23 January 2006

Stormont raid: Ombudsman denies exonerating PSNI


23/01/2006 - 13:05:47

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The North's Police Ombudsman has denied giving a clean bill of health to the PSNI raid on Sinn Féin's offices at Stormont four years ago.

The raid was carried out as part of an investigation into an alleged IRA spy ring that led directly to the collapse of the power-sharing institutions in October 2002.

Sinn Féin official Denis Donaldson and two others were later charged with possessing secret documents from Stormont, but the charges were dropped last year.

Mr Donaldson then made the shock revelation that he had been a British spy for 20 years.

The news prompted fresh claims that the Stormont raid was carried out as part of a politically-motivated move to bring down the power-sharing government in the North.

Recent media reports have claimed the Ombudsman totally exonerated the PSNI from any misconduct in the affair, but Nuala O'Loan's office is now pointing out that this was not the case.

The Ombudsman's office said that, while its investigation found no evidence of any political motivation, it did conclude that the raid was totally disproportionate.

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