Leading UDA loyalist Dee Stitt fined £300 for having Taser in boot of his car

Leading UDA loyalist David ‘Dee’ Stitt on Tuesday was fined £300 after he admitted having a taser

Leading UDA loyalist David ‘Dee’ Stitt on Tuesday was fined £300 after he admitted having a Taser. December 11th 2018

Leading UDA loyalist David ‘Dee’ Stitt was fined £300 on Tuesday after he admitted having a Taser.

Newtownards Magistrates’ Court heard how the prohibited weapon was found hidden in a tupperware box in the boot of Stitt’s Mini Cooper car, parked outside his home at Lord Wardens Park in Bangor.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court that when officers told 47-year-old Stitt having the weapon was a crime, he replied to police: “I didn’t even know that”.

Asked why he had the item during later interviews, Stitt told them it was for “personal safety, I’m under death threat”.

Defence Solicitor Darren Duncan said that having received “a significant number of warnings from the police” that he was under threat, Stitt bought the weapon, a Taser and torch combined, through Ebay, adding that even though it’s illegal, “it’s still available today”.

“He purchased it for that reason but when he bought it, he realised that from his point of view, it wasn’t very powerful so it was put in a box in the boot of his car and that’s where it was found,” said the solicitor.

Mr Duncan told the court the Taser had “never been used on anyone” and conceded that while Stitt had a previous conviction, “it’s of some vintage” dating back 25 years ago.

He submitted that since his release from jail, Stitt has “made a positive contribution” to society having gained a masters in social science, was the chief executive of a local charity for 10 years and was now a co-ordinator for a local business which employs six people.

“He is highly unlikely to come back before the court in any regard so I would ask you to deal with the matter today,” Mr Duncan suggested to the judge.

District Judge Mark Hamill said even though Stitt’s previous offence was 25 years ago, “the thing is he now has an up to date record”.

Imposing a £300 along with an offender levy of £15, the judge ordered the weapon to be destroyed and allowed Stitt 16 weeks to pay the fine.

Stitt, clean shaven and wearing a knee length brown coat over a suit, shirt and tie, left the court saying “thank you” to the judge.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph for the original story.

Don’t be fooled it’s business as usual on our streets.

PARAMILITARY PEACE PROMISE ALL HOT AIR

THE absurdity of Monday’s announcement that loyalist paramilitaries are now fully supportive of the rule of law will not be lost on those who know the nature of the beasts.

Simply being a member of the UDA, Red Hand Commando or UVF is enough to put you behind bars for up to 10 years – not that anyone in authority seems to care. If we are to take ageing terror chiefs Jackie McDonald and Jim Wilson at face value you can expect to see the membership of these organisations dramtically decrease, because, according to Jackie, those involved in criminality are “masquerading as loyalists” and will be expelled. He’s said it before, yet the organisation he heads continues to be deeply involved in the drugs trade, extortion – of which Jackie is a bit of an expert – punishment attacks and putting people out of their homes.

CONCERNED

There was an air of desperation about Monday’s announcement. The flow of cash from the public purse has continued, against the better judgement of many people who are rightly concerned at the over-indulgence of illegal organisations who have been too slow to move with the times. But there is now a real threat to the liberty of many of the men under McDonald’s command.

The paramilitary Crime Task Force has been slowly turning the screw, targeting the UDA’s criminal endeavours on the Shankill and more recently in North Down. Arrests are being made and charges pressed.

Stringent conditions governing the release of grants threaten to slow the cash flow, and we all know there’s nothing like putting liberty at stake and cutting the cash to focus the mind of a loyalist paramilitary. It would be wonderful to think there is a genuine desire to move away from criminality and there is no question there are many, many veteran paramilitaries who have turned their backs on their organisation, appalled at their involvement in drugs.

Equally there are many paramilitary leaders who continue to grow fat on the proceeds of organised crime – don’t expect that to change. Monday wasn’t a red letter day. No one doubts the sincerity of the church leaders and community activists who helped ‘broker’ this week’s announcement, but away from the hallowed walls of the Linen Hall Library it was business as usual.

A death threat issued against a journalist, a man lucky to be alive when shots were fired as he walked the streets of north Belfast, a show of strength in Bangor and a hoax pipe bomb thrown through a window of a family home in Ballymoney. It will take more than the pious words of Jackie McDonald and Jim Wilson to convince anyone that after all these years they are finally going stright.

With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Richard Sullivan for the origional story.l

Finucanes to take case to British Supreme Court

Pat Finucane (1949 – 1989)

The widow of solicitor Pat Finucane is to take her legal fight for a public inquiry into his murder to the UK’s supreme court.

Senior judges in Belfast today refused Geraldine Finucane leave to appeal their decision that the British government was entitled to deny her such a tribunal.

But it now clears the way for the family to petition directly for a hearing in London.

Mrs Finucane’s legal representatives later confirmed their intention to continue their challenge to judicial findings that former prime minister David Cameron had acted lawfully.

They are expected to argue that the case raises legal points of general public importance.

Mr Finucane, 39, was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in front of his wife and three children at their north Belfast home in February 1989.

His family has campaigned for a full examination of alleged security force collusion with the killers.

In 2011 Mr Cameron decided against ordering a public inquiry, and instead commissioned QC Sir Desmond de Silva to review all documents relating to the case and produce a narrative of what happened.

Sir Desmond’s report confirmed agents of the state were involved in the murder and that it should have been prevented.

He also linked the military’s Force Research Unit because one of its agents was involved in selecting targets.

However, the report concluded there had been no overarching state conspiracy.

The Finucane family rejected the findings as a whitewash and accused the government of unlawfully reneging on previous commitments.

Pledges to set up such a tribunal, based on the recommendation of retired Canadian judge Peter Cory, were made by a former Labour government in 2004 and reaffirmed in the following years, it was contended.

In 2015 a judge backed the government’s case that shifting public interest issues were enough to override Mrs Finucane’s expectation.

Appealing that verdict, her lawyers argued that a full public inquiry was necessary to examine an alleged abuse of power for which no-one in authority has been brought to account.

They argued that the murdered solicitor was the victim of an army-run death squad normally associated with Latin American dictatorships.

Counsel for Mrs Finucane claimed her husband’s killing was due to covert, state-sponsored terrorism and represents a “horror story” for the British Government.

Only Ken Barrett, the loyalist gunman and “UDA puppet” convicted of the killing, has been held responsible, it was contended.

But last month the Court of Appeal rejected the Finucane family’s case, including allegations that the government staged an elaborate sham process before announcing its predetermined decision.

Judges agreed that the murdered solicitor’s widow had received a clear and unambiguous promise that any recommended inquiry would be held.

However, they concluded that other issues, including political developments in Northern Ireland and the potential cost of a lengthy process, were enough to frustrate her legitimate expectation.

Mrs Finucane’s legal team returned to the court today to apply for leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

They again raised points about her legitimate expectation and rights under European law.

Despite those submissions, Lord Justice Gillen ruled there was no conflicting legal issues that warranted giving permission.

He said: “We are therefore going to follow the practice of this court and leave the matter to the UK Supreme Court to decide if they are going to grant leave on this matter.”

Later, Mrs Finucane’s solicitor, Peter Madden, confirmed plans to lodge an application in London next week.

With many thanks to: Madden and Finucane Solicitors.

The Milltown Massacre

The Milltown Massacre took place on 16th March 1988 in Belfast’s Milltown Cemetery. During the funerals of IRA volunteers Mairéad Farrell, Séan Savage and Dan McCann Murdered in Gibraltar by the S.A.S, an Ulster Defence Association (UDA) volunteer, Michael Stone, attacked the mourners with hand grenades and pistols. As Stone then ran towards the nearby motorway, a large crowd began chasing him and he continued shooting and throwing grenades. Three people had been killed and more than 60 wounded. The evil, attack was filmed by television news crews and caused shock around the world.The funeral service and requiem mass went ahead as planned, and the cortege made its way to Milltown Cemetery, off the Falls Road. Present were thousands of mourners and top members of the IRA. Two RUC helicopters hovered overhead. Stone claimed that he entered the graveyard through the front gate with the mourners. Some eyewitnesses claimed to have seen Stone enter the graveyard from the M1 motorway with three other people (two men and a woman). The others walked across the graveyard and later left on the Falls Road side. As the third coffin was about to be lowered into the ground, Stone threw two grenades—which had a seven-second delay—toward the republican plot and began shooting.

The first grenade exploded near the crowd and about 20 yards (18 m) from the grave. Amid the panic and confusion, people took cover behind gravestones. Stone began jogging toward the motorway, several hundred yards away, chased by dozens of men and youths. He continued shooting and throwing grenades at his pursuers. Three people were killed while pursuing Stone two Catholic civilians Thomas McErlean (20) and John Murray (26), and a Provisional IRA volunteer, Caoimhín Mac Brádaigh (30). During the attack about 60 people were wounded by bullets, grenade shrapnel and fragments of marble and stone from gravestones. Among those wounded was a pregnant mother of four, a 72-year-old grandmother and a ten-year-old boy.
In the 19 March edition of the Irish Times, columnist Kevin Myers, an opponent of republican paramilitary violence, wrote: “Unarmed young men charged against the man hurling grenades and firing an automatic pistol. The young men stalking their quarry repeatedly came under fire; they were repeatedly bombed; they repeatedly advanced. Indeed this was not simply bravery; this was a heroism which in other circumstances, I have no doubt, would have won the highest military decorations.
A white van that had been parked by the motorway suddenly drove off as Stone fled from the angry crowd. The RUC said the van was part of an uninvolved police patrol. Stone later claimed that a getaway vehicle, driven by a UDA member, was waiting for him on the motorway but the driver “panicked” and left. By the time Stone reached the motorway, he had seemingly run out of ammunition. He ran out onto the road and tried to stop cars, but was caught by the crowd and beaten. RUC officers quickly arrived at that point and arrested him.

with many thanks to: Sean Larkin – South Derry.

‘We’re the UDA’ shouted gang as Catholic was attacked

Wife pleaded for dying man to fight for life following loyalist assault

THE widow of Coleraine man Kevin McDaid pleaded with him not to die as a police officer tried to save the 49-year-old’s life following an attack by loyalists, a court has heard. Evelyn McDaid told how a group of men shouting “We’re the UDA” descended on her street and set upon her Catholic husband Kevin and neighbour Damien Fleming after Rangers had won the Scottish Premiership title in May 2009.

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A judge heard dramatic details of how Mr McDaid collapsed outside his Somerset Drive home and his wife cried “fight, fight Kevin” as attempts were made to resuscitate him. Another witness described how the father-of-four had been kicked “everywhere possible”, while one of Damien Fleming’s attackers had “used his head like a rugby ball”. Neighbour Leona Whittaker claimed defendant Francis Daly had held on to a garden fence “to get himself balanced or whatever” before landing a kick on Mr Fleming, who suffered serious injuries. “I asked him was that the best he could do to an alcoholic, a man who didn’t have the hands to bless himself,” she said. Twelve men are charged with the manslaughter of Mr McDaid and attempted murder of Mr Fleming and other counts of assault and public order offences. A further two men are charged with making threats to kill and intimidation. A preliminary inquiry was held on Tuesday 31st December to determine whether they have a case to answer at trial. It is claimed a group of loyalists  traveled to the Killowen area of Coleraine’s Heights estate to take down tricolours and Celtic flags put up as Celtic FC and Rangers FC were playing separate matches at the culmination of the Scottish league title race. Evelyn McDaid described the men who arrived as “like a mob” and said her husband “seemed to disappear” among them. She claimed Mr Daly repeatedly punched and kicked her. Ryan MMcDaid, a son of the dead man, on Tuesday named six men he claimed had attacked his father. He also told a court how a “loyalist mob” was “kicking and jumping all over” Mr Fleming in the Pate’s Lane/Somerset Drive area. Another witness named three people she said had kicked Mr McDaid as he lay on the ground. Leona Whittaker said she was struck and kicked by John Thompson and also kicked by Frank (Francis) Daly and John McGrath. “A crowd of people just started attacking him, kicking him as he lay on the ground; everywhere possible, his face, his chest, his sides, his legs,” she said. Asked how she knew the defendant John Thompson, she replied: “Before religion was a problem in Coleraine he ran about with my brother.”

Ms Whittaker also claimed Francis Daly had assaulted her as she tried to help Mr McDaid’s injured wife Evelyn and when she told him she was pregnant he replied “Too bad”. The 30-year-old said Mrs McDaid was “getting punched in the face and kicked in the face” as she lay behind a car and had been pushed when she went to her husband’s aid. Mrs McDaid in turn told the court Mr Daly had hit and kicked her. Another of Kevin McDaid’s sons, Mark, told North Antrim Magistrate’s Court, sitting at Belfast on Tuesday, that “the police were up two or three times to ask for the flags to be took down”. Another neighbour, Michael McCormack, said a police officer had “asked if the flags could come down and we said they would be down first thing in the morning”. He claimed when the group arrived John  Thompson had shouted secterian abuse and then “it was like a tap had been turned on…. and they all started to come into the square at Pate’s Lane”. Mrs McDaid said she had also seen Mr Daly kick Mr Fleming and “I shouted to ‘stop kicking him you are going to kill him’ but they kept going on”. Mr Fleming gave evidence that John McGrath had “hit me a punch in the face”, and then “someone hit me on the back of the neck and I went down”. He told the court he had heard someone say: “There’s one of the Fenian bastards there’ and after that there I was kicked around the place”. Leona Whittaker’s sister-in-law Kelly Whittaker claimed the group had shouted: “We’re the UDA, we’re here to kick some Fenians’ heads in”. She said she shouted for the men to leave Mr Fleming alone, saying “he’s only a drunk man”, but “all I got was ‘he’s a f***king Fenian isn’t he, he’s getting what he deserves’.” Another witness, Danny Kennedy, said he saw defendant Paul Newman strike both Mr and Mrs McDaid with a piece of wood. Twelve men are charged with the manslaughter of Mr McDaid and attempted murder of Mr Fleming and other counts of assault and public order offences. The defendants are: David Craig Cochrane (23), Aaron Beech (28) and David James John Cochrane (52) all with addresses in Winyhall Park in Coleraine; Frank Simpson Daly (52) of Knock Road, Dervock; Paul Andrew Newman (49) of Grasmere Close, Coleraine; John Thompson (34), Knocknougher Road, Macosquin; James McAfee (32) and Ivan Beattie McDowell (47), both with addresses in Lisnablagh Road, Coleraine; Philip Kane (39) of Heron Way in Derry and Rodney Gardner (45) from Duncarn Road in Limavady. Two other men, Jonathan Norman Stirling (24) of Windyhall Park in Coleraine, and John Freeman (24) from Tullans Park, Coleraine, are charged with making threats to kill and intimidation. Following completion of all witness evidence, District Judge Desmond Perry adjourned the hearing and released all the defendants on continuing bail.

With many thanks to: Maeve CoConnolly, The Irish News.

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UDA agent ‘mentally unstable’ according to British army files!

‘We will have to study this new information and see what course of action we take as a result – John Finucane.

Newly discovered military documents reveal that British agent Brian Nelson had previously been discharged from the army after suffering serious mental illness.

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Records obtained by victims campaigner and researcher Ciaran MacAirt show that when Nelson left the ranks of the Black Watch in February 1970 he had suffered a breakdown. Despite this he was issued with a legally-held firearm and later recruited as a British army agent, going on to be involved in the shipment of arms and multiple murders, including the 1989 shooting of human rights solicitor Pat Finucane. On the orders of his handlers Nelson had infiltrated the UDA gang which shot dead the father-of-three. The murdered man’s son, solicitor John Finucane, said the family would be asking for clarification about the new information. The murder was the subject of a recent British government-ordered review by barrister Sir Desmond de Silva. However, no mention was made of Nelson’s medical condition.”This is certainly disturbing and something that the MoD [Ministry of Defence] would need to explain. It is also now for Desmond de Silva to state whether he was aware of this,” Mr Finucane said. “We will have to study this new information and see what course of action we take as a result.”

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The documents show that when Nelson, from the Shankill area of Belfast, was “mentally and emotionally unstable”. Medical assessments carried out in November and December 1969 recommended he not have any overseas combat postings. In the space of a month his condition was found to have deteriorated from ‘very serious’ to the gravest category. The December 1969 examination showed that his mental breakdown was so serious he was recommended for discharge just weeks later. Mr MacAirt said: “Nelson, British army number 24032542, was very far from the model soldier. “His military records display a litany of misdemeanours, including the serious ‘absent without leave’ and criminality. “During his short, four-year military service he had served 128 days in military detention – more than 8 per cent of his total service. “What is most interesting, though, is that we learn of the reason for his final discharge. It was not due to his poor service history or that he went AWOL as has been thought. “The reason for his discharge has serious ramifications for the de Silva report and calpability in litigation that is being brought befor the court against the British State. “Brian Nelson’s military file records that he was discharged from the British army as he was mentally and emotionally unstable.” Despite his mental condition, Nelson was recruited by the British army’s Force Research Unit (FRU) in 1984, but not before he had been involved in serious sectarian attacks including the ‘romper room’ torture of Gerard Higgins, who was registered blind, in a Shankill Road drinking den. Mr Higgins was beaten, burned and electroucuted by Nelson and a gang of loyalists before being taken away in a car. The car, which belonged to the former soldier, was intercepted by a British army unit. Nelson was found to be armed with a legally held weapon. Transcripts of his police interveiws, obtained by Mr MacAirt, reveal that he told the RUC he had been given the weapon for his own protection. Nelson was sentenced to serve seven years for the 1973 attack on Mr Higgins of which he served half. Charges of conspiracy to murder against him were dropped. “How could Nelson have been issued with a gun if, as his military record tells us, he was mentally and emotionally unstable and discharged from the British army because of this?” Mr MacAirt said. “The revelations of Brian Nelson’s mental and emotional instability and the questions raised about his convictions go to the very foundation of the de Silva report and his examination of Nelson as an agent.”

with many thanks to: Allison Morris,The Irish News

UNIONIST CYNICISM IS WORKED INTO STRATEGY

The bigotsunionist politicians and loyal order spokesmen say – are the critics, not the bandsmen and never the marchers. It wouldn’t convince a child, particularly not a child whose earliest days at school have to be guarded by police.

AFTER the distress and ugliness of Holy Cross 12 years ago, this was surely a sight few could imagine anyone wanted to recreate. North Belfast had enough woe this summer, before police arrived on Monday morning to guard children on their way to school.

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Red Hand Defenders – Formed 1979

Better not build tension, though, by lending credence to a mangy old fiction. Whoever made those phone threats – let’s remember that the ‘Red Hand Defenders’ emerged in the first place as the flimsiest of fake titles – few if any credited this a new grouping, separate from the UDA. The flag of see-through convenience brandished cynically over Rosemary Nelson‘s blown-up car gave the big-name paramilitaries cover, if only for the benefit of Northern Ireland office record-keepers and in their own minds, when they issued the limp denials while talking up their commitment to peace. Today’s unionists and loyalists have worked up cynicism into a strategy of sorts, limited but stubborn. Some came out and disowned the school threats. But why would anyone take them seriously after a summer’s tap-dancing around and away from rresponsibility? From leadership level down to party activist, unionist politicians who used to routinely and reflexively object, furiously to being accused of sectarianism, now use the word as a weapon. HOLY CROSS - not this fucking time !!!They throw in ‘intolerance’ and the ccomparatively recent discovery of a ‘culture war‘ to attempt to dismiss and belittle Republican and nationalist objections to marches, to swat away criticism of bands blattering their way past St Patrick‘s. What is truely sectarian, unionists insisists, is the critisism, not Orange or Black or Apprentice Boy or band behaviour. The bigots – unionist politicians and loyal order spokesmen say – are the critics, not the bandsmen and never the marchers. It  wouldn’t convince a child, particularly not a child whose eariliest days at school have to be guarded by police. It cannont possibly convince many unionists at a greatful distence from North Belfast, and by all accounts it doesn’t even fly with Orangemen elsewhere. But too few have come right out this summer and said this is shocking stuff. Nice new NI21 and senior clergy got round to it eventually but there was no immediate chorus of disgust.

Suspected car-bomb on Tuesday morning which prevented Catholic children from attending Holy Cross Girls School but turned out to be a deliberate hoxe
A car-bomb hoxe which prevented Catholic children from attending primary school this morning amid death threats by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD)

t is just too hard for Protestants to critcise elements in their own community – hard in terms of threats and ostracism, harder on their families. Watch what hapens to the Alliance vote next time out, particularly in East Belfast. Note the swithering of unionist commentators, trying to disown the entire marching season, unable to follow through. 1236041_198155473698125_382386466_nStand the words sectarianism and bigotry on ther heads, turn the evidence of eys and ears inside-out, and if you are a unionist leder in want of ideas there’s a serviceable plan heading into the a run of the elections. Accuse nationalists of dancing to republician tunes, blame republicians for fomenting the trouble where bandsmen and marchers are merely celebrating their ‘culture’, and you have the makings of platforms and statements to ward off cracks from Jim Allister about sharing power with the IRA’s decendents. Not that they can silence Allister, nor set their own people up with any reason to be positive about the furture. Billy Hutchinson, once a heartening voice for the most disheartened loyalist districts, thinks to claim the threats against north Belfast Catholic schools in reality came from republicians. If he simply beleives it himself that’s bad enough. If he simply says it, without the least evidence or care for the implications, there is a small chance of decent politics emerging from the shell of Progressive Unionism. What’s left of the UVF or groupings round local hardmen, various UDAs likewise, plus a range of indivdulas at variious stages of ‘transition’ to peaceful politics. It is grim, unpleasant and dishonest approach from people who think no further than their own next vote and voice nothing counter to the instincts of their own least privileged potential voters. The Flags Protest morphed swiftly into a disorderly mess that many wanted nothing to do with but it didn’t pay to say so. The DUP sniffed the soot on the air and trooped into court to support Ruth Patterson. Peter Robinson tinkered with his text, reversed its messagd, and presumably decided to hid out in the Everglades for as long as possible – eat burgers, ride his bike, maybe play a little guitar of an evening. It will be harder than ever to take him seriously when he re-enters our sphere. Not a goid note to quit on, but surely time to consider those offers from the business world.

With many thanks to : Fionnula O Connor, The Irish News.

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