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Grave Concern as Dickson letter used in Holy Cross case

12 September, 2003

Bairbre de Brún, Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Equality and Human Rights has expressed "grave concern" that PSNI solicitors yesterday produced the highly controversial letter sent by Human Rights Commissioner Brice Dickson to former RUC chief Ronnie Flanagan. Their purpose is to use this as part of their defence in a judicial review taken against the former RUC head and British Secretary of State in the Holy Cross case

Ms de Brún said:

"In our view and to most people looking at this case from a human rights perspective, the letter from the Chief Commissioner to Ronnie Flanagan and the opinions expressed in it are highly inappropriate. This has seriously damaged the credibility and independence of the Human Rights Commission and in particular, the Chief Commissioner.

"Brice Dickson's letter is now being presented in defence by the PSNI, evidently to sway the outcome of this case in the PSNI's favour. This is a matter of grave concern.

"The actions of the Chief Commissioner in sending the letter in the first place is indefensible. It is deplorable that the view provided by Dickson to Flanagan, that the Holy Cross case has 'no merit', is now being used by the PSNI.

"Sinn Féin, and I am sure human rights watchers worldwide will be scrutinising the outcome of this case very closely. This case has far-reaching implications for the way that rights are promoted and protected, regardless of community background." ENDS

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