Republican News · Thursday 4 September 1997

[An Phoblacht]

`Not in Derry!' says RUC man on perjury charge

RUC constable Brian Hassan, who won notoriety by admitting on the witness stand during the `John Major trial' of over 30 republicans in 1995 that he had lied under oath about previous testimony, now claims he cannot get a fair trial in Derry.

Solicitors for the 29 year old Strand Road RUC man claim that the case was widely publicised at the time and that a jury drawn from the local area would have already been exposed to the facts of the case.

The Judge at Derry Crown Court on Monday Recorder Tom Burgess, heard Hassan's solicitor Ricky Weir's argument for Burgess to continue to preside over the case, and the suggestion that the case be moved to Antrim Crown Court. His decision will be announced at a later date.

In fact, the sensational court room admission was largely ignored by the press at the time, editors cautiously claiming it may have become sub judice. Only An Phoblacht published the facts, to Hassan's later embarrassment in court. Defence counsel attempted to have subsequent testimony against other defendants in the Major case discounted, unsuccessfully. Several months later, in a separate case against Castlederg nationalists, Hassan's testimony was suddenly withdrawn before objections could be made, resulting in charges being withdrawn.

The John Major court case, involved 31 defendants, lasted for 56 days spread over four months - the longest case ever heard in a Magistrates Court in the Six Counties.

It arose after RUC attacked a crowd of peaceful demonstrators during John Major's visit to Derry in May 1995. The show trial was estimated to have cost the state in excess of 1M.

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