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Contrasting approach highlighted after PSNI man fails to turn up to trial

10 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O'Dowd has said that much hypocrisy and double standards seem to apply from the political establishment after it emerged that a former PSNI member Thomas Bell failed to turn up for a trial yesterday at Craigavon.

Mr O‚Dowd said:

"Yesterday two former members of the PSNI were due to appear in court charged with serious offences. However one of them Thomas Bell failed to turn up. This fact barely received a mention in the media. It was rightly left to the courts to get on with their job in issuing bench warrants and dealing with the matter.

"Contrast this with the approach adopted by many in the political establishment to the failure of four Belfast men convicted in relation to the Bobby Tohill case to turn up in court. Then it was a political crisis. It was Sinn Féin‚s responsibility. People were knocking down the door of the IMC all eager to create another crisis in the political process or yet another excuse not to move forward.

"Yet in the wake of the Craigavon case nobody was haranguing Hugh Orde about the whereabouts of his former colleague or demanding that Peter Hain tell us where this individual is hiding out. Indeed a similar approach was adopted when it emerged that 60 members of the PSNI have been convicted of criminality over the past two years.

"It seems to many republicans and impartial observers that a great deal of hypocrisy and double standards seem to be continually in operation by the political establishment here." ENDS

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