with incremental options to extend it to 17 years.

The company said its ControlWorks system will help deliver “operational benefits”, including the ability to assess and prioritise demand and risk at each point of contact with the public and enable the PSNI to “manage all its operations from a single viewpoint”.

Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris welcomed the move saying “technology plays a part in everything we do as a police service”.

“It is vital that we invest in future-proof solutions that enable us to provide effective and efficient services 24 hours a day in Northern Ireland.

“Capita’s ControlWorks solution will help us to do exactly that, supporting the way we respond to our communities’ needs and adapting to new and evolving policing challenges as they present themselves”, he added.

George Greig, Director, Capita Secure Solutions and Services, said: “It was clear from the start of our collaboration with PSNI that they understood the importance of having innovative solutions in place to help coordinate resources, make highly-informed decisions and rapidly communicate these to police officers and the public.”

In October last year the outsourcing group announced the appointment of a new chief executive Jon Lewis to help turn around the fortunes of the company.

The new boss slashed profit forecasts and set out plans to raise cash to avoid the same fate as collapsed rival Carillion resulting in 40 per cent being wiped off the company’s market value.

Carillion collapsed under a pile of debt earlier this year.

Capita, which provides IT services to companies and governments, said afterwards it needed a complete overhaul and to ‘retrench’.

In January the information commissioner ordered the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in Britain to release a report into Capita and Atos.

The two outsourcing companies are paid hundreds of millions of pounds to carry out personal independence payment (PIP) assessments,

In April last year Channel 4’s Dispatches programme went undercover in Capita. An investigator posed as a trainee disability assessor to see how the PIP assessments were conducted leading to widespread criticism of the company’s practices.

When asked yesterday a spokesperson for Capita said they could not comment on how much the contract was worth.

The PSNI also would not comment on the value of the contract when asked.

With many thanks to: Allison Morris, The Irish News for the origional story.

Two RUC/PSNI officers plead ‘Guilty’ in ‘locker’ case one officer has charges dropped

A former PSNI officer and a suspended police officer, who were both facing misconduct charges, have pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Harry McMahon, 49, of Dungannon PSNI station and Thomas Geoffrey Ellis, 53, of Cookstown PSNI station, pleaded guilty to obstructing a police officer in the course of his duty.

Another former police officer, David Power, 48, whose address was given as Sprucefield PSNI, had the charges against him dropped.

Mr Power was originally facing conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

‘Guilty, your honour’
Although the case was not scheduled for Friday at Dungannon Crown Court, all three accused were added to the court lists overnight.

It was alleged the three men conspired to “wilfully misconduct themselves to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust”.

The charges related to an incident in July 2012 where contents were allegedly removed from a locker belonging to Mr Ellis at Cookstown PSNI station.

On Friday morning defence barristers for Mr Ellis and Mr McMahon advised the court their clients would now enter guilty pleas to alternative charges.

‘Released on bail’
Both Mr Ellis and Mr McMahon were re-arraigned on charges of obstructing a police officer in the course of his duty.

In turn the men replied: “Guilty, your honour.”

A prosecutor thanked the court for allowing the case to be listed at short notice also confirmed the pleas were acceptable.

He also asked that single charges of misconduct against the pair be left on the court books.

The case against Mr Power was withdrawn entirely.

Judge Stephen Fowler adjourned sentencing for Mr Ellis and Mr McMahon and released them on continuing bail.

With many thanks to: BBC NI for the origional story.

RUC/PSNI legacy issue handling puts nationalist/Catholic confidence ‘at risk’

THE RUC/PSNI’s handling of legacy inquests is jeopardising nationalist/Catholic confidence in policing, it was claimed last night.

It came as police appeared to concede that some relevent material held on a military intelligence database may not have been disclosed to inquests over the past decade.

Presiding coronor Mrs Justice Keegan revealed yesterday that the database – which includes Ministry of Defence (Mod) documents – has been in the possession of the RUC/PSNI since 2007 but has not been routinely searched when compilling disclosure of intelligence material for legacy cases.

The RUC/PSNI Disclosure Unit said it was not aware it was in police pocession, a revelation described as “astonishing” by one solicitor.

The Police Ombudsman’s office has requested additional information from the force ahead of potential investigation.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton (pictured above) head of the RUC/PSNI’s legacy and justice department, yesterday said the database containing military and police intelligence was passed on for “safe keeping” at the end of the British army’s Operation Banner in 2007 and police and the MoD agreed that each would be responsible for its own material.

“Since then, the RUC/PSNI has been disclosing police material held on the database to the coroner, as well as informing the coroner of our knowledge of any relevant military intelligence on the database, so that the coroner could request further disclosure from the Ministry of Defence,” he said.

“Following a recent legacy invesigation and having taken further advice about his disclosure responsibilities, the chief constable has now directed that because the PSNI holds the database, the PSNI has legal duties of disclosure in relation to the material stored in it. ” PSNI has informed the presiding coronial judge and other criminal justice partners of this matter and has begun a process of checking the military darabase to ensure that our full disclosure duties are met. “We hope that in most cases the majority of relevent material will have already been disclosed by the MoD.

“PSNI remains committed to ensuring that all legal duties placed upon the police service are fully discharged, despite the real and significant resourcing pressures it continues to face.” John Teggart, a spokesman for relatives of 10 people shot dead by British soldiers in 1971 in what became known as the Ballymurphy Massacre, said they had “grave concerns” about the revelations. “We are calling for clarification around this statement and have raised this issue with our legal represtatives. We are months away from our full inquests – all of this is very distressing for the families,” he said.

Damian Brown (second from left) son of Sean Brown a GAA official shot dead by the LVF in 1997.

A son of Co Derry GAA official Sean Brown, who was was shot dead by the LVF in 1997, also voiced concern. Damian Brown said: “It really does raise questions about what might be in this intelligence database that the PSNI appartly forgot they had.” Mike Ritchie of Relatives for Justice also said it “beggars belief that nobody thought that this information would be relevant for inquests,” while Paul O’Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre said “there are going to be a large number of families that have serious questions”.

Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly last night said the PSNI’s explanation was ” not accaptable”. “They still haven’t clarified who decided not to tell the disclosure uni,” he said. The SDLP’s Dolores Kelly said said senior police have “serious questions to answer about how this was allowed to happen and if the disclosure mechanisms are fit for purpose at all now”. ” The PSNI’s handing of legacy inquests is now putting confidence from the nationalist/Catholic community in policing at risk. That must be addressed”.

With many thanks to: John Manley Political Correspondent – The Irish News for the origional story.

Troubles inquests which could be affected by RUC/PSNI disclosure revelations

Henry Thornton (29) was shot dead by a British soldier in West Belfast in August 1971

COMPLETED inquests which could be impacted by the revelation the PSNI did not disclose military intelligence material in its possession since 2007.

Henry Thornton (29), from Silverbridge, Co Armagh, was working in west Belfast in August 1971 when he was shot dead by a solider close to Springfield Road RUC station after the van he was driving backfired.
The British army issued a statement claiming that two shots had been fired from the van, and the original inquest returned an open verdict.

Following a fresh inquest coroner Brian Sherrard found in June 2016 that the shooting of the father-of-six was not “necessary, reasonable or proportionate”. His widow Mary welcomed the findings.

Mary Thornton (widow) and Damian Thornton (son) of Henry Thornton
Barney Watt (28) was shot dead during rioting in Ardoyne in February 1971, with British soldiers claiming he was throwing a device at military personel.

In April 2017 coroner Joe McCrisken said he was “satisfied, based upon the evidence available to me at inquest, that Barney Watt was not the man described by the soldiers holding the explosive device”. Mr Watt’s widow Teresa said at the time she was glad to have her husband’s name cleared.

Joseph Parker (25) was fatally shot in the thighs after a patrol of soldiers entered a dance at Toby’s Hall in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast in December 1971. He had an 18-month-old daughter and his wife was heavily pregnant at the time.
In November last year coroner Joseph McCrisken said he was “satisfied that the force used against Joseph Parker was not justified since he posed no threat to members of the patrol”. His wife Dorothy died before the inquest was completed.

Toby’s Hall

Joseph Parker was shot dead at Toby’s dance hall (pictured above) in Ardoyne in north Belfast in 1971
Marian Brown (17) was shot in the neck moments after kissing her boyfriend goodnight at Roden Street in Belfast in June 1972. The teen, who was pregnant at the time, was struck by a stray bullet amid an alleged exchange of gunfire between an army patrol and at least one paramilitary gunman.
Following a fresh inquest, Judge David McFarland is due to deliver his findings in the case later this year.

17-year-old Marian Brown was shot dead in West Belfast in 1972

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the origional story