Justice for the Craigavon two is a Group set up to campaign for justice for Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton who were both convicted for the killing of PSNI constable Stephen Carroll and sentenced to life imprisonment.
We firmly believe that the case was corrupt and the “evidence” used was inconclusive, contradictory and in places discredited. We believe that both men find themselves victims of a system that sought to find suitable scapegoats in the wake of the political and media backlash following the killing.
Brendan and John Paul’s adjourned appeal case is due to resume in October 2013. We hope to draw attention to this miscarriage of justice. If there is no public scrutiny of this case we believe the system will safeguard its own and ratify the life sentences. We ask you the public to look at the facts. Look past the media sound bites and look at the case. In the bare light of day we are convinced that anyone who looks at the case will see clearly the loose evidence used, the twisted perceptions used to uphold discredited an inconclusive forensics, and the use of vulnerable and impressionable and discredited witnesses all contrived to put Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton in jail for life.
Read the facts and make your voice heard. Don’t let this miscarriage of justice continue. Visit our website www.justiceforthecraigavontwo.com and become involved. Together we can make a difference.
Gerry Conlon of the Guildford 4 is one of the leading members of the Group calling for justice for Brendan and John Paul. Gerry spent 15 years in jail in one of the most infamous miscarriages of justice and had this to say in regard to the case of the Craigavon Two.
“We can’t have innocent people going to jail and 15 years down the line, them being released and their lives ruined. Not only that, the lives of their families being ruined. But you have to have the courage of your convictions to stand up for what you believe in and I believe a miscarriage of justice took place here on the basis of all the evidence I have read”.
Gerry speaking about the case
The State case against Brendan and John Paul is flawed in almost all of its points. The case hinged on the testimony of a Witness known only as “M.” His identity, though well known in the Craigavon Lurgan area, was hidden by the court. This left both Brendan and John Paul’s defense unable to expose this ‘Walter Mitty type character’
· Witness M came forward to give evidence 11 months after the shooting while he was drunk.
· Witness M’s eyewitness testimony was proven to be medically impossible.
·Witness M was continuously found to be lying under oath during the trial.
·Witness M was with his partner on the night in question yet she fails to corroborate his story.
· Witness M has benefited financially from his involvement
·Witness M’s identity was hidden from the court preventing a proper cross examination
PSNI Sabotage the appeal
The original appeal date 29th of April, ended in disarray when it was announced in court that the PSNI had sabotaged the appeal process by arresting a key defense witness and had subjected Brendan McConville’s legal team to a sinister surveillance operation that not only jeopardized the right to a fair appeal hearing but concerned human rights organizations enough that a number have lobbied the United Nations Special Rapporteur asking the UN to safe guard Brendan and John Paul’s legal teams. Calls have also been made in the appeal court for the unprecedented move of removing the investigation around the arrest of the key defense witness from the PSNI.
News articles published in the Irish News www.irishnews.com
How it played out in the appeal court
The appeal against the conviction was unexpectedly adjourned after the prosecution told the court that new evidence had emerged which needed to be investigated. Crown barrister, Ciaran Murphy QC, told the court that police had only become aware of new potential evidence last Thursday. Mr Murphy said that as a result of the new information a detective superintendent had been appointed by the PSNI to oversee the investigation of the new evidence. The court was told that one person had been arrested as a result of the evidence and interviewed for a two day period before being released without charge. The court was told that as part of the same investigation police had used covert surveillance against the individual and a solicitor. Mr Murphy described the PSNI investigation as “quite fluid” indicating that further police inquiries could take a number of weeks.
However defense counsel claimed that police were attempting to sabotage the appeal, rather than obtain investigating new evidence in the case. McConville’s barrister, Barry Macdonald SC, told the court that the prosecution case in the original trial had relied heavily on the evidence of a witness, identified only as ‘M’. ‘M’ had been on his way to the home of a close relative when he claimed to have seen Brendan McConville among a group of men close to the scene from where Constable Carroll was killed.
Mr Macdonald said that a new witness had now emerged, who had not been interviewed by police at the time of the murder and had not given evidence at the original murder trial. The court was told that this man (a close relative of M) made a sworn affidavit earlier this month in which he described ‘M’ as a “compulsive liar” and that he was regarded by his family as a “Walter Mitty” type character with a fertile imagination. He denied that ‘M’ had visited his home on the night of the murder, as had been claimed at the original trial. He said he’d been shocked to learn that the original trial judge had relied on ‘M’s evidence to convict Wootton and McConville.
Mr Macdonald alleged that police had forced their way into the home of the man who contradicted ‘M’s evidence on April 22 and warned him that he would be discredited if he gave evidence at the appeal. “Two police officers called at the house of this witness on whose fresh evidence we relay,” he said. “On my instructions it appears they forced their way into the house and proceeded to warn him that if he went to court he would be discredited.” The court was told the man was then arrested the following day and questioned for 48 hours before being released without charge. Mr Macdonald said that a formal complaint had now been made to the Police Ombudsman about the alleged intimidation of this potential witness and the use of secret surveillance against him and a defense solicitor.
“It appears to have been an attempt to sabotage the appeal,” the barrister told the court. Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan agreed to adjourn the case until October in light of what he described as a high level of uncertainty surrounding the facts of the new evidence.
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