Reflection on the past, relevant Now.

brokenjusticeNow on the second week of the court of appeal case of, the Queen-v- John Paul Wootton, Brendan McConville, Justice Watch Ireland would like to help contextualise the current event; with dictum from what was supposed to be one of the most progressive British Judges ever to hold senior office. In 1980, during an appeal by the Birmingham Six (who were later acquitted) Lord Denning judged that the men should be stopped from challenging legal decisions. He listed several reasons for not allowing their appeal:

“Just consider the course of events if their action were to proceed to trial … If the six men failed it would mean that much time and money and worry would have been expended by many people to no good purpose. If they won, it would mean that the police were guilty of perjury; that they were guilty of violence and threats; that the confessions were involuntary and improperly admitted in evidence; and that the convictions were erroneous. … That was such an appalling vista that every sensible person would say, “It cannot be right that these actions should go any further.”

 Below are the words, of the song ‘SCAPEGOATS’ written and played by human rights campaigner Christy Moore; (read More)

Craigavon Two’s Appeal update

Final Day of Appeal – ‘Justice for the Craigavon Two’
Judgement Reserved to be Handed Down as Soon as Practicable
j4c2Present at the final days evidence and submissions which were presented in the Craigavon Two Appeal trial at Belfast High Court were Constable Stephen Carrolls widow Kate Carroll the police officers involved in the original investigation and subsequent trial along with the the families of both the men seeking through their appeal to have their convictions quashed for the murder of Constable Carroll, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton.
Detective Chief Inspector Harkness retook the stand this morning to continue to be cross examined by Queens Counsel for the defense Mr Barry McDonald .DCI Harkness proceeded to produce a document that he wished to read from which had not been previously been disclosed to the court the defense team or the prosecution.

This document related to a timetable of events which he (Harkness) believed proved he had been supplied with covertly recorded intelligence on April 12 2013 at 17.03 material which had been received on April 11 2013 by intelligence officers and then passed onto him ,that led him to believe that witness Ms father his family and indeed the community were in danger and this is the basis upon he which he tasked one of his officers to open a discreet investigation into witness Ms father at 17.10 on April 12 2013. (Read More)

 

Covert surveillance ‘Turned off’ during PSNI intimidation. 20/09/13

RUC_PSNIDefense teams for the Craigavon Two were in the appeal court today to seek disclosure of surveillance material relating to the harassment by the PSNI of a key defense witness for the upcoming appeal.

The close family member of Witness M, the key prosecution witness, came forward and gave a sworn affidavit destroying Witness M and his credibility.

The Close family member was visited at his home by the PSNI who he says forced their way in and threatened him to withdraw his sworn testimony, the family member refused to bow to the pressure and the following day was arrested and held for two days in Dungannon PSNI Station where he says he was pressured into withdrawing his testimony. (READ MORE)

Statement from the ‘Justice for the Craigavon Two’ campaign group. 29/04/13

310955_544022838974481_1376708387_nToday Both Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton were returned to Maghaberry Jail on the first day of their appeal against the wrongful conviction for the killing of PSNI officer, Constable Carroll.

It was with a sense of disbelief in the opening moments of the hearing that the public prosecution service called for an immediate adjournment due to what they called fresh evidence coming forward from a covert intelligence operation.

This ‘intelligence’ is purporting to the arrest of a new defence witness. This defence witness is a close relation of the key prosecution witness (Witness M) who is central to the original prosecution case. (READ MORE)

Letter from the Craigavon Two, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton 26/04/13

craig.jpgWe the Craigavon Two as we have become known, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton are to begin our appeal against our life sentence convictions for the killing of PSNI member Stephen Carroll.

We have consistently maintained our innocence and we believe as do others that the case against us represents a serious miscarriage of justice,we were tried in exceptional circumstances under the old and seriously flawed Diplock process, a hangover from the long conflict here, this system deprived us of a trial by a jury of our peers, instead a single judge presided over and convicted us.   (Read more)

Paddy Hill of the ‘Birmingham Six’ says the ‘Craigavon Two’ are INNOCENT

Paddy HillOne of the Birmingham Six has voiced concern about the convictions of two men for the murder of PSNI officer Stephen Carroll.

Paddy Hill last night questioned evidence used in the case of Co Armagh men Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton for the 2009 killing.

Mr Hill served 16 years in English jails after being wrongfully convicted of taking part in the simultaneous bombing of two pubs in Birmingham city center in 1974. (Read more)

Justice For Brendan & John Paul

Justice for the Craigavon two is a Group set up to campaign for justice for Brendan McConville and John Paul Wooton who were both convicted for the killing of PSNI constable Stephen Carroll and sentenced to life imprisonment.
we firmly believe that the case was corrupt and the “evidence” used inconclusive, contradictory and in places discredited, we believe that both men find themselves victims of a system that sought to find suitable scapegoats in the wake of the political and media backlash following the Killing.

Both Brendan and John Paul’s appeals are coming up on the 29th April 2013. We hope to draw attention to this miscarriage of justice, if their is no public scrutiny of this case we believe the system will safe guard its own and ratify the life sentences, we ask you the public to look at the facts, look past the media sound bites and look at the case. In the bare light of day we are convinced that anyone who looks at the case will see clearly the loose evidence used and the twisted perceptions used to uphold discredited an inconclusive forensics , the use of vulnerable and impressionable and discredited witnesses all contrived to put Brendan McConville and John Paul Wooton in Jail for Life.
Read the facts , make Your voice heard don’t let this miscarriage of justice continue.
Contact us  justice4thetwo@gmail.com

BACKGROUND

On the 9th March 2009 Police Constable Stephen Carroll was shot and killed while responding to an emergency 999 call in the Craigavon area.  The following day police arrived at the home of Brendan McConville, a local republican, and placed him under arrest.  Later that morning, John Paul Wootton, another republican from the area, was arrested in the Craigavon area and had his vehicle seized.

Both men were taken to Antrim for interrogation where they, along with a number of other individuals, were detained while the vehicle owned by John Paul Wootton was taken to Maydown Barracks in Derry for examination.  Some days later police recovered the weapon used in the shooting from the rear garden of a house in the Pinebank housing estate in Craigavon.  Around the same time a brown jacket with traces of DNA from Brendan McConville amongst others, and a residue which was claimed might have come from a firearm, was taken from the boot of the vehicle owned by John Paul Wootton.

Based on this finding, and under intense pressure to get results, police focused their attentions on these two men and set about constructing a case against them.  The reason the police were under so much pressure was that Constable Carroll was the first police officer to be killed since the Good Friday Agreement.  Adding to the pressure was the fact that this shooting took place within days of an attack on Masssereen Barracks where two British soldiers were killed.

It later transpired that the car owned by John Paul Wootton had been subject to covert surveillance at the time of the attack by means of a tracking device which had been hidden either in or on the vehicle by the British Army.  This device provided data on the movement of the vehicle around the time of the shooting.  It would later come to light that data from this device was wiped while the device was still in the possession of the Army.  No one could explain why this had happened.  The remainder of the data was used to construct a circumstantial yet arguably weak case against the two men.

Eleven months after the shooting a local man contacted the police in the middle of the night on Valentines night and, under the influence of alcohol, claimed to have seen Brendan McConville close to the area from which the shooting occurred on the night of the shooting.  It should be borne in mind that in the eleven months from the shooting to this man’s statement, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton had been charged with the shooting and their identities were widely broadcast throughout the media.

This man, known only to the court as Witness M, lied continuously under oath while giving evidence.  He was adamant that he had no problems with his eyesight and when asked if he had been prescribed glasses he claimed that he did occasionally wear glasses, but only as a fashion item.   It was only on day two of his testimony, when confronted with evidence acquired by Brendan McConville’s legal team from an optician in Lurgan where he had previously underwent an eyesight examination, that he conceded that he had been prescribed glasses but this time claimed that they were just for reading.  Evidence later given in court would show that in fact Witness M suffered from both astigmatism and short sightedness and could only identify facial features up to half the distance at which he claimed to identify Brendan McConville.  At the conclusion of the case the single judge, relying heavily on circumstance and inference, found both men guilty and sentenced them to life in prison.  Both men continue to maintain their innocence and with an appeal fast approaching they ask that the facts be made public so that their quest for justice does not develop into another long running saga like that of the Guilford four or the Birmingham six.

Don’t let the appeal become another whitewash or sweeping under the carpet exercise.  Help end this miscarriage of justice.

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