Republican News · Thursday 20 January 2000

[An Phoblacht]

RUC Nelson probe interference?

By Pádraig MacDabhaid

Suspicions are growing that the RUC may have deliberately leaked the news to the media that the brother of LVF leader Mark `Swinger' Fulton was arrested in the US in order to undermine the investigation into the killing of Rosemary Nelson.

Jim Fulton was arrested on 16 December 1999 in Los Angeles, California after police raid on his home.

When the police raided the house they discovered six ounces of hashish, what is being described as ``potential explosives'' and at least 12 other weapons.

Fulton and four others, some of them known loyalists, were arrested but the charges against Fulton were withdrawn on Monday 10 January. Fulton, though, now faces deportation back to the Six Counties.

The US media, at the time of his arrest, were quick to say that Fulton was wanted for questioning in connection with the Rosemary Nelson killing.

However, when Colin Port, who is in charge of the Nelson investigation, was contacted he said he was unaware of Fulton's arrest and added that he did not want to interview him.

Other sources, though, are painting quite a different picture of Port's thoughts on the arrest. Port was said to be ``furious'' when the news of the arrest was broken to the media.

The reason behind Port's angry reaction is said to be that he fears the news being broken to the media may alert others who are under surveillance.

It is also widely believed that the RUC deliberately leaked this information to suit their own ends and may have compromised ongoing surveillance operations against suspects in the Nelson case.

Moreover, linking someone close to the LVF with the killing raises its own questions, given that the sophistication of the bomb used to kill Rosemary Nelson was beyond the expertise of the LVF. At the time of her death no one believed the LVF killed Nelson and the finger of suspicion was pointed at the crown forces and the RUC in particular, whose officers had threatened the Lurgan solicitor on numerous occasions.

That the Criminal Justice Review, a body set up to reform the ``justice'' system under the Good Friday Agreement, looks likely to attempt to introduce new measures to stop the RUC or intelligence agencies from influencing or manipulating the outcome of investigations adds further weight to this speculation.

The fact that the Criminal Justice Review looks likely to recommend such changes is a further indication that RUC manipulation of investigations has gone on, and indeed still goes on. This would appear to fit into the pattern of the Nelson investigation so far.

All of this news came to light in the same week that the parents, brothers and sisters of Rosemary Nelson wrote a letter to Secretary of State Peter Mandelson and the DPP condemning the decision not to prosecute RUC officers who threatened the human rights lawyer.

The letter says that the decision not to prosecute the RUC members ``fundamentally disassembles the principles of justice for which Rosemary worked so hard to uphold''. The family were also angry that they were not informed of the decision directly by the DPP.

``Words cannot fully express the distress and injury of feeling caused to our family,'' they said in the letter. ``We would expect that full details as to how this decision was arrived at would be made available to ourselves at the earliest opportunity.''

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