Mrs. Ethel Smyth — Precious in the sight of the Lord …

Here is a report in today’s “Irish News” of the death of Mrs Ethel Smyth, who was a Christian in her late eighties. She was a lady who fearlessly battled against the evils of Sinn Fein/IRA in her days in politics.

In truth, she was a little too hot for the DUP back when she was active in local politics.

I attempted to take part in the Castlewellan protest mentioned in this report. A friend and I were stopped at a RUC checkpoint and prevented from entering Castlewellan and joining the protest. We were taken to court on the false evidence of a police constable. His evidence against me was utterly demolished by the cross examination of Mr Jim Allister QC. It was so clear that he was telling falsehoods that the Resident Magistrate, trying the case, angrily dismissed him from the witness box.

I was approached during a brief recess and given an ultimatum by the prosecution team. I was told that unless I pleaded guilty my companion who had innocuously tipped off the policeman’s cap at the checkpoint, would face the maximum sentence for his offence and be jailed for six months! The prospect of that greatly distressed him, having just commenced a new business venture. This placed me in a most difficult position.

Undoubtedly the charge against me would have been dismissed on the basis of the constable’s performance as a witness but if I ‘stuck to my guns’ my companion would go to jail, something he could not face.

I earnestly prayed in the brief recess and felt that it was better for me to forego my chance of being acquitted than to see my friend go to jail!

The result was that I was found guilty and sentenced to 14 days in jail and released ‘for good behaviour’ after only a few days.

We offer our sincere sympathies to the whole family circle and rejoice to see the text chosen by the family on this sad yet joyful occasion.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints,”
Psalm 116:15.

Ivan Foster