Irish Republican News · January 23, 2009
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
PSNI technician found guilty in UVF plot

A victims’ campaigner has said he will sue PSNI Chief Hugh Orde after his personal details were passed on to unionist paramilitaries by a computer operator who was working for the PSNI.

Relatives For Justice director Mark Thompson, was among 117 nationalists in the mid-Ulster area whose details were handed on.

On Wednesday, former Wrightbus manager Darren Richardson pleaded guilty to possession of information likely to be useful to terrorists and possession of 30 bullets found in his Ballymena office in April 2007.

Aaron Hill from Randalstown in County Antrim had earlier pleaded guilty to using his job as a PSNI computer operator to collect details on nationalists in the mid-Ulster area.

Both men are due to be sentenced next month for their part in the UVF ‘intelligence-gathering’ operation.

A Wrightbus spokeswoman said Richardson had resigned from the company.

However, Mr Thompson last night called for an independent inquiry into how unionist paramilitaries accessed police computer information.

“The PSNI repeatedly refused to provide me with any information about this case, while the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) even refused to allow me to make a witness statement.

“There are a number of serious issues surrounding this case which need to be addressed, including the fact that the Police Ombudsman is not allowed to question PSNI civilian employees.”

Solicitor Kevin Winters confirmed that five other nationalists would also be taking civil actions against the chief constable as well as against Richardson and Hill.

Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey said he would now be asking for a Policing Board investigation into the security breach.

“There are serious questions as to how a well-known loyalist was given unfettered access to a police computer and allowed to hand over the personal details of more than 100 nationalists to the UVF,” he said.

“This is a very serious matter which can not be brushed under the carpet.”

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© 2009 Irish Republican News