`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 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was suddenly withdrawn before objections could be made, resulting
in charges being withdrawn.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.