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Gildernew raises concern at the conduct of the Patterson investigation

22 July, 2003

Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh & South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew has said the conduct of the investigation into voting fraud centred on UUP Chief Executive Alastair Patterson raises a number of concerns.

Ms Gildernew said:

" The arrest of leading unionist and former senior electoral official Alastair Patterson raises a number of hugely significant issues. Aside from the obvious question of political bias within the electoral system and the disadvantage that any proven fraud has caused to nationalists and republicans West of the Bann, many people are questioning the conduct of the investigation currently under way.

" It seems that Mr Patterson was released from questioning last night on what were described by the PSNI as very serious matters. It now emerges that he returned today to continue with this process. This method of questioning is in sharp contrast to that employed on almost everybody else unfortunate enough to come under investigation by the PSNI.

" It is unheard of for a suspect detained on serious matters to be questioned, sent home to bed and asked to come back in the morning. Would this be the approach adopted by the PSNI to the detention of a nationalist or republican? I think the answer is obvious. It seems that Mr Patterson's position as a senior unionist is delivering previously unheard of benefits for him in relation to this investigation." ENDS

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