Thursday, April 16, 2015

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Seamus Treacy: The Belfast Judge From The Twilight Zone?

Ed Moloney invites scrutiny of the double standards applied by James Treacy, a member of the British judiciary in the North. Ed Moloney is a well known Irish journalist living in New York. He was the project director for Boston College’s oral history project. He blogs at The Broken Elbow.

 

  • Read these two stories and when you’re finished ask yourself if you have gone to sleep and woken up in the middle of a Twilight Zone script:





 
 
 

Sister of UVF victim loses dossier disclosure battle 16:50 Tuesday 14 April 2015 (Belfast News Letter)

The sister of a man murdered by loyalist paramilitaries on the streets of Belfast has lost her legal battle to secure disclosure of a full dossier on the shooting.A High Court judge ruled that the Secretary of State was right to refuse to hand over all material gathered by an international body who examined Bobby Moffett’s “public execution”.

The victim’s sister, Irene Owens, wanted the information supplied to the coroner for an inquest into the killing.But Mr Justice Treacy pointed out how the now defunct Independent Monitoring Commission had operated on a confidential basis in order to protect its sources. He said: “Any decision other than that arrived at by the Secretary of State would have been a grave betrayal of those who assisted the vital work of the IMC, and of the IMC themselves.” Once the “seal of its archive is broken” those who provided information to the body would be exposed to the risk of retribution, he added. Mr Moffett, 43, was shot dead at point-blank range in front of shoppers and children on Belfast’s Shankill Road in May 2010. Months later the IMC issued a special report declaring his murder had been sanctioned by the UVF’s leadership.

The international body concluded that he was targeted due to his perceived flouting of UVF authority, and to send a message to the organisation and the community that this authority was not to be challenged.

 In its report the commission described the killing as a public execution, but declined to say that it amounted to a breach of the terror grouping’s ceasefire.

So far only an edited version of the report has been supplied for the purposes of holding an inquest.

Ms Owens, was seeking a judicial review which would compel the Secretary of State to release the dossier in full.

Her lawyers argued that anything less undermines the coroner’s ability to oversee a human rights-compliant inquest.
 


Seamus Treacy, on the right, pictured after he made silk at the NI bar. He is now a High Court judge......
Seamus Treacy, on the right, pictured after he made silk at the NI bar. He is now a High Court judge……
 
October 2, 2012

McIntyre loses IRA tapes case

McIntyre loses IRA tapes case
UTV News


Tuesday, 02 October 2012

A former IRA volunteer-turned-writer has lost his High Court bid to prevent police taking possession of his interviews with a convicted bomber.

Anthony McIntyre was seeking to restrain disclosure of confidential archived material compiled for a history project at Boston College in the United States.

PSNI detectives wanted access to all interviews he carried out with Dolours Price as part of their investigation into the 1972 murder of Belfast woman Jean McConville, one of the so-called Disappeared.

Mr McIntyre claimed releasing the tapes and transcripts to police would put him under greater threat of being killed by dissident republicans who would perceive it as a betrayal of the IRA’s code of silence.

However, a judge dismissed his case after a senior detective stated he was not aware of any current, increased risk to the researcher due to his work on the project.

Mr Justice Treacy said: “In light of the unequivocal response from the PSNI, supported by the threat assessment from the security authorities, I conclude that the applicant has failed to make out an arguable case that disclosure of the Boston College tapes would, as he claimed, materially increase the risk to his life or that of his family.”

Loyalist and republican paramilitaries gave interviews to Mr McIntyre and journalist Ed Moloney for the college’s Belfast Project, an examination of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Those who took part included Price, who was jailed for her part in a bomb attack on the Old Bailey in London in 1973.

Recordings were carried out on the understanding that they would only be made public once interviewees had died.

However, the US courts have ruled that the Price interviews should be handed over to the PSNI.

The court heard Mr Moloney has stated that his research colleague’s interviews with Price contain nothing relevant to the Jean McConville murder investigation.

Lawyers for Mr McIntyre argued that his Article 2 right to life under the European Convention on Human Rights trumped the PSNI’s legal obligation to investigate murder.

But Mr Justice Treacy ruled that the former IRA man’s rights cannot prohibit police from seeking or receiving material relevant to a serious, live criminal inquiry.

“Investigating murder and gathering relevant material is not only a requirement of domestic law, but it is also a requirement of the positive duty which Article 2 imposes upon contracting States,” he said.

Rejecting Mr McIntyre’s application for judicial review, the judge added: “On the applicant’s case the PSNI is prohibited from receiving material no matter how probative – even a confession to murder if it exists – because of the risk from the IRA, dissident or otherwise.

“The very notion that a risk generated by the perpetrators or their associates could require the PSNI, or indeed the Court, to effectively suppress material potentially relevant to murder is fundamentally inconsistent with the very nature of the rule of law and Article 2 itself.”

Despite the ruling, the PSNI will not yet automatically gain access to the tapes. Lawyers for Mr McIntyre are expected to lodge an appeal against Mr Justice Treacy’s decision.

Meanwhile, any handover of the material has also been put on hold by the courts in America, pending a further hearing before the US Supreme Court.

Mr McIntyre’s solicitor, Kevin Winters, confirmed: “We have consulted with our client and we are set to appeal.

“We also welcome the stay that has been granted in the American courts because it prevents the handover of the tapes.

“That decision assists Mr McIntyre while he deals with the outstanding appeal issues arising from today’s judgment.”

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