Monday, March 30, 2015

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Who is Christy Walsh?

Pauline Mellon flags up what is happening to Christy Walsh who is no on his 15th day of hunger strike in a bid to have his name fully cleared. Pauline Mellon is a rights activist and justice campaigner in the North West. She Blogs at The Diary of A Derry Mother.

Have you heard about Christy Walsh? Who? I hear you ask, up until a few days I had heard nothing until I was directed to the case via letters from Christy Walsh published on 'The 'Pensive Quill.'

We are often told that there is no hierarchy of victims stemming from the period referred to as the 'troubles'. In her 2007 article, Who are the victims? Debates, concepts and contestation in 'post-conflict' Northern Ireland Dr Sara McDowell wrote:
Defining the term ‘victim’ is a task fraught with difficulty within the contested terrain of Northern Ireland. In human terms, ‘the Troubles’ cost approximately 3,700 lives and imparted a tangible and intangible heritage of loss, pain and suffering to a much wider population.

Today there is a man on hunger strike to highlight how he was treated by our so called justice system during this period and after. An aggrieved Christy Walsh writes regularly to the Northern Ireland First and Deputy First Ministers to advise them of his situation and the action he has taken. From reading his correspondence Christy appears disturbed at being continually criminalised by the system that failed and continues to fail him as a citizen.

Jailed in 1991 in what can be only described as another 'troubles related' miscarriage of justice Christy Walsh spent 7 years in prison, his conviction was quashed following an unprecedented third appeal in 2010.

Background Facts: 


This situation dates back to 1991 when Christy Walsh was arrested by a member of the Parachute Regiment in West Belfast accused of possessing a coffee jar device which was found on a nearby wall. 

Following his arrest he was taken for interrogation to Castlereagh and questioned over a period of two days in the absence of a lawyer. Later on legal advice Christy gave a written account of his movements on the day to police. The soldier who stopped Christy alleged that he had instructed Christy to remove a coffee jar device from his pocket. In October of that year the findings of forensic examinations could not connect Christy or his coat to the coffee jar device. In addition to this experts confirmed that there was no attempt made to clean the jar. 

In February of the following year Christy was advised that a second soldier was claiming to have witnessed him being instructed to remove the device from his coat pocket. During his trial that December the trial judge seemed to take more issue with Christy choosing to remain silent during court proceedings than with the documented flaws in the evidence provided by the soldiers. In the absence of forensic or any substantive evidence Christy Walsh was sentenced in a Diplock Court to 14 years in prison.

During his appeal in January 2002 the Court of Appeal raised concern over how the former judge drew adverse inference in respect of Christy's silence in court despite his co-operation with both the army and police being a matter of record. In legal terms adverse inference means drawing inference/conclusion, unfavourable to the concerned party. Despite this the Court of Appeal ruled that “an exception” was justified with Christy's conviction considered safe despite it being in breach of article 6 of the European Convention which provides for the right to a fair trial. 

During a third appeal in March 2010 the Court of Appeal concluded that Christy's conviction was unsafe. Subsequently when reading the prosecutors file Christy discovered that evidence in relation to the arrest of an IRA man around the same time had been omitted during his trial in 1992.

Over the past number of weeks Christy has been writing to the First and Deputy First Ministers to alert them to the action he has taken. This man is clearly aggrieved at how he has been treated, so much so that he has embarked on a hunger strike to have his voice heard.

When reading through the facts of this case one word in particular continually sprang to mind, the word turmoil. Furthermore I could see similarities in this case and the case of Bloody Sunday Victim Gerald Donaghey.

Twenty-one chapters of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry Saville Report focused on whether or not Gerald Donaghey had nail bombs in his pockets when his body arrived at an Army station on Foyle Road, Derry. Evidence provided by numerous sources including the doctor who examined the young boy confirmed that this was not the case. The only rational explanation is that these devices were planted on the young boys body. Not content with murdering Gerald Donaghey the British state, its forces and apologists set about criminalising him, a stain on his memory perpetuated by the Saville inquiry to this day.

Keeping what happened to Gerald Donaghey in life and in death in mind remember this is the same British regiment who through their manipulation of the justice system used a similar method to secure the conviction against Christy Walsh. A man who to this day evidently bears the scars that stem from a blatant miscarriage of justice. 

Christy Walsh has never been compensated for what he suffered and continues to suffer. He is in need of urgent support yet outside of internet sources his situation conveniently escapes the notice of the mainstream press not to mention the attention of those he seeks to reach in OFMDFM. 

I would encourage everyone to write to both Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness to demand they intervene in this case before it is too late.

Email for both: ps.ministers@ofmdfmni.gov.uk

13 comments :

Seán Ó Maoilearca said...

Christy if you haven't done so already get on the blower to either Stephen Nolan or William Crawley both Radio Ulster presenters who could blow this whole thing wide open for you.


The other option would be to buy or borrow an old British army tin pig that can be purchased on Milweb and drive it as hard and as fast as you can through the bottom gate at Stormont then up the steps and in through the front doors.


Good luck with your quest for justice.

diplockcourts said...

So says the man with his hand on Maggie Thatchers bosom! (I looked at your profile)

Thanks you for your support.

Seán Ó Maoilearca said...

And what has that got to do with what I suggested?

Msspikemilligan said...

Diplock courts,I would have thought a natural ally of yours would be MLA Raymond Mc Cartney. Like yourself,a former republican, like yourself again, I believe cleared in a diplock court of appeal. He's a former hunger striker and in his present position must have the ear of David Ford and other characters in this story.
Do you care to share if you have had any exchange with him and enlighten us on what his position is re: your case?

Msspikemilligan said...

Pauline Mellon, apologies for jumping in with a comment on your post without first thanking you for the information. Your posts are always informative and sincere.
I think this site is important in that people, of increasing diversity, appear to be seekers of the 'truth', be they republican,loyalist,conservative unionist,whatever. So I think serious questions need to be asked. Good luck

Tain Bo said...

Msspikemilligan

Why do you need to know if A had contact with B, based on similar parallels. A more reasonable question is why the politicians and the media are silent. Silent, not only in this case which is entering into an uncertain dangerous phase as the days go by? The same silence as many other cases of innocent people wrongfully convicted now trying to clear their names.

I do not know Christy nor am I in agreement with his hunger strike though that does not prevent me from doing what little I can to raise awareness.
I certainly do not need to know his life story just the pertinent facts, which seem clear.

Give my best regards to Henrietta

Tain Bo said...

Sean O,

you should leave comedy to those who are funny. I have never heard anyone describe a Brit Pig as a tin pig. Perhaps when you are not too busy molesting creepy blow up dolls you could take the time and shite one of those tin pigs out that might clear out your sardonic bowels.

Msspikemilligan said...

Tain Bo, I think it is quiet reasonable to ask if there has been a response from Mr McCartney! He is after all a senior member of the biggest nationalist party.
In relation to any hunger strike I think recent revelations re-1981 prove that people must ask questions now,while people are still alive!
Just trying to find the truth!

Tain Bo said...

Msspikemilligan

have you asked the same from McCartney or why the party is not highlighting the issue of wrongful convictions; regarding the revelations of the 1981 hunger strike, it would be safe to assume silence is preferred.

In the broader sense are they deliberately ignoring Christy based on the term Hunger Strike as for most people the term is an automatic return to 1981 with many unanswered questions.

I do not have a problem with questions being asked however, I would presume there are limitations on what may are may not be answerable for various reasons.
Politicians have the power to find an amicable solution to date they seem to be failing to fairly represent or even acknowledge this case. Is it because the terms republican and hunger strike and worse attempting to receive justice from a system with a litany of wrongful imprisonment.

It is day 17 and even here, there is little commentary are we asking the wrong people the wrong questions. As usual, it takes drastic measures to challenge the system, should we be questioning the man or the system.

Even though I do not agree with the method I can only voice my support for the man not out of sympathy but based in my knowledge of other people convicted for offenses they did not commit.

Seán Ó Maoilearca said...

Tain

I wasn’t going to reply to what you said because being so far off the mark I thought you weren’t worth it. But I believe you crossed a line so I decided not to let you away with it.

The reality is you have absolutely no idea who I am, where I’m from nor my back round or political views.

The ‘moment’ with Thatcher wasn’t sensual on my part or even consensual on her part but an act intended to humiliate her in some small way from a republican point of view while she was still alive as the picture was taken at London’s Madame Tussauds 10 years before she died.

The thing is I haven’t forgotten the criminalization process which Thatcher and her party did their damnedest to implement unlike the chancres and bluffers who work for her party in Stormont.
I can still vividly remember the early hours of Tuesday 5TH May 1981 when my mother entered the bedroom of me and my brothers, switched on the light and told us that Bobby had just passed away.

As for HUMBER armoured personal carriers, they are “Tin Pigs” always were and always will be, I don’t ever recall anyone yelling out ‘Look there’s a Brit Pig coming up the street” in the middle of a riot, you obviously led a sheltered existence through the worst of it.

Christy has my full support but as for you, you can kiss my ass!

Msspikemilligan said...

Tain bo
You said
"have you asked the same from McCartney or why the party is not highlighting the issue of wrongful convictions;"
Thats a response worthy of a 10 year old in the playground! First of all ,I'm not a researcher for this protest. All I asked was a simple question.
As Sean has just said maybe you are making assumptions about people you know nothing about!
Tain bo said
"I do not have a problem with questions being asked however,I would presume there are limitations on what may or may not be answerable for various reasons"
Now theres an answer worthy of any well oiled political machine! But I would'nt make assumptions about you. I dont know you.
I'm goin to exit this conversation before you bring it further into the toilet bowl.
Again fair play to Pauline. I'll leave you with a quote from someone whose intellect went beyond you or I. Its quite relevant as he was a former hungerstrike and just one of the most decent of people. The late Pat Mc Geown (RIP) was referencing struggle,protest and said "if you want anything acheived ,you better be prepared to ask ,the when ,the where,the why and the how"

Tain Bo said...

Sean O,

your first choice was the correct one.

Correct, I do not know you but then again I do not know the Pope either just to be clear I only know a handful of the world’s inhabitants.

As for your moment with the former head dummy tit that is your business.

I have my own clear recollections from 81, as do most I know.

Amusing, you could hear a Pig before you would see it.

Thanks for the offer but I will pass.

Tain Bo said...

Msspike,

I was not having a go at you, is there a requirement on an open forum that all should know one and other.

The late Pat Mc Geown (RIP) was referencing struggle, protest and said "if you want anything acheived ,you better be prepared to ask ,the when ,the where, the why and the how"

I would add, you also better be prepared to wade through the sewer of muck and deceit. The same sewer system that Christy and others are forced to go through.

I would be less informed if it wasn’t for the Quill and the articles, the lack of information nowadays is the standard in republican circles unless it is someone in SF protesting about something.