New IRA says border infrastructure would be ‘legitimate target for attack’.

Lawyer Micheal Pulsford, 68: Who Defended Pedophiles Found Guilty of Raping Children

A lawyer who represented defendants accused of sexual offences has himself been jailed for molesting children.

Michael Pulsford, 68, abused three boys and three girls while he was a Christian youth group leader between 1974 and 1989.

The victims, who were aged between 12 and 15, were abused in Wiltshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Pulsford admitted 16 counts of indecent assault. He was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison.

Southampton Crown Court heard Pulsford groomed children while he was viewed as a “pillar of the community” during summer camps, at his home and in his office.

His victims described Pulsford, of Corsham in Wiltshire, as “an evil manipulator” who had taken their “childhood innocence” by “abusing his position of trust”.

One complainant came forward in 2011 but Pulsford denied the allegations and no further action was taken.

‘Appalled at cases’

But police reopened the investigation in 2017 when another victim reported Pulsford for indecent assault.

A man told the court that coverage of the Jimmy Savile scandal prompted him to recall his own experiences of Pulsford, who had qualified as a solicitor-advocate and represented clients in criminal proceedings.

“I remember googling Mike Pulsford and being appalled at the number of child abuse cases he had defended,” the man said.

He said he told police about being molested when asked if he had witnessed any abuse against another victim at a Christian camp in the 1970s.

Two more women came forward with allegations of indecent assault after media coverage of the case began, the court was told.

In mitigation, defence barrister Michael Phillips said the incidents of abuse were “extremely unpleasant, but not as unpleasant as they could have been”.

He added: “He has accepted the title of being a paedophile, which is a rarity in these kinds of cases… hopefully it shows there is remorse.”

Judge Peter Henry said the youth group Pulsford led had the aim of “instilling Christian values”, but he had only been “pretending” to have those values.

“Throughout this period you were in a position of considerable power, influence and trust,” the judge said.

“What you did in this period amounts to a gross abuse of this trust.”

With many thanks to: Humans Are Free for the original story 

Friend of alleged rape victim says she heard moaning and saying the word ‘harder’ during sex, court told

Central Criminal Court, Dublin. (Stock photo)

THE friend of a student allegedly raped by two men has told a trial she heard the alleged victim moaning and saying the word “harder” during sex.

The complainant was a student at a college in Co Donegal in February 2015 when she says the two defendants raped her after a night of drinking.

In a trial at the Central Criminal Court, the men, who have a legal entitlement to anonymity, have pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape of the woman in a town in the county.

The defendants are now aged 29 and 33 and are residents of Donegal. The complainant is now aged in her 20s.

The alleged rape happened after she and her female friend accepted a lift from two men at the end of a night out and ended up in an apartment. She earlier told the trial she was too drunk to consent to any sexual activity.

Giving evidence the complainant’s friend told the jury they were both “very bad” in the way of intoxication, adding she thought the complainant “was worse”.

She said that back in the apartment she remembers being offered a vodka drink but declining. She viewed some video taken of the complainant in the bathroom being lifted to her feet by two men.

She said her next memory is helping her friend into bed and laying beside her.

“I remember I lay beside her and then all of a sudden the lights were off. I could have closed my eyes for a minute. Next I remember one of the guys was on top of [the complainant].

“I couldn’t tell [which one]. He was having sex with her. The other guy was on my side. He had his fingers up my dress and he was penetrating me…

“I remember [the complainant] saying harder. The guy beside me tried to put his penis inside me but I put my hands in front of myself and said no no no.

“The guy on top of [the complainant] left the room and then the guy who had his hands up my dress went over to her and started having sex with her as well…I heard some moaning.”

She said the next morning she woke up on the bed and one of the men was lying between her and the complainant.

“I was still drunk. We were both really confused, we didn’t know where we were. We were looking for her purse and her bag.” She said they were chatting to the men and the complainant asked one of them for cannabis weed.

Under cross-examination she agreed that in the days after the incident she told gardai that the complainant “seemed drunk, she seemed ok drunk, she didn’t seem that bad”.

“From the very start I underestimated how drunk we were. In hindsight, looking back on it all. Not remembering things like coming out of the nightclub illustrates how drunk we were,” she said.

Earlier in the trial Barry White SC, defending, put it to the complainant that her detailed description given to gardai of the route she took home was “not a description of someone who was blind drunk and hasn’t a clue where they are”.

The woman replied that it was a route she knew very well. She said her last memory was of her friend coming into her in the bathroom and saying “we have to go”.

She told Mr White that she was giving to talking in her sleep and “I have been known to moan and make noises in my sleep”.

The jury heard she told gardai “I don’t know if I was moaning or not, I think I might have wanted him to go quicker so that it was over soon”. Counsel put it her this suggests “you were fully awake”.

“I was in and out of consciousness,” she said. Counsel asked her then why she didn’t say no.

“I was extremely drunk,” adding “I don’t believe I was sober enough to be able to give consent prior to being had sex with”.

Mr White put it to her that her statement to gardai that she doesn’t remember “when it stopped” and “I don’t think he was wearing a condom” were inconsistent with her evidence that she was too drunk to know what was happening.

The woman agreed that she could have phrased this part of her statement differently. The trial continues before Mr Justice Alex Owens and a jury.

With many thanks to the: Irish Independent and Declan Brennan and Isabel Hayes for the original story

RHI: ‘Eyebrows raised’ over inquiry solicitor’s advisory role at Department for Economy

The appointment of the solicitor to the RHI inquiry to a high-level post advising the department most centrally involved in the scandal ‘raised eyebrows’ in Stormont, says journalist Sam McBride

Patrick Butler, described as the “beating heart” of the inquiry, took up the position in the Department for the Economy (DfE) in the summer.

The journalist says that although the move was entirely within the rules it caused debate in Stormont.

“In summer 2019, as the inquiry was finalising its report and preparing right of reply letters to those it would criticise, Butler took up a high-level post advising the department most centrally involved in RHI – the Department for the Economy (DfE),” McBride writes.

“For half of the week he was working in the inquiry and for the remainder he was in Stormont, acting as a senior legal adviser to DfE.” The solicitor’s new role was “on a temporary and part-time basis” and was “completely separate from RHI and energy-related matters”.

However, McBride writes: “But even without being involved in anything RHI-related, the idea that a critical figure in the multi-million-pound inquiry investigating a departmental disaster would move to work for that department before the inquiry had even finished was problematic, at least in public relations terms. One civil servant said, ‘In terms of how it’s perceived, it doesn’t look good. There’s a lot of talk about it within the civil service’.”

McBride says that Mr Butler’s move was not announced by the RHI inquiry but was confirmed by it in response to questions after a source contacted him.

“As with several members of the inquiry’s staff, Butler was a civil servant – working as a lawyer in the Departmental Solicitor’s Office (DSO) – who had been seconded to the inquiry for its duration,” he writes.

“The inquiry said that Butler had been a staff member of the DSO throughout, in the same manner as with the public inquiry into historical institutional abuse, and ‘the inquiry chairman and the departmental solicitor were aware of this from the outset and were satisfied that robust measures were put in place to address any possible concerns about an actual, or perceived, conflict of interest. Ethical walls have been put in place to avoid any such conflict. Patrick Butler has not worked on any RHI-related work in his new role with the DSO’.”

The journalist writes: “The Department of Finance, within which the DSO sits, said that Butler had been appointed ‘on a temporary and part-time basis, to a legal advisory post which deals with DfE’ but that the role was ‘completely separate from RHI and energy-related matters’.”

The Department of Finance, which deals with the appointment of departmental solicitors, last night said: “Patrick Butler is in a legal advisory post which deals with Department for the Economy on a part-time basis.

“This post is advising on a range of DfE areas which are completely separate from RHI and energy related matters. The Departmental Solicitor’s Office put in place robust mechanisms to avoid any potential or perceived conflict of interest.”

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Suzanne Breen for the original story 

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Spotlight On The Troubles: A Secret History

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KILLER Billy Wright ‘given dossiers by the RUC/PSNI and used them to target families of republicans’

Question: David Hoare Notorious UVF leader Billy Wright was working as an agent for Special Branch and the FRU, senior security forces have told the BBC.

And according to the sixth episode of Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History, Wright’s predecessor as leader of the Mid-Ulster UVF, the late Robin Jackson, had also been recruited as a state agent.

Jackson, who led the UVF terror campaign in Mid-Ulster from the 1970s through to the early 1990s, is thought to have been personally involved in up to 50 killings during the Troubles.

He had been arrested in 1973 for involvement in a murder, but was never prosecuted despite being identified by the wife of the victim. Charges were dropped, and a number of security sources have told the BBC they believed that was when he was recruited in return for avoiding prosecution.

Former Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan told the BBC: “My understanding would be that he was a murderer, a prolific murderer, a very, very dangerous and ruthless man. They never investigated him.”

The BBC claims Jackson’s murder gang included soldiers and RUC officers.

Billy McCauley, a former police officer and accomplice of Jackson in the murder of a Catholic shopkeeper, told the programme: “It would have been a case of meeting republican terror with even greater loyalist terror. That would have been the rationale.”

The programme’s research shows the number of attacks on Catholics – particularly on family members of those connected to republicanism – by the Mid-Ulster UVF rose dramatically when Wright took over as leader of the organisation.

Retired Detective Chief Inspector David Hoare, part of the Historical Inquiries Team, said evidence suggests the RUC didn’t try hard enough to stop the UVF murder gang.

“Forty odd murders and so few people convicted – to me it tells a tale in itself,” he said.

“It raises the question: did the RUC try hard enough or were they not good enough to deal with Mid-Ulster UVF?

“I don’t buy the argument they weren’t good enough.

“They were certainly good enough.”

He also revealed a catalogue of missing evidence in cases relating to the Mid-Ulster gang when he went to reinvestigate the murders of Kevin and Jack McKearney in their butcher’s shop in Moy in 1992, 13 years later.

The McKearney family had strong IRA links, though neither of the victims had involvement with paramilitarism.

“Crucial evidence had been lost,” he said. “A partially destroyed jacket found in the getaway car had disappeared.”

He also revealed in 1998 that hundreds of police files, including those on killings in Mid-Ulster, had been destroyed because of reported asbestos contamination.

“I can’t say how huge the destruction of the records was,” he said.

“There were health and safety measures that could have been taken to clean those exhibits safely, but that wasn’t done.”

Police told the BBC the evidential loss was minimal.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Mark Bain for the original story