Murray is a republican of the non-respectable variety.
A traditionalist republican, he simply thinks Sinn
Fein has sold out. Whether the party did sell out
or - as those republicans less enamoured of tradition
would put it - simply failed, a swathe of anecdotal
evidence suggests that Murray is hardly alone in his
and articulate, Murray is possessed of a maturity
which leaves him unruffled when other republicans
are critical of his own political views. He fights
his corner, is amenable to argument but never to
bullying. Republicans of a different hue, however,
are not the only people to take umbrage at the activities
or views of Paddy Murray.
on bail for kidnap related charges which have been
described as highly questionable, Murray recently
won a case against the PSNI who arbitrarily tried
to restrict his travel arrangements within the North.
annoyed at the ruling against it the PSNI has seemingly
taken to getting at Murray in other ways. He was
arrested at 6am on the morning of July 14 and brought
to Antrim holding centre. There he was charged with
IRA membership, purchasing timing devices and making
bombs. The case against him was that a shop keeper
had alleged that the former republican prisoner
had bought timing devices from him on two separate
occasions eighteen months earlier.
Murray assented to a police request that he take
part in an identity parade. The format of the parade
was that a video recording of Murray and various
still photographs of him being shown to the witness
in a separate police station. The witness simply
referred to as Witness A was clad in a boiler suit
and balaclava. Murray's solicitor, despite describing
the procedure as a sham, remained throughout in
order to best serve his client's interests.
witness who was styled more like a paramilitary
gangster than an upholder of the law failed to identify
Murray. The witness was then asked to go through
the procedure once again. Murray's solicitor strenuously
objected and said he would be raising the matter
with Nuala O'Loan. The PSNI ignored him before proceeding
to name Murray to the masked witness and then putting
the Antrim republican through the procedure for
a second time. The result was the same, the witness
failed to identify Murray and the PSNI was compelled
to withdraw the charges they had earlier put to
him. He was subsequently released.
all being well that ends well, there are three reasons
for public alarm arising from the police treatment
of Paddy Murray. This treatment sits against a backdrop
which illustrates that the PSNI in order to put
people in prison are prepared not only to use the
old methods from the days when it was called the
RUC, but are actually striving to reinforce them
with practices which are draconian and unprecedented.
the PSNI has already demonstrated how it was prepared
to fabricate evidence against republicans in the
case of two South Down men and a Derry man. They
were all eventually acquitted amid a furore over
forensic malpractice. In their eagerness to use
the law in the sense once urged by Frank Kitson,
to dispose of unwanted members of the public, the
PSNI was clearly prepared to flagrantly breach procedures
stipulated by the rule of law for the protection
of members of the public.
the PSNI use of US money grabber Dave Rupert in
the case against the dissident republican Noel Abernathy
underlines a further lowering of the bar in terms
of defendants' rights. Rupert's evidence at the
trial of Michael McKevitt was so preposterous that
many people think on any legal reading of the McKevitt
case, that Rupert should be serving time for perjury.
the contempt for the legal practitioners is a worrying
trend. Murray's solicitor was treated as if he didn't
exist. This follows on the heels of the PSNI totally
undermining lawyer-client confidentiality by bugging
a legal consultation between solicitor Manmohan
"Johnny" Sandhu,and one of his clients.
of these strands are worrying in their own right,
but when weaved together they can form a formidable
knot to be pressed against the throat of any justice
system. The further dilution of standards and precedents
that ostensibly serve to protect the public from
bad policing, is something that should be monitored
and guarded against. Treating due process as if
it did not exist and in its place pursuing a course
of action which dupes legal standards on the admissibility
of evidence, suggests that policing in the North
has a sinister hankering for the past this society
is supposed to have left behind.