SOLICITORS acting on behalf of (Craigavon Two) two men convicted of the murder of PSNI/RUC police officer Stephen Carroll have written to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) after new details about the case were made public.
Brendan (Yandy) McConville (43) and John Paul (JP) Wootton (23) were convicted of killing the officer in Craigavon in March 2009. Both men have denied any part in the Continuity IRA (CIRA) attack that claimed the PSNI/RUC man’s life as he answered a 999 emergency call. It emerged this week, in a European Court judgement, that the gun used to kill Constable Carroll, pictured below, was discovered by police after a tip-off by a suspect, who was in custody at the time.
The suspect is referred to in court papers only as RE. The suspect was initially charged with withholding information about Mr Carroll’s murder but these charges were subsequently dropped in mid 2010. Brendan McConville’s solicitor Darragh Mackin, of KRW Law, has written to the PPS requesting notes taken during police interviews with RE and asking what happened to the charges levelled against him.
Details of the case emerged after RE took a case against the British government over concerns that the PSNI/RUC was carrying out surveillence of conversations between him and his solicitor.
The man was arrested and questioned three times in the weeks after the officer was killed. Court papers reveal that he was assesssed by a medical officer as a “vulnerable person” and therefore should not have been interviewed – unless in exceptional circumstances – in the absence of an appropriate adult. Court papers reveal that before being seen by a solicitor or appropriate adult the man asked to speak to investigating officers “off the record”. During the course of that interview he “gave information which led to the recovery of the gun used in the constable’s murder.”
His solicitors subsequently brought a separate case on his behalf to the European Court which this week found that secret surveillance carried out on solicitors and their clients is in breach of European Law. During the first two periods of detention his solicitor received assurances that consultations would not be subject to covert surveillance. During a third arrest the PSNI/RUC refused to give an assurance.
The court ruling found that the man’s Article Eight rights under the European Court of Human Rights had been violated.
Article Eight protects the right for private and family life, home and correspondence.
Nichola Harte, of Harte, Coyle, Collins Solicitors, who represented RE, said the ruling has wider implications. “The European Court criticised the inadequate procedures currently in place in the North of Ireland for the handling, use, storage and destruction of information obtained from covert surveillance of legal consultations,” she said. “The police arrangements were and continue to be a violation of the right to respect for private life. “This landmark European ruling has implications for all legal consultations in police stations if subjected to covert surveillance.” With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News. For the origional story.
THE mother of an English man jailed under joint enterprise laws spoke on Thursday night August 6th 2015 at an event organised by supporters of two men wrongly convicted of killing RUC/PSNI constable Stephen Carroll.
Jan Cunliffe traveled from England to Belfast to speak at the annual event organised by Justice for the Craigavon Two. Her son Jordan was given a life sentence after he was convicted under joint enterprise laws of murdering a man in Wigan in 2007. Ms Cunliffe is a member of the campaign group Jengba – Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association – and her story inspired award-wining filmmaker Jimmy McGovern to make the acclaimed film Common,
Colin Duffy, Alec McMcrory, and Harry Fitzsimmons appeared in court this week accused of paramilitary offences. No details were given of the evidence against them. However, it is understood that all three have been under a lengthy period of sophisticated surveillance with MI5 assisting the PSNI/RUC in tracking their movements. The levels of monitoring were unprecedented in scale and included the placing of tiny listening devices in items of clothing. Tracking devices were also used and open spaces – including a green in Co Armagh were Duffy (46) was known to frequently walk – were fitted with hidden spying technology. Gardai have also been assisting the PSNI/RUC as part of a cross-border crackdown on dissidents, monitoring suspects when they travelled to the Republic.
A house in Co Louth visited by Duffy and former IRA prisoner McCrory (52) is believed to have been under surveillance and fitted with listening devices. Under Home Office guidelines authorisation for ‘intrusive ssurveillance’ must be given by the secretary of state and can be granted for periods of six months at a time, providing its use is in the interests of ‘national security’. Although covertly gathered evidence has been used in the North of Ireland in the past, the monitoring surrounding Duffy is on a level never seen before. During the trial of teenager John Paul Wotton for the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll the court was told a military tracking device had been fitted to his vehicle. On Monday a workman in Craigavon, Co Armagh, found a military tracking device under the wheel arch of his van. This week Duffy, Fitzsimmons and McCrory were each charged with conspiracy to murder, conspiring to possess firearms and explosives with intent to endanger life and belonging to a proscribed organisation. McCrory and Fitzsimmons were also accused of involvement in a gun attack on Crumlin Road in North Belfast on December 5 and possession of a firearm with intent. The offences cover a period between January 1 and December 16 this year, although Fitzsimmons (45) was only freed from prison in May after serving a jail term for the attempted kidnapping of Bobby To hill in 2004. The trio did not seek bail.
With many thanks to: Allison Morris, The Irish News.
Prosecutors said reconnaissance was used against police and prison staff, including a governer, over a two-year period. Suspects drove past one target’s home more than 50 times in eight days, a judge was told. Details emerged as one of three men accused of a plot to bomb and killwas refused bal. Damien Duffy (43), of Campbell Walk in Lurgan, Co Armagh, is charged with conspiracy to murder, conspiring to cause an explosion and collecting iformation likely to be used to terrorists. He was arrested in May last year after a nine-month police iinvestigation involving surveillance, tracking and covert recordings. The alleged offences, stretching back to November 2009, relate to police and prison officers ‘ movements in the Lurgan and Craigavon areas, their addresses and routes taken to and from work. A prosecution barrister said audio recordings showed the Kilmore Road and Cottage Road junction in Lurgan was to be used for a mortar-bomb attack on security forces. The location is on a route regularly used by police and prison staff, the court heard. Alleged discussions between the suspects including references to lines of sight, getting angles right and breaking cover. The barrister said attack planning was carried out on two identified prison officers as they came and went to Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim.
Lord Justice Coghlin was told that the governor’s home in a rural setting was passed several times for no apparent legitimate reason. The barrister said two of the accused scouted one officer’s home on 54 occasions – including 21 times in a 90-minute period. According to police, anti surveillance techniques and U-turns were performed. Discussions about the areas for carrying out an attack, escape routes and “giving it 20 seconds to get down there” were recorded, the court heard. It was accepted that forensic analysis of the audio recordings was unable to attribute any of the remarks to Duffy. However, the court was told independent witnesses said he had been in the car used during the alleged offences. Mark Mulholland QC, defending, said Duffy should be released due to the “paucity” of evidence and delays in processing the case. “The starting point is what can be aattributed to this accused and at no time is there any express reference to targeting, weaponry or anything of that nature,” he said. “What appears to be a case grounded principally on what can be inferred or speculated was at hand does not pass muster. “In the period of time the accused was under surveillance, whatever was being suggested by the prosecution absolutely nothing happened.” Lord Justice Coghlin said an explanation would eventually have to be given. Separating terrorist offences from other crimes, he said: “It’s nothing whatever to do with the political beliefs of those charged. “It’s to do with a very small group of people who are not prepared to take part in a democracy but wish to achieve what they beleive to be some firm of political end by killing and injuring people. “In cases of terrorism the offence is driven by a warped political ideology. Therefore there is a significantly higher risk of further offences.”