FETCH ....... !
By Gene Kerrigan .
Four years ago this month the RUC began trying to put JOHN O' REILLY away . Four 'Supergrasses' failed to do the job . O' REILLY is now in Michael Noonan's custody . The RUC have demanded that Noonan "...bring him forthwith .. " to answer the accusations of HARRY KIRKPATRICK .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1986 .
On November 4 , 1985 , John O' Reilly was again arrested under Section 30 , this time in Limerick ; the ostensible reason for this arrest was to question him about a robbery which had taken place . In Portlaoise he had been questioned for forty-eight hours , having been lifted so that his identity could be checked in case of a motoring offence .
Now , ostensibly on a matter of armed robbery , he was held for just five hours ; he was then released . As he attempted to leave the Garda Station , however , he was arrested on the RUC warrant . He was committed to Portlaoise Prison and remains there awaiting extradition .
By fleeing South , John O' Reilly had missed taking part in the 'famous' Harry Kirkpatrick trial ; had he not skipped bail he would have been one of twenty-eight defendants tried simultaneously on 201 charges arising from thirty separate incidents - all to be heard before one judge who would remember and weigh the 'evidence' on all 201 charges as applying to each of the twenty-eight defendants !
Had such a trial taken place before a jury , involving even one defendant on one charge , the judge would have been legally bound to warn the jury that the uncorroborated evidence of an accomplice would be an unsafe basis on which to convict . The jury , having weighted the 'evidence' , would be free to reject the judge's advice .
The case against the twenty-seven defendants , minus John O' Reilly , went ahead : the judge , Justice Carswell , described Harry Kirkpatrick as " ...a man of bad character and low moral standards (given to ) a series of lies and evasions .. " .......
TO WESTMINSTER AND BACK .......
The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .
In July 1971 , during a stone-throwing riot , the first two Derrymen were shot dead by British soldiers : John Hume (SDLP) insisted that his party withdraw from Stormont in protest : Gerry Fitt , never a man for abstention , disagreed . But Hume won the argument and went a step further , setting up an alternative Parliament in Dungiven , so far west of the Bann that the Glenshane Pass had to be negotiated to get to it . Gerry Fitt had no car , could'nt drive , and they wanted him down there to consider abstractions .
In August 1971 internment was introduced and hundreds of Belfast Catholics were lifted from their beds ; Gerry Fitt endorsed the SDLP decision to not even discuss things with the British government and flew off to America to counteract the propaganda being put about by a Tory Minister who had gone over to disinform .
A British soldier was shot on the Louth/Armagh border while both men were in America , and Gerry Fitt said of this on TV that it was "...one more regrettable and tragic incident which we have to expect while the Border exists and the British troops continue to carry out the sectarian will of the Unionist government . "
He raised funds among Irish Americans for the campaign of civil disobedience , including the witholding of rent and rates , upon which the entire nationalist community had launched , with the united backing of both Republicans and the SDLP . Then came 'Bloody Sunday' , January 1972 .......
UPS AND DOWNS FOR RUC's PERJURER STRATEGY .......
SEAN DELANEY looks at recent developments in the use of perjurers in the North .
From ' IRIS ' magazine , November 1983 .
The informer Patrick McGurk had implicated nine Dungannon men as far back as February 1982 , five of whom had been held on remand for twenty months - the longest remand period involved in any of the perjurer cases . On September 20 1982 , the RUC , apparently doubtful that Patrick McGurk would go through with his 'evidence' if produced in court , instead invoked the obsolete 'Bill of Indictment' to by-pass the preliminary enquiry stage of the case against the nine accused . This meant that , until his return to Dungannon on Wednesday 26th October , Patrick McGurk had been held incommunicado , without access to family or friends , throughout the 20-month period .
If , as seems to be the case , Patrick McGurk was unwilling to testify but was prevented by the RUC from retracting and prevented from contacting his family , it makes a nonsense of RUC assertions that - once having been given immunity from prosecution - their perjurers ( or 'converted terrorists' in RUC jargon !) are 'free agents' voluntarily in protective custody . Not surprisingly , some of the defendants in the McGurk case are said to be considering suing the RUC for wrongful imprisonment .
The Robert Lean episode , too , has gone a long way to publicly undermining propaganda about 'converted terrorists' and 'free agents' : not only did Robert Lean feel so unfree that he felt it necessary to escape from 'protective custody' in Palace Barracks , Hollywood , County Down , by climbing out of a window and stealing the car of his RUC 'minder' , but , on leaving a press conference in West Belfast the following afternoon , he was immediately arrested under Section 12 and held in Castlereagh for a further seven days .......