Irish Republican News · October 12, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Duffy, strip-searched, refuses prison clothing

Lurgan republican Colin Duffy was forcibly strip-searched and assaulted both before and after a tense court appearance in Coleraine, County Derry on Monday.

The hearing was held as a ‘Preliminary Inquiry’ got underway into charges that Mr Duffy was involved in the Real IRA attack on Massareene British Army base in March last year, in which two British soldiers were killed.

The original venue for the proceedings was Laganside court in Belfast, but was changed at the last minute.

No reason was given for the change in venue but the Duffy family believe it was designed to inconvenience the family and prevent them and others from attending the hearing.

Court proceedings were delayed by two-and-a-half hours as a result of the incident at Maghaberry jail. The ordeal included prison warders forcibly putting prison clothing on him.

Mr Duffy removed the prison clothing as soon as he was unshackled.

In his opening address to the court, Mr. Mulholland drew the judge’s attention to the fact that Mr Duffy was sitting in the court with no clothing on underneath his coat. Mr Mulholland continued, pointing out that this was a result of his clothes having been ‘cut off him’ during the forced strip-search.

Mr Duffy’s barrister then addressed the opening remarks of the prosecution where the prosecution stated to the judge that they would not be relying upon the soil analysis report which had been previously submitted to the judge and that they would not be calling the author of the report as a witness in the committal proceedings.

Mr Mulholland then asked the judge to consider his own position in relation to continuing with the proceedings after having read a report which the prosecution had stated it wouldn’t be relying upon.

This, Mr Mulholland said, could at the very least be perceived as being prejudicial to his client’s case.

The courts then adjourned at 1.15pm and reconvened at 1.45 pm.

During the break the judge spoke to both the prosecution and Mr Mulholland regarding the issue raised. Shortly after recommencing the judge withdrew from the case.

The case is continuing with a different judge presiding.

While leaving the court, Mr Duffy’s family were harassed by the PSNI.

Solicitors representing both Mr Duffy and his co-accused Brian Shivers were called to intervene on behalf of the family. One of the solicitors was told to “mind his own business”.

After the incident had passed, Damian Duffy, Mr Duffy’s brother said:

“Such behaviour and actions by this force will not deter our family from coming to these courts in support of Colin. We will not be intimidated.”


Protestors have held a vigil outside Strand Road PSNI base in Derry to mark the first anniversary of the death of a republican who was found hanging in a cell in the barracks.

The authorities claim John Brady killed himself but his family deny this and say his death, which is being investigated by the police ombudsman, was highly suspicious.

Brady, from Strabane, was on weekend parole from Maghaberry prison when he was arrested by PSNI last October. His solicitor, John Finucane, had left him in the station’s legal consultation room.

Finucane was gone 15 minutes. When he returned, he found his client hanging by his trainer laces from the window. Those taking part in the vigil carried black flags and ‘Justice for John Brady’ posters.

The family has been told the police ombudsman’s report should be completed by the end of this month.

Brady’s brother Ben said: “We have no faith in the ombudsman’s investigation. We believe it will be a whitewash.”

Ben Brady said the family has been harassed by the PSNI since his brother’s death: “The police parked around the corner from the church where John’s anniversary mass was being held. That was hardly sensitive. Later, three people who had come from Belfast for the mass were stopped and held at the side of the road as they made their way home.”

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