The Historic Cases of Murder Left Unprosecuted from The Irish Troubles (1969-2000)
In criminal justice in our realm the most serious cases never die. If the accused stays quiet he may take his secret to the grave. But in these cases I write of the extreme culpability of the accused demands justice should be done and be seen to be done, as long as the Attorney-Generals have the will power to prosecute, whether in London or Northern Ireland.
We all know of Gerry Adams – a senior figure for decades in Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican and Nationalist political party. We did not know until recently he was suspected of a brutal kidnap and murder in the Irish Province, which occurred in the early 1970’s. He would have had accomplices. His case did not reach the Court Room door in Belfast High Court for unclear reasons.
Another less well known Irishman has been under suspicion for the gravely serious Hyde Park London blast which killed several Household cavalrymen and their horses in the 1980’s. Both these investigations had been initiated by the London police and Northern Irish police independently. The Metropolitan police were told to drop the Hyde Park case and desist as the accused for this Hyde Park fatalities explosion had foolishly been offered a little written immunity from prosecution at a date after 2000 by our own Civil Service acting contrary to good sense and practice.
What has happened to our criminal justice when Gerry Adams and this man accused for cold blooded murders are “let off”, yet the likes of Rolf Harris and others are backtracked over decades for less grave crimes and sentenced to prison terms. I do not excuse Harris and these others, but they did not commit murder most foul. I say Adams and this individual accused of the Hyde Park bomb should not be “let go”. It is weak decision making and inconsistent as well. If this “comfort” letter was sent to the Hyde Park accused offering no action for planned murder carried out and it binds our Director and Attorney, then make the London Civil Servants concerned publicly accountable for their impudence and recklessness.
Who authorised these British Officials to write so unwisely to this accused and others quite possibly in the same position in a similar vein? The murders I write of are virtually unforgiveable, but I speak not of religious contrition for murder, I write of the crying shame of the English and Northern Irish prosecutors for not pursuing these two to the Bar of the Court Room. Let the Senior Judges rule on these matters in London and Belfast.
3. The Process to Uncovering the Two Accused Suspects
How did the process work? These murders were committed decades ago and the overt results of these investigations took time to mature and appear. In Northern Ireland and London these two cases came to the public eye with the arrest of Gerry Adams in Belfast and the summons to the Hyde Park Bomb accused in London. This publicity was in the 2013-14 period I believe. It was an appalling state of affairs to see these two cases dismantled when the police concerned wished to see them tested in Court, and had the evidence to justify a trial certainly for the Hyde Park accused and probably in the Adams case as well. Was there political pressure? I fear some of the politicians did intermeddle. Sir Michael Havers QC would have let both these cases see the light of day I have no doubt. We practised in the same chambers. I claim no expertise in abuse of process I concede.
I submit this “comfort” letter to this accused of the Hyde Park bomb did not bind our Director to prevent this prosecution proceeding. Was evidence found after this “letter” was sent to this accused and before process in Court began? I would not be surprised as the police would not delay in putting the evidence to the Director. They would not “sit” on the evidence for years. It looks as though neither the Director nor the Met. Police were consulted before this “comfort” letter I speak of went out by the executive. Terrible conduct by our Civil Servants!
4. These Two Particular Cases and the Judges
These grade one murders (Adams and Hyde Park) will not be over-looked by our Judges: English and Northern Irish. There have been several unsolved bombings since 1970: Deal, Regents Park, Hyde Park and Knightsbridge to name some particular ones attributed to Republican Irish groups. Persons argue there have been miscarriages of justice arising out of Irish Republican bombings in England in the 1970’s – I beg to differ as my readers will have noted. I argue the Hyde Park bomb case should be allowed to proceed to conviction or acquittal as a lead case and to lay the ghost of miscarriage in England to rest. Obviously the case depends on the police having the evidence. No self respecting English Judge will permit such a case not to proceed, however long ago it happened if there is a prima facie case on the papers.
This Hyde Park accused is compos mentis apparently. I ask again, who authorised this foolish “comfort” letter to be sent? I would strongly doubt the Director or the Attorney would willingly sanction such letters to be delivered to suspects, and in particular the Hyde Park suspect as he would have been. I don’t know if Gerry Adams also got one of these letters. His alleged crimes were in the Northern Ireland jurisdiction. If the Northern Ireland Attorney has the strength to take the Gerry Adams case to Court so the English Attorney should take the Hyde Park accused case to our Courts.
These Attorneys should act in unison in these historic cases, which go to the heart of our criminal justice in England and Northern Ireland. Once more we are up against alleged unforgiving and remorseless Irish Republican murderers. Adams is high profile whereas we don’t know much about the Hyde Park accused. What we stand for in London by our English Attorney-General, the Northern Irish Attorney should also stand for in Belfast and Northern Ireland. The scourge of Irish Republican violence was felt grievously in both our jurisdictions in the Troubles of the 1969-2000 period.
Has the English Attorney-General intervened to stop the Hyde Park case coming to Court supported by the Director on account of this imprecise “letter” suggesting no prosecution will follow? I would say they were both prepared to acquiesce in the halt of this case after the police brought it to the fore and the “letter” emerged. To which case facts did this “letter” expressly apply? Did the “letter” offer immunity for a whole range of historic cases? Was the “letter” binding for all time and on all persons in authority for the Crown now and later? Why was this individual, who was named in the press, not prosecuted to the Crown Court for this Hyde Park explosion? This informal “letter” usurped the functions of the Director and Attorney when sent post-2000. This “comfort” letter was not worth the paper it was written on for all these reason in this essay.
The extreme gravity of this small scale Hyde Park massacre of troopers and their horses means it should be brought to the Court Room of the London Crown Court of trial, regardless of the outcome of the Gerry Adams case in Belfast. The chosen procedure was a summons for this Hyde Park nail bomb accused then trial before Judge and Jury. The circumstantial evidence will already have been gathered with the interview replies by our police. The police had summoned this Hyde Park bomb accused to Court presumably with the approval of the Director before the case was suddenly and strangely stopped in its tracks. The so called “comfort” letter was cited as the very poor excuse by the press. I say arraign this accused and permit pre-trial submissions before swearing in the Jury and trying the Defendant. If the Jury convict let the trial Judge sentence, as with all historic trials, in accordance with his powers and discretion. There will be no death penalty available however to that Judge I concede, as has been the case since 1968.
This Hyde Park historic murder case is the one to count above all others since 2000 as things stand, due to its infamy, seriousness and appearance in Court a short time ago. At last an English Jury will try a murders case once more for an Irish nationalist planned atrocity committed on the mainland, and the result will be in the balance, in all likelihood, from arraignment to delivery of the verdicts by the Jury foreman. I say that is trial by Jury as it should be done. The police will not let us down – may we support the presiding Judge, Counsel, the Director and the Jury along this road. Let there be right! That will be their rallying cry! May Justice be done the English way!