PSNI chief Hugh Orde is to be asked to provide the information which led to Danny Morrison’s conviction for kidnapping being quashed.
The former Sinn Féin press officer was convicted in a non-jury court that he had participated in the abduction of an informer, Sandy Lynch, in Belfast in 1990. It has now accepted that Mr Morrison, who was lured to the scene of the abduction, was the victim of a set-up involving a number of informers.
A decision to quash the convictions of Morrison and seven others last year was based on a confidential dossier supplied by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates suspected miscarriages of justice.
The material, if it had been revealed at the time, would have resulted in prosecutions against Mr Morrison and seven others being abandoned or “almost certainly” have led to their acquittal, Justice Kerr confirmed this week.
Mr Morrison has said that an inquiry should now centre on the RUC officers who had withheld the information.
Following an application by prosecution lawyers for a secret, so-called ‘closed judgment’, Juustice Kerr said it was not possible for him and his fellow judges to disclose all of the reasons why the convictions were quashed, as they were under “constraints”.
However, he has now ruled that there is directly relevant documented material which should have been disclosed to Mr Morrison and his co-accused. The Director of Public Prosecutions is now to seek the material from Hugh Orde.
Following the judgment, Mr Morrison, who now plans to seek compensation, said he was disappointed that it had not been transparent.
“If the trial had proceeded and they declared that evidence the case would have been stopped in its tracks,” he said.
In a separate development, ‘Real IRA’ leader Michael McKevitt is to ask for records of debriefing sessions held by police handlers with infamous informer Sean O’Callaghan before he testifies against him at the Omagh bomb civil action.
His lawyers also want access to medical files on Sean O’Callaghan held by the Prison Service in the north of Ireland.
O’Callaghan is to be called to give evidence at the High Court in Belfast about claims that McKevitt was with him at a high-ranking IRA meeting to discuss arms purchases.
O’Callaghan, who has been paid more than 70,000 pounds for his involvement in the case, will also make claims that a former IRA chief of staff told him in 1985 that he wanted McKevitt voted onto the organisation’s Army Council.
The informer, originally from Tralee, County Kerry but now based in London, was due to go into the witness box later this month.
But those plans have been put back after McKevitt’s legal team responded to the decision to call him as a witness.
Barrister Kieran Vaughan confirmed they want police to provide notes from sessions with officers in England and the North in 1988, which O’Callaghan refers to in his autobiography.
In a further application lawyers for McKevitt -- who is serving a 20 year jail sentence at the high security Portlaoise Jail in the Irish midlands on the charge of ‘directing terrorism’ -- are seeking medical records on O’Callaghan held by the Prison Service.
O’Callaghan was sentenced to two life terms for IRA activity, but later released from jail under a Royal Prerogative.