Irish Republican News · March 18, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
PSNI ‘building case’ in McCartney killing

PSNI chief Hugh Orde has defended his force’s handling of the Robert McCartney case and its failure to take witness statements.

It was revealed earlier this week the PSNI turned away a lawyer acting for a key suspect in the murder who wished to present himself for interview.

Sinn Fein’s chief negotiator Martin McGuinness angrily attacked the PSNI over its handling of the investigation.

“I think it is absolutely incredible,” Mr McGuinness said.

“I think it is unprecedented and I think, never in the history of the troubles over the course of the last 30 years, would you ever have had someone who was regarded as a chief suspect in a murder investigation, effectively turned away and told to come back in a few days time... absolutely unprecedented.

“I publicly challenge Hugh Orde to explain the handling of this investigation and why charges have not been brought.

“Quite clearly I am alleging, for everyone to listen to, that the PSNI are managing the investigation into Robert McCartney’s murder in order to try and do as much damage to Sinn Fein as possible,” he said.

But Orde hit back, insisting that this men are building a case.

“We know. We are the professionals. Not Sinn Fein. Not Provisional IRA. We know how to investigate crime and we are doing it very well.”

There was also controversy over comments by Mr McGuinness to the McCartney family regarding their reported plans to challenge Sinn Fein in the May elections on an anti-IRA, pro-PSNI platform.

Earlier this week, Mr McGuinness urged the McCartneys that move into the world of party political politics could “do a huge disservice to their campaign”. He said it could Wdismay and disillusion an awful lot of people, tens of thousands of people who support them in their just demands.”

The comments were reported as a “threat” and a “warning” to the McCartney family in the pro-British media.

“I didn’t issue any warning,” he said, adding that he was “angry and disturbed” at the way his remarks were taken up.

“Effectively what I was doing was explaining a debate that I think is going on within nationalist and republican circles in the North of Ireland, and I was advising the family, in their own interests, that they should not allow themselves to be in any way politically manipulated.

“I absolutely accept that the McCartney family are very dedicated towards having those people who murdered their brother brought before a court.

“I am fully in support of them and I believe that that is their sole motivation.

“I also believe that there are people around the McCartneys who are malicious in their intent.

“I think the McCartneys need to be careful with people like that around them,” Mr McGuinness said.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News