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Sinn Féin surprise at Police Ombudsman Report into Abernathy case

5 August, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Policing and Justice, North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has expressed surprise at the findings of the report by the Police Ombudsman allegations of misconduct by the PSNI in relation to forensic evidence in the case of Noel Abernathy.

Mr Kelly said:

"Serious allegations were made by a forensic scientist, Dr Ann Irwin, of interference by the PSNI and RUC in the gathering, analysis and presentation of results in forensic evidence over at least the last seven years.

"The Abernathy case was not the first time that such concerns have been expressed about both the independence and veracity of forensic evidence used in Diplock court cases.

"The Forensic Science Agency is located inside a PSNI complex. Other cases have also proven that both the RUC and PSNI are guilty of fabricating and manipulating forensic evidence. There is a pattern of Special Branch interference in the due process and that pattern is against a background of miscarriages of justice.

"Unfortunately this report from the Office of the Police Ombudsman does nothing to assuage these concerns. The pattern of abuse by Special Branch to obtain Diplock court convictions, by hook or by crook, continues to pervade and infect the criminal justice system and remains to be rectified." ENDS

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