Todays’ ruling is a complex legal decision that has many layers. It deals with two very specific areas and the media reporting of the Judgement has somewhat blurred the various contradictory elements of the Judgement, which overlap as part of the entirety of the decision by Mr Justice Treacy.
It is prudent to highlight the actual complaints that have been upheld and how this affects the Protestant community.
The first part of the Judgement dealt with this area of the applicant’s complaint:
“The applicant challenged the decisions made by the PSNI in the context of the policing of processions in December 2012 and January 2013 protesting against Belfast City Council’s decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag at the City Hall to 15 designated days per year rather than every day. The applicant sought an order quashing the PSNI’s failure to provide an assurance that it would prevent any future parade in February 2013 from travelling past the main entrance to the Short Strand. He claimed that the failure to provide an assurance was incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and therefore in breach of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998.”
The above complaint, which was upheld by Mr Justice Treacy, must be kept in the context of the notion that the weekly walks were in fact illegal, because there had been no 11/1 form submitted to the Parades Commission. The Parades Commission have legislative and lawful authority to adjudicate on parades.
The loophole in this whole case was whether the legislation covered a walk which had not engaged with the Parades commission, therefore could not be subject to a ruling.
I still believe that the weekly walks in fact DID NOT breach the legislation and instead by passed it by using a loophole. Sadly however the Courts have consistently held that the weekly walks were indeed illegal and therefore the participants liable to criminal proceedings.
There have been some concerns that because of the victory for the Human Rights element of the complaint that this will open the door for restrictions on notified parades and is a victory for those who oppose Protestant culture and seek to eradicate our marching traditions. This is not the case. The Human Rights of the Short Strand resident only trumped the rights of the marchers because the lawful notification had not been given.
This has no bearing on decisions on notified parades because in the case of lawful parades the Human Rights of the marchers should more often than not trump the manufactured ‘rights’ of those who seek to create a ‘right not to be offended’. There is no such human right. What the Judgement has basically accepted is that the PSNI have a duty to protect residents from illegal activity, which is basic common sense and has no bearing upon our community.
Notified parades are not illegal and therefore the PSNI have no obligation to prevent or block any lawful parade, they merely have a duty to enforce the Parades Commission determination. They have gleefully enforced the heinous and oppressive Parades Commission determinations since its inception, so very little changes there.
The victory in the Judgement comes from the fact that Mr Justice Treacy has ruled the PSNI effectively facilitated the parades.
PSNI ACC Will Kerr said in his evidence that the “that the aim of Operation Dulcet was to manage disorder by permitting the protestors to proceed into Belfast and back while maintaining the normal life of the city for as long as safely possible.”
It is clear from this paragraph that even before the Judge gave his ruling, which was basic common sense; the ACC had already accepted that the PSNI “permitted protestors into Belfast and back”.
This makes it abundantly clear that given the Courts have held the weekly walk was illegal the PSNI officers that facilitated, organised and encouraged various weekly walks are equally criminally liable as those who took part.
It is somewhat ludicrous to believe that any court would hold that an ordinary citizen has full criminal liability for an offence that the Police force themselves refused to define as illegal and one which they actively facilitated and negotiated around.
Very importantly Mr Justice Treacy said this “operational discretion cannot be invoked by the police in order to give them immunity from liability for everything that they do”.
This is vital because it removes the veil of ‘acting for the greater good’ or ‘operational discretion’ which I have long argued that the PSNI hide behind to cover their incompetence and quite often bending of the law.
Mr Treacy also asks in a reference to Jamie Bryson & William Frazer, why the PSNI did not arrest ‘High Profile protestors’ until 25th February given they had been meeting protestors since 9th January. “even though the police had been meeting with march organisers as far back as 9 January 2013, the decision to take action against “high profile organisers” was not made until 25 February 2013 which was after the decision had been made to stop the marches.”
This blow’s open the can the PSNI desperately wanted closed. Why indeed did they only commence arrests after 25th February?
It is clear from the Judgement that Justice Treacy seems to believe that the arrests on 25th February were little more than politically and criminally scapegoating high profile protestors to try and cover the PSNI failings.
Indeed if not for the refusal of many protestors to lie down before the Courts and allow the PSNI to get away with this, they may very well have been able to escape this entire episode and balance their wrongdoing with the scapegoating and persecution of protestors.
Today’s Judgement shows why certain high profile protestors were subject to horrendously oppressive and restrictive bail conditions. The PSNI did not want this can of worms opened and sought to silence anyone who would have dared challenge and expose them!
The hundreds of protestors brought before the Courts for un-notified public processions have been charged and processed whilst the PSNI sought to drag this Judicial review out, effectively ensuring they managed to convict a whole raft of people before their abuse of lawful process was so blatantly exposed.
Quite simply put today’s decision shows that the PSNI facilitated weekly walks, refused to define them as illegal and in one case the ACC even spoke to the Irish News and said the weekly walk was not illegal.
This makes it clear that if the Courts continue to take the view that the walks breached the legislation and were illegal, then they must address the liability of the PSNI who encouraged, negotiated and facilitated the walks.
The participants can have no greater criminal liability than the PSNI, therefore is stands to reason that unless the PSNI Officers will be charged for their part in breaching the law, those who participated have got ample mitigating circumstances which in all likelihood would amount to reduced criminal liability.
The media reports and headlines have misrepresented the Judgement and sought to focus on a few narrow points. It is important to read the whole Judgement in its context and then it will become clear that a Short Strand resident has achieved absolutely nothing.
They have got recognition that the PSNI have a duty under the ECHR to protect them from illegal activity, NOT from legal parades. This is basic law and commonsense, nothing new.
The weekly walks are defined in law as illegal activity ONLY because no 11/1 was submitted, so the Judgement can be easily misleading.
The flag protestors have gained a much greater victory. That is a recognition that the whilst sadly the Courts have held (long before today) that the walks were illegal, now the High Court has ruled the PSNI were at fault for permitting this and therefore the consequence of this is that those participants in the weekly walks now have a copper fastened legal argument in their defence.
The blame lies at the door of the PSNI for not informing people the weekly walks were illegal and indeed in many cases the PSNI engaged and encouraged various routes to be taken.
It stands to reason that if the PSNI had correctly represented and interpreted the law then after week one of the weekly walks the PSNI would have clearly and publically stated that they were illegal, the onus would then have been on the weekly walkers to submit an 11/1. This did not happen and therefore those walking into City Hall each week could not reasonably be expected to know they were breaching what is extremely ambiguous and wide ranging legislation.
Given the PSNI actively facilitated this, it most certainly re-enforced in people’s minds that no illegal activity was taking place.
The PSNI arrested people in their hundreds after the 25th February and indeed they sought to persecute and oppress the protestors with some of the most restrictive bail conditions ever issued in any Western Democracy for any offence, let only the summary only matter that amounts to little more than Jay Walking!
This campaign against our community was waged to cover their mistakes and their failings.
The core theme of the Judgement is that the PSNI have a duty to prevent illegal activity. We cannot argue with this.
If the Court is holding the walks were illegal (I would still dispute this) then we have to accept that by the rule of the law the PSNI would have a duty to prevent them.
The Judge is not saying the PSNI should have stopped legal protests nor is he widening the scope for objections to lawful parades. He is merely explaining the Parades Commission legislation which has been in effect since the Belfast Agreement. Nothing has changed.
It is important to read the Judgement in full and in the context it is given.
Flag Protestors vindicated- Kerr & PSNI found incompetent by High Court
Today's Judgement in the High Court is a good one. Although brought by a Short Strand resident it effectively vindicates the arguments I have been making both in Police Ombudsman complaints and legal hearings for the past year. I argued that the PSNI facilitated the weekly walks and therefore IF they were illegal then the PSNI officers who facilitated them are equally guilty.
I consistently highlighted the mis-information that was being put out by the PSNI and it has consistently been my view that this mis-information and indeed facilitation of weekly walks has led to hundreds of people being made political scapegoats for the PSNI’s failings and incompetence.
Mr Justice Treacy himself referred to William Frazer & me in his Judgement when he asked why ‘high profile’ protestors were not arrested until 25th February, if the PSNI knew all along the weekly walks were illegal.
Mr Justice Treacy also remarked that our arrests came only after the weekly walks had been stopped.
It is important to note that once the PSNI definitively came out and said the weekly walks were illegal, the Protestors desisted from continuing.
This highlights very clearly that the PSNI facilitated the weeks, gave wrongful advice and quite basically because of their refusal to advise the public the weekly walks had been illegal, allowed members of the public to unknowingly break the law. It is somewhat bizarre that given this entire episode was down to the PSNI’s inability to effectively explain the law, that hundreds of people have ended up in Court and been persecuted by the same police force that has effectively been inadvertently guilty of entrapment.
The reference to my arrest on the 25th February clearly shows that the PSNI sought to scapegoat me and hundreds of others, to cover their very obvious failings.
The charges brought against me and many other Protestors were brought to gloss over the PSNI incompetence and going by Mr Justice Treacy’s Judgement, the illegality of the PSNI approach and especially that of the thoroughly discredited ACC Will Kerr.
If the loyalist flag protestor’s convictions stand, then the PSNI officers who facilitated and encouraged the illegality should be immediately arrested and charged.
Today is a victory for the Protestant people who have suffered nothing short of a persecution over this past year at the hands of the PSNI. The PSNI have been ripped to shreds in the High Court and I, along with those who campaigned strongly with me, have ironically been vindicated by the back door via a Judgement brought by a Short Strand resident.
Mr Justice Treacy has vindicated everything I argued in my police interview tapes and indeed the entirety of my Police ombudsman complaint.
I have consistently and continually publically highlighted the disgraceful conduct, political policing and meddling being carried out by ACC Kerr. Today the High Court has delivered a scathing Judgement against this pompous and completely discredited political puppet.
ACC Will Kerr is an unscrupulous careerist who has persecuted and abused the judicial process as part of a war on the Protestant people. He has ordered horrific and oppressive bail conditions, designed to silence political dissent, placed upon those who have ended up before the Courts as a result of his failure to adequately make a decision on whether it was legal or illegal to walk into the City Hall.
When the PSNI are unable to tell you it is illegal and actively facilitate the act, then I find it bizarre that any Court could find that the flag protestors knowingly broke the law. Unless of course they hold that the ordinary citizens should be better versed in the law than those employed to uphold it!
I will sleep well tonight, safe in the knowledge that the only way is now down for ACC Kerr.
He devoted so much time and resources into trying to break the spirit of the Union Flag protestors, in the end he has only destroyed himself. That is natural justice!
Betrayed on Good Friday,To keep the process on track,On everything we stand for they turned their back,They buried truth and justice, and they thought it was gone,But we are the resistance and this is our songInnocent victims they have no say,Justice has been sold to the IRA,Elderly widows with a tear in their eye,If this is peace then the price is too highSupport the process they tell Ulster's sons,While the IRA are bringing in guns,A perverted democracy with a gun to its head,This is the price-of peace they saidSo just like Carson's army a century before,We say no, we say no moreThis is our future,so this is our shout,End the process- it's a sell out!The IRA they run the PPS,Who in their right mind would now vote yes?Policing and justice, it's tyrannyProtestants in jail as the Provos walk freeThey told us the Agreement was the Provos defeat,But now are culture's criminal and we can't walk the streetNo civil or religious liberty in our own landJailed for the playing the sash in a loyal flute band!The money train rolls to keep the traitors sweet,They care only for money or their Stormont seatBut you traitors will fall and the money won't last,We are Ulsters fallen, We're the ghosts of the past!Edward Carson's army will be spinning in their grave,They were true patriots, soliders of the braveThey didn't fight and die for what we have today,A process of surrender to the IRAUlstermen and women will you stand so tall,Remember Carsons army that answered the callRemember all the victims who their families still miss,Find your conscience- it's time to resist!
I note that Norman Baxter yesterday spoke of other areas of political interference into policing that he did not want to raise in a public forum.I believe it is imperative that these other instances are brought to light.I am not shocked that the DUP haven't asked this question, perhaps they wish to ensure that no more of the underbelly of this rotten process is exposed to the public. They have bought a pup and they know it!It is important to keep digging and to expose fully the true extent of secret deals and under the table betrayals that has propped up this process.I believe Norman Baxter and I also believe that pro 'process' lackeys will be deployed to try and discredit Mr Baxter so as to 'protect the process.' It is important our MP's give Mr Baxter adequate protection to expose the full truth of IRA influence over policing and justice.
To whom it may concern
I would request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act:
1) Who was the acting ACC on duty at police HQ on 8th March 2007 between the hours of 7pm and 12 mid night?
2) Do the PSNI have in their possession any recordings of the telephone conversation between the Chief Constables office and Downing Street in relation to two IRA terrorists who had been arrested on the 8th March?
Given today's revelations in relation to the fact that people are arrested, not arrested or immediately released based upon 'Gerry ringing' I hope the public now see why there needs to be an urgent Public Inquiry into the true extent of IRA influence over the PSNI and the NIO!Just how far will the NIO & PSNI, aided and abetted at all times by IRA placemen in the PPS and Judiciary, go to 'protect the process'.I am not shocked that I, along with many other Protestant Protestors, have been locked up without any credible evidence and on ridiculous charges.Given that Gerry didn't just ring, he sent Bomber Gerry to meet the Chief Constable to order arrests the night before my arrest, I have no doubt and have full confidence that the PONI will expose that the IRA, through their cover name of Sinn Fein, still exercise the level of control over policing that Norman Baxter exposed from 2007!On the basis of Norman Baxters evidence today I will be making a complaint to the Police Ombudsman asking for an investigation into why the duty ACC 'advised' that the two IRA terrorists should be released and I would hope that the PONI will recommend that this officer is charging with 'attempting to pervert the Course of Justice'.I feel the PONI need to take the lead in this and prove themselves to be wholly independent because I have no doubt the PSNI and their buddies in the NIO & IRA will seek to whitewash it!A full public inquiry must be held to expose the extent of the IRA influence over policing and justice and to expose those that nurtured this influence and used their own positions to exert it for political expediency.I continue to campaign strongly for the removal of Barra McGrorry, an IRA placeman, from the position of DPP. I hope that if a full inquiry does taken place that the secret sell out at Hillsborough Castle becomes public knowledge.In the meantime it is important that the identity of this ACC that advised that the IRA terrorists should be released is made public knowledge and that he or she is suspended immediately if they are still serving. It is important that all IRA lackeys are weeded out and exposed.
Norman Baxter's revelations today come as no surprise to me or many others.I have been saying for some time that there is undue political influence being exercised over the PSNI and that policing decisions are being made around what is best for the 'process'.Norman Baxter has exposed today what we all already knew, and fair play to him for doing so. He will no doubt be the victim of a smear campaign by the 'process' puppets as a result of his honesty.The fact that the IRA Army Council could ring Number 10 and subsequently the PSNI would be told to release IRA terrorists shows us just how flawed this entire piece by peace process is. Justice has been surrendered to the IRA. Not just Justice for the victims but also Justice as a whole with the PPS also being handed to the IRA on a plate during the secret sell out at Hillsborough!If anyone has any doubt just how much political influence the PSNI are under and just how political policing and justice really is, then simply take some time to read the words of Norman Baxter today. He has exposed the horrible sand upon which the peace process is built.St Andrews and Hillsborough Agreements are now worthless. The mandate the DUP got from the electorate is now irrelevant.The mandate they received was based upon what was inside those Agreements (I oppose these Agreements completely but as a democrat I accept people voted the DUP in) given what has been exposed it is clear that what was outside of those agreements is what underpins the process!Who in their right mind would vote for that?Who in their right mind would now champion the cause of the 'process'?Only someone with vested personal or financial interest could now declare themselves a supporter of the peace process because it is now patently obvious that it is nothing but a sell out to the IRA.
It has come as no shock to me to see an increased amount of vitriolic abuse, ridicule and black propaganda directed towards me.Naomi Long and Anna Lo get little sympathy from me. People such as William Frazer and myself receive more threats and abuse in a day that Long or Lo have received in their lifetimes.They have milked some abuse directed towards them to death, they want to have a look at what I have been subjected to.Seldom has someone had to endure such a relentless onslaught of abuse, threats and intense attempts to ridicule every political viewpoint that is articulated.Those behind this abuse seem to miss the point. The more they abuse me and seek to ridicule me, the more they strengthen my resolve to continue on doing what I believe to be right.The hatred espoused by many is rooted in the notion that people such as myself are not allowed a voice, because voices such as mine do not join in the chorus of praise for the new Northern Ireland.It's the view of these people that the process must be protected and anyone that raises any alarms or speaks out against the continuation of the process must be 'insane' or just an 'idiot'.The fact that all the grievances articulated by people such as myself are actually based in an acceptance of the harsh reality of our political process, and because of this we refuse to simply stay silent and allow Sinn Fein/IRA to be continuously allowed to eradicate every vestige of Britishness.The most intolerant in N.Ireland are those who consider themselves as the great and good, the beneficiaries of the process.These people believe that peace must be maintained at any price and subsequently anyone who doesn't agree with this must be silenced, ridiculed or abused so relentlessly that they will be driven underground and their uncomfortable political opinion will be buried...along with the truth.What these people do not understand is that they can sit all day and tweet me, abuse me and ridicule me. It won't make a blind bit of difference.The continued campaign of abuse is founded in the perverse thinking that if they harass me that much that eventually I will come round to their way of thinking.They also seem to believe that if I do not get elected come May, that somehow I, and those like me, will disappear and our political viewpoints will go away with us.They hope to bury the uncomfortable truth along with those of us who shout it from the rooftops.Their optimism is very much misplaced. One vote or one hundred thousand, I won't be changing and nor will I be packing up and running away if I fail to get elected.Just because the intolerant voices of the process don't agree doesn't mean I am wrong.The louder you shout will only lead to making yourself infuriated by the fact that I will not be going away. A bit like the truth and the uncomfortable truths about the 'process'.You can shout them down and bury them, but every buried truth will eventually come to the surface.It may not be this year, next year or even in the next ten years, but I fundamentally believe that one day people will realise that people like me aren't the mad ones, we are just the ones that wouldn't be bullied into silence.Everyone is entitled to a political opinion. The intolerance of political opinions that do not fit into the 'new' Northern Ireland is startling.I would think that politicisation and the articulation of anger and frustration is much better expressed politically than militarily.The attempts by people such as Tim McGarry and others to liken my political resistance to the actions of armed terrorists just goes to show that political engagement is only encouraged so long as the viewpoint you are expressing is 'acceptable'.So to all those that devote so much of their time every single day seeking to destroy me, abuse me and force me into silence...your hatred will fuel my desire to continue.May 22nd is not the end of the road. Elected or unelected, I won't be changing.You need to get used to dissenting voices, because just like the voices from the grave, it will always haunt those that seek to sacrifice truth and justice for the sake of appeasement!
Ivor Bell case is designed to allow Adams to go free!I find it quite bizarre that everyone is championing the notion that finally Justice is going to be done for the long serving family of Jean McConville.This case against Ivor Bell is quite the opposite, it is actually a very clear move to circumvent Justice and take the 'problem' of the Boston Tapes out of the equation, thus protecting Adams position.The PSNI & PPS know that the Boston Tapes, interviews provided to a researcher that was not a Police man and where the interviewee was not under caution, will not stand up in Court.They know the High Court will rule in the Ivor Bell case that the tapes are not substantive evidence reaching the required threshold.So why are they bringing this case you may ask?It's simple, by bringing this case against Ivor Bell, at this time, they kill two birds with one stone.Firstly they have Ivor Bell remanded and thus taken out of the political equation. His standing amongst Republicans will not now be practically able to be brought to bear against Sinn Fein at the polls! (Ivor Bell was due to be an election agent for an anti Agreement Republican).Secondly and most importantly this case will allow the PSNI & PPS effective closure.When the case is eventually thrown out the PSNI & PPS will be able to argue that it is not in the public interest to pursue others named on the tapes because the evidence will not stand up in Court.This will allow them some justification for not arresting Adams and in turn the system will have achieved their desired ends- get rid of the problem of the Boston tapes, ensure Gerry Adams can continue and most importantly for them, they will be able to keep the sham peace process moving forward!It is abhorrent to the principles of Justice that the PSNI & PPS would play such devious political games with Justice.The harsh reality is that far from seeking Justice for Jean McConville, they are using this case to circumvent justice and protect a political process.Ivor Bell will be remanded, until at least after the end of the May, and his case is unlikely to even reach trial.Gerry Adams will not be arrested because the PSNI and Adam's old buddy in the PPS will hold that the evidence threshold has not been met.Ivor Bell is a sacrificial lamb.The great betrayal of Justice is being hidden in plain sight. Whilst everyone is watching the visual sham case against Ivor Bell they are missing the fact that what is really going on is that the PSNI & PPS are ensuring those behind the brutal murder of Jean McConville will never face trial!
Ivor Bells arrest for the brutal murder of Jean McConville must be welcomed. Her long suffering family deserve Justice.It is important however to highlight that the PSNI & PPS do not have Ivor Bell locked up because they want to see Justice done, they have Ivor Bell locked up because he opposed Sinn Fein's peace process strategy and had come out of the woodwork to support anti- Agreement republicans.Given his high profile past and standing amongst republicans he was seen as a threat, therefore Sinn Fein used the major weapon they acquired during the secret Hillsborough sell out- Justice!The big prize at Hillsborough was not what was in the agreement, that was bad enough, but what lurks beneath is the real scary stuff that the Government want to remain hidden! They handed Justice to Sinn Fein/IRA and allowed them to designate their own placemen into the positions of Attorney General and subsequently Director of Public Prosecutions. Don't take my word for it, look into Barra McGrory our current DPP and check out his unexplained rise from IRA Solictor fighting the state to his current position! The answers are there for anyone who wishes to look. It is all hidden in plain sight.In the Boston tapes that the PSNI got access to after a lengthy legal battle, named Ivor Bell and also Gerry Adams are being involved in Jean McConvilles murder.There was obviously not enough evidence to arrest Ivor Bell prior to the PSNI acquiring the tapes, so it would stand to reason that the confessions of associates on the tapes reaches the evidence threshold to allow the PSNI to arrest the republicans named.Therefore I ask, if it's good enough for Ivor Bell why is it not good enough for Gerry Adams?The answer is frightening. It is because Sinn Fein/ IRA have their bloodied hands on the levers of policing & Justice. If someone becomes a threat to them, or their partners in Government the DUP, they have them removed. This is what has happened with Ivor Bell.I guarantee Ivor Bell will not get bail tomorrow. The whole aim of this is to keep him away from elections and send out a warning to other IRA veterans of the power Sinn Fein now weild over policing and justice.Oppose Sinn Fein and they can simply use one of their placemen such as the DPP or the Attorney General to bring enough influence to bear to ensure that the dissenter will face criminal charges.If Ivor Bells arrest is not merely a political move to silence a dissenter then the same action must be taken against Gerry Adams.This two tiered justice system, on both sides of the community, based upon whether you support the Agreement or you don't is a fundamental abuse of democracy.Politics and the Judicial process is becoming dangerously entwined.Prosecution and policing decisions are being taken not on the basis of quite rightly pursuing justice but instead the main consideration is maintaing the 'process' and rooting out any dissenters.Had Ivor Bell been a pro Agreement member of Sinn Fein he would not currently be in custody. There would have been no consideration by the PSNI & PPS about getting Justice for Jean McConville, they would have let the evidence slide of the table for the perceived greater good of protecting the 'process'.The PSNI & PPS have used the cause of seeking Justice for Jean McConville as a political weapon.