Chief Inspector V was also involved in three fatal shooting incidents in November and December 1982 when six men were shot dead in Lurgan and Armagh by officers under his command. On the evening that Pearse Jordan was shot dead, V came in from having been off duty and chaired a debrief involving all members of the HMSU patrol, including Sergeant A, who shot Pearse Jordan, before giving RUC CID an opportunity to question Sergeant A. The inquest is now adjourned until next month.
THE CORONERS COURT IN NORTHERN IRELAND
BELFAST CORONERS COURT
PATRICK PEARSE JORDAN INQUEST
THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE HORNER
9 MARCH 2016
A P P E A R A N C E S
On behalf of the Coroner: Mr Sean Doran, QC
Mr Ian Skelt, BL
Instructed by: Ms Cathy McGrann
On behalf of the Next of Kin: Mr Barry Macdonald, QC
Ms Karen Quinlivan, QC
Instructed by: Mr Fearghal Shiels
Madden & Finucane
On behalf of the Ministry of Defence / PSNI: Mr Turlough Montague, QC
Dr Tony McGleenan, QC
Instructed by: Ms Christine Hewitt
Crown Solicitor’s Office
EXAMINED BY MS QUINLIVAN
Q. Officer V, you’ve adopted your transcript; isn’t that correct?
Q. You’ve adopted your transcript of your evidence. Not yesterday, two days ago my learned friend asked you were you happy with the transcript of the evidence that you have given to the Court?
A. And I said yes.
Q. Yes, you did. So for that reason we’re going to take some of that as read, well we are going to take all of that as read and we won’t be exploring every aspect of your evidence. Can I take you, however, to the night of 25th November when you came in from annual leave because of the shooting of Pearse Jordan. And it’s also the case, isn’t it, that two senior officers, your two line managers, as it were, from Special Branch also went to Lisnasharragh, I think, where the debrief took place; isn’t that right?
A. That’s correct, my Lord.
Q. And can I take it that the reason that, Officer V, that you went there, that you all went there was because of the seriousness of this incident, that this was something?
A. Well, I can’t speak for other senior officers, my Lord, but I can tell you I was contacted at home and I realised the seriousness of the incident and I did what would be actually expected of me and that was as the officer in charge of the unit to go in to see what happened. And as I also explained in my last evidence, and to ensure that mistakes that were made in 1982 were not going to be repeated. And indeed not that there was ever any suggestion that they would be, but I was there to make sure, if you like, that it wouldn’t be.
Q. And it’s correct, you have this meeting with your senior officers and you met Officer M; isn’t that correct?
A. I met Officer M firstly I think.
Q. And Dr Crowthers
A. Dr Crowthers was there.
Q. Was also there?
Q. So he was there at the outset; isn’t that correct?
A. Now I’m saying yes and I’m not 100% sure. I think he was there when I arrived or he arrived around about the same time.
A. But certainly he was there, yes.
Q. Officer V, what I want to ask you about first is this business of the debrief that occurred and the reason why it, why it occurred. You were there with your two senior officers. It was certainly open to you and your senior officers to decide that a debrief would not happen; isn’t that correct?
A. Well there was no reason not to have one.
Q. Well, I’m going to come to that. But just the question I’ve asked you in the first instance. It was open to you not to have a debrief; isn’t that correct?
A. Well, my Lord, it was standard operational procedure that after every operation we carried out we had a debrief. There was no reason not to have a debrief.
Q. As I have indicated, can I ask you first just to deal with the question I’ve asked you. You had the authority along with your with your two senior officers to decide not to have a debrief?
A. Well if you want to put it that way, yes, we could have decided not to have one.
Q. Did it occur to you, as an experienced police officer, that there were reasons not to have a debrief?
Q. No. Officer V, you had been part of the process of what had happened in 1982, and the issue of debriefs before CID interviewed people had caused serious difficulties, if I can put it as neutrally as possible?
A. Well, I’m not so sure that I would put it that way, to be honest. I mean there were mistakes made in 1982 that I was determined was not going to be made in 1992 and that is why I went in and we held a debrief which I did not participate in other than jotting down notes that would be handed over and indeed were handed over to the CID whenever they arrived to investigate.
Q. Because your case, isn’t it, Officer V, that the reason for conducting the debrief was to assist CID essentially?
A. Well that was my intention, yes.
Q. Were there not other methods available to you as an experienced police officer to assist CID?
A. Like what?
Q. Well, for example, would it not have been preferable that the suspect in this incident was isolated from other witnesses?
A. I honestly don’t see where that would have benefited anything. It was part of the operation. We were noting down what happened for the purpose of handing over. And the CID never contacted me to say isolate the officer concerned.
Q. I am not asking about CID. I am asking you about your conduct on the night in question, Officer V?
MR MONTAGUE: My Lord, my Lord, that is an unfair comment by my learned friend.
MS QUINLIVAN: It is not.
MR MONTAGUE: The witness is answering the questions he is being asked to the best of his ability.
CORONER: I think you make it clear that in this case you’re looking at what you did, Inspector V, so.
WITNESS: I understand that, my Lord, but I have to be honest and say that a lot is being made out of this debrief which was innocuous in the extreme. I went in because that was what was expected of me. We had a debrief which we would have had after every operation, irrespective as to what that operation was. And information taken from that debrief would have been given and handed over to the CID when they came to investigate. There were occasions in the past in operations where the CID didn’t arrive until the following day because of being busy or whatever. So I am trying to assist as much as I possibly can but, to be truthful, I didn’t see any reason to postpone the debrief.
MS QUINLIVAN: I asked you was it not an option to isolate the suspect in this incident from witnesses of the incident in order that his account didn’t influence them or they didn’t impact on his account?
A. Well I look, you’re asking a question and I can say, yes, it was an option. There are lots of other options, you know, so to answer your question, yes, it was an option but it was not one that I considered necessary.
Q. Was it an option to invite all of your officers to independently of each other jot down their notes and their recollection of what happened in the police issue notebooks that are issued for precisely that purpose?
A. That is also an option, but I have to come back on the point that I’m making that given the time that was not the procedure. And it’s easy 20, 30, 40 years afterwards to nitpick through a procedure and find flaws and faults with it with hindsight. But that was not the procedure then and I didn’t see any reason why we shouldn’t have conducted the debrief the way it was conducted.
Q. Does it not occur to you and did it not occur to you, you weren’t an inexperienced police officer at the time; isn’t that correct? You were a very experienced police officer in 1992?
Q. And did it not occur to you that the idea of having a suspect give his account in front of the witnesses to the account might actually taint people’s evidence?
A. Well, my Lord, I have to be careful what I say here because Sergeant A was not a suspect as far as I was concerned. He was an officer who was involved in a fatal shooting that would be investigated. I wouldn’t have seen him as a suspect in the sense that you’re making him out to be.
Q. But that’s precisely what he was, isn’t that correct, Officer V?
A. No, he was a police officer who was involved in a fatal shooting that was going to be investigated by the CID.
Q. And he would be interviewed under caution?
A. Well, that is true.
Q. Isn’t that right?
A. That is correct.
Q. And you would expect him to be interviewed under caution, as was his right?
A. That is correct.
Q. And it was his right because he was a suspect?
A. Well if you want to put it that way I won’t disagree with you, but at the time I did not see the need or the necessity to isolate him.
Q. And you didn’t consider that bringing the person who was going to be interviewed as a suspect, if we put it that way, and the key witnesses to the event in a room and allowing them to have a conversation about what occurred, it didn’t occur to you that that might have the capacity to taint the evidence of either Sergeant A or the witnesses to the event?
A. No, my Lord. It didn’t for the simple reason it wasn’t going to alter the facts.
Q. But, if somebody gives an account of events first and other people who have witnessed the same events are there, even on the most benign view of matters, Officer V, do you not see that one person giving an account of events may innocently impact on the evidence of other people? They may think ‘oh, right, I don’t remember it that way, I remember it slightly differently’?
A. Well, I wouldn’t agree with you because at the debrief as points were being brought out, I was writing them down as were Inspector M. So what may have occurred in the minds of people afterwards was neither here nor there because the points were already noted.
Q. Officer V, HMSU, am I right, I think I picked up yesterday there were three sections of HMSU in operation in Northern Ireland at that time?
A. That is correct, my Lord.
Q. And presumably this was the Belfast section?
A. That is correct, my Lord.
Q. As I understand it, HMSU is a relatively small unit?
A. Yes, each unit is relatively small.
Q. It would have been regarded as a relatively elite unit within the RUC?
A. Well, if people want to consider that, that’s up to them. Certainly in my mind they were not elite. They were professional police officers.
Q. Well how many officers would have been in Belfast HMSU?
A. About 50, maybe 60.
Q. And these officers went with the same crew every day, more or less?
A. Yes, my Lord, they did, more or less.
Q. And they worked together closely on an ongoing basis?
A. That is correct, my Lord, yes.
Q. In dangerous operations?
A. That is correct, yes.
Q. Where they were dependent upon each other, including dependent on each other to look out for each other lives?
A. Yes, well I understand what you’re getting at but I’m going to disagree with you because
Q. Well maybe you could just answer the question without anticipating the next one?
A. Well, they were
CORONER: I think he was. He just said he was going to disagree with you, so let him complete his no comments, let him complete his questions and we will just have a question and answer session.
WITNESS: They were a unit that worked together closely, yes. But if the question is going to be would they lie for each other in order to exonerate one another, the answer to your question is no.
MS QUINLIVAN: No, that wasn’t the question. So maybe if you could now concentrates on the questions. Would you accept that this is a unit which has strong bonds of loyalty and strong bonds of trust.
A. I would accept that, yes.
Q. And that the officers that were at that debrief on the night would have strong bonds of loyalty and trust as far as Sergeant A was concerned?
A. Sorry, I missed start of your questions.
Q. The officers that were at the debrief on 25th November, would they have had strong bonds of loyalty and trust as far as Sergeant A was concerned?
A. They were all officers in the same unit so if you want to put it that way, yes.
Q. And it’s fair to say that they would have been sympathetic to Sergeant A’s situation?
A. Well, I would say yes.
Q. And do you not accept, without anybody contriving to lie or anything, that putting Sergeant A in a situation where he gives his account in front of all of his colleagues, these people who have a bond of loyalty to him, it has the capacity to influence the account they subsequently give?
A. Well, on face value I can understand what you’re saying, but I would disagree with you.
Q. And is it not the situation, Inspector V, that, in fact, what the debrief did was create precisely the environment where the person who was eventually going to be interviewed as a suspect had the opportunity to influence the evidence of those around him?
A. No, I don’t agree and I don’t accept that at all.
Q. You see, if you were one of the other officers involved in this incident
A. My Lord, I wasn’t one of the other officers.
Q. No, I said if you were one of the other officers involved in this incident you were being put in a situation surrounded by your colleagues including senior officers where Sergeant A gives his account. Do you accept that that would be a difficult situation for someone to say ‘actually, I totally disagree with what Sergeant A has just said. I think what he did was totally wrong. Do you see that that might be difficult?
A. My Lord, I can’t answer for other people what they might think or what they might say. A debrief was conducted where salient points were brought out to help the CID when they came to investigate it and I really cannot speak as to what other officers might think or say.
Q. Now what I’ve asked you is do you see how it might be difficult for one of the witnesses, one of the key witnesses to this incident after hearing what Sergeant A has said to give a different account, he’s not just giving a different account in an interview room with a CID officer, he has to give his different account in front of Sergeant A and in front of all his colleagues. Do you see how that might be difficult?
A. I can see the point that you are making but, to be honest, it didn’t happen.
Q. Well, it did happen. You did create a situation where the suspect in this case gave his account before all of the witnesses and they had to listen to his account and then give their accounts afterwards. That’s precisely the situation you created by the debrief; isn’t that right?
A. Well, it wasn’t the intention. It certainly was not. The intention was to have a debrief and gather the salient points to hand them over to the CID.
Q. And it’s fair to say, Officer V, you’re an experienced police officer. You wouldn’t allow any other suspect in a serious criminal investigation to confer with witnesses or co defendants prior to being interviewed by police, would you?
A. I have never been put in that position so I don’t know the answer. I am not a CID officer. I can understand the point that you’re making. I can’t answer it.
Q. Sorry, how long had you been in the RUC in 1992?
A. 30 years. No, no, it wouldn’t have been as long as that. 25 or whatever it was.
Q. 25 years?
Q. Are you telling the Court you can’t answer the question as to whether or not you would allow a suspect in a serious criminal investigation to confer with witnesses or to confer with co defendants before being interviewed by police officers?
A. My Lord, I did not consider Sergeant A a suspect.
Q. Is that not part of the problem really, Officer V?
A. Well if that’s what it is then that’s what it is. But I did not consider him a suspect. He was a member of the unit, we were involved, that was involved in a serious incident and a debrief was held for the purpose of gathering information to give to the CID.
Q. What I am suggesting to you, Officer V, that even, even without going into the debrief and telling officers to lie, even without something as overt
A. Which I certainly did not.
Q. even without something as overt as that, you created a situation where Sergeant A’s account was going to be given to key witnesses and it was effectively designed or would have the impact of impacting on their accounts in due course?
A. Well, my Lord, I don’t see it that way but I take the point that you’re making and if you’re saying that I created the situation then I created the situation. But it certainly was unintentional. It was in keeping with our operational procedures that we carried out after every operation.
Q. You came in in the knowledge that somebody had been shot and killed by one of your officers; is that right?
A. I was informed of it, yes, at home.
Q. And that’s why you came in?
A. That is correct.
Q. And when you came in there was a doctor present?
A. That is correct.
Q. Presumably to see to the welfare of the officer who had been involved in the shooting, and potentially other officers as well?
A. I assume that’s what he was there for, yes.
Q. And in due course Dr Crowthers examined Sergeant A and, as a result of your conversation with Dr Crowthers, you sent Sergeant A home?
Q. Why did you not ensure that the examination of Sergeant A happened as soon as he came in? Why was that not the priority, Officer V?
A. Well, to be honest with you, I can’t answer that because it’s
Q. Dr Crowthers was
MR MONTAGUE: Let him answer it, please.
MS QUINLIVAN: Sorry.
WITNESS: Things were happening so they happened and they happened in the sequence in which I have given and I can’t say oh, because of A, B, or C, I didn’t let. It wasn’t that I didn’t let Dr Crowthers examine him, the debrief took place. Dr Crowthers may have spoken to Sergeant A before I arrived there, I do not know. But certainly after the debrief it was recommended by the doctor that Sergeant A be sent home.
Q. You arrived and you spent we went through this on the last occasion, 25 minutes in the room with your two senior officers and you spoke to Inspector M during that period and Dr Crowthers was there during that period, is that right?
A. I spoke to Inspector M when I came in. I am not 100% sure just what the sequence was in relation to when I spoke to Dr Crowthers but, yes, there was two senior officers in my office.
Q. And there was every opportunity for you as a first step to take the step to take care of Sergeant A’s welfare?
A. Well I wouldn’t disagree with you.
Q. And you had the doctor there in a position to deal with Sergeant A?
A. Well, you’re right.
Q. Why was that not the first priority?
A. Because it didn’t seem to be the priority whenever I came in at the time, I mean.
Q. So it was more important to hold a debrief to allow Sergeant A to give his account in front of the witnesses than it was to have him medically examined?
MR MONTAGUE: My Lord, he didn’t say that.
MS QUINLIVAN: I am asking the question.
A. You know, when I came in a lot was happening and I can’t recall exactly the sequence of events, to be truthful with you. Now, there was a debrief. Sergeant A was examined after the debrief I understand by Dr Crowthers and, as a result, he was sent home. Dr Crowthers may have spoken to Sergeant A prior to me coming in because he was there when I arrived, I do not know. But certainly the welfare of Sergeant A was uppermost in my mind. But equally there was also a very serious incident that had taken place and the facts had to be brought out as to what had happened for the CID. And again, there is nothing unusual or suspicious about this.
Q. There was no necessity to have a debrief. There was no overriding necessity to have a debrief. CID were going to investigate this incident. They are the experts in terms of investigation. You didn’t have to have a debrief, did you, Officer V?
A. Yes, we did actually.
A. Because once again I repeat that with the CID and the prior operations of which we have done numerous, we always had a debrief to gather the information to hand over to the CID. Now, there has been in the past, times when the CID were busy and couldn’t come until the following day, so at least we had all the information freshly recorded. So there was a necessity to have a debrief as far as I am concerned and as far as I understood at the time it was necessary.
Q. There was a much more straightforward way to freshly record it?
A. 20 years on we could say there was no need to have a debrief. At the time as far as I am concerned there was a necessity to have a debrief and that’s what I had.
Q. This is not about 20 years on, Officer V.
A. Well it is actually because
Q. This is because sorry, go on ahead?
A. No, because it’s easy 20 years, 30 years, 40 years afterwards to criticise and find flaws with any procedure and the flaws in the criticism can be quite valid, but that’s what was the situation at the time.
Q. You had the option of having Officer A examined, medically examined to see was he fit to even attend a debrief. You didn’t do that?
A. I had a sergeant, I had a doctor present.
Q. You didn’t get the doctor to examine the sergeant to see if he was fit to attend a debrief, did you?
A. No, I did not.
Q. You had the officer attend a debrief without attending to his welfare in the first instance; isn’t that right?
A. Well, I wouldn’t agree with you. But if you want to put it that way, fine.
Q. You had the option of, as I’ve said, inviting each officer to individually write down their account of what happened in their police issue notebooks without influencing each other; that was an option open to you?
MR MONTAGUE: My Lord, the witness has already said that was an option.
CORONER: Yes, I do have a note of that. I think he is agreeing with you.
WITNESS: There was many options.
MS QUINLIVAN: And there was no necessity for a debrief.
A. I think there was, my Lord.
Q. The only …
A. Sorry, if I could just say, if I had not thought there was a necessity for a debrief or the options weren’t necessary, I wouldn’t have done it. I felt there was a necessity in order to assist the CID to hold a debrief.
Q. And Officer V, I suggest to you as an experienced police officer you recognised exactly what you were doing by having a debrief. You recognised that you were creating an environment in which Officer A would be able to give his account and influence the evidence of other witnesses?
A. Well, my Lord, I do not accept that for one minute. Not for one minute do I accept that inference.
Q. Officer V, moving to a different topic. It is a feature of the training and breaching [sic] of HMSU officers that they gain access to sensitive intelligence material about paramilitaries; isn’t that correct?
A. Would you just repeat that question because.
Q. It’s a feature of the training and briefing of HMSU officers that they are given access to sensitive intelligence about paramilitaries?
A. My Lord, I have to be careful what I say here, because my understanding is that in relation to aspects of training, et cetera, there was a PII and I would not want to be in breach of that.
Q. I think, I can’t assure you, but I think you can take it on this level that if there’s a concern that my question will lead to a breach of public interest immunity I will be stopped and your counsel will deal with that. So if you can answer the question I have asked you.
MR MONTAGUE: Well I think, my Lord, the witness is right to be cautious and there are PII redactions in respect of the training that was provided.
CORONER: Yes. I think as a general question that Ms Quinlivan has asked and I think you would be entitled to answer it in a general way, Officer V.
WITNESS: Very well, my Lord. I don’t mind answering it. It’s not that I’m trying not to answer it. I just want to safeguard myself in that regard. In relation to what you are asking, yes, before the unit would have went out on an operation or whatever, they would have had access to intelligence or information regarding that particular operation.
MS QUINLIVAN: And in a general sense on an ongoing basis they would have received information about known, or known in a security force sense people who were believed to be paramilitary activists.
A. During the course of that operation if that was to come out in the operation, yes, I would expect them to be told about it.
Q. Yes. And obviously
A. But sorry, could I also add that there were occasions when you would go out with a surveillance team and it wouldn’t be any specific operation but something would develop.
Q. I understand that. But given that the officers worked in Belfast all the time they would have built up a repertoire of knowledge of the names of people and the profiles of people as time went on?
A. My Lord, they didn’t work in Belfast all the time. They worked all over Northern Ireland, despite the fact that there were three, two other units. But yes, I would agree that they would have built up a certain amount of knowledge. They wouldn’t have been experts in that field.
Q. No, I accept that. And Officer V, if in a particular operation intelligence came in and suggested that a known named provisional IRA activist was involved in suspicious activity, there would be no reason that the HMSU officers on the ground wouldn’t be told that, in the first instance?
A. I would agree with you, there would be no reason for them not to be told.
Q. And your expectation is that they would be told because it would be important that they be provided with that information?
A. Yes. If they were going to be involved in an operation, yes.
Q. Now you’ve already been taken, and I think you obviously were taken on the last occasion as well, to the news articles and I won’t take you to them but if you need to refresh your memory, Officer V, I certainly don’t intend to stop you. But you know that in the hours immediately after the shooting
Q. it was being reported that the police had shot the wrong man?
A. Yes, according to that, this article here.
Q. And you say that you weren’t aware of that at the time?
A. No, I was not, my Lord.
Q. Can I suggest that’s somewhat surprising, Officer V. You were the senior officer in HMSU at the time?
A. That is correct.
Q. You had come in from annual leave especially because of this case. It was something that was sufficiently important to justify you coming in?
A. Yes, I agree, yes.
Q. And you said on the last occasion that you were motivated by the desire to learn the mistakes of the past and that those mistakes not be repeated?
A. That is correct.
Q. One of the mistakes of the past, Officer V, was that there was deliberate misinformation provided to the media; isn’t that right?
A. That is correct.
A. But not by me.
Q. But that was one of the mistakes in the past?
A. That’s right, yes.
Q. And that would be something that you would have been concerned about, that that wouldn’t be repeated?
A. That is correct.
Q. So can I suggest to you that in those circumstances you of all people would have been concerned that again police appear to be briefing in a manner inconsistent with the known facts?
A. Well, my Lord, first and foremost I have absolutely nothing to do with press releases and the name that is mentioned in here personally is not known to me. And in relation to the HMSU officers, yes, whilst they may build up a certain knowledge and expertise to a certain degree, you could mention a particular name that they would not know by sight. So I don’t see what the connection is. This was brought out by whoever but it wasn’t influenced by anything that I said or did or any of my officers. Obviously someone had got the wrong name and gave it to the press office in headquarters, but not me.
Q. What I’m interested in, Officer V, is given that you are sufficiently concerned to come in from annual leave, in fact you considered it your obligation to come in from annual leave, your two senior officers, those more senior than you are also present, given your general concern about the incident, why would you not have been alarmed about the fact that there were media reports that were apparently, apparently at least wrong?
A. Well, first and foremostly I never saw any this is dated November 27th, which I assume is the following day or.
Q. Two days later.
A. Two days later. Well I never saw any media reports nor did I have anything to do with any media reports. And this is two days a later, so whatever or whoever came out with this, it really has nothing whatsoever to do with me.
Q. You might not, you say you don’t recognise the name now. It doesn’t mean, does it, Officer V, that you didn’t know the name at the time? It’s possible, for example, that you’ve forgotten the name; isn’t that fair?
A. No, it’s not fair because I didn’t know the name. I’ve never heard of the person.
A. Because whilst I may have been in charge, I didn’t know the name of every suspected terrorist in Belfast.
Q. We do know that at 3.40 in the afternoon the TCG received a communication identifying the man in question in connection with the red Ford Orion. That is something that your expectation is based on your experience that would be communicated to the HMSU officers on the ground?
A. Pardon me. Yes, I would expect that to be.
Q. So if a person known as an IRA activist is seen in connection with an incident, your expectation, based on your experience, is that is something that of course would be told to HMSU?
A. I would expect it to be, yes.
Q. And it appears that the name that you’ve mentioned, that that name appears to have been given out on the night in question as the person who was deceased?
A. Yes. It seems to be, yes.
Q. Now, I should say in fairness to you that there have been two names floating about here. I don’t think we need to trouble you about it, but certainly on one view it would appear that that particular name that you have seen was the name given out to the media, because the solicitors representing this person then went and made a complaint about it?
CORONER: I think you need to be careful given Mr Lowry’s evidence on that.
MS QUINLIVAN: Yes.
CORONER: So you need to make sure that there was an explanation given as to how that got into the public domain.
MS QUINLIVAN: Yes. I am not really, I’m not really pursuing how it got into it.
CORONER: Yes, I appreciate, but the way in which you put it, got in in a certain way, I think there has been evidence given by Inspector Lowry as to how it got into the public domain. But, in any event, just be careful.
MS QUINLIVAN: A chief inspector has indicated, well he has given an indication of how it believes it went into the public domain.
A. Who? Me?
Q. No, no. Somebody that wasn’t you.
CORONER: No, don’t worry.
MS QUINLIVAN: I don’t think we need to trouble you with it, I think it probably, hopefully we will try not to create more confusion.
Q. In any event, the person that was apparently connected with this red Ford Orion, that same person, their name is apparently given out that evening as the person who has been shot and you have seen, you have seen the, you have seen the subject document, my friend took you through it?
Q. That’s the kind of information, I take it again, that HMSU officers might be provided with in relation to particular operations?
A. If there is anything that is ongoing during the operation yes, that would be fed to them.
Q. Yes. Can I ask you, given that well, we know that the HMSU officer, well we don’t know, but we’re assuming for the moment that the HMSU officers will have been given this name at 3.40 pm in the afternoon this person is connected with the red Ford Orion?
A. Now, I can’t
MR MONTAGUE: Sorry, my Lord.
A. I can’t answer that because I don’t know whether they were told that name or not.
MR MONTAGUE: Well exactly my point, my Lord, and the evidence has not been that they were told.
CORONER: No, but the evidence is that it’s highly likely they would have been given this information.
MR MONTAGUE: That they would have been expected to be told.
MS QUINLIVAN: Yes, and I think I said we’re assuming.
CORONER: No, no, I’m not criticising you. No.
WITNESS: So I don’t know.
MS QUINLIVAN: You weren’t in the operations room.
Q. You weren’t involved in the operation, I accept that.
Q. But your evidence has been, an officer from TCG’s evidence has been and they are the only people questioned about this so far, that in general terms the expectation was if a name came in of someone known that that name would be given out?
A. Yes, you would expect that, my Lord.
Q. So we’re just going to assume for present purposes, and it’s an assumption based on what I’ve just told that this name was given out to the officers?
A. You can assume that, I can’t answer it.
CORONER: No, I don’t think you’re being asked for an answer, but the questions are now going to premised on the basis that the name of that person was given out to the HMSU unit.
WITNESS: Well, that may be so, my Lord, but I
CORONER: No, no, no, but if you answer them on the basis that they do have that knowledge.
MS QUINLIVAN: And we that was the significant piece of information, wasn’t it, on the day in question? A known IRA activist is connected with a vehicle. This is a known IRA activist who, it has been suggested, was a quartermaster in the New Barnsley area, someone who, it was suggested, had been involved in shooting and bombing attacks on the police, so a significant piece of information in terms of the operation.
A. Yes, I would say so.
Q. Why is there no mention of this person in the debriefing notes?
A. Because his name was never mentioned in the debrief because I don’t think at that time anybody knew of this person.
Q. You see
A. I mean, I wrote down and I made it clear here the last time I was in this witness box, that I made notes and all they were were jotted down notes that were the salient points to assist the CID. I numbered them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, but that was not intended to be of any great sequence, it just was the numbers that I wrote down, and at no time was the name mentioned during the debrief.
Q. If the name had been given to the HMSU officers
Q. If you just maybe let me finish. If the name had been given to HMSU officers on the day in question connected with the Ford Orion, the Ford Orion car in which the driver is eventually shot dead, that’s the kind of information you would expect to come out of a debrief, isn’t it?
A. Not necessarily. No, not necessarily. I jotted down what was said at the debrief or points that were made at the debrief and at no time was the name mentioned. If it had been I would have written it down.
Q. If the purpose of this debrief is to give a time line effectively to CID of everything that happened that was important, it was important, wasn’t it, that a known IRA activist had been connected with a vehicle, a vehicle in respect of which the driver was eventually shot dead and killed?
A. Well I stand to be corrected, my Lord, but I think even at the debrief we didn’t know the name of who the deceased was at that time, and I stand to be corrected on that.
Q. I’m not asking you about the deceased. I’m asking you about the fact that at 3.40 pm on the day in question, an hour and a half before Pearse Jordan is killed, at 3.40 pm information comes in to say a known IRA activist, you have the name, he was seen in this car. This is part of the build up to the operation. It’s the first mention of the Ford Orion on the day, the very first mention, that’s not the kind of information that you would have thought, if the debrief is to assist CID and give them a full picture, is that not a piece of information we should have seen in the debrief?
A. It is in the debrief.
Q. Where is it in the debrief?
A. The Ford Orion is mentioned in.
Q. Where is it mentioned in the debrief that the Ford Orion was being driven by a known PIRA activist at 3.40 pm in the afternoon?
A. It is mentioned in the notes that I made, the Ford Orion. But I am not, I don’t think that known activist or name is mentioned in it because I was just concerned about the activity of the car.
Q. And the first
CORONER: I think, to be fair, in relation to the intelligence
WITNESS: The handwritten note that I made.
CORONER: Sorry. In relation to the intelligence, if one looks at it, it doesn’t say, as I understand it, who was driving the vehicle.
MS QUINLIVAN: You are correct, my Lord. It uses term “was using”.
MS QUINLIVAN: “The subject was using a red Ford Orion”.
MS QUINLIVAN: It certainly would suggest that he was in the red Ford Orion. I have said using as driver, but he read
CORONER: It is a sort of neutral term.
MS QUINLIVAN: Yes.
Q. Just, Officer V, just for the avoidance of any confusion about this. You have your debriefing notes in the core bundle, don’t you?
A. That’s what I’m looking for now, my Lord.
Q. They are at tab 7, Officer V.
Q. They are at tab 7.
A. Tab 7.
Q. Those are typed but I think
Q. I think there was one error in the typed version but I don’t think it relates to this. So we have HMSU deploy at approximately 1.00 pm in relation to an ammunitions move. Do you see that?
Q. Approximately 3.00 pm sighted red Ford Orion. Vehicle has been reported as acting suspiciously around Whiterock Leisure Centre?
Q. Now can I ask you, you have the intelligence document that you were shown earlier on?
Q. If you look at the last page, and it says, there is a redaction: “At 3.40 pm this afternoon dated 25th November”?
Q. The person is named?
Q. “And an unknown male are moving gear in a red Ford Orion on the Whiterock Road outside the leisure centre”?
Q. And then it says “there were a number of unknown youths in the area who appear to be acting as look out”?
Q. If you go to the previous page, “on 25th November, again the subject” maybe we will just call him ‘subject’ for the sake of argument “and an unknown male were moving gear on the Whiterock Road outside the leisure centre. A number of youths were acting as look outs. The subject was using a red Ford Orion”, and they give the vehicle renovation number. You have that?
Q. And then if we go back to two pages earlier, it is the same thing again, this gentleman and an unknown male were in a red Ford Orion parked outside Whiterock Leisure Centre. This man went into the leisure centre. The unknown male stayed in the car. There were two young fellows doing dickers at Whiterock corner, and again the unknown male not the unknown male, the subject was delivering or collecting gear. So those are various versions of the intelligence report?
Q. So it seems clear that the intelligence report identified this man at the time and connected him to the red Ford Orion?
A. Well, that name was never mentioned at the debrief as far as I recollect otherwise I would have written it down because I made the note of the fact about the red Ford Orion et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, but no name was mentioned at the debrief.
Q. So nobody said the car was being driven by a known IRA activist?
CORONER: Well it says being used.
MS QUINLIVAN: Being used. Sorry. Yes.
Q. No one said the car was being used by a known IRA activist?
A. I wrote down what was said.
Q. You see, does this not, Officer V, have parallels with what happened in 1982?
A. None whatsoever, my Lord.
Q. This is an operation in which there is a person of particular interest, it’s a name referred to in the first sighting of the vehicle.
MR MONTAGUE: Sorry, my Lord, that doesn’t mean he was of particular interest. The witness has said he was interested in the vehicle, and he is not the first witness to say he was interested in the vehicle.
MS QUINLIVAN: With respect
MR MONTAGUE: No, no, my learned friend is putting something that is factually inaccurate.
MS QUINLIVAN: With respect to my learned friend, the witness actually don’t know what was of interest in the operation. The fact that the witness
MR MONTAGUE: No, but he has said, my Lord, in his evidence to you this morning, he was interested in the vehicle.
MS QUINLIVAN: He has accepted that a known IRA activist connected with the operation would have been of interest, and of particular interest.
Q. This is an operation
A. Yes, I agree but I didn’t know the name. The name was never mentioned in the debrief.
Q. Well what I am suggesting to you, Officer V, is that this has parallels with what happened in 1982?
A. No, I disagree.
Q. And just to be clear what I’m suggesting, a person is connected to the red Ford Orion, it’s the first reason that the red Ford Orion becomes of interest in this operation. There is a name of a person who is using the red Ford Orion and the red Ford Orion now becomes of interest to the people involved in this operation. Do you understand that?
A. Yes, I agree with that.
Q. And that name or a similar name are communicated to the media and military on the ground as having been the person that was shot on the night in question?
A. Well as I say, I have no knowledge of what was said to the media because it is not within my remit.
Q. And yet this name of a known IRA activist doesn’t appear in the debrief that you conducted for the assistance of CID.
A. Because his name was never mentioned. In fact, no name was mentioned.
Q. In fact, it doesn’t appear in any account of events with the single, it appears, exception of Officer AA who wasn’t part of your debrief?
A. I think, my Lord, it is because at that time we didn’t know the name of the deceased.
Q. Well I’m going to suggest to you that in all probability all of your officers on the ground heard the name of the deceased in the afternoon of 25th November? Sorry, not the name of the deceased, the name of the subject on 25th November 1992?
A. That may be so but I certainly didn’t hear it.
Q. And yet it appears that not one of them mentioned it, if you’re to be believed, in the debrief?
A. Well I can tell you I wrote down what was said at the debrief and…
Q. And not one of them mentioned it to CID who were investigating the incident?
A. Well I don’t know what they mentioned to CID who were investigating the incident, but certainly the name was never mentioned and indeed the newspaper reporter or whatever it is, the press release, I knew nothing about that because it’s not for me to do it.
Q. Officer V, just for your assistance really I am going to move on to a different matter. I am going to ask you questions about 1982.
CORONER: Could I just ask one question?
MS QUINLIVAN: Sorry. Certainly, my Lord.
CORONER: In relation to, Officer V, in relation to the intelligence information that was given, as I understand it, this operation was concern about the movement of munitions from Arizona Street on the day in question.
WITNESS: That is my understanding, my Lord.
CORONER: And munitions included both bombs
CORONER: and in relation to guns. This man, the subject if I can refer to him as that, had been arrested in relation to the transfer of semtex the year before, almost just a year before.
CORONER: So this is a man who is a quartermaster of the provisional IRA, who has been arrested and actually charged with conspiracy to murder and possession of explosives in relation to semtex. Now you are worried about munitions being transported in this particular Ford Orion from Arizona Street and here is someone who has been directly connected on intelligence information the year before. Is that not going to be a highly pertinent piece of information that’s going, you’d expect to come out during the debrief?
WITNESS: My Lord, I understand the point that you’re making but it didn’t come out in the debrief. All I was writing down what was said and I jotted down about the red Orion and the movement of that et cetera, et cetera, and just the sequence of events (A) to get my head round it and also to see what had happened. And there was never a mention of that name or indeed the name of Pearse Jordan at the debrief.
CORONER: Well we can understand that Pearse Jordan wouldn’t have been mentioned because he is the unknown male.
CORONER: But this other one who was seen at the leisure centre, he has got a record at the Whiterock Leisure Centre he has a record of involvement in the very type of operation that is under surveillance on this particular occasion.
WITNESS: It may have very well be, my Lord, and to be honest I can’t answer your question.
WITNESS: Because the surveillance people might have known him to see and recognise him, but that didn’t necessarily follow that all of the HMSU would have known him.
WITNESS: And indeed what they would have been concerned about is the movement of the car, irrespective as to who was driving it.
MS QUINLIVAN: Just, Officer V, to follow up on that. It is not irrespective of who was driving it, is it, in the sense if someone well known to the RUC was driving it, it would be different than if someone completely unknown was driving it.
A. No, no, no. I think if you read through it, my understanding of it is that whenever the red Orion moved off irrespective of who was driving it, it was considered that there was explosives or a bomb or ammunition on board, and the idea was to stop it, to check the car.
Q. You do accept, don’t you, that it does make a difference. If it was known to police that a particular person was driving a car it would make a difference to them? It’s not a neutral matter?
A. Well it is a kind of a neutral matter actually.
Q. Well, it really isn’t a neutral matter, is it? It’s not neutral if it’s somebody who you think is going to be armed and pull a gun at you as opposed to someone who is maybe just driving the car for someone else. If you know who is involved it can make a difference. I’m not saying it does in every situation but it can make a difference. Do you accept that?
A. Okay, I will not argue with you on that.
CORONER: It is a piece of information when one is looking at what is happening, it’s something that you add to the weight of evidence. There was suspicious activity going on in Arizona Street. There were a number of dickers out. There was this Orion. It had seemed to be being used by somebody who appears to have transported semtex on a previous occasion, therefore that would tend to suggest that explosives may have been transported on this occasion or that was the intention.
WITNESS: My understanding from after the event, my Lord, was that their concern was that it was a bomb going into the city centre.
WITNESS: Now the man who was wrongly named
WITNESS: I don’t know anything about.
WITNESS: But I mean if, if activity was taking place in Arizona Street
WITNESS: and that vehicle came out, it may not be known by the HMSU who was actually driving it because all they would get is that is the vehicle now moving.
CORONER: Yes. But the earlier intelligence had been that he was using it so
WITNESS: But that, my Lord, doesn’t necessarily mean that he was going to be driving it.
CORONER: Of course it doesn’t necessarily mean
CORONER: that he was driving it. But it is a piece of information that one would take into account
WITNESS: Absolutely, my Lord.
CORONER: in making an assessment as to what was the likelihood of this Orion containing a bomb that was going to be taken into the city centre.
WITNESS: I would agree, my Lord, yes.
MS QUINLIVAN: Officer V, I’m going to move on to another topic and I was going to ask you questions about what happened in 1982. The first incident was the fatal shooting the Gervaise McKerr, Eugene Toman and Sean Burns at Tullygally Road East on 11th November 1982; is that correct?
A. That is correct.
Q. And those men were shot by HMSU officers?
A. That is correct, my Lord.
Q. And they were unarmed at the time?
A. That is correct, my Lord.
Q. You conducted the initial briefing in relation to that particular incident; isn’t that right?
A. I would have to refer back to notes because, to be honest, I don’t, I’m having difficulty remembering back to 1982 with any great clarity.
Q. I appreciate that, Officer V, and if you need to refer to your earlier statements at any stage I certainly have no difficulty with that and I don’t intend to try and trick you in relation to this. I am suggesting that you conducted the initial briefing and that essentially this was a surveillance operation involving Mr Toman and Mr Burns. They were the subject of the operation. The stated RUC aim was to arrest both men and it was pre planned in terms of trying to target these individuals?
A. It was pre planned that they were going to be arrested, yes.
Q. And what I’m specifically suggesting to you is that you gave the initial briefing about them?
A. If you’re telling me I’ll accept it, but I can’t remember, I would need to
CORONER: Do we have the relevant reports?
MS QUINLIVAN: Yes. The relevant statement well, the difficulty is the relevant statement doesn’t say that, of course, my Lord, although a subsequent statement does.
Q. You initially, if I am being unfair
CORONER: In fairness to the witness, do you want an opportunity to consider these documents before you are questioned about it?
MS QUINLIVAN: We have a bundle of statements from the witness. I think he took the opportunity on the last occasion to refresh his memory. I have no difficulty if he does the same again.
CORONER: Well, we can take an early lunch and then sit again at a quarter past one.
MS QUINLIVAN: Yes.
CORONER: Would that suit? I think in fairness then you have an opportunity. Make sure that he has the relevant statements.
MS QUINLIVAN: Yes, my Lord.
CORONER: Thank you.
MR DORAN: My Lord, if Officer V could be brought back to the witness box.
CORONER: Yes, I think they were going to get him. Thank you.
EXAMINED BY MS QUINLIVAN (Cont’d)
Q. Officer V, I think I had indicated to you that I was going to ask you questions about 1982 and I had referred you to the shooting, the first shooting at Tullygally Road East and I had suggested to you, and I think you probably would be in a position to confirm this, but you conducted the initial briefing of the officers in relation to that incident?
A. Yes, I did, yes.
Q. And essentially this was a surveillance operation and the stated RUC object was to arrest Mr Toman and Mr Burns?
A. That is correct.
Q. And it was pre planned in which details about both men were provided to the HMSU crews and also to the surveillance teams?
A. That’s correct.
Q. And after the three men were shot and killed, it appears that a meeting was held on 13th November and it was decided that the HMSU officers should withhold from CID the fact that it was a pre planned operation, the fact that Mr Toman and Burns had been mentioned in it, and also I think really the fact that it was a specialist, you were a specialist anti terrorist unit?
A. That is correct, my Lord. I have to say that yes, on direction of senior officers after that incident we were told that there was sensitive intelligence, Special Branch intelligence that had to be withheld and we were all already sworn under the Official Secrets Act, we were guided by senior officers and on which in statements that were made there were omissions that omitted anything relating to intelligence that was given on the occasion.
Q. And it’s fair to say that in that context on your account, you lied in your interview with CID officers and in your statement made to CID about the incident?
A. You can call it, my Lord, you can call it lying if you wish. There was things omitted in the statements, yes, I accept that. And I also would suggest that this has to be considered in the context of what was taking place at the time and in that area where there was a very concentrated IRA campaign of murder and bombings and yes, there was very sensitive Special Branch intelligence that Special Branch wanted to protect and I could see that and, therefore, it was, there was omissions made in statements but the intention was to protect life. And as I even said at the very start of my evidence here this morning, the reason why I went in in 1992 was to ensure that the mistakes that we realised in ’82 that we made that were not repeated.
Q. Well just, Officer V, you lied in your interview with CID. When they asked you about the form of the briefing you told them there was nothing special about the briefing, it was just one of many similar patrols carried out, but you didn’t tell them, and I’m suggesting you lied, you didn’t tell them that there was something special about the briefing. The something special was that you were going after two of the men who were ultimately killed?
A. Well I wouldn’t actually call that lying. I omitted to tell them. They went down and got further information from TCG in south Armagh, so the initial briefing yes, I told the CID that I briefed them and they went down and carried out the patrols as directed by TCG. And it was during that operation that this incident occurred and, therefore, the need for source protection became apparent.
Q. You don’t think that that’s a lie that when you’re asked a question about, you were asked a question about the form the briefing takes place, you don’t inform CID that it’s a specialist operation targeted at Mr Toman and Burns, you don’t consider that a lie?
A. I can understand you calling it a lie I mean but I was directed to omit certain pieces of information that would protect life and protect source. And I mean in the wider context never, even though I have made those statements, have I stood in a court and tried to justify those statements in relation to giving evidence that they are the truth and the whole truth. I have not lied in any court.
Q. The next incident, Officer V, moving on, occurred on 24th November 1982. This was a second fatal shooting involving HMSU?
A. That is correct.
Q. It took place at the hay shed at Ballynery Road?
A. That is correct.
Q. Michael Tighe was killed and Martin McCauley was seriously injured?
A. That’s correct.
Q. Now it’s correct, isn’t it, that your men were directed to that hay shed by the TCG?
A. That is correct, my Lord.
Q. And we now know that there was a bug in the hay shed and it was the TCG directed your men to the hay shed as a result of what they heard?
A. That is my understanding because I learned that after I went down. I did not know about a device in the barn prior to this.
Q. When did you learn about the device?
A. I think it was whenever I because I wasn’t actually present at any of these incidents. I was informed about them as I was in 1992 and I went down to them. Any stories or any fabricated stories or lies were already made up and told to headquarters before I ever arrived. But when I arrived there I was, and I don’t think I was even directly told, by inference and by my understanding of what I was told by my men, I assumed that there was, there must have been a device in that barn.
Q. So that was your understanding
A. That was my understanding.
Q. in 1982?
Q. Now, at the debrief it was decided that information about that surveillance device was to be withheld from CID?
A. Absolutely, my Lord, that’s right.
Q. And the story was created to the effect that the men, that your men were on routine patrol, that Officer M, in particular Officer M from this inquest saw an armed man acting suspiciously outside the hay shed and that’s why the men went to the hay shed. That was the cover story?
A. That is basically, yes.
Q. And that story was communicated by every single officer involved in the incident to CID?
A. Well my understanding would be yes.
Q. And can I suggest that you played a central role in coordinating that false account to CID?
A. Well, I would, well what do you call a central role? I was the officer in charge of the unit. There were senior officers there who had come up with this, for the want of a better word, a story in order to protect lives and protect the sources that we could not include in the statements every single piece of intelligence. So something had to be omitted. And yes, I would have conveyed that to the men as directed by senior officers. So if you want to call that central, then it was central.
Q. Well firstly, it wasn’t just that something was omitted, isn’t that right, Officer V? It was that something was inserted in this case. What was inserted was a lie about seeing an armed man outside the hay shed?
A. Well I wouldn’t disagree with that. There was omissions and there was some additions that would have protected the source and hence protected the intelligence.
Q. And that addition, can I suggest to you, is qualitatively different on one view from what happened in the previous incident. It’s suggesting, it’s suggesting to the CID officer who reads the papers that the officers who go into the barn have already seen an armed man acting suspiciously outside it and that may support any justification they ultimately advance for the shooting?
A. No, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t I see what you’re saying but I honestly wouldn’t agree because if that were going to be the case, you could have made a more serious suggestion of why the officers went to the barn. So I wouldn’t. I think what we have got to understand is that there was source protection involved here and that senior officers had directed us under the Official Secrets Act that there was things that we could not say and yes, I agree that the addition of having seen suspicious activity. But also there was senior officers there who were, they were separating the intelligence from evidence, but I would like to go on because I know you’re going to go the next incident, and I would like to say that at no stage did I or any of my officers ever say that we would stand over these statements in a court of law.
Q. We will come to that in due course. But just taking things one at a time, they weren’t separating the intelligence from evidence in this instant. They were making up evidence. The story about the man, the non existent man outside the hay shed with the gun, that is making up evidence?
A. Well I wasn’t there so I don’t know whether they actually saw anybody or not. I know that that was the story that was put out, but I wasn’t there so I can’t answer categorically.
Q. You were at the scene on the night in question; isn’t that right?
Q. But you went to the scene on the night in question?
A. That’s right.
Q. And you did know that this was a made up story on the night in question, that Inspector M hadn’t seen a man but this was the cover story that was going to be produced?
A. Oh, I knew it was a cover story, yes.
Q. You knew it was made up. It’s not that they might have seen a man, you know that they went to the hay shed?
A. As a result of information they received from TCG.
Q. TCG. And it wasn’t a source that was being protected, it was a surveillance device that was being protected, a bug?
A. Still a source of intelligence.
Q. But not a human source?
A. Well, that may be so. But as far as Special Branch was concerned, it was an important source of intelligence that had to be protected.
Q. And just on the centrality of your role, you essentially instructed all of the men who were not directly involved in the shooting, you told them this is the cover story to be given. Six men in total; do you accept that?
A. I probably did, yes.
Q. And the third incident
(To the Court) My Lord, I can give you, we will give you the references to this in due course.
CORONER: Yes, please.
MR DORAN: In fact I can give it to you now, my Lord, if you wish. It is in C5.
CORONER: Give me the references to them all just so I get the ones you want me to look at. So the reference is what?
MS QUINLIVAN: C5 part 5.
MS QUINLIVAN: Which is at page 117. It is essentially Mr Stalker’s report about Ballynery Road.
MS QUINLIVAN: And the first paragraphs, well the paragraphs I want to refer to you are 13.98 to 13.102.
Q. And officer V, just so you’re not at a disadvantage in terms of what was said, an officer called P29 said that you gave him the cover story. If you want any of these cyphers I understand they will be made available to you. And five other officers, P30, P3, P25, P26 and P15 all said essentially that they were given the cover story by you the following day. You haven’t disagreed with that?
A. No, I wouldn’t disagree with that because that would have been the story that would have been given to me by senior officers.
Q. And the third incident occurred on 12th December 1982, and that involved the fatal shooting of Seamus Grew and Roddy Carroll; is that correct?
A. That’s correct, my Lord.
Q. And the background to this incident was essentially it was believed that Dominic McGlinchey was going to be involved in a shooting. He was the subject matter of the surveillance, I think the prime subject matter, although Mr Grew was certainly also mentioned?
A. That is correct, my Lord.
Q. And it appears that surveillance was lost for a period during this operation?
A. That would appear to be the case, my Lord. I wasn’t there.
Q. No. Again, Officer V, nobody is suggesting you were on the ground in any of these incidents. But a Special Branch officer who we know as P48, he went to the Republic of Ireland to see if he could locate Mr McGlinchey; is that right?
A. I understand that to be the case, which I was told afterwards, yes.
Q. And in a general sense the plan involved the setting up, once Mr McGlinchey had been located, the setting up of vehicle check points to cut the vehicle off and to arrest people in the car?
A. I think that was actually, that was the plan.
Q. But a military surveillance unit was involved in a road traffic collision with a HMSU vehicle; isn’t that right?
A. That is correct.
Q. And one of the officers in the vehicle, you probably do remember who we’re talking about, called P42, he was injured
A. That is correct.
Q. in that crash. And then the Special Branch officer, the one who had been to the Republic of Ireland, he arrived at the scene of the road traffic collision; isn’t that right?
A. I understand that to be the case. Again I’m going on hearsay and what transpired.
Q. You would have been told what happened afterwards. He picked up Constable Robinson and P31 from the scene?
A. That is correct.
Q. And at some stage they followed Mr Grew’s car, they caught sight and followed Mr Grew’s car and, in fact, forced it off the road; is that right?
A. I understand that to be the case but I mean if you’re telling me I’ll accept it.
Q. And Mr Grew and Mr Carroll were shot and killed. They were unarmed at the time; is that right?
A. That is correct, my Lord.
Q. Now, following that incident, really an extremely elaborate cover story was concocted, do you accept that?
A. Well it depends on what you mean by elaborate, my Lord.
Q. We will go through it. Firstly it was decided there was to be no mention of the surveillance operation in as much as it referred to Mr McGlinchey; isn’t that right? The CID weren’t told that this was what the
A. There was to be protection of the source for the protection of lives and the CID, there was to be omissions yes, of what could be said to the CID, again on direction of senior officers under the direction of the Official Secrets Act.
Q. There was to be no mention of the Special Branch officer crossing the border?
A. That is absolutely correct.
Q. In fact, there was to be no mention of the Special Branch officer whose car, who had driven the car that was involved in the shooting, he was removed from the story?
A. I would have to refresh myself in that, but I will accept the point there was to be no mention of the Special Branch.
Q. So the person who drove Mr Robinson and P31 after Mr Grew’s car who was sitting in the car when Mr Grew and Mr Carroll were shot, he was completely removed from the account given to CID?
A. I understand that to be the case now, yes.
Q. Effectively they were denied access to a key witness?
A. Well not by me.
Q. Well, you were part of the cover up, and we will come to that in due course. But you accept that effectively they were denied a key witness? Do you accept that?
A. No, I don’t, because I don’t know who you are speaking of and who denied them the key witness.
Q. Well, if you don’t know
A. Because no, but the thing about it is, yes, there were omissions made, but every one would have known everybody who would have been involved back at TCG headquarters. So whoever you are speaking of would have been or could have been made available to the CID.
Q. Well P48 was not made available because he was, they said that he wasn’t in the car, he was just effectively removed from the scene. No information was provided?
A. I didn’t remove him from the scene, my Lord, and I wouldn’t have been in a position to make him available or not make him available. That would have been a matter for others. If he was a Special Branch officer that would have been a matter for the Special Branch hierarchy.
Q. Just before we go to it, do you accept that the story ultimately fabricated was an elaborate one?
A. Quite frankly I accept it was a stupid one.
Q. Your officers were schooled by you in relation to what to say to CID; is that right?
A. They were I was informed by senior officers under the Official Secrets Act for the protection of people what had to be omitted and therefore suggested by senior officers what required to be included or said and yes, it was conveyed to my officers by me.
Q. The debrief involved you using a blackboard to illustrate events and to explain to people what they were to say?
A. Which is not unusual. The use of a blackboard and, you know, that is not unusual in any debriefing situation. Today it would be a whiteboard.
Q. Except in this instance you were telling people not to give you an account of what happened, but you were telling them the account they were to give to CID?
A. Not quite, my Lord. In the debrief there were senior officers present, senior officers from Special Branch whose prime role or worry, or whatever way you want to put it, was the protection of their source, which is, given the context of the day was understandable to a certain degree. And therefore whenever we were going through the debrief we were directed that what could be said and what couldn’t be said and that might make a difference as to who was doing what in the debrief. So I take the point that you’re making. I don’t deny it. But certainly I was not involved in the concocting of the story. I was not involved in the invention of any lies. I certainly was involved in conveying the requirements as directed by senior officers to my men.
Q. Well your role was a bit more than that in this case. You were assigned the role of plugging the gaps whenever gaps appeared; isn’t that right?
A. That was the term I used whenever I was interviewed by the Stalker people and in fact I think it was maybe a term that they sort of started using and I accept what you are saying. Yes, there were gaps and senior officers saw, ‘look, we need certainly to cover that aspect of it’, and if you want to say that I was plugging the gaps then I am quite happy to accept that. But not in the context in which it is being inferred.
Q. Well, what context are you suggesting is being inferred, Officer V?
A. What I am suggesting is being inferred is as if I was in there fabricating a story to exonerate everybody and to justify shootings that were fully and vigorously investigated.
Q. Well, we will come to the fully and vigorously investigated in due course. You did fabricate an account in relation to this incident directly, didn’t you? You made a statement to CID in which you stated that you had knowledge of this incident in which Mr Grew’s car had gone through a vehicle check point?
A. I think in reading that statement it says, and I stand to be corrected on it, that when I arrived there I was informed.
Q. Yes. But you knew that wasn’t true?
A. Afterwards I knew it, but when I arrived that was the story that was, had already been promulgated and passed to headquarters.
Q. You knew it wasn’t true when you made your statement to CID?
A. Well yes, I knew it wasn’t true at that time.
Q. So you made a statement to CID stating that you had learned from, that one of your men had been injured at a VCP in which Mr Grew’s car had earlier breached, and when you signed that statement you knew that that wasn’t true, that that never happened?
A. Yes, I accept that. But there was the story I was told when I arrived there.
Q. Now, one of the holes the plugged, Constable Brannigan, he had been off duty on this particular occasion; isn’t that right?
A. That is correct, my Lord.
Q. He had no involvement of any kind in this incident?
A. None whatsoever.
Q. But because you had to find a driver for vehicles in order to plug the holes in the story, he was told that he should pretend that he had been on duty?
A. That is correct, my Lord.
Q. And he then had to give an account of his role, of what he did on the particular occasion?
A. That is, that is correct, yes.
Q. It could have been totally fictitious obviously?
Q. And in order to authenticate that he was directed to make a claim for overtime by you?
A. I was directed by senior officers to find a driver for a particular vehicle and I didn’t have one. I asked Constable Brannigan if he would put himself, against my better judgment I might add and against Constable Brannigan’s better judgment, I asked if he would put himself in that position and he agreed to do it, but he was also told, because he was told by me, he could not financially gain or benefit from any monies that he may obtain through overtime or through pay or whatever it was. So as far as I was concerned he was to either give the money to charity or to return it to the police authority, but he could not personally gain from it, and that he readily accepted.
Q. Firstly, he was directed to make a claim for overtime and expenses in order to authenticate your story?
Q. And I know you say that he was to return the money to the police fund or give it to charity. Firstly did you take any steps to ensure that was done?
Q. No. And can I suggest to you it certainly doesn’t appear as if it was done?
A. Well I had given instructions that Mr Brannigan was not to obtain any financial gain from it and I assumed, because of the calibre of the person he was, that steps would be taken to have that rectified. I didn’t, I did not pursue it personally, no.
Q. No. So you’re the person who directs him to make a claim, a false claim for expenses. You say you direct him to put in a, return the money and you do nothing to ensure that happens?
A. That is correct.
Q. I suggest to you you’re just making that particular issue about the charity or the police fund up in order to make you look less bad in relation to that?
A. Well you can think that if you wish, but it’s not true, my Lord.
Q. You see, Mr Brannigan doesn’t suggest that he returned the money to the police fund?
A. Mr Brannigan is dead and I have no idea what Mr Brannigan said in any of his statements, but those were the instructions that were given by me.
Q. You see, it appears he said that he was aware that pretending to be on duty involved him making false claims for overtime payments and expenses which were met but he said that he was assured that this would be condoned by senior officers, and throughout he said he was acting on the advice of you?
A. Well that is true, except for the fact that I had said that the money he could not gain financially. Now, certainly in acting on advice or condoned by senior officers was also true because it was they who directed me to find a driver and whenever I said I don’t have one except a man who wasn’t even on duty they said well you know, that’s fine.
Q. But you’re the person who asked Mr Brannigan
Q. to play this role?
Q. You’re the person who told him to make the claim for false expenses?
Q. You’re the person which were met. And you’re the person, the only person he references as condoning his action?
A. Well that may be so, but I can tell you that I was directed by senior officers. I did what I was asked. Mr Brannigan and myself both did it against our better judgment, but in light of the circumstances and the need to protect sources we did it, and these are part and parcel of, as I said earlier, the mistakes that were made that I was definitely trying to make sure wouldn’t reoccur.
MS QUINLIVAN: My Lord, just to give your Lordship the reference. This is it is C5 again. It is the Stalker report in relation to the Mullacreevie Park shooting and it is page 131, paragraph 13.152 and paragraph 13.153.
Q. Do you accept well P42, he is the officer that was involved in the road traffic collision with the military surveillance and was injured?
Q. He was told that he should pretend that, in fact, he had been injured in an incident in which Mr Grew’s car had driven through a vehicle check point prior to the shooting?
A. I don’t know who told him that. It certainly wasn’t me.
Q. Well that’s the story you communicated to CID at the time?
A. That was the story that was told to me that Grew had driven through a VCP and then there was some nonsense of the officer was supposed to go and roll on the ground or whatever.
Q. I’m going to deal with the nonsense in a minute.
Q. Just dealing with the first limb of it, Mr Grew’s car had never gone through any vehicle check point. It hadn’t driven through a check point and injured anybody?
A. No. The officer was injured in the collision of the two vehicles.
Q. Yes, but Mr Grew’s car had not driven through any vehicle check point?
A. That’s my understanding, yes.
Q. And yet a story was created entirely unnecessarily for the protection of sources, can I suggest, that made it look like Mr Grew was trying to evade police?
A. The story was created because (A) there was an accident and there was Special Branch involvement and we couldn’t disclose the Special Branch involvement. So the story was created, not by me I might add, but yes, I accept that.
Q. You didn’t need to mention the accident at all. P42 had nothing to do with the shooting?
A. I would actually agree with you.
Q. Nothing at all. The military surveillance had nothing ultimately to do with the shooting?
Q. But instead of just not telling that story, it was decided to make Mr Grew’s actions in the lead up to his being shot dead look as if he had driven through a vehicle check point injuring a police officer?
A. I wouldn’t disagree with you.
Q. And do you accept that that is probably one of the more significant of the lies that was told in relation to these events, the making up of a story that one of the people who was fatally killed, obviously, drives through a vehicle check point?
A. Well, I can’t argue against the fact that a story was made up that was, as you quite rightly say, probably unnecessary, but I didn’t make it up.
Q. And you, I’m going to suggest, went to significant lengths to lend authenticity to the story?
A. As directed by senior officers for the protection of sources, yes, I can
Q. P42, you see, apparently stated that he was instructed by you to go to the location of the non existent vehicle check point and to dirty his clothes essentially in order to provide forensic support for the lie?
A. Well, my Lord, first and foremostly, I don’t believe for one minute that that officer said that because I did not say it. I only heard about this suggestion I think the following day because what I did say about that officer who was injured was that he was to go to the hospital to be examined, and then someone came up with this notion of going to the scene and rolling on the ground or whatever. And I certainly would not have given any such instruction nor would have been party to it.
Q. I am going to take this in stages, Officer V. Firstly I am going to suggest to you that this story was an important part of creating a justification for the shooting of Mr Grew and Mr Carroll?
A. No, I am sorry, I disagree with you. I cannot accept that.
MS QUINLIVAN: I think the witness should be given an opportunity to look at the document I’m going to take him to now. It is again, it is C5, part 5. It is the Mullacreevie Park report. Page 55.
MS QUINLIVAN: Page 55, my Lord. And the top of the page should read observations, conclusions and recommendations of Detective Superintendent Mitchell, who was the CID officer responsible for this investigation.
A. Would I have a copy of it here?
MS QUINLIVAN: I am going to arrange for you to have a copy. Mullacreevie Park. C5, part 5, please. Part 8, my Lord, I apologise.
CORONER: So the observations, conclusions and recommendations of Detective?
MS QUINLIVAN: Superintendent Mitchell, my Lord.
Q. Now to just explain, this is a summary of the recommendations made by Detective Superintendent Mitchell when he eventually reported back to the DPP about, or to the Chief Constable first about the shooting of Grew and Carroll. Can I draw your attention to 9.3?
A. 9.3, yes.
Q. “The vehicle checkpoint was properly set up confirming to current police instructions initially to monitor traffic travelling from Armagh towards the Republic. It was the actions of the occupants of the Allegro” that’s Mr Grew’s car “in driving through the checkpoint injuring Constable P42 which precipitated the police response”?
Q. So, the vehicle checkpoint is being presented to the CID officer as central to the reason why police then engage with Mr Grew and Mr Carroll; you see that?
Q. And over the page at 9.5: “Mr McGlinchey being on board the vehicle would undoubtedly be more than sufficient reason for Mr Grew driving the car at Constable P42. Ample opportunity was offered for Mr McGlinchey to be transported to a safe house or indeed for any firearms incriminating him to be disposed of, the police having lost sight of the vehicle for some ten minutes. Superintendent Mitchell takes the view that something or somebody was in the car which had to be kept from police”.
Again you can see that this action, this action that never happened is central to how the CID officer is presenting the case to the chief constable, in the first instance, and in due course to the DPP?
A. Yes, I can understand that.
Q. If I take you to 9.7: “The subsequent sighting by Constable Robinson and his colleagues of Mr Grew’s car was made on the knowledge of the earlier events, although they are not aware how Constable P42 had been injured or the extent of the injuries, ignorant of those facts they attempted to apprehend the occupants given a clear signal”.
And then they go on to detail the circumstances of the shooting.
Then over the page, 9.11. I just ask you to note the date.
“On 26th April 1983 the Chief Constable forwarded to the DPP the report and statements. Having considered the factors surrounding the deaths, he recommended that neither Constable Robinson nor constable P31 be prosecuted”.
Now that illustrates, doesn’t it, how this is more than simply an omission. This is a central part in the justification advanced for the shooting of Mr Grew and Mr Carroll.
A. No, my Lord, I don’t accept that. I have again said that certainly there were omissions and additions in relation to protection of source. The stories about road blocks and whatever I was not involved in. The notion that an officer was to roll on the ground et cetera, I certainly did not know about until the following day and would have no party to it. And in fact, if I can say, my Lord, by the time that this incident occurred, and all three occurred within a time span, I think, of about two or three weeks.
Q. Yes, four weeks in total.
A. Alarm bells were starting to ring within myself and my officers that we were not very happy and we said that we could not and would not stand over statements made in a court of law, because we knew that there were omissions. And we went, as I have said before, for independent legal advice and as a result of that advice I went back to my senior officer and said we can cannot accept this. And I was instructed that, produce a file for the DPP (as it was then) outlining everything in relation to these incidents and the DPP would receive that file along with the files from the CID and it would be a matter for the DPP what way the DPP would react. Now there was issue made here the last time about how long after the incidents did this happen, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and I never gave an answer that time because I really hadn’t got it clear in my mind. When I sat and thought about it, this occurred over a time span of three weeks or four weeks.
Q. Between 11th November and 12th December?
A. Yeah. Right. It wasn’t long after the Mullacreevie Park incident that the DPP, as far as I was concerned, statement was made and therefore the DPP would not have received the CID report from the first incident because there wouldn’t have been time. My understanding was that the DPP would have received both files at the same time. One was marked top secret for the DPP’s eyes only which outlined all of the inaccuracies that were contained in the statements that we made, but we made it very clear that I would not and could not stand over any of those statements in a court of law and would not stand over them.
Q. Officer V, I’m going to come to that and you’re running slightly ahead of me. Just to draw two things to your attention. I’ve shown you the report, the summary of Superintendent Mitchell’s report to the DPP and you will have seen that that report was forwarded to the DPP on 25th April 1983?
Q. Okay. You say that you realised very quickly that things were going wrong but it is right, isn’t it, that in February 1983, and you have that statement in the bundle of statements that you were provided with before lunch time, in February 1983 you made a statement about Mullacreevie Park and the last sentence, well the last two sentences:
“I also learned that one of my men had been injured at the VCP on the Keady Road which Grew’s car had earlier breached. On establishing his injuries I instructed him to be taken to hospital for examination and treatment”.
(To the Court) My Lord, that is in C6, part 1.
(To the witness) So in February ’83 you conveyed the lie about a vehicle check point to Superintendent Mitchell. In fact you made a statement?
CORONER: Sorry, what is the reference for it?
MS QUINLIVAN: C6 my Lord, part 1. Part 1 comprises statements from Officer M and officer V. Hopefully there is a tab between the two and there should be an index.
Q. So in February 1983, two months after the incident the lie was still being communicated and you communicated it directly to Detective Superintendent Mitchell?
A. Well, if that’s the statement and that’s the date the s answer is yes. But again, as I say, and I can’t give a time scale, but there was a file going to the DPP in which it outlined everything. It might have been after February, I don’t know.
Q. I am going to come to that in due course and hopefully we can assist you with the date, Constable V. But if you just go back and finish where we were in relation to P42. I am suggesting to you, for the avoidance of doubt, that you were the officer that directed P42 to roll about in the dirt in order to make it, make the story authentic?
A. My Lord, I certainly wasn’t the officer. I don’t even think that that happened and it certainly didn’t happen on my say so. I understand that he was asked to do it and didn’t. I heard about it I think it was the day after. The officer went to the hospital the night that I saw him. But no, I would not have asked because it was silly.
Q. Well, you have the report in front of you. Do you want to go to page 94 of the report, 13.39. Sorry, I think I am giving you the wrong page. Sorry, page 127. My apologies, Officer V. 13.139. Do you have that?
Q. Yes. Page 127?
A. Page 127.
Q. And the bottom paragraph is 13.139?
A. No, not unless I have got the wrong one. 137 is 15.8, 18.
MS QUINLIVAN: Perhaps somebody…
Q. Are you looking at the Stalker report as opposed to your statements? I am wondering is that the cause for confusion? The report that was handed up to him?
A. Wait a minute. There is another 137. Yes, yes, yes, yes.
Q. Do you have it?
A. I have it now.
Q. It starts P42, that’s the first. It’s a redacted document, do you see that?
Q. “P42 asserts that he had little involvement with the subsequent debrief. He was approached by Inspector P8” that’s you “later that night and told that in order to toe the party line it would be necessary to change the circumstances. To give credence to the cover story P42 was told by [you] to go to Paper Mill Bridge and to impregnate clothing with dirt from that area before the clothing was sent for forensic examination. This he did prior to attending Craigavon Area Hospital which was, according to him, at about 2.00am on the Monday morning”?
A. Well that is the first time that I have ever seen that and I can quite categorically state that he never, ever received any such instruction from me. Never. It would have been too ludicrous for words.
MS QUINLIVAN: My Lord, I should, for completeness, draw your Lordship’s attention to the next paragraph because the doctor disagrees with P42 about the timing of his attendance.
CORONER: Mm hmm.
MS QUINLIVAN: But can I also take to you 13.141.
Q. He says he returned to Belfast and retired from duty at 2.30 and went on sick leave. He says he was told to return to work for the purpose of being interviewed by investigating officers. He said immediately prior to that interview he was seen by you and you told him what to say during the course of the interview. He made a statement which accords to the instructions given to him by you and was throughout assured there was no likelihood that anyone would have to attend court other than the Coroners Court?
A. Well, if that’s what he said then I have to accept it, but I can tell you I do not recall this.
Q. And did you give him the assurance that there was no likelihood that anyone would have to worry about a court other than the Coroners Court?
A. I never gave anyone such assurance that I know of, that I recall, because, to be truthful with you, one of the concerns that I had and I went back to the senior officers to say that we would not stand in any court and stand over these statements.
Q. Well can I suggest to you that, in fact, you did assure officers that, okay, they might have to go to the Coroners Court but really it’s okay to tell lies there?
A. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no. Court of law is a court of law irrespective as to what court it is and I have never lied in a court of law.
Q. And at 13.146, just to show that P42 isn’t on his own in this, well firstly 13.143:
“P42 asserts he always acted under orders and in good faith in all of this and was given specific guarantees at the time of the incident there would be nothing greater than a Coroners Court resulting”.
A. Well I don’t know, my Lord, where he is getting these assurances from because I have never spoken those words.
Q. Well he is suggesting in the earlier paragraph that it was from you?
A. Well he can say that.
Q. And just over the page you see at 13.146 there’s an account from P41 who says he went with P42 to Paper Mill Bridge while that officer contaminated his clothing with debris from the scene and he was present the following day a the debrief held by you and when he was told to take a part played by another, he was told to pretend to be P48 is the Special Branch officer, so you told him to effectively take up that role in the story that’s being collected?
A. I have never instructed any constable or officer to go to Paper Mill Bridge or anywhere else for that matter and roll in the ground to collect debris.
CORONER: I don’t think he says that.
WITNESS: I categorically deny that.
CORONER: I don’t think he says that you gave that instructions but he said that he went there when the officer
MS QUINLIVAN: Sorry, P42 says, if you go 13.141. Sorry.
CORONER: I am thinking of Constable E.
MS QUINLIVAN: P41 doesn’t say that, no, he just provides, I suppose, corroboration for P42’s account.
CORONER: As to what he did, yes.
MS QUINLIVAN: As to what he did. He doesn’t, he doesn’t
CORONER: No, no, I thought, sorry, I thought you were making another point.
WITNESS: If I can interject
CORONER: That’s the question he was answering.
MS QUINLIVAN: Sorry.
Q. What I’m suggesting to you, just for the avoidance of doubt, Officer V, what I’m suggesting to you is P42, that’s the officer who was injured in the car crash?
Q. So you probably know who that officer is. And if at any stage you want the identity of an officer
A. No, I know who that is.
Q. we will provide it. He gave an account that you instructed him to go to Paper Mill Bridge and to basically contaminate his clothes at Paper Mill Bridge?
A. My Lord, I categorically deny that. By the time I got to Armagh that night this story had already been formulated. It could very well be that the constable whom you mentioned there had been instructed or asked to go and do this prior to me arriving, but certainly I heard about it after. I heard that it was suggested. It wasn’t suggested by me. And whether or not constable whom you mentioned there is mistaken in who asked him to do it or whether he was using me as his line manager as the person I don’t know, but certainly I did not ever ask him to go and do that.
Q. Now, Officer V, you knew that the false accounts given by you and the false accounts given by officers under your supervision were being collected by CID and would be used to form the basis of a file going to the DPP?
A. That is correct.
Q. And that they would inform whatever decision might ultimately be made about prosecution
Q. or not prosecuting. And you said on the last occasion, on more than one occasion you said that you had corrected all of the statements you sent to the DPP in a secret file that was sent to the DPP?
A. That is my understanding, yes.
Q. And there have been some exchanges about the timing of when that happened. You indicated it was some time after Mullacreevie Park?
A. That is correct.
Q. Now you made a false statement on 23rd February 1983. Does that help you in terms of what kind of time scale we are talking about?
A. No, it doesn’t because I’m going to be honest with you, I can’t remember just exactly when that happened, but what I do know is this, that after Mullacreevie, some time after Mullacreevie, whether it was a day, two days, three, days, four days, a week or whatever, we were very unhappy, myself and my men, and we expressed our unhappiness as to what was happening. We sought independent legal advice, and I think that was just before Christmas, but the files would not have been away to the DPP in relation to the investigations. As a result of that independent legal advice, we said we could not and would not stand over these statements that contained inaccuracies and therefore it was suggested, now just exactly when, it might have been after February or whenever it was, I cannot give you an exact date that I was told okay, a file is going to the DPP under secret cover for his eyes only and it would be going at the same time as the investigation files for the CID would be going and, therefore, the DPP would have the two sets of files with the two sets of, if you like, the two sets of information and the DPP would therefore decide what the way forward was.
Q. If you received the advice before Christmas, Officer V, why did you lie after Christmas on 23rd February 1983? This is the statement I have taken you to.
A. Well I said I think it was before Christmas, I am not honestly sure of just when it was because, to be truthful with you, I just don’t remember.
Q. Well, Officer V, firstly I’m going to suggest that the manner in which the file, and a secret file did go to the DPP, but the manner in which it went there is not as you suggest. I have already taken you to this document. You have seen that the investigating officer’s report in relation to Mullacreevie Park specifically was sent to the DPP on 25th April 1983?
Q. And it appears from a document in the Stalker report, which again I can take you to if you wish
(To the Court) My Lord, it is page 59, paragraphs 10.5 to 10.8.
(To the witness) that a series, in May of 1983 there were a series of meetings between the DPP, the Attorney General and RUC officers about the three cases?
A. Well I wasn’t privy to any of those.
Q. No, I don’t expect you would. On 20th May 1983 you made two further statements, one about Mullacreevie Park and one about Tullygally Road. They are in that bundle of statements. On 25th May 1983 the Chief Constable provided the DPP with additional statements of evidence and it was referred to, and I am going to suggest to you this is the secret file you are talking about.
(To the Court) My Lord, the reference for the fact that the Chief Constable provided this file on 25th May 1983 is part C, volume 5 8, page 57 at 10.8.
CORONER: Part C, volume?
MS QUINLIVAN: 5.
MS QUINLIVAN: It is sub part 8. It’s page 57, paragraph 10.8. It’s mainly the Mullacreevie Stalker report, but you will also see reference to it which actually I will maybe take you to in the Sampson report, my Lord.
Q. The report goes on 25th May 1983, Officer V. So what I’m suggesting to you is that the statements you made on 20th May 1983 were part of that file that eventually goes to the Chief Constable on 25th May 1983?
A. I will take your word for that.
Q. I don’t want you to take my word for that.
A. It’s just that I am honestly at a loss as to the dates because all I know was at some time after Mullacreevie I was asked to produce a statement that incorporated everything for the DPP, which I did. Now I submitted that through my senior officers. What they did with it, and I certainly didn’t see the DPP file or the secret file if you like, and I certainly wasn’t privy to any meetings or communication between the Chief Constable, the DPP and senior officers.
Q. But you have been clear that in your statements you corrected all the matters that you had misinformed CID about so that the DPP would have a full picture; isn’t that right?
A. That’s my understanding of it, yes.
Q. That’s what you’ve said repeatedly?
Q. That you were correcting the mistakes that had been made?
A. That was going to the DPP.
MS QUINLIVAN: I can take the witness to this if you wish, my Lord.
But I will tell you about the documents and if you want to see anything, Officer V, I am not trying to preclude you.
The Sampson report is at part C volume 4 and I am dealing with volume 1 of his report, which I understand to be subpart 2, paragraphs 2.1 through to 2.6.
CORONER: Sorry, what is that?
MS QUINLIVAN: The Sampson report, as I understand it, is in part C, volume 4 and within volume 4 there are three parts and it’s the second part which is entitled volume 1 of the Sampson report.
MS QUINLIVAN: And it is paragraphs 2.1 to 2.6.
Q. I will just explain what this is, Officer V, for your information. But Mr Sampson did a review of various documents that had been compiled and provided to the DPP for his eyes only by Special Branch that included a lot of
(To the Court) The first of those is described at the bottom of page 7, my Lord.
MS QUINLIVAN: It is described top secret and secret file from Chief Constable to Sir Barry Shaw dated 25th May, 1983. So that’s the date I took you to.
MR DORAN: There is a copy for the witness, if necessary.
MS QUINLIVAN: I have no difficulty.
Q. Officer V, I am accepting that some of the material you weren’t, you not a participant to this but at the same time it’s just to put matters in context. Over the page, 2.2:
“The papers comprise a letter signed by the Chief Constable in relation to Tullygally East Road and Mullacreevie Park shooting incidents. In his letter Sir John declares that the original CID investigation files did not disclose the entire truth”.
And they go on to detail additional materials about Tullygally, at 2.3, Mullacreevie at 2.4, and at 2.5 additional witness statements are attached which show that the movements of the deceased had, shortly before their deaths, been monitored by Special Branch who also indicate that the shootings had occurred during fairly sophisticated anti terrorist operations. Furthermore, they show that intensive briefings and debriefings had taken place prior to and after the incident”.
Do you see that? I’m taking you to all this because I’m suggesting to you that the statements you make on 20th May 1983 are part of this file that goes to the DPP and I just don’t want, I want to give you all the information that makes me suggest this?
Q. If I could also take you, you have a bundle of statements in front of you; isn’t that correct?
A. That is correct, my Lord.
Q. And one of those statements is dated 1st October 1984. It’s an interview.
CORONER: Where is this at?
MS QUINLIVAN: It is a C6. C6, part 1, pages 28 to 34, I think.
MS QUINLIVAN: 28 to 34.
MS QUINLIVAN: C6, part 1. This is the bundle of statements from Officer V, the underlying material.
MR DORAN: My Lord, I think the witness was furnished with a set of those statements just before the adjournment.
MS QUINLIVAN: And the pages, I’m not going to take you through the entirety of the interview, but if at any stage you want to look more closely at it, Officer V, I will take you to it. Page 28, it is just again to show you this. This is your interview with Detective Chief Superintendent Thorburn and half way down the page you will see: “Chief Superintendent, you have made three statements in relation to the Tullygally East Road incident”.
And you said: “Two perhaps”.
And he said: “I will take you through each one”. And then you are shown your first statement which was dated January 1983. The second statement was dated 20th May 1980, it says 1980.
CORONER: What page is this?
MS QUINLIVAN: Sorry, my Lord, over the page, 29. The second question.
CORONER: “I keep a notebook not a journal”.
MS QUINLIVAN: No, my Lord, this is the wrong interview.
CORONER: It’s the wrong one.
MS QUINLIVAN: It is 1st October 1984.
CORONER: Sorry. 1st October. Right.
MS QUINLIVAN: Sorry, my Lord.
Q. Do you have the right statement, Officer V?
A. No, I was actually looking there. It must be in this.
Q. It should be in the bundle of documents you received before lunch?
A. Yes, I have got them now. So what page are we talking about?
Q. Page 28?
CORONER: What date is it.
MS QUINLIVAN: 1st October 1984.
CORONER: Right. For some reason I don’t.
MS QUINLIVAN: And it’s just you detail your statements.
MR MONTAGUE: Officer V, my Lord, second tab.
MS QUINLIVAN: The second tab. Sorry.
MS QUINLIVAN: That’s okay.
CORONER: Right. Sorry. That’s it, yes.
MS QUINLIVAN: Sorry.
Q. I am just doing this, Officer V, to show you that
MS QUINLIVAN: Page 28, my Lord, I hope.
MS QUINLIVAN: Half way down the page it says:
“You’ve made three statements in relation to Tullygally East Road incident”.
Do you see that?
Q. And he says he’s going to take you through each one?
Q. He shows you a statement dated 13th January 1983?
Q. Over the page, second question:
“The second statement I refer you to is dated 20th May 1982 but I think that must have been a mistake and it would have been 1983”?
Q. Do you see that? And there is a reference to a third statement recorded by Chief Superintendent McNeill on 20th July 1983; do you see that?
Q. And then I’m just going to ask you to go in to page 33. This is what you, the question that is asked before the two paragraphs at the end:
“I want to put to you your three statements and I would like if you can give me an explanation as to how these three statements came into being”.
do you see that question?
Q. And then in the second paragraph you talk about the statement you made on 20th May?
A. Mm hmm.
Q. You said: “I made a further statement on 20th May 1983 at the direct request of, it’s actually P13”?
Q. “This was to be under secret cover and was to be submitted separately to the DPP. I was told I could disclose all the facts covering the events of 11th November 1982 and I understood it was for the DPP’s eyes only and it wouldn’t be submitted in evidence in court”?
Q. So again that would tend to support the suggestion that May is when this secret file is sent to the DPP?
A. Yes, I would agree.
Q. And just even after that it appeared there were some difficulties because on 8th July 1983 the DPP issued an interim direction inviting each officer to individually have an opportunity to alter or add to your previous state and it was indicated that nobody would be prosecuted for breach of the Official Secrets Act.
(To the Court) My Lord the reference to that can be
A. I have actually never seen that but I understand, yes, we were told now you can.
Q. Tell everything?
Q. The Official Secrets Act doesn’t apply. Don’t worry about it effectively.
(To the Court) My Lord, the reference to that is in part C, volume 5, subpart 8, page 65, paragraphs 1.2 and also 11.8.
(To the witness) And that triggered a third tranche of statements?
A. I can imagine so.
Q. Well you have got the file in front of you?
Q. And you made a statement about Tullygally Road on 20th July 1983?
MR MONTAGUE: If he could be referred to page 34, please.
MS QUINLIVAN: Sorry.
CORONER: Sorry, it’s part C. It is C, part.
MS QUINLIVAN: Sorry, C part 6 sub paragraph 1. It is where we were looking. Sorry.
Q. Do you know the document I have just taken you to, your statement, your interview, sorry, of 1st October 1984?
A. It is page 31.
Q. I had taken you to page 31. Can I ask you now to look at page 34?
Q. 34, the very last page of that statement, of that interview?
Q. You have referred to the statement of May 1983 and the fact that it was for the DPP’s eyes only?
A. Mm hmm.
Q. And then you say: “I made a further statement to Chief Superintendant McNeill on 20th July 1983 to clear up certain points raised by Mr McNeill who had reopened the investigation”?
A. That’s right.
Q. But what I’m suggesting to you, Officer V, is that on 8th July 1983 all police officers were given this general dispensation, and you accept that that happened, and were told that they could make statements without concern about the Official Secrets Act?
Q. And you made statements, you made a statement about Tullygally Road on 20th July 1983.
(To the Court) These statements should all be, my Lord, in part C, volume 6, sub paragraph 1?
I don’t need to take you to them for the moment.
(To the witness) Another one about Mullacreevie Park on 20th July 1983 and two statements about Ballynery Road on 21st July 1983?
A. Well, yes.
Q. And can I say to you, and we have asked this question of your representatives and the Coroner for, Coroner’s counsel for conclusive, that appears to represent all of the statements you made in this process until the Stalker team intervened. So it appears that you have made three statements about Tullygally Road, three statements about Mullacreevie Park. So one in relation to Tullygally, one in January, then the statement in May and then the statement in July. And in relation to Mullacreevie Park we have the statement in February, we have a statement in May and we have a statement in July?
A. That would appear to be, yes.
Q. And it’s your evidence and was your evidence that the secret file to the Chief Constable was going to correct all the lies?
A. That was my understanding and indeed that was my direction.
A. By senior officers.
Q. And that would include the lies that you have told?
A. That would have included all the omissions and additions and inaccuracies that were included in all the statements in relation to the three incidents.
Q. Let’s just go to them, shall we, Officer V. You had an opportunity to read them. Can I ask you to look, you have two statements dated 20th May 1983. The first, well the first in my file relates, I should say these statements came slightly differently, so there may be difficulties, but there should be two statements dated 20th May 1983.
CORONER: Where are they?
MS QUINLIVAN: They should be in C6 part 1, but one of them I think is C6 part 3 because they were disclosed at different times.
CORONER: So what dates are they?
MS QUINLIVAN: 20th May 1983 there should be two. One of them is very heavily redacted. It looks like this, my Lord, if that helps. Page 19.
CORONER: My 19. Let me just check it. Oh, no, it is different.
MS QUINLIVAN: No, the other is possibly C6 part 3 because it was disclosed at a later stage so it was filed differently. I wonder if someone …
MR DORAN: Yes, my Lord. It should be at volume C6, tab 3 and it is accompanied by a certificate of 23rd October 2012.
MS QUINLIVAN: I think probably somebody, because the filing, somebody should make sure that the witness gets the right copy.
Q. Do you see a statement that looks a bit like this, Officer V?
A. I don’t even know what folder we are in.
Q. Perhaps if someone got the folder from you we can find the statement for you.
CORONER: Right. Well I am going to rise and allow the relevant, so that I have the relevant statements in front of me because it is not satisfactory.
MR DORAN: If the witness could be asked to return to the witness box, please.
CORONER: Yes. I think they are getting him.
MR DORAN: My Lord, if I could just explain. The statements to which my learned friend is going to refer are from May and July 1983.
MR DORAN: There are two May statements marked with tabs at the top of the bundle M1 and M2.
MR DORAN: And four July statements, J1 to J4.
CORONER: Yes, I’ve got them.
MR DORAN: And those have been similarly marked in the witness’ bundle.
CORONER: Thank you.
EXAMINED BY MS QUINLIVAN (Cont’d)
Q. Officer V, we have been over this territory, but you have indicated not just today, but on the last occasion you were very clear that you had corrected all the inaccuracies that you were involved in. Well, in fact, you had ensured that all the accuracies were corrected and the DPP was fully informed at the time they would be considering the file about the truth of what had happened in Tullygally and in Mullacreevie and in Ballynery.
Q. Now can I take you to your statement dated 20th May 1983. Can I firstly ask you to look at, there should be one tabbed M2?
A. M2, yes.
Q. M2, you see that. And that’s a statement made by you on 20th May 1983 and I think from the documentation we have seen it’s quite clear that this would have gone with the Chief Constable’s secret file to the DPP. What it does record, which wasn’t in your initial statement, is information about Mr Toman and Mr Burns. Do you see that they are referred to in the middle of the page?
A. Yes. It’s a very poor copy but yes, I can see that.
Q. And over the page you also talk about how you briefed your men on the occasion?
A. That’s right, yes.
Q. And you provide that detail?
Q. And we have been through the lies that were told in relation to Tullygally. Can I ask you now to look at M1? You see that? Also dated 20th May 1983?
Q. Yeah, M1. It should be immediately before the statement I have just taken you to. Literally you see the statement we have just gone through?
Q. If you go back two pages, Officer V.
A. Right, yeah.
Q. Do you see the statement? It is dated 20th May 1983?
Q. And it says: “I am an Inspector in the RUC attached to HQ Mobile Support Unit”?
Q. You talk about the events of 11th December 1982.
Q. The fact that your officers had been involved on duty in Armagh, you talk about Dominic McGlinchey?
Q. You talk about the, you talk, about the middle of the page you refer to the car being conveyed by Seamus Grew?
Q. Towards the bottom of the page:
“At Gough Barracks I re briefed the party. I reminded them of the nature of the duties they were to perform”?
Q. You refer to the Allegra, beige Allegra car owned by Seamus Grew at the bottom of the page?
Q. Over the page you detail what you had said about Mr Grew and Mr McGlinchey?
Q. You talk about your plan of action was to patrol the roads in and around the Armagh area, including those leading from the border and to carry out VCPs?
Q. And then in your brief you give an indication of the many murders and serious incidents the terrorists have been involved in?
Q. And you emphasise the need for personal vigilance and self protection. Can you tell us where in that statement we will find the reference to the fact that P42 was not injured in a made up vehicle check point but, in fact, had been injured in an incident with the military?
A. Because there’s no mention of a vehicle check point with Grew going through it in that statement.
Q. But this is the statement you made correcting the false impression you had given in your earlier statement, and I have taken you on more than one occasion to your earlier statement dated 23rd February 1983 in which you said:
“I also learned that one of my men had been injured at the VCP on the Keady Road which Grew’s car had earlier breached”?
A. Well are you suggesting to me that this is the statement I made for the DPP?
Q. Yes, I am.
A. No, I don’t think it is.
Q. I’m going to take you to your other statements in due course but I’m going to suggest to you that yes, it is.
A. Well I’m not going to argue with you because I’m not sure. To be honest with you, I have made that many statements. I have made statements that were, that contained inaccuracies and omissions, I made statements that contained the truth and it contained all the intelligence that, to be honest with you, they are beginning to merge.
Q. Well I am going to suggest to you
MR MONTAGUE: I wonder if my learned friend could, in aid of the witness or in ease of the witness explain why she considers that this is the statement that was made to the DPP.
MS QUINLIVAN: I have done that. I went through, my Lord, I went through with your Lordship and with the witness the fact that he had made statements in relation to Tullygally Road where he talked about having sent statements on 20th May. I have gone through the Stalker report. I have gone through the Sampson report. I have given your Lordship all the references.
WITNESS: Yes, but you also asked me did I make statements and I said yes, I did. But you’re asking me is this the specific statement and my answer is I don’t know.
CORONER: Well let’s, can we try it another way? Is there any statement in which he, in which Inspector V that we have before us corrects
MS QUINLIVAN: No.
CORONER: the impression that there was a vehicle check point which Grew went through and injured a policeman? Is there any statement that corrects it?
WITNESS: I don’t think so, my Lord.
MS QUINLIVAN: There isn’t any statement that corrects it.
CORONER: Why don’t you just put that to him there was no statement. In none of his statements has he corrected the initial misleading impression that
WITNESS: Except for the statement that went to the DPP is my understanding.
MS QUINLIVAN: Firstly I am going to suggest to you that as a result of the documents that we have taken the Court through already and I’ve taken you through already that the statements that went to the DPP were statements made by you on 20th May 1983.
A. I could not categorically state what date it was, to be honest with you.
Q. And we have also agreed that you made further statements in July 1983 after you got the dispensation about the Official Secrets Act?
A. I think you’re right, yes.
Q. And I’m going to suggest to you that in not a single statement made by you to CID did you correct the misinformation that had been provided to CID about the vehicle check point allegedly involving Mr Grew’s car?
A. Probably not to the CID but then it had moved on from that. I have made statements to the CID. I have made statements to the Stalker/Sampson Inquiry, I had made statements that was going to the DPP that would incorporate all the aspects of the operations. So as far as I was concerned, the DPP would have received both sets of information from the CID, from the Special Branch or whoever and would have made a decision accordingly.
Q. And Officer V
A. But having said that, my Lord, it was also made very clear that no way or no where would I or any of my officers have stood under or stood over these statements in a court of law as being the truth.
Q. Sorry, Officer V, we have been told that we have all of the statements that you made in connection with these incidents. And before the Stalker Sampson investigation there is no statement in which you correct the lies you told about the vehicle check point. None.
A. I don’t I’m not disagreeing with you.
Q. What I’m suggesting to you, Officer V, just for the avoidance of doubt, that you do lie to coroners courts?
Q. You lied in 2012 when you gave evidence that you had corrected your statements in a file sent to the DPP and you have lied today when you have said that?
Q. Because there is no such statement?
A. Sir, I have not lied to the coroners court or to this Court and in 32 and a half years of RUC service I have never lied in any court and I resent the inference. I have made statements which I have admitted contain inaccuracies and omissions which I have owned up to, and I have also explained the reasons why they were there, and that was to try and protect life and source intelligence. I have made all this very, very clear. But I am not, certainly not sitting here lying or indeed did I lie to the coroners court. I have made the point that myself and my men sought independent legal advice and said we would not stand over statements that we made.
Q. Officer V, the reality is that despite three sets of statements, all of which were going to the DPP, on no occasion did you correct the lie about the vehicle check point and on no occasion did you correct the lie about Mr Brannigan?
A. I did in relation to being asked by the senior officers to produce a full and frank submission to the DPP which I did, which to me was sufficient and appropriate because that’s what I was asked to do.
Q. Well, Officer V, and just for the avoidance of doubt, we are quite clear and we will be submitting to this Court in due course that it is quite clear that the file that went to the DPP was a file containing the two statements you have dated 20th May 1983 and they do not contain the corrections that you assert were contained?
A. Well, I don’t know what the files in the DPP file contain simply because I made a statement, a comprehensive statement which I submitted to senior officers that was to go to the DPP under secret cover and, to be honest, that was the last I ever saw of the file or the statements. So I assumed that they were handled in the way they were intended to be handled, i.e. the DPP would receive them at the same time he received other reports.
CORONER: Could we look at it another way? In respect of these statements marked M1, M2, J1, J2, J3, J4, are those, to your recollection, statements that you sent the statement or statements that you sent to the DPP correcting the misleading information?
WITNESS: No, my Lord.
CORONER: Those aren’t the statements?
WITNESS: No. I sent one comprehensive statement embodying the three incidents. Let me correct that, my Lord. I submitted to my senior officers a comprehensive statement.
CORONER: To your senior officers?
WITNESS: To my senior officers.
CORONER: Not to the DPP?
WITNESS: No, no, no, not to the DPP, sir, because it wouldn’t be for me to submit it to the DPP. I was asked to produce it for the senior officers and I assumed that it was going to form part of the secret file that they were talking about submitting to the DPP, and when I did that that is the last that I saw of it.
MS QUINLIVAN: Officer V, just to deal with the July statements. In July 1983 you have been told the Official Secrets Act didn’t apply?
A. Again the dates.
Q. You accept that you were told at some stage
A. At some stage we were told
Q. that there was a dispensation
A. that it didn’t apply.
Q. and you should correct your statements and alter, all officers were given the opportunity to alter or amend those statements, and you make four statements in response to that. Now there’s no reason in July 1983 not to tell the, not to tell CID or the DPP about the fact that there had been this lie about the vehicle check point but it no longer applied; isn’t that right?
A. I am not sure of when, what date we were told that the Official Secrets Act no longer applied. I have to be honest and say I do not know.
Q. Well, in fact, Officer V, at the request of your counsel did you not, did I not direct you to your interview with Mr Stalker when, in October 1984, you indicated that your statements made in July were as a result of getting the dispensation from the DPP?
A. I think you are right. I can’t argue with that.
Q. And can I ask you to look at a document that is called J4?
Q. You say: “I have made a further statement which is contained in the secret file as complied by P13. The statement is fact. It was also the basis of my briefing to the party of police on duty on 12th December 1982”?
A. Mm hmm.
Q. “My official statement, while based on fact, I understood the Official Secrets Act precluded me from disclosing it”.
A. Mm hmm.
Q. So you’re making it quite clear that you’re not bound by the Official Secrets Act; do you see that?
Q. You can take all the opportunity you to wish to go through it but can I suggest to you
CORONER: Sorry, which statement is this, J?
MS QUINLIVAN: Sorry, J4, my Lord.
CORONER: Right. And which page is that?
MS QUINLIVAN: Sorry, my Lord, it’s tabbed J4, as I understand it.
MR DORAN: It should be tabbed J4 at the top in your Lordship’s bundle.
CORONER: Yes, I have, but mine is numbered 27A, 27B and 27C. Which page are we reading from?
MS QUINLIVAN: Sorry.
CORONER: Mine begins: “I have already made a statement on 17th January 1983 about the incident at Ballynery Road”.
MS QUINLIVAN: No, no, that’s not.
CORONER: That’s not J4.
MS QUINLIVAN: That’s not my J4, my Lord. It is dated 20th July 1983.
MS QUINLIVAN: And it starts off: “I have made a further statement which is contained in a secret file as compiled by P13”.
CORONER: That is J1 on mine.
MS QUINLIVAN: I am sorry, my Lord.
Q. Do you have the correct statement, Officer V?
A. Yes, I think so, my Lord.
Q. And it refers to the date 12th September 1982, do you see that? Four lines down.
A. Yes, 12th December 1982.
Q. So we know that we’re talking about Mullacreevie Park?
Q. And it’s clear from what I’ve read to you that there’s no Official Secrets Act precluding you from saying anything at this stage, you are free to talk to the CID?
CORONER: Sorry, it says: “I received from Chief Inspector in TCG on the morning of the incident of 11th November 1982”.
MS QUINLIVAN: No, my Lord.
CORONER: That’s not the right one.
MS QUINLIVAN: No, that’s not the right one. There are two statements dated 21st July and two dated 20th July, and I have been told that J4 was one of the statements dated 20th July. It should refer to an incident on 12th December 1982, four lines down.
CORONER: J4 is dated 21st July and I have only got one statement dated, I have got one … I’ve got another one of 20th July. It says:
“I made a further statement which contained the secret files compiled by P13”.
MS QUINLIVAN: Yes.
CORONER: “This statement is fact intelligence I received from TCG”?
MS QUINLIVAN: Yes.
CORONER: “It was also the basis of my briefing to the party of police on duty that day, 12th December 1982”.
MS QUINLIVAN: That is the same one as I am working from, my Lord.
CORONER: So that’s yes. So that’s not. We will put that J3 then.
MS QUINLIVAN: Yes, my Lord.
Q. You have that statement, Officer V?
A. Well, mine is J4 so I’m assuming.
CORONER: Sorry, J5. I beg your pardon. It should be J5.
MS QUINLIVAN: Right.
Q. Does it say four lines down at the end of the page “12th December 1982”?
Q. And does it say two further lines down: “I understood the Official Secrets Act precluded me from disclosing it”?
Q. So it’s clear that you are no longer subject to the Official Secrets Act, do you accept that?
A. Yes, I would accept that, yes.
Q. And can you take it from me, but read if you want, there’s no reference in that statement to advising anybody that a false story was created about a vehicle check point?
A. That is correct, my Lord.
Q. Now, why would you not convey that to the CID officers, given the importance of that issue and given that this was an opportunity to put the record straight?
A. Because I don’t think it was relevant to this statement. I mean this statement in actual fact is very brief and I’m basically saying look, we had made omissions in our last statement and this is it. I wasn’t asked any questions in relation to it. If you see I didn’t make any reference to any vehicle check point or alleged vehicle check point. I merely stated the information that I received at Gough, which was one of my officers was injured. I don’t see anything sinister about not including the vehicle point in this.
Q. In February 1983 you had included the vehicle check point?
A. Yes, specifically, yes.
Q. And this is a statement made where there is no compunction on you to do anything other than tell the truth?
Q. Did you not see it as an obligation to say to the people who would be looking at the file, ‘you will have seen in my earlier statement I referred to this vehicle check point. Actually that never occurred’?
A. No, because this was going to form part of a bigger file that the CID and onward transmission to DPP as far as I was aware.
Q. You had lied to CID and the DPP in the statement you made in February 1983 and you didn’t take the opportunity to correct it in July 1983; isn’t that right?
A. I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t agree with that.
Q. Well did you tell a lie in February ’83? Was it a lie to say there was a vehicle check point that Mr Grew’s car drove through?
A. That was what was told to me when I arrived at Armagh and yes, I agreed with it and I agreed with the story because of the protection of source intelligence, so I’m not going to argue about it.
Q. Was it a lie?
A. Well it certainly was an omission.
Q. No, it’s not an omission, Officer V. It’s an addition. It didn’t exist?
A. Well an addition, it didn’t exist.
Q. So was it a lie?
A. If you want to call it a lie then call it a lie.
Q. No, I would like to know are you prepared to call it a lie? Are you prepared to admit that you lied in your statement to the CID officer on February 1983?
A. Any omission or addition that were made were certainly not intentional lies in relation to trying to either justify anything or cover anything up other than the protection of source intelligence. If you want to say do you call it a lie, then fine, I am quite happy to say I didn’t tell truth in those statements.
Q. And then you have an opportunity to correct the untruths?
A. And which I did.
Q. No, you didn’t.
A. Oh, yes, I did.
Q. In your statement in July
A. I did it through secret, I did it through a secret file to the DPP through my senior officers as requested to do. These statements that you are showing me here, yes, they were statements made to the CID and in them I have told them basically that we were restricted. These were actually intended to let them know that we couldn’t say a lot because they were restricted.
Q. But one of the things you had the opportunity to do, now that you were no longer bound by the Official Secrets Act, was to tell the truth and correct the lie you told earlier or to correct the addition you’d made earlier and put everybody right?
A. The CID never questioned me in that regard. They were merely, look they were merely asking me about the statements that I made and I said that we were bound under the Official Secrets Act and this retracts that.
Q. You see, the vehicle check point lie persisted after May 1983, after July 1983, after every single member of the HMSU is given their dispensation by the DPP to tell the truth?
A. And then they told.
Q. No, they didn’t, Officer V, because the truth was told
(To the Court) My Lord, I think you have been given an indication.
(To the witness) The truth was actually told by Mr Robinson in the witness box in his criminal trial in March of 1984, over a year and, over a year after the incident?
CORONER: In a criminal trial in when?
MS QUINLIVAN: He gave evidence on 28th March 1984 and, my Lord, we will make the transcript available in due course. But the questions he is asked in examination in chief by his senior counsel:
“Then again were you seen by the police?
I was seen by a detective. It was some time later. What was that about?
Was that a year later?”
That’s the answer the witness gives.
Question: Without wishing to lead you, Chief Inspector McNeill, were you seen again by Chief Inspector McNeill in connection with the Officials Act?
I was indeed.
Question: At that stage did you tell the full truth about circumstances leading up to the shooting?
Answer: No, my Lord, I did not.
Question: Well you had advice at that stage and you had been told about the Official Secrets Act and so on, in what respects did you not tell the full truth?
Answer: In relation to the road stop the full truth still wasn’t disclosed.
Question: Why was that?
Answer: I was still being advised by senior police officers who I believed knew the truth and later transpired didn’t.
Question: Advising you to do what?
Answer: To continue with the road stop as they believed it had actually taken place”.
So right up until the trial for Mr Robinson for the murder of Mr Grew, still HMSU had not corrected the misapprehension that was sent to the DPP about this vehicle check point.
A. Well, my Lord, I had submitted a statement via my senior officers. If they had not informed the DPP about it that’s new to me. As far as I’m concerned, I was asked to submit a statement surrounding all the facts of the three incidents which is what I did. I didn’t submit it direct to the DPP, I submitted it through a file which was to go to the DPP via senior police officers and that’s all I know about it.
Q. It’s always someone else’s fault, isn’t it, Officer V?
A. Well on this occasion yes, it is.
Q. You told a lie to the DPP?
A. I will accept my responsibility in that.
Q. And you didn’t correct that lie ever, did you?
A. I did.
Q. In your statement, your statement dated July 1983 when you are given your dispensation about the Official Secrets Act you do not correct the lie about the vehicle check point?
A. There was no need to. I wasn’t asked about it. There was absolutely no need to make a statement specifically about a vehicle check point. I have explained in this statement, brief as it may be, just exactly what had happened and how it happened and that was to the CID. So again I have made a statement or at some stage subsequent to that made a statement to the DPP which I think was to correct all the omissions and additions that were contained in earlier statements.
Q. Can I ask you to look at, there’s two statements dated the 21st day of July. It should be the second of those statements, I hope, and it should be J3. It should be a three page statement, Officer V?
Q. Do you have that?
A. I think so, yes.
Q. And this statement starts:
“I have already made a statement”.
This is July 1983?
A. Mm hmm.
Q. So we have the dispensation about the Official Secrets Act.
“I have already made a statement on 17th January 1983 about the incident at Ballynery Road, Lurgan on 24th November 1982. Some time around the beginning I went to Gough Barracks where I was spoken to by Chief Inspector”.
Do you see that?
Q. You are informed about a surveillance operation that was going on. Over the page, top of the page you say:
“I was unable to be with them at all times but I did call on a regular basis and supervise them”?
Q. Then about a third way down:
“I was not with my men on 24th November 1982”.
Do you see that?
Q. “However, I was informed later that day that my men had been involved in an incident at Ballynery Road at the barn which had been of interest to us”?
Q. “I went to Gough Barracks where I received a brief account of what had happened”?
Q. “I then went to the scene where I met chief inspector” I don’t have that?
Q. “The divisional commander and Sergeant P along with other members of my party”?
A. Mm hmm.
Q. “Sergeant P gave me a brief account of what had taken place to the effect that whilst passing the barn one of the patrols saw a person acting suspiciously and carrying a rifle”?
A. Mm hmm.
Q. “They went to investigate and were confronted by armed men. That was basically the gist of the information and may not be the exact words”.
Do you have that?
A. Mm hmm.
Q. That’s a lie, isn’t it?
A. It isn’t true, that’s right.
Q. And this is a statement made not days after, not weeks after, but months after?
A. Again under the direction of the senior Special Branch officers who still wanted to try and protect the device that was in the barn.
Q. So you were lying to the CID and the DPP in July 1983 after an interim direction had been given about the Official Secrets Act?
A. I was taking a direction from senior officers who were still trying to protect source intelligence.
Q. You see you tell us that you were so anxious about this and this is what you said on the last occasion, we can go through the transcript if you wish. You were so anxious about this that within days of Mullacreevie Park you and your officers got legal advice. You understood that you shouldn’t be telling lies and you couldn’t be telling lies and you were going to rectify that, it was all going to be sorted out. And then in May, May you have an opportunity to correct your statements and you don’t say anything about this. But in July after not only have you had the benefit of your own legal advice on your account, after you have been told the Official Secrets Act doesn’t apply, you still tell lies?
A. We were still directed to see try and not disclose the source of intelligence.
Q. So all of that stuff you told us on the last occasion about how you wouldn’t tell lies to anyone and you would get advice and you would stand, you have stood up to the senior officers, that was a load of baloney with respect, Officer V. You told lies in July 1983 with no justification?
A. Absolutely not.
Q. And you lied in your evidence on the last occasion when you told us within days, possibly weeks of Mullacreevie Park
A. Yes, but I made it very clear
Q. Perhaps you’d let me finish the question. You told us lies when you said within days, possibly weeks of Mullacreevie Park you made sure that no more lies were going to be told and everything was going to be sorted out?
Q. And then in July 1983 you tell another big lie?
A. Well I will have to take exception to that. I know what you’re saying. I was making every effort to make sure that the truth was coming out. Yes, I understand and you’re pointing to this, this statement. Again
Q. How is telling a lie
A. we are still being influenced by the Special Branch who required to protect their source of intelligence.
Q. How is telling a lie helping the truth to come out?
A. I agree that it isn’t. What I do say is it was intended to protect the source. Now I know mistakes, I know mistakes were made, but they were not done with any criminal intent, they were done with the best of intentions, to protect life and property.
Q. You’re a police officer. Look over the page, turn back a page earlier.
“I declare that this statement consisting of three pages each signed by me is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and I make it knowing that if it is tendered in evidence at a preliminary inquiry or at the trial of any person I shall liable to prosecution if I have wilfully stated in it anything which I know to be false or do not believe to be true”.
A. And that is why none of them were ever tendered as evidence because I wouldn’t stand over them.
Q. You might not have been called. It could have just been tendered in a preliminary inquiry without your presence. Signing that document was a lie and was false information and rendered you liable to prosecution?
A. I have made it very clear that I wouldn’t, and so did my men that I would not stand over any of the statements that were made
Q. And your evidence
A. that contained omissions or additions.
Q. And your evidence on the last occasion was that you wouldn’t stand over this and you corrected all this and within weeks of Mullacreevie Park you were telling the truth to everybody who would listen, and yet clear as day there you are telling a lie about an incident you don’t have to lie about at all. You could have just left that out?
A. I don’t disagree with you in regard to incidents. That was one of the crazy things. It was a simple enough operation that should have been, the truth should have been told from the very outset, and that brings us back to what I’m talking about in 1982. Lessons were learned and I certainly learned lessons from those incidents. But, as I say, they happened in a very short time span. They happened very quickly and actions and activity after that with CID and everyone else was quite frantic.
Q. Sorry, November 1982 they happened. This is July 1983. This is eight months later?
Q. And eight months later you perjured yourself?
A. Well if that’s what you want to say then fine.
Q. And Officer V
MR MONTAGUE: An unfortunate use of language, my Lord.
MS QUINLIVAN: And in October 2012, Officer V, you also perjured yourself in the inquest into Pearse Jordan’s death when you suggested that you corrected everything and that you told the truth and everything was rectified within weeks of Mullacreevie Park.
A. No, I certainly don’t see where I perjured myself. I was trying to recollect to the best of my ability to help the inquest when I made the statements for the DPP, and I made it clear at the time that it could have been days, it could have been weeks. I wasn’t sure. And after 20 years, 30 years, 40 years I just cannot be sure.
Q. And you really struggle with this definition of a lie, don’t you, Officer V?
A. I don’t struggle with the definition. If you want to call me a liar then call me a liar.
Q. You struggled throughout the day. You constantly referred to these things as mistakes and omissions
Q. and stupidity. It was a concoction of lies?
A. Well it wasn’t a concoction of lies and if it was I didn’t concoct it. I certainly, for the purposes of source protection, could see the need considering that there was a serious IRA campaign raging in the country at the time where people were being murdered almost on a daily basis and yes, source information and source intelligence was hard to come by and I could see the Special Branch position of trying to protect their sources of intelligence.
Q. Earlier today you accepted that you had a pretty good idea pretty soon after the incident in Ballynery Road that it wasn’t a source, it was a bug; isn’t that right?
A. That is correct.
Q. So, this notion of protecting life certainly didn’t justify the lie that you told in July 1983 because you knew, you pretty much knew then that you were talking about a bug; is that right?
A. No, we were talking about information gathering systems.
Q. You were talking about a bug?
A. Yes. Well you call it a bug but it was a means of gathering intelligence which the Special Branch were jealously guarding and I can understand that, along with other means of gathering information.
Q. You see I suggest to you that P42 was dead right when he said you told him not to worry, he would only have to appear before a coroners court because you don’t have a problem lying to coroners courts?
A. I have never to my recollection informed P, whatever his cypher was, in that regard and I said that. And I have already said also that I would not lie in court. I have made that perfectly clear. I am not lying today. The tendered statements and I accept what you say in relation to it, but I made it very clear that neither I nor my men would stand over those statements in a court of law if we were asked to. We couldn’t do it.
Q. And Officer V, I suggest you lied to the inquest today. You have lied about the reasons for the debrief. I suggest you’ve lied about the fact that the gentleman we’ve discussed this morning wasn’t mentioned at the debrief, and that the purpose of the debrief
A. He wasn’t mentioned at the debrief.
Q. And the purpose of the debrief was to make sure that Sergeant A would have an account which would stand up for scrutiny and protect him from prosecution?
A. My Lord, I totally refute that allegation in relation to the debrief or anything else. I have already explained my reasons for going in and I have given in every account for my actions at the debrief.