Appeal Updates

Final Day of Appeal – ‘Justice for the Craigavon Two’
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Judgement Reserved to be Handed Down as Soon as Practicable
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j4c2Present at the final days evidence and submissions which were presented in the Craigavon Two Appeal trial at Belfast High Court were Constable Stephen Carrolls widow Kate Carroll the police officers involved in the original investigation and subsequent trial along with the the families of both the men seeking through their appeal to have their convictions quashed for the murder of Constable Carroll, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton.
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Detective Chief Inspector Harkness retook the stand this morning to continue to be cross examined by Queens Counsel for the defense Mr Barry McDonald.
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DCI Harkness proceeded to produce a document that he wished to read from which had not been previously been disclosed to the court the defense team or the prosecution.This document related to a timetable of events which he (Harkness) believed proved he had been supplied with covertly recorded intelligence on April 12 2013 at 17.03 material which had been received on April 11 2013 by intelligence officers and then passed onto him ,that led him to believe that witness Ms father his family and indeed the community were in danger and this is the basis upon he which he tasked one of his officers to open a discreet investigation into witness Ms father at 17.10 on April 12 2013.The timeline 16.30 DCI Harkness is informed of the new signed witness statement by witness Ms father for the defense team.17.03 he learns of intelligence information that indicates witness Ms father his family witness M himself and the community at large were in danger.Seven minutes later he tasks one of his team to begin discreet enquiries into witness Ms father.
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The defense QC asked is it not standard police procedure to issue a PN1 notice of threat to those over whom the police had concluded there was a credible threat.
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DCI Harkness confirmed that no such PN1 document was given to witness and that this decision was taken by intelligence officers . He confirmed that witness Ms father and family were not contacted for another 10 days .
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Before leaving the witness box DCI Harkness stated My integrity has been attacked my professional reputation has been sullied i have been accused of sabotage and nobbling the witness.
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On departure he left the court hurriedly and returned later as proceedings continued.
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Summations
The defense summed up their appeal case as follows.The note in Brendan McConvilles cell.
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Why was DCI Harkness and his team put in charge of this investigation. When Lisburn CID should have been detailed to do this?
Why did DCI Harkness fail to investigate claims made by Brendan McConville that this note containing the car registration of the then Govenor Steve Rodford had been planted in his cell these suspicions were confirmed to police by both Steve Rodford and Pauline McCabe the then Prison Ombudsman.
Harkness denied that the police had encouraged the Public Prosecution Service to prosecute Brendan McConville for possession of materials likely to be useful to terrorism when in fact there was documented evidence before the court that is exactly what the police requested?
The failures and delays in passing on the report prepared by the Prison Ombudsman that indeed on the balance of probability concluded prison staff had indeed planted the evidence?
When the PPS decided not to proceed with a case against Brendan McConville for possession of the governors car registration details it is noted that police claimed the Ombudsman report clouded the waters thus implying if it wasn’t for the Prison Ombudsman Report a prosecution could have been possible?
The lack of fairness and impartiality in the investigation by the police in this case had called into question the integrity in this prosecution and the process undermined.
The evidence by the new witness the father of witness of M upon whom the prosecution relied on so heavily in the first case discounts his sons his evidence of the route he took on the night of the murder. It is the evidence this evidence from witness M that places Brendan McConville at the sceneWitness Ms fathers testimony was not challenged on the core elements of his evidence that witness M was a dishonest fantasist who believed his own lies.
Witness M was a pitiful character to be pitied whose evidence had unravelled.Abuse of process through the arrest detention interrogation of witness Ms father represents a subversion of the appeal process(witness Ms father should only have questioned about his affidavit and any of its contents by the prosecution and not prior to the court case by the police)Witness M had not been abducted or held against his will.Officers refused to accept the possibility that witness Ms father evidence was true.No PN1 issued to persons under threatNo attempt for 10 days to alert the witness Ms father to this threat.

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

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

Witnesses frightened off or potentially putting other witnesses off

The original appeal postponed in April by six months

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

The police manipulated the appeal in more ways than one.

QC Mr Barry MacDonald then asked the court to Quash The Convictions based on an unsafe conviction and abuse of process.Qc Mr Ciaran Murphy for the Crown believed that witness Ms fathers affidavit could have been submitted at the original trial and indeed some of the evidence used in the original trial came form witness Ms statements to the defense.
The draft affidavit given to defense solicitors and the final affidavit submitted in court were differentThe nature of the evidence of witness Ms father was his unreliability of particular events.A real danger that the witness had no facts of anything that happened on that night.Pressure on witness Ms fatherUntruthful about evidence made by himThe witness was suffering intimidation harassment underlying pressure to help his community.He just signed the affidavit because he was between a rock and hard place.

The prosecution claimed the original Conviction Is Safe.
The Appeals Judges retired to consider the evidence in a reserved judgement.
Angela Nelson an Independent Councillor at Lisburn Council who has attended the case said she is quite confident that justice will prevail, however past experience of British Justice had sometimes failed its citizens.
Packy Carty one of the Justice for the Craigavon Two Campaigners said This case highlights the unaccountability of the PSNI and the murky grip of MI5, whose malignant presence can be felt throughout this case from the initial arrest to the planting of evidence in Brendan McConvilles cell to the erroneous explosive charges against Brendan which were withdrawn on the first day of the trial in late 2012.
Basically this case from start to finish is an indictment of the current judicial system
Justice for the Craigavon Two Campaign
Twitter @craigavon2
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Day 5&6 of appeal.
JPandyandyCentral to the prosecution case was the evidence of a man identified only as Witness M who claimed to have seen McConville in the area around the time of the killing. With this man’s father having made a statement branding his son a liar, defence lawyers allege he was arrested earlier this year and held by police in a bid to sabotage their case. He was ordered to attend the Court of Appeal to be questioned about his assessment of his son and about a covert surveillance operation said to have been carried out at his home.
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He told a panel of judges that his home, phone and car were all bugged. The man claimed that while in custody police tried to get him to retract everything in his affidavit.
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No-one should be jailed on the word of a key witness against one of the two men convicted of a police murder, his own father has told a court. The man claimed he was “99% sure” his son gave a wrong account of his movements on the night Constable Stephen Carroll was shot dead. He described how his son was known in the family as a Water Mitty-type character and said: “He actually believes his own lies”.
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Asked by Barry Macdonald QC, for McConville, if he was prepared to do that he replied: “No, it was the truth. I didn’t want to see anybody in prison on the word of my son because I know what he’s like.” He told the court he had not been coerced, threatened or forced into signing his statement.
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Under cross-examination by Ciaran Murphy QC, for the prosecution, he said it was not possible for his son to have made the journey he described on the night of the shooting. Pressed further on that point, he added: “I’m 99 percent sure.”
The man told how he binned one mobile phone after discovering it was bugged during a call which felt “like an explosion”. Another device discovered in the boot of his car was thrown down the toilet, he said. He reiterated that he did not feel pressure to give evidence, but agreed that one meeting had been “hot and heavy”. The court heard of an incident at his home which led to him relocating. Detailing further alleged consequences of his son’s testimony, he said: “If I was up the town they would shout there’s the tout’s da. “Once in the bar this fella put his hand up like this, as if he had a gun.” He added: “My nerves are shattered.” At one stage Mr Murphy asked if he made things up when it suited him. “No,” the man replied. But he agreed when it was put to him: “Would you accept you have some difficulty remembering specific events.”
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This section from BBC News
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Day Six:  Yesterdays witness the father of Witness M was recalled and Queens Counsel for the Prosecution Mr Ciaran Murphy continued his cross examination of the witness concentrating on wether or not the witness had been intimidated or coerced into signing his witness affidavit which totally exposed witness Ms testimony to be unreliable and possibly fabricated.
This witness was the subject of police and covert intelligence surveillance for over two years. A man who had committed no crime nor had he ever been arrested nor was evidence produced that this man was a threat to the state yet his house was bugged as was his phone and car he was also secretly recorded on camera as he went about his lawful business.
The witness spent a long time yesterday and a part of this morning being questioned and it must have been a very tiring and traumatic experience i feel very strongly this witness is a forgotten victim in this whole saga. His son (witness m) is in the witness protection programe with whom he has no contact .He has been intimidated at his home he claims by both the police and the hoods and i feel he has paid a very large price for something that has not been of his making . His court appearance while in the interests of justice is just another example of being caught up in events larger than himself. For man of his age I think he coped remarkably well
Next on the witness stand called by Queens Counsel for the defense Mr Barry MacDonald, was the Former Prison Ombudsman Mrs Pauline McCabe who was the Prison Ombudsman for 5 years ending in May 2013.
It was the Prisons Ombudsman Office and investigators who compiled a report which concluded that a note found in Mr McConvilles Cell upon which details of the Prison Governors car registration were found did not originate from Mr Mconville but were in all probability planted by a member of the Prison Staff a line of inquiry which was not actively persued by the Police during their investigation and indeed possibly deliberately ignored as the Police focused their resources solely on Mr McConville at a time when he was remanded in custody charged in connection with the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll.
Mrs McCabe contacted the police including senior officers to convey her concerns that the police were not investigating Mr McConvilles very justified claims that the note had been planted in his cell by prison staff. The police inquiries were being carried out by the very officers who were involved in the Stephen Carroll Murder case of which Mr McConville was one of the accused! The note in question was found in a cell at Maghaberry Prison where Steve Rodford was then Govenor.
Mr Rodford when giving evidence today stated under oath he felt that although he had no proof a member of the SST Standby Search Team at the prison had placed his details in Mr McConvilles cell in order to frighten or intimidate him as he was in the process of disbanding the SST at the prison as part of the Prison Reforms he was introducing at that time. He said a cynical person could infer a link between the proposed disbandment of the Standby Search Team and the finding of his car registration details in Mr McConvilles cell. He recalled that when a member of the SST had informed him of the find he had added how he hoped neither Mr Rodford nor his wife would feel endangered by this discovery. Mr Rodford felt these comments to be insincere and indeed were delivered in a very smug manner.
Mr Rodford who claimed to have extensive experience within the prison service claimed he believed many members of the prison staff resented the proposed disbandment of the Standby Search Team and indeed in his opinion many of the staff thought they were running the prison an attitude he had encountered before in other facilities. Mr Rodford stayed in a hotel for 3 to 4 weeks and during this time he was interviewed by the police.
During this interview the police expressed the opinion that the case against was Mr McConville (in the Stephen Carroll case?) was DELICATE and that these allegations against McConville could help build a case? There are suggestions from notes taken by the Prison Ombudsman about this interview that Mr Rodford was asked to add something to his statement to the police which he refused to do. In court today Mr Rodford said he no recollection of being asked to add anything to his statement but insisted that the police include in his statement his concerns that the evidence (in Mr McConvilles cell) was planted by a member of prison staff.
Next on the witness stand was a police officer who had interviewed witness Ms father when he was under arrest. During questioning by Mr MacDonald it was related to the court that sometime after witness Ms father had given a statement to the defense team he was approached by police and interviewed at a relatives home.
The witness was then arrested on suspicion of with holding information. He was taken to a police station but was kept in a police car for 30 minutes (presumably questioned) before being taken into custody. The witness who is an older man was then interviewed on ten occasions over the next 24 to 30 hours but very few of the questions if any according to the defense QC were related to the with holding or of any evidence related to events connected to May 3 to 5 2013.The defense QC seemed to think the police were more interested in what the witness had said in his statements and if he had been coerced into making his affidavit.
The Constable agreed that it was the first time he had ever arrested a witness in an appeal case prior to the case being heard it was suggested the arrest was staged partly to prevent the witness from attending court?     [This section by Fra Hughes  a columnist with the North Belfast News]
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Day 4, Appeal suddenly adjourned to Monday.

1812Day 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.

Reflection on the past, relevant Now.

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.

 

 

 

Day Three

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 2

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

imbalThe 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.

http://www.thedetail.tv/issues/197/brendan-mcconville-john-paul-wooton/psni-accused-of-attempting-to-intimidate-new-witness-in-murder-appeal

End of Article.

Statement from the JFTC2 on the Appeal , 29/4/13

310955_544022838974481_1376708387_nToday 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.

caj_logoWe 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.     

 

Links

Justice for the Craigavon Two

www.justiceforthecraigavontwo.com

CAJ The policing you don’t see

http://www.caj.org.uk/files/2012/12/05/The_Policing_you_dont_see,_November_2012.pdf

 

 

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