03 August 2005

PSNI ‘protects’ loyalist

Daily Ireland

by Ciarán Barnes

The PSNI has been accused of trying to protect a senior loyalist who is on remand in prison on serious charges.
The claim was made by Raymond McCord Sr, who contacted detectives in May 1999 to allege that the man had threatened to kill him.
The loyalist was arrested and charged but the charges were dropped several weeks later.
Mr McCord said police had told him a file on the loyalist had been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. He said detectives had later told him that the DPP had decided there was not enough evidence to prosecute.
Mr McCord never accepted this explanation. Last week, he received a letter from the new Public Prosecution Service confirming his suspicions that the PSNI has been protecting the loyalist.
The letter, seen by Daily Ireland, states that prosecutors never received a police report on the threats to kill.
Mr McCord, whose son Raymond McCord Jr was murdered by an Ulster Volunteer Force gang in north Belfast in 1997, said: “This letter has destroyed my faith in the PSNI.
“It proves the police lied to me when they said it was the DPP who had decided not to pursue charges against this man. It disturbs me that the police never even bothered sending a file on the threats I received to the DPP. That begs the question: Why would the police lie to me?
“They are obviously trying to protect someone. I believe the man they are protecting is this senior loyalist.”
Mr McCord said he hoped to meet Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, the Belfast West MP, and the SDLP’s Belfast South MP Alasdair McDonnell to discuss his son’s murder.
He added: “I don’t care who I have to meet to get justice for my son and to prove the Special Branch covered up the details of his death.
“I’m a Protestant from a loyalist area but that doesn’t mean I can’t talk about the situation with republicans and nationalists.”
At the beginning of the week, the human-rights organisation British Irish Rights Watch announced it had compiled a dossier on the McCord murder.
Group director Jane Winters said it seemed as if UVF members who doubled as police informers could act “with impunity”.
Copies of the report have been sent to the United Nations, the United States Congress, Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan and the Independent Monitoring Commission.
The McCord family specifically instructed British Irish Rights Watch not to forward a copy of the report to the PSNI.
The Police Ombudsman’s office is investigating the PSNI handling of the McCord murder case and is expected to release a report later this year.

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