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Staunton slams judicial double standards

21 August, 2003

North Belfast Sinn Fein representative Kathy Stanton has said that nationalists and republicans are 'sick and tired of the double standards which operate at the heart of the judiciary in the six counties'. The North Belfast Sinn Fein representatives remarks come after loyalist Gary McKenzie, who faces gun charges, was today granted bail of £250.

Ms Stanton said:

" Nationalists and republicans are sick and tired at the sectarian double standards which operate at the heart of the judiciary in the north.

In recent times we have seen the judiciary in the six counties release on bail a leading loyalist caught with a firearm in the middle of an internecine loyalist turf war and a man was convicted of assembling intelligence information on a Sinn Fein councillor received a suspended sentence. Last month an RIR member accused of stealing firearms and ammunition was granted bail and Jim Fulton was given a judges blessing to attend the Twelfth parades.

" This runs in stark contrast to the recent case involving North Belfast man John O'Hagan who has been held in custody awaiting trial on documents charges for almost 18 months with no prospect yet of a trial or bail.

" At the core of the criminal justice system in the six counties are the Diplock judges. These are the men who rubber stamped the Special Branch activity in the torture centres. The men who refused to back Sinn Fein Councillors in their demands for security measures on their homes, and who continue to operate with a blatant anti-Catholic securocrat agenda. Nationalists will never have confidence in the Criminal Justice System as long as this ethos is allowed to operate." ENDS

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