Thursday, October 16, 2014

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A Fitting Epitaph!

Pauline Mellon with a piece that featured in A Diary of a Derry Mother on 15 October 2014. Pauline Mellon is a rights activist in Derry.



Gerry Conlon Against Injustice

To all those elected to Public Office.

You will have learned yesterday of how the Public Prosecution Service have been successful in their bid to increase the sentence given to John Paul Wootton. John Paul who was originally sentenced to fourteen years for the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll in 2009 has had his sentence increased to eighteen years.


In reading my first paragraph I am confident some people may see the increase in John Paul's sentence as a positive move. If this is the case then I suggest you familiarise yourself with the facts of this case. When giving his decision yesterday the judge in the case stated there was no suggestion that John Paul planned the attack or fired the weapon. He further added that "The precise nature of his role in the offence has not been established."

In the absence of substantive evidence John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville were given lengthy prison sentences on the strength of circumstantial and missing evidence and on the word of an informant.  

I ask that you take an objective view and read the campaign literature and court judgements and maybe then you will take a completely different view on what passes for Justice here in the North of Ireland.

It would seem that despite 'our' new dispensation the foul spectre of British Justice remains inherently unjust and that being innocent until proven Irish is not only a relic of the bad old days.

The case against the two men who have become known as the Craigavon two is a prime example of political expediency, in that a conviction has been secured on the most questionable and flimsiest of evidence as was also witnessed in the cases of the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six.

Furthermore it has been confirmed that the British Security Services had surveillance equipment planted in John Paul's car yet crucial data from this device was wiped, would this data have confirmed John Paul's innocence? This is something we'll never know courtesy of British spooks who have their own nefarious agenda.

With these factors in mind we can only conclude that this case demonstrates an element of malevolence and exposes the inbuilt weaknesses in the so called British justice system. It also evidences the failings of the PSNI to carry out a robust and comprehensive investigation into the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll.

The silence of the political mainstream on the issue of the Craigavon two can only be considered as acceptance of this travesty of justice.

It has recently been said that in the case of the Guildford Four with the exception of a few, most politicians remained silent until the point where all legal loopholes had been exploited, lives had been ruined and life sentences had been served. These people were just like Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton.

Gerry Conlon who passed away this year after a short illness was a leading campaigner for the Craigavon two. Gerry Conlon knew first hand the brutish beast that is British justice, he faced it down and through perseverance exposed the fallacy of so called British Justice to the world.

Weeks before he died Gerry Conlon publicly called for the support of the nationalist and republican parties:

Those politicians who claim to represent and speak for nationalist, republicans and the working class should be outraged by this judgement, they now have an opportunity to voice their concern and outrage at this blatant injustice.


It's time those of you elected to public office continue Gerry Conlon's work and help secure the release of the Craigavon two, for if you fail John Paul and Brendan, you are once again failing Gerry Conlon.

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