Informer protected in cover-up of republican’s death, court hears
Informer protected in cover-up of republican’s death, court hears


A lawyer acting for the family of a former republican prisoner who died in a PSNI police barracks branded a potential witness a Crown informer in the coroner’s court yesterday.

Barrister Conor O’Kane also voiced concerns about a police cover up during the preliminary inquest hearing into the death of John Brady (pictured).

It is believe Mr Brady took his own life while being held at Strand Road PSNI station in Derry in 2009.

He had been approached by members of the PSNI’s C3 unit, also known as Special Branch, three times before his death.

Mr Brady, who served a prison sentence for IRA offences but was subsequently interned, may have hanged himself after coming under pressure to become an informer himself.

Mr O’Kane revealed that the Strabane man had been charged with assault after a row with a man outside a primary school. The man - who is accused of being a state agent - has now vanished.

“He, his wife and his children have left the face of the earth and have not been heard from in seven years,” Mr O’Kane said. “Where have they gone?

“It is a reasonable assumption that to leave your family, to take children out of school, to disappear, is very difficult without very powerful and wealthy people to help you.”

Evidence of a police cover-up hang over the case, the lawyer said. “The mechanics of the death have been explored thoroughly. What has never been explored by anybody is why was he arrested in the first place? Mr Brady hanged himself because he could not face a number of months or years in prison.

“The question is, what caused him to take that view?”

Describing Mr Brady as a “a man of some fortitude” with no mental health problems, the barrister said on the day he died at least two Special Branch/C3 officers were in Strand Road station.

“How did the two C3 officers know?” he said. “Mr Brady was arrested for actual bodily harm, a relatively minor offence, but somehow somebody told C3 officers that he was at Strand Road police station.”

The lawyer also demanded to know what legal representatives were present during a secret meeting between former case coroner Brian Sherrard and the PSNI month.

At an earlier hearing it was revealed that Mr Sherrard, who had been in temporary charge of the case, was shown “sensitive” files at the “private” meeting. Mr Sherrard explained that he personally reviewed the documents as his legal counsel and lawyer do not have “sufficient clearance”.

A further review hearing was provisionally scheduled for June 21.

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