FORMER high Court judge Sir Anthony Hart will chair a government-backed inquiry into child abuse at state and Church-run institutions in Northern Ireland.

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He has come out of retirement to lead the investigation that will draw on the testimony of survivors of abuse in homes, hospitals and orphanages across the north from 1945 to 1995. However, criticisms remain that the probe will not include allegations of abuse that occurred outside the time-frame or away from institutions.” This means that some of the Northern Ireland victims of Brendan Smith’s serial child abuse will be covered by this inquiry. While others will not,” Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International said.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the executive would be bringing forward legislation ” shortly ” to give Sir Anthony powers to compel witnesses and documents. Sir Anthony whose last court cases included the trail of Colin Duffy and Brian Shivers for the murder of two-soldiers in Massereene Barracks and the trial of killer dentist Colin Howell, will be supported by a tea, offering a confidential forum.

Ryan inquiry commissioner Norah Gibbons, ex-Metropolitan Police child abuse investigator Dave Marshall, Tom Shaw, who worked on a similar inquiry in Scotland, and Beverley Clarke, who has experience of social work in Canada, will hear victims’ testimony. The inquiry will then rule if abuse was systemic, suggest whether there should be an apology, decide on a memorial and make recommendations for ” redress “. However, any final decision on compensation will be made by the executive after it considers Sir Anthony’s recommendations.

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Legislation is expected to be brought before the summer recess and the investigation will begin by autumn. First Minister Peter Robinson said Sir Anthony would be ” unflinching in his pursuit of truth”. ” I am confident that the scope and nature of this process is robust, will provide a thorough examination of what happened and will get to the the truth,” he said. Mr McGuinness said legislation would ensure the inquiry had the ” powers, flexibility and protections” needed. Mr Corrigan said a statement in the terms of reference that the inquiry will begin after the commencement of legislation suggested that concerns had been met about whether the probe would have full statutory powers for it’s duration.

However, he said he remained concerned that victims of abuse before 1945 or after 1995 would be excluded and that the issue of redress has ” been put on the long finger”. ” Equally, it is clear that the executive currently has no plans for a similar process of inquiry for victims of clerical child abuse outside institutions,” he said.





A DOCTOR appointed by the United Nations is to assess bomber Marian Price ( 57 ) as concerns grow for her health . In an unprecedented move, the medic will visit her in Hydebank Wood detention center, on the outskirts of South Belfast, this week in his role as special rapporteur and report back to the UN.

The West Belfast dissident republican has been held in isolation for more than a year after her life sentence licence was revoked by secretary of State Owen Paterson. She is accused of providing a mobile phone alleged to have been used to admit the 2009 murder of two soildiers at Massereene Barracks in Antrim. A second charge relating to an Easter commemoration in Derry was thrown out of court last week after the trail judge criticised Prosecution delays. Peter Corrigan of Kevin Winters & Co solicitors, who represents Price, last night welcomed UN involvement. ” There is unanimous medical opinion that Marian Price is unable to participate in any legal proceedings due to her deteriorating health so we would welcome this intervention by the UN on behalf of our client,” he said.

Pat Ramsey of the SDLP said: “While I welcome a further independent doctor’s assessment, it isn’t really required – there have already been enough medical examinations carried out that are all in agreement about her rapidly deteriorating mental health.” DUP justice spokesman Paul Given said outside intervention ” undermines the credibility of the established process” of assessing prisoners” health.

AUTHORITIES have been accused of ” failing ” veteran republivan Marian Price as it was revealed that a United Nations – appointed doctor is to visit her in prisonthis week to assess her medical condition. The doctor will attend Hydebank Wood outside South Belfast in his role as a UN special rapporteur. The 57-year -old former IRA bomber is being held in isolation in the prison’s hospital wing. SDLP Foyle assembly member Pat Ramsey last night welcomed news that the UN had taken an interest in the plight of the former IRA prisoner. ” I have to say in yhe strongest possible terms that this women should be moved to a hospital envirinment where she can receive the medication and treatment she so badly needs,” he said. ” It beggers beleif why that has not happened to date. ” The Government & the state is failing badly in the case of Marian Price.” While I welcome a further independent doctor’s assessment it isn’t really required.”There have already been enough medical examinations carried out that are all in aggreement about her rapidly deteriorating mental health”


The West Belfast Republican has been held for more than a year after a life sentence licence was revoked by Secretary of State Owen Patterson. Along with her sister Dolours and Gerry Kelly MLA, Price was jailed for life for the bombing of the Old Bailey in London in 1973. She was released early from prison in 1980 after being granted a Royal pardon and suffering from anorexia nervosa. Price is facing a charge in connection with providing a mobile phone alleged to have been used to admit responsibility for the murders of two British soldiers at Massereene Barracks in 2009. A second charge relating to an Easter commemoration in Derry in which a masked man read from a statement was thrown out of court last week after the trail judge criticised the prosecution for unacceptable delays.

She was granted bail after being arrested on this charge a year ago but was held in prison after her licence was revoked. The Public Prosecution Service has since indicated it intends to proceed with the case against Price and four others by indictable summons. Her case has been the subject of numerous protests by republican groups and she has been visited in prison by some nationalist politicians. Peter Corrigan of Kevin Winters & Co solicitors said any move by the PPS to charge Price again could represent ” an abuse of process”.He also welcomed UN involvement in the case. “There is unanimous medical opinion that Marian Price is unable to participate in any legal proceedings due to her deteriorating ill health so we would welcome this intervention by the UN on behalf of our client.” he said.

DUP justice spokesman Paul Givan said the only opinion that should count is that provided by the prison-appointed medical team. ” The south-eastern board provide medical treatment to all prisoners in Northern Ireland and any advice taken on board by the parole commissioners should only come from them,” he said.” To do otherwise would undermine the credibility of the current established process. ” Due to the terrorist campaign in Northern Ireland we have hundred of people currently free on licence. “To send out the message that they can involve themselves in further criminal activity and not have their licence revoked is very dangerous. “Those involved in any political campaign to have any prisoner freed regardless of who they are, should reflect carefully on that.”


This is only my mere opinion and I would like to say to the Justice spokesman Paul Given ” Paul you must have a very short memory have you so quickly forgotten a case very recently concerning a Mr Brendan Lillis ??? ” The South-Eastern health board were also treating him & promised the public that he was getting the best treatment possible but that turned out to be far from the case in fact he had to be released to get PROPER MEDICAL TREATMENT ! ” Have you already forgotten this case Paul ? Here is a little reminder !



TERRORIST – RELATED chsrges against veteran republican Marian Price and three others will be resurrected, Nothern Ireland‘s director of public prosecutions said yesterday.


Even though the case against the four accused has been dismissed, Barra McGrory signalled his intention to press ahead by another legal route. He also insisted that papers had been ready in the case brought over events at an Easter Rising Commemortion in Derry last year. Price (57) had been accused of managing a meeting in support of a proscribed organisation.

On Thursday a judge threw out the case against her and three men due to delays in preparation of preliminary enquiry papers in the case. Price’s co-accused were released, while she remains in custody on a separate charge connected to the murders of two soldiers at Massereene Barracks in Antrim.

Mr McGrory, pictured, said: ” The papers in this case were ready to go to the defence solicitors. ” But these are very particular offences under complex terrorism legislation which require the personal concent of the director before they can proceed. ” There were specific matters that were under consideration in that regard.” He stressed that it was lawyers for one of the four defendents-beleived to be Price-had indicted they did not want the preliminary enquiry to proceed in full due to her illness.” It’s important the general public knows that the representatives of one of the accused wrote to the court and to the Public Prosecution Service and asked that the hearing be downgraded to a mention hearing only,” the director said.Vowing that the prosecution would continue, he added: ” This case will be recommenced in another way. This case will proceed-perhaps a little bit later now than would have been the case but for these events.”

SDLP Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey said Price should be immediately released and her licence reinstated. ” I have always contended that Marian Price’s incarceration was due to her political beliefs, and her arrest following an Easter Commemoration when the secretary of state revoked her license the day before, always give rise to a suspicion that there were shadowy motives for her detention – I still contend that,” he said. ” I am glad that today the curtain has fallen, and while there are other charges outstanding, I am calling on the Secretary Of State to reinstate Marian Prices licence and release her from Hydebank Wood while she prepares to answer these,” he said.


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NEWLY retired judge Sir Anthony Hart is the new Parole Commissioner for Northern Ireland.

Sir Anthony’s last trial saw the conviction of  Brian Shivers for murdering  two soldiers at Massereene Barracks in Antrim. Justice Minister David Ford said : ” As a well – respected member of the Judiciary, Sir Anthony has vast experience of the criminal justice system, which I have no doubt will complement the wealth of experience within the commissioners.

Sir Anthony was called to the Northern Ireland Bar in 1969. He was appointed a QC in 1983 and a county court judge in 1985. He was recorder of Derry from 1985 – 90, and of Belfast from 1997 – 2005, and was the first person to be appointed as presiding  judge  of the county courts in Northern Ireland in 2002.

In January 2005 he was promoted to the High Court, and untill his retirement in January 2012 was responsible to the Lord Chief Justice for the pre – trial case management of all Crown Court trials conducted by High Court Judges, and presided over many criminal trials.


Bomb squad at Antrim alert

A local resident found a suspicious object which has sparked a security alert in Antrim.

Bomb squad at Antrim alert
Cordens are in place at the scecne of the alert in Antrim

The suspect device was found in Oakdale Manor in the town at around 10.20am on Thursday.

Army bomb experts are at the scene and a police spokesperson said a small number of homes have been evacuated.



Brian Shivers launches Massereene legal challenge

A terminally ill man jailed for murdering two soldiers at Massereene Army base in Antrim has launched a legal bid to overturn his conviction

Brian Shivers
Brian Shivers was convicted of killing Sappers Azimkar and Quinsey

Brian Shivers has lodged papers to appeal the verdict that he was guilty of murdering Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, and 21-year-old Patrick Azimkar.

His legal team claim he was wrongly punished and want an urgent hearing due to his severe medical condition.

The victims were shot by the Real IRA as they collected pizza in March 2009.

The shootings were carried out hours before the soldiers were due to be deployed to Afghanistan.

Shivers, 46, from Magherafelt, County Londonderry, was ordered to serve a minimum 25 years in prison after being convicted last month of the killings.

He was also found guilty of six counts of attempted murder and one of possession of two firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

His co-accused, Colin Duffy, a 44-year-old republican from Lurgan, County Armagh, was acquitted of all charges, including the two murders.

It emerged during the trial that Shivers suffers from cystic fibrosis and has only a few years to live.

He was found guilty on the strength of a DNA link to matches found in the car used in the attack and then set alight.

Shivers was also found to have lied about his whereabouts and actions on the night of the murders.

‘Prominent and essential role’The judge who convicted him accepted that he played a lesser role than the gunmen and driver of the Cavalier used in the attack.

But he stated that in setting fire to the vehicle Shivers “played a prominent and essential role in this carefully planned and ruthlessly executed crime”.

Shivers’ solicitor, Niall Murphy, of Kevin R Winters and Co, confirmed on Wednesday that an appeal against conviction was lodged this week.

He said: “We have further petitioned the Court of Appeal that it should be listed with as much expedition as is possible given our client’s severe medical condition.”

Explaining the reasons for mounting the challenge, Mr Murphy added: “We have petitioned the court in our grounds of appeal that the trial judge erred in law by misdirecting himself.

“Mr Shivers was wrongly convicted and punished since no conduct of his could constitute the offences of which he has been convicted.”

With Many Thanks To, BBC News


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Colin Duffy acquittal raised in Commons by William McCrea

William McCrea The DUP‘s William McCrea asked Mr Paterson about the acquittal of Colin Duffy
DUP South Antrim MP William McCrea has raised the acquittal of Colin Duffy during Northern Ireland Questions in the House of Commons

Last week, Mr Duffy was cleared of all charges relating to the attack at Massereene Barracks in Antrim in March 2009 in which two soldiers were killed.

Mr McCrea said the acquittal had caused “anger and fear” in his constituency.

Responding to the comments, Mr Duffy said he was taking legal action against the police over his prosecution.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Owen Paterson told the Commons the terrorist threat level in NI remains severe.

This means a terrorist attack is considered “highly likely”.

On the issues of the Massereene verdicts, Mr McCrea asked: “Can the secretary of state understand the anger and fear that has been felt in my constituency, and indeed throughout Northern Ireland, in light of the release of Colin Duffy, a person charged on three different occasions for the murder of innocents, yet always seems to find the get out card.

“What assurance can the secretary of state give my constituents that they are going to be safe from brutal terrorists like Colin Duffy and not be another statistic in a long line of innocent victims?”

Mr Paterson replied: “I entirely sympathise with the honourable member and his constituents’ concerns.

“We do believe in the separation of powers and this was a decision made by due process.

“I’m delighted that there was one conviction in this appalling incident… but I can assure the member that this government will bear down on all terrorists.”

Owen Paterson Owen Paterson said the terrorist threat level remains severe

MPs have parliamentary privilege when speaking during a session of the House of Commons. Mr Duffy was cleared of all charges in relation to the Massereene attack.

MaliciousResponding to Mr McCrea’s comments, Mr Duffy issued a statement through his solicitors.

It said he had instructed his solicitors to “object to the comments in the most strenuous terms and he will be making a complaint to the Committee on Standards and Privileges.”

“We are of the professional opinion that the comments represent an insult to the integrity of judicial process in this jurisdiction and serve to undermine the considered judgment of the court.

“Mr Duffy has instructed us to initiate proceedings against the PSNI and PPS in respect of his malicious prosecution and unlawful detention.”

Answering a separate question on the terrorist threat level in Northern Ireland, Mr Paterson said: “Despite overwhelming community rejection of their murderous activity, terrorist groups continue to carry out indiscriminate attacks as we saw in Londonderry last week.

“This government remains committed to countering terrorism in all its forms.”

Police believe dissident republicans were responsible for two bomb attacks in Derry last Thursday night.

The bombs exploded at the tourist centre on Foyle Street and on Strand Road, close to the DHSS office, within 10 minutes of each other

Earlier this month, a Scottish soldier found a bomb inside his car outside his girlfriend’s house in the Ligoniel area of north Belfast.

The soldier found the device while cleaning the car before going to pick up a child from school on 5 January.

Duffy believes ‘DNA planted in car’ 21 JANUARY 2012, NORTHERN IRELAND

Dissidents blamed for Derry bombs 20 JANUARY 2012, NORTHERN IRELAND

Timeline of dissident activity 20 JANUARY 2012, NORTHERN IRELAND