Written by Dee Fennell #SaoradhNuacht
The decision by Diplock Judge Colton to dismiss the case against Tyrone man DD McLaughlin is one that even casual observers of Republican trials will acknowledge could have far-reaching consequences. DD has always maintained that he was not part of the Irish Republican Army ASU that killed British Prison Screw David Black, in November 2012.
What has been exposed in the course of this case is the corrupt nature of pursued prosecutions against Republicans. In his comments dismissing the case Colton said that Gardai were guilty of “aggressive, oppressive, hectoring and bullying” when forcing a man to falsely identify DD McLaughlin. He continued that as the case was “solely dependent on” the evidence of this man, Stephen Brady from Leitrim, “no court could convict” based on the way this false evidence was gathered.
This case has lasted several years. It has resulted in DD being returned to jail after a previous incarceration, being bailed on draconian conditions and fleeing to the 26 Counties such was his concerns that he was going to be another victim of State-directed injustice. He was seized by Free State Forces in Donegal, before joining the list of Republicans shamefully handed over to the British Occupier – even after a Dublin Court heard that the MI5-directed Maghaberry regime would fundamentally violate his rights as laid out in the European Convention on Human Rights. He has subsequently been remanded in Roe House, and in the course of his weeks-long trial was subjected to two strip searches a day, carried out by the notorious Riot Squad screws.
What is now apparent, ironically confirmed by a British Diplock Judge of all people, is that DD McLaughlin was in jail because of a corrupt Garda culture that acts unchecked and with no balances. It is totally unaccountable, supported by draconian legislation and courts that have also been similarly deemed by organisations including the United Nations and Amnesty International to be incompatible with international law practices that commit to ensuring a fair trial. This corruption is not only enabled by the Leinster House establishment, it is encouraged by the political descendants of the Broy Harriers and Blueshirts.
The outworkings of this strategy have seen scores of Republicans, of various affiliations and none, incarcerated for years. The Special “Criminal” Court sits with three judges and no jury. The rationale given by the State for this is the prospect of jury intimidation. Consistent reports, including from aforementioned human rights organisations, can find no evidence of jury intimidation prior to the SCC being initiated.
When the SCC hears evidence (as in the case of an ongoing trial involving male and female Republicans from Belfast and Dublin) even when the sitting judges rule that evidence was gathered illegally, they paradoxically rule this evidence admissible.
“Belief” evidence is permitted, with a Garda above a certain rank allowed identify someone they believe to be in the IRA. This evidence is admissible and has been ruled as such even when the Garda has admitted they had no knowledge of the defendant until after their arrest. This alone is deemed enough evidence by the State to pass the prosecutorial threshold.
And of course, all this occurs after an arrested individual has their right to silence when under questioning removed, with this also adjudged by the 26 County administration to be supposed evidence of guilt.
DD McLaughlin has today saw the charges against him dismissed. However, the British Public Prosecution Service, acting under the direction of the Direct Ruler who gave permission to prosecute DD as is protocol, have the opportunity to appeal this decision. Another worrying development was the not too subtle invitation from Colton to the 26 County administration to seek DD’s reverse extradition after he has already been extradited up here.
And why would he suggest that? Simply because of all I have listed above. Colton may not have been confident that a conviction would be safe in the Six Counties, but he would be fully aware that the legislation at the disposal of, and the nature of, the Special “Criminal” Court in the 26 Counties would probably see the discredited evidence of an under pressure civilian being bullied by a corrupt Garda welcomed and encouraged.
DD McLaughlin is innocent. There is no evidence that he played any part in the IRA execution of David Black. He should be released immediately, not subject to further abuse of process by either the British Occupier or a compliant 26 County administration.
And it should encourage human rights organisations, many of whom are quick to highlight the repressive State apparatus being utilised by other regimes, to initiate reports on the use of draconian legislation to target political activists here at home. They should no longer be allowed to continue their dereliction of duty in this regard.