All members of the family confirm no abduction no kidnapping no threat.
Police actions had a chilling effect on both witness Ms father and any other persons who might to come forward against the prosecution case.
Witnesses frightened off or potentially putting other witnesses off
The original appeal postponed in April by six months
No evidence to justify the appeal delay resulting in Mr McConville(and John Paul Wootton) being detained for another several months.
The police manipulated the appeal in more ways than one.
Day 4, Appeal suddenly adjourned to Monday.
Day 4 of the appeal began with the closing of the Prosecution argument, astonishingly they conceded there is no evidence directly linking either John Paul or Brendan to the fatal shooting of Stephen Carroll but rather “when you take a global view of the evidence and then draw inference on that evidence” the men must be found guilty!.
In reality the prosecution has forwarded a set of circumstances with guess work and unsubstantiated theory not able to prove beyond reasonable doubt any of this theory and the original trial judge misdirecting himself drew inference and bad character and promoted this as fact to fill in the holes and secure the original conviction.
The three appeal judges constantly put it to the prosecution that they could not beyond reasonable doubt prove any of their claims, the prosecutions answer was vague saying that taken altogether these unproven strands somehow proved guilt.
Following the closure of the prosecution’s argument the new evidence regarding the affidavit of Witness M’s close relative who had been arrested by the PSNI prior to the original appeal date in April was discussed.
Both the Defence and Prosecution put forward brief arguments regarding the admissibility of the new witnesses affidavit, following a recess for lunch the court decided the new Witness would need to attend and be questioned on the matter and a subpoena was issued for his attendance on Monday.
A subpoena was also issued for former Maghaberry Governor Steve Rodford and former prisoner ombudsman Pauline McCabe. They have been called to give evidence about the circumstances regarding the finding of Steve Rodfords personal details in Brendan McConvilles cell in a planned search.
A report by Pauline McCabe at the time had exonerated Brendan McConville and pointed the blame at the prison officers. The prosecution attempted to use the find as bad character against Brendan in the trial and the PSNI sought to have him convicted for the find. It emerged during the appeal that the PSNI had approached Governor Rodford and asked him to “add a line” to a statement he had made as the “case against McConville was delicate”. The appeal was adjourned until 9.30am on Monday when those who have been subpoenaed will give testimony.
The JFTC2 Group one again thank everyone for the continued support and ask that this appeal is watched closely to its conclusion, it is obvious to all who have viewed it that the original trial should never have proceeded due to a lack of evidence, we will continue to campaign until both men have justice.
Now on the second week of the court of appeal case of, the Queen-v- John Paul Wootton, Brendan McConville, Justice Watch Ireland would like to help contextualise the current event; with dictum from what was supposed to be one of the most progressive British Judges ever to hold senior office. In 1980, during an appeal by the Birmingham Six (who were later acquitted) Lord Denning judged that the men should be stopped from challenging legal decisions. He listed several reasons for not allowing their appeal:
“Just consider the course of events if their action were to proceed to trial … If the six men failed it would mean that much time and money and worry would have been expended by many people to no good purpose. If they won, it would mean that the police were guilty of perjury; that they were guilty of violence and threats; that the confessions were involuntary and improperly admitted in evidence; and that the convictions were erroneous. … That was such an appalling vista that every sensible person would say, “It cannot be right that these actions should go any further.”
Below are the words, of the song ‘SCAPEGOATS’ written and played by human rights campaigner Christy Moore;
“There was five men playing poker, on the Heysham train fate was dealing them a cruel hand; Hugh Callaghan was walking home, through the evening rain not knowing what lay in store for him.
You’ll find traces of nitro on cigarettes and matches, on Formica table tops and on decks of playing’ cards; when forensic found traces on the hands of these six men the police drove up from Birmingham, they were hoping the case was closed.
Have you ever seen the mug shots that were taken after forty eight hours in custody? Battered and bruised, haunted looks upon their faces the judge accepted they confessed willingly – Please take another look at what you see.
If you tell me my family are being terrorised, keep me awake for six days and nights, confused and terrified; in the lonely dark of night, I’ll swear that black is white – if you let me just lay down and close my eyes; I’ll sign anything, if you let me close my eyes.
Scales of justice, balance up your act – am I talking to myself or to the wall? Hugh Callaghan, Paddy Hill, Gerry Hunter, Johnny Walker, Billy Power, and Dick McIlkenny scapegoats all for sixteen years they’ve been talking to the wall”.
Let’s all remember the sacrifice and their demand for justice from the Birmingham Six; continue to observe the case of John Paul Wootton, Brendan McConville and not allow another elongated miscarriage of justice.
The prosecution began to set out today how they believed the convictions to be safe and were quickly stopped and scrutinised by the three appeal court judges, the prosecution were asked about the breaking of the window that lured police to the scene, it was quickly ascertained astonishingly that there were no crime scene photos or papers, which asks was the breaking of the window even investigated?.
The judges asked the prosecution about how justice Girvan came to make decisions regarding drawing negative inference and bad character when it was put to the prosecution that he had misdirected himself by drawing inference and bad character before viewing the evidence rather than drawing inference and bad character from the evidence, the prosecution did not respond.
Prosecutors contended that John Paul’s car was near the scene of the attack and driven off within minutes of the killing. However, his legal team insist absolutely no evidence exists to link him to any role in the shooting and the evidence regarding the car comes from the tracking device which was tampered with.
Residue found on a coat with a slight forensic link to McConville was later recovered from the vehicle.
On day three of the two men’s joint appeal judges examined whether it could have come from a separate incident.
Some of the residue could have come from another source, the Court of Appeal heard.
Questioned on whether it could be proven that the coat was at the firing point on the night of the killing, prosecution Counsel Ciaran Murphy QC said he could prove a connection with the relevant particles.
Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan then asked: “Are you proving beyond reasonable doubt that the weapon was transported in Mr Wootton’s car?”
The barrister replied: “No.”
Sir Declan continued: “Are you proving beyond reasonable doubt that Mr McConville was transported in Mr Wootton’s car.”
Again the response was: “No.”
Mr Murphy contended that scientific evidence connected the murder weapon – an AK47 rifle which was later recovered – to the jacket.
After it was pointed out to him that some of the discharge could have come from a different incident, he stressed the rarity of the particles.
During exchanges Sir Declan said: “The Crown accept there’s at least a possibility there was some other source which was responsible for some of the gunshot residue.
“How then do you get from knowing there’s another source as well as the gun that was recovered to concluding that other source was not responsible for the entirety of the gunshot residue?”.
Going on the above exchange it is now obvious how unsustainable this conviction remains, there is no physical evidence and the circumstantial evidence produced is either discredited or highly contradictory. Justice Girvan continuously misdirecting himself creating fact from inference where no inference can be drawn.
Raymond McCartney Deputy Chairperson of the Justice Committee & Sinn Fein spokesperson on Justice attended the appeal today as an independent observer
Campaigners now believe it is a case of when not if this conviction will be quashed. Gerry Conlon said this could be the clincher, the point of no return for the Crown case.
Day two of the appeal, seen Brendans QC Barry McDonald outline how the details of the then governor of Maghaberry Steve Rodford were uncovered during a search of Brendan’s cell the PSNI tried to have Brendan convicted for the find but it later transpired that prison officers had planted the governors details in Brendans cell. The incident was investigated by the then prisoners ombudsman Pauline McCabe, her report exonerated Brendan and laid the blame squarely with the prison officers on duty.
Worryingly while the PSNI were quick to try and charge Brendan over the find they failed to pursue charges against the prison officers responsible both of whom still work in Maghaberry.
It emerged however that the PSNI approached Steve Rodford at a hotel and informed him that the case against Brendan McConville was “delicate” and would he add another “line” to a statement he had given to the PSNI regarding the matter. Brendans QC asked for former governor Rodford and former ombudsman Pauline McCabe to attend court next week to be questioned about the matter.
Following Barry McDonald Arthur Harvey QC for John Paul Wootton spoke at length.
Arthur Harvey QC strongly insisted that no role in the shooting was ever attributed to Wootton. He said that the trial judge gave non evidence an elevated position when making his decisions leading to the conviction. “There was not simply a dearth, but a total absence of evidence to connect the defendant to any specific act relevant to the murder of Constable Carroll.
The quality of work from the forensic scientists representing the prosecution in this case was lamentable they failed to conform to even the most fundamental basic requirements and was predicated upon, as one can ultimately see a conclusion which was to be propelled by an already predetermined destination, namely those particles on that jacket came from the firearm event that evening.”
The jacket that prosecution claim was worn in the attack can not be forensically linked to the event, indeed lack of mercury rules out its involvement.
The British Army tracking device which is said to have tracked John Paul’s car mysteriously disappeared and returned with a large section of its data deliberately deleted, the remaining data which was relied upon in court showed the car parked in the adjacent housing estate 15 minutes after the fatal shooting, when the car finally moved off it did so in a normal fashion, the claims that John Paul had dropped Brendan off could not be proven.
Harvey went on to describe how the resulting factor, that was to convict John Paul Wootton, was based on the ‘prisoners fallacy,’ if he smiled he was guilty, if he frowned he was guilty, if had shown no emission he was guilty, if he was emotional he was guilty. In other words the original trial judge had a pre-determined mind-set that John Paul Wootton was guilty. The question remains why? For seasoned human rights campaigner Gerry Conlon, it must have sounded all too familiar as he listened intently in the public gallery.
Again throughout Wootton’s defence presentation, Mr Harvey QC demonstrated how Justice Girvan in the original trial had continually misguided himself during trial’s judgement.
The JFTC2 Group again thank everyone who attended court today to witness this continuing spectacle.
The Appeal, Sabotage, Covert operations, PSNI & MI5
The appeals of Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton opened on Monday the 29th of April as planned. Both men appeared in the appeal court in Belfast to attend what should have been a ten day hearing into their convictions.
In the opening minutes of the proceedings the Prosecution council called for an adjournment due to new evidence coming to light from what they called a covert operation by the PSNI. Below is a media article on the day’s events.
By Barry McCaffrey at the Detail.tv
Two men’s appeal against convictions for the murder of PSNI constable Stephen Carroll has been adjourned until October after prosecutors claimed that new evidence has emerged in the case.
Constable Carroll was ambushed and shot dead as he responded to a 999 call at Lismore Manor, Craigavon in March 2009.
Brendan McConville (41) of Glenholme Avenue in Craigavon, is serving a 25 year sentence for the murder.
John Paul Wootton (22) of Collindale, Lurgan, is serving a 14-year term for his alleged involvement in the killing.
Their appeal against the conviction was due to open today.
However the hearing was unexpectedly adjourned after the prosecution told the court that new evidence had emerged which needed to be investigated.
Crown barrister, Ciaran Murphy QC, told the court that police had only become aware of new potential evidence last Thursday.
Mr Murphy said that as a result of the new information a detective superintendent had been appointed by the PSNI to oversee the investigation of the new evidence.
The court was told that one person had been arrested as a result of the evidence and interviewed for a two day period before being released without charge.
The court was told that as part of the same investigation police had used covert surveillance against the individual and a solicitor.
Mr Murphy described the PSNI investigation as “quite fluid” indicating that further police inquiries could take a number of weeks.
However defence counsel claimed that police were attempting to sabotage the appeal, rather than obtain investigating new evidence in the case.
McConville’s barrister, Barry Macdonald SC, told the court that the prosecution case in the original trial had relied heavily on the evidence of a witness, identified only as ‘M’.
‘M’ had been on his way to the home of a relative when he claimed to have seen Brendan McConville among a group of men close to the scene from where Constable Carroll was killed.
The murder trial heard that ‘M’ had originally identified another named individual to police, alleged to be the Continuity IRA leader in Craigavon, but `M’ had been advised not to make reference to this man in his police statement as it could lead to ‘M’ and his family being targeted.
Mr Macdonald said that a new witness had now emerged, who had not been interviewed by police at the time of the murder and had not given evidence at the original murder trial.
The court was told that this man made a sworn affidavit earlier this month in which he described ‘M’ as a “compulsive liar” and that he was regarded by his family as a “Walter Mitty” type character with a fertile imagination.
He denied that ‘M’ had visited his home on the night of the murder, as had been claimed at the original trial.
He said he’d been shocked to learn that the original trial judge had relied on ‘M’s evidence to convict Wootton and McConville.
Mr Macdonald alleged that police had forced their way into the home of the man who contradicted ‘M’s evidence on April 22 and warned him that he would be discredited if he gave evidence at the appeal.
“Two police officers called at the house of this witness on whose fresh evidence we relay,” he said.
“On my instructions it appears they forced their way into the house and proceeded to warn him that if he went to court he would be discredited.”
The court was told the man was then arrested the following day and questioned for 48 hours before being released without charge.
Mr Macdonald said that a formal complaint had now been made to the Police Ombudsman about the alleged intimidation of this potential witness and the use of secret surveillance against him and a defence solicitor.
“It appears to have been an attempt to sabotage the appeal,” the barrister told the court.
Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan agreed to adjourn the case until October in light of what he described as a high level of uncertainty surrounding the factual circumstances of the case.
The appeal hearing was attended by Paddy Joe Hill from the Birmingham Six and Gerry Conlon from the Guilford Four who both have questioned the evidence used to convict Wootton and McConville.
End of Article.
Statement from the JFTC2 on the Appeal , 29/4/13
Today Both Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton were returned to Maghaberry Jail on the first day of their appeal against the wrongful conviction for the killing of PSNI officer, Constable Carroll.
It was with a sense of disbelief in the opening moments of the hearing that the public prosecution service called for an immediate adjournment due to what they called fresh evidence coming forward from a covert intelligence operation.
This ‘intelligence’ is purporting to the arrest of a new defence witness. This defence witness is a close relation of the key prosecution witness (Witness M) who is central to the original prosecution case.
The new witness had made a statement which discredited the original testimony of witness M and we believe that the arrest was used as a tool of intimidation as the new Witness was released unconditionally within 48 hours of being arrested.
This development indicates the lack of factual evidential information surrounding this case, rather it is a case built upon the dubious practices of covert agents and surveillance.
This practice has now been extended to the defendants’ legal team, family members and members of the Craigavon Two campaign committee, who it has now been revealed were subjected to a covert surveillance and recording operation.
What began as a call for Justice for the Craigavon Two has now clearly been shown to be a case of Justice for us all with the full implementation of the justice system in an open and transparent fashion, free from interference from unaccountable agents of the intelligence services.
In light of today’s events, and the additional delay in hearing of this case, which means that the defendants will have already served nine year sentences we call for both Brendan and John Paul to be released immediately on bail pending the withdrawal of what has now become a farcical and unsustainable conviction.
Signed the Justice for the Craigavon Two Campaign Group.
Threat to Brendan’s Lawyers and the right to a legal defence
What has transpired since the 29th of April is revelations regarding the nature of the covert operation against the New Witness and a defence Lawyer.
It is the groups opinion based on consultation with the legal team and reports into what transpired during the defence Witness two day detention, that the PSNI have engaged in criminal activity in a clear attempt to not only destroy the appeals of Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton, but to also blacken the name of and or attempt to criminalise the leading defence Lawyer for Brendan McConville , Peter Corrigan.
We believe that the due to the black and covert nature of a section of the PSNI (See CAJ Report the policing you don’t see link provided) which is answerable ultimately only to the securocrats in MI5, A force within a force culture now exists whereby these unanswerable elements within the PSNI revert to tactics employed during the long conflict here.
Complaints have been lodged with the Police Ombudsman, the Law Society, and with the United Nations Special Rapporteur by both the legal team and accredited human rights organisations.
What has transpired in this case, we believe represents a serious usurpation of the rule of law and the workings of the criminal justice system with the result that under these conditions a proper legal defence can no longer be constructed.
At the time of publication this debacle is on-going.
Justice for the Craigavon Two
CAJ The policing you don’t see