A BBC documentary has shown evidence of the PSNI violently attacking innocent pubgoers in the predominately nationalist town of Omagh. The victims were accused of public order offences, but the cases were thrown out when contradictory video evidence was presented to the court.
In the last year a number of cases involving alleged public disorder incidents have been thrown out of the Magistrates Court in Omagh after the District Judge deemed that defendants had no case to answer. In one case the judge described evidence from PSNI witnesses as a “foray into a fairytale” and one officer’s testimony as “tainted”.
In three cases, five men and a woman were exonerated when CCTV evidence contradicted the evidence given to the court by the PSNI.
In one video clip seen by the court, a late-night reveller is punched in the face by a PSNI man. The victim is then thrown violently to the ground, before being arrested for assaulting the PSNI.
In another, a middle-aged man is kicked and dragged along the road like a sack. And in yet another incident, a man and his partner were exonerated of wrongdoing when the judge agreed that the PSNI had entered their home illegally.
The charges, all of which were supported by Crown prosecutors, are now being investigated by the Police Ombudsman’s office.
A spokesman for the PSNI said they are “carrying out a review of all the issues subsequently raised within the programme”, but Omagh’s new top ranking PSNI man Chief Superintendent Kevin Dunwoody admitted that some of the actions of his men were “indefensible”.
However, there have been calls to suspend the PSNI men involved while their conduct is investigated.
Omagh Sinn Fein councillor Sean Begley, who is chairman of the local Policing and Community Safety Partnership, says he is calling a special meeting of the group. “The problem is we have a number of people involved still on duty and they need to be called to accounts in terms of their actions,” he said. “I think they need to be suspended until the Police Ombudsman has carried out a full investigation.”
IRISH CASE THROWN OUT
Meanwhile, in Derry, a Dublin man who was charged under ‘terrorism’ legislation after he gave his name to a PSNI patrol in Irish has had the case thrown out.
Diarmuid Mac Dubhghlais had been accused of failing to answer questions to the best of his ability on march 6 after he was stopped in the Creggan area of Derry.
Republican Sinn Fein had protested outside the court house on May 30th in support of the Irish language and of Mr Mac Dubhghlais, who is an RSF treasurer.