In any other jurisdiction, there are cold case reviews on a regular basis. Even the PSNI is embracing this idea , with the recent activity over the death of Inga Maria Hauser, found dead in April 1988.
As someone said , recently, sad as it is, why her?
The answer of course is that the huge lump of Troubles deaths involve the state and the vast store of documents, implicating it. There are stores in Sprucefield, Seapark and Thiepval, where the army sits on a million copies. The state, in the form of Hamilton, Harris and the faceless people of MI5 will keep the lid on, as best they can.
All the citizen can do is keep probing.
What is additionally disappointing is that the new leaders appear to have gone to Spooks Academy.
Consider the letter written by the deputy director of the PPS in the case of Seamus Ludlow. His understanding of hearsay would shame a first year law student. How did he become deputy director and regurgitate all the lines of the state? Can you guess? Let’s hope he gets well spanked in the High Court.
As part of the week to mark twenty eight years since the murders of my parents, I am posting a secret document, giving an insight into how the state worked.
There will be other posts in this anniversary week.
I’ve just got around to reading the full text of your speech of 15thMay.
Straightaway, you mention transparency. That doesn’t sit well with me. Perhaps it’s because since I started communicating with the PSNI in 2002, your force has been opaque.
But let’s leave that for now.
I’m glad that you agree with me that something untoward was happening in policing during the Troubles and that it was not restricted to a few bad apples.
But then I’m puzzled. You say “In the absence of any regulatory framework for managing ‘agents’ police officers were left to set their own standards.”
Then you say that “there was no law” a few lines later you say “ there are [sic] a range of charges that can be brought”
You see, George, the persons who murdered my parents, whose names you can find on my blog, most of them had a handler and some of those handlers were police officers and you know who they were. Those officers knew, if not before , then certainly afterwards, the identities of the perpetrators. They , the police officers, committed most of the range of offences you enumerated above.
Records: lets dwell on that for a second. Prof Lundy and other academics have commented on those records which you say the Police Ombudsman has “unfettered access to”. No he doesn’t. Are you telling the public that the Ombudsman’s representatives roam the stores at Sprucefield and Seapark at will? What about your gatekeepers? The old SB guys. What about your chief spook, Drew Harris? Don’t they keep tabs on the files? What about the ‘difficult’ files which the Security Service has removed from you and now stores at Loughside?
Although you admit that you know of no legal definition of collusion, you say that it “signals malevolent intent”. What’s your authority for that proposition , George? I know why you say it. The secret is in the next bit. You want us to think about all the brave officers. It’s not about bravery , George.
You can give me no lessons on what a brave officer looks like.
It’s not long before you return to your old unapologetic self. You say that the police were operating in a vacuum. The police had no “framework, guidance or legislation”
I’ve news for you , George. The Human Rights Act of 1998 simply put on the British statute book the provisions of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which had long been recognised by British courts and a good read of it by senior officers might have given a hint about how to police. Anyway, allowing an agent to kill doesn’t take much of a look at a moral compass to know that it is wrong .
Frankly, I got weary of the same old words at this point, George. Why? Because for almost twenty eight years your force and its predecessor and every chief constable has lied to me.
So, on close inspection, I’m as unimpressed by this speech as I have been by all the rest.
Take your own advice, get out of your own comfort zone, be selfless and open the files on James and Ellen Sefton.
James was born on 25 February 1925, the second son of William and Cissie Sefton.
He left school at fourteen and was , like many of his contemporaries, apprenticed in Harland and Wolff.
Despite being good at maths he was in love with literature and history. He read three books each week, borrowed from Shankill Road public library.
When I was eight, he took me there and signed me up. We went to the childrens’ section. “Here is a book you might like”. It was a Tale of Two Cities. I remember taking it home and reading the opening lines. How inspirational is that for any boy?
James wanted to be a teacher but his circumstances did not permit.
He was always smart and well turned out and eventually found his way into the RUC.
Not your usual officer, he completed a crossword every day and counted Paddy Devlin amongst his friends. That friendship may not be surprising in that James was a socialist and Paddy was born a few streets away.
Never an unthinking loyalist, he used to take amusement in observing that the Orangemen were having their ‘ annual’ church visit,
He married my mother , Ellen, a beauty and rich , and a year older than him in 1949. That must have made his friends jealous.
They were in love right to the end.
They represented all that was good about Northern Ireland in those years that many observers have rubbished. They had honeymooned in Dublin [ where I was made] and visited the Republic regularly.
James had a dry sense of humour that could convey a concept. I remember reading out my letter of offer of a place to read law at QUB, at the breakfast table.
His reply was “anyone who gets a university place and fails should be shot” That got my attention and is probably explained by his wish to have been a teacher.
When I explained that I was prosecuting my first historic sex abuse trial, he remarked that “those people steal childrens’ childhoods”. It was the first time I really understood abuse.
James served uncomplainingly in B division for many years.
The rector of St Matthew’s, with whom he loved to debate , said of him and my mother; “they were ordinary decent caring people…[James] was not the sort of man to talk about politics, he was a tolerant sort of individual who didn’t hold any unyielding views”
I still hold the memory of him going out on night duty , after the Anglo Irish Agreement, when he was more likely to be attacked by loyalists.
I never told him how much I loved him.
I know that I am not alone in my loss and that many people suffered more than I did.
But he was my Dad, the bravest man I ever knew and I’m only half the man he was.