Irish Republican News · April 16, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]

The British government has said it is to publish the report on the February beating of dissident Bobby Tohill at a Belfast city centre bar on Tuesday.

Legal representatives acting for one of the four men accused of the alleged abduction of a dissident republican by the mainstream IRA have secured leave to apply for a judicial review of the decision to publish the report.

Tohill, who said he had received IRA death threats, has since described the incident as a `pub brawl' and has complained of being used as a political pawn over the matter.

Dublin's Minister for Justice, Mr McDowell said he will also submit the report to the Irish government next Tuesday with a view to its early publication.

The Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), a body set up by the two governments to monitor paramilitary ceasefires, is handing over its findings a month early following representations from the Irish and British governments.

The dossier was given to Mr McDowell and British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy on Wednesday night.

A spokesman for Mr Murphy said he was ``studying the report and arranging to have it printed''.

``It will be placed before Parliament next Tuesday, when the Secretary of State will make an oral statement on it in the House of Commons.''

Solicitor Philip Breen, acting on behalf of on of the four accused, said: ``We feel the report is potentially unlawful because it may breach ouor client's rights to a fair trial.

``We have grave concerns that our client's rights to a fair trial will be impinged.''

On Monday, Breen will seek an order to prevent Paul Murphy from putting the document into the public domain.

The publication of the IMC report, despite the pending trial of the four men accused of the abduction, starkly contradicts the excuses provided by the British government earlier this month for the censoring and delay in publication of the Cory report on state collusion in murder.

The British government also refused to implement Cory's call for a public inquiry into the murder of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane on the basis that a prosecution in the case was underway.

The four-man IMC panel was set up last year at the insistence of Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble. The body was not envisaged by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and it is also seen as a symptom of the breakdown in the government's commitment to the Agreement.

Sinn Féin's spokesman on policing and justice, Mr Gerry Kelly, said that the IMC was not independent and had ``no positive role to play''.

``The IMC is no more than a smokescreen to be used by the British government to provide cover for any attempt at exclusion in the future. The issuing of this report is politically motivated and is an attempt to disadvantage Sinn Féin in the imminent talks,'' he said.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News