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Justice for the Craigavon Two

July 25, 2015
BY Angela Nelson

On 9th March 2009, Constable Stephen Carrol was shot dead in the Lismore Manor area of Craigavon during an attack claimed by the Continuity IRA. In May 2011, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton were charged with his murder and in March 2012, they were both found guilty in a non-jury diplock court and handed life sentences. Brendan McConville was given a minimum 25 year term and John Paul Wootton was given a minimum fourteen year term. Their appeal, which was expected to have been heard on 29th April 2013 ended abruptly and was postponed after it was claimed by a defence lawyer that the PSNI had sabotaged the appeal by arresting and attempting to ‘nobble’ a key defence witness who would have discredited key prosecution evidence. At the same time, both defence teams for Brendan and John Paul were put under sinister and covert surveillance by British intelligence in an attempt to jeopardize the right to a fair appeal hearing and also to discredit the names of the defence lawyers. Due to the sinister nature of this surveillance, the threat level against the defence teams was raised to such an extent that the United Nations have been brought in to protect the defence lawyers. The appeal that had been postponed from 29th April 2013 was then heard on 29th May 2014 and it was dismissed. On 14th October 2014, John Paul Wootton’s sentence was increased to a minimum of eighteen years. The latest development came on 24th October 2014, when a judge certified a legal question by the defence lawyers which will now be taken to the Supreme Court.

Many people will be of the opinion that, if these two men have been found guilty based on the evidence produced by the prosecution, then they should serve their time. Others, for example, the ‘democratic’ unionist/loyalist people who inhabit the occupied six counties of Ireland will constantly refer to themselves as law-abiding citizens and will blindly accept without question the evidence produced by the prosecution, particularly when those who have been found guilty are from a Nationalist/Republican background. There are those who will issue finely worded statements before they return their heads to the holes in the sand. Thankfully however, we have people like Monsignor Raymond Murray, Independent Councillor Angela Nelson, TD’s such as Clare Daly, Eamon Ó Cuiv, Mick Wallace, Maureen O’Sullivan and many others who are speaking out because they can see clearly the high level of skulduggery that has been used within British courts to convict these two men. These are just some of the many people who today, are continuing to fight for justice for Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton. The late Gerry Conlon spoke out and he fought for justice for Brendan and John Paul until the end, because Gerry was one of the many Irishmen and Irishwomen who have had first-hand experience of British injustice and British miscarriages of justice and British brutality and British skulduggery.

The case of Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton has become known as The Craigavon Two. A key prosecution witness, known as Witness M. only came forward and contacted the PSNI to offer information eleven months after the shooting and when he did so, he was heavily intoxicated. It has been proven that Witness M continuously lied under oath and due to the fact that his eyesight is affected by a condition known as astigmatism, the information offered by Witness M as an ‘eyewitness’ was medically impossible. The identity of Witness M, although known, was hidden from the court which prevented a thorough and proper cross-examination. Witness M has also benefitted financially for providing the PSNI with his ‘eyewitness’ account.

Witness M’s partner who was with him on the night in question did not corroborate his statement of events. The father of Witness M has also discredited the statement of events by his son and has described his son as both a Walter Mitty character and a compulsive liar. The father of Witness M was arrested by the PSNI prior to the 29th April 2013 appeal in an attempt to force him to retract his statement concerning the unreliability of his sons ‘eyewitness’ account. The PSNI also claimed that the father of Witness M was forced at gunpoint by the defence team, in association with the IRA, to discredit his sons ‘eyewitness’ account.

It has been proven that a British army undercover unit were involved in tampering with and also deleting information gathered using surveillance equipment. The AK47 gun used in the attack had a partial fingerprint on the magazine. This fingerprint did not belong to either Brendan McConville or John Paul Wootton. A note containing personal details of the prison governor was found in Brendan McConville’s cell and this was used as evidence of bad character against Brendan in court. It has been proven that this note was planted by a prison officer within Maghaberry in an attempt to influence public opinion. During the appeal, the court admitted that the prosecution evidence did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Brendan and John Paul were guilty.

The Craigavon Two campaign needs the support of people across the world to undertake acts of solidarity in support of the campaign, to publicize the case via the media and online social networking sites and to let the British judiciary and the British government know that once again the world is watching.

Full details of the case facts can be found on http://justiceforthecraigavontwo.com/facts-of-their-case.

Angela Nelson is an independent councillor in Belfast.Ms Nelson was interned in Armagh women’s prison in 1973 at the age 17. From the St James’s area of west Belfast, she has been a Lisburn councillor since 2005 serving the areas of Twinbrook and Poleglas.
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