Kier Starmer made a number of criticisms of the PPS. Any prosecuting barrister could have told him of the failings if he had cared to ask. The service provided to victims has always been wanting. Frequently the defence is represented by senior and junior counsel attended by a solicitor and frequently the prosecution is in the hands of junior counsel or employed counsel attended by an unqualified clerk.
Worse still is the enormous pressure place on these clerks, who are left to be the conduit between victims, the witnesses, the court, the police, the directing officer and counsel. None of the PPS high command, mentioned by Starmer, has ever had a career prosecuting in the Crown Court and they are rarely seen there.
The problems suffered by the three complainants are not new. The victim is less well looked after than the accused. For example in Craigavon, the PPS has no dedicated , private, room in which to consult with victims. It was taken off them without a fight.
Of course like all organisations, found out at last , the promise is for new organisational structures. I’m surprised that nobody said “we have learned lessons”.
All the reorganisation in the world will be of no avail until there is a culture change at the heart of the PPS. Less obsession with ‘stats’ and more interest in the court process would be a start. The Irish Times today says that the two counsel involved have reported themselves to the Bar Council. Let’s see what happens to the civil servants, responsible for delivering the service.
Meanwhile Napoleon’s dictum is as relevant as ever.
Readers may recall that Ed Moloney took issue with the assertion by ACCs Harris and Kerr that they had spoken to him “previously” about his book “A secret History of the IRA”. A month has passed since I asked the Chief Constable to explain what is at least a contradiction. How long does it take either to provide some proof of contact with Mr Moloney or to apologise?
Readers will know that I intend to walk through my experience with the state in respect of the murders of my parents.
Today, my exposition is the failure of the PSNI to properly relate to those who correspond with them.
It seems that “personal, professional, protective policing” has been replaced , on the 2015 letter heading , with “keeping people safe”. I wonder why?
I’m told that only two police stations Musgrave and Strand Road are open though the night, I wonder if this is correct?
Anyway, chronologically, here are the officers I have dealt with in my quest for justice for my parents. It is important to know that I always wrote to the Chief Constable, most of who couldn’t be arsed replying personally , except for Hugh!
CC Hugh Orde!!!
D Ch S Hanna
ACC Harris [again!]
I think I’m going backwards again.
The FOI response, promised last week on forensics , has not materialised.
Blog by blog I will take you through the swamp that is supposedly the investigation of terrorist activity in Northern Ireland. Thousands of other crimes are presumably dealt with in a similar fashion , while one of the architects, McGuinness, is DFM.
You will be unsurprised to learn that I have had no explanation from the PSNI about their statement about Ed Moloney.
Usually, when one writes to the head of an organisation, complaining about those immediately under him, the head takes responsibility and responds. Not so the Chief Constable. On 17 December I wrote to him , setting out what ACC Harris and Kerr had said about Ed Moloney and his response. I asked the Chief Constable for an explanation and I told him how distressed I was at the prospect of having been misled [at best].
Well, he is not going to reply to me. Instead , guess what? The Chief Constable “believes that this matter is best addressed by ACC Kerr”. It will be interesting to see what he has to say for himself and for his superior, DCC Harris.
PS Still no word of explanation about the forensic examination of UCBs.
Next year I will deal, point by point , with the state’s cover up of McGuinness’ role and its refusal to prosecute him, despite evidence being available. I will be pressing the state for a prosecution for the murders of my parents.
I will also be pursuing the various pieces of evidence being withheld at present.
I will also set out how the PSNI in particular failed to respond properly to my requests. I have asked the Chief Constable for an explanation of the statements of Harris and Kerr regarding Ed Moloney.
Meantime , the issue of outstanding forensic evidence remains unresolved. I am promised a reply by early January, we will see.
I may well refer all these matters to the Police Ombudsman.
I will be availing of the offer of a meeting with the Attorney General.
My campaign goes on.
“In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer” Albert Camus.
My parents were killed by an under car booby trap bomb [UCBT], the sort of device that cowards use, [directed by Martin McGuinness], in the “war” where they couldn’t lawfully be shot, because it wasn’t a war, if you see what I mean.
I was told by ACC Harris that fifteen UCBTs were recovered intact. He informed me that as a result of a SCRT review, “a senior scientist has concluded that although the bombs were similar in their make up , they had subtle differences and could not be attributed to a single bomb maker.”
I asked Forensic Science Northern Ireland for a copy of the report. They replied, on 12 November:
“FSNI examined a number of devices during the period 1990 to 1992 however these were not correlated into any single report that we hold or have access to in our files”.
I wrote a FOI request to the police on the same day, asking
1. When the conclusion was reached by the “senior scientist”.
2. The name of the “senior scientist”.
3. The organisation for whom the “senior scientist” worked.
I also asked for a copy of the report which provided the basis for ACC Harris’s assertion
The PSNI say that “a response should be sent to you within twenty working days. Twenty eight working days later there is no reply, and no response to a follow up email to them. I am hoping, that this assertion by ACC Harris has more foundation than his statement about Ed Moloney.
Readers may know that on more than one occasion I asked the police to investigate McGuinness’s part in the murder of my parents and the allegations made by Ed Moloney, in his book, ” A secret History of the IRA”, page 347.
Here is what ACC Harris [now DCC Harris] wrote to me on 11 August 2104:
“The author Ed Moloney has previously been spoken to and is unwilling to disclose the identity of his sources”.
Here is what Ed Moloney told me today, when I put Harris’s version to him:
“No-one from the RUC or PSNI has ever approached me about anything I wrote in ‘secret history’ and certainly not about your parents’ terrible deaths…if they are telling you that , they are lying to you and you have my permission to say so in whatever arena you choose”
I will be writing to the Chief Constable, seeking an explanation and possibly taking the matter further, depending on his answer. So much for ACC Kerr telling the PPS that my parents’ case had been thoroughly investigated.
Other inconsistencies are emerging in information supplied by senior officers and this will be the subject of future blogs.
Where would we be without the opportunity to put these matters in the public domain , by blogging?
I say this because the Bar Council avidly reads my blogs!