‘Frame-up’ fails as charges dropped
‘Frame-up’ fails as charges dropped

Charges against Belfast republican Bobby Tohill were dropped today as he accused British forces of framing him for failing to testify against other republicans.

Bobby Tohill was at the centre of an alleged plot by the Provisional IRA when he was found badly beaten in a van stopped by the PSNI police in west Belfast last March.

Mr Tohill, who walked from court a free man, said the charges were false from the beginning and added: “I believe it was a frame-up by the police because I refused to make a complaint against the four men charged with my alleged kidnapping.”

He was speaking outside Belfast Magistrates Court after the prosecution withdrew three charges without explanation. The charges were threatening to kill, possession of a gun or imitation firearm and entering with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Mr Tohill said today that he refused to make a complaint against the four men because they were totally innocent.

“The police stitched me up on that basis so I am relieved that the truth has come out,” he said. “I am relieved that I am now a free man”.

Mr Tohill also alleged another reason for charging him was his refusal to co-operate with the Independent Monitoring Commission, which backed PSNI Hugh Order’s claim that the IRA planned and carried out a beating and attempted abduction from a city centre bar last February.

“I refused to co-operate with the IMC because the men did not kidnap me at all,” he said.

Mr Tohill denied media reports, including comments attributed to himself, that he had been pursued and attacked by the Provisional IRA over his alleged role in a breakaway group known as the ‘Real IRA’. He later described the incident at Kelly’s Cellars as a bar-room brawl and complained that he was being used as a pawn in a political game.

The four defendants, who have also described the incident as a domestic dispute, are due to be sent for trial next month. Mr Tohill said: “They are innocent and I hope they get out very shortly.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News