Irish Republican News · December 12, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Charges dropped in heist case

A man arrested as part of the Northern Bank robbery investigation has walked free from court after charges against him were dropped.

PSNI police claim the Provisional IRA carried out last year’s Stg 26.5m heist, a claim denied by the IRA.

Newry man Peter Kelly had been charged with collecting and making records of information “likely to be useful to terrorists”. The charges related to his job as a British telecom technician on secondment to the Department of Finance and Personnel at Stormont.

At his first court appearance a police inspector claimed that computer equipment seized at Mr Kelly’s workplace contained the details of 36,000 civil servants, including 3,300 working for the police and 70 prison staff.

After the charges were withdrawn at Belfast Magistrates Court Mr Kelly’s solicitor Niall Murphy, said: “His name was linked to the Northern Bank investigation and there is no justification for such a link. He was never charged with any offence in connection with the robbery.”

“The information that he accessed was freely available to many other people in his work place. Mr Kelly wants the media made aware of the spurious charges that were brought against him. He will now pursue his case with the Police Ombudsman and will issue proceedings against the Chief Constable and any other relevant party for malicious prosecution.

“He was deprived of his liberty for a considerable period and unfairly associated with the Northern Bank investigation.

“There is no justification for such a link, he was never charged with any offence in connection with the robbery.

“He wants these matters put on record now to highlight the inherent dangers in bringing unsubstantiated charges which do not serve any justice demands but simply serve for political or publicity driven ends,” said.”

Mr Kelly’s solicitors also served notice that proceedings will now be issued against the PSNI Chief Constable “and any other relevant party for malicious prosecution”.

Northern Bank employee Chris Ward, also recently charged in the case, has said the PSNI are trying to frame him for the robbery.

Meanwhile, senior figures in the GAA Gaelic sports association have accused the PSNI of “talking codswallop” in relation to Northern Bank-linked raid on the GAA’s Casement Park

Claiming that a so-called “community impact assessment” was conducted during the preparations for the raid, ACC Paul Leighton also alleged that a “briefing” was given to GAA officials as the raid began.

Criticising the PSNI’s overall approach to the Casement Park raid, Antrim GAA vice-chair Gerry McClory said: “They didn’t consult the GAA about any community impact assessment. There was no briefing given to officials.

“He is playing with words. I am giving you facts. They arrived in force to search Casement Park at seven o’clock in the morning, moving from the side of the road over to the gates at around 9am when the groundsman arrived, and then they started searching after that.

“Neither the county chairman, the county secretary, the county treasurer or myself as acting chairman of Casement Park Social Club were given any pre-notice of the raid. I got a call from one of the voluntary staff to say the PSNI were there to raid and as I was travelling to Casement I got a call from Chief Inspector Peter Farrar to tell me there was going to be a search.

“While the officer in charge of the search was courteous and provided the basis for the raid, the question remains why they could not have done this differently,” Mr McClory said.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News