The Appeal Hearing of John Paul Wooton & Brendan McConville who were both convicted of the killing of PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll in 2009, and sentenced to life imprisonment, drew to a close, on Friday October 18th in the Belfast Appeal Court. The case was heard over two weeks.
Four TDs Mick Wallace, Clare Daly, Maureen O’Sullivan and Eamon O’Cuiv attended the appeal hearing, along with Gerry Conlon of the Guilford 4, who spent 15 years in jail in one of the most infamous miscarriages of justice and who is a leading member of the group calling for Justice for the Craigavon 2.The case against McConville & Wootton is flawed in many aspects. It primarily hinged on the testimony of a Witness M, whose identity was hidden by the court. The initial appeal hearing in April this year was disrupted when it emerged that a witness who contradicted Witness M, had been arrested & detained by the PSNI and subsequently released without charge in an alleged attempt at intimidation. This witness had described Witness M as “a compulsive liar” and said that he was regarded by his family as a “Walter Mitty” type character with a fertile immigration. He denied that M had visited his home on the night of the murder as had been originally claimed. Shocking evidence also emerged of secret surveillance against this witness and against the defences’ legal team.
During the Hearing evidence was presented that:
•Witness M came forward to give evidence 11 months after the shooting while he was drunk.
*Witness M eyewitness testimony was proven to be medically impossible.
•Witness M was found to be lying under oath consistently during the trial.
•Witness M was with his partner on the night, she failed to corroborate his story.
•Witness M benefited financially from his involvement.
•Witness M identity was hidden from the court preventing a proper cross examination
•The tracking device had gone “missing” during the inquiry and when it was found some of the data had been erased.
•The forensics on the jacket did not match the forensics on the AK47 that was recovered.
•The fingerprint found on the AK47 belonged to neither Brendan McConville nor John Paul Wootton
This case is an important one and requires serious public scrutiny in order to ensure that justice prevails for all. While in attendance at the court on the first day of the hearing, the TDs met Kate Carroll ,the widow of the murder victim PSNI constable Stephen Carroll. Mrs Carroll is a very dignified lady, who has lost her partner and whose life has been devastated by the murder. She also deserves justice. Her rights need to be vindicated, but they will not be vindicated if people are imprisoned on false or unreliable information. It is very important for the interests of all, that justice is delivered appropriately, transparently & fairly.
As members of the Irish parliament, we feel a sense of responsibility to do what we can, in our limited way, to help see justice done for all concerned. We abhor all violence. We do not support any form of military activity, be it by individual, groupings, or state – we believe in fighting for justice for all, fairness for all. We believe that a just and fair society will make this world a better place for everyone.
The trial judges have reserved their judgement which will be released at a later date. For more details on the case go to www.justiceforthecraigavontwo.com.