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Martin McGuinness challenges Orde over handling of McCartney investigation

15 March, 2005


Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator, Martin McGuinness, has challenged the PSNI Chief Constable to publicly explain the handling of the McCartney investigation by his detectives. Pointing to growing evidence that the PSNI are holding back on charging suspects in an attempt to damage Sinn Féin, Mr McGuinness said:

"Yesterday the PSNI turned away two key people in the McCartney murder investigation, a key witness and a key suspect. Their explanation that they are making arrangements to interview the suspect is astonishing. They have been raiding homes in Belfast looking for this man yet when he offers himself for interview they turn him away. Such a course of action is unprecedented.

"Add to this the failure of the PSNI to put together an identity parade despite having eyewitnesses willing to testify and despite knowing the identities of all those involved in the killing of Robert McCartney. Normal police practice would see an identity parade organised at the earliest time to ensure the greatest chance of positive identification. In this case, six weeks after the killing, there has been no identity parade.

"It is also clear that eyewitness testimony which identifies by name some of those involved in the attack on Robert McCartney has been ignored and that a decision has been made not to arrest and charge those already identified by the eyewitness as participants in the events surrounding Robert McCartney's murder.

"Yesterday, in comments which were grossly misrepresented, I said that there are elements that are prepared to manipulate the McCartney case for political advantage. The PSNI is clearly involved in such manipulation. The PSNI's approach is not about justice; it is about damaging Sinn Fein. The PSNI are not normally reluctant to charge people. In this case the opposite is happening. I publicly challenge Hugh Orde to explain the handling of this investigation and why charges have not been brought." ENDS

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