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Courts Operating Internment Without Trial

28 July, 2003

Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew has accused the judiciary and the PSNI of 'colluding in the operation of a policy of internment without trial'. Ms. Gildernew's remarks come after North Belfast man John O'Hagan was again refused bail and has now been held for 16 months without trial or the prospect of getting a trial.

Ms. Gildernew said:

"John O'Hagan has now served 16 months in prison without trial or indeed the prospect of a trial. This is almost the equivalent of a three year sentence. He again appealed for bail on Friday. Again at the insistence of the PSNI, Mr. O'Hagan was refused bail by the judge. The circumstances of this case can be described as nothing more than internment without trial.

"Contrast this with the attitude of the judiciary to loyalists awaiting trial. Jim Fulton who is awaiting trial on 64 charges was first released on bail and then had the conditions relaxed in order to allow him to attend Orange marches. Only last week another loyalist on a serious charge of attacking a catholic neighbour in Magherafelt was immediately granted bail.

" Nationalists and republicans have no faith in the current criminal justice system. It is clear from John O'Hagan's case that the malign influence of PSNI Special Branch holds more sway over the Diplock Judges than any notion of natural justice." ENDS

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