PSNI serious questions to answer on journalists’ arrests – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  said today the PSNI has serious questions to answer about the arrests of two journalists.

This follows revelations that Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire had made no complaint to the police about the alleged theft of documents which Durham Police said triggered the arrests.

Raymond McCartney  said:

“Two highly respected local journalists Barry McCaffrey and Trevor Birney were recently arrested in high-profile police operations carried out by Durham Constabulary at the behest of the PSNI.

“Following the arrests, Durham Constabulary said: ‘Officials from Police Ombudsman of NI reported the theft to PSNI, who in turn asked Durham Constabulary to conduct an independent investigation’.

“It is deeply disturbing to learn today that in fact Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire had not made a complaint to the PSNI about theft.

“This revelation completely undermines the whole basis of the men’s arrests.

“The two men were involved in the making of the widely acclaimed documentary ‘No Stone Unturned’ by Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney which helped expose the extent of collusion between the state and loyalist paramilitaries in the murder of six people in Loughinisland.

“The documentary took its name from a pledge by then British Secretary of State Patrick Mayhew that there would be ‘no stone unturned’ in the hunt for the killers.

“Instead the families of those murdered have been subject to more than 20 years of state cover-up on collusion into the murders and no one has ever been brought before the courts for the Loughinisland Massacre.

“And instead of the police taking action against those responsible for murdering these six people, they arrested the two journalists who exposed the evidence to TV screens across the world.

“These arrests were an attack on the freedom of press which is a fundamental element of any democratic society that allows journalists to carry out their work unhindered and the PSNI clearly have serious questions to answer.”