Are the Craigavon Two our contemporary Gerry Conlon?


My old ex-schoolmate Eamonn McCann had an interesting piece in the Irish Times yesterday. He was talking about the Gerry Conlon case and how, at that time, most Irish journalists kept their heads down and their mouths shut. To have done otherwise would have been seen by many as tantamount to saying you supported the IRA campaign. And so, because those who should have known better kept silent, Conlon stayed in prison. When I wrote a  piece about Conlon recently,  on the occasion of his death, I received a fair number of pats on the back. I also received one or two comments that suggested I check out a present-day case that was a modern parallel to the Conlon one: that of the Craigavon Two. 

So what do we know of the Craigavon Two case. Well, it followed the 2009 killing of PSNI officer Constable Stephen Carroll in Craigavon. Like the Guildford Four case, public feelings over Stephen Carroll’s death ran high. There was concern that we might be slipping back to the dark days of widespread violence and there was public pressure for someone to be charged and convicted.  Two men, Brendan McConville and John-Paul Wootton, were arrested, tried and convicted.

So should they be in prison? Well, there are certainly some unsatisfactory aspects to their case.

* They were tried and convicted, not by a jury of their peers, but a Diplock court. Whatever reasons may be advanced for having a Diplock court, it does fly in the face of justice as we’d normally conceive it.

* A tracking device attached by MI5 to Wootton’s car placed him at the scene of the crime at the time of the killing. There were blanks on the tracking device, however. These were explained to the court by an anonymous MI5 agent as due to the fact that he he had left it on his desk and someone had moved and then replaced it without his knowledge.

* A brown coat, central to the prosecution case, had particles of gun powder residue on it. These didn’t match the rifle or ammunition used in the killing of Constable Carroll. Nor did it have any DNA, fibres or fingerprints belonging to Wootton. 

* Evidence that might have supported the defence team was kept from them by use of Public Interest Immunity Orders. 

* An anonymous eyewitness known as M offered testimony but M’s partner did not support his story, saying that he was with her that night.  

* A witness who had made a sworn affidavit that M was a compulsive liar and a Walter-Mitty type was arrested by the PSNI.

I don’t claim to know enough about the case to be definitive but I do know that if the facts listed above are true, the case against the two men looks to have some alarming gaps. If a key anonymous witness was in fact unreliable and if the weapon used was found not to have any trace of the DNA of the accused men, then questions must be raised as to why these two men should be in prison.

What I suspect – I have no evidence, I’d stress – but what I suspect is that these men were republicans who disagree with the Sinn Féin strategy of engagement in politics and using politics to achieve their ends. For some that makes them ‘dissident republicans’ and hence committed to violence against the PSNI and the British Army.

Which brings us back to the Gerry Conlon story. At the time, as McCann points out in his article, to express concern over the conviction of the Guildford Four was seen by many as equivalent to saying you supported violence. Nowadays, there’s the danger that those who dissent from mainstream republican thinking will be seen as by definition supporting violence. This is an illogical and dangerous conclusion.If the points listed above are true, the public deserve to be told why two innocent-until-proved-guilty  men have been in prison for several years. And every journalist with self-respect should be saying so. Loudly and repeatedly.

49 Responses to Are the Craigavon Two our contemporary Gerry Conlon?

  1. paul June 27, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    GRMA Jude. In a comment I posted in the Gerry Conlon article, I referred to people imprisoned/interned in the north on questioable evidence. These are two of the peole I referred to. Will the diplock courts ever go away?

    • Teri June 27, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

      Paul, Jude,
      According to UK Government, Diplock courts were phased out in 2007. I heard this being said in Westminster recently and was rather taken aback as they certainly appear to be in use in certain cases. Why this is, needs to be answered.

    • Peadar MacGhabhain June 27, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

      Dipstick Courts I thought they were done away with the GF agreement, or before with Cromwell. So they are still in use , pretending as justice. The points you make Jude are crying out for inquiry, Where are the SDLP AND SINN FEIN, come lets us hear you, this is not about politics, THIS IS ABOUT JUSTICE

  2. Francis D June 27, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    This is an ongoing miscarraige of Justice a child could drive a bus through the fissures in the Prosecutions case against these men. I do not support armed force Republicanism as I see it as ineffective, counterproductive, futile and therefore ethically bankrupt. Does this mean internment by remand is Justified? No. Does this mean that brutality against the prisoners increasingly coming to attention is Justified. No. Does this mean MI5 who are unaccoutable in Ireland will then have a right to arrest and harass me should I get involved to redress outstanding injustices including the Zealous incarceration of two men, indicted on flimsy and erroneous evidence with witnesses tampered with by the PSNI….I too have been looking at the case like others and it makes for an obvious indictment of the Judiciary to continue with this ongoing incarceration of Both of these men give the dearth of substance in the case against them,- will I be harassed on joining these cases and dismissed as a dissident for asking for rights for their prisoners,-Watch this space, I’ll let you know. Should Sinn Fein be highlighting MI5 unaccountable interference here which facillitates ongoing injustice,-From the Rooftops, Yes. How are we going to convince those who we see(I certainly do) that Armed force Republicanism here has now become obsolute, futile and ultimately counterproductive, if we will not, or dare not, stand up for their Human Rights. RIP Adrian Caroll. John Paul Whooton and Brendan Mc Conville should not be incarcerated under the guise of being Amenable before Law. As with the Guilford 4 Birmingham 6 Mcguire 7 ….Available before the Law Iis more apt. Lets not wait 15 years before we realise we should have contested this and other injustices, which remain an open sore, and encourage people on the edges to feel that Justice is Blind in only one eye…an idea that sadly drives people to other means of seeking redress…RIP Gerry Conlon

    • Peadar MacGhabhain June 27, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

      But afore we forget, let us remember the words of Lord Denham, A Law Lord —I’ll paraphrase

      Referring to the Birmingham 6 ” Tis better they remained in jail, than the British Judiciary looked foolish “

  3. Wolfe tone June 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    Francis D
    I echo your comments. The deafening silence by the great and the good at this case and also the masserene case were it was revealed the spooks,suits were interfering with forensic officers duties and practices in their attempts to secure convictions , would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.
    Even more worrying in all these shady going ons is the fact a self confessed poacher turned gamekeeper, barra mc crory, is over seeing this charade that that call the justice system.
    The system is still set up to look after the interests of the British establishment.
    When people get all giddy at Martin mcguinness ‘outwitting’ unionism by meeting Betty Windsor I would urge caution because as far as I can see the British have managed to outwit republicans by giving them the illusion of power. The have managed to get two nationalists to gamekeep two of the most important positions in a state ie the justice system and the education system. The education system has become one big Northern Ireland love fest and the future of Catholics automatically becoming united irelanders is definitely not a given if what they are taught in schools at the minute is anything to go by.
    O’dowd and mc crory in their efforts not to appear biased have over reached and seem to be doing unionism dirty work. The old English belief, ‘roast an Irishman on a spit, and you can be sure to get another one to turn him’ could never be more apt with these two.
    I would urge republicans to ignore symbolism, as it is a distraction, and to really evaluate who is outwitting who.

    • Jude Collins June 27, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

      WT: I think you may be right about unjust convictions. I’m not so sure about the Brits continually hood-winking SF. They look to be in a pretty powerful position at preset, at least in terms of seats north and south. I’m actually more interested in your remark about the Catholic education system producing people who won’t be nationalists. When I was at school 120 years ago there really was no emphasis on nationalism – not in St Columb’s College Derry anyway. I spent most of my working life in and out of schools throughout the north and again, nationalism wasn’t really on the agenda at all. I think other things will influence young people when they come to vote than what they were taught or in this case not taught at school; and personally I think the whole ‘Northern Irish’ on the census is a big red herring. I don’t believe that Catholics, who by and large for generations have voted nationalist/republican, are going to turn round in a referendum and vote for a link with the union. Talking about it happening may be an effort by some to make it happen, but it’s an effort I don’t think will work.

      • Wolfe tone June 27, 2014 at 1:40 pm #


        Maybe perhaps but I for one will never underestimate Britain and how devious and skilled they are at protecting their interests. The ‘hearts and minds’ game is there to be won and until the final whistle is sounded the Brits will try right til the end.
        By the way, never underestimate so called nationalists/republicans who rely very heavily on the border to maintain incomes. The pull of the pound has turned many a head.

    • William Fay June 27, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

      So wolfe, what you are really saying is that young nationalists shouldn’t be getting a middle of the road non biased education. Instead they should be indoctrinated into a republican ethos, ie brainwashed, and not allowed to make their own views on society and their future.

      • Wolfe tone June 27, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

        Wiliam fay
        ‘Indoctrinated’ into a republican ethos is better than being fed a diet of how awfully fantastic Britain is and how delightfully joyous the royal mafia are. And how, despite how terrible the English have treated the irish for centuries we must still be grateful, as we wouldn’t have had a road or bridge without them and last but not least that republicans were the bigger scourge on the irish people. No thanks, Greed Britain is nothing to be proud of, despite all their efforts to the contrary.

  4. William Fay June 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    “I don’t claim to know enough about the case to be definitive but I do know that if the facts listed above are true”, your words Jude, says it all really, doesn’t it

  5. paul June 27, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    The actions of McCrorry are indeed a headscratcher. The man who’s father foughtthe state for those who were murdered in Gibraltar now has become a facilitator for the Diplock conveyor belt. Shocking, bewildering and disappointing.

    You have the chief constable refusing to give relevent materials to inquests, the old RUC rehire scam, the continuance of non jury trials and selective internment of republicans .all the order of the day in the north. At very least the evidence against these two men should be reviewed by a neutral body. Will Kenny complain about these mens treatment ten years from now?

  6. Jude Collins June 27, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    You’re a laff, William – you really are a (predictable) laff. So I say I can’t be definitive, i.e., speak with authority; but IF these claims are true that…etc. Almost by definition that DOESN’T say it all – you have to look at what is being claimed and if you think they might be true. Personally I think the chances of them being true are better than them being false, since presumably there are court records which would soon slap down any imaginary claims. So hold your water, William, or wind in your neck, or whatever phrase is applicable. I’m quite happy to be corrected when I’ve made an error – like the two you pointed out in a recent blog – but I find it kinda weird to be criticised for looking at some claims that’ve been made. So let me finish (you’re sucking my short time on this earth outa me, William) by asking: do you think some or all of these claims are untrue? Try to be exact, there’s a good lad.

  7. Ceannaire June 27, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Jude, if you want William to be exact I would say his reply would be “Well, if you are for something then I am against it.”

    I think many people have reservations about this case and I agree that a neutral body should investigate it. If the Irish and British have not learned the lessons from Gerry Conlon’s era (and others’) then shame on us all.

    • William Fay June 27, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

      Investigate what exactly, they have been found guilty twice, move on.

      • Francis D June 27, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

        As where the Guilford 4 found Guilty, then their appeal struck down a Year later also when the Real perpetraters admitted culpability. ‘Move on’, you suggest? Lets say perhaps….15 Years from their conviction?

  8. Francis D June 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    This case is a symtom of a Greater Systematic Malaise that goes to the heart of accountable Policing and Governance. Coming from a post major conflict arena, accountability and transparency are vital for the needs of Justice and to inspire confidence both. MI5 are not accountable to the PSNI never mind the Exeutive who oversee them. This withot doubt has created a culture of Impunity inspired excesses in both the ‘Security Forces’ and Judiciary both erring on the side always on the side of the Prosecution in such cases against the intetests of the defendants. Such rulings and dismissals coming to light now, would not have been out of place in a lopsided Judiciary in the 70s and 80s. SF need to vocally champion these and other cases of injustice presently, or continue to widen the gulf between pro and anti GFA Republicans to the detriment of all. Peace can be gained, but injustices like the above and the many other underhand breaches of our Citizens rights, remain a seismic obstacle to bringing Republicans together in a new, peaceful and progressive consensus where we can put Ireland back together.

  9. neill June 27, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    Perhaps just perhaps they are guilty not everybody in prison is innocent you know?

    • Jude Collins June 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

      I completely agree, Neill. But the point I’m making anyway is that there are some facts claimed about their case that make their conviction look more than a little shaky. If those can be rebutted, fine. But they shouldn’t be glossed over.

      • neill June 27, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

        If the points you have made are correct and in fairness I dont know the case in any great detail questions have to be asked about the defence barristers abilities?

        • Jude Collins June 28, 2014 at 8:32 am #

          Whaa-a-a-at,Neill? I agree that defence may not have done a great job, but to approach this in a it’s-the-defence’s-fault mode rather than has-an-injustice-been-done mode is very smelly red herring.

          • neill June 28, 2014 at 10:51 am #

            Far from it a good barrister if you are right about your assertions would have toppled the case with ease they didnt twice.

  10. Maggie May June 27, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    The media were not the only ones keeping their heads down in respect of miscarriages of justice. The politicians of the day, namely the SDLP all suffered from myopic vision.It was left to the the late Fr Denis Faul and Monsignor Raymond Murray to campaign on behalf of many young people imprisoned through the Diplock Court system. There are changes no matter how slow. Two members of the RUC in Court today charged with falsifying evidence that convicted four young man who had to go on the run for twenty years. There is sufficient doubt in the case of the Craigavon Two, to warrant a campaign to prove their innocence or guilt

  11. michael c June 27, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    Anti GFA republicans are so irrelevant that SF don’t need to narrow any gulf with them.They are totally rejected by the nationalist community What have virtually all the republican strongholds (ie)Belfast ,south Armagh ,south Derry ,Carrickmore, Coalisland ,Galbally (ETC) in common? They all told the dissidents to feck off when they entered the electoral fray.I’m all for miscarriages of justice being exposed but for the right reasons and not to narrow some imaginary gulf with a crowd of moronic bully boys.Certainly SF should campaign on this issue but still give these non entities no quarter.

    • Wolfe tone June 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

      Michael c
      Be careful there Michael , you are beginning to sound like the SDLP all those years ago, its no wonder Seamus Mallon is bitter.

  12. Jude Collins June 27, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    I think that’s the challenge, Michael C. To make sure that justice is served for the people you don’t like. It’s kinda easy if you like them.

  13. Packy Carty June 27, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    The prosecutor said in open court repeatedly to the three appeal court judges i can not prove beyond reasonable doubt that John Paul Wootton transported Brendan McConville or the Murder weapon on that night. That is the crux of their case that that IS what happened, they said all the ‘evidence’ when taking from a world view proved they were guilty, (Somehow)

    All we the JFTC2 campaign group ask is that you look at the facts of the case, because he had suffered the ordeal he had Gerry Conlon agreed to read the facts of the case, afterwards he became our chairperson and campaigned tirelessly for the Craigavon 2.
    Twitter; @craigavon2

  14. paddykool June 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    Well Jude …busy today…but….
    It is a terrible habit in our society and I suppose, in societies in general , of classifying and commodifying everyone into neat little groups…neat little boxes. It makes all that messy stuff easier to manage . Package everything up into neat tidy groupings so that we can herd them into their appropriate paddocks. You’re either in the tent or you’re outside it.
    Isn’t that about the size of it? You have to vote Labour or you have to vote Tory .If you should fit into neither group you could be a troublemaker….worth the watching. You have to be in a “class”….A nebulous grouping that means very little today . Within the last fifteen or twenty years , they invented yet another class called the “Underclass”….The Establishment has to get a grip on anything remotely “untidy”.

    That all said ,Gerry Conlon was totally innocent of any crime other than being born in an area of Belfast where the assumption was that he was a catholic and then a republican. I say “assumed” because it reminds me of the old joke when confronted by the knuckle-draggers of society …”Are you a Catholic Buddhist or a Protestant Buddhist?”’s the kind of dark joke that happened regularly in Belfast and Northern Ireland and probably still does. I’m sure all these new immigrants are turning the ‘draggers’ wee heads inside out….
    Anyway , Gerry was the kind of guy they wanted to lock up. He’d do alright to keep the pressure off. Get the press off their backs….They had nailed a head.

    A man on a galloping horse would have known that Gerry wasn’t a “Hardened Terrorist”…just a low -key Wee Belfast scampster..a wee scallywag on the lam …who was going to miss somebody like him? The way of the world is, and was then too, ..that if you were some wee nobody , you could get swallowed up by the system easily, except if you were a “hot” story …or a “sexy” story as they’d call it now. Unfortunately Gerry and his family were deemed forgettable for a very long stretch of time.They were Irish in England…

    I know nothing about these too latest lockups from Craigavon . If they looked like brad Pitt or George Clooney they might have a chance….These days if you haven’t got your head around a “Peace Process” that took some forty years to hammer into shape… took a really long time to get to this…..if you are a “dissidenT ….or an “ultra -loyalist”{ Basically the same thing in settled society’s eyes…an Underclass} ….and you’ve hung your colours high on the mast….well, I’m afraid you’re not even in the Big Game anymore…you’ve really missed that Big Bus …you’ve been left behind at the side of a Road to Nowhere City….you just don’t know it yet. You are beneath notice ….

    It’ll not really matter if you are guilty or innocent anymore ….not enough people outside of your friends and family, a handful from your neighbourhood and those poor fuckers who cheer every time you appear in court are even remotely interested in you anymore. …Especially if there is any notion that you might be a “Wrong Un”…..”evidence” against you….no smoke without fire and all that…..

    Gerry Conlon was busted and he was just some wee scareabout back then. Back then in England , they could just crash into your home in the middle of the night and do whatever they liked. There were no neighbours demonstrating …banging bin lids or whatever .You were on your tod.
    I know ; it happened to myself and my friends and we were n’t involved in anything. Gerry was really unfortunate in that the fairy story they cobbled together seemed to make a bit of sense , but they weren’t that bothered anyway.
    Same with these two guys from Craigavon . If they can keep them off the streets to send a message out that anyone can be shut up for the best part of the young years, of their life, the job’s a good one …the idea is to discourage anyone else getting any foolish ideas while this peace process beds in .A lot of people really are slow learners.

    Watch the high -powered water cannons being brought in next time the loyalists get out of hand. .. They’ll have learned a few lessons in faster response.There’ll be no second chances. The cannons will be full of red dye. If that doesn’t do the trick there’ll be plastic baton rounds…..nobody’ll really care anymore if some of them get injured or killed…oh , there’ll be a bit of noise, but nobody’ll really care…they’ll be too busy watching the football…. ….They’re just taking too long to catch up……

  15. Micheal June 27, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    Is this working now?

  16. George Barwood June 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

    Yup. There is also a lack of accountability here – credible people saaying this conviction is a crock, and no credible account of how this conviction is meant to be safe.

    No jury, dirty tricks, uggh.

  17. Ciarán June 27, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    what I suspect is that these men were republicans who disagree with the Sinn Féin strategy of engagement in politics and using politics to achieve their ends. For some that makes them ‘dissident republicans’ and hence committed to violence against the PSNI and the British Army.

    That seems to be exactly what you are implying here. If McConville and Wootton are against “using politics to achieve their ends” then surely they must be “committed to violence”.

  18. Jude Collins June 27, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    Ciarán, Ciarán – as Paddy K above says it’s been a busy day and maybe that’s why I feel like despairing. If you read your quotation from me you’ll see i say ‘the SF strategy of engagement in politics and using politics to achieve their ends’. In other words, the way SF go about using politics – there are many ways in which using politics can take form; the SF way is one particular way. Secondly, if I reject the SF strategy, or if McC and W are against using politics to achieve their ends’ – and you’ll note I’m saying IF – I DON’T KNOW – IF they are against using politics to achieve their ends, it does NOT follow that they must be committed to violence. Use your head, Ciarán. More than 50% of people don’t bother to vote. They clearly don’t think voting will achieve their ends. That doesn’t mean they turn to violence. They might turn to drink, drugs, charity work, writing poetry – there are a lot of alternatives. Life is quite a complex affair, Ciarán – don’t try to reduce it to daft little non sequiturs.

    • Alec McCrory September 17, 2016 at 10:56 am #

      Jude I’m a member of the Justice For The Craigavon 2 committee. We have been campaigning for justice from 2012 because of the felon setting that has convicted two men to life imprisonment. John Paul being only 17 when charged. We have a booklet coming soon wrote by a doctor in transitional justice detailing the failures of the states case against these innocent men. would you like one? Your facts are correct and can be found in the court papers online of both trail and appeal, with much more dirty trick at play. Not to have a go but all media attention bar selected one from the Irish news have been complicit in this injustice. All reporters including yourself have kept your heads sown on this one for 7 long years afraid of being labeled dissident lover’s, which has allowed the state to continue its cover up without much challenge, with complicit media spooling the lies need to do so. That’s until Sinn Fein got involved and now it seems ok to speck out. We have been specking out and we have been on the receiving end of state harassment in their vine attempts to silence us. Brendan and John Paul need us all to lift up our heads and shout aloud we will not except this. Will you join us in this task? if you want anymore information please contact myself or the committee with has a website and facebook page. thanks.

      • Jude Collins September 17, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

        A couple of points, Alec.(i)I decide what things I write about, as does Donal, as does Harry, as does Joe and others. The fact that we don’t write on something you feel strongly about or know about doesn’t mean we’re ‘keeping our heads down’. It means we write on what we choose, not you. (ii) On several occasions I’ve asked people who’ve contacted me to give me some detail on the Craigavon Two. I didn’t get it. If you’re trying to get people interested, you need to do better than that. (iii) If you want to email me what I didn’t get under (ii), I’ll be happy to look at it. I might feel like writing about it then or I might not. But don’t accuse me or anyone else of ‘keeping our heads down’ – again, we are entitled to think for ourselves about what we write on, not be told by others what we should write on.

  19. giordanobruno June 28, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    The witness Z who gave evidence regarding witness M is hardly reliable from the summary found here, (hope the link works).
    Did the 2 offer any explanation regarding the gunshot residue and semtex traces found on the coat? As far as I can see they did not.
    I don’t know if this verdict was safe or not, and the questions you raise are reasonable, but it is also reasonable to try and look at all the evidence available to us.

    • Packy Carty June 28, 2014 at 4:41 pm #


      Who owns the coat, the residue was proven not to have come from an AK47 because it lacked the proper chemical make up could it have come from the British Army who covertly entered the car? could it have been from the firearms enthusiast who previously owned the car? could it have been a state agent?, their were multiple DNA profiles on the jacket, the PSNI were found to have coached Witness M into changing his description of the jacket he claimed to have seen McConville wearing on the night. not forgetting M’s eyewitness testimony was medically impossible as he had severe shortsightedness due to astigmatism

      Can you account for a jacket you know nothing about?

      • giordanobruno June 28, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

        The coat may have belonged to an agent and I assume the defendants insist it did not belong to them. Of course it could also have belonged to a member of the CIRA, a possibilty you seem to have omitted.
        And what of the mention made in the summary about the evidence of witness Z which seems to suggest he was threatened by the CIRA
        I do not say these elements point to the defendants being guilty but simply that you are only presenting the parts which fit your narrative.
        There is certainly a lot of questions and a reliance on circumstantial evidence and also a good deal of speculation.
        But thanks for the link it was interesting.

      • William Fay June 28, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

        Packy, maybe the coat belonged to a Martian who used to own the car on the planet Mars. Maybe it was the Brits who shot the police officer, maybe , maybe, just maybe they’re as guilty as sin, after all a number of judges a lot more intelligent than you and me decided they were.

        • Ceannaire June 28, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

          Yes, William, maybe. And that is the problem – maybe. We are talking about justice here not perhaps or possibly.
          Off course they could be guilty. But maybe…

  20. fra hughes June 29, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    I attended Belfast High Court as an independent journalist during the Appeal against Conviction of Brendan McConnell and John Paul Wotton.I commented on the court proceedings daily, the case for and against the prosecution in my blog northbelfastjournal.
    My conclusion is simple.The evidence as presented at the original trial upon which the appeal was based was insufficient to damn and convict these two young men.I also attended the court on the day reserved judgement was presented to the public by the Appeals Judges as to why the convictions were to be upheld and the appeal dismissed.I can only conclude in my humble opinion that a very clear message is being sent via the Police and the Judiciary from those in power in Stormont and Whitehall that anyone who is connected to any perceived threat to the state and thus the status quo can expect that evidence of a nod and wink to a blind man nature will be accepted in court as the truth and unsafe convictions may possibly follow. Stand up We dare you.? Well Mr Conlon stood up and said not in my name.Lets hope more people do the same!

    • William Fay June 29, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

      Well in my humble opinion, Fra, your supposition in relation to this trial is absolute nonsense. As I previously stated, a number of high court judges were convinced beyond reasonable doubt that these two were guilty. The constant conspiracy theories I read on this site really would put David Icke to shame and does no one any credit, other than crate hostility and doubt. The judges were paid to make these decisions, you were paid to report as, I assume, a neutral journalist, but reading your piece,I have my doubts.

      • Jude Collins June 29, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

        William, because judges hand down a decision does not necessarily mean that decision is right. It may be but it also may not be. If Birmingham, Guildford and other convictions teach us anything they surely teach us that. The idea that a journalist should stop and say “Oh, the judge has declared this to be the case” and then back off is patent nonsense. Either these men’s conviction is sound or it is unsound. There are people who claim it’s unsound. Well then, let’s hear what they believe to be unsound about the convictions and draw conclusions. I really don’t like this ‘Back off because the authorities have spoken’ attitude. I think there’s far too much of it in the Irish temperament.

        • William Fay June 29, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

          So Jude, you really don’t like other peoples views because they’re not yours. You keep stating how you like the diverse viewpoints until you disagree with them. Fra stated he was an independent journalist that is inherently untrue from his statement. I must have a little read of the North Belfast news, it must be riveting.

  21. michael c June 29, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    Fra, if you want this campaign to have any credibility ,stop the bullshit about “those in power in Stormont sending messages”. Leave that crap to the likes of McIntyre and his “touting quill” website.

  22. paul June 30, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    Personally, I would love to see SF start calling(and very loudly) for this case to be reviewed,. remember there were Irishman put away for al ong time on the bais of the Yallop test( test or explosives) Problem is the same men were given fags to smoke just before they were tested by the police. .Wouldn’t you know that cigarette residue would test positive? Guilty. And William, remember the prosecution HID exculpatory evidence that would have freed the Guildord Four. Why should we assume every judge is fair? In this case the gun residue did not match the murder weapon. Juryless trials = farce

  23. yobosayo March 17, 2015 at 7:35 am #

    (1) I would never admit knowing Eamonn McCann, even if I did.

    (2) if you have no clue as to what the evidence actually was, then maybe you should shut up.

    (3) Google is your friend:

    (4) for what I mean by (2), note the comment above mine. Gun residue did not match murder weapon. Funny, but that is not what the judgment says. Also says that Witness Z, the soul who maligned Witness M, was hounded by terrorist scum and their solicitors into making his affidavit (they got it on tape).

    (5) one otherwise has to love these Irish republican scum. Man is part of a conspiracy to kill a cop in his Brits out campaign, yet two days prior he’s at the Benefits Office.

    • Wolfe tone March 17, 2015 at 11:20 am #

      Ha ha. Are you Norma in disguise?

  24. Galloglaigh September 17, 2016 at 11:02 am #

    The PSNI is managed currently by former senior figures in RUC Special Branch. They also run a force within a force which is neither accountable to the Policing Boards, PSNI management, nor anyone outside of MI5. The TSG’s are a shadowy force accountable to spooks. The level of policing accountability promised in the GFA and the devolution of policing and justice hasn’t been achieved.

    We have people being convicted in diplock courts. Shadowy spooks are deceiving the justice system and using the system to intern people. Diplock courts and shadowy spooks don’t offer the level of justice promised in the GFA and the devolution of policing and justice.

    We have people arrested and taken straight to gaol without questioning, presentation of evidence, or the right to due process. Internment drove thousands onto the streets in the ’70s and indeed into the ranks of militant republicans at that time. A prominent Derry republican is being interned without trial. This level of justice falls far short of what was promised in the GFA and the devolution of policing and justice.

    The question we all need to ask, is has the GFA delivered, or has it failed in terms of policing and justice? It would appear the latter is the answer: The devolution of policing and justice has fallen short of what was promised when it was enacted. This in turn vindicated for example the majority of East Tyrone republicans who walked away from Sinn Fein. Many more have followed, and many more will in the future.

    The GFA and the devolution of policing and injustice has delivered the promotion of senior RUC Special Branch into management of the entire force in the North. It has delivered a force within a force accountable only to MI5 spooks. It has delivered internment without trial and diplock courts.

    Cases with similarities to that of the Guilford Four, the Birmingham Six, and the Maguire Seven will continue, for as long as what’s outlined above remains unchanged.