Here are three articles from today’s ‘Belfast Newsletter’, (9th February 2022). They come in the wake of the iniquitous report by the Police Ombudsman into the terrorist murder of five people in Sean Graham’s bookmaker’s shop on the Ormeau Road, Belfast in 1992.
I find only one fault with these articles. THEY DO NOT GO FAR ENOUGH IN THEIR CONDEMNATION OF THE REPORT.
I consider the report part of the Irish Republican/Nationalist continual attack upon every institution of the Northern Ireland State! Criticism of this conspiracy skirts round the input of Roman Catholicism and its offspring, Irish Republicanism with its hatred of all things Protestant and British. The ‘imprimatur’ of Popery is on all these attacks!
Unionist stupidity, weakness and political greed back in 2007, opened the door to this ongoing and increasing dominance of public life here. The DUP with the full agreement of the duped Protestants who supported the move, entered into a power-sharing agreement with Sinn Fein/IRA.
The agreement meant that the party which had come to power on the backs of terrorism, Sinn Fein/IRA, was elevated to a position of government, a position it has exploited to the full, largely unhindered by the incapable, blind and impotent representatives of Unionism.
Oh how we need men who have been given of God an understanding of Biblical Protestantism and thereby a comprehension of the evils of Popery. There is an need of such men as David had supporting him. “And of the children of Issachar, [which were men] that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do,” 1 Chronicles 12:32.
Such men are in short supply in Ulster today!
Please read carefully these articles and see just how we have been delivered into the hands of our enemies by unionist politicians.
Sincerely in the cause of TRUTH,
Sean Graham Massacre report: Sources don’t tell you everything, says former RUC Special Branch officer A former RUC detective has tried to paint a picture of the murky world inhabited by intelligence sources during the Troubles, in the wake of the latest ombudsman report which castigates the RUC.
William Matchett spent most of his 30-year career in the anti-terror RUC wing Special Branch, and also served with the PSNI after the Patton transition.
He held the rank of detective inspector.
He stressed that throughout the Troubles officers were “at the forefront of defending democracy from a sectarian Provo agency that waged a ruthless war”.
He also criticised the ombudsman’s reliance on the term “collusive behaviours”, describing it as being “a non-crime that appears in no other part of the UK, Europe or the western world”.
The ombudsman’s report said there are valid concerns around “inadequate supervision and control by RUC Special Branch of informants, and the continued use of informants who were actively involved in serious criminality”.
When it comes to navigating the clandestine world of criminal moles, Mr Matchett said: “Sources do not tell you everything.
“My old Special Branch commander was given the last rites and miraculously lived. A source set him up and PIRA almost got what they wanted. With intelligence you never have the whole picture.”
“A penetrative source is a member of an unlawful terrorist organisation. They are constantly engaged in conspiracies to murder; a bad guy who reported on evil guys.” So what were the “collusive behaviours” identified by ombudsman Marie Anderson?
Two failures to warn potential targets of a danger to their lives;
The failure to retain records “and the deliberate destruction of files in relation to the authorisation and implementation of covert investigatory measures following the attack at Sean Graham Bookmakers”;
Failure to maintain records of the deactivation of weapons;
Failure “to exploit all evidential opportunities, for example the failure to recover significant evidential material used in the attack at Sean Graham Bookmakers and to make early arrests”;
She was explicit that she “found no evidence that police were in possession of intelligence which if acted on, could have prevented any of the attacks” in her report.
She also had “no evidence” that “informants were protected from arrest and conviction”.
Is the police ombudsman an investigator or just another media commentator?
By Raymond White Wednesday, 9th February 2022.
It is difficult to recall any investigation conducted by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (OPONI) that has actually resulted in any former member of the police service being charged and convicted of a criminal offence.
The ombudsman is required in law to form a ‘belief’ in respect of each investigation she launches that a criminal offence may have been committed by a police officer and that it is either grave or exceptional or alternatively that having formed the ‘belief’ it is in the public interest that an investigation should occur.
As OPONI is a creature of law and is powerless outwith the authority given by the legislation, the question has to be asked: what have the recent OPONI investigations and reports been about?
Why is it that after seven years of investigation and the expenditure of many thousands of pounds of public money, all were are treated to is a series of views and opinions delivered without any of the detailed evidence one would expect to see if the ombudsman took the legal pathway set out in law for her to follow, that of due process where the probity of what is alleged to be evidence can be tested in open court and those accused of transgressions give a voice to challenge their accusers.
Instead the more one looks at what we have been and are being asked to accept yet again without question, begins to ring hollow as serious assertions are made on the one hand about police behaviour and gross inadequacies, yet none of it appears to have yielded any evidence whatsoever to sustain a charge under any one of a myriad of substantive criminal offences that pepper the statute books.
In the current report it is clear that the ombudsman is claiming that she has evidence pointing to misfeasance in public office, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, impeding the apprehension or prosecution of arrestable offenders, the deliberate destruction of evidence and conspiracy to commit murder and the concealment of serious crime, yet the professional competence of her investigators appears to be so inadequate that not one relevant charge emerges to sustain what is so vehemently alleged.
Consequently it is very legitimate to ask why are there no prosecution files in respect of the alleged police offenders that have been so clearly identified, is the entire office of OPONI wholly and consistently incapable of reaching the required evidential threshold in respect of at least one of the multitude of infractions it claims to have discovered or is it the case that no hard evidence exists at all?
The 2020 judicial review disclosed how the ombudsman’s office reacted when its investigation into the Ulster Resistance Arms importation (Op Boston) and its investigation into the Loughinisland atrocity (Op Sutton) resulted in not a shred of hard evidence emerging to underpin the ‘belief’ by the ombudsman that police had facilitated the loyalist arms importation, or that any former police officer had conspired in anyway with the UVF killers at Loughinisland.
The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) concurred with the ombudsman that nothing existed by way of evidence, yet that crucial finding was deliberately omitted from the subsequent Public Statement, one can only conclude in the total absence of any reason being given, to prevent the dilution or the wholesale undermining of the ‘collusion’ determination that was to make the headlines in the subsequent Public Statement.
Are the families of the deceased whose tragic loss the investigation has circumscribed not entitled to an effective service from the ombudsman and indeed are not those retired police officers whose service record has been traduced in the various reports, not entitled to their day in court to have their voice heard and to defend their article 6 and 8 rights under the European Convention on Human Rights? (right to a fair trial)
Enough is enough of this seventeen century approach to justice is a view frequently being expressed whereby the work of OPONI is more and more being likened to that of the Witchfinder General and his seekers who roamed through England searching out alleged practitioners of witchcraft, only now allegations of witchcraft have been replaced by allegations of collusion and the devil’s mark being the absence of records that cannot be found, and with verdicts of ‘guilty’ being delivered not by means of the ducking stool but by tweets on Twitter.
It is long past the time whereby the justice minister or the attorney general needs to step in and reminded the ombudsman that her task is one of investigation and the production of hard factual evidence within the parameters laid down in law. Trial by media based on a self defined sham offence called ‘collusive behaviour’ for which there is no discernable evidential threshold save that which apparently satisfies the ombudsman is not the way the law was intended to be administered when the office was established.
The current practice of reports being delivered as a media spectacle debases the whole concept of due process and negates entirely the central principle of UK law, which is that a person is innocent until proven guilty, two concepts which are apparently consistently and deliberately circumvented.
If the ombudsman’s desire is to be a media commentator then the right thing to do is to vacate the office and leave the way clear for someone who isn’t interested in serving up a hotchpotch of allegations, adverse inferences and toxic innuendo, but who will earn the confidence of retired police officers by an adherence to the law and the central tenets for which the office was established.
We truly deserve much better and if due process continues to be denied to those accused by the ombudsman, then a public inquiry into the operation of the Office and its investigations to date might be a prudent and essential way forward.
- Assistant Chief Constable Raymond White is a former head of RUC Special Branch.
The ongoing scandal of ex RUC facing collusion findings that do not stand up in court
News Letter editorial of Wednesday February 9 2022.
Some months ago this newspaper asked when unionist politicians were going to challenge the scandal of police ombudsman findings in cases of alleged collusion with loyalists.
Report after report finds collusion yet is unable to unearth evidence that stands up in a criminal court.
When some years ago a judge ruled on the injustice of the ombudsman finding collusion (which implies grievous criminal complicity with loyalist murderers), and when that same judge then ill advisedly stood aside, and the current lord chief justice came in with a replacement finding that showed little of the same concern at the injustice facing ex RUC officers, the matter went to the NI appeal court.
After a long delay it came up with a completely inadequate ruling that should have been challenged in the Supreme Court. The upshot of it was that the ombudsman can make findings of ‘collusive behaviour’.
And such findings keep coming.
The ombudsman website’s news section had the headline yesterday: ‘Collusive behaviours and investigative failings’. BBC Northern Ireland for much of the day led its website with this story: ‘Police collusive behaviour in 11 loyalist murders’.
Once again, the News Letter is almost alone in challenging this ongoing scandal. We are pleased again to give space to Raymond White, former head of RUC Special Branch, opposite, to outline why the current process of making findings trespasses on the right to a fair trial of ex police.
Once again we give thanks to Ray and his many colleagues for their professionalism and restraint in tackling terrorist killers over so many decades, including achieving a high clear-up rate against loyalist sectarian murderers.
Yesterday there was some good news: unionists were outspoken in Stormont against the unfair treatment of the RUC.
But much more support is needed, including a clear process from London for putting the legacy spotlight on terrorist mass murderers. And that does not mean a revival of mooted legacy bodies that, as happened after Stormont House, put even more unfair focus on ex RUC, including a ‘non-criminal police misconduct’ element.