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Gildernew - Orange Judiciary at core of Justice System

19 August, 2003

Sinn Féin Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew 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 Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP's remarks come after loyalist Jim Fulton, who faces 64 charges, including murder, had his bail conditions varied to enable him to travel to England with his defence team where he will be staying with one of his co-accused.

Ms Gildernew 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 Féin councillor received a suspended sentence. Last month an RIR member accused of stealing firearms and ammunition was granted bail and Jim Fulton was previously given a judges blessing to attend the Twelfth parades.

This runs in stark contrast to recent cases involving nationalists such as North Belfast man John O'Hagan who has been held in custody awaiting trial on documents charges for 17 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 Féin 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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