Justice For The Craigavon Two Days One and Two of The appeal

10 Oct

From http://www.irpwa.com

The first day of Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton’s appeal against their life sentence convictions for the killing of PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll got underway at the Appeal Court in Belfast today.

Barry McDonald QC for Brendan McConville spoke at length for most of the day. Mr McDonald decimated the perceptions built at the original trial as he completely destroyed any credibility Witness M may have possessed, showing the many contradictions in M’s testimony and how he was susceptible to being lead during his initial interviews with the PSNI, constantly changing his story to suit the PSNI narrative of events and how M was found to be continuously lying under oath.

Barry McDonald described how Justice Girvan the trial judge had wrongly directed himself when he drew negative inference regarding Brendan McConville not taking the stand.

McDonald went on to show that a coat used to link Brendan McConville to the killing was not the coat ‘eyewitness’ M had described and forensic residue found on the jacket actually refuted the possibility that it was wore by the person who fired the fatal shots, The residue was 400 plus particles far in excess of the amount two shots would secrete, it was pointed out the particles were not necessarily from the firing of a weapon but placed in some other fashion, it was also pointed out the particles lacked mercury a component in all AK47 ammunition.

Todays appeal was attended by a large number of family, friends and supporters of both men who packed into the appeal court. A number of human rights organisations were in attendance as was Eamon O’Cuiv, Clare Daly, Maureen O’Sullivan and Mick Wallace four TDs from the Irish Dail (Parliament). Also in attendance was Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four who has campaigned for the Craigavon Two and human rights priest Monsignor Raymond Murray.

Gaelforce Art set the backdrop for today’s event with a fantastic JFTC2 logo on Belfast’s black mountain which could be seen for miles. We the Justice for the Craigavon Two group thank them and everyone who continue to campaign against this miscarriage of Justice.

The appeal is scheduled to continue into next week.


Day two of the appeal.
Brendan’s QC Barry McDonald outlined how the details of the then governor of Maghaberry Steve Rodford were uncovered during a search of Brendan’s cell.
The PSNI tried to have Brendan convicted for the find but it later transpired that prison officers had planted the governor’s details in Brendan’s cell. The incident was investigated by the then prisoners Ombudsman Pauline McCabe, with her report exonerating Brendan and laying the blame squarely with the prison officers on duty.

Worryingly ,while the PSNI were quick to try and charge Brendan over the find, they failed to pursue charges against the prison officers responsible, both of whom still work in Maghaberry.

It emerged however that the PSNI approached Steve Rodford at a hotel and informed him that the case against Brendan McConville was “delicate.” They then asked him to add another “line” to a statement he had given to the PSNI regarding the matter. Brendan’s QC asked for former governor Rodford and former ombudsman Pauline McCabe to attend court next week to be questioned about the matter.

Following Barry McDonald, Arthur Harvey, QC for John Paul Wootton spoke at length.

Arthur Harvey QC strongly insisted that no role in the shooting was ever attributed to Wootton. He said that the trial judge gave non evidence an elevated position when making his decisions which led to the conviction:

“There was not simply a dearth, but a total absence of evidence to connect the defendant to any specific act relevant to the murder of Constable Carroll!”

“The quality of work from the forensic scientists representing the prosecution in this case was lamentable as they failed to conform to even the most fundamental basic requirements and was predicated upon, as one can ultimately see a conclusion which was to be propelled by an already predetermined destination, namely those particles on that jacket came from the firearm event that evening.”

The jacket that prosecution claim was worn in the attack can not be forensically linked to the event, indeed lack of mercury rules out its involvement.

The British Army tracking device which is said to have tracked John Paul’s car mysteriously disappeared and returned with a large section of its data deliberately deleted, the remaining data which was relied upon in court showed the car parked in the adjacent housing estate 15 minutes after the fatal shooting, when the car finally moved off it did so in a normal fashion, the claims that John Paul had dropped Brendan off could not be proven.

Harvey went on to describe how the resulting factor , subsequently used to convict John Paul Wootton, was based on the ‘prisoners fallacy.’-

If he smiled he was guilty; if he frowned he was guilty; if he had shown no emotion he was guilty; if he was emotional he was guilty.
In other words the original trial judge had a pre-determined mindset that John Paul Wootton was guilty.
The question remains why? For seasoned human rights campaigner Gerry Conlon, it must have sounded all too familiar as he listened intently in the public gallery.

Again throughout Wootton’s defence presentation, Mr Harvey QC demonstrated how Justice Girvan in the original trial had continually misguided himself during trial’s judgement.

The JFTC2 Group again thank everyone who attended court today to witness this continuing spectacle.

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