Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Answers demanded from PSNI Chief after acquittals in High Court

29 June, 2004

Commenting after the four men who were set up for arrest by missing Armagh man Gareth O'Connor were acquitted in the High Court, Sinn Féin Assembly member Conor Murphy said that 'the time had now come for PSNI Chief Hugh Orde to make an honest public statement on the matter'.

Mr Murphy said:

"This morning the High Court found these four men not guilty of the charges laid against them after it accepted that they were set up by the PSNI Special Branch through missing Armagh man Gareth O'Connor.

"Hugh Orde has in the past been very vocal on the O'Connor case. Before this trial began and it emerged that Mr. O'Connor was in his employment, Hugh Orde accused the IRA of being involved in the abduction. Since allegations about Mr O'Connor appeared in court Mr Orde has gone silent on this matter.

"This situation cannot be allowed to continue. It is time for Hugh Orde to come clean. Firstly he must give the O'Connor family all of the information he has about the case and significantly he must explain why his Special Branch was deliberately trying to set people up for arrest and wrongful conviction.

" These issues go to the very heart of the policing issue and the fact that the vast majority of nationalists in the six counties have election after election rejected the PSNI as an acceptable policing service. Hugh Orde can no longer hide from the fundamental issue of continuing illegal activity being carried out by the Special Branch." ENDS

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