|Forum Home > General Discussion > Original letter from Jimmy Brown in 1983 regards the supergrass system|
OPEN LETTER FRON JIMMY BROWN - CURRENTLY ON REMANDIN CRUMLIN-
RD. PRISON BELFAST, ON THE EVIDENCE OF"SUPERGRASS" HARRY KIRKPATRICK.
I am taking the opportunity to write to you to givecertain information about
the RUC's use of "Supergrasses" in the non-jury Diplock Court system here. Atpresent
I am one of over 200 people currently being held in custody on Remand on the ~
evidence of a "Supergrass". Already over 50 people herehave been convicted and imprisoned on the uncorroborated evidence of these Supergrasses. In each case this
evidence was heard by a judge sitting alone without the benefit of a jury to assess
the evidence presented. That such evidencealone should be accepted to convict anyone
is beyond the belief of most people. However, the methods by which suchevidence is
obtained is even moreincredible. During the last two years, the RUC have been using sophisticated, illegal methods, offering inducements,bribes and a wide range of "deals"in return for statements made
against people named by the RUC. A suspect following his or her arrest is takento
Castlereagh Interrogation Centre where they are held in clinical isolation forany-
~thing up to 7 days. During this time the suspect is repeatedly threatened that they
will be charged with an offence unless they co-operate with the RUC. During this time
the person is offered inducements to make statements against people the RUCname.
ON 3 OCCASIONS I WAS OFFERED £80,000PLUS, IF I WOULD mAKE A NUMBER OF INCRIMINATING
STATEMENTS AGAINST PEOPLE, SOMEOF WHON ARE unknown TO ME.THE RUC THEN TOLD ME THAT
THEY COULD 'LEAK IT! THAT I wAS APOLICE Informer, STATING; That THEY COULD HAVE ME
SHOT. The treatment which I experiencedwas not unique and has been used against many
people. As a result the RUC - have produced: a __ number of what they call "Converted
Terrorists", commonly known in the, media 'as "Supergrasses" The truth of the matter is
that these people are "converted" by the use of fear, the offer of large sums of money,
immunity from prosecution and in some cases a massive reduction in any sentence.
Undernormal police methods a person in custody is invited to make a statement
after caution. The taking of all statements must be in accordance with TheJudges Rules
ensuring--that thestatement is made voluntarily - of the personsown free will. Statements made following such inducements, the premise of favors or rewards, are not
normally admissible as evidence before the courts and cannot be regarded asbeing voluntary - or so the law states. However, in the North ofIreland, the RUC, who already
have greatly increased powersunder emergency legislation, use inducements, bribesand
threats in order to obtain statements asevidence. The offer of immunity fromprosecution
large sums of money and a new life in return for evidence must surelymake that evidence
suspect. Here, however, the RUC have used suchevidence before the court. It mustbe
remembered that no jury sits in the court here. It is simply ONE judge. In a recent case
of a former "supergraaa" Clifford McKemm9 who had been given immunity for- his part in
a murder,retracted his evidence claiming it had been false. Following his retractions
McKeown stated to the local pressthat during his time with the RUC they hadassured
him that he would get the immunity promised as "A DECISION TO ACCEPT "SUPERGRASS"
EVIDENCE HAD BEEN TAKEN AT AMEETING REPRESENTING THE RUC, SENIOR GOVERNMENTOFFICIALS
AND THE JUDIOARY". when McKeown did withdraw his evidence he was allowedto go free.
There have been a number of other such cases - Jackie Goodman and Sean Mallon.
However, more notable and more recent is the caseof Thomas McCrystal. This man,
currently serving a Life sentence for murder in the MazePrison, was taken from the
prison to the InterrogationCentre at Castlereagh. Following his ordeal Mr. McCrystal
made a detailed statement to hissolicitor and the local press (The Irish News). He
stated that, the RUCplaced a number of names in front of him and asked him to make
incriminatory statements about them. Inreturn the RUC promised him "An early release,
a new life and a comfortable standard of living forhimself and his children in England
or Wales" The power of the RUC now extends over the duration of sentence ~ person
may serve. If this seems unlikely consider the statement made by Clif.ford Mc~eo"1Q.
Anotherfactor which appears to support Mr. McKeown's statement is the way in
which evidence from these "Supergrassesll is accepted in the courts here. Early this
month, Judge Kelly, sitting alone withoutthe assistance of a jury, heard evidence
against 35 men and women in the "Christopher Black Trial1f• The sole evidence against
21 ofthe defendants was the uncorroboratedevidence of this man. They were convicted of anumber of offences and some sentenced to life in prison. Nowhere in England
would such a travesty of justice occur.The repercussions of one judge, sittingalone
hearing the solicited ,and uncorroborated evidence ofone man whose motives, by virtue
this judge is willing to accept this evidence. whY? The fact that Black had perjured
himself, before this very same judge in an earlier trial,went un-noted when raised
by the defense _ _ __
RUC andmedia claims that these supergrasses are "converted terrorists! do not
stand up to scrutiny. In the case of John Bennett, whose evidence convicted16 people without independent corroboration, his conversion occurred when hewas arrested for
his part in the murder of an elderly postmistress. It was only when he was offered
immunity that he became "converted' How does this compare with the JudgesRules
In the case of Chris Black, he was arrested for involvement in an illegalroadblock
and became "converted" when offered. immunity in return for evidence which led to 35
people being convicted Was this a willing conversion?
Those of uscurrently held on such evidence believe that the British Government under Thatcher has given the RUC a free hand and that the Judiciary here are
willing participants in this conspiracy. It is interesting to note that methods perfected here in the past have eventually been used in England. It is not surprising the
I learn of a case in Birminghamwhere a 38 year old man, Harry Treadway, was sentenced
to 15 years' in jail following what he alleges was torture. In this case his own statement of admission wassupported by a statement from "an Informer" ~ Whilst there
appears: to be evidence to support torture claims? Mr. Treadway wasstill convicted.
In the case of the Christopher Black trial there was NO evidence against many of their save that of Bl.ack , and it was heard by one judge sitting alone. It is abundantly
clear from this that either two systems of1m" operate in the two counties or that
the Judiciary and the RUC here are free to operate without having to answer to the
normal processes of Law e.
I would ask those of you who _read this, not to treatit as Republican
propaganda Everything I have said can be verified. Nothing would please me more that.
that you should seek to verify it, for in doing that you will have taken the first
step towards uncovering this conspiracy for yourselves. I trustyou will find what I
have to say interesting and provide me _with the courtesy of an early reply. As one who
makes no secret of my opposition toEnglish interference in Irishaffairs, I believe
that one Nation that enslaves another can never itself be free. For those of you in
England that are concerned about what goes on in your name in Ireland, this is an
issue you cannot ignore. .To do this is-to turn your back and say you cannot see.
Yours in Solidarity,
. Reply to James Gerard Brown 11343 9 A Wing Remand, HM Prison,Crumlin Rd. Belfast.