Justice For The Craigavon 2

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Judgement Reserved to be Handed Down as Soon as Practicable
Present at the final days evidence and submissions which were presented in the Craigavon Two Appeal trial at Belfast High Court were Constable Stephen Carrolls widow Kate Carroll the police officers involved in the original investigation and subsequent trial along with the the families of both the men seeking through their appeal to have their convictions quashed for the murder of Constable Carroll, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton.
Detective Chief Inspector Harkness retook the stand this morning to continue to be cross examined by Queens Counsel for the defense Mr Barry McDonald .

DCI Harkness proceeded to produce a document that he wished to read from which had not been previously been disclosed to the court the defense team or the prosecution.

This document related to a timetable of events which he (Harkness) believed proved he had been supplied with covertly recorded intelligence on April 12 2013 at 17.03 material which had been received on April 11 2013 by intelligence officers and then passed onto him ,that led him to believe that witness Ms father his family and indeed the community were in danger and this is the basis upon he which he tasked one of his officers to open a discreet investigation into witness Ms father at 17.10 on April 12 2013.

The timeline 16.30 DCI Harkness is informed of the new signed witness statement by witness Ms father for the defense team.17.03 he learns of intelligence information that indicates witness Ms father his family witness M himself and the community at large were in danger.Seven minutes later he tasks one of his team to begin discreet enquiries into witness Ms father.

The defense QC asked is it not standard police procedure to issue a PN1 notice of threat to those over whom the police had concluded there was a credible threat.

DCI Harkness confirmed that no such PN1 document was given to witness and that this decision was taken by intelligence officers . He confirmed that witness Ms father and family were not contacted for another 10 days .

Before leaving the witness box DCI Harkness stated My integrity has been attacked my professional reputation has been sullied i have been accused of sabotage and nobbling the witness.

On departure he left the court hurriedly and returned later as proceedings continued.
The defense summed up their appeal case as follows.

The note in Brendan McConvilles cell

Why was DCI Harkness and his team put in charge of this investigation. When Lisburn CID should have been detailed to do this?

Why did DCI Harkness fail to investigate claims made by Brendan McConville that this note containing the car registration of the then Govenor Steve Rodford had been planted in his cell these suspicions were confirmed to police by both Steve Rodford and Pauline McCabe the then Prison Ombudsman.

Harkness denied that the police had encouraged the Public Prosecution Service to prosecute Brendan McConville for possession of materials likely to be useful to terrorism when in fact there was documented evidence before the court that is exactly what the police requested?

The failures and delays in passing on the report prepared by the Prison Ombudsman that indeed on the balance of probability concluded prison staff had indeed planted the evidence?

When the PPS decided not to proceed with a case against Brendan McConville for possession of the governors car registration details it is noted that police claimed the Ombudsman report clouded the waters thus implying if it wasn’t for the Prison Ombudsman Report a prosecution could have been possible?
The lack of fairness and impartiality in the investigation by the police in this case had called into question the integrity in this prosecution and the process undermined.
The evidence by the new witness the father of witness of M upon whom the prosecution relied on so heavily in the first case discounts his sons his evidence of the route he took on the night of the murder. It is the evidence this evidence from witness M that places Brendan McConville at the scene

Witness Ms fathers testimony was not challenged on the core elements of his evidence that witness M was a dishonest fantasist who believed his own lies. Witness M was a pitiful character to be pitied whose evidence had unravelled.

Abuse of process through the arrest detention interrogation of witness Ms father represents a subversion of the appeal process(witness Ms father should only have questioned about his affidavit and any of its contents by the prosecution and not prior to the court case by the police)

Witness M had not been abducted or held against his will.

Officers refused to accept the possibility that witness Ms father evidence was true.

No PN1 issued to persons under threat

No attempt for 10 days to alert the witness Ms father to this threat.

All members of the family confirm no abduction no kidnapping no threat.

Police actions had a chilling effect on both witness Ms father and any other persons who might to come forward against the prosecution case.

Witnesses frightened off or potentially putting other witnesses off

The original appeal postponed in April by six months

No evidence to justify the appeal delay resulting in Mr McConville(and John Paul Wootton) being detained for another several months.

The police manipulated the appeal in more ways than one.

QC Mr Barry MacDonald then asked the court to Quash The Convictions based on an unsafe conviction and abuse of process.

Qc Mr Ciaran Murphy for the Crown believed that witness Ms fathers affidavit could have been submitted at the original trial and indeed some of the evidence used in the original trial came form witness Ms statements to the defense.

The draft affidavit given to defense solicitors and the final affidavit submitted in court were different

The nature of the evidence of witness Ms father was his unreliability of particular events.

A real danger that the witness had no facts of anything that happened on that night.

Pressure on witness Ms father

Untruthful about evidence made by him

The witness was suffering intimidation harassment underlying pressure to help his community.

He just signed the affidavit because he was between a rock and hard place.

The prosecution claimed the original Conviction Is Safe
The Appeals Judges retired to consider the evidence in a reserved judgement.
Angela Nelson an Independent Councillor at Lisburn Council who has attended the case said she is quite confident that justice will prevail, however past experience of British Justice had sometimes failed its citizens.
Packy Carty one of the Justice for the Craigavon Two Campaigners said This case highlights the unaccountability of the PSNI and the murky grip of MI5, whose malignant presence can be felt throughout this case from the initial arrest to the planting of evidence in Brendan McConvilles cell to the erroneous explosive charges against Brendan which were withdrawn on the first day of the trial in late 2012.
Basically this case from start to finish is an indictment of the current judicial system
Justice for the Craigavon Two Campaign
Twitter @craigavon2

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