One of the Australia’s largest union representing over ten thousand seafarers, dockers and maritime workers has called for the release of the Craigavon Two calling it a “miscarriage of justice that has resulted in significant sentences handed to two innocent men, destroyed their families and shattered communities. It has demonstrated the reality of a hostile judicial system coupled with a corrupt State and the result of denying basic legal rights.”
The Craigavon 2 case must be viewed through the prism of historical wrongdoing by the State. Successive generations have stood witness to people being scapegoated by the Ruling Class to satisfy the needs of a terrified establishment; extrajudicial killings, imprisoning the innocent is a collective punishment on occupied communities to maintain the oppressive structures that underpin the violence of the State.”
The Sydney branch of the Maritime Union of Australia in the past has campaigned for the release of the Guildford Four and Birmingham 6 passed a resolution supporting “the Justice for the Craigavon 2 Campaign and will continue to agitate for the release from prison of Brendan McConville and John-Paul Wootton for crimes they did not commit. The MUA Sydney Branch will always fight on the side of those experiencing miscarriages of injustice, which this case represents. We call upon all those responsible for correcting this injustice, carry out whatever is necessary to secure a just outcome for the Craigavon 2.”
With many thanks to: C2 for the original posting.
Paddy Joe Hill and Gerry Conlon leaving today’s appeal hearing
Two men’s appeal against convictions for the murder of PSNI constable Stephen Carroll has been adjourned until October after prosecutors claimed that new evidence has emerged in the case.
Constable Carroll was ambushed and shot dead as he responded to a 999 call at Lismore Manor, Craigavon in March 2009.
Brendan McConville (41) of Glenholme Avenue in Craigavon, is serving a 25 year sentence for the murder.
Sean Paul Wootton (22) of Collindale, Lurgan, is serving a 14-year term for his alleged involvement in the killing.
Their appeal against the conviction was due to open today.
However the hearing was unexpectedly adjourned after the prosecution told the court that new evidence had emerged which needed to be investigated.
Crown barrister, Ciaran Murphy QC, told the court that police had only become aware of new potential evidence last Thursday.
Mr Murphy said that as a result of the new information a detective superintendent had been appointed by the PSNI to oversee the investigation of the new evidence.
The court was told that one person had been arrested as a result of the evidence and interviewed for a two day period before being released without charge.
The court was told that as part of the same investigation police had used covert surveillance against the individual and a solicitor.
Mr Murphy described the PSNI investigation as “quite fluid” indicating that further police inquiries could take a number of weeks.
However defence counsel claimed that police were attempting to sabotage the appeal, rather than obtain investigating new evidence in the case.
McConville’s barrister, Barry Macdonald SC, told the court that the prosecution case in the original trial had relied heavily on the evidence of a witness, identified only as ‘M’.
‘M’ had been on his way to the home of a relative when he claimed to have seen Brendan McConville among a group of men close to the scene from where Constable Carroll was killed.
The murder trial heard that ‘M’ had originally identified another named individual to police, alleged to be the Continuity IRA leader in Craigavon, but `M’ had been advised not to make reference to this man in his police statement as it could lead to ‘M’ and his family being targeted.
Mr Macdonald said that a new witness had now emerged, who had not been interviewed by police at the time of the murder and had not given evidence at the original murder trial.
The court was told that this man made a sworn affidavit earlier this month in which he described ‘M’ as a “compulsive liar” and that he was regarded by his family as a “Walter Mitty” type character with a fertile imagination.
He denied that ‘M’ had visited his home on the night of the murder, as had been claimed at the original trial.
He said he’d been shocked to learn that the original trial judge had relied on ‘M’s evidence to convict Wootton and McConville.
Mr Macdonald alleged that police had forced their way into the home of the man who contradicted ‘M’s evidence on April 22 and warned him that he would be discredited if he gave evidence at the appeal.
“Two police officers called at the house of this witness on whose fresh evidence we relay,” he said.
“On my instructions it appears they forced their way into the house and proceeded to warn him that if he went to court he would be discredited.”
The court was told the man was then arrested the following day and questioned for 48 hours before being released without charge.
Mr Macdonald said that a formal complaint had now been made to the Police Ombudsman about the alleged intimidation of this potential witness and the use of secret surveillance against him and a defence solicitor.
“It appears to have been an attempt to sabotage the appeal,” the barrister told the court.
Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan agreed to adjourn the case until October in light of what he described as a high level of uncertainty surrounding the factual circumstances of the case.
The appeal hearing was attended by Paddy Joe Hill from the Birmingham Six and Gerry Conlon from the Guilford Four who both have questioned the evidence used to convict Wootton and McConville.
With many thanks to: The Detail and Barry McCaffrey for the original posting dated 2009.
ONE of Britain’s largest unions has passed a motion calling for the case of two Co Armagh men convicted of killing PSNI Stephen Carroll to be reviewed.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) passed the motion earlier this month.
Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton have denied involvement in the Continuity IRA sniper attack that claimed the life of Mr Carroll as he answered an emergency call in Lurgan, Co Armagh in March 2009.
McConville is currently serving a 25-year sentence while Wootton was handed an 18-year term.
The Court of Appeal in Belfast rejected an appeal in 2014 and the case is currently being considered by the Criminal Case Review Commission.
The RMT currently represents 83,000 members across Britain.
Its motion, which has now been adopted as national policy, “acknowledge concerns about how the convictions of Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton were achieved and call on the Criminal Cases Review Commission to fully investigate the case”.
Senior assistant general secretary Steve Hedley said members are concerned about the “miscarriage of justice which has happened for nearly a decade now”.
“We have looked at the evidence as a union and we think at the very least there should be a review of what happened,” he said.
“It’s no good waiting for 20 odd years and having a review after that and setting people free when their lives are destroyed.”
With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story.
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