Sinn Fein member in legal war with police

SINN FEIN assembly Sue Ramsey says she may take a case of malicious prosecution against the police after a court case against her collapsed this week.

Ms Ramsey had been charged with criminal damage and assault following an incident at the former RUC station on the Springfield Road on April 1 2000.

Around 50 people had gathered outside the station following reports that it had been abandoned and a number of for-sale signs were pasted onto the walls of the station.

Ms Ramsey said yesterday the demonstration had actually broken up and she was walking away from the Springfield Road when she heard that trouble had broken out.

I saw that there was a bit of a scuffle and it seemed to me that the RUC had come in just as people were moving away, she said.

They came in heavy handed and there was a bit of a scuffle and melee that lasted a few minutes then people just walked away.

I was walking away again when they jumped me and put me in the back of the jeep, and took me to Grosvenor Road barracks.

Ms Ramsey claims she sustained a number of scratches and bruises while being arrested and she asked for a doctor to be brought to the police station.

The doctor examined me and later I was charged with criminal damage and obstruction, she said.

The west Belfast assembly member said one of the police men who arrested her had indicated that he knew she was a Sinn Fein politician, but in their statements all the arresting officers had insisted they only knew who she was after she had been charged.

Ms Ramsey said she had gone to court expecting to contest the charges brought against her but the case was dismissed at Belfast Magistrate’s Court after the police evidence had been heard.

Ms Ramsey’s defence lawyer Patricia Coyle of solicitors Madden and Finucane insisted yesterday that the case should never have been brought.

It was a malicious prosecution and I am astonished that the evidence even got to court, she said.

Sue Ramsey said she was currently discussing with her lawyers the possibility of taking action against the police for both malicious prosecution and assault.