Irish Republican News · November 24, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Republican seeks release over forensic frame-up

A Derry dissident republican on remand in Maghaberry Prison is to challenge the decision to prosecute him on explosives charges after the PSNI police and British army interfered with forensic evidence in the case.

The lawyer for Seamus Doherty, Paddy MacDermott, is seeking a judicial review.

Doherty has been charged with possessing explosives on the basis of DNA evidence. Two men charged in relation to the same explosives were released after revelations that forensic scientists were pressurised by police to cover up the involvement of an informer in the case.

British soldiers had also interfered with samples about to be sent for forensic testing.

Doherty has always maintained that the DNA evidence against him was planted. Last week, Doherty's family revealed that a letter from the forensic lab in England to the lab in Carrickfergus stated that DNA found on the explosives couldn't be identified. A hand-written note attached by a PSNI detective added: ``Maybe more work is to be done?''

A spokesman for the family said the next day, ``a very odd search team'' of the PSNI and British Army's notorious FRU paid a visit to Seamus' apartment.

``When he heard a key being turned, Seamus went to the door and was confronted by three members of the PSNI/ FRU. He was pushed into his living room by one of them. The others ran upstairs. When he forced his way out onto the landing of the flats to call for help, one of the search team shouted: `Wrong flat, let's go, let's go!' and they ran from the building.

``This is not about one overzealous cop. At what level of the chain of command can someone arrange for an army unit to enter a police station unchallenged, open sealed forensic bags, leave traces of Semtex on the clothing of an innocent person and all within a matter of hours?''

Police interference with forensic evidence has been highlighted in recent trials where concerns have been raised.

In court last September it was revealed that senior PSNI police have tried for years to interfere in the work of the Forensic Science Agency (FSNI). The allegation came from a senior scientific officer Ann Irwin, who also claimed that the agency was starved of cash and staff.

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© 2003 Irish Republican News