17 VICTIMS OF BRITISH JUSTICE …….
Last month PATRICK MAGUIRE was released from an English jail after serving 10 years for a ‘terrorist’ crime he insists he did not commit . A wide range of prominent people , from Cardinal O’Fiaich to Sir John Biggs-Davison , believe him .
DAVID McKITTRICK , London Editor of ‘The Irish Times’ newspaper , re-examines the evidence .
From ‘Fortnight’ magazine , May 1984 .
Unless Annie Maguire is one of history’s great mistresses of disguise and deception , she does not fit the bill as a terrorist . She and her husband had left Belfast twenty years earlier and took no interest in Irish politics or the ‘Troubles’ .
She , her husband and her son Vincent were all members of Paddington Conservative Club : a bust of Winston Churchill stood on her mantlepiece . In the children’s bedroom two Union Jacks were pinned on the wall . The family had never been in trouble with the police ; indeed , her son Vincent , one of those jailed , had earlier applied to join the police cadets , and been turned down only because of his eyesight .
The Conlon-Hill trial took place first , and the ‘popular’ papers carried headlines such as ‘ Auntie Annie’s Bomb Kitchen ‘ when their statements were read out in court . Even before her own trial , in other words – she had been publicly named as a terrorist . And she was tried before the same judge who put Conlon and Hill into the guinness book of records . With all the defendants pleading not guilty – and all recognising the court , which the IRA at the time did not do – the prosecution case rested on the forensic evidence of nitroglycerine traces .
This evidence was highly controversial : the test – ‘Thin Layer Chromtography’ (TLC) – had been carried out by an eighteen year old apprentice with only three months’ experience . This youth had forgotten to photograph the evidence , as was normally done . The amount of nitroglycerine which he said he had detected was minute – equivalent to one millionth of a grain of sugar . And this amount was so small that it had been destroyed by the test itself meaning that the result could not be checked …….
THE IRA HAS TO DO WHAT THE IRA HAS TO DO …….
The Sinn Fein electoral wagon is slowing down . As a result , the IRA is likely to begin stepping up its war against the Northern State . GENE KERRIGAN reports from Belfast and also interviews Sinn Fein’s DANNY MORRISON on the party’s recent successes and failures .
From ‘ MAGILL ‘ magazine , September 1984.
Danny Morrison : ” There is no peaceful way of getting the Brits out of Ireland . There is no constitutional way . ( ‘ 1169 … ‘ Comment – Now Mr. Morrison and his colleagues in the Provisional political party assure us that there is no other way to remove that British presence other than the ‘constitutional way ‘ . ) We are told to do it by the ballot box . Harold McCusker said in January of last year , whenever he was examining the demographics , the increasing numbers of Catholic school children at primary school level – don’t worry if the Catholics get a majority in the six counties , we will just re-partition !
Even if nationalists got into a majority in the six counties and tried to vote it into a united Ireland , we still would not get a united Ireland . The loyalists would merely re-partition ; they did it before – they were going for nine counties and went for six , they can go for three . And unfortunately that’s why the IRA exists . The IRA has to fight the Brits , has to wear down the will of the British to remain in Ireland . And I have absolutely no doubt that they will be scccessful in inflicting a political defeat – not a military defeat on the British Army but a political defeat on the British government .
The British will have examined everything – internal settlements , assemblies , constitutional conventions , everything , until their last option : and it will be their last option , because the Brits will not examine it until that day . And that option will be British withdrawal and reunification . ”
THE INTERROGATION OF STEPHEN MOORE ……. .
On 11 July 1986 , Stephen Moore , from Clones in County Monaghan , accepted £25,000 plus costs to settle an action out of court .
He had sued ‘Ireland’ and the Attorney General for injuries he had received in garda custody in Monaghan Garda Station in March 1983 .
In that same year , John Milne received £51,900 for injuries sustained at the hands of two named gardai in that same garda station . He was also awarded costs .
Despite the fact that more than £75,000 has been paid out as a result of garda activity in Monaghan Garda Station , no garda has been charged with a criminal offence . In fact , some of the gardai who were accused have been promoted .
Fintan MacPhillips’s father has since died . His brother Leo says that they both went down to visit him and that he said that he had been beaten . His father suggested that they get a doctor , and they phoned Dr. Quinn and Dr. McGoldrick , but neither doctor was in a position to come to the police station .
Dr McGoldrick said that he had examined people in custody in the station on previous occasions and that he had got “…hassle ..” from the gardai . Dr Adrian McGoldrick says he examined a Lou Ginley after he had emerged from garda custody ; he had a broken tooth , his body was bruised and his blood pressure was up . He was afterwards not in a position to take a civil action . However , Dr. McGoldrick gave evidence in the Special Criminal Court at the trial of another man , Seamus Soraghan , who was tried and convicted under the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act . According to Dr. McGoldrick , the medical evidence he gave was “… totally disregarded .. ” .
It was after that case that he was in a toilet of a pub when a Special Branch man came up to him and said that in future , when he examined IRA suspects , he should see no injuries . Dr. McGoldrick was of the opinion that the Special Branch man might have drink taken and did’nt consider the matter of any relevance . Nonetheless , he took the step of informing the garda authorities of what had happened ; Dr. McGoldrick says that he would not have felt intimidated by this .
He says also that one of the main reasons that he did less of these cases was that he received very little notice when he had to appear in the Special Criminal Court to give evidence and his routine was unpredictable . In the case of Fintan MacPhillips , the doctor says that he was off the weekend , as far as he can remember , and that he was going away on the Sunday . He would therefore not be in a position to do a follow-up examination in the case , as is desirable . One year later , Dr. Adrian McGoldrick moved to Newbridge in County Kildare …….