Brief Summary of First Stage of Blog

As I promised in my last post just before the Christmas break I will briefly summarise the contents and conclusions of the first 41 posts and outline what the future of the blog might be. Not all the evidence available to me is included in this first series. For example I have a series of recordings which were made of phone calls and interviews with various interested parties at my home and elsewhere and I have incomplete evidence on other matters which remain inconclusive. Acting as a civilian certain evidence trails were not open to me.

It is clear from all the evidence that Carson, the driver of the Subaru which crashed into my brother’s oncoming car on the Steeple Road was completely responsible for my brother’s death. He was traveling along the narrow road at or above 80 miles per hour and was using his mobile phone in conversation with his wife when he lost control as he rounded a blind corner. He had fitted his uni-directional tyres back to front deliberately in the belief that it would reduce friction and thus tyre wear whilst indulging in the dangerous manoeuvre called drifting.  He was a cocky and persistent high-speed junkie who did not feel the need to wear a seatbelt. His written statements showed that he was also an inveterate liar. He had close connections with the Police both socially and professionally. He worked for his father-in-law and carried out maintenance duties repairing and  maintaining various Police Stations. Certain local Police officers had their private cars serviced and tuned in his private garage and he was friends with officers who belonged to the same Motor Cycle Club which used the Steeple Road as a speed test track.

These close connections might go a long way to explain why the Police decided to deliberately make a false Report of their findings at the scene and afterwards, using lies, corrupt interventions, and perversion of Justice, to protect Carson from the consequences of his action. My brother was given no such consideration but may well have fallen foul of a canteen culture of blaming the dead driver for causing the crash for ease of closing down the case. Antrim Police apparently had a reputation and history for adopting such a course.

The various acts of corruption perpetrated by members of the PSNI are detailed throughout this blog beginning in March 2018 through June 2018 and later and I don’t intend to detail everything in this post but it includes lies, falsehoods,perversion of Justice, and interference with witnesses.

However, at the end of this post I will try to explain why this corruption clearly runs in a cancerous vein throughout the PSNI and within the whole of the Criminal Judicial System and that would suggest that the present system is  irredeemable whilst the present players are still in position.

In one of my previous posts I referred to an anonymous phone call several months into my investigation when the caller proposed that he would provide direct justice given that he knew that the Police would not do so. Later, I imagined that it might have been an attempt by the Police to somehow entrap me into an illegal course of action. In any case,  I told the caller that I had faith in the Justice System, that I would correct any errors and neither I nor Raymond’s family required any such assistance or intervention.  I decided then that I must seek Justice through the proper channels to validate my firm belief. That search for Justice has taken some 15 years and all that I have proved is that the threatening anonymous caller was right and I was wrong in regards to the integrity of the Justice System. He was not right about the solution but my firm belief about the power of the pen over the sword has been somewhat questioned. Clearly I have no remaining faith in  the application of  Justice here.

I worked my way methodically through the whole of the Justice system.

In the Police Service of Northern Ireland I found, in addition to incompetence, a ready ability to lie, forge evidence, procrastinate, interfere with witnesses and divert submissions by me to cover up or delay the truth.

I insisted that the  Forensic Service of Northern Ireland make a Report and it modified and misinterpreted the evidence to match the false Police Report.(Posts of 21/05/18 – 11/06/18 refers.)  The Secretary of State David Hanson who was responsible for the Forensic Service of Northern Ireland did nothing when this was drawn to his attention.  (04/06/2018)

My complaint to the Police Ombudsman was  initially wrongly interpreted to favour the Police version of events but thankfully was reversed on the appointment of a new Ombudsman. (posts 16/06/2018 – 13/08/2018 refer). It made no difference. The PSNI default position is to simply ignore most of their findings and recommendations.

In 2008 HM Inspector of Constabulary produced a damning Report on the lack of expertise within the PSNI on Roads Policing. The Report was based in good part on my findings into the crash. The Police showed no reaction.

Several submissions were made to the Public Prosecution Service accusing certain individuals of perverting the course of Justice and including Carson for causing death by dangerous driving. My submissions included Chief Constable Orde, Sgt McBride, Inspector Ian White and Chief Coroner Leckey. My cases remain unresolved and are still current. ( Posts on 03/09/18, 10/09/18 and 19/11/ 2018 refer.)

The Coroner’s Service, under the leadership of Chief Coroner Leckey, failed in its duty and continues to do so.(See posts dated 24/09/2018-15/10/2018)

The Lord Chief Justice’s staff offered no assistance, washed their hands of it, and, whether through ignorance or cavalier arrogance, referred the matter to the Queen. (22/10/2018 to 3/12/2018.

The Minister of Justice has no responsibility for the application of Justice. In the case of MLA David Ford, he has shown no interest in the injustice heaped on one of his constituents.

The Northern Ireland Ombudsman (NIO) who was given responsibility for oversight of the Forensic Office strangely found an opt out clause in its terms of responsibility which prevented it from investigating corruption within the FSNI until all court cases were heard. This included the Coroner’s Court who have no desire to hold a reinstated Inquest. ( Post on/12/2018). If my allegations against FSNI are well founded then FSNI’s previous cases should be challenged and the existence of FSNI in its present form put in doubt. It has been done in the past and only scraped through from having its contracts with the Police removed.

 

 


My Conclusion in Brief.

Having engaged with the many elements of the Justice System over the past 15 years and taking a greater interest in the vast number of complaints lodged against the PSNI and other elements within the Justice System, I have come to a firm conclusion that the PSNI together with the rest of the Justice System is corrupt beyond repair and is no longer worthy of our support under the current leadership or the current membership.  The corruption is ingrained and widespread. Clearly I am not alone  in my conclusion given the increased number of vigilante and revenge attacks that happen almost on a daily basis.

The Police Ombudsman’s Office has to deal with nearly 3000 written complaints a year from disgruntled  citizens against a Police Force of just under 7000. One can only guess at the number of others who decided that they could not or would not  make a formal complaint about their interaction with Police. It is clear that the primary purpose of both the Police and the rest of the Justice System is to protect and hide the failings of its membership and the application of Justice takes a poor second place. I accept that it is a long time since policing was considered a vocation but it is a shock to me that not a single person within the PSNI and associated organisations had the moral fibre to stand up and call a halt to the corrupt practices visited on Raymond’s family and friends. Those who were in a position to do so simply cowered behind their anonymity and said nothing or actively assisted their corrupt colleagues with the coverup.

Although the corruption was initiated by the PSNI in this case, they were clearly in a position to request and expect the assistance of the other agencies to support them in burying the truth. I’m sure that a reciprocal corrupt arrangement is always available to them if required. The independence of the many elements of the Justice System which is vital if it is to succeed in its core aim of delivering Justice to all has been totally compromised.

The reputation and success of any organisation is dependant on its leadership and, from its formation, the PSNI has been badly led. My experience includes the current incumbent Chief Constable George Hamilton and his predecessor Hugh Orde. Both were told several times that two of their ranked officers had lied and falsified evidence and Reports and were blatantly supported by their colleagues in other branches as required. The PSNI leadership  did nothing. Presumably Hamilton believes that his first duty is to protect his men against all criticism whether false or justified.  Perhaps he thinks that leadership is primarily a matter of fantacy Public Relations output and Justice can be as selective as he chooses.  It is a secondary consideration. For example, he is keen to tell us that there are no No Go areas for the Police in Northern Ireland but neglects to tell us that the Police are allowed  unfettered access only after it has negotiated a pass from the local Tribal Chiefs.  He is happy to sit back and accept the lifelong crippling of nearly 100 young men and children every year by gangsters and say that he is powerless to intervene because the locals are frightened. Well, that is okay then.  I’m sure his reassurances are a great boost to both the morale of his officers and citizens.

Recently he did make a real effort to gee his officers up and get them to do the job they are paid for. It seems that the PSNI has employed a disturbing number of sickly snowflakes into its ranks.  In an average year, statistics show that on an average day some 420 officers were off sick at a cost of some £25 million a year to the taxpayer.  Many of them were struck down by the stress of the job. This meant that, on average, each officer was off work for an additional nine days per year. This was additional to the 4 weeks annual holiday they enjoyed. Additionally the £25 million is on top of the money paid out to thousands of others who had hearing loss from  firearms training.

One could argue that a Police Officer must be aware at the outset that the nature of the job entails handling extremely stressful situations and so should not join if he or she does not have a sufficiently robust temperament to cope with it. To put it another way – if anyone is not up to the job he should be removed forthwith as he is a liability to fellow officers around him. Similarly an officer with a hearing disability can not give reported speech evidence reliabily to a court without being challenged and is therefore unfit for the post.

A Police Officer on Twitter, possibly a snowflake, was complaining that he found the job more complex than originally envisaged.

The Chief Constable, in a rare burst of leadership and frustration or maybe finding it a struggle to seek additional cash  for the PSNI whilst justifying paying over £25 million a year to sickly officers wrote back:-

” Let’s get on with it rather than wallowing in self-pity. You are allowed to leave and seek another job – nobody is asking you to stay. Dry your eyes, do the job or move on.”

It would seem to have been a brave attempt to move the malingerers out of the PSNI  but alas it didn’t last long as, after a deluge of criticism, the following day he wrote :-

“I’ve clearly caused some offence in what I’ve said, and for that I apologise.”

A flash of leadership perhaps but it was short-lived.

His Contract of Employment is due for renewal in July 2019. For so many reasons one can only hope that the Selection Committee of the Policing Board of Northern Ireland and the Minister for Justice or the Secretary of State choose wisely on reading this blog.

Amendment : Chief Constable has just announced that he will now retire at the end of June 2019  just 3 hours after this post was published. No – I don’t think this post was the cause !

 

 

In or around 1960 there was a Nationwide survey carried out which made comparisons of the 60 plus Police Forces throughout the United Kingdom. The result was that the RUC came top for its efficiency, greatest crime clear up rate and for the level of its support from the community.

A similar survey today would probably place it at the bottom of the list. What caused the massive deterioration in its standards ?

Before I give you my answer I will first tell you about a threat to which all Law enforcement Agencies are vulnerable. The threat is called by the Academics who study these things NOBLE CAUSE CORRUPTION (NCC).

NCC is a mindset or sub-culture which fosters a belief that the ends justify the means. Strange or not, the officers most susceptible to it are the ones who feel the need most for alternative law enforcement especially when laws tend to unnecessarily obstruct a just outcome.

Newly recruited officers are often lured into it by more experienced officers and find it difficult to resist. It is a short step to modify the evidence to satisfy the requirement of the law to achieve the desired just outcome. For example, a law might say that a sick dog must be taken to the vet to be dispatched humanely but does not say that the law applies when being attacked by a pack of rabid dogs. All laws are limited and subject to interpretation. Or to put it another way – “Never let the truth stand in the way of Justice ”  and a short step to  “Never let the truth stand in the way of a favour for a  collegue or mate”

When the Troubles (or more accurately violent and savage insurgency ) started in the late 60’s the RUC had little choice or guidance on how to interpret the inadequate law in the noble cause of protecting the innocent citizenry. The law as it stood was completely inadequate to contain the onslaught and had to be interpreted and often violated for the common good. Frankly their actions were welcomed and understood that the rabid dogs needed to be curtailed at all costs. Stepping outside the inadequate law by those paid to uphold it was acceptable provided it was confined to the rabid dogs and not to the family pets.

Sadly, Noble Cause Corruption, whatever its immediate necessity, over time,  was bound to bleed into general corruption, spread into the other Justice Agencies and eventually become institutionalised.  NCC and its consequence is really what most historical investigations and associated Court cases involving Police actions are about today in Northern Ireland.

When the RUC was disbanded and replaced  by the PSNI, I believe one of the reasons was to remove NCC from the mindset of all officers in the new Police Service and to have a new beginning in the new conditions.

Long serving officers of the RUC were encouraged to leave with the inducement of large redundancy payments and new recruits were advised on appointment not to seek advice from old RUC officers who were still serving.

Unfortunately this scheme failed to remove the Noble Cause Corruption mindset and all the techniques were transferred over and left in place and transferred to new recruits. I suppose it might be argued that there is still a number of rabid dogs still roaming the streets, but now the corruption is being used mainly against the family pets.

 

This blog will remain active and used to brief and expand the number of people who have yet to read it. It will be added to as and when required but will not be published at regular intervals as before. If you wish to be informed when a new post is due simply complete the “Follow” button and you will be advised on future publications.Thank you all for showing such interest. I doubt it but it is my earnest hope that it will prod the Powers that be to do something to overhaul our corrupt system of Justice System here.  We all deserve better, but I am not hopeful.

 

 

Stanley LYNN

 

 

 

My Final Claim For Compensation

I had spent 12 years trying to get Justice for Raymond’s family but all I found was corruption and criminality throughout the Justice System. I was not prepared to test this through the Courts because I had no reason to believe that it was no less biased and selective than the Coroner’s Office. If my claim was rejected my backstop was to attempt to expose the whole rotten system.

Under advice, I sought out a barrister to guide me in making a written application directly to the Chief Constable who was responsible for his officers being able to lie and submit false Reports to protect Carson from the possible consequences of his wreckless actions and then to protect his own  officers.

I wasn’t going to list all the many and various reasons why compensation should be paid – the Chief Constable knew the truth and the facts and he alone  and are forced to make a claimcould decide whether he should respond in an honourable way. I held out little hope since he didn’t think there was anything wrong in retaining liars and fraudsters in his Force.

Perhaps I should not have followed my barristers advice by using the word misfeasance instead of lies and corruption but it would have been silly to seek expensive advice and not act on it. Thereafter I would call a spade a spad and be damned.

On 10th September 2015 I wrote the following Proposal for Compensation to George Hamilton, the present Chief Constable, who was already in post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I received acknowledgemnt of my letter by return of post. I heard nothing more for another 18 months !!

 

That’s just one example of the PSNI’s favourite mass weapon of obstruction – procrastination until death.

I wrote :-

 

Three weeks later, I got the final “considered” reply from the PSNI Legal Services Branch.

You will have your own analysis of the response from the Chief Constable but I will briefly outline what I thought of it after you have read it.

 

I wish to point out some of my observations from this letter.

In the second paragraph of his response he apologises for the delay but he was dealing with “an extremely high volume of litigation at present and this particular matter escaped our attention and was not dealt with in a satisfactory manner.”

One can deduce from this that a massive number of people find the service provided by the PSNI to be totally unsatisfactory and are determined to make a claim.  It confirms my belief that the PSNI is an ill lead incompetent Force with more than its fair share of corrupt officers.

I expected him to have been provided  with the substance of the misfeasence briefly stated in my claim against the Chief Constable He was not.

I expected him to have asked the Chief Constable of his culpability in allowing falsehoods to be maintained and reinforced. Either he did not ask his client or his client did not tell him what he knew of the case.

In paragraph 4 he creepily expresses his sympathy for the loss of my brother and so lost all integrity in my eyes.

He goes on to refer to two case laws to support his decision to take no further action.

Neither of these cases are relevant to the behavior of the PSNI who permitted officers to provide false written Reports, to lie about their findings to third parties including the Police Ombudsman, to be protected from producing the false evidence in court under oath or to persuade other witnesses to change their Reports.

The Hillsborough Police were rank amatuers in corruption compared to this bunch.

In paragraph six he states that the case was outside the statutary limitation period, or, to put it another way, the PSNI deliberate policy of procrastination was successful in this case. The writer himself added 18 months to the delay.

In paragraph eight he suggests that any claim should have been made against another person (presumably Carson) or an Insurer. Clearly his briefing was very limited and he knew nothing of the failed attempt to take such a case to the High Court only to have it cut short when someone interfered with it so that the case had to be withdrawn.

Finally he decided it was clever to threaten me that should I elect to take the matter further he would defend the case and if I were unsucessful I would be liable for PSNI legal costs.

If I was hesitating over whether or not to write this blog he can certianly take the credit for it going ahead.

 

 

The final post in this first series will detail the conclusions  I have come to following my experience of dealing with the many elements of our Justice System. It will not be published until some time in January and will include the further actions that will follow. The blog site will remain open both for me and anyone else who may wish to add to it. More about that later.

In the meantime, thanks for reading this account. Have a great Christmas and all the best for 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Last Attempt to have Forensic Report Challenged

You may recall  that in my posts on 21st and 28th May  and 4th and 11th June, I dealt with the incompetent or corrupt Report prepared by Damien Coll the Forensic Officer employed by  Forensic Science of Northern Ireland (FSNI). I had made a formal complaint to the Secretary of State David Hanson and asked for an investigation into the Report only to have the complaint sent back to FSNI to carry out the investigation themselves. The outcome was that Coll was praised for his work. 

When I complained to the Coroner at the last hearing when Coll was protected from giving all the evidence or from being cross-examined by me at the behest of Coroner Leckey, the allegations I made there was given a second internal examinationby FSNI staff and Coll was again exonerated. These events were covered in the posts during the month of October.

Much later, I was prompted by the Office of the Minister of Justice to make a formal complaint to the Northern Ireland Ombudsman about my concerns with the Report by the FSNI. This is an office not connected in any way to the Police Ombudsman and is essentially meant to oversee and monitor the behaviour of Governmental bodies and to deal with complaints. It also has responsibility to investigate complaints about the FSNI after the complainant has been unsuccessful  in getting satisfaction by first complaining to the FSNI directly.

Apparently it is such an almighty organisation in status that a lowly citizen is unable to approach it in person but can only submit a case through his or her MP and only if the MP considers it a worthy complaint. I thought it akin to having to plead to God through the intercession of the Saints.

My local MP was Doctor Alasdair McDonnell, ably assisted by Nicola his member of staff.

I would make my plea through them.

It is fair to say at this point that they were probably the two most helpful people I came across during my search for justice and without doubt the best two saints I could have found in a Justice System with few saints.

This is my letter to the Ombudsman on 19th January 2013 endorsed  and sponsored by my MP. I included the book Junk Justice as sworn statement by me.

 

This was his reply.

 

The main thrust of my letter was not about the allegation of forgery made in the Coroner’s Court. I knew that was a criminal offence if true and would be dealt with by the police. I was hoping that the ombudsman would concentrate his investigation into the incompetence and lack of integrity and professionalism of Coll. I was also concerned about the absence of any real or purposeful investigation of my complaints to the FSNI.

 

I wrote back.

 

 

On the 18th April 2013, as a result of this second letter from me, the Deputy NI Ombudsman Marie Anderson invited Dr McDonnell and myself to a meeting to discuss the complaint further.

We met at SDLP Headquarters in Ormeau Road Belfast on 10th May 2013. Dr McDonnell, as facilitator rightly played little or no part in the exchanges.

Most of the points in the letters were covered and her conclusion was that no investigation would be carried out by them until the Coroner’s new Court Hearing was completed.  We are still waiting.

I expressed the view that I found it remarkable that serious allegations made by me about a professional witness could be ignored at the whim of the Coroner’s Court and meanwhile he could continue to ply his trade without any possible censure. She went on to say that any evidence of FSNI maladministration would not be investigated until all Court cases had been completed.

She explained that her Department was constrained in its action by the 1996 Order.

The meeting ended after about a wasted hour.

A month later, when neither Dr McDonnell nor myself had received any followup letter from the Ombudsman, I wrote to her and stated that I had decided not to pursue my concerns with her office further.

 

The penultimate post in this current series of posts will detail my claim for compensation submitted to the PSNI.

 

 

 

Who Stole the Queen’s Mail ?

I had made what I considered were serious allegations of failure of duty against the Chief Coroner John Leckey which were detailed in my previous post.

Amongst those approached for help was the Office of the lord Chief Justice who told me that he had no further responsibility for the past behaviour of Leckey since he had retired the previous month. I thought it was improbable that he would retire just to avoid scrutiny of his time in office but what did I know. I asked for advice on how else I might advance my concerns and was told that I couldn’t take it any further and that my only recourse  would be to appeal to the Queen.  On being told that, I concluded that it was either an arrogant and distainful response or he didn’t know much about his job. Either way, I couldn’t imagine the circumstances that would persuade me to follow through his suggestion.

It was hard to find out if there was some means of petitioning the Queen although research suggested that she had a tangential responsibility for appointing judges. No one seemed to know.

Maybe the Lord Chief Justice’s Office was right after all so I decided to submit an application to her. Although I may be addressing my petition to the Queen I thought it better to send it to the Department within the Royal Household which would deal with it. I could find that out from one of the Judicial Offices who should know.

I wrote back to the Lord Chief justice for help. I also wrote to the Coroner’s Office and to the Minister of Justice.

The Lord Chief Justice wrote :-

“You have asked for details regarding how you may write to the Queen. I regret that I am unaware of who you might best approach in relation to this request.”

I had told him that I was given this advice from a member of his staff in his Complaints office.He didn’t seemed at all phased that it was possible that perhaps his staff member knew more than him or alternatively his staff member was lying.

The Coroner’s Office ignored the question in their reply.

The Department of Justice never sent a reply.

 

On 21st April 2017, I posted a letter to Her Majesty the Queen.

By now I had learned to register or use Track and Trace for any letters of importance that  I was sending to one of the justice Agencies because I had experienced so many letters going astray in the post and thus causing inordinate delays or no response at all. By now and using such practices, Justice had been delayed for nearly 14 years.

Track and Trace is a useful tool to progress an item of mail through the Postal System at each stage of delivery. Each letter is given a code and each stage is  notified to the  sender through the internet and each stage is signed for by the receiver all the way through till delivery. A signature by a member of staff at the Post Office would be quickly followed up by a second signature at Tomb Street Delivery Office and then forwarded to the next stage.

I posted the letter First Class to the Queen on 21 April 2017 at Creighton’s Garage on the Lisburn Road in Belfast.

 

It read :-

 

 

 

I expected the letter to arrive the following day or within 48 hours.

After 48 hours I checked on the Internet and it was shown that it had still not been received at Tomb Street but was on its way.

Twenty one days after posting the Track and Trace System was still showing that it was “on its way” and that it still hadn’t been marked as arrived at Tomb Street.

I convinced myself that any Mail addressed to the Queen from Northern Ireland may be subject to security scrutiny before being released for delivery just in case someone might have slipped in drop of Novichock or some other nasty or harmful concoction. After twenty-one days of no further movement I suspected someone was up to their devious tricks again and they were probably being helped by Royal Mail staff.

If there is a Police or Military led Department within Tomb Street to sift mail I would have expected them to be in touch with me as my address and contact details accompanied the letter. 

The letter was never forwarded to the Queen.

I firmly believe that someone in Tomb Street removed the letter, not for security reasons, but to prevent its contents from being sent to the recipient. That is a very serious criminal offence.

I contacted the postmaster at Creighton Post Office and he assured me that the letter was forwarded the same day to Tomb Street for onward delivery. I believed him.

I spoke to someone at Tomb Street who refused to give his name and explained the circumstances to him but he could not help. I asked to be put through to someone who deals with security of the mail. He said there was no one. I asked him to arrange Royal Mail Security to contact me. They did not.

I had hit another brick wall which, frankly, I couldn’t be bothered breaching.

To my satisfaction and examining all the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the letter, I was satisfied that I knew who was behind its theft and the reason why.

My conclusion was arrived at by asking myself Who Benefits ? There is only one answer.

 

After exhausting all enquiries I sent the same letter to the Queen but with the following covering letter.

I  sent the letter through the Post Office in Edinburgh.

It arrived at Buckingham Palace the following day.

 

 

I received the following letter on behalf of the Queen some four weeks later. Her correspondence  secretary apologised for the delay on her side.

 

 

Who do you think stole the Queen’s letter ?

 

The next post will deal with my last attempt to have the FSNI Reports  and the maladministration of Coll examined by the NI Ombudsman.

 

 

 

My Preparations Before Writing to the Queen

In the previous post I said that I had been told that, since Leckey had retired permanently from his judicial post of Chief Coroner, the Lord Chief Justice had no further responsibility for his actions whilst in the post. I was also told that I had no right of redress except to HM The Queen directly.

I found it hard to believe that, having relinquished the rights of making judicial appointments and having handed responsibility to a Commission, that she could still be on the list  to investigate complaints. Perhaps her relinquishment of hearing appeals only applied to mainland UK but excluded Northern Ireland. Certainly judges and presumably Coroners were still subject to “explanatory accountability”  whilst in office and I imagined that it could be enacted even though the judicial officer had subsequently resigned or retired.

I understood that the Queen’s role in the Judiciary was now purely symbolic, but who was I to doubt a ruling by the Lord Chief Justice.

He might have considered submitting my case to the Queen himself but he chose not to.

The Lord Chief Justice clearly had no interest in finding out if the perverse behaviour of Leckey in my brother’s case was a one-off event or if he  had previously applied the same practice in other cases to change, delay or manipulate evidence to match his pre-selected conclusions.

Apparently the Lord Chief Justice  just wasn’t curious although, no sooner had Leckey retired than Lord Justice Weir descended on the Coroner’s Court to find out why there were such interminable delays in the cases connected with the Troubles.  Perhaps he did have his suspicions. It would have been more sensible to carry out the investigation whilst Leckey was in Office and not two months after he retired. I wonder why that was.

I would have to make the submission to the Queen myself.

I thought it prudent to seek further information and clarity from the lord Chief Justice.  On 27th September 2016, I asked for his help.

 

 

This was his reply to my request.. You will note that his staff did not suggest that the information I was previously given was wrong regarding approaching the Queen.

I wonder why his reply was marked “Official Sensitive-In confidence.” What was there to hide and from whom?

 

 

 

 

 

I also wrote to the Coroner’s Office requesting information under the Freedom of information Act.

 

 

 

 

 

This was the reply I received.

This was confirmation to me that any Coroner can close down any case without giving any reason to the family of the deceased for doing so or even telling them that it has been done.  They would leave it to the disappointed family to make a personal appeal to the Attorney General to have the decision reversed – but only if they found out. To me, that is a  scandalous and unacceptable state of affairs if that is the official policy .

 

 

 

I also decided to make my intentions clear to the Department of Justice before proceeding further and ask for their help. The new Minister of Justice was Claire Sugden who would surely be an improvement on MLA Ford. This is my letter to the Department.

 

 

 

 

You will note that the letter was posted on 10th January 2017 just about 6 days before the Assembly collapsed and 7 weeks before the Election.  My letter has never been acknowledged as being received.

It seems that the Civil Servants who staff the Department had also decided to withdraw from their posts.

 

 

The next post will be titled  :-

 

“Who stole the Queen’s Mail ?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Submission of Evidence to the Public Prosecution Service against the Coroner.

To complete the record of my many submissions to the various Justice agencies, this post will record the covering letter and submission I made to the Public Prosecution Service regarding the behaviour of the Coroner.

It was submitted on 20th June 2016, and, although it’s receipt was acknowledged on the 23rd June 2016 by the PPS, I have heard nothing since.

Unless I hear differently, I must assume that my submission is under continued consideration and the case is still live.

 

.

The next post will detail my preparations before writing to the Queen.

 

 

 

 

I approach the Lord Chief Justice Again

My first contact with the Office of the Lord Chief Justice was on 11th February 2011  after the adjourned Coroner’s Court but before I knew that Coroner Leckey had  closed the case and that he had used the Police to attempt to persuade the pathologist Mr Ingram to change his findings in the post-mortem Report. The details of that submission was covered in my post dated 22nd October 2018. For ease I will reproduce the reply I received from the Complaints officer Martin McMullan to that request.

 

As a result of subsequently finding out about Leckey’s very questionable behaviour after the adjournment, the new Police investigation and the Ombudsman’s inquiry and subsequent apology. I decided that I would resubmit my request but include Leckey’s actions not included in my first submission ie closure of the case and approach to the pathologist through the Police.

I submitted an updated formal complaint to the Lord Chief Justice on 30th November 2015. I said that the evidence showed that Leckey had failed totally in his duty as a Corner and that he clearly believed that his primary duty was to protect incompetent or dishonest professional witnesses to the detriment of Justice.

My submission wasn’t acknowledged and  after several weeks of waiting I decided to phone the Complaints Office to find out when I might expect a response.

I can not be certain to whom I spoke but he told me that since Mr Leckey had retired approximately over one year previously he had no duty to investigate my complaint.   He assured me that I had no further avenue of complaint and that he was responsible for serving judicial officers only.  My only appeal would be the Queen. I told him that it was most unlikely that I would pursue that course. I also told him that it was a strange state of affairs that a judicial officer such as Leckey could avoid any investigation simply by resigning and thus allowing the Lord Chief Justice to wash his hands of a complaint.  

He was wrong in at least one detail. Leckey had not resigned over one year earlier. He had resigned just one month earlier on 30th October 2015 and my letter was dated 30th November 2005. I wondered if Leckey had been given gardening leave or had holiday days added on to that date or was he paid a salary beyond the date of my letter. I will probably never know.

He was also wrong in another respect but that will hopefully be dealt with in one of the next posts.

I was strangely reminded of aspects of the notorious Judge Curran case many years previously.

The Coroners Liaison Officer also wrote to me, confirmed Leckey’s retirement date, and told me that the he had been informed by the Office of the Lord Chief Justice that “he had no authority to investigate complaints against members of the judiciary who have retired and no longer hold a protected judicial office.

This special protection granted to judicial officers reminded me of the parallel protection and special status given to certain privileged politicians, senior police officers and influential terrorists who have been granted the protective cloak of an iniquitous super injunction.  I presume this special protection for Leckey  came from the same disregard for justice and freedon of speech just as the On-the-Run letters given to terrorists and super injunctions given to others. In other words people with clout  are given protection from the Justice System at a cost to the innocent who have none.

It was clear to me that I would find no Justice at the Office of the Lord Chief Justice.  It was just another branch primarily  concerned with the protection of those with influence and power.

 

I decided that since the Lord Chief Justice could do nothing my last chance was to submit a possible case against Leckey of Perverting the Course of Justice, interfering with witnesses and evidence, and misconduct in a public office.

I submitted evidence for consideration by the  Public Prosecution Service. 

I had sent detailed evidence to the PPS who had previously agreed that I had the right to do so as a private citizen. I didn’t expect a positive reply and I was not disappointed as I am still waiting for a decision to be made.

So far as I know my evidence against Leckey is still an active and current case file with the PPS as are similar files containing my evidence against Orde, Carson and McBride.

Given that Leckey was probably expecting some sort of honour for his long service to the Coroner’s Office, I thought that the Honours Secretariat for Northern Ireland should be made aware of my submission to the PPS and to hold back on any planned award until the outcome of the PPS decision was finalised. I did not hear back from anyone in the Secretariat.

 

My next post will deal with the other error made by the Lord Chief Justice’s Office.

 

 

 

 

The Coroner’s Secret Manoeuvres after the Adjournment

The case in the Coroner’s Court was adjourned on the 19th May 2009 and I carried on with following up other aspects of my investigation of the case and waited for the resumption  of proceedings. Given my experience in previous dealings with the Coroner’s Office, I wasn’t expecting a speedy return to the hearing. The investigation into my brother’s death had taken nearly 6 years to get a first hearing.

On 27th September 2012, I received a written formal apology from Dr Maguire, the Police Ombudsman, ( See Post dated August 2018 )  and it took a few days to distribute it around the family. A few days after receiving the apology, I read it again and was shocked to discover that Leckey had apparently closed Raymond’s case and had clearly kept it from the family. The closure of the Coroner’s Case was contained in the “Findings” section para 3 of the apology which read “I am therefore copying this letter correspondence to HM Coroner so they may wish to consider whether a fresh inquest is necessary.”

I had missed this shocking revelation and contacted the Police Ombudsman’s Office immediately to find out if I was reading  it correctly. I spoke to a senior member who assured me that the Coroner’s case was closed, that they knew about it and assumed that I or my family would also have been told. I told him that it was outrageous and that I would contact the Coroner’s Office immediately.

On 2nd October 2012, I phoned the Coroner’s Office and they confirmed that the case was closed. I spoke to Ms Eileen McMahon who  introduced herself as the Coroner’s Liaison Officer. She explained that it would appear that the case file confirmed it.  She was unfamiliar with the case and had just received the file for the first time from a colleague. She explained that sometimes the Coroner would close the case if the evidence had already been heard in another Court. I told her that it had not and the case was only suspended so that an allegation made by me against the Forensic Officer Coll could be investigated.  She said that she would write a memo to Mr Leckey about my concerns and wait for a decision from him. I explained that this was a possible case of Death by Dangerous Driving and I told her that unless the case was re-opened, I would be contacting the Attorney General to have it reopened. She asked me to hold off and that she would contact the Attorney General dependent on the response by Mr Leckey and asked me to contact her again if I hadn’t heard from her in a couple of weeks.

She said she had just received a copy of the Ombudsman’s apology to me but Mr Leckey had yet to read it.

She sounded sincere so I decided to hold off.

A month later, I phoned Eileen who stated that Mr Leckey had withdrawn from the case and had handed it over to Miss Suzanne Anderson for a decision on whether to re-open the case. Depending on her decision the matter would be left to the Attorney General.

A week later, Eileen phoned to say that the Coroner had decided to hold an inquest and that a date is being sought. I thanked her but I said that there were other matters outstanding including a new Police investigation, and possible Forensic changes.  Witnesses had already attended the Coroner’s Court three times and it would be unfair to make them go through another series of adjournments for the Coroner’s convenience. She said that she would pass my comments on.

Another six years and the new case is still pending.

The Kennedy Report was published at about the same time and on 7th June 2012 I was given a verbal briefing of its contents from Kennedy and Supt Muir Clarke. (See Post dated 20th August 2012 ).

I was told that, in collusion with Coroner Leckey, Kennedy interviewed the pathologist Mr Ingram and persuaded him to change his initial Autopsy Report. Clearly Leckey was attempting to interfere with a professional witness. He needed to explain why he had deliberately left out a vital part of the pathologist’s initial Report where it had stated firmly that Raymond’s heart condition played no part in the crash. To cover his tracks he attempted to persuade Mr Ingram to modify his findings. Thankfully, although Mr Ingram wrote a second Report, it did not conflict with any essential findings in his first Report.

 

When I was given the verbal briefing by Kennedy of his findings he said that Ingram’s second Report had found that there was a strong possibility that Raymond had a heart attack before the crash. It said no such thing. Gross exaggeration is just a lie expressed in another way.
Kennedy would not give me a copy of the second Report from Dr Ingram so that I could confirm his assertion but in October 2014 I eventually received a copy from the Coroner’s Office.   Mr Ingham said no such thing .

 

I could go through a boring pile of calls and letters to various Justice Agencies without any positive movements or progress but I will spare the reader that.

Raymond’s wife Maud, died over Christmas 2014 without ever finding any Justice. Not only had she to bear the loss of her husband through the selfish and reckless actions of Carson but she had to live with injustice and lies and corruption heaped upon her in the aftermath. Like me, she had lost all hope of a just outcome.

 

On 30th November 2015, I submitted a Judicial Complaint against Chief Coroner Leckey to the Lord Chief Justice.

 

That will be the subject of the next post.

 

 

,

2nd Application of Judicial Complaint against Coroner Leckey

After the adjourned Coroner’s Court, I had made a complaint to the Lord Chief Justice detailing my dissatisfaction with the actions of the Chief Coroner. (See Post dated 22 Oct 2018). The Complaints officer Martin McMullan dismissed it on the grounds that it did not meet the code set down by the Lord Chief Justice as”it was not about the personal conduct of Mr Leckey it would not fall to be investigated under the code.”

It seemed to me that the Lord Chief Justice had no interest in the behaviour of the Coroner in his Coronial duties but only if he followed a criminal or immoral career when not on duty.

 

On 30th November 2015 I decided to try again.

 

This post will consist only of my submission to him and then the following posts will detail the fallout from his response.

 

The next post will continue with the Lord Chief Justice’s response.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Futile Request for Help from the Lord Chief Justice.

I was busy during the six months after the publication of the book with winding up my business, distributing the book and dealing with the ongoing outcome of the adjourned Coroner’s Court.  It wasn’t until February 2011 when I got round to contacting the Lord Chief Justice’s Office and preparing my Complaint about the judicial conduct of Coroner Leckey.  I addressed my complaint as required to the Complaints Officer at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast. I had been advised that he or she was the person to deal with any complaints I might have.

Along with several supporting documents and a copy of the book I sent the following formal complaint :-

 

 

 

 

This is the reply I got from someone called Martin McMullan. He could have been anyone within the Lord Chief Justice’s Offfice for he was either shy or ashamed  or incompetent to give his status.

This was his reply.

 

a

 

 

 

 

Martin was having a bad day because neither the book or the Code of Practice was ever returned.

He states that,  since my “complaint is not about the personal conduct of Mr Leckey it would not fall to be investigated under the code”.

What does the Lord Chief Justice and his staff do all day if they have no interest in a Coroner who willingly ignores all the protocals and responsibilities and duties of being a Coroner for whatever reason known only to him, and by doing so, denies justice and replaces it with lies and corruption.

 

The next post will show just how far the Coroner was willing to ignore the Rules to achieve his aim. Perhaps he was encouraged to do so by the lord Chief Justice’s response to my complaint.

 

 

Events after the Adjourned Coroner’s Court Case – Part 4

After the case was adjourned in the Coroner’s Court and the Coroner wrote to the various groups he had set set to protect from my allegations of corruption.  They obliged by dismissing everything. No one was prepared to explain why none of the Police officers were called to the court to give evidence. One can therefore presume that it was a pre-planned intention engineered between the PSNI and the Chief Coroner who had already decided on his findings. I wonder if any of the Coroner’s Office staff was aware of what was going on and did they just choose to close their eyes or enthusiastically supported Leckey. Just how deep did  this go.

Thankfully, someone with integrity within the Police Ombudsman’s Office recognised that what I was saying might have some merit and, on receiving Leckey’s letter, decided not to jump to agree with Leckey but to look again at their previous response to my initial complaint. It might have taken three years and a change of Ombudsman for them to finally arrive at the conclusion that they had got it wrong and that I was mostly right in my initial allegations.

The other recipients of the Coroner’s letter had relied on the Police Ombudsman’s initial letter to the Coroner to cover up their corruption. That untruthful letter was subsequently withdrawn by Ombudsman MaGuire in his apology to me and so kicked the defence stool from beneath the Police.

An apparently insignificant sentence elsewhere in the Ombudsman’s written apology would prove to have an equally critical effect on the direction of this account.

 

In the aftermath of the adjourned case , I was kept busy sorting out the results of Leckey’s letter to the Police  Ombudsman, Forensics, McBride etc. I had planned to retire from my full-time job and it was apposite to do it now if I was going to devote my time to writing the story of my experience in dealing with the Justice System. Up until what happened in the Coroner’s Court, I was convinced that truth would finally be exposed when those who were lying would be exposed when faced to give evidence under oath. Of course,  I was being naive by basing my belief and confidence on a Justice System suposedly based on the unshakable integrity of people who would defend justice and truth at all costs.  I had not noticed or, most probably, refused to accept that the System had changed. Justice had been set aside and replaced by partiality inequity and partisanship and expediency and evidence was replaced by lies and distortions to achieve the overriding needs  required by those who are tasked to administer it.  They do so happily standing up to their necks in excrement.

I wrote the book in the hope that someone involved in the case would be jolted into finding their morality, integrity or fairness and act accordingly. I used pseudonyms wherever I could to give them a chance to restore their reputations or career. I was sure someone would step forward and say “Let’s start again.” Yes. I was being naive. On the whole it had little or no effect. The only positive response was from the Police Ombudsman but the PSNI treated their findings with the greatest disdain and held them up to ridicule and simply ignored them.

By June 2010 the book was written and printed. As stated previously it was called Junk Justice. I am no great shakes as a writer but I took great care not write anything that I could not support with evidence held by me. Where it was appropriate, I stated that I considered the book as a witness statement by me and swore to its truthful contents. I drew up a list of those involved with the case and informed them of its existence. Friends and family and others who showed a supportive interest were given copies, some were sent to Press outlets and other recipients of free copies included Lord Morrow, chairman of the Committee for Justice at the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Minister of Justice David Ford. Several other copies went to members of the Policing Board. The response was sparse in the extreme. I didn’t even receive any acknowledgement of receipt of the book from either the committee of Justice or the Minister for Justice Ford.

 

Here is a copy of the letter I later sent to David Ford MLA Minister for Justice after 6 months without acknowledgement.

 

 

The Committee For Justice, under the leadership of the comedian Lord Morrow who finds the RHI fraud scandal a hilarious joke, acknowledged receipt of the book some 9 months after receiving it and just then forwarded it to the Department of Justice, not to act on it but to “comment.”

A couple of weeks later, I received the following letter from the Minister of Justice.

 

Whether it was one of his staff or Ford himself it was clear that no one had read any part of the book. They hadn’t even bothered to read the index at the front.  Had they have done so they would have understood that I had already been through the entire complaints procedures with the exception of the Northern Ireland Ombudsman and that was in hand. The last line of his letter was a perfect reflection of the same tactic used by Pontius Pilot.  I wasn’t shocked. Knowing the man, I expected nothing more.Whatever you might think about the continued closure of the Assembly at Stormont, you are at least being spared having to be governed by the least competent or effective  Ministry for Justice that could ever have been created. Avoid them at all costs.

 

I wish to make one further comment about the content of the letter.

Every letter, almost without exception, I have received from official sources always begins or ends with a line similar to this one. It says :

” I would like to offer my sincere condolences for the tragic loss of your brother Raymond as a result of a road collision.”

Given the circumstances, am I alone in thinking that this insertion is nothing more than rank hypocrisy and offensive in the extreme.  It is a mockery.

 

The next post will  be about my submission to the Lord Chief Justice. The post after that will recount the outragous and secret behaviour of Coroner Leckey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further Actions by the Coroner-Part 3

The previous post dealt with the actions of Coroner Leckey leading to the adjournment  of the case in his Court when I asked to question the Forensic Officer Coll about why it appeared to me that he had altered the evidence to match his conclusion.The Coroner immediately adjourned the case much to my relief because I no longer wished to be part of a mockery of Justice engineered by Leckey.

 

 

Part three

It was my view that the Coroner was highly selective in his choice of witnesses and deliberately restricted my access to them to ask questions.  Other Coronial Office staff know the truth of the matter but I believe that none of the Police were ever invited to attend to give evidence. It had happened in a previous case dealing with Raymond’s case that was subsequently adjourned. In my mind he had already come to a conclusion before the case started and my presence in his Court was only to give a veneer of correctness to the proceedings.

He showed a distinct bias in the proceedings with the selection of witnesses and hearing the available evidence.  It was not the first time that he was accused of doing so. In a separate case that same year, application had been made to the High Court to have him  stand aside  for showing bias in the evidence and to the deceased’s family. He stood down from the case before it was examined in the High Court. I resolved not to return unless a different Coroner was appointed. It was my view that the Coroner would have been well served by taking time off and re-reading his own “little yellow book” on the subject of coronial investigations.

The Coroner has delayed inquests into the deaths of suspected terrorists for over 15 years as he diligently tries to obtain evidence which may be contained in Police files. Referring to those cases,  Justice Gillen, a High Court Judge said:

“If inquests are to maintain public confidence, put minds at rest and answer the questions of the families who are bereaved, it is vital to ensure that the interested/next of kin can participate in an informed, open and transparent fashion and on an equal footing with all other parties throughout the various stages of the inquest including, at the very outset of the process, the very scope of the inquest.”

I am convinced that such involvement was denied to me and to Raymond’s family. I wonder by what criteria the Coroner can differentiate between one violent death and another.

 It might be worth considering the possible reasons why the three police witnesses did not attend the Court. If they did not receive a summons to attend, then that was an example of inefficiency by the Court staff. If summons were sent out then they might not have been  directed to the individual officers and that would indicate an administrative failing or some deliberate act within the Police. If the three officers received the summonses but did not act on them then it is reasonable to conclude that they were instructed to take no action. Finally, it is reasonable to entertain the possibility that the Court staff were instructed not to send the summons out. Only an independent investigation could arrive at the truth.

That same day, the Coroner wrote a letter to Mr Meehan of the Ombudsman’s Office and circulated a copy to the Chief Constable (Hugh Orde), the Chief Executive of Forensics (S Brown), Sergeant McBride, Mr Coll the Forensic investigator and a copy to me. The letter was addressed primarily to Mr Meehan of the Police Ombudsman’s Office and it referred to the letter sent to the Court by Meehan and which was eventually disowned by the Police Ombudsman  and withdrawn in total.

He wrote:

“On 19th May I re-commenced the inquest into the death of Robert Raymond Lynn who died on 11th November 2003 at Steeple Road/Crosskeenan Road junction, Antrim. Previously, you had considered a complaint made by Stanley Lynn, a brother of the deceased, and I am enclosing a copy of your letter to me dated 18th February 2008 giving your decision.

At the hearing this morning, Mr Stanley Lynn made serious allegations about the adequacy of the investigation you undertook into his complaint, the original police investigation and the investigation by Mr Coll of FSNI. He used words to the effect that there had been some form of “Masonic conspiracy” and that Mr Coll had acted not only unprofessionally but had interfered with evidence in a manner that would allow him to reach the conclusions that he did.

I announced in court that in view of such serious allegations I would be referring the complaint back to you. You will note that I am sending a copy of this letter to the Chief Constable and to the Chief Executive of Forensic Science of Northern Ireland. As a matter of courtesy I am sending a copy of the letter also to Mr Coll and Sergeant McBride ( the investigating police officer).

I indicated to Mr Lynn that having made such serious allegations in the public forum of a Coroner’s Court he should now proceed to ask you to re-consider his complaint. Even if he does not do so I would ask that you make contact with him to obtain precise details of the evidence that he believes backs up his allegations.

I should be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this letter.

Yours Sincerely

J L Leckey

Senior Coroner for Northern Ireland.

 

 

I wrote back to the Coroner and circulated it to the same recipients as his letter. I said:

 

“I am in receipt of your letter and enclosures dated 19th May 2009.

In your letter you have quoted me as using the words “Masonic conspiracy.” The word “conspiracy” has legal significance and I did not use it in my address to you. I expressed the view that in my experience a type of Accident Investigator masonic (small m ) was operating, and that whenever I challenged one agency, the Report from another agency would be used to avoid taking any action on my complaint. I was alluding to the general perception that Masons were inclined to support and help each other. I have several instances where no action was taken on a complaint on the basis that another agency did not agree with me. In my view there is a circle of mutual support which, so far, I have been unable to breach. 

It is also my experience that there is an exchange of Reports amongst the various agencies and I presume that the purpose is to reach a consensus. I consider this to be unhealthy and prevents any truly independent Report being produced. One bad Report can corrupt the others.

In the meantime, I will try to find a different adjective to describe such a symbiotic relationship.”

 

 

The Police were the first to reply. The Command Secretariat said :

“Having read your letter it is apparent to me that your complaint relates to previous correspondence you received from the Coroner’s Office. To that extent I do not consider it appropriate to make any comments about the matter you raise.” Signed  Supt. John McCaughan

 

 

The Coroner sent me a copy he had received in reply from Forensic Science. It said :

“Thank you for the copy of your letter dated the 19th May 2009, addressed to Mr Meehan of the Police Ombudsman’s Office, detailing an allegation made by Mr Stanley Lynn.

Mr Lynn has made serious allegations about the adequacy of the investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office in response to his original complaint to them, the original police investigation of the fatal road accident and the subsequent investigation by Mr Coll of Forensic Science Northern Ireland. (See Post dated 4th June 2018)

Without prejudice to any investigation which PONI may undertake with regard to this matter, I am responding, as the Quality Director of FSNI, to your letter on behalf of our Chief Executive, regarding the allegations made by Mr Lynn against Mr Coll. Such a response is required under our Complaints Procedure within our Quality Management System.

I have considered these allegations and carefully reviewed the case details and, subsequently, a previous complaint made to the FSNI by Mr Lynn on the same issue via the  Minister of State, in August 2005.

The previous complaint was subjected to an investigation and responded to by the then Chief Executive of FSNI in accordance with the quality management system complaints procedure. The findings of the investigation at that time determined that Mr Coll had performed all his duties in a manner which preserved the reputation of FSNI for impartiality and scientific competence.

Having objectively reviewed all the files, I believe that there is no substance in the accusations made by Mr Lynn against Mr Coll and can further confirm our confidence in the objectivity and the professional competence of Mr Coll in performing his duties.

If there is any assistance which I can offer with regard to this case please do not hesitate to contact me.”

Signed: Albert Kirkwood  Quality Director FSNI

 

 

I thought this was incredibly clever of them since I did not tell the Coroner of the substance of my allegation and they did not know to what I was referring.

A short time later, another sergeant from the Durham Constabulary seconded to the Ombudsman called at my home and asked me to detail my complaint against his organisation. I told him that I was making no complaint as I had long since abandoned that course of action and that I would deal with it all in my book. We spent about two hours going through the case and I emphasised the misleading letter written by the Ombudsman to the Coroner.

I cooperated with him, answered any question he put to me, but I did not tell him anything of the grounds for the allegation against the Forensic Officer, nor did he ask. We had agreed at the outset that it was not a matter for the Police Ombudsman. He said that his Report of the meeting would be ready in about 3 or 4 weeks and he would get back to me. When the time was up, I contacted him and he said there would be a further delay.  Just less than a year later I was still waiting.  He was careful and considerate in his dealings with me and I was happy to help him even though the purpose of his visit was unclear to me. I presume the contents of his Report were not for my eyes.  It was much later that I understood that his conclusions played a central and reinforcing role in the apology I eventually received from Dr McGuire the Police Ombudsman on 24th September 2012, some three years after the adjourned Coroner’s Court case on 19th May 2009.

 

 

After Leckey decided to adjourn the case pending investigations of my allegations and before we left the court, he said that he would arrange for a Certificate of Death to be issued immediately so that my family could complete any administrative or financial requirements without further delay. I assumed it was a considerate action on his part to ease any problems for the family that might have been caused by a further  delay of his findings.

In truth, I now think he was already preparing the ground to close the case down and bury it. It was three years before I found that is exactly what he did.

 

 

The next post will deal with the his actions post the adjournment of the case. 

 

 

How the Coroner dealt with the Case – Part 2

 

On 19th May 2009, the day of the inquest, I packed all the material into a pretty hefty suitcase and set off for the Court. The Coroner’s Court is held in an old red bricked Victorian building on the corner of Chichester Street and Victoria Street. The building used to serve as Belfast Town hall up until 1906 when the more elegant present City hall was completed. It is a depressing place to visit due both to its architecture and its purpose, but this is relieved somewhat by a friendly and helpful staff.

I was early and joined the rest of the family for a coffee in the nearby Victoria Centre. My brother wondered who would be at the Court. I ran through the list of witnesses. I mentioned the shortfall in witnesses but explained that the list was a matter for the Coroner and not me. Based on my experience of the Legal attendance at the previous Court hearing on 25th August 2005, I expected the same level of representation this time. This was the day when the Police and Forensics would have to account for their Reports in detail.   I said that it was quite likely that the Police, Forensics and Carson would all have barristers to represent them.  I also suggested that there may be one or two cub reporters noting the proceedings.

 We made our way to the Court. My family remained in the Reception area and I made my way into the Courtroom where the Inquest was to be held. It was empty except for the Forensic Officer Coll and my accident investigator McLoughlin sitting to the left and giggling like a couple of schoolgirls. They spotted me, stopped giggling and said hello. I didn’t reply but got on with emptying the contents of the suitcase onto the bench which the clerk had allocated me. It was a long bench and it was needed because the paperwork was copious. Had I been a barrister I would have someone, perhaps a solicitor, to help me recover documents as required, but I felt I was sufficiently well organised to cope.

When the Court was about to sit, I realised that there were no barristers present, only a solicitor to represent Carson.  That was odd. Why did the other parties not now feel the need for representation? Did they know something I didn’t?  I didn’t have time to speculate further because the court rose on time at 10 am and  Coroner Leckey took his seat. We introduced ourselves to the Coroner, the solicitor representing Davis and me representing Raymond’s family. I think the Coroner may have introduced a representative of the pathologist but I  don’t remember.

The Coroner started off by explaining the purpose of the Inquest. He went on to say that he had excused Witness One as a witness as he had a previous appointment in London. Witness No 1 was the first person on the scene and had called the Ambulance at 1449. He was a vital witness if I was to show that the altered accident time of 1443 was wrong.

The Coroner then announced that none of the Police witnesses had appeared, that inquiries were being made, but in the meantime he would continue with the hearing. I later concluded that the Police were never called and the Coroner was lying when he said that he was making enquiries about their whereabouts.

The Coroner read out a summary of the Autopsy Report. At the beginning he made a point of stating that the Report showed that Raymond had a history of a heart condition. He then went on to list the main injuries found and at the end he again stressed Raymond’s heart condition, presumably to reinforce the point.  He failed to read out the last paragraph of the Autopsy Report where it said :

“The autopsy also revealed severe degenerative narrowing of one of the coronary arteries of the heart, an old heart attack, slight emphysematous change in the lungs, fatty change in the liver and an old stroke in the brain but these conditions played no part in the fatal outcome.”

He had ignored a most vital part of the Report and I should have challenged him on it, but he did not ask for comments or questions so I did not have an opportunity. I made a note to bring it up later.

The Police still had not put in an appearance so, in the meantime, he decided to work his way through the list of witnesses.

Witness three, the off duty Police Officer, was the first to be called. His statement was read out to him and he agreed with it. He had been passed on his way to Kells by a Subaru doing in his estimation 80 or 90 mph. He was confident and convincing in his evidence.

The Coroner said that he knew the Steeple Road well and would have expected there to have been several video cameras on the road as it was a busy road. He wondered if they had been checked.  He was obviously confused about the location for him to make such an observation. The Steeple Road in the scale of things is a quiet minor road with a traffic flow of 1.5 cars per minute. Again I didn’t try to challenge him. Witness three quite rightly didn’t challenge this either. I was asked if I wished to ask the witness any questions. I rose to my feet. I asked him if he would mind telling the Court what he did for a living. He said that he was a police officer at the time but had since retired. I suggested that he would have the experience to assess the speed of the car and he agreed. I established that he was one mile from the crash site when he the Subaru passed him. I asked him if it was right that he had agreed to voluntarily make a statement when he had heard of the crash on the news when he got home. He agreed that he had.

The second witness to be called was Witness two, who had been waiting at the stop line in Eskylane Road when the Subaru drove past her at 80-90 mph. Her first statement was read out to her and she agreed to it. She appeared to me to be both calm and confident. She was first questioned by the Coroner about how sure she was about the excessive speed of the car.  She was confident of her evidence. Carson’s solicitor was invited to ask questions. He asked her why she had stated that she did not hear the crash even though she had her windows down. She said that she didn’t know but she did not remember hearing the crash, only seeing the debris flying in the air. He then asked her if she could  tell the speed of the Subaru by the sound of the engine. I didn’t understand the point and neither did Witness Two. He went on to ask her if she would know the difference between a car passing her at below the speed limit and another car above the limit. She said she would.

I was then asked to put any questions to her.

I took her through the circumstances of her making a second statement to an Insurance solicitor instigated by me.  She agreed with what I said. I asked her if she had seen a red car or any car cross in front of the Subaru before he reached the junction. She had not. I asked her if she had found that her view of the Kells bound lane had been obstructed by the hedge and slope and she agreed. I can’t be sure but I believe I asked her if she saw only the Subaru crash but not what it had crashed into as she had stated in her second statement. That was correct.

I then offered the Coroner a copy of her second statement but he did not wish to see it. I thanked Witness Two for appearing and sat down. Her second statement was not read out to the Court.

The third civilian witness to be called was Witness Four who had been the first to call the Police at 1449 and who had been overtaken by a Subaru about half a mile from the scene at “great speed, definitely beyond the speed limit.” His statement to police was read out to the Court and he agreed to it.

I was invited to ask Witness Four questions.

I reminded him that we had met in a car park on the 29th May 2006 when I had asked him about his call to the police and asked him for a copy of his mobile account, which I then read out to confirm that he had made the call at 1449. I reminded him that at the time he recalled being passed at very high speed by a dark blue Subaru on the way to the accident. He agreed that the pass took place about half a mile from the junction. Mr Craig said that he was travelling at around 50-60 mph at the time.  I asked him to identify his mobile account which he did and I read out the relevant entry where he had made a call to the Emergency Services at 1449 and that the call lasted 1.06 minutes. He agreed. I offered it to the Coroner but he declined to accept it. I asked if he remembered about the Subaru only after I had told him that a Subaru was involved.  He agreed. I told him that during the conversation he had described the Subaru as dark blue. He agreed. I explained to him and the Court that I didn’t follow up on that evidence as I was under the impression that the Subaru was black. It was only later that I realised that its official colour was blue/black mica. I offered a copy of the servicing schedule to the Coroner to establish the colour, but he did not wish to see it. The Coroner questioned him about why he had not included this additional evidence in his original statement to the Police. He replied that he wasn’t asked and wasn’t given any details of the accident. The Coroner expressed a certain degree of incredulity at the reply and pressed him further stating that  he had great doubts about the police not asking about this at the time. Witness Four explained he couldn’t see the site of the crash and that the first time he knew what vehicles were involved was when I had told him a long time later. The coroner then asked him if he noticed who was driving the Subaru and Mr Craig said that he hadn’t. The Coroner again expressed his doubts about the Police failure to ask about this. I explained to Witness Four and to the Court that I had found that it was characteristic of this case that the Police failed to ask the right questions from any of the witnesses.

The Coroner said that the time of the call to the Police had already been established. I told him that it had not been properly investigated by the Ombudsman who did not have the resources to do so. They simply asked the Station Sergeant in the Central Control and accepted that the time was 1443. There was no investigation. The Coroner did not pursue the matter further and Mr Craig was excused.

This case was not going well from my point of view and I was not establishing facts to any great degree with the Coroner, but I didn’t have time or skill to analyse what was going on.

The next witness was Mr Coll the Forensic Officer.

Mr Coll took the stand. The Police still hadn’t shown up. The Coroner read out the letter from the Police Ombudsman.  I didn’t note which parts he read out or skipped but it included segments from the content of the covering letter sent to him by the Ombudsman in 18th February 2008 which read :

“Mr Lynn’s complaint against police was formally closed in August 2005. The investigating officer Sgt McBride stated that the evidence at the scene indicated that the car driven by Mr Lynn’s brother had crossed onto the wrong side of the road. There was no evidence at the time that Mr Carson caused Mr Lynn’s brother’s death by either careless or dangerous driving The Police Ombudsman’s investigation concluded that Sergeant McBride fully investigated all lines of enquiry, such as allegations that Mr Carson had been speeding or using his mobile telephone prior to the accident.

The vehicles were properly examined and the accident report compiled by Sgt McBride was factually based. The scene was photographed, mapped and video recorded and investigated in accordance with the force policy of the PSNI. The errors within the collision report were deemed to be administrative and the Sergeant accepted full responsibility for them. This did not impact upon the collision investigation or the officer’s conclusions and there is insufficient evidence to prove any misconduct on the part of police regarding Mr Lynn’s allegations.”

No mention was made of Mr Kane’s views.  At the time I had considered this a scurrilous letter which did not reflect the true findings of the Ombudsman as known to me but which I knew at some time would be used to undermine my case. I felt that I was wasting my time in this Court and no justice would be found there.  The Coroner was being highly selective in the list of witnesses and selective in the evidence that he would consider hearing.  It seemed to me that just as the Police had appeared to jump to a conclusion first and then make the evidence fit, the Coroner had allowed only the witnesses and the evidence that he hoped would match his pre-determined conclusion. If I was right then I was there merely as a token family representative.

As you now know this letter was withdrawn completely by the new Ombudsman several years later as detailed in Post  dated 13th August 2018.

The Coroner might well have already known of the dodgy nature of the letter and might even have requested it from Meehan. That is a possible reason why he refused to call either Meehan or Kane as witnesses as they could have been challenged on its contents.

Mr Coll was asked to read out the conclusions from his two Reports. He reminded the Coroner that I had made a complaint about him and had questioned his professionalism. Coll stated that after my complaint he had consulted his colleague and he agreed with him (Coll). The Coroner indicated that he was aware of this.  He then read out both conclusions of his two Reports. He said that he was in no doubt that my brother’s car had been on the wrong side of the road when it collided with the Subaru coming the other way. He said that this was based on several factors, including the rest position of the cars on the road, the damage sustained and the marks on the road and verge.  The Coroner then asked a series of what I would consider soft questions about how the accident happened and in each case nodded in agreement with Mr Coll’s replies. I didn’t note all the questions but probably the bulk of them. By now I was losing interest. I had come to the conclusion that this was not an inquiry or a search for the truth, but simply a process to be formally completed.

The Coroner asked him about his assessment of the speed of the vehicles involved. Mr Beatty replied that stationary cars (presumably referring to Witness Two) could not accurately assess the speed of passing vehicles.  The Coroner nodded in agreement. He went on to say that Witness Two did not say that the Subaru was out of control when it passed her. Indeed she did not. He went on to explain in his experience it was generally the case that the heavier vehicle was slower than the lighter vehicle. Again the Coroner nodded to show that he was in agreement and did not query this assertion. Mr Coll continued, saying that the calculation of the speed of vehicles was unscientific and very difficult. Again the Coroner appeared to agree and made no attempt to question the argument.

Mr Beatty finished his evidence and the Coroner looked towards me. I again rose to my feet and said that I would like to question comprehensively Mr Coll on his evidence and I would like to do so with the use of the scale map and the models which Mr Coll had approved. The Coroner wouldn’t agree and said that he had already anticipated the questions which I might want to ask and had already asked them of Mr Coll. He went on to say that my own accident investigator now agreed with Mr Coll’s conclusions. I told him that Mr McLoughlin’s change of mind was a matter to be settled elsewhere and it was strange that he held the same views as me for several years before he changed his Report a matter of weeks before the case in the High Court. I didn’t explain further. The Coroner said that the case had already been settled in the High Court and Mr Carson had been compensated. I wasn’t sure which of the cases he was referring to so I said that Carson’s case did not go before the Court and was settled outside for a lesser amount. I did not elaborate but I understood he accepted a smaller amount because of the ill-fitted tyres and the question of speed.

The Coroner then asked me what additional questions I might want to ask of Mr Coll and asked me to give examples. I told him that his Reports were full of unscientific evidence and I wanted to question him on all of the contents. He again asked for an example. I had about 10 pages of questions   but it wasn’t hard to pick one to make my point.

I told him that I wished to know why he appears to have altered the evidence to match his conclusion.

There was a loud gasp around the courtroom. The coroner asked me if I was alleging that Mr Coll had forged evidence. I replied that was exactly what I was alleging. Mr Coll said that it was a “very, very, very” serious allegation and the Coroner agreed. I went on to say that I had come to the Court to find justice for my brother but I was being prevented from doing so. The Coroner said that it was a very serious allegation and told me to put my allegations in writing to the Ombudsman. I told him that the Ombudsman did not deal with complaints against Forensic Officers and that I would not be writing to him. He then said that I should write to the “Forensic people” and put my allegations to them. I replied that I had done that once and had written to the Secretary of State responsible and had got a reply from Mr Coll’s boss that he was a professional and experienced investigator. I did not intend to write again.

 I went on to say that for over 5 years I had worked my way through all the Justice Agencies to try and have the case resolved. I said that my family knew the truth about the case and had seen the evidence. I said that I was there to assist the Court in coming to a fair conclusion but I wasn’t being given a chance. It was my experience that there was a kind of  accident investigator masonic  which operates to support each other and it had been my intention to break that circle of mutual support. I told him that I was in the Court to assist the Coroner in establishing how and why my brother died. I told him that there was little point of me being in his Court if I couldn’t question witnesses.

The coroner said that he would write the letter regarding the allegation I had made. He said that he would adjourn the case and would issue a certificate of death. He adjourned the case.

I packed up the suitcase, explained to my family, who had difficulty hearing the proceedings what had happened, and I firmed up on an idea that had been gestating.

I resolved to write a book.

Over the coming months I wrote a detailed account of all the corruption, falsehoods, collusion and incompetence I experienced in the Justice System since I set out to find Justice for my dead brother’s family and friends. What I found continues to shock me. I had used pseudonyms in the book in the hope that those involved would realise that their criminal behaviour would be fully exposed if they didn’t come to their senses.  It made no difference because mostly they continued to feel protected and dug ever deeper holes in the mire they created. The book led to this blog where the real  names have been used.

The book “Junk Justice” related events up until the adjournment of the Coroner’s Court described above on 19th May 2009.

This blog has been a running commentary of the details of events from that to the present day and beyond and the subsequent book will be a mirror of this blog and any update.

The next post will continue with the fallout from the adjournment of the case at the Coroner’s Court.

 

How the Coroner Dealt with the Case -Part 1

The next series of posts will centre around my dealings with the Senior  Coroner Mr John Leckey. He has since  retired from his post.

So that you can more easily follow my dealings with the Coroner, I will  briefly repeat some details in the lead up to the last case in the Coroner’s Court on 19th May 2009. This was before the Kennedy Investigation  (Post dated 20th August 2018) and before the Police Ombudsman’s apology (Post dated 13th August 2018) but just after my case in the High Court had been abandoned.

 

 

 I had unsuccessfully worked my way through the Justice System for 6 years to try to remove the stain on my brother’s memory, to obtain justice against Carson and to get rightful compensation for his widow.  During that period I had been told by several doubters (including one anonymous caller who offered to take severe action against Carson) that I would not be able to challenge “them” but I didn’t want to believe that they were right. I always replied that all it took was one person within the system to stand up and say that there was merit in my case and  the whole matter would be re-investigated.

If Sgt McBride’s Report was wrong by his own admission, then  surely his superior officer Inspector Ian White would realise that he could not present his unamended Report as evidence without leaving himself open to perjury. However, he failed to insist on corrections or recommend re-investigation and he refused to act on sensible suggestions by the Ombudsman. He also chose not to reconstruct the collision at the scene as suggested by the Coroner. He was an immovable object.

When Chief Constable Orde was personally made aware that the Report was wrong, he did nothing but refer me back the Ombudsman’s Report. When the Police were given fairly conclusive evidence that the first emergency call was made at 1449, they simply corruptly amended the official time of the collision from 1450 to 1443.

The Ombudsman had accepted the errors but wrote to the Coroner that the Police Report was “factually based”.  Even after Mr Kane, as an experienced Police Investigator, was called in, and in almost all respects supported me and my findings, he was not allowed to publish his conclusions. His findings were not even taken into account, even though he had been called in to bring a level of expertise to the investigation by the inexperienced Mr Meehan.

The Forensic Officer Coll stated that his Report was less than he would have wanted and agreed to look at it again after consulting the Coroner only to reinforce his original conclusions in his second Report.

The DPP had put the case on the long finger pending the outcome of the Coroner’s Court. Previously the DPP had rejected my submission after failing to read the evidence presented by me. The case still waits for a decision.

Finally, my own civilian accident investigator had done a volte face at the last minute and changed his Report to agree with the Forensic Officer. He was a key witness in my case in the High Court and he reversed his conclusions after apparently receiving the Second Report by the Forensic Officer.

In my view this was a fallacious reason because there was nothing new in Coll’s second Report that could possibly change his conclusion. All it did was reinforce the errors in his first Report (See Post dated 11th June 2018.) Secondly, as an independent expert witness he is expected to arrive at his own conclusions without interference through collusion with Coll

  He was certainly also under instruction from Coroner Leckey to harmonise his findings with that of the Forensic officer and of course  there is every possibility that he could  also have been under similar pressure from some other interested party. It is a criminal offence for anyone to put pressure on a witness to change his evidence other than by pointing out new factual evidence not previously known,  but such behaviour is apparently accepted in our Justice System.  People have ended up in jail for less.

You might ask Cui Bono, or, if  your Latin is as rusty as mine, who benefits from his gigantic leap in the opposite direction. I will explore those questions in a later post. The possible list includes Carson, Police witnesses, Forensics, Insurance Companies, Coroner, Police Ombudsman, my Legal team and McLoughlin (the civilian investigator). All had possible reasons to make the Civil case go away.

As a direct result of McLoughlin withdrawing his evidence just a matter of weeks before the case was to go to Court, DAS, the Legal Insurance Company whose policy Raymond held, withdrew their support and my Legal team who was being financed by DAS had no choice but to withdraw from the case.

 

I may explore all of that in a later post.

 

 

I had worked my way through the System and instead of achieving a resolution, I had hit an unbreachable brick wall.  It seemed to me that by some mechanism, not understood by me, a circle of mutual support had been created amongst the various elements of the Justice System to ensure that one or other element could not be challenged. Each challenge was rebuffed by reference to another member in the circle. Each element proclaimed itself to be independent of the other, but instead each acted as a link in a chain which was interdependent on the others. I characterised it as a type of masonic, where I am told that there is an unspoken understanding of expected mutual support if required, solely on the grounds of a common membership. If I was right then none of the organisations were independent and therefore none could be considered to be fit for purpose.  Perhaps because this is a small parochial society where the participants work with each other on cases on an almost daily basis, this loss of independent action is the result. Justice cannot be achieved in such an arrangement unless each link fiercely defends its independence from the others.  If this mutual support has, to any degree, become institutionalised then no one should rely on those organisations to seek justice given that their overriding and primary need is to protect each other. They are not to be trusted.

 

Up to the point where my private Accident Investigator McLoughlin changed his conclusion, my legal team was convinced that we had a case to present before the Court. Thereafter, they decided that we had no case.

I had often been reminded of the hoary old story of the proud mother watching her son marching in a platoon of soldiers and exclaiming “Look, my son is the only one in step!”

It would be easy to assume that the mother was delusional and and one might excuse her blind but misplaced faith in her son’s prowess. It would be extremely difficult to prove that she might be right in what she said. But she could be. Why? Maybe the son had alienated the other soldiers somehow or perhaps he just wasn’t a team player. What really happened was that the rest of the platoon had decided to change step on a given signal but without telling the son of their plan.  The result was that the son was in step and the rest of the platoon was not. His mother was right.

It took one honourable soldier to come forward and tell what he knew. I waited but no one inside the Justice platoon stepped forward. Their first loyalty was to the other members of their platoon. Mr Kane wasn’t a full member and perhaps didn’t have the same loyalty but he was leaned on and prevented from telling what he knew.

I knew I had let my family down because all the stress over the past 6 years was for nothing in spite of me reassuring them that it would come right in the end. I wasn’t misleading them. It was what I believed. I had a faith that the system would work and eventually discover the truth and thus justice. I was wrong.

Up to now I had acted under the terms of Letters of Administration which obliged me to recover compensation for my brother’s death if it was justified. I could no longer act under the authority of that document since there was no chance of compensation being paid.

Up until the time that McLoughlin changed his Report to fall in line with the Forensic Report, my legal expenses were mainly paid for by a Legal Insurance Policy with DAS  which had been taken out by my brother alongside his vehicle Insurance. That policy was promptly closed. 

I called the family together and told them what had happened. I said that the Coroner’s Inquest would now be held, and, whereas it had been my intention to represent the family in that Court, things had changed and they had to consider now if they would prefer to be represented by a legally qualified person instead. Had the Civil proceedings been successful, it would have been easy to suggest that my legal team could have continued their representation in the Coroner’s Court.  That option was no longer available.  I told them that I would be willing to fully brief any person they chose. I wasn’t sure that Legal Aid was available for a Coroner’s Court but I would enquire. (The Coroner later confirmed that it was.) I asked them to take time to consider their options and to arrive at a joint decision. I did not try to influence their decision in any way. The decision was made over the next few days and they returned and asked me to represent their interests in the Coroner’s Court. I could not refuse and prepared myself for one final push.

The first thing to do was to brief myself on the workings of the Coroner’s Court. I contacted the Coroner’s Office for advice and they suggested I read a copy of what they called “the little yellow book” which in fact was a book called Coroners’ Law and Practice in Northern Ireland written and published in 1998 by the very Senior Coroner who would be dealing with my case. His fellow author was a senior law Officer at Queens University.  It was referred reverentially by members of the Coroner’s staff as the Bible of the Coroners Service. I visited the reference Library at the Linenhall Library and worked my way through its contents. I read it as a layman without any legal background but I think that I understood enough of it to represent the family in the upcoming hearing. No doubt, the Coroner would correct me if I strayed from the rules.

The Coroner is an independent judicial officer who is responsible for matters relating to deaths that may require a further investigation so as to establish the cause of death. He inquires into deaths reported to him that appear to be as a result of accident or negligence or in circumstances that require investigation or further investigation. 

In 1980 he no longer gave his conclusion as a narrow “verdict” but as “findings” which greatly widened his scope in being able to comment more fully on the death being investigated. He has a special responsibility in connection with any evidence which might suggest that the death could have been the result of dangerous driving. He also had responsibility where he would draw attention to the existence of circumstances which, if not remedied, might lead to further death. It occurred to me that the reversal of unidirectional tyres fell into that category. Was it not a Coroner many years previously who drew attention to the danger of mixing cross ply and radial tyres on the same chassis and so saved countless lives? The recent illegal sport of drifting on public roads could also be a worrying concern worthy of comment in his findings.

In this case he had a special responsibility imposed on him by the DPP who were awaiting his “findings” before they made a decision how to proceed with the case I had presented to them.

The Coroner’s Court is unlike a typical Criminal or Civilian Court in as much that it is inquisitorial process as opposed to the more traditional adversarial nature one might be familiar with.

I quote: “There are no parties, no indictment, no prosecution, no defence and no trial and it is the Coroner who decides which witnesses will testify and what other evidence will be adduced. The formal rules of evidence do not apply and the Coroner generally assumes a more dominant role in the proceedings.”

Elsewhere it states that “without prejudice to any enactment with regard to the examination of witnesses at the inquest, any person who, in the opinion of the Coroner is a properly interested person shall be entitled to examine any witness at the inquest either in person or through a solicitor, provided that the Coroner shall disallow any question which in his opinion is not relevant or is otherwise not a proper person.” 

The importance of this right will become clear later.

“The sympathies of Coroners, as far as justice allows, should lean towards the people other than towards official or otherwise entrusted bodies.”

The relevance of this statement of purpose might well be understood later.

The book also states:  “It is the duty of the Coroner as the Public official responsible for the conduct of inquests to ensure that the relevant facts are fully, fairly and fearlessly investigated. He must ensure that the relevant facts are exposed to public scrutiny. He fails in his duty if his investigation is superficial, slipshod or perfunctory.”

The importance of this statement will also become clear later.

I had been in contact with the Coroner during the whole investigation process and provided him not only with my written statement but with all the evidence which supported it. I had at various times sent him Reports, additional evidence, photographs, maps etc as they became available. Undoubtedly he was receiving similar material from the other parties who would have kept him informed and updated.  His file must have been at least as thick as mine which was over 800 pages. He had been approached previously by the Forensic Officer and had been told by him to write a second Report. He had also been involved when he secured an agreement with the Police to have the collision re-staged at the scene.  He would also have been aware that subsequently no such enactment happened. I had kept him informed about my investigation into the change of time of the accident and my evidence for querying   it. So far as I knew he had all the information which I had and probably more.

On 22nd January 2009, I wrote to him and advised him that the case to be held in the High Court would not now go ahead and that this was because our accident investigator Mr McLaughlin had changed his conclusions to be more  in line with the findings of the Forensic officer. I also advised him that my legal team were now off record and my duties under the Letters of Administration were at an end. I told him that  Raymond’s family had asked me to continue to represent them but I would only do so if I would  be allowed to question witnesses and that he should consider the question of death by dangerous driving in his findings or to recommend a new investigation. I asked for his advice on whether it would be more appropriate for the family to be legally represented in which case Legal Aid would be needed. He wrote back to say that he couldn’t advise the family but should they choose the latter, then Legal Aid was available in certain circumstances.

I passed this on to the family and they signed a document to say that they wished me to represent their interests.

On 4th March I wrote to the Coroner again and asked him to consider calling Police Constable Cochrane who had examined the vehicles post accident. I asked for  Station Sergeant Gavin Jones from the Central Control to attend. I also asked that Mr Cane and Mr Meehan from the Ombudsman’s Office be called. They had already agreed that their evidence was best put to the Coroner.

In the letter I explained to him that as far as I was concerned there was compelling evidence that this was a clear case of death by dangerous driving but that was not reflected in the evidence which had been assembled by the Police or Forensics. I went on to say that there were several videos which the Court might wish to see. I informed him that I had produced a large-scale map of the collision site together with scaled  car models which might assist the Court in its deliberations.

He wrote back saying that he was prepared to call Constable Cochrane, but not Station Sergeant Jones given that his evidence had been investigated by the Ombudsman. So far as I was aware he knew it had not.

He would not agree to call Mr Meehan of PONI as “your complaint has been dealt with.” It seemed to me that he ignored the fact that Mr   Meehan held evidence which had not been seen by any of the rightful recipients and had stated that he would not release it except to the Coroner.

He asked me to provide him with a copy of the report of Mr Cane to allow him to consider its relevance.

He told me that it was my job to refer the circumstances to the DPP and ask that they reconsider my allegation of dangerous driving. I had previously told him that they were in fact waiting for his inquest result. 

On 17th March, I wrote back :

“My reason for calling  Station Sergeant Jones  is  because his evidence was not investigated by the Ombudsman because of lack of resources, and if he continues to insist that the first emergency call was made to his Control at 1443 in the face of irrefutable evidence, then he should also explain why it took his Controller at least 7 minutes to alert the Police or ambulance. This could have implications for the survivability of my brother.

Mr Kane reviewed this case for the Ombudsman and I received  a verbal Report from him in the presence of Mr Meehan, but he was prevented from making a written Report by the Ombudsman’s Legal team even though he was willing to do so. I consider his findings at least as relevant as Mr Meehan’s which are contradictory, but I must be guided by you. I enclose a copy of Mr Cane’s Report as stated to me.

I have included a copy of a letter which I received from the DDP dated 18th March 2008 in which they state that they will await the conclusion of any proceedings in the Coroner’s Court before they consider my submission and evidence for a possible charge of causing death by dangerous driving against Mr Carson.

I am happy to allow Mr Coll to view the map and scaled models at any time before the case in your Court, but I believe them to be inch perfect and would help to explain many points to the Court, but I imagine that if he rejects them then they cannot be used.”

He wrote back saying that he would make arrangements for Mr Coll to view the map and scale models. He also said that “Mr Cane was tasked to carry out a review of a general nature and I cannot see how he would be able to give relevant evidence in relation to the accident in which your brother tragically lost his life.”

A few days later, I took the map and models to the Coroner’s Office and gave them to Mr Coll and he took them away for inspection. I was a little disconcerted to find that he had a folder containing the second Report from my erstwhile accident investigator Mr McLoughlin together with a letter which I had sent to my solicitor detailing my meeting with Mr Kane. I wondered to what extent information, including a letter between me and my solicitor, should be redistributed. He asked me what the Ombudsman had said about the expert witnesses in the case. I decided to tell him but the Coroner’s representative stopped me and said there should be no discussion outside of the exhibit inspection.  The staff member informed me that the case would be held on 19th May 2009 and he would provide me with a list of the witnesses that would be called.

 The list included Constable Cochrane the police Vehicle examiner and Sergeant McBride, but it did not include the Station Sergeant in the Control Centre.

Witness 3, the female teacher who was waiting at the stop line at the junction when the Subaru drove past at 80 to 90 MPH, who had previously been on the list, was removed from the list. 

Mr Hicks the civilian drifting instructor wasn’t on the list either. I might have liked him there to explain drifting techniques and the danger of reversing tyres but he lived in England and so I didn’t press the point. Perhaps his Report was sufficient.

Witness 4 the civilian witness who called the Police and who would say that the Subaru passed him at 80 or 90 mph just half a mile from the accident was not on the list.

 Mr Kane and Mr Meehan from the Ombudsman weren’t included.

The Coroner’s inquest was to be held with several important witnesses absent, but at the end of the day it was his decision and his choice. It would make my job even harder but frankly I was tired of fighting and beating my head against a brick wall and so I simply wrote and asked for the inclusion of Witness 4 and left it at that. He was belatedly included in the list of witnesses to be called.

I have no experience of representing anyone in Court, so it was a case of detailed preparation before the case in order to improve performance on the day.

I knew the points which were relevant to prove my case and since they were contained throughout 800 pages of my file and could not be instantly recoverable during the case, I decided I needed to get organised.

I took the witnesses in turn and I wrote down all the questions I would ask them about evidence which was either absent from their statements or was wrong in their Reports.   Each question would be supported by photographs or documents from my file. For ready access in the event that the reply from the witness differed from the evidence held by me, I would extract the evidence from the file. I made three copies of each piece of information and included the material in the witness envelope. The idea was that I could instantly refer to any relevant piece of contrary evidence and at the same time give a copy to the witness and one to the Coroner.

I assembled all the relevant photographs and made up two folders, one for questions essentially to the Police and one for questions to the Forensic Officer. Again I made three copies, one for me, one for the witness and one for the Coroner.

Each witness had their own self-contained set of questions and evidence for use by me. In this way I hoped to avoid stumbling through the questions and being unable to find anything. It was laborious and expensive and time-consuming but it had to be done.

I was as prepared as I could be and might cope if given a degree of latitude by an understanding Coroner. I felt a little more confident of what I was trying to do.

Someone had once told me that if I felt at all intimidated by the surroundings or the magisterial presence of the judge I should conjure up a picture of him wearing a pair of suspenders and stockings and high heels hidden only by the bench. The fear would dissipate. I didn’t need to.  During the process, the principal of my Solicitors firm called with me and kindly offered any assistance I might need in preparing for the case. He also assured me that the Coroner would give me a sympathetic ear and would help me through the process. He would understand that I wasn’t a trained lawyer and would make allowances. It was reassuring and encouraging and I began to relax.  I had dealt with the Senior Coroner before and he had shown general interest in the case and had tried to resolve differences in the evidence by requesting a staging at the scene and requiring the Forensic officer to write a second Report. On the other hand, at a previous hearing, he had blamed me for the non-attendance of my accident investigator at the Court even though I explained that he had to attend the High Court at the same time. I didn’t dare tell him that all witnesses were his and not mine. Had he looked round the court room he might have realised that several witnesses were not in attendance because none of us had received a summons to appear, but had turned up solely on receipt of the initial letter from his office that a date had been set for the hearing. I had decided to accept the rebuke and not blame his staff. Why would I start off in his bad books.

The stage was set.

 

 

The next post will detail what went on in the Coroner’s Court.

Chief Constable Hugh Orde and the PPS- It’s Not All One Way

In the last three posts, I explained why I asked for help from Chief Constable Hugh Orde when I couldn’t breach the brick wall of denial and corruption that had been erected by several of his officers conspiring to hide the truth. I had a duty to get justice for the family of my brother not least because I held Letters of Administration for my brother’s estate.

  Orde had been Chief Constable when my brother was killed and still held that office when I asked him to intervene in June 2006. (See Post published on 27th August 2018). 

When he did nothing, even though he said he was personally responsible for the actions of each of his officers, I submitted  evidence to the Public Prosecution Service and asked them to consider bringing a charge against him for Perverting the Course of Justice. (See Posts dated 3rd and 10th September 2018).

The Public Prosecution Service did nothing but put my submission on a long finger towards infinity and so the case against Orde and the others (McBride and Carson) remain on the books until the present day. Officially it remains there until the Coroner’s Court closes the case. No one can explain why that is, but that is evidently one of the methods the PPS uses to create desirable or required delays in its decision-making process.

Hugh Orde joined the PSNI as Chief Constable in 2002 and left in August 2009. It seems to me that he was more concerned with the status of his job than the task for which it was created ie the administration of justice for all without fear or favour. It could be argued that more than anyone he oversaw the change of the PSNI from a Police Force for Justice for all to a political Police Force which made decisions with one or both eyes on the political repercussions of any action. To put it another way, criminals were put in one of two groups – one with political or terrorist clout and one with none. I could give you numerous examples of that but it is outside the scope of this blog. Personally I had come to the conclusion that my brother’s family would receive no justice in any form.

 

Following the premature resignation of Sir Ian Blair as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London at the end of 2008, a vacancy existed at the top post in the country’s largest police force. The selection process  was to take place at the end of January 2009 and Orde submitted his application for the post along with the acting Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and several other serving Chief Constables. Almost everyone assumed that Orde, given his experience in Northern Ireland and his previous service in the Metropolitan Police at a very senior level, was a shoe-in for the job.

The Selection Board would be set up by an element of the Home Office with some sort of input from the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and the London Mayor Boris Johnson.

I was certain that the Selection Board would not be informed that our PPS was dealing with a case submitted by me alleging that Orde might be, according to the evidence supplied by me, guilty of Perverting the Course of Justice.

So that they could take all relevant information about the various applicants into consideration before coming to a decision, I emailed both the Home Office and  the London Mayor and simply stated that they should be aware that presently Chief Constable Hugh Orde had a case of Perverting the Course of Justice under consideration with the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland. Neither recipient acknowledged receipt of the email although my compter showed that it was sent.

I have no knowledge that it played any part in the failure of Orde to get the position of Commissioner. I do know that the selection Board had whittled the applicants down to a final two ie Orde and Stephenson.  When it is such a close call a selection board always welcomes one thing that will tip the balance.

Stephenson won.

I like to think that it was a close run thing and my revelatory email swung the balance away from Orde. I can’t know what its effect was but maybe someone does.

It is my view that if someone considers himself to be so high and mighty to refuse to have his hands dirtied by having to respond to a well argued claim that some of his officers were making false Reports, then he would certainly be unfit to head up any Police Force never mind the Met Police.

 In April 2009, Orde was given the news that he had been elected to the post of President and given the task of heading up the Association of Chief Police Officers(ACPO), a peculiar organisation supposedly set up to give a collective forum and offer advice to the government for the 45 Chief Constables or so around the country  in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Sensibly Scotland decided not to join. It was set up as a not-for-profit Limited Company  and was funded by the various Police Forces, some commercial activity and by the Home Office. Sadly, by 2011, the ACPO ran into financial problems of various kinds, several Police Forces withdrew their support, allegations were made and, after a thorough Review, it was shut down in 2015 and replaced by a new National Police Chiefs’ Council under a different leadership.

Sir Paul Stephenson resigned in July 2011 under a cloud connected with the phone hacking scandal and the post was advertised again. Orde made a second application for the post. This time he was defeated by a new applicant Bernard Hogan-Howe who had been Chief Constable of Liverpool. At the time his application he had been serving in Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, the very organisation who had used my case to beat the PSNI over the head with in their Roads Report dated June 2008 !

Again, Orde was favourite according to the initial panel, but lost out in the final interview in front of the Home Secretary Teresa May and london Mayor Boris Johnson.

I do hope that they had picked up a copy of my email  to their respective Department before they made their final decision. On hearing the result I felt that I might have found a tiny chink in their armour which suggested that they weren’t totally untouchable.

 

 

P S

I have just watched the interview of Hugh Orde on the BBC’s Spotlight programme. For once I agree with the present Chief Constable that it would be better if he kept his nose out of Northern Ireland affairs. He has done untold damage to the Police Service here when he turned it into a political Force and made it accountable to the requirements of terrorist organisations at the expense of the majority of law-abiding citizens. I wonder what people might think if the Fire Service was expected to give priority to the properties of terrorists or the Ambulance or the NHS  would  select which patient should be treated first depending on his influence with a terrorist organisation.

He took some pride in saying that for two years he had headed up an investigation into the death of Pat Finucane costing massively in time and money. He had a full Police team, offices, many staff, and unlimited resources, and ended up with one arrest. At the  other end of the scale, he couldn’t be bothered to ask one Police Officer to spend one hour at the scene of the crash to determine if the Collision Report  by two of his officers was false or accurate as detailed in my submission to him.

In 2005 he was wholly respnsible for setting up the Historical Enquiry Team (HET).

In 2013,Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) heavily criticised the HET very heavily  and recommended that it be dumped, not least because it treated state involvement cases differently as a matter of policy which was illegal. There were many other reasons that clearly justified their criticism. 

In his arrogance he defended his idiotic Historical Enquiry Team,  which he should never have been allowed to set up by the Police playing politics. His sole job should remain confined to the protection of life and property and the arrest and prosecution of criminals and he should have been told to leave politics to the politicians. However, he was happy to politicize the Police and admitted that during his time he was investigating more soldiers than terrorists for crimes. His most outrageous statement was that he “dislikes the overtly legal route.”

I wish to make one final point since he raised the subject.

 Just as MP Anna Soubry does to support her defence against Brexit, and Taoiseach Varadkar does to supposedly prevent a hard border but probably to encourage a United Ireland, Orde uses the same argument to support his solution for historical investigations. I refer to their prophesy that unless their wishes are implemented then the likelihood is that the “Troubles” will flare up again.

I make the following observations.

Has any of them received intelligence that this is to be the outcome?

Has the Police investigated or tracked down or monitored any of the conspirators involved in this new coup?

Do they know that the terrorist campaign is ongoing and what they mean is that it is likely to increase ?

Should we prepare now for such an increased onslaught ?

In the same programme our current Chief Constable said “Hugh Orde was a fantastic Chief Constable and gave great leadership to this Organisation.” 

It is clear to me now where Chief Constable Hamilton learned to turn a blind eye to the responsibilities imposed on him in his position. Hopefully he will be gone in July next year and we also have heard the last of Orde’s unwelcome interference.

Thankfully, Orde was never imposed on the Metropolitan Police in london for Heaven knows what special privileges or immunities might have been granted to ISIS by now.

 

 

In the next series of posts I will relate my dealings with the Coroner’s Office and especially Chief Coroner John Leckey.

 

 

 

 

 

Public Prosecution Service- Part Two

 

On Monday 29th October 2007, the PPS officer dealing with the case, Mr Kitson, (same name but not the Mr Kitson of the Ombudsman’s Office) phoned to say that he had studied my submission and his view was that he would have to go with the Forensic Report and so he wouldn’t be processing the matter further. I argued that the Forensic Report was based in part on the Police Report which Sgt Lindsay had agreed was wrong. I told him that he had admitted as much to the Ombudsman. He said that he hadn’t read the Ombudsman’s Report. I told him it was part of my submission contained in the bound folder of documents. He said that he didn’t have that folder and went on to describe what he did have. I described the evidence folder to him. He said he would look for it and call back. He called back a few minutes later and said he had found it, and had located the Ombudsman’s Report. He said he would study it and go through the case again and he would let me know.

I was dumbfounded. Clearly he had not read my submission. The 11 page submission made no sense without reference to the 120 page evidence folder. The Forensic Reports were contained in the large document so he must have got a Forensic Report from elsewhere. It was beyond madness. I concluded that someone, either inside the PPS or outside the PPS or collectively had told him to bury my submission. His attempt to do so was very amateurish and transparent.

When I had absorbed the implications of what I had just been told, I tried to explain that I had been to every legal agency to have this resolved and no one was prepared to put his head above the parapet with the exception of Mr Kane and he had been told not to do so. I told him that one possible solution was to have the accident re-investigated and if that was done, then the Forensic Report would also have to be changed or withdrawn. I suggested to him that he had the power to call for a new investigation but he wasn’t sure that he could. He would look into it.  I’m sure that there is a facility to do so using a facility called RFI which stands for Requests for Further Information. After all, the PPS has had to use RFI in nearly 30% of all Police cases submitted, an indictment I thought of the poor quality of expertise of the Police in preparing cases.

I felt he was on the back foot and I was sure that now he would at least have to read the submission properly before coming to a decision. I was also sure that the PPS would never make a positive decision to prosecute any of the three if they couldn’t even be bothered to read the whole file at their first attempt. Perhaps they would just prefer to deal exclusively with Police submissions, however inadequate they might be.

One of the points covered in my submission included all the evidence that pointed to Carson using his mobile phone, and how the time of the collision was changed from 1450 to 1443 by the Police just after I had started investigating this allegation.

Mr Meehan had been on leave for some considerable time until the beginning of May 2007. During his absence a deputy Senior Investigating Officer had been given a watching brief on the case. On his return, Mr Meehan said that I had been sent a letter by his stand-in in March, but I told him that I hadn’t received it. He sent me a copy which arrived on 29th May, just as I was about to deliver the submission to PPS. It was a summary of the case from the Ombudsman’s point of view and in response to a letter I had written to them on 21st June the previous year. I didn’t have much time to study it but I noticed that he said “the   first call recorded on the Command and control serial was at 1452-1453.” This was the Clerkin letter which was dealt with and withdrawn by the new Ombudsman some 5 years later (See Post dated 13 August 2018 “The New Ombudsman’s Response)

I assumed that the police had backed away from their assertion that the first call had been made at 1443 and I quickly sent off an addendum to PPS to say that the Police had changed their mind once again.

I was wrong. When I read the letter fully it was clear to me that the Clerkin had no idea of the current stage of the investigation. It was wrong in nearly every respect. However, to me it was a dangerous letter because if it fell into the hands of the Police some of the other assertions would further reinforce their view that they had done nothing wrong.

I wrote a strong reply and asked for the letter to be withdrawn forthwith. Mr Meehan understood fully my concerns and by way of explanation said that the writer had not been fully updated and didn’t have time to fully read and understand what was now a very thick case file, even though he had said that he had “fully reviewed available evidence.”  Why write it then? I had to write back to the PPS and tell them it was a spurious letter from PONI and the newly amended time of 1443 stood.

I needed to firm up the evidence collected by the Ombudsman. It would be needed later for any future Court case, hopefully initiated by the PPS.

Mr Meehan had interviewed Sgt McBride at the outset and asked him about the errors in his Report and Sgt McBride had given various answers. I had been given a verbal briefing of what Sgt McBride had said by way of explanation to some of the questions but I had nothing in writing and I had a very incomplete picture of which excuse applied to which error. It occurred to me that this was essential evidence for the PPS to come to a decision and also for any court  in a civil claim.

Mr Meehan assured me that his replies were recorded in his interview notes with Sgt McBride.

I drew up a list of all the errors in his Report and asked Mr Meehan for Sgt McBride’s reply to each point.  As well as listing each error in the police Report  I included a few extra questions for Mr Meehan to answer. These included:

  • At PONI’s request, four questions were referred back to Police for further investigation. Did he ask Police why they had not done so and what was their response?
  • Given that all the errors, almost without exception favoured the version given by the Subaru driver, did he ask Sgt McBride why this was?
  • Did he point out to Sgt McBride that it was wrong of him to say that some of the errors occurred because he didn’t have the assistance of a Forensic Officer? Did he challenge this assertion since the Forensic Officer was made available.
  • Did he ever suggest to Sgt McBride that the admitted errors in his Report should be changed?
  • Did he inform the Police that he did not have the resources to properly carry out an investigation into the disputed change of the time to 1443?
  • In his Report he had found that “the errors in Sgt McBride Report were administrative.” What did he mean by that?

I sent a copy of the written questions off through my solicitor, with a copy to the PPS and the Coroner and waited for a reply.

Mr Meehan wrote back:

“I have discussed your request with our Senior Investigations Office. The Office of the Police Ombudsman is constrained by Section 63 of the Police Act as to what information may be disclosed and are unable to supply the requested information at this time.”

In summary, any evidence the Ombudsman had acquired during an investigation could be kept secret from the complainant even though it was required to support a case at the DPP, to challenge the officer at a future Coroner’s Inquest, or to secure a claim at a civil court.

The Police had found a perfect way to hide evidence by ensuring it was collected by the Ombudsman. That could not be right.

I got a copy of the relevant Police Act and I wrote back to them the following day:

I have studied Section 63 of the 1998 Police Act together with its amendments in the 2000 Act and I can find no clause that prevents you from supplying the detailed information in the form that I have requested. Section 63 (1) states quite clearly that “No information received by an officer of the Ombudsman shall be disclosed except for the purposes of any criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings.” I can assure you that I require the information precisely for all three ongoing proceedings, and, if you have any doubts about that you can confirm this with my legal representatives.”

I ended the letter by saying:

I have come to regret profoundly involving the Ombudsman in this case. It seems to me that the Police have been able to resist any real investigation but instead have been able to hide behind a protective wall built by your Report and reinforced by your stand-in’s ill-considered letter written with scant knowledge of the case. The only person who understood the case for what it was appears to be Mr Kane but of course he had to be gagged. It is clear to me that the agencies set up to find justice are just another barrier.”

Mr Meehan replied:

“I have taken advice from Senior Staff in relation to your letter. As explained in my earlier correspondence, legislation does not allow us to give you material from our files except for the purpose of any criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings – a point you note in your most recent letter. The proceedings relate to “actual” proceedings and not those which are anticipated. Should your legal representatives wish to apply for disclosure of material as part of ongoing proceedings they should do so.” He seemed to have rewritten the Act to prevent disclosure of the evidence. Secondly, I was the complainant and not my solicitor.  My solicitor was not employed to deal with the Ombudsman which was my responsibility. ( My Legal team were employed by the Legal Insurance Company under a policy taken out by my brother and they decided which element of the case was paid for by them).  Was he suggesting that a complainant had to have a solicitor or the evidence could not be disclosed?

His ruling meant that no evidence held by him could be disclosed to prepare a case. It would only be released when the proceedings had begun. In my view this was nonsense. The evidence he held might be vital and a case might be incapable to be prepared without it. Hiding evidence under this interpretation would be an obstruction of justice and probably a serious criminal offence. In any case, this perverse ruling did not apply in this case because it was already proceeding in the Coroner’s Court and the Civil Court.

He wrote again in February 2008 to my solicitor to say that he had further advice from his Senior Legal Advisor and “felt it would be more appropriate that the Coroner’s Court be the venue for your client’s detailed questions regarding the actions of Police in this investigation.

Later he did send a bundle of documents to the Coroner but the details of his questions to and answers from Sgt McBride were not included.  Also not included were the answers to any of the additional questions posed by me.

His covering letter to the Coroner, later withdrawn in 2012 by Dr Maguire as part of his apology to me, found little or no fault with Sgt McBride’s  investigation.

I was told later that if my legal team went to court to have the matter resolved they were advised to put both Mr Meehan and Mr Kane in the witness-box and ask them the questions there.

In March 2008, Mr Meehan wrote to say that following a meeting with the legal team, he had written to the Coroner and informed him that a full and comprehensive review of the case and the issues raised was pending.  I let the PPS know.

The PPS wrote to say that because of the review, they would “await the conclusion of any proceedings in the Coroner’s Court and any further information relevant to the case which may arise at those proceedings.”

I thought I heard the washing of hands.

The comprehensive review never happened.

 The submission made by me to the PPS is still pending.

It has little to do with the subject of this book but it might help to throw some light on the workings of the Police and the PPS and the relationship one with the other. On 26th July 2008 at about 4am, I was awakened by a commotion outside my house. My car had been broken into and, because of the actions of a close neighbour, the police attended and arrested the two alleged perpetrators.  The damage had been fairly minimal and I identified a cigarette lighter inside the car which had probably been dropped there by one of the miscreants as he tried to hot wire the ignition. I made a verbal statement to the police, secured the car, watched the two being driven away by the Police and went back to bed. I expected to be called to give evidence when they appeared the following Monday morning in the local magistrate’s Court. A few days later I received a letter from the Victim’s Support Unit offering counselling for any trauma I might have suffered. I kindly refused their offer.

I heard nothing more for over a year when I was informed by the PPS that they intended to prosecute the two for trying to take and drive away my car, and for intending to cause damage to it. One of them was further charged with obstructing a police officer. 

One of the accused was not dealt with until April 2010, whilst the charges against the other were subsequently dropped.  I assume that there had to be some reason for the delay, but this is not justice. It is not justice for the two men involved, and it is not justice for my  neighbour who has had to live with the thought for two years that he would eventually have to give evidence against the two in court.  It is no mean feat of courage to be a witness for Police in our society with its tendency to lawlessness and retribution, and no one should be subjected to such delays. I’m sure my good neighbour will be more reluctant to intervene the next time. Such is the slow progress of justice in our society, and such are the consequences. What is the point of Police appealing to the public to come forward to help if they simply can’t act expeditiously on the assistance offered?

 

In the next post, I will return to Chief Constable Hugh Orde and the involvement of the Public Prosecution Service in the progression of his career.

 

 

 

 

My Submission to Public Prosecution Service – Part one

The next two posts will deal with my experiences with the Public Prosecution Service.

However, I wish to deal briefly with another matter which was broadcast on Tuesday 21st July 2018 on BBC Newsline and followed up the following day by the Belfast Telegraph. The story concerned the road death of two young children from County Fermanagh some ten years ago, the Police handling of the case, and the families’ attempt to seek closure. Their struggle over those ten years is a reflection in many ways of my own journey over the past 15 years to do likewise. I wish them a successful outcome and I hope they are spared fewer false dawns than I have had to endure. They should be aware by now that inordinate procrastination is a well used technique by the Justice System to bury their search for the truth.

I wish to comment on just one aspect of the Report on the BBC and the Belfast Telegraph. The PSNI, probably through their Press Office, issued a statement from Chief Superintendent David Moore which said :-

“We accept that there were clear failings in the investigation. It will be of no comfort to the families but improvements have since been introduced and we now have a dedicated specialist team to investigate fatal RTCs(Road Traffic Collisions), who support district officers. We will reflect on the verdict made today and determine if further work needs to be done in this area.”

The Florencecourt crash happened on “7th November 2008.

In the Antrim Guardian published on 25th April 2007, Inspector Ian White, who has cropped up several times in this blog for his recurring abuse of the truth, said :-

“Senior Investigating Officers( of whom he is one) are appointed by the PSNI to manage and oversee all serious crashes in Northern Ireland, and have been trained to lead investigations into road incidents, while providing focus and motivation for the investigative team. one hundred and eighty SIOs are currently at work in Northern Ireland.”

The two statements conflict with one another.

Why was one of the these 180 trained  experts not sent to the collision in County Fermanagh ?

Why did the trained SIO Inspector Ian White not properly supervise the collision involving my brother and felt the need to resort to lying and endorsing false evidence from Sgt McBride ?

Why did the current Chief Constable appoint a long retired and unskilled ex  Inspector Kennedy to re-investigate my case when he had so many trained experts to hand ? At least they might have stood a chance to finding the truth of the collision.

I will now return to my dealings with the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

 

 

 

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) in Northern Ireland was established in June 2005 and replaced the old Director of Public Prosecutions when the local Justice System was overhauled in around 2000. It was responsible for the consideration and prosecution of all criminal cases in Northern Ireland and so far as I knew it could call for further investigation of a case should it decided that there may be sufficient evidence to process a case through the courts.

It was clear to me that all my efforts to have the case properly investigated had come to nought and there was no likelihood that the Police Report would be amended in any way. An appeal directly to Chief Constable Orde had proved futile and all other avenues were now closed.

My submission to the PPS was in 2007, long befor the letter of apology by the Ombudsman or the correction of the initial Collision Report after Kennedy’s findings. It was prompted by Chief Constable Hugh Orde’s sniffy disinterest in mysubmission to him.

 As far as I was concerned there was ample evidence to consider that Carson had caused the death of my brother by dangerous driving. He had reversed tyres on his car, there was evidence that he was using his mobile at the time of the collision and he was greatly exceeding the speed limit. There was also convincing evidence that he was not wearing a seatbelt and, although that would not have contributed to the crash, that was a criminal offence. As a result I asked PPS to consider a charge of Death by Dangerous Driving against Mr Carson.

Sgt McBride refused to change his Report even though he admitted the errors to the Ombudsman. By refusing to change his Report I believed him to be guilty of perverting the Course of Justice. 

The correspondence indicated that he was being advised by (or conspiring with) his senior officer Inspector White, but I did not include him in the list of names to be considered for prosecution. I should have done. In many ways he was even more culpable because he was senior, and in overall charge of the investigation.

I had thought of including the Forensic Officer Mr Coll but he had come to the case late, the Subaru was not available to him for inspection, and he had relied on a Police Report and its conclusion which was flawed.

The Chief Constable was made aware of what was going on but did nothing to correct it so, in my opinion, he could be guilty of the same offence. In any case he believed he was personaly responsible for his officer’s actions.

The Public Prosecution Service could decide who was guity of what according to the evidence.

I wasn’t sure that I had the right to make a submission to the PPS as a civilian and so I phoned them and asked. A staff member wasn’t sure if I could, but she called back a couple of days later and said that there was no reason why it wasn’t possible. It seemed that it wasn’t an everyday occurrence. Since it was my right to make a submission, I expected that it would afforded the same standing as a submission from the Police. I still believed in theJustice System is those early days!

Over several weeks, I prepared a bound folder which contained some 120 pages of evidence and background correspondence including all the Collision and Ombudsman Reports. Separately I included copies of photographs and maps.

In a separate bound folder, I detailed the case and listed the evidence that I was submitting to justify each charge to be considered. Evidence was stated and its location in the supporting evidence folder cross referenced.

It was a laborious task but I felt it had to be done as a last-ditch attempt to get some sort of justice for my brother’s family. None of the Justice agencies was prepared to do anything. I had it completed by the end of May 2007 to be delivered to the PPS on 1st June, the deadline set by me for action by the Chief Constable. I also prepared a letter for each of the accused to inform them of the submission and a letter to the Coroner, the Police and the Ombudsman advising them of my intentions.

I also prepared a Press Release which would be sent to the local papers. Acting as a good compliant citizen led only to delay and inaction. I thought it was time to take the kid gloves off.

I had intended to deliver what was a bulky set of documents personally by hand, however a close friend offered to leave it in to the PPS Headquarters in Belfast on his way to work on 30th May 2007. His office was close by. I agreed and when he called at PPS reception,  a female Police Liaison Officer took it from him and said she would make sure it got into the right hands. After maybe two weeks the receipt of the document was still not acknowledged and so I phoned up and asked if it had been properly received. They had no knowledge of it and later a thorough search of all the offices by one of the PPS staff confirmed that it couldn’t be found. I was asked to re-submit it and this time to send it to the Ballymena Chambers. It was an avoidable chore but I did so and sent it recorded delivery. The first copy turned up on 28th June some four weeks later and was returned to me. I wasn’t told what had happened to it even though I asked. I had my own thoughts. I had a subsequent occasion when another but different evidence parcel was removed from the post and was never delivered. I can’t be sure who removed either of them but I can say that the Police had easy access to both and would have certainly benefitted by a early sight of both contents – but that is not evidence.

The Ombudsman’s investigator, Mr Meehan, then decided that he would bring in an experienced Accident Investigator from England, Mr Kane, to review the case, and so I wrote to the PPS to take no further action until the outcome of that review was known. That review was held on 25th July. 

The details and outcome of that meeting were detailed in my post “PONI’s Second Attempt” on 23rd July 2018 .

I followed up with a letter to the PPS, giving him a briefing of what went on at the meeting with Mr Kane and said that I had yet to receive a letter, which had been promised, detailing Mr Kane’s findings. He had told me that it would be ready in the following two weeks and had asked me to inform the PPS of this. Mr Meehan and Mr Kane were prepared to liaise with the PPS directly if they so wished.

The letter from Mr Kane didn’t arrive and, although I was assured it would arrive soon after Mr Kane returned from leave on 26th August, I wrote to the PPS and said that they should press ahead if it still hadn’t arrived shortly after that time. Mr Kane telephoned me on 31 August to say that he had written the letter, that it had been discussed at the “highest” management level and passed to the legal team for their view.

I wrote to the PPS: “I have concluded that the Ombudsman will be unable to find a wording that will both accurately reflect Mr Kane’s views and yet avoid the Ombudsman’s Office being shot in the foot, so I ask you to proceed without waiting sight of any possible letter from that Office.”

I was right. The letter wasn’t produced for another three years and four months. Their legal team stated that it was not part of the Ombudsman’s writ to comment on the merit of evidence!

The second part of this story will form part of the next post.

 

 

Chief Constable Hugh Orde is Asked for Help

This post arose out of my frustration in failing to convince either the Police,  Forensic Office or the Police Ombudsman that there were serious flaws with the official investigation of the fatal crash in which my brother died.

A citizen no longer has the right to have his complaint investigated by the Police but must refer it to the Ombudsman. It doesn’t matter if the investigator hasn’t any experience in the field as was the case with Mr Meehan. There is no access to the Police directly or so I understood from a cursory reading of the Police Act.

One evening I was watching a TV interview of Chief Constable Hugh Orde when he said that he was personally responsible for the behaviour and actions of each of his officers.

I decided to test that statement.

Hugh Orde had become Chief Constable of the relatively new PSNI in May 2002 and remained in post until August 2009. He had joined the Metropolitan Police in London in 1977 and had risen rapidly through the ranks. He was in charge of and influenced the new PSNI’s formative years during the period referred to by PR officers and politicians as the “New Beginning.”

The “New Beginning” could also be interpreted as the changeover of Police  from the primary role of “protecting life and property and the prosecution of offenders” to  “the protection of erstwhile terrorists, useful criminals, friends and participating Police Officers from the consequences of their actions  by hiding, ignoring, creating, or destroying evidence with the co-operation of the rest of the Justice System.” I would suggest that the  outcome of the aim of the “New Beginning” was inevitable due to the negotiations and agreements previously set up by Tony Blair and Chris Patton who should have known that the Police and the Justice System would have to corrupt their practices in order to fulfil their political requirements. The secret “Amnesty ” letters were part of that requirement. One could conclude that the Police were empowered to choose who they would prosecute rather than it be decided by the evidence and they could then change Reports and investigations and evidence accordingly to suit their desired outcome.

Corruption of any form is a virulent cancer that must and will spread throughout the whole of any Organisation that foolishly thinks if can control and limit it.

The obvious fault with conscious institutional corruption for a particular purpose is that it will inevitably bleed into all areas of Justice and, if required, will be applied to the totally innocent in indiscriminate measure. It’s a broad brush policy driven by politics or just whim at the expense of Justice. It is much favoured by Police Forces in corrupt, undemocratic countries who have no need to care about the innocent citizens caught up in the collateral damage.

The Police investigation into the crash in which my brother died was selected for burying under “New Beginning” corruption and the rest of the Justice System seamlessly fell in behind.

I don’t contribute all or any of the failure of the “New Beginning” to Chief Constable Orde. Its failure was inbuilt.  He was simply one of many leaders in the Justice System who was given the evidence  of corruption and chose to do nothing about it. Maybe he thought that his overriding duty was to protect the corrupters. I simply accuse him of failing in his responsibilities as a Chief Constable who, according to him, was personally responsible for the actions of the officers serving under him.

 

 

 

 It was just after Meehan of the Ombudsman’s Office had carried out his visit to Police Regional Control and had been mislead into believing that the time of the first emergency call had been received at 1443 and that the computer couldn’t be interfered with.

On 21st June 2006 I sent a six page submission to Chief Constable Orde detailing all the evidence that I had about the errors in Sgt McBride’s Report, including the serious errors that he had admitted to the Ombudsman. I said that unless his Report was at least amended to reflect these admitted errors, then Sgt McBride could be found guilty of perjury if he was to present the current Report to a Court. I went on to list all the faults in the Report and where it was at variance with the facts.  I told him that the un-amended Report had been distributed to the many agencies involved with the case and that they had acted on its contents.

I went on to describe the background of the case and detailed how the time of the emergency call to Police was changed from a reported 1453 to 1443 only after I had made a complaint about the Police investigation of a mobile call made by Carson.

Finally, I said that the collision should be re-investigated and a new Report written and distributed. I pointed out that all the evidence was still available with the exception of the Subaru.

I received a speedy reply to say that the letter was being forwarded to the DCU Commander in Antrim, who would contact me.  I was also told that my complaint was being forwarded to the Police Ombudsman for their consideration.

I was going round in circles.

By October, I had heard back from the Ombudsman saying that he had spoken with the Deputy Senior Investigating Officer who had in turn discussed it with the Director of Investigations and he would contact me again when he had received direction from Senior management.  He was also going round in circles.

I wrote back to OPONI:

“Part of the reason why the Police feel it unnecessary to change any aspect of their Report is because of lack of censure in your original findings. This is not a criticism of your organisation but simply reflects the limited scope of your ability to interfere. The police are hiding behind your skirts and undoubtedly will do so again. That is probably why they have referred the matter back to you again when I had hoped that the Chief Constable might appoint a creditable and unbiased Police officer to review the Report. It would seem that the Police are using you for protection.”

In December, I had not heard again from Mr Meehan so I phoned him and asked him when his new Report would be available. He wasn’t sure but later left me a message to say it would be available on 19th January   2007. He phoned again in the New Year to say that the Report would not be ready as promised. He said that he was waiting for a Report from the Bridgestone Company received by the Police. He said that the police were of the view that the case had now been settled in the civilian Court and there was no further action required of them. I told him that the only case that was settled was Carson’s claim for compensation and there were others outstanding, including a possible charge against Carson for causing death by dangerous driving, a civil claim on behalf of my brother and the Coroner’s Inquest.

By April 2007, my letter to the Chief Constable still had not  been dealt with. I wrote to him again. I referred to my letter of June 2006 and I said:

“In that letter I made well-founded allegations that the hard drive of the computer at the Police Control Centre may have been altered to change the time of the accident and I supported this with evidence. You referred the matter back to the Ombudsman for  consideration even though all the matters, with the exception of the altered accident time, had already been dealt with in their first Report dated 9th August 2005. You failed to act on any of the recommendations contained in that Report. It is my current understanding that the current investigation by the Ombudsman has been delayed, partly due to staffing problems and partly due to your failure to produce the Report from the Bridgestone Company. It is also my understanding that the resources of the Ombudsman do not allow them to examine your computer for changes to the time record on the hard drive and that this should be done by the Police.  You cannot abrogate your responsibilities to investigate this by referring this matter back given that you have previously ignored OPONI’s requests to take further action.”

I went on to say that I wouldn’t accept any further delays and said that unless I had heard by 1st June 2007 that he was prepared to agree to either withdraw the Police Report in total or alternatively to correct the falsehoods contained therein, or to agree to examine the computer hard drive for changes, then I would process the matter further.

I got a reply back in May to say that since “the initial complaint was investigated by the Office of the Police Ombudsman and they had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to merit any disciplinary action against any of the officers involved. The complaint was therefore closed as “Not Substantiated.”

He went on to say “If you feel that this matter now constitutes a further complaint against police then you are quite entitled to lodge this with the Police Ombudsman’s Office.”

What he was saying was that if there was no disciplinary action  recommended, then all errors and falsehoods would remain. If the Ombudsman did not have the resources to investigate evidence of tampering in the computer, then it wouldn’t be investigated.

I had approached the Chief Constable directly and he had refused to investigate the very serious allegations made by me. It seemed to me that it wasn’t enough for him to hide behind the Ombudsman’s investigation and do nothing simply because disciplinary action was not recommended. The errors in the Police Report remained and the serious allegation of computer tampering was still not investigated.  He was fully aware of this and yet he refused to act on the information. He was to my mind perverting the course of justice, whether he did so to protect his own officers or to protect Carson from the consequences of his driving.  Everyone who used or would use the false Police Report to reach a determination was being misled. He knew that his Investigating Officer had admitted his mistakes but refused to change the Report so, to my mind, the Chief Constable was now no less guilty. It would take a Criminal Court to decide if I was right or if there was any merit in my argument.  I decided to submit a Report to the Public Prosecution  Service (PPS) for them to consider a prosecution.

 

Neither the false Collision Report written by McBride and endorsed by Inspector White nor the false timing of the call to Police was exposed and accepted by Police until Kennedy’s Investigation in 2012, more than 6 years too late. 

My dealings with the PPS will be the subject of my next post.

 

 

a

The New PSNI Investigation- The Kennedy Findings

I have detailed one of the findings of the Report by Kennedy in a previous Post  “Falsified Timings- The Final Outcome” published on 9th July 2018 when he came to the conclusion that  the crash did happen at 1448 or 1449. He also concluded that the recording machine in Police Control  had a wobbly turn at the time of the crash and decided to creep back some six or seven minutes for a short period and then corrected itself almost immediately afterwards.  The error wasn’t found by staff in the Control Room until Carson needed it to magically happen in order to explain why his phone recorded a call to his wife at the time of the crash of 1448. He was miraculously lucky to have been provided with such a cast iron alibi.

It is clear that ACC Mark Hamilton, ACC George Hamilton, the Public Prosecution Service, the Coroner et al are clearly convinced of this fairy tale.

I expected that the creators of such an outlandish tale might have been disciplined for such a whopper but I was wrong. It seems they have been given the equivalent of  letters of immunity and probably continue to serve to indulge in their dark and criminal practices.

I understand that Chief Constable Hamilton’s contract is up for renewal in the middle of next year.

It seems to me that if he is convinced by the story of the “clock drift” then he does not have the required judgement to remain in the post any longer and that he has already been promoted several grades above his competency. If he does not believe the story and then does nothing then he is just as corrupt as those who weaved the tale together in the first place.

 

 

The Other Part of the Kennedy Report

Since it was generally accepted that the PSNI did not have the competency to properly investigate the causes of the crash I had asked the Police to have the crash investigated again by a Police Investigator from another Force. I had in mind someone of the calibre of Mr Kane. At the same time the Police Ombudsman requested that my concerns be explored once again.

I agreed to cooperate fully even though  the investigation was to be carried out by ex Inspector Ian Kennedy who had left the RUC some years earlier and was working as a civilian in  the Road Policing Unit in Enniskillen. I was assured by Superintendent Muir Clarke that he was an accident investigator of great renown. In reality, he was a civilian without warrant and only limited authority and, in my view, limited expertise

I was never interviewed by him or met him before he had completed his Investigation.

On 7th June 2012  I was invited to a meeting with Kennedy and Supt Muir Clarke at Castlereagh Police Station to be given a verbal briefing on the results of his investigation.

I produce the addendum to the original Collision Report which Kennedy dictated to me.

I will then detail some of his replies to the questions I asked at the end of the presentation.

 

With the exception of the colour of the car he corrected every falsehood and error I had highlighted in the original Police Collision Report some 9 years previously. It was those lies which were forwarded to the Insurance Companies which resulted in Raymond’s family not receiving  any compensation for his death. Strangely, when asked by me, Kennedy told me that it was not his job to provide me or the Insurance Company with a written copy of his Report and suggested I might ask the Police Ombudsman for it. It was also clear to me that the cause of the crash was not to be re-investigated and he was simply investigating the authenticity or otherwise of my many submissions and the contents of my book.

He found that the unidirectional tyres would have no effect because he had spoken to a “rally driver”  who had assured him that the ill fitted tyres would have not reduced handling. The rally driver was not named. He wasn’t much interested in my several experts on the subject. He understood that drifters would reverse tyres to reduce delamination. The offence of ill-fitting tyres was time limited and couldn’t be proceeded with.

He stated that it was difficult to assess the speed of a vehicle passing by and that there wasn’t any evidence that would hold up in court. What he didn’t say was that he made not effort to find the appropriate expert who could calculate quite accurately the speed of both vehicles at the point of contact and give credible evidence in court. I had reports from three such experts but they were not considered by him and of course he was no expert himself.

He “found” the error in the recording device in the Police Control Room that recorded the time of the first call from the scene at 1443 and that the fault was in place for at least two days before and after the crash.

He could not find Witness 1 (who was first on the scene), peculiarly took a second statement from witness 2 which differed little from her first statement  and had to conclude that the crash happened at 1448 or 1449 and that Carson was using his phone at the time of the crash.   He said that the offence of driving and using a mobile phone at the same time was also time limited and he would not be prosecuted.

He colluded with the Coroner and agreed that he would interview the Pathologist again and persuaded him to write a second statement on the autopsy and modify his conclusion that Raymond’s health played no part in the cause of the crash. Unfortunately for both the Police and the Coroner the Pathologist’s second statement was little changed from the first and his conclusion remained unchanged. This will be fully explored in future posts dealing with the involvement of Chief Coroner Leckey in the case.

He could not interview Carson because Carson’s solicitors would not permit him to do so. Had he been a real policeman he would have had the authority to do under warrant. A real policeman would have to investigate the case with absolute integrity and without favour so would not have been appointed. He also agreed that he couldn’t interview Carson’s wife and he didn’t make any effort to trace the person who heard the telephone conversation taking place.

I questioned him about how the crash happened but he would only say that in his view the Nova entered the hedge rear first and spun round there.

I asked him if he had interviewed Mr Coll the Forensic officer in the light of my many criticisms of his Report. He seemed genuinely shocked by my question and said the Police would never question the findings of a Forensic Officer.  Mr Coll had a Bachelor of Science Degree and since he had no degree his word would not be challenged by him.

On the strength of the Kennedy Report, the Public Prosecution Office agreed with the new findings and no charges would be brought against Mr Carson. The offence submitted to the PPS against Carson by the PSNI was one of Careless Driving.

Elsewhere, it was agreed that no disciplinary action was to be brought against those officers who created and distributed false reports.

On 26th June 2012 I wrote to Chief Constable Baggott expressing my dismay with the nature of the so-called investigation of the crash set jointly up by the PSNI and the Police Ombudsman. I never received a reply from him.

On 15th March 2013 I wrote a letter to ACC George Hamilton asking for a written copy of Kennedy’s Addendum given that I had paid for a copy of the Collision Report and was entitled to any Addendum to it.

I didn’t get a copy of the above Addendum until 13th June 2013, a year after it was written.

At the same time, I received a reply from ACC Hamilton to tell me about his Internal Report which explained the concept of “Clock Drift”. In the same letter he told me that “Mr Kennedy conducted a review of the road traffic collision in which your brother died”. Someone was misleading him on both accounts because neither was the truth.

He still held out the possibility of a proper investigation by an outside force but of course that never happened.

The next post will relate my dealings with Chief Constable Hugh Orde when I asked for help.

 

 

 

 

 

The new Police Ombudsman’s Response.

Mr Beacon contacted me and informed me that the new Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire wanted to personally brief me on the findings of Mr Beacon and Mr Kane.

On 24th April 2012 I visited OPONI’s Headquarters in Cathedral Buildings and escorted into Dr Maguire’s office and offered tea and biscuits. Mr Beacon was also present.

Mr Maguire immediately apologised to me for past errors of his Office in handling my complaint and suggested that the Police response was even worse. He said that I would receive a detailed written apology within a few days but, in the meantime, Mr Beacon would give me a verbal briefing.

The only thing that shocked me was that, unknown to me, the Coroner had unilaterally closed down the adjourned case into my brother’s death. I will deal with that in a later Post.

I was informed that both the Police and the Coroner would receive a copy of Mr Beacon’s findings.

We discussed other matters connected with the case which I do not propose to deal with here but it will be  sufficient to say that I found both men open and sincere and genuinely sorry for any wrongs for which OPONI was responsible. Mr Beacon ran me home !

Elsewhere, I was told that everyone involved in the twin investigations were in no doubt that the Nova had reached the hedge head first. This was contrary to the conclusion of both the Forensic Officer Coll and later by our private investigator McLoughlin who initially agreed with that but later changed his mind in his second Report so that his findings would agree with Coll. This will be the subject of a later post.

I now reproduce the full letter from the Ombudsman without further comment. I have changed the real names of the two investigators involved with their pseudonyms. They are entitled to their privacy as were the four civilian witnesses.

(By way of explanation in my original submission to OPONI I had mistakenly referred to Mr Meehan as Mr Meekin. Sorry.)

 

 

The apology was welcomed and several corrupted documents were withdrawn, which meant that the PSNI and others could not use them to support their own false Reports. However all it meant was that, as far as OPONI was involved, my complaint against the Police was not going to be re-investigated and no new OPONI Report would be produced. It was as if all that was done was that OPONI’s errors were corrected but nothing was put in their place. I was in the same position as I was the day I first wrote to OPONI with my concerns. The correction of the errors and falsehoods by the Police was left in the hands of the Police who created them in the first place.

  

The next post will list the other findings of Mr Kennedy who was the Police Investigator of my complaint.

.

 

 

 

 

Police Ombudsman’s Loss of Direction and Subsequent Recovery

I had been dealing with OPONI for some six or seven years and was getting nowhere. Worse, I had come to the conclusion that they were just another element of the Justice System set up to protect the Police. No other conclusion could explain the letter to the Coroner and the silencing of  Police Officer Kane who was sidelined when he came to a different conclusion to Meehan. Other threads of the story, including the improper handling of the case at the Coroner’s Court (to be dealt with later), the fairy tale of the change of the timing of the crash, Carson’s phone call to his wife, and the abandonment of the Civil case against Carson (later), all suggested some dark conspiracy to obstruct Justice. It made me all the more determined to find out how deep the malignancy ran and expose the whole rotten system wherever I found it.

I wrote a book titled “Junk Justice” detailing my experiences so far with the Justice System and up to the adjournment, and subsequent premature closure, of the case at the Coroner’s court. I used  pseudonyms throughout in the hope that the various agencies might be prompted to correct their well founded errors without too much collateral damage to the system overall. Sadly, with the exception of the Police Ombudsman, they didn’t take the opportunity which I thought I had afforded them and, almost to a man, decided to dig an even deeper hole for themselves. The book was widely distributed to various politicians, newspapers, Policing Board, the Committee for Justice of the Northern Ireland Assembly (a joke job for the boys)  and the Minister of Justice David Ford MLA .  He redirected me back to the Police Ombudsman for my complaint against the PSNI.   He said  “Unfortunately until the formal complaints procedure for both Forensic Science and OPONI have been expended there is no role for me as Minister of Justice to become involved.”

I will deal with it later, but the Lord Chief Justice, on reading the book and the chapter on Coroner Leckey did not believe that I was making a complaint about him in the book and so took no further action.

I was in two minds about it but I decided to follow the instructions of the  Justice Minister and on 27th April 2011 and so I submitted another formal complaint to OPONI. 

My submission included Meehan’s ready acceptance of the false Police Report, the sidestepping of the expert Police investigator Mr Kane, Meehan’s  findings in his letter to the Coroner, and his failure to properly investigate the change in the telephone call. I also complained about the totally misleading and ill-informed letter distributed by Mr Clerkin.  I received a speedy reply and it was decided that, since I was about to go on an extended tour of Australia and New Zealand, nothing much could happen until my return in early October.

A week after my return, I met with Mr Beacon who was acting Director of Investigations with OPONI together with assistant “Alison”. He explained that he had been a member of the RUC for many years, and he was a Senior Accident Investigator and was a member of the Investigators Institute. He explained any connections he had with any of the people in the book which he had read and found “most interesting” and asked me to expand on some of the conclusions and assertions I has made in it.  To my delight he had also spoken with Mr Kane who was still seconded to OPONI.

I was left with the distinct impression that he was both honest and forthright and I would cooperate with him in any way I could. He had already initiated an investigation into the case with Superintendent Muir Clarke and asked me to send him a copy of the book to help him with enquiries. As well as my list of complaints in my letter he would seek from Legal Services the explanation of Section 63 and review what Sgt McBride said in his interview. He had already visited the site of the crash.

On 20th December 2011  I met with Mr Beacon and Mr Kane who had been involved in the review of the case and they told me that they had completed the work and a Report of their work had been passed upstairs for consideration. Mr Beacon said that amongst other discoveries they had found a note written by the pathologist on the night of the crash when the Police had phoned to report the death. The note read “Heart Attack ??” The pathologist agreed to retain the note until further notice.

By 8th May 2012 I was told the Police had still not completed their investigations, and that the PONI’s Report  which was now complete could not be released until the Police Report was ready. I was told the Coroner was also waiting to see the result of both.

From a purist’s point of view, I would have hoped that both Reports were kept from one another, but I was beginning to recover some of my faith in the Justice Syatem so I let it lie.

On 7th June I was briefed by Mr Kennedy on the contents of his completed Report on behalf of the PSNI.

On 8th June Mr Beacon asked me for my response to the PSNI Report. I told him it was mixed but would wait for the written Police Report.

On 14th June I was informed by Mr Beacon that the management of OPONI had agreed that I would receive a letter of apology from OPONI and he would personally deliver it. The contents of the letter would have to be approved by both Management and Legal Branch and would probably take about six weeks. Clearly a spade wouldn’t be referred to as a spade.

The new Ombudsman arrived in Post in July 2012 and i received the apology on 24th September 2012.

The next post will be a copy of that letter of apology from OPONI.

All of this could have been avoided from the beginning if the Police and the Ombudsman had been of the calibre and integrity of men like Police Officer Kane or Mr Beacon.

As will be published in later posts, too many members of the various Justice Agencies continue to practice their dark arts to the detriment of the general public they have sworn to serve.

The next post will see an end to my dealings with the Police Ombudsman and my tale of the good parts of the curate’s egg. In spite of the good work these two employees did to expose the truth, it was ineffective in correcting Police corruption and was used simply as a useful tool to use by the Police to delay and cover up their unjust practices.

In the end I decided that the Ombudsman was a toothless tiger devised to give the appearance of a check on injustice but with no power to ensure that the truth is acted upon and the perpetrators of the injustice dealt with.

The Minister of Justice has no responsibility for injustice and its responsibility for policing as detailed in its list of Responsibilities is another red herring even though it is meant to reflect the work of the Home Office in the rest of the UK.

Before I close this post You may like to know something about the back story to my dealings with the Police Ombudsman. When the investigation was fully under way by Mr Meehan, OPONI was led by the newly appointed Al Hutchinson, an ex Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer who came to the job in June 2006. He had previously been recruited by Chris Patton to help him break up the Royal Ulster Constabulary and replace it with the new politically Police Service of Northern Ireland.

I suspect that it was probably the case that he saw himself as part creator of the new PSNI and he had an inclination to protect it at all costs. He clearly carried this view into his new post and thought his primary task was to protect the PSNI from outside criticism or complaint. It is easy to imagine that my complaint was one of many he tried to ameliorate to both protect the Police Officers involved  and the PSNI as a whole.

It is also easy to imagine that he pressured an inexperienced investigator like Mr Meehan into moderating or changing his findings to remove criticism from the PSNI. My considered assessment of Mr Meehan was that he was not capable of changing his own findings without the persuasion of someone senior to him.

It is also easy to imagine that he blocked Mr Kane’s findings from publication and even had a hand in Mr Clerkin’s dodgy letter.

 Clearly I was not the only possible victim of his personal interference into investigations. It was clear that this was the cause, or some version of it, that eventually led to the resignation of several of his senior staff, apparently because of a series of altered Reports initiated by him.

In September 2011 the Criminal Justice Inspectorate, who also refused to call a spade a spade , found in him a “lowering of independence”. A translation might be that he modified Investigators’ Reports to favour the Police version. He was just another well paid member of the justice System who feels he can write his own rules with impunity and know and expect that it will be covered up if he is caught doing it. 

AS a result of the increasing criticism leveled against him he resigned in January 2012 with another year of his contract to run. I wonder how much he was paid to resign before his contract was up.

A new Ombudsman, Doctor Michael Maguire, took over the post in July 2012

One of his first jobs was to approve the written apology to me. I think it was the first such apology ever written by OPONI

 

 

The Police Ombudsman’s Brick Wall

As you may have discerned from my previous post any hopes that I might have held for a favourable response from the Police Ombudsman’s Reports on the case were grossly misplaced. Whether the fault lay with the inexperience of Mr Meehan or the ethos of the Office was immaterial. I had lost all faith in both its independence and expertise. The only ray of hope lay with the introduction of the seconded Mr Kane from West Midlands Police and his review of my case and his response to the evidence I presented to him. His views in response are listed in my previous post. It seemed that Mr Meehan didn’t want him to express any views which conflicted with his own but I needed to hear it.  Firstly, I was beginning to suspect my solicitor was losing confidence in my alternative view of the causes of the crash and my own family had to be given hope that the brick wall I was continually running into had now a small weak point.

It took three years and a lot of lobbying by me to have the letter released and only then after I had requested it under the Freedom of Information Act. You might wonder who else was entitled to read it or know of its contents but were prevented from access.

 

 

 

 

 

On 30th October 2007, at the request of my solicitor, I wrote to Mr Meehan and asked him to provide me with details of the responses made by Sgt McBride when he was interviewed about the allegations in my Complaint.  I needed the exact reply given to each question during his interview. I knew that there must have been a detailed record of every question and every answer given. I again requested the information under the Freedom of information Act.

I received a reply just 3 days later saying that Section 63 of the 1998 Police Act prevented him from releasing the requested information to me.

The following day I wrote back to tell him that Section 63 (d) clearly stated that ” No information received by an officer of the Ombudsman shall be disclosed except for the purpose of any criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings.”

He knew full well that we had a Coroners Court hearing pending, and a civil case against Carson in the High Court scheduled for 16th November just some two weeks ahead. It was my firm conclusion that he or the Senior Investigating Officer whose advise he sought was being deliberately obstructive.

I wrote back to him On 13th February with a list of 29 questions to which I required answers. We needed details of McBride’s interview by the Ombudsman. It was sent by my solicitor on my behalf.

He replied:

“I met with our Senior Legal Advisor, Mr Jim Kitson on Thursday 31 January 2008 to discuss the matter.

In view of the fact that the unfortunate circumstances of the death of Mr Lynn are subject to Coroner’s Court proceedings, I feel it would be more appropriate that the Coroner’s Court be the venue for your client’s detailed questions regarding the action of Police in this investigation.”

This confirmed my belief that the Ombudsman was being deliberately obstructive or attempting to hide the truth which in turn would help protect the Police and/or Carson from censure of any kind.

Of course it could be that they simply didn’t understand the Act of Parliament which laid down the rules under which they were governed. 

Is there any significance that the somewhat notorious Al Hutchinson had taken over as the new Ombudsman on 6th November 2007 ?

On 18th February 2008 Meehan sent his ill-judged letter to the Coroner together with evidence I had given him in my initial complaint. Why could the Coroner ask for details which were hidden from my legal team and me ?

Later on Meehan agreed that, if asked, he could give evidence in person to any Court including the Coroner. When the case was eventually heard I wonder why the Coroner refused to call him when asked to do so by me. That will be explored much later.

I copy it here once again for ease of reading.

There are things that are notable about this letter to the Coroner.

Its content whitewashed over Sgt McBride’s corruption in his Collision Report to an even greater extent than Meehan’s First Report in August 2015 ( See Post dated 25/06/ 2018.)

Clearly the Coroner’s Office and most probably the Chief Coroner John Leckey requested the letter. As will be detailed much later I will explain how he tried to change the statements of several of the other vital witnesses. I am firmly of the view that his purpose could only have been to have them agree with his pre-determined causes of the crash.  Those witnesses which he could not influence or in some cases protect from committing perjury he simply refused to call them to give evidence. This aspect of the case will be dealt with in much more detail in a series of later posts.

 

 

Finally, I will deal briefly with a letter written by Mr John Clerkin, a Deputy Senior Investigating Officer with the Police Ombudsman’s Office.

I  despaired of achieving anything positive arising from my complaint to the Police Ombudsman so decided that I would take my complaint directly to Chief Constable Hugh Orde who had stated that under the new Police Act he was personally responsible for the actions of each of his officers. I wrote to him  at the end of June 2006.

I will be dealing with this in detail in a later post but my 7 page submission to him included all my findings up to that date.

As this was a formal complaint against Police it was also re-directed to the Ombudsman. It would have been dealt with by Mr Meehan who was my case officer but fate intervened when he fell ill and was not available for a considerable period of time.  The Ombudsman’s response was slow, or more accurately, had ground to a halt, and of course the Police had left it all in their hands.

Meehan’s cases were handed over to Mr Clerkin who was probably already under some  pressure with his own workload. It was almost a year before I got a result.

The response consisted of four pages of total tripe which bore little reference to my complaint, did not even bear any resemblance to the current state of the investigation by Mr Meehan and in my view was a dangerous document because its content would be used by the Police to close the case down. He had never been properly briefed about the case if at all but, under pressure, wrote a document based on scant knowledge.

There was a strange twist to this matter. Clerkin’s letter was dated 13 March 2007 but I didn’t receive it until  29th May 2007. It was sent to me by Mr Meehan who had now returned to work and after I had asked for a progress update.

 Meehan indicated that the letter had been sent to me previously but must have been lost in the post. Why did he not comment on its content and the nonsense he knew  it contained? Was it in fact Meehin who briefed Clerkin on what to write ?

This was just one of several letters and documents which were supposed to have been sent to me by various Agencies and got lost in transit. Seemingly we are cursed with one of the most unreliable Postal Systems in the world. It worked the other way when letters I sent to the same Agency would disappear into the ether and I hadn’t received acknowledgement of receipt. Royal Mail had started to fail just after I started this case.  Previously the only problem I had with the Post was, curiously, all bills would arrive with me on time and only cheques for me got lost !

The fate of Clerkin’s letter will feature soon  in another post about the Police Ombudsman.

The next series of posts will concentrate on the good parts of the curate’s egg of the Police Ombudsman’s Office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Police Ombudsman’s Second Attempt

The last post published on 9th July 2018 showed that the Police, after some ten years, agreed that Carson in “all probability” was speaking to his wife on his mobile when he crashed into and killed my brother. You might wonder what conclusions they came to regarding my allegation that the original Police Collision Report was false and that  it contained at least 15 critical and fundamental errors( The False Police Report posted on 2 April 2018).  I will not return to Kennedy’s findings until some time later, but since I don’t think that you should be subject to prolonged cliff hangers, I can tell you that Kennedy also accepted that my findings were correct and the original Collision Report was wrong in those areas highlighted by me.

You may begin to wonder why  Kennedy was not asked to locate and interview the witness who heard the phone exchange between Carson and his wife. and why he did did not interview Carson’s wife on the subject of the disputed phone call. He did not try to establish  scientifically the speed of each vehicle given the mass of data. You might also wonder why Carson was never prosecuted for crimes not time limited.  You will have your own views, especially the response of the Chief Constable who didn’t pursue the case to its logical conclusion or consider the behaviour of McBride or White who cooked up the false Report in the first place.

I will give you my views  after I have dealt with Kennedy’s findings.

 

About two years later, in  July 2007, Mr Meehan called me and explained that the Police Ombudsman was reviewing some past cases and asked me if I would be prepared to take part. Given that Ms Nuala O’Loan was giving up the post of Police Ombudsman and was probably wishing to tidy up loose ends for the new incumbant Al Hutchinson, I immediately agreed and on the 25th July 2007, he called at my home in the company of Mr Kane. He was a Police officer recently seconded from the West Midlands Police to PONI for 2 years to assist them with their investigations into complaints involving collisions. He had over 20 years experience as a fully qualified Senior Collision Investigator.   I assumed that he had been brought in to raise the level of expertise in the organization.

We sat around the dinner table where I had arranged the large-scale map of the scene, which I had made by a professional plan drawer together with the help of a couple of  three dimensional scale models of the two cars, I went through all of the evidence I had obtained and showed  where it differed from the Forensic Report and the Police Report. The presentation took almost an hour and during that time, neither of my guests said anything.  At the end, I explained how the accident happened according to the evidence I had and my reasons for coming to my conclusions .

At the end, Mr Kane was the first to speak. He said that there was only one thing he found difficult to understand. If Carson was speeding and drifting the car along the road, why would he try to use his mobile phone. I couldn’t think of a detailed answer because I didn’t know so I said “sheer arrogance.” I don’t know if it satisfied him as an answer but he left it at that. (As it later turned out, my Drifting expert concluded that although the car was rigged for drifting, the corner was not sufficient to induce a drift and it was more likely that he simply lost control)

He said that he had read all the Reports in the case but he hadn’t visited the scene. He asked me why I thought that the Police Report had so many faults in it. I told him that it wasn’t my job to decide on why that was and that I had hoped the Ombudsman would have had a view, but I could give him a few possible reasons.

I said that I had heard that there was a canteen culture that it was easier to blame the dead driver in such collisions.

 I told him that Carson had many friends in the Police through his work and they may have been protecting him.

I explained that it might be a case of confirmation bias and gave some explanation of what that meant.

Finally I suggested that the Investigating Officer had come to a conclusion on the first night of the accident and simply wrote the evidence to fit.

He stated that it was unlikely that such a canteen culture existed. He said that he could not comment on the accuracy of the evidence that I presented but he thought that my investigation had been carried out to a professional standard and he would have been happy to give his name to such an investigation. He found the evidence convincing and could not find fault with it.

He said that so far he had investigated four or five similar complaints in my Police area and, with one exception, he had found the same pattern. In each case the Investigator had jumped to a conclusion and proceeded to write up the Report to match. He had little doubt that this was the cause in this case.

At this point Mr Meehan, who had been silent up till then, broke into the conversation and said that the meeting would have to be wrapped up as they would be late for another appointment. Mr Kane seemed a little baffled by this interjection, but continued with his review.

He said that he was shocked by the lack of experience and expertise of the officers tasked with the investigations, and that an MLA whom he named was about to present such a case to the Police Board in the next couple of weeks. He said that had he been the appointed Investigating Officer he would first have charged Carson with having an unsafe car on the road because the tyres had been reversed. After that, other charges could have followed.

Mr Meehan tried again to wrap up the meeting saying that we had run out of time.

Mr Kane speeded up saying that he could not believe that Forensics were not obliged to attend all fatal and serious accidents as is the case in England.

Out of the blue, he asked me if an Inspector White was involved in any way in the case. I told him that he was indeed involved and that he was Sergeant McBride’s supervising officer. I asked him why he should mention that name but he didn’t reply.

He said that he was shocked that only six police photographs were taken when he would have expected closer to sixty-six. (I had miscounted the seven photos given to me).  Mr Meehan was keen to get away to his next meeting but I persuaded him to let me show Mr Kane the Police video as I wanted his views on it. We sat down and watched the video. At the end of the showing, Mr Kane did not say anything but I got the impression that he was not much impressed.

Before they left Mr Kane explained that he was tasked initially to review existing cases and that his findings would not be used to add to the Ombudsman’s Report.

 I said to Mr Meehan that I thought that there was a lack of any sort of censorship of the police in his final Ombudsman’s Report and there was evidence that the police were already hiding behind it. He explained that he didn’t have any experience of collision investigation and did not have access to an expert until now. He said that he had a limited remit of dealing with disciplinary matters only.

As long last, I felt that someone in the Justice system had come to the same conclusion as me about the circumstances surrounding the collision and that now I wasn’t beating my head against an unbreachable brick wall. It was better than that. I had an expert from within the system who clearly had been recruited for his expertise and years of experience and whose opinion would be heeded.

 

It occurred to me that perhaps Mr Kane had expressed his views more forthrightly than Mr Meehan would have wished and I thought that perhaps that was the reason why he suddenly remembered the other meeting. It didn’t matter to me that Mr Kane probably hadn’t yet been on the Course dealing with the Techniques of Discreet Diplomacy required by any employee of an organization such as PONI. He expressed his views openly and I was grateful for that. I was sure that the PONI Report would be eventually amended or at least the case reviewed in light of the findings of their new expert. I was also sure that the police would have to look at the whole thing again.

The following day I phoned Mr Meehan and asked him if he or Mr Kane would consider writing a letter to me or to my solicitor expressing the flavour of the discussions and the findings of the review expressed at our meeting. I said that this would be a positive act to counter the PONI Report and findings. He said that he would put it to Mr Kane.

I spoke to Mr Kane that evening and he said that he would see what he could do but that any such letter would have to be first approved by management. He said that he had discussed the meeting with Mr Meehan afterwards and they had decided to consider approaching senior management to ask the Ombudsman to review the case.

About two weeks later, Mr Meehan phoned me to say that I would get a letter in a couple of weeks after it was approved by management. 

It was on the last day of August when Mr Kane phoned me. He had been on leave which accounted for the delay. He said that he had now written the letter and submitted it to his senior management for approval. He said that the letter included his approval of my investigation of the case and that he had found that it “held water.” He said that it contained criticism of the Police handling of the case, but management had already told him that it was not the Ombudsman’s job to criticise the Police. I began to believe that the letter would never see the light of day, at least not in any useful form.

Two weeks later, I was called to a meeting at the Ombudsman’s Office. Mr Meehan and Mr Kane were there together with a member of their Legal branch. It lasted about an hour which was the time it took them to tell me that it was no part of the Ombudsman’s writ to comment on the merit of evidence.  In short, Mr Kane may have been recruited to bring a level of expertise into the organisation, but his findings did not count for anything especially if they disagreed with the conclusions of the inexperienced Mr Meehan.

The original Ombudsman’s Report was never amended to reflect the input of Mr Kane.  In truth, that is not quite right. It was worse than that. It was later to transpire that the worst criticism of the Police was ameliorated and their actions were washed even whiter.

In February 2008 ( when the new Ombudsman Al Hutchinson had been appointed) Mr Meehan wrote to the Coroner:

“The Investigating officer, Sgt McBride stated that the evidence at the scene indicated that the car driven by Mr Lynn’s brother had crossed onto the wrong side of the road. There was no evidence at the time that Mr Carson caused Mr Lynn’s death by either careless or dangerous driving. The Police Ombudsman’s investigation concluded that Sgt McBride fully investigated all lines of enquiry, such as allegations that Mr Carson had been speeding or using his mobile telephone prior to the accident.

The vehicles were properly examined and the accident report compiled by Sgt McBride was factually based. The scene was photographed, mapped and video recorded and investigated in accordance with the force policy of the PSNI. The errors within the collision report were deemed to be administrative and the sergeant accepted full responsibility for them. This did not impact upon the collision investigation or the officer’s conclusions and there is insufficient evidence to prove any misconduct on the part of police regarding Mr Lynn’s allegations.”

He simply chose to ignore everything that Mr Kane found. He even ignored irrefutable evidence later presented to him – the statement by Carson that he had made a call at 1448 and that the Investigating Officer McBride (and White) knew about it.

Clearly Mr Meehan and more particularly the senior puppeteer who was pulling his strings had not allowed for someone like Mr Kane to tell the truth as he found it. They forgot that he was an honest Police Officer who had taken a solemn oath to tell the truth as he found it and without influence from anyone regardless of their rank. Maybe they had spent too much time interviewing members of the PSNI and picked up their bad habits.

It took another five years and a change of Police Ombudsman before this distortion of his findings to the Coroner was withdrawn. By then the damage was already done.

Falsified Timings-The Final Outcome

The post last week concentrated on the false timing of the crash created by the Police in order to agree with Carson’s phone log showing 1448 and his assertion that the call was made after the crash which he insisted had happened at 1444. I had asked the Police Ombudsman to investigate the Police call equipment for I could not accept the new recorded time of 1443 but they failed both through lack of ability, knowledge and funds to make any inroads to my allegation of corrupt practices.

I wrote to the Chief Constable (Hugh Orde) on 5th April 2007 and asked him to investigate my allegation of fraudulent time change at Police Control as PONI could or would not.  A month later, the Police replied that my case against them with PONI was closed as “not substantiated” and that I should lodge a new complaint 

I had lost all faith in the Ombudsman and Mr Meehan in particular so there was no chance of me submitting a new case. Much later it transpired that the Chief Constable had been advised by Mr Clerkin of PONI who in turn had been badly briefed by someone else when he had stood in for Mr Meehan. The case was not closed.

I decided on a different approach.

 I was convinced that the new time of 1443 was a fraudulent change and the real crash time was 1449 or 1450. The Police did not agree in spite of all the evidence.  Neither the Police or the Ombudsman would investigate who was right. 

The case with the Ombudsman was still open in spite of my reservations and, as the years rolled on, their select team of investigators which included Constable Kane from the West Midlands Police took an increasing interest in the case . This gap in my narrative will be filled when I finish this post and return to the later activities of the Police Ombudsman.

It occurred to me that if it was the case that we were both right then the Police computer must have been running some 6 or 7 minutes slow since its installation some years ago.

A central plank of any criminal investigation is to establish an accurate time line. This is vital especially with the growth of mobile phones, Cttv cameras etc. The innocence or guilt of a person can depend on an accurate time being recorded. If it was established that the Police computer was running 6 minutes slow since its installation then all cases that were time sensitive would have to be re-investigated  to set aside any miscarriages of justice. Later, my thoughts on this were conveyed to anyone who would listen including the Police,the PONI, and the Press but all without response.  I was surprised that I got no response from the Press. When I asked why, I was told that, on enquiry from the local police or the Press Office, the Police had assured them that there was absolutely no merit in my statement.

In October 2011 I met the second member of the new Police Ombudsman team Mr Beacon (pseudonym) who was a senior accident investigator by qualification and was currently Assistant Director of Investigations with PONI. Things were beginning to look up. Superintendent Muir Clarke, Head of Roads Policing, had agreed to undertake a review of the Police investigation of the crash. By February he had appointed Mr Ian Kennedy, a retired ex RUC Inspector whom he highly recommended for the task. It should take about 8 weeks and he would give him 40 questions to find answers to.

On 7th June 2012, I was given a verbal briefing of his Report in the presence of Superintendent Clarke. I was not to receive a written copy but Kennedy read the Report to me. It covered many subjects and will be detailed in a later post, but on the subject of the timing of the crash. I wrote down what he said in note form as best I could.  On the subject of the timing of the crash this is what the Report said.

He interviewed witness two and established that she made a call to the Ambulance Service at 1449. He could not get hold of witness 1. Witness 4 made a call to the Police according to his record. However this was received, according to the record to have been received at 1451 and 51 seconds. It would appear that witness 4’s record was out by 2 minutes and 51 seconds. The time of 1443 had been taken from the recording device. He investigated this and discovered that for at least 2 days prior and 2 days ahead, the times on this equipment was in error by some 7-9 minutes. This is where the error arose. The accident most probably happened at 1448 and Carson was likely to have been on his phone up to the point of collision. This is a time limited offence and no action can be taken. 

I never received a copy of the Report and I can’t stand by its contents.  If anyone is doubtful about what I was told at that meeting then they can refer to the secret and improper recording that Kennedy made whilst  presenting his Report to me.

His finding is that the time error in the police equipment existed only around the day of the accident and that it must have then self corrected !

His decision on the timings appeared to suit everyone. Carson was using his phone to call his wife, the Control Centre staff were not lying and there was no need to check time sensitive cases going back 10 years or whenever.

He never considered why Inspector White and Sgt McBride might have lied to the my Legal team, to me and to the Police Ombudsman about the contents of Carson’s second statement or why, miraculously, an error in the recording system was found which exactly matched the lies they told  in order to give cover to Carson.

I couldn’t bring myself to believe a word of it even if the conclusion might suit me.

Driving a car at high speed with faulty tyres whilst using a mobile phone and causing death by dangerous driving or manslaughter or murder and is not a time limited offence.

I contacted a very senior IT consultant about the newly found error in the timing of the Police computer and was assured that such an error would not be possible given the quadruple failsafe system in place within the system and that the implications of any such error would have serious consequences beyond the PSNI. I do not have the means or knowledge to do so but you may wish to contact BT managed Services to test the veracity of the PSNI belated assertion that the timing of their Central computer was at fault.

On 15th March 2013, I wrote to ACC George Hamilton asking for a written copy of the Report by Kennedy and he replied on 7th June 2013 that “the report has concluded that on, on the balance of probabilities, the time of the voice recorder was wrong and the initial emergency call was not reported to police at 1443 as indicated by this equipment. It would appear, on the basis of other time sources that the time of the collision was in or around 14.49 hours.

This was written before he became Chief Constable and he couldn’t have been more mealy-mouthed. He describes the conclusion of Kennedy’s Report in civil case terms using the expression “balance of probabilities” which is not sufficient evidence in criminal cases. The Public Prosecution Service, on the strength of this, decided not to prosecute.

The future Chief Constable should have insisted on carrying out a proper investigation to find out if the “error” ever existed in the first place. He would not even consider disciplinary action against McBride or White and certainly not Carson.

My opinion of the PSNI and its advancement of Justice above all else had slipped them down several more feet into the mire. I think that too many of them have been wading around in it for so long that they are totally immune to the stench.

Only children are expected to believe in fairy tales.

In the next post I will return to the Police Ombudsman. It will be posted on 23rd July after the July break.

 

 

 

 

The Police Ombudsman and the Falsified Police Timings

 

 

The police had recorded in their Report that the collision had occurred at 1450, and that they had been informed at Antrim Police Station at 1453, after admitting to the Ombudsman that the initial entry of 1543 was a typing error.

 At the very start of my investigation I was told that Carson was speaking to his wife on his mobile when the crash occurred and that she had heard it happening, It was also confirmed to me by an additional impeccable source.

I asked the police to investigate the allegation. They had reported back to me that they had indeed checked Carson’s call record and had found no evidence that Carson had been using his mobile at or around the time of the collision.  But when they made that statement, they were lying. They had in their possession a written statement from Carson stating that his records showed that he had made a call at 1448 just two minutes before the reported time of the collision  of 1450. As argued in the previous chapter the collision was probably within 30 seconds either side of 1449. Sgt McBride had interviewed Carson about this, had checked his phone, and accepted Carson’s second written statement some 6 weeks after the crash in which he accepts that he phoned his wife  then but it was well before the crash, and he argued that the recorded crash time of 1450 was wrong. This second statement was withheld from both me and the Police Ombudsman until  5th November 2005 and well after Mr Meehan of PONI had written his Report dated July 2005. Clearly Mr Meehan was lied to by Sgt McBride  and Inspector White when asked about this and Carson’s second statement was buried. Subsequently, other Police were roped in to spin a fantastic web of falsehoods in order to support their colleagues’ initial falsehoods.

It seemed to me that the current Chief Constable was happy to go along with the fairytale. I found his attitude strange because it was the same Chief Constable who invited everyone in his Force who weren’t able to properly fulfil their obligations as Police officers to consider resigning.  In my various submissions to the PSNI I gave him a list  of officers who could and should be removed unilaterally by him. As it has turned out he chose to keep them in place and instead use his Legal Branch to warn me off should I chose to take the matter to Court. Much of that will be dealt with in a later post.

The holder of the office for the first six years of this case was Sir Hugh Orde. I will be seperately detailing his response and  level of involvement in a later post.

 My solicitor wrote to the PSNI asking for the time when the police were first told of the accident. In December we received a reply from the Station Sergeant Gavin Jones in Belfast Regional Control, the Emergency Call Centre in Castlereagh , which said:

“I am the custodian for all recording equipment installed at Belfast Regional Control, the main police control room for the Urban region. I have checked the said equipment and can confirm that the initial 999 call in relation to the unfortunate road traffic Collision referred to was received on 11th November 2003 at 1443 hrs.”

This meant that the crash had been reported 7 minutes before the crash occurred at 1450, which was clearly nonsense. All of the independent witnesses, the Fire Brigade, the Ambulance and the many Police officers had claimed that the accident had occurred about 1450 in their written statements. Sgt McBride had told the Ombudsman that the time of the first report to Antrim Police station was 1453 even though he had recorded it as 1543. The new time of 1443 conflicted with the evidence of all of them. The only person who could agree with the new time of the crash was Carson as it fitted in with his assertion in his second statement.

 Frankly I was dumbfounded. Up to this point, I could have convinced myself that the problems with the police investigation could be explained away by incompetence or inexperience. Now it was clear to me that matters had just taken a sinister turn to something much more serious and more Officers were being dragged into making false evidence.

I immediately contacted the Police Ombudsman and asked him to investigate this. I included all the evidence about the mobile call and explained my concerns about the change of time to 1443.

I heard back from Mr Meehan of PONI on 19th January that he had received an Audio copy of the 999 call from Regional Control. He confirmed that the first call was made at 1443.  He also said that he was not aware of Carson’s second statement until I had told him.

I asked PONI to recheck the tape as I couldn’t accept that they had received a call at 1443 when there was overwhelming evidence that the call was at 1449. He phoned me back at the end of March to say that he had rechecked the tape and agreed that the tape had not indicated the time of the call, and that he had in fact got that information from a statement he had taken from the Station Sergeant of the Control Centre. He went on to say that the call was a male but he wasn’t allowed to give me his name. Curiously, he asked me to discuss this matter with the Coroner and if there was still any doubt about the veracity of what the Station Sergeant had told him, he would have further discussions with his manager with a view to physically checking the records at the Regional Control office.

 

If Carson was using his mobile phone at the time of the crash, that alone, without any other offences such as speeding or ill fitted tyres, would be sufficient to charge him with causing death by dangerous driving.

 

This is what I knew at the time of challenging the Police and the Ombudsman :

  • The first police car was close to the scene when they were tasked to attend according to Witness 4’s  statement. The driver states that he arrived at the scene at 1459 when he received the call to attend at 1455.
  • Witness 1 was the first civilian to arrive at the scene and from the Antrim side. He immediately called the Ambulance before getting out of his car and that call was received in their Emergency Control Centre at 1449. Their emergency calls are automatically timed and recorded using the National (Atomic) Clock. The equipment is checked weekly and any time variation would be “limited to seconds.” The first call to the ambulance centre was not made by the Police, so it can be deduced that the police controller waited at least 6 minutes before calling the ambulance if he had received a call at 1443. I am told it is standard operating practice for the Police Controller to first inform the Ambulance Service on receipt of a call about a serious road accident.
  • Witness 4 was the first male driver at the scene from the Kells. He called Police emergency on his mobile. His phone records showed that he made the call at 1449. His call lasted one minute and 6 seconds.
  • Witness 2 was in the process of making her call to the police at the Emergency Control Centre but her call was after witness 4’s call.

 I found a casualness in the way the police recorded the time of events with much use of the words “about” and “approximately” even though they are trained in the important evidential requirements of accurate times. However, even allowing for that, the initial set of Police, and Ambulance recorded times matched with a true initial report time of 1449.  To accept the new time of 1443, one would have to accept that the emergency operator took 7 minutes to call the ambulance and 12 minutes to inform the first police car or 10 minutes to make the call if Sgt McBride’s Report was to be believed. This would be totally unacceptable if it were true and would demand an investigation in its own right.  Such a delay would also have implications for the survival of my brother at the scene.

I came to the firm conclusion that the time of the first emergency call to the Police had been changed  deliberately from 1449 to 1443 and that Sergeant Jones was most likely the prime suspect in corrupting the truth. Only he or the instigator would be able to state who originated the false statement.

 In May 2006, I wrote to PONI and asked them to inspect the records at the Control Centre personally and not to rely on the Station Sergeant’s uncorroborated word.

Mr Meehan wrote back about two weeks later to say that he had visited the Control Centre and the Station Sergeant had shown him the 999 Emergency log.  He confirmed that the call had been made at 1443 hrs and 49 secs. He said the data was saved on a hard drive and couldn’t be tampered with.

 

As it turned out later, I recovered the mobile bill from O2 for witness 4 who was the first male driver from the Kells end of the crash site and who phoned the Police. He was in fact the “secret” caller who couldn’t be disclosed to me by the Ombudsman. His phone bill shows that he made a call to 44112 at 1449 and the call lasted 1minute and 6 seconds.  It would be easy for the Ombudsman to check if the recording given to him lasted 1 minute and 06 seconds. That would conclusively prove beyond reasonable doubt that the call was made at 1449 and that the Police had interfered with the computer. Isn’t it strange that the number 49 appears in both numbers ? ODD ! !

 

I didn’t know of what the log consisted. It might have been a written list of calls or printout of a file from the computer.

I consulted with a very experienced computer expert and she said that it was a simple matter to change the time of a file and she demonstrated this to me with a few clicks on the mouse, changing the file time with ease. She went on to say that although the file time was changed, the hard drive would register both the original and the change and an expert could recover that change without much difficulty.  As it was, Mr Meehan did not have that expertise and had again accepted an unsubstantiated conclusion.

I wrote to the Ombudsman and sent him a copy of an amended  sample file prepared for me by the IT consultant for demonstration purposes and explained the ease with which it could be done according to her.  I told him that the matter could only be resolved by a careful examination of the hard drive by an expert. He wrote back in October 2006 to say that he was seeking advice from Senior Management as to how best to proceed.

When I had heard nothing more the middle of December 2006, I phoned him and he told me that although it may be the case that the  audio file and the hard drive had been interfered with, there was not sufficient cause for them to use their resources to find out. He also said that in any case the Police may not agree that being on the mobile caused the accident. I told him that the collision had several causes including excess speed and reversed tyres. He went on to say that only one call was forwarded to the Control Centre and it  might well be that witness 2’s was diverted to the local Police Station. I was not sure that was true, but clearly he was not shown Witnesss 2’s call. He phoned me back in the middle of January to say that the Station Sergeant was wrong to say that the hard drive could not be tampered with.  Presumably he had been making some enquiries for himself and found the fatal flaw in his original statement.

Mr Meehan was then away from work on compassionate or sick leave and I didn’t hear from him again until May 2007. 

If the Ombudsman could not inspect the hard drive for unlawful changes the Police would have to do so. I asked him if he had informed the police that his resources were not sufficient to carry out the inspection, but he waffled a bit but didn’t give me an answer. I assumed he hadn’t.

At our meeting at the end of July I met  with Mr Kane (a pseudonym) from the West Midlands Police, I put to him the apparent delay of up to 7 minutes and 12 minutes of the emergency controller calling the ambulance and the police if the time was 1443. He did not think that would be possible. As will be shown in a later post, Mr Kane was found to be an expert crash examiner and a man of integrity who had been seconded to PONI from his own Constabulary in order to bring a higher level of expertise to that organisation. He did his best to find the truth and refused to be browbeaten by either the PSNI or any staff at PONI.

It was December 2007 before I heard from Mr Meehan that he hadn’t  informed the police of his lack of resources to carry out a full investigation of the alleged altered time. He also agreed that he did not inform police that it would have to be done by them.

Clearly the allegation I was making about the Police falsifying evidence was very substantial and I was strongly suggesting that at least two police officers must have conspired to change the time of the first emergency call – the officer who requested it and the officer who carried out the deed.  There could easily have been more involved. If the Ombudsman didn’t have the resources to investigate it, then the police should.

I immediately wrote to the Chief Constable and stated my case.  (As far back as April 2007, I had written and told him that the Ombudsman was unlikely to be able to investigate it.)

I told him that if the time of 1443 was to stand, then arrangements should be made for my legal team to interview the controller involved so that we could establish why there was such a delay between the receipt of the call and tasking the Services, as this delay could have had serious implications for the survivability of my brother and that this would  have to be explored by the Coroner.

On 29th January 2008 I received a reply from Chief Inspector Philip Knox for the Chief Constable. It  said :

“Your letter to the Chief Constable dated 6th December 2006 refers.

I am informed by the Police Ombudsman Investigating Officer that he personally attended Belfast Regional Control to check the Command and Control System. He reviewed the audio and emergency call and confirmed that the emergency call was made at 1443 hrs. The Emergency Recording System is time coded from a satellite source and cannot be amended by Police. It is my understanding that it is the timings on this Emergency Recording System which are the source of contention, i.e. allegedly changed, post incident, from 1449 to 1443. The technical view provided to me is that this is not possible.

I am advised that the PONI Investigator has addressed the issues that you have raised in previous correspondence with you.

I hope this is of assistance to you.”

I did not receive a copy of the letter referred to but if Mr Meehan had said that he had fully addressed the issue, then he was not telling the whole story, because he had agreed with me that the hard drive could be tampered with. He also had made clear that he didn’t have the resources to fully investigate the .allegation. If he did tell the writer the truth, then it must be the writer who is being disingenuous or was reading a different letter provided by Mr Meehan.

As I found out much later the letter referred to was probably one dated13th March 2007 and written by Mr John Clerkin who was a PONI Deputy Senior Investigating Officer standing in for Mr Meekin who was indisposed. It was accepted later by the Ombudsman that he had been inadequately briefed and the letter was withdrawn

I had arrived at a position where the Ombudsman could not investigate my complaint but decided he had to accept the word of the Station Sergeant; the Police would not investigate the complaint but could hide behind the Ombudsman’s non investigation. The system was seriously flawed. It seemed that two non investigations added up to one dismissal of the complaint and this was considered a resolution of the allegation. The problem is if it was shown that I am right, then the police can alter the times of any emergency call any time and for any reason should they choose to do so and there is no redress by a complainant.

I knew it was futile, but I wrote again to the Ombudsman. He had spoken to me in February 08 and suggested that he might still find the resources to properly examine the police computer for changes. I was sure that such resources would not be forthcoming and I was to be proved right. Just a day or so later he wrote, without qualification, to the Coroner that the Police Report was factually based.

Finally, he wrote a letter to my solicitor on 28th May 2008 saying that he had attended the Control Centre and had been assured by the Station Sergeant, by the provision of clear evidence, that the dates and timings of emergency calls couldn’t be altered on the system that was operated. He reinforced this by saying that the Station Sergeant was willing to appear at any potential hearing in this respect. 

He said nothing of his lack of resources to investigate the matter properly, and he didn’t say that his conclusions should be read with that very important caveat. His technique of only telling half the story was similar to his letter to the Coroner dated 18th February 2008.  Just as the first Ombudsman’s Report was used by Police to justify their inaction, I knew that this letter would ensure that no further action would be taken by Police to investigate the change of time.

It seemed to me that unless there were sufficient grounds to justify disciplinary or Court proceedings, the Ombudsman was obliged not to express any merit in the original complaint or to express any reservations or limitations about his findings.  If there were insufficient grounds to justify disciplinary action then the final Report was to be sanitized.

I came to the conclusion that it had been a serious error of judgement to involve the Ombudsman at all because all I had done was to give the Police a perfect reason to ignore their failings in the investigation because they could rely on the Ombudsman’s Reports to say that since no disciplinary action was recommended  they were without fault.

THe Ombudsman’s Office was a waste of time. They didn’t have the resources or will to find out the truth. I submitted several questions to the PSNI under the Freedom of Information Act.

The questions and answers were as follows :

Question 1. In your Emergency Centre in Belfast Regional Control, what is the source of incoming calls?

Answer 1. For the purpose of telephone call logging all timings are referenced to the BT network. This is received by landline at Police headquarters and broadcast to all telephone exchanges on the PSNI Digital Telephone Network. The time reference then forms part of the telephone call record which is passed to our central call logger. For the purpose of telephone voice recording for all ‘999’ calls and Call Management Centres we receive time code via GPS-8 satellite receivers attached to each evidential recorder system.

Question 2. Is the atomic clock involved?

Answer 2. Yes.

Question 3. Are time inputs received by landline to your computer?

Answer 3. See answer 1

Question 4. Are satellites involved in any way and if so, How?

Answer 4. See answer 1

I interpreted this to mean that the emergency calls to Police were timed by the same atomic clock as the Ambulance Service, and it was the same source used by the mobile phone companies.

In my view, the satellite system is a red herring. The reader may interpret it differently because I am no expert in such matters.

The final episode of the story of the timing of the crash will be concluded in the next post. If you enjoy fantasy horror stories then you should try not to miss it.

 

Police Ombudsman Northern Ireland’s (PONI) First Report

.

The Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland(PONI) came into existence under the Police Act of 1998.  It came about because it was felt that the public had lost all faith in allowing the Police to investigate complaints of its own members. The first Ombudsman was Nuala O’Loan who served from 1999 until 2007 so she was in charge of the initial investigation of my complaint submitted on 23rd January 2005 some fourteen months after the crash.I received the completed Report on 9th August 2005.

Perhaps I should record here that Ms O’Loan retired from the post in November 2007 and was replaced by Al Hutchinson who subsequently left the job in January 2011 before completing his contract following a series of critical independent Reports. As someone once remarked to me after he left “We had hoped to have Elliot Ness as a boss but we got an Al Capone” I don’t have any substantial evidence that my case was one of many mishandled whilst he was in charge, only that my dealings with PONI went on for at least 8 years before there was a resolution and I could at least stop banging my head against a solid brick wall. The transition happened when Hutchinson resigned and was replaced by Dr Michael Maguire early in 2012.

“This Office provides an independent impartial system for the handling of complaints about the conduct of Police police officers. We will deal with those complaints in a manner which is free from any Police, Governmental or sectoral community interest and which is of the highest standard.”      Michael Maguire – Police Ombudsman

Sadly my firm conclusion is that in reality the Ombudsman’s office is a paper tiger and the Police pays little or no attention to its findings. It receives some 3000 complaints a year ( how many complaints are not submitted !) but only a few recommended for further action and fewer still are followed up. I suppose that if proper action was taken against officers who failed seriously in their duty as officers were disciplined or dismissed or taken before the courts, we would end up with only a few Police left. The present Police Constable has recently suggested that some of his officers should consider their position in the PSNI for several reasons. It’s a pity that he doesn’t feel the need to be responsive to the many findings of the Police Ombudsman or insist that fulsome cooperation with that Office are given by his officers.

 

Complaints against Police must, in nearly all cases, be submitted to the Ombudsman within one year of the event complained of. I submitted my complaint nearly 14 months after the event. Fortunately, I had phoned PONI asking for advice and suggesting that I may wish to lodge a formal complaint some 9 months after the crash. A record of this call had been logged and so my late submission was accepted.

Mr Frank Meehan was appointed as the Investigating Officer in my case. I knew nothing of his background, experience or qualifications for such a task. It wasn’t until much later that I found out that it was his first case and that explained in part why his investigation and subsequent behavior was so deplorable. It occured to me that he was probably given my complaint to cut his teeth on but told not to create any waves. Perhaps he was simply out of his depth.

I reproduce the Report in full. It was written by Mr Meehan. To help, I have included some comments of my own in italics. My submission included all my concerns detailed in previous posts.

Re: Allegation of Failure of Duty

Complaint:

Part 1-Errors in the Police Report

It is clear that there are a number of minor errors within the collision report, such as ticks being placed in the wrong boxes and the engine capacity of one of the vehicles not being included. These errors are administrative and the Sergeant fully accepts responsibility for them. This did not impact upon the investigation or the officers’ conclusions. Whilst it is not considered that this amounts to misconduct, the officer’s supervisor has been made aware of the errors in order that they can be properly addressed.

Nothing was addressed and nothing was changed in the Police Report

Pages 3, 11 and 12-Description of the Scene

In relation to the queries you raised about the description of the scene and the distances involved on the Crosskeenan Road, we found, as already discussed, that Sergeant McBride attempted to obtain the services of a Forensic Scientist at the scene, but owing to a service level agreement between the PSNI and the FSNI, the scientist would not attend. The Sergeant has complied with the PSNI Force policy in this regard.

The scene was later examined by a Forensic Scientist at the request of the Police. There is no evidence that the description of the scene as provided by Sergeant McBride adversely affected the conclusion of the investigation.

Such nonsense. The scene was improperly described in almost every respect in order to support his false conclusion.

Page13 Paragraph 5.4- Line of Sight

At our request this was queried by your legal representative by means of a letter to the police. The line of sight and cause of the collision are matters for expert opinion. Sgt McBride had a duty to consider this area, and related your concerns to the Forensic Scientist. There is no evidence that the officer failed to properly consider this area.

He created a false map and a false description. He didn’t refer this matter to the Forensic Officer. I did.

Page 13 Paragraph 6.1 Injuries to Mr Carson

Again, this is a matter for expert opinion. Sgt McBride sought the advice of the Forensic Scientist regarding the positions of the vehicles at the point of impact, complying with his requirements.

If he did, then it was only when I made the formal complaint to PONI. The Forensic officer never detailed his investigation of this in his Report.

Part 2 Omissions from the Report.

(Speed)

The allegations made by witnesses regarding the speed of the Subaru prior to the collision, were put to Mr Carson during a Police interview. In the absence of factual evidence proving the speed of the car, the police had no means of proving the speed  before or at the point of impact. The allegation that the car was speeding was non-expert witness opinion rather than evidence.

It is the duty of the investigating officer to seek expert help as to the speed of the two vehicles post crash. This can easily be done given accurate post crash examination measurements and computer reconstructions. My several experts did the calculations and found the Subaru was well over the speed limit. Three reliable witnesses gave a speed estimation of around 80 to 90 miles per hour around the time of the crash. McBride’s only speed calculation was the Forensic Officer’s assertion that “the heavier vechicle is often travelling slower than the lighter vevicle”

(Tyres)

Police sought advice from a Bridgestone representative regarding the effect of incorrectly fitting the rotational tyres. This area is a matter for expert opinion, and is not evidence in itself of police misconduct. The police have pursued this line of enquiry in accordance with their investigative requirements.

No they didn’t. As is made clear in my previous post, they received a very questionable letter from Bridgestone about a tyres which were different to those fitted to the Subaru.

(Telephone Call)

Police checked the mobile phone account of Mr Carson and established that no call was made by him at the relevant time.

The Police had a responsibility to investigate this allegation and pursued it as a line of enquiry. In the absence of factual evidence proving Mr Carson was using his phone unlawfully at the time of the collision,  it is considered that appropriate police action was taken.

During our investigation, you stated that you had obtained further evidence regarding a call between Mr Carson and his wife. As stated during our meeting, this should be referred to the police if you wish it to be further investigated.

The Police lied to Meehan. McBride had a written statement from Carson that his phone record showed that he had phoned his wife at 1448, two minutes before the recorded time in the Collision Report of 1450. The actual crash time was probably closer to 1449 established from evidence from impeccable sources. These source will de detailed in full in  later post together with the Police cover up.

Supplemental

We have confirmed that a breath test was carried out on Mr Carson at Antrim Hospital which proved negative.

The veracity of this assertion will be subject to a post much later.

Having concluded the investigation and reviewed all relevant evidence, I have recommended to the Police Service of Northern Ireland that there is insufficient evidence to warrant disciplinary proceedings.

My recommendation has been based on the following:-

The role of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, which is totally independent of the Police Service, is to consider whether on the balance of probabilities, an officer’s actions fell below the standard set out in the Police Code of Conduct.

  • The Sergeant stated that the evidence at the scene indicated that the car driven by your brother had crossed onto the wrong carriageway. There was no evidence at the time that Mr Carson caused your brother’s death by careless or dangerous driving. It is clear that the Sergeant fully investigated all relevant lines of enquiry, such as allegations of Mr Carson having been speeding or using his mobile telephone prior to the accident. The vehicles were properly examined and the accident report is factually based. The scene was photographed, mapped and video recorded and investigated in accordance with the force policy of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
  • The errors within the collision report are administrative and the sergeant fully accepts responsibility for them. This did not impact upon the collision investigation or the officer’s conclusions.
  • There is insufficient evidence to prove any misconduct regarding the investigation.

Having concluded the investigation and reviewed all relevant evidence, I have recommended to the Police Service of Northern Ireland that there is insufficient evidence to warrant disciplinary proceedings.

This complaint is now considered to be closed although allegations of police misconduct can be further investigated if further evidence comes to light. If this proves to be the case in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Although the outcome of your complaint may not be to your satisfaction, I can assure you that the matter has been looked into and that an objective assessment has been made of the evidence available.

I would like to take this opportunity to bring to your attention that the Police Ombudsman will retain a record of your complaint on file.

Yours sincerely

F Meehan

 

The Ombudsman had made the sergeant’s supervisor aware of the errors “in order to have them addressed.”

They were never changed.

 It seemed to me that the sergeant had relied greatly on the Forensic conclusions which had in turn been based in part on his own faulty Report, but the Ombudsman didn’t find anything wrong with that. Neither did he realize that the Sergeant had completed his Report  long before the Forensic Report was available to him.

The Ombudsman relied heavily on the Police assertion that they had received an authoritative Report from a Bridgestone representative about the irrelevance of the tyres, but he never saw such a report and he never did, even after several subsequent requests to the Police to produce it. I later received and showed and analysed that letter from Bridgestone in my previous post.

This Report and findings by the Ombudsman’s investigator was not as a result of any investigation. There was no investigation. Meehan simply interviewed Sgt McBride, accepted what he said, queried nothing, followed up nothing, and disputed nothing. It was a non investigation but would be used later by the Police and others to vindicate the actions of McBride, support and protect Carson, and continue to corrupt the criminal justice system.

I would not let it happen but, as will be seen, the Police and Ombudsman would continue to dig an even bigger hole for themselves until at last Hutchinson was replaced and Mr Meehan removed from the investigation. 

The Police Ombudsman Northern Ireland (PONI)’s First Response

 

 

I received the Police Report at the end of November 2004 and, a few weeks later, the initial batch of witness statements. At this stage I hadn’t received the few Police photographs taken on the night, Police video, the other statements or the Forensic Report. I was to receive the photographs and video in July 2005 and the Forensic Report less the Forensic photos, two weeks later.

The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI) was established in November 2000 as a public body to provide an independent and impartial Police Complaints Service, to receive complaints and to decide how to deal with them.

I had contacted PONI in September 2004 for some advice when I was beginning to suspect that the Police investigation had not been sufficiently thorough or professional. I phoned them again on 21st January 2005 and said that I wished to make a formal complaint against Police and outlined the reasons. It wasn’t known to me at the time that only complaints made within a year are considered by PONI and I fell outside that time limit.  Given that I didn’t receive the Police Report until the end of November 2004, some weeks outside the one year limit, it occurred to me that the Police might also be aware of the time limit on complaints to PONI and had held it back deliberately.  Thankfully, PONI had a record of my previous call in September 2004 and they agreed to take on the case. I’m still not sure who would investigate a complaint if it not made within the year. Is it the Police or is it simply ignored ?

I wrote a four page submission and listed my concerns. I included as much evidence as I had at the time.  Essentially it listed the errors and omissions of the Report, my concerns about the tyres, the excess speed of the Subaru, and the use of the mobile phone by Carson. My intention was to have the Police Report removed or amended and to have the accident reinvestigated by a properly trained Police Investigator.

By 30th March 2005, the Complaints Officer of PONI had reviewed the complaint and had decided to refer it to her own Investigation Section.

A meeting was set up with the PONI Investigating Officer Mr Meehan. I found Mr Meehan very amenable and sympathetic when we met. I knew nothing of his background or qualifications before his appointment to PONI.

 I also didn’t know until much later that this would be his first accident investigation related case.

After a few weeks I received a letter from Mr Meehan laying down the scope and limits of his investigation. He would not be investigating the causes of the collision, but whether the action of police officers at the scene and afterwards fell below the required standard. The Investigation would cover any errors or omissions in the Police Report, any alleged failure in duty, any failure to record debris, and any failure to comply with PSNI Force Policy regarding Road Traffic investigations.  I was happy with that and most of my concerns had been covered. In truth, all I wanted was for someone in the Police to recognize that their Report was completely unsatisfactory and misleading, and    accept that it should be set aside and the circumstances of the crash  re-examined.  I had one simple aim and I wasn’t in the business of damning the Police outright. Mistakes happen, and provided they are   acknowledged and put right, then the damage could be limited.  Mr Meehan suggested that there were four areas which should be referred back to the Police for reinvestigation.  These were the effect of the hedges on sight lines, the cause of Carson’s head injury, the ill fitted tyres, and the mobile call.

It was now some 18 months since my brother was killed and there was still no resolution. His family was becoming increasingly distressed at the delays and the lack of closure. I resolved that I would not be the cause of any delays and immediately contacted my solicitor to draft a letter to PSNI.

 About the same time, I received a letter from the PSNI to say that I could have photocopies of the seven police photographs for a fee of £140 and a copy of the video at a cost of £75.  I considered this to be an outrageous price but decided that we should have copies of them before sending the letter. We were also trying to obtain a copy of the Forensic Report  which  eventually arrived in the middle of July.

On 7th July Mr Meehan called to see me at home accompanied by a Police Officer on secondment from the Gwent Constabulary. I wasn’t too sure about the reason for the visit, but he told me that they still had some work to do, but so far they had come to the conclusion that the errors in the Report were as a result of inexperience and lack of competence on behalf of the reporting officer and there was no suggestion of a deliberate intention to deceive. They still had to firm up their recommendations which might include that the Police set up a dedicated unit to deal with fatal accident investigations. They agreed to consider my suggestion that they might ask the Police to withdraw the current Report or have it rewritten by an experienced officer, but the final decision would have to left to the Police.  They suggested that I may have to wait until the Coroner’s Inquest before I could challenge it and the Forensic Report. They stressed the limits of their powers in forcing the Police into a course of action.

 They agreed that there were errors in the Report but they didn’t have much power to do anything about it. I would have to wait for the final Report from them after we found out what the Police said in response to our questions and take it from there. I couldn’t imagine that the Police might allow a Report to stand when they knew it was full of errors, and that those errors were admitted by the writer of the Crash Report.

As it turned out, the Police Ombudsman is a paper tiger without any authority or power and the Police could simply ignore them at will.

 On 14th July 2005 my solicitor received the Forensic Report, and so the agreed letter detailing the four queries not dealt with by the Police Ombudsman was sent to Sgt Mc Bride the Investigating Officer. with a copy to the Chief Constable’s Office and one to the Police Ombudsman.

We received a reply to the letter some two weeks later written by  Inspector Ian White who held the appointment of Criminal Justice  Manager.  He had been the officer who recommended that there should be no prosecution of Carson in the Police submission to the PPS.

For the purposes of clarity, I will list the questions posed by us followed by Inspector White’s answers.

It was requested by PONI that the following points be referred to the Investigating Officer and the letter was addressed to Sgt McBride..

Question: Sight Lines

  • In paragraph 5.4, the Police Report does not actively reflect the view of the road ahead of the two drivers. Given an eye line height of 4ft and taking into account the various hedges and the incline of the road, both sight lines are restricted. You are asked to establish the sight lines of the two drivers involved and then to compare them with the Report and the written statement by Mr Carson. This error has both evidential and causal implications. You are also asked to accurately establish the sight line of witness 2 and include it in the Report. The first statement should also include whether or not she saw the red Renault cross the junction as stated by Mr Carson, as well as a clear indication as to whether she saw the cars impact with each other, and if not what she actually did see.

White’s Response

  • This has been completed in the original report and I do not agree this was an error. I do not see any reason to reinvestigate this section.

Question 2. Carson’s seat belt and injuries

  • In paragraph 6.1, the report failed to detail the head injury to Mr Carson as recorded in his medical report and in his own statement. We can only presume that the head injury was most likely caused as a result of this accident and possibly by Mr Carson’s head hitting the windscreen to the left of the steering wheel in the collision. With the absence of diagonal or shoulder bruising in his medical report, it would seem to suggest that he was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision, and that he was saved only by the airbag. This has a bearing on the cause of the accident and the position of the vehicles at the point of impact, and therefore it would require further investigation or a reinvestigation.

.White’s Response

This is a summary of the injured and injuries sustained. If you are making the point Mr Carson was not wearing his seatbelt I suggest you employ relevant experts and follow this matter through the courts. I do not see any need for reinvestigation.

 

Question 3. Fitness of tyre configeration

It is not disputed that the Subaru was fitted with Bridgestone Potenza RE011 uni-directional tyres and that all four tyres were fitted against the required direction of rotation. On 22nd January 2004, the Police stated that the local Bridgestone representative had assured them that the tyres would have had no bearing on the cause of the accident. This is contrary to the views of Bridgestone in Canada and other reputable bodies who have been asked for their views. It is accepted that detailed research may have to be carried out to establish the effect ill fitted tyres might have but the Police Report should include relevant factors such as the condition of the road, weather, adverse camber, angle of corner, change of road surface etc., pending such tests.

White’s response

  • Police have been informed by a Bridgestone representative that the tyres had no bearing on the cause of the accident. If you wish to follow your assertions I suggest you employ the services of the relevant person you require in Canada to follow this up for you. I do not see the need for any further police investigation.

Question 3. Use of mobile phone at time of crash

  • It is a fact that a telephone conversation took place between Mr Carson and his wife at or around the time of the accident. Mrs Carson states that her husband phoned her immediately after the accident although Mr Carson does not mention it. The police have stated that they have checked Mr Carson’s  mobile account and he had not made a call at the relevant time. Witness 1 who was one of the first individuals on the scene, indicated that no call was made by Mr Carson and therefore it can be argued that there was very little time for Carson to initiate a call before witness 1 arrived. When one considers that Mr Carson had been injured as a result of this very serious accident, and in fact had broken both knees and had injured his head as well as other injuries, it is most unlikely that he was able to make the call and therefore it will be necessary to reinvestigate this matter to confirm exactly when the telephone call was made i.e. before the accident or just prior to the accident or as the accident happened. No doubt this would have a great bearing on the case once it is established when this phone call was actually made. We believe this is quite an important factor and can therefore not be left in abeyance.

White’s response

  1. Police have already checked the mobile phone account of this person, as agreed by you. No call was made at the relevant time on checking this account. Mrs Carson may state her husband phoned her immediately after the collision, however Mrs Carson was not present at the scene and cannot say when the collision occurred. Therefore no further investigation is necessary.For your information a forensic scientist on our behalf visited the scene and compiled a report on the collision in which his opinion is that the collision occurred in the Antrim bound lane of the road which is as described in the investigation.  (End)

In this last question,White simply lied. He knew that his file on the case contained a second statement from Carson written about two months after the crash in which he accepted that he made a call at 1448 to his wife when the Police Report showed a crash time of 1450.

We only found this out years later and so couldn’t challenge him then.

In question one, his response was wrong if only through ignorance since his opinion was completely overturned by Police some years later.

In Question two he was again proved wrong by both Carson and the Police some years later. Both PC Cochrane and the Insurance Company proved him wrong in his vehicle Inspection Report after the crash happened. White had PC Cochrane’s Report when he wrote his reply. He simply lied hoping that I would never see Cochrane’s Report.

In question three he also lied or was incompetent regarding the extent of his knowledge from Bridgestone about the ill fitted tyres. I presume this is what he was relying on for his evidence, a document turned over by the PSNI to me many years later.

You will note that this response from Bridgestone refers to their tyre RE010 when the tyres on Carson’s car were in fact RE011, a different style and type.

You should also note that there is a strange anomaly between the date of the letter ( 11th May 2004) and the date of the original query of it from PC Cochran (26th May )

I investigated this letter and will return to it later.

Not only did I find Inspector White’s replies arrogant and contemptuous in the extreme but he seemed to be cocking a snook at the Ombudsman who was asking for a investigation of these points. The police are the appointed investigators of fatal road crashes, but he was suggesting that we should find our own experts. He turned a blind eye to, or kept hidden, evidence in the Police Report and was suggesting that his investigator’s report was fine and accurate.

Inspector White was doing Sergeant McBride no favours by failing to acknowledge the errors in the Report. He was in a position to make the necessary corrections and additions. Had he done so then, in all probability, the matter would have ended there. Instead, he chose not to acknowledge the errors and omissions, and refused to accept the possibility that the Police had got it wrong.  His failure to respond properly and honestly to the queries by the Ombudsman made certain that he left himself open to disciplinary proceedings and possible removal from the PSNI when the facts emerged. Had he been called befiore a Court to give such evidence under oath, he would most probably been found guilty of perjury and subject to criminal penalty including a term in prison.

If you conclude that such an action should be initiated against him, what chance do you think it will happen ?

The Coroner made sure he wouldn’t be called as a witness, but more details of that later.

The Police would continue to use the conclusions in the Forensic Reports time and time again to justify their actions even though that Report relied at least in part on an inaccurate and false Police Report. It was to prove to be an unbreakable circle of mutual reliance. 

As stated above the so-called Report which the Police supposedly got from the Bridgestone Company was never produced until 10 years after the crash when it was assumed that I would have given up and gone away.

The next post will deal with the First Ombudsman’s Report in full. It will represent the rotten part of the curate’s egg, but don’t despair, later dealings with PONI were much more palatable.

 

 

 

Forensic’s second Report

 

The addendum requested from FSNI by the Coroner was sent to us on the 28th March 2006. It was dated 28th February 2006, some six months after it had been called for. It had become the pattern that each stage of the process carried with it inexplicable delays. None of the delays could have been attributed to either me or my Legal team, but I was beginning to get the strong impression that the whole thing was being strung out deliberately in the hope that I might just give up and go away. It was a forlorn hope if that was the case because it made me all the more determined to see it through to the end whenever that would be.
On reading the Report for the first time, it was clear to me that Mr Coll was going to defend his first Report and challenge my objections to it. Somewhere in the preceding six months, he had regained confidence in his first Report and his concerns at the Coroner’s Court had completely dissipated. Maybe he had been influenced by what had been said at the meeting with the Coroner and Sgt McBride or maybe someone in his own organization had told him that a review of his work had been done and only one small error was found. In any case, the new Report was a defence of the contents of his first one. He had returned to the scene and taken some further photographs, but still I wasn’t shown them. Second time around, he had the use of my Accident Investigator’s Report and photographs which he had been given by the Coroner. Someone had restored his confidence in his first Report so convincingly that he was able to set aside his integrity and independence and recover his self confidence. Perhaps the CEO of FSNI rebuttal to my formal complaint was so overwhelmingly persuasive or perhaps the Coroner’s desire to harmonise all outstanding disagreements before hearing the case gave him the courage to repeat his many errors in the second Report and add a few others in support. He seemed to have confidence that I would never see the photographs referred to in his Report, but I got them some two years later although the Police were adamant that I shouldn’t look at them but  hand them unopened to my legal team. On the other hand, his confidence in the Coroner was better placed when the latter protected him from being cross-examined about his two Reports and photos. All this will detailed much later.
I will now detail the contents of this second Report but I will refer to his photographs even though at the time I still had not received them. The layout will be in the same format as for the first Report.

These are my findings:
• In paragraph 2.2 he deals with witness 2’s sight line as she waited at the stop line in Eskylane Road. He refers to the photograph as being taken “close to the nearside edge of the Kells bound lane where witness 2 was positioned when the Subaru travelled past her. The collision location is visible from this location.”

This is simply untrue. The photograph has been taken some 4 or 5 feet into the carriageway and as much as 10 feet from witness 2’s position behind the stop line. As stated previously if he had wanted to record an honest view of what witness 2 could see, he had simply to take a photograph 6 feet from behind the stop line and at a sitting height of 4 feet to record witness 2’s eye line.

• He then uses another photograph taken on the Antrim side of the damaged hedge and says that it is “the view looking back towards the junction and the edge of the stop road markings”

 

The point at which this photograph was taken is irrelevant to the collision or the supposed collision point. When it is blown up it does it does not show the position of witness 2, a minimum of 6 feet behind the stop line or the position her car. It doesn’t even show the stop line. Both are hidden by the intervening hedge.

If only he had looked at the photograph taken by Mr McLaughlin (my private investigator) who had taken a photograph of the crash area giving the sightline view of witness 2 from behind the stop line. He would have understood her restricted view was consistent with both her statements. However, such a truth would conflict with his preferred findings so had to be ignored.

Mclaughlin’s photo from witness 2’s position

In paragraph 3.1 he admits that he “spoke to Sgt McBride in relation to the circumstances known at that time. This is normal policy in that I also acquired all the information held by Sgt McBride including photographs, maps, sketch, statements etc.”
I have no problem with this. I would expect it. He does not say why he refused to attend the scene on the night. Was it because Sgt McBride had already told him the cause of the crash? How much of his original Report was influenced by Sgt McBride’s maps and Report? He does say that he found the police map inaccurate in that the bend was not shown on the map.
He admits that he was wrong about the position of the change of road surface in relation to the first gouge mark.
On page 4, he still insists that the Nova was rotating anticlockwise between impact and hedge contact even though the gouge marks and the track across the verge are in a straight line.
He recognizes that there is hedge debris trapped in the front of the Nova, but dismisses it in favour of the smear marks on the lower part of the bumper. He does not comment on the absence of any dents or damage to the rear of the Nova. There were no relevant marks.

He says that “there was no damage visible to the front of the Nova car consistent with contact with the region of damaged hedge in the police photographs taken on the day of the collision.” How would any such damage be differentiated from initial collision damage? This is not a valid reason for dismissing the notion of a frontal approach to the hedge.
He now states that the debris field started close to the nearside edge of the Antrim bound lane. He also states that “the concentration of debris is located on the Antrim bound lane with some pieces on the Kells bound lane past the offside of the Vauxhall car and towards the rear of the Subaru car.”

He cannot say this since a good part of the Kells bound lane was never photographed on the night. He does not try to explain the increase in debris between the rest positions of the Nova and the Subaru. However, he is entitled to put his own interpretation on the meaning of the debris field and at least he has explained his reasoning, however questionable, something which was absent in his first Report.
• He continues to assert that it was the offside longitudinal chassis member of the Nova car which produced the gouges, and of course he would be right only if the Nova moved rear first towards the hedge.
He is wrong if the Nova went head first into the hedge. Had he spent just a minute to examine the photograph he had taken of the raised Nova  he would have realised that this member is not as close to the ground as the bent exhaust pipe. This pipe would therefore come into contact with the ground first and be badly damaged, squashed or abraded. It is unmarked.


He now accepts that he was wrong about “nearside” and “offside.” I can accept it was a genuine error.

• In paragraph 3.6 he states that “the fitment of directional tyres rotating in the opposite direction to that designed is allowed and general advice is that the vehicle should be driven no faster than 50 mph.
He is wrong. The advice refers only when one tyre is incorrectly fitted as in the case where a wheel is changed after a puncture and there is no alternative. The advice does not cover all four tyres being ill fitted, and the specialist crash investigator seconded by the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland(PONI) stated quite clearly that he considered such a case to be against the law as the car would be in an unfit state. It may well be the case that, because of the recent introduction of such tyres, no such specific law has been enacted to cover such a situation, but that does not make the Subaru fit for the road or the reverse tyres safe.

Coll still does not indicate that he contacted any experts in the field or even considered the opinions of the experts I had contacted. Instead, he carried out his own experiment. He says that he drove his own car round the bend on a wet day and found no difficulty in negotiating the bend at 70 mph. His car was fitted with non directional tyres! Leaving aside the legality of breaking the speed limit, he proved nothing by comparing apples with pears, but it appears to have confirmed him in his belief that the ill fitted tyres had no effect. More junk science.
• In the next paragraph he explains that tyres are tested for aquaplaning by driving them through 7 mm of water. To the lay reader, this might suggest that a tyre needs 7mm of water to initiate aquaplaning.
It does not. A tyre will aquaplane on a molecule of water given the right circumstances. The purpose of grooves in the tread is to disperse the water so that the tyre remains in contact with the surface. For example, the minimum possible speed that the Subaru would aquaplane is as low as 54 mph and this speed is only increased by the efficiency of the tyre treads to disperse water. As stated previously, one can easily see the effect of slick tyres in a Formula One race when it suddenly rains before the pit crew has time to change the tyres. Wrongly fitted uni-directional tyres will tend to fill the groves with water instead of centrifugally throwing it from the tyre thus decreasing the tyre’s effectiveness. His statement, without more detailed explanation, is misleading and quite wrong.
• He states that “estimation of a vehicle’s speed by a person either stationary in a second car or in a moving vehicle is difficult.” Wrong. It can be estimated, but the level of accuracy is somewhat reduced.
I accept that such evidence is not in itself sufficient to secure a conviction but it should be considered when investigating the causes of a crash. The combination of three competent and reliable witnesses should not be entirely dismissed even if their evidence might not be conclusive in a criminal court. A professional accident investigator should have the means to calculate the speed of the two vehicles at impact if he has the position of the two vehicles at impact, the weight of the vehicles and the distance the vehicles travelled post contact and various other inputs such as road surface, friction etc. He could use a method called Conservation of Momentum Formula. Mr Coll never applied such methods, although he had all the information available should he have wished to do so. He simply relied on another one of his unsupported opinions to decide that the Subaru was not speeding without finding any real evidence. Had he have done so, he might well have come to the conclusion that the independent witnesses were right in their assessment of the speed of the Subaru.
• He tries to explain why he dismissed the idea that the Nova did not have time to reach the other carriageway in 2.3 seconds. He explains that it “is generally accepted that a full lane change requires a time of approximately 2 to 2.5 seconds. In this he is right. If a driver was changing lanes on, say, a motorway, the time it takes for him to change lanes in an orderly way and to be established in the new lane, is approximately 2.5 seconds. This was not a normal lane change and the Nova was responding to a car being driven at him. For this situation, a different set of figures apply –the time of an emergency manoeuvre or reaction time. In any case, he never made the other carriageway before he crashed. His conclusion that the Nova driver could not have made the other carriageway and was on the wrong carriageway already, is not sustainable.
• He then goes on to argue that the Highway Code is wrong and he is right. This is what he says: “When a perception response time is added of 1 to 1.5 seconds then this results in a total time of approximately 3 to 4 seconds. It is never possible to specify a single perception response time as it will vary depending on factors including stimulus, age, time of day, tiredness, alcohol/drug level. A generally accepted time is 1.5 seconds. The Highway Code does suggest a perception response time of 0.67 seconds but the main reason why this time was chosen was to facilitate drivers of time and distance(sic) in that 30mph equates to a distance travelled of 30 feet over 0.67 seconds and 60 mph equates to a distance travelled of 60 feet, although current edition of the Highway Code the thinking distance is stated in metres. In other words, the writers of the Code reduce the thinking time to make it easier for the reader.”
What nonsense. The Code is obliged to err on the side of caution.
His conclusion as stated in the first Report remained unchanged. It seems that he was able to set aside the reservations he had expressed when we met at the Coroner’s Court and regained confidence in his original findings. Someone or something had persuaded him that he was right in the first place or, more likely, for the sake of his own reputation, he shouldn’t change his findings to any appreciable degree. Throughout this whole process, it became increasingly clear to me that written Reports, once published, were considered to have been chiselled in stone and couldn’t be changed or modified.
At the end of his Report he signed a certificate that “this statement consisting of 2 pages, is true to the best of my knowledge and belief.”
Given that this second Report in fact contained 7 pages, I understood exactly what he meant. The other 5 pages were, in his opinion, a load of rubbish and lies, or, he can’t count.

I was beginning to think that perhaps there was a master puppeteer pulling the strings of so-called experts in crash investigations for some unknown purpose and that these experts had neither the integrity or moral fibre to resist. I wondered how deep this malaise in the Justice system ran. Was I dealing with the equivalent of a self serving type of Mafia posing as an honest System of Justice? Was this an isolated case ?  I decided to find out. You may well be shocked at some of my findings.

The next several posts will cover my dealings with the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland ( PONI ) – a fine example of a Curate’s egg !

I will return to the subject of Forensic Science at a later date, and you will discover the degree of help you can expect from the Government Ombudsman when you complain about the unprofessionalism of a member of the FSNI. The Government Ombudsman has oversight into the integrity efficiency and fitness for purpose of the FSNI. In the meantime, I  humbly suggest you do not accept any findings by the FSNI until you have them independently checked out.

My complaint about FSNI to Secretary of State

 

I contacted my solicitor, expressed my many concerns, and it was agreed that I should challenge the Report with the Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office who was ultimately responsible for overseeing the work of the FSNI. At that time it was the Rt Hon David Hanson MP a Labour MP under Tony Blair. I didn’t expect a lot from him and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

On 6th August 2005 I wrote a six page submission to him detailing all the faults that I had found with the Report at that time and I included a copy of it including those photographs I had taken and a copy of the Police photographs taken at the scene on the night of the crash to support my case. I still had not received the ones taken by Forensics.
I wrote:
“I wish to complain formally about the lack of accuracy, professionalism, and independence shown by Mr Coll in producing this Report.
I ask you to investigate the circumstances surrounding the production of the FSNI Report and to check its veracity in the light of my notes on it, and then to take whatever action you deem necessary. I would hope that this would include withdrawing the Report in total and making arrangements for a new Report to be prepared by a Forensic Agency unconnected with Forensic Science Northern Ireland.”
He acknowledged my letter but did nothing to investigate its contents. He simply forwarded it to FSNI so that their Chief Executive could reply. There was to be no independent investigation of what were serious allegations.
About 2 weeks later on 23rd August, the Coroner had summoned everyone involved to his Court in Belfast to hear the case. Before the case began I spoke to the civilian witnesses and thanked them for their help, and then I went into the courtroom with my brother to familiarize myself with the layout. I was going to represent the family and other legal representatives were assembling. None of them introduced themselves but one was representing Raymond’s Insurance Company and another may have represented Davis. The rest were unknown to me.
As we waited for the Coroner to arrive, I was aware of someone hovering around obviously trying to attract my attention. It was Mr Coll from FSNI. After introductions, he said that he was sorry about the Report but explained that he had to do something like two to three hundred Reports each year and that he just didn’t have enough time to spend as he would like on each case.
I was greatly relieved that he was aware that his Report was not all it should be and that he was prepared to look at it again. He asked me if I would agree to retire to a side room and discuss my complaints with him and see if we could sort things out. I readily agreed and he said that he would speak to the Coroner and clear it with him.
I worked out that if he worked normal hours in the year, he would have just somewhere between four and six hours to devote to the investigation and writing of each Report. This was clearly a man under pressure at his job and it reflected in his finished work. I warmed to him.
He returned some minutes later and told me that the Coroner had not agreed to that course of action.
The Coroner came into the Court a short time later and invited all the interested parties into his chambers. We followed him through to the meeting. I can’t say who was there but included in the eight or nine present was Inspector Livingstone, Sgt McBride, Mr Coll, some of the legal representatives and the Court Clerk. It was clear that the Coroner was aware of my submission to the Police Ombudsman(to be covered in a later post) and now my concerns about the Forensic Report and he alluded to the fact that some of the evidence was in dispute. He put a series of proposals to the group which included suspending the current hearing. Everyone in the group agreed to them.

He was also very aware that it was it was possibly my intention to initiate a criminal charge against Carson if the Police failed to do so.

He later wrote a letter to Sgt McBride and copied it to the rest, listing his proposals and I reproduce it below.

“I am writing to confirm the basis on which the inquest was adjourned on 23rd August :-
1. You are to obtain a new statement from Mr Lynn in which he sets out in detail (a) his theory as to how the accident occurred and (b) the aspects of Mr Coll’s Report with which he disagrees and his reasons for that.
2. The statement should be forwarded to Mr Coll and Mr Carson the driver of the other vehicle involved.
3. Mr Lynn is to provide me via his solicitor with contact details for the Road Traffic Accident investigator retained by the Legal Expenses Insurers.
4. The solicitor for Allianz is to obtain instructions from her client as to whether it will be willing to provide me with a copy of the Report of their Road Traffic Accident Investigator and confirmation that there would be no objection to Mr Coll receiving a copy.
5. All three Traffic Accident investigators will exchange their Reports and once this has been done Mr Coll will provide me with an addendum to his report dealing with any remaining areas of disagreement or any remaining areas of disagreement or any other issues which may arise. I will provide those with a proper interest in the inquest with a copy of Mr Coll’s addendum.
6. At that stage consideration will be given to a meeting at the scene of the accident should there be any remaining disagreement as to how the accident happened. It would seem sensible that such a meeting should comprise police, all road Traffic Investigators including Mr Coll, legal representatives, Mr Lynn and Mr Davis.
7. Following that I would then arrange to re-convene the inquest hearing.
8. I understand that Mr Lynn has agreed to provide you with a draft of his statement and that you will advise me next week if this has been done.
Yours Sincerely”

It was signed by the Chief Coroner John Leckey who had taken on the case. You will hear a good deal more about Leckey in a later series of posts. Little or none of it will be good.
At the meeting the Police had agreed to close the road for two hours to facilitate a reconstruction but they presumably thought better of it. So far as I know my solicitor fulfilled her requirements. I also did. Even though there were still matters in dispute, the reconstruction at the scene was never staged. I never found out what material was given by the other participants to the Coroner.
It crossed my mind that perhaps it was bad evidential practice to arrange for independent investigators to put their collective heads together to arrive at a conclusion, but at least the case would be re-examined in some form and the matter might be settled so I didn’t object. Again, I was wrong. All it did was to ensure that any evidence I might present to a criminal court would be corrupted. Did the Coroner consider this?
I drafted my statement within a couple of days detailing my concerns about the Police and FSNI investigations and suggesting how the accident might have happened according to the evidence I had in my possession at the time. I put it on a floppy disc and dropped it into the Police station for the attention of Sgt McBride. It ran to eight pages. Sgt McBride called with the typed statement for my signature. I told him that a lot of this could have been avoided if he had taken up my offer of a meeting. He said that no one had told him that I had asked for one and that he would have been happy to have met me. It would have helped to nip the problem in the bud. I showed him my letter to his boss. I found him very pleasant and personable and I got the impression that he was aware that his Report was not all it should be. He regretted that Forensics had not attended on the night but he had asked them and they had refused. He asked if I would change one part of my statement. If I didn’t then it was likely that he would be disciplined. At that time, my only concern was to have the case re-investigated and I didn’t want anyone’s career to be put on the line. I agreed. The original sentence read:
“It seems to me that Sgt McBride arrived at a conclusion and then only recorded the evidence or modified the evidence to agree with the conclusions. Having established a mind model of the accident he became convinced that he was right and made the evidence fit.”
I changed it to:
“I am prepared to accept that this was a case of confirmation bias.”
In truth there was little substantive difference in the two statements as the first sentence simply explained more fully how confirmation bias might have played a part in the preparation of his Report but it seemed to please him.
At the same time I got a reply to my formal complaint to the Secretary of State. It was from the Chief Executive of FSNI Michael Walker. The only fault he accepted was the confusion over “offside” and nearside.” He went on to say that Mr Coll was an able, well qualified and experienced practitioner. His opinion was subject to review by an experienced colleague before release and that the work was carried out in a professional and independent manner.”

The Secretary of State, had arranged for the Chief Executive of the FSNI to investigate his own senior investigator. He in turn passed the investigation to Coll’s colleague who found no fault. It was clear that my views were to count for nothing and Mr Coll’s own concerns were ill founded. How could Hanson accept such injustice? How could the Chief Executive think it was appropriate to have the matter handled by Coll’s colleague?

Clearly the FSNI was able to regain  accreditation by dealing with all complaints against it internally. I suppose any shortfalls reported today are dealt with in a similar fashion. If any rot  continues to run through the organisation from the Chief Executive downwards as in this case then its time to reconsider again their accreditation.
It was time to get a private Accident Investigator of my own whose findings might carry more weight than mine.
On 8th September 2005, I received a letter from the Coroner confirming that he had received my statement. The letter also said that he was arranging for Sgt McBride and Mr Coll to call at his office to consider the documentation I had provided him with.
Why was the Coroner involving himself in dealing with my complaints against the Police and Forensics? The Ombudsman and the Secretary of State were the proper people to do that. Such action was clearly outside his remit and he ran the risk of tarnishing their evidence in any future civil or criminal case by allowing them to collude in his office. How could he listen to their evidence at some future hearing if it could be said that he had been responsible for shaping it? On the one hand, he might just be acting as honest broker trying to resolve a conflict of evidence. On the other, he was interfering in the evidence of those who were meant to be independent professional witnesses. It was my view that it was not part of his remit to do so but if it helped then I wasn’t going to challenge him. I chose to accept that he acted with the best of intentions. Later I would find out how wrong I was. I was not invited to sit in at the meeting and don’t know what took place but If he could persuade the two parties to change their Reports in line with the evidence, I was happy for him to go ahead.
As the history of the case unfolded I think that may have been a bad decision on my part.

The next post will deal with Coll’s second Report after he was cleared by his Chief Executive, colleague and Secretary of State Hanson.

The First Forensic Report

The first Forensic Report was dated 14th May 2004, 6 months and 3 days after the crash. I did not receive it until 4th July 2005.We did not receive the  Police photos  used in the Forensic Report until November 2008. I will not list all the errors I found but enough to justify my subsequent action. The errors were as follows :

 

• He states that the change of road surface was 82 metres from the commencement of gouges in the Antrim bound lane when the actual distance was 65 metres. Had this change in road surface been a factor (and with a change of both surface and level it could well have been), he had placed it further from the corner and crash site and therefore less relevant.

• He describes a series of gouges moving across the Antrim bound lane, marks them with yellow chalk, and has them photographed. He has marked the four gouges with a chalk box.  You will see that these four gauges are in a straight line towards the hedge contact and, although not seen here, he later agreed that they were part of a line which entered the grass verge and traveled to the point of contact with the hedge. This was clear on the video I gave him.

 

• In the foreground of the same photograph, he chalked what I had identified as a tar bucket impression and a straight score coming away from the verge which I identified as a recovery score. He also marked a final straight score on the Antrim side of the final Nova position which I did not find.
He had noted the tyre track across the verge and from this information he had concluded:
“ The location of these gouges, tyre track and damaged hedge, indicates that both vehicles were on the Antrim bound lane on impact and as a result of the impact the Vauxhall Nova car was forced down into the road surface producing the gouges as the car was forced rearwards.”

No one could come to such a conclusion on reading these gouge marks.
Later on in the Report he stated that the likely cause of the gouges was “the lower surface of the offside longitudinal chassis member.” This member is about 4 inches across. However the gouges in the video were created by a sharp v shaped piece of metal as they were long and very narrow. If he was of a mind to misrepresent the gouges to fit in with his conclusion about their origin, then he would have marked them as he did.
In his findings, he stated that the Nova was still travelling rearwards when it mounted the verge and so rotated in contact with the hedge to face towards Antrim. This is inconsistent with the marks he found at the “rotation” point. If the Nova had rotated there then any gouge marks would be in the form of an arc and not straight as he has indicated. None of the marks in the rotation area indicate rotation at that point. The several experts I consulted all agreed that the Nova could only have rotated when it was flung and rotated clockwise in the air before it hit the ground at the first gouge mark.

• He failed to acknowledge that there was debris in the Kells bound lane and described only debris as found in the Antrim bound lane.

 

 

• He failed to notice that there was a second deposit of debris on the Antrim bound carriageway adjacent to the front offside wheel of the Nova where it came to rest and extended up the carriageway towards Antrim . Note the scores on the passenger door of the Subaru.

• He did not try to explain why both front wings are tucked under the wheels if the Nova travelled rearwards. Perhaps he did not examine them even though their deformation and entrapment is clear in his photograph.

 

 

He did not attempt to accurately assess the sight line of Witness 2 or find out what she could see from her position at the stop line on the Eskylane Road or why she could not see what the Subaru had crashed into.

Evidence must not be ignored simply because it is inconvenient or not compatible with the conclusions one wishes to draw. If the Police photographer had been told to take four paces back and four paces to the right he would have a perfect shot from witness 2’s sitting position and a photograph of her obscured sight. On the other hand, perhaps the photo was taken to wrongly represent the sight line of witness two.

• On page 4 paragraph 8 he stated that: “In my opinion even in rain conditions taking into account the topography of the carriageway at the collision scene the incorrect rotation of the tyres would not have had a significant detrimental effect on the handling of the Subaru car.”

It would appear that he knew little about crash investigation so therefore I can surmise that he even knew less about reversed unidirectional tyres in the wet. He certainly knew less than the several expert witnesses who gave written statements and disagreed with him. He gave no supporting evidence for this “opinion”.
Throughout the Report he used the expression “in my opinion” some eight times but without any supporting evidence. An expert witness is indeed allowed to express an opinion if it is based on firm evidence or expert knowledge. It is not sufficient simply to ask the Court to give weight to the opinion simply on the grounds that he is a registered expert witness. He didn’t say that he made any attempt to be briefed by any experts in the field of tyre design, and I’m fairly certain that he does not have a personal expertise that would permit him to make such a bold assertion without expert input.

• On page 5, he stated that “the Subaru is almost twice as heavy as the Nova.” In truth it is 83% heavier, but he then stated :
• “Momentum is the product of the mass of the vehicle times the velocity and therefore in general terms when the mass of the a vehicle is considered it is often the case that the heavier vehicle was travelling at a slower speed at the time of collision in comparison to the light vehicle”
I don’t think I have ever come across such unscientific nonsense in my life. He uses this argument to say that in all likelihood the Subaru was travelling slower than the Nova. Presumably, he would also conclude that a cyclist was travelling faster than the car that ran him down. He believes that the comparative speed of two colliding objects can be assessed simply by attributing the heavier object to the lower speed. This is unscientific rubbish.

• In his conclusion, he states that “the Nova was forced rearwards whilst rotating in an anticlockwise direction before coming to rest with the majority of the car on the verge The Subaru car passed through the area of impact and continued forwards whilst forcing the Nova car rearwards before coming to rest in the central region of the carriageway. “
A simple examination of the gouge marks in line with the track across the verge would have told him that there was no rotation of the Nova on the way to the hedge The Nova was rotated at the point of collision and before the first gouge mark. He would later explain that rotation happened at the hedge. In this he was also wrong.

• On page 4 he stated that the degree of crush damage on the Subaru was greater on the offside than the nearside.
This is clearly untrue and the opposite was the case. (see photo earlier)
• On page 5 he states that “as the two vehicles moved in the general direction of Antrim the nearside passenger doors of the Subaru and the driver’s door of the Nova car made light contact as the Subaru travelled past the Vauxhall Nova car as it rotated anticlockwise and as it was forced rearwards into the hedge adjacent to the Antrim bound lane.”
I presume that he was referring to the contact between the two vehicles from Constable Cochrane’s Report where he identified the score marks along the nearside of the Subaru as corresponding to paint residue found on the Nova driver’s door, the conclusion being that the two vehicles had come into contact again after the initial contact. Mr Coll should have realized that contact between the nearside of the Subaru and the Nova driver’s door could not have made contact if the Nova was travelling rear first to the hedge. The contact would have been on the passenger door of the Nova. It might also have told him that rotation of the Nova had already been completed before the first gouge mark and that it had travelled head first to the hedge. Again he had misunderstood the evidence and come to a spurious conclusion.

• Under Conclusion, he states that “in my opinion taking into account the gouges in the Antrim bound lane and the debris distribution mainly confined to this lane this indicates that both vehicles were positioned in the Antrim bound lane on impact.”
Why? By ignoring the debris on the Kells bound lane? It is impossible to draw such a conclusion from this sparse amount of evidence.

• On page 6 paragraph 3 he states: “If the Subaru car had travelled around the uphill right hand bend in the Kells bound lane then the car would come into view for a driver of a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction in the Kells bound lane at a minimum distance of approximately 61 metres. A vehicle travelling at a constant speed of 60 mph (26.8 metres per second) would cover this distance in 2.3 seconds. In my opinion this would be insufficient for the driver of the Nova to react and steer his vehicle to the right onto the Antrim bound lane prior to impact. Clearly if the speed of the Subaru was higher then this time period would reduce.”
This is simply not right. Even if this is what happened, then the Nova’s reaction time to the emergency would be approximately 0.6 of a second. This is the recognized time in the Highway Code for reaction time in an emergency. This “thinking time” with regards to braking is defined as “the sum of visual reaction time, the pedal response and the mechanical action of the brakes” Given that the same sort of reaction time would apply to steering, then a driver in such an emergency situation would have turned the steering wheel away from the danger in the same time i.e. 0.6 seconds. To put it another way, in the situation as described by Coll, even if the Nova had been travelling at 50mph as alleged, then he would have travelled a distance of 122 feet before reaching the collision point, across the carriageway and far into the hedge and field beyond.
By using this false calculation, the Forensic offficer tried to establish the argument that the Nova could not have reached the wrong carriageway in response to a dangerous situation and so he must have been already on the wrong carriageway.
As we will see later, the Nova was never on the wrong carriageway.
In brief, Coll’s conclusions was that the Nova was travelling along the wrong carriageway when it collided with the Subaru, that it was arrested, driven back towards Antrim rear first, it hit the hedge and was then rotated through nearly 180 degrees before coming to rest. Somewhere along its path to the hedge it was hit by the Subaru for a second time.
Constable Cochrane the Police Vehicle examiner had found that “the rear of the vehicle appeared relatively undamaged.”
Mr Coll stated “The Nova sustained light impact damage across the rear bumper as indicated by scratching and smearing to the bumper This was the region of the car which had been forced against the hedge adjacent to the Antrim bound lane as the car was forced rearwards as the result of the impact by the front of the Subaru car.”
He refers the reader to these photographs.

 

. The photographs show a green/ yellow staining on the underneath of the rear bumper along its whole length running top to bottom from approximately 11 o’clock to 5 o’clock viewed from the rear. This part of the bumper underhangs beneath the main face of the bumper and is somewhat protected by it. A few of these marks just manage to extend onto the flat face of the bumper itself. One might assume that the marks were made by contact with the hedge. One could just as easily assume they could have been made as the result of a careless three point turn in a narrow road outside a primary school. There are no damaged panels anywhere to be seen on the rear of the Nova, no dents of any kind, and there is no tail light lens broken. A separate photograph shows that there is not a single scratch on the hatchback door which is quite inexplicable since a portion of it is only a couple of inches in front of the bumper.
Even though the marks are vegetation in origin, one might be struck at their freshness after being exposed to the winter weather for several months.
The rear of the Nova must have struck the hedge very lightly indeed to have caused such minimal damage to its rear. On the other hand, it had to have sufficient kinetic energy to overcome the drag of its burst tyres and damaged underside, possibly to overcome a stalled engine in gear and to rotate itself round about 170 degrees to face the other way. What speed might it have to doing when it hit the hedge?
There is a driving manoeuvre which is taught to certain military and police protection officers. It is a useful escape mechanism in the event that a vehicle comes across a dangerous roadblock and needs to retreat in the direction from which it has come. It is called a j-turn.
The J-turn is a method of changing direction by 180 degrees rapidly, starting in reverse and ending up pointing in the opposite direction of initial travel. The manoeuvre is carried out thus. The driver, on seeing the danger ahead would stop, put the car into reverse, and when he reaches a certain speed and with an expert sequence of steering and gear changing rotate the car. The important thing about the j-turn is that it must have sufficient kinetic energy to complete the 180 degree turn against friction. On a wet surface, the minimum speed for a wet tarmac surface to achieve the required turn is 20 mph.
Given the increased resistance of the Nova to turn due to its damage but setting that against a rotation needed of just 170 degrees, then it would be reasonable to extrapolate that the Nova would have had to hit the hedge at a speed in the region of 20mph in order to complete its rotation.
The damage to the rear of the Nova as described and photographed by the FSNI is not consistent with a crash against a hedge at 20mph. The damage to the hedge is not consistent with being hit by a car at 20mph. The marks in the road are not consistent with the rotation of a car. Finally, it is likely that the Nova would have gone through the hedge at that speed. It did not. Even if the hedge had sufficient resistance to simply deflect it, the Nova would have continued further towards Antrim as its momentum decayed. As can be seen from the Police photograph it did not. The rear of the Nova has just passed the contact point with the hedge (see earlier photo).
I had asked for Forensics to investigate the collision because of my grave doubts about the police investigation. I thought that they would bring a degree of professionalism and expertise that was absent from the police investigation. My long held belief and expectation of their competence and thoroughness was completely replaced with one of anger and disgust.
Mr Coll had produced a Report that misinterpreted the evidence, ignored a lot of other irrefutable evidence, declared unsupported opinions and used questionable scientific assertions to justify others.
I found it remarkable that in spite of all this, he still came to exactly the same conclusion as the Police as to the cause of the crash. Did his conclusion drive the evidence or did the evidence drive his conclusion? It seemed clear to me how it was.

This has been a long post but I hope it goes some way to show that the expertise presented by FSNI to Courts is lamentable if this is an example of its “professional” staff. Next time I will tell you about Coll’s subsequent Report.

Forensic Science Northern Ireland- Incompetence or Corruption or both?

I had concerns about the rigour of the initial police investigation and had written to the Police in late February 2004 expressing my views. I asked the Chief Superintendent in charge of the Antrim area to have the collision investigated by Forensic Science Northern Ireland (FSNI). I received a reply that the decision not to attend a fatal road accident was one for FSNI alone and was based on the evidence available. It was clear that the decision not to attend was made when the Police briefed them that the collision “arose as a result of the Nova’s presence on the wrong side of the road.” In other words the cause of the collision was already established and there was no need for FSNI to be involved. I wrote back to the Police suggesting that the evidence in the case pointed to a different cause and that FSNI should be called in to provide an independent assessment of that evidence. In the middle of March, some three months after the crash, I was told that FSNI “would have a look.”

Forensic Science Northern Ireland (FSNI) is a quasi-independent Government Executive Agency within the Northern Ireland Office and is under the ultimate control of the Secretary of State in the Northern Ireland Office. The PSNI has a contract with them to supply 1100 hours per year for road collisions which equates to approximately 80-90 fatal collisions. The average total of fatal road deaths in Northern Ireland is around 125 per year. Raymond’s death happened towards the end of the contract year and it occurred to me that, if the funds had run out, this might have influenced their decision not to attend. I understand that this is the only part of the United Kingdom where the attendance of Forensics at fatal road accidents in not compulsory. Work for the PSNI represents well over 90% of their total output and so they are very important clients.

They had lost their accreditation before November 2003 and were still trying to regain it when they took on the investigation. In fact, it is said in an official report that the PSNI considered moving their business to another Forensic provider in Scotland or the Republic of Ireland because they were unhappy with some aspects of the Forensic Service they were getting.
Another aspect of the relationship between PSNI and FSNI was highlighted in a Report by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate in its 2005 Report when it said :
“Staff in FSNI and PSNI referred to the strong personal relationships which developed between scientists and police officers. For FSNI there has been an increasing need to emphasize its independence from the investigation and prosecution process and demonstrate a clear sense of impartiality within the Criminal Justice system.”
I was aware of none of this when I asked for FSNI to become involved. I anticipated a thorough, clinical scientific and independent investigation by top experts in their field.
I wrote to FSNI and gave them all the evidence I had. I expected them to find or confirm the evidence for themselves but it would point them in the right direction and not have them rely on the questionable  Police Report. I included a copy of the video I had made.
A Forensic scientist called Damien Call was tasked with the investigation. He was a BSc BA Chartered Engineer, a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a member of the Institute of Traffic Accident Investigators and a Senior Scientific Officer of FSNI. The investigation itself was to be carried out by trained assistants under his instruction.
The eight page Report was completed on 14th May 2004 but we were not to receive a copy of it until 14th July 2005. We had been told by Police that it was available to us in November 2004 and we asked for it immediately, but it took over 7 months to arrive and when it did it was without either maps or photographs. It was noted that the Report was dated 6 months and 3 days after the date of the collision and this would have had consequences for its use if certain offences were to be considered for prosecution.
I accept that FSNI did not have access to the damaged Subaru although they did have the Police photographs of it and they did have a professional Report by Constable Cochrane who inspected it. They also had the Police Report and the witness statements. I also accept that they were dealing with the case five months down the line. However, none of these shortfalls would be sufficient justification for the disgraceful Report that he produced.
The posts following this one will  give a detailed analysis of what was wrong with the first Forensic Report.

The FSNI is no stranger to controversy and the quality of Damien Coll’s work has certainly been called into question in the past. In May 2001, the FSNI lost the right to operate as a Forensic agency because of the poor quality of its work across a range of disciplines. I cannot say if Road Collision investigators were found to be included in the decision to remove its accreditation.  In any case, its accreditation was reinstated in March 2002, only to be removed again in 2003 when auditors uncovered more than 400 errors involving paperwork etc.

An official from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) which carried out the audit wrote “The continued deficiencies identified by the assessment team clearly indicated that the risk had reached an unacceptable level. The laboratory had been given many opportunities to address the issues raised over the past two years.

I cannot say to what degree the Roads Collision branch of the FSNI contributed to the decision to  remove accreditation, but it possibly explains why my subsequent complaint against Coll’s Report was buried without investigation. That is a post for another day.

Full accreditation was not fully restored until 2005.

The views of HM Inspector on Professionalism of PSNI

In 2008, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary wrote a Report after an inspection of the PSNI  professionalism in Roads Policing. The Report was later presented to Parliament and other interested parties. The Inspectorate assesses Police Forces throughout the United Kingdom to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of the Police.

Their Report into the professionalism of the PSNI in dealing with serious road crashes resulted from, together with three other fatal crashes, an investigation into  the crash on the Steeple Road involving my brother  and the Police handling of it.

I will quote from that Report.

Two senior Investigating Officers (SIOs) of the Team wrote the following :-

4.19 The main findings can be summarised a follows:

  • Designated SIOs not physically attending Road Traffic Collisions( RTC) scenes (attended by just 40% of case files examined).
  • Specialists not attending many RTCs (mappers attended 30% of scenes and Forensic Science Northern Ireland (FSNI) scientists attended 10% of scenes examined).
  • Lack of training for investigating officers
  • Lack of audit trail in terms of vehicle examinations
  • low number of photographs taken at scene.
  • Poor quality witness statements with several based on “hearsay”
  • Evidence trails not fully explored or developed to logical conclusion, e.g. forensic leads such as defective tyres not investigated thoroughly to exclude/confirm as potential causation factors
  • Poor prosecution judgements based on inadequate evidence collection and presentation. 

The main finding of the fieldwork is the poor quality of the evidence being presented to the PPS(Public Prosecution Service) for criminal prosecutions and to the Coroner for inquest adjudications. This is supported by HM Coroner who has written to the Chief Constable in response to concerns expressed by barristers and families asking why the investigation was not done to the standard that is normal in Great Britain. 

One Roads Policing officer who had visited a force in GB said “the way we investigate fatals here is prehistoric”.

The PSNI response to these findings is positive with the senior management team agreeing to establish a dedicated collision investigation. The Service has agreed to identify best practice from other Police Forces. It is planned that the unit will be operational within two years with appropriate resources and staff, training and policy framework.

This Report by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate reflects everything that I found in examining the case on behalf of my family.  The Report recognises the PSNI’s lack of training and professionalism in dealing with serious road crashes. The police agreed, in reply to this Report, that they would upgrade their investigative techniques but not much has appeared to have happened in the last 10 years. This is borne out by the number of officers disciplined for incompetence or investigated by the Police Ombudsman.It seems to me that, just as they often ignore the police Ombudsman they will probably have ignored the recommendations of the Inspectorate.

The Police have yet to prove that they are a fit  and honest organisation to professionally report on serious road crashes. Until they can do so then I recommend that anyone caught up in one for whatever reason should arrange a parallel and independent investigation from the outset. Just imagine what the Police should do and then do it with professionalism.

In my case, the Police were not only incompetent and unprofessional as the Report says, they were also corrupt and criminal for reasons other than to cover up their incompetence.

In the next few posts I will concentrate on my dealings with the Forensic Science of Northern Ireland (FSNI) and their involvement in the case but I will certainly be returning to many other aspects of  the Police later.

To introduce the next series of posts I quote from the Inspectorate Report:

The PSNI contract with PSNI stipulates that scientists are required for 1100 hours per year which equates to approximately 80-90 fatal collisions. This means that not all collisions will have a forensic scientist and it is rare that they are called to serious collisions. The decision on whether to attend a scene is left to the scientist rather than to the SIO. SIOs did emphasise the benefits and expertise that highly trained FSNI scientists bring to an investigation and there is little doubt that trained Forensic Collision Investigators are a key element of RTC investigation. There does however remain a gap in terms of being able to forensically re-construct a scene.

In the rest of the UK, a Forensic Scientist will invariably be called to the scene of a fatal crash.

 

 

 

 

 

PSNI Family Liaison Officer

In the event of a sudden and expected death such as a road crash it is customary for the senior investigating officer to appoint a trained Police Family Liaison Officer (FLO).  One of his duties is to smooth the interaction between Police and family to the benefit of both. When explained thus, most families agree to cooperate.  What is not explained is that the FLO is part of the investigating team and his or her first priority is to gather intelligence.

This system seemed to work well when one examines the work of the FLO in the Sharon Matthews case in 2008 when the embedded FLO was partly responsible for the arrest and conviction of the mother Karen .

I may have some reservations about this way of operating but the FLO in Raymond’s case went far beyond his powers and left himself open to a disciplinary charge or even a possible prison sentence.

The appointed FLO was Police Constable Mark Cully of Antrim Police station. His first task was to take three of us to identify the remains of Raymond in the morgue in Belfast. He appeared pleasant and helpful.

When I agreed to look into this crash at the outset, I told the family that I would keep Raymond’s wife Maud up to date on everything I was doing. I think it helped her to know that something was being done to find the truth. PC Cully met with her over a period of a few years and the topic of conversation always  included an update of how my investigation was going.  Eventually, I decided that it would be more productive if Maud stayed away from such conversations with any police officer although I didn’t ask her to break all ties with PC Cully.  Remember, this FLO had been in place now for five or six years and I came to the reasonable conclusion that the updates given to him by Maud, however well-intentioned, were invariably reported back to those connected with the case. Indeed , it became clear to me that the meetings initiated by PC Cully seemed to coincide with some new initiative taken by me to resolve the problems surrounding the crash.

A Case at the High Court was initiated by me as the plaintiff ( on behalf of Maud under the terms of Letters of Administration) in a claim against Carson as the defendant. It was scheduled to be heard on 19th January 2009.  Maud would be called as a witness along with a number of police officers and Forensics when their evidence would be tested either by our legal team or in defence of Carson’s case.

In August 2008, PC John Boyd approached and asked if she would help him find him some children who would like to take part in a football tournament on 23 August. Maud agreed to this somewhat strange request. The date was later moved to 4th October 2008.

On 30th September 2008, some three months before the High Court case,PC Cully called to her home apparently to tell her that the match was again cancelled until 8th November.

This is how Maud described what was said next.

“I asked him did he know my husband’s court case was still going on and he replied was it. I told him I was very stressed on tablets and off work. This is not what I wanted meaning it should not have come to this. PSNI Cully said he understands why Stanley was doing this for the family. Then he said to me I have a say in this too. PSNI Cully told me I should sit down and have a long think. I need closure or risk putting myself in bad health and again told me I have a say in this. 

I only brought the subject up with PSNI Cully as I felt he should not have been at my door as he was the family liaison officer at the time of my husband’s death.”

 

When Maud told me of this encounter after PC Cully left, she said that he had asked her at least four times to think what the Court case might do to her health.

This was a clear case of interfering with a witness and attempting to pervert the course of Justice. I have little doubt he was told to visit Maud by a higher authority and that he would say, if asked, that he was only obeying orders. Sadly for him that defence was ruled out after the Nuremberg Trials.

If it was the intention of someone senior in the Police to use the FLO as an instrument to stop the High Court case and all of its implications should the Police and Forensic officers be required to give evidence under oath, then that particular tactic failed.

Ten days before the case was due to be heard our key witness, a professional accident investigator called Michael McLoughlin changed his statement on the cause of the crash to fall  in line with the false Forensic Report and thus Police Report..

He did so for the most spurious of reasons but kindly offered to return his consultancy fee. If he thought he was right why would he do so ? 

You might wonder, as I did, if some other pressure may have been brought to bear on him to change his conclusions. This will be dealt with in much more detail in a later post.

The Police were told that Maud and the family wanted no further contact with PC Cully as FLO.

By whatever means the Police would have been delighted that their corrupt officers would not have to give evidence under oath. Later, with the help of the Chief Coroner, they would not be challenged in his court either about their false evidence. They never appeared !

I don’t imagine that PC Cully has much to worry about. It is my experience that the PSNI and the rest of the Justice System will wrap its protective arms around him.

In the next post, I will tell you what HM Inspector of Constabulary Northern Region and Northern Ireland said in his Report submitted to the Houses of Parliament in 2008 about the PSNI handling of this case nand others. Given that his Report was written without bias and with integrity, you could probably guess his conclusions without me telling you.

 

 

 

Why the Crash Happened

 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said that “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

Just as I have done, you the reader must separate the impossible from the truth.

This is my conclusion but I am not a trained accident investigator so you are free to use your own judgement as to how close it is to the truth. I appreciate you will not have seen all the available evidence at this stage.

My findings are based solely on the evidence in  Reports provided by expert examiners in their field who have each received full and verified detailed evidence of the scene and from photographs and measurements and details collected by me and others. No evidence from Police or Forensics  (other than photographs) was used as those were considered false or tainted or incompetently collected.

A reminder of the scene

About 4 weeks before the crash, Carson took his Subaru for its scheduled service. The uni-directional tyres were found by the garage to be properly fitted. Between then and the collision, he changed all four tyres and rims and fitted them against their proper direction of rotation. This had a serious detrimental effect on handling and control in the wet, although it is often done by drivers who wish to indulge in drifting, an illegal and dangerous activity on public roads. Carson did say that he didn’t know about such things even though he has a long history of interest in, and knowledge of, cars.

On 11th November 2003, he set off from Ballymena to go to Antrim to pick up his daughter from school. It was a very wet day and the safest and most direct route was by the main A 26  . He chose instead to go the longer route via Kells   and the quiet, undesignated, narrow, winding Steeple Road.

The evidence indicates that he did not bother to wear his seat belt.

The road was wet from the persistent rain.

Raymond set off from Antrim in his Nova to pick his grandchildren up at their primary school just off the Eskylane Road. He was in good time and drove at his usual 35 mph. He was in good health on the day of the collision.

 

About a mile from the junction with the Crosskeenan Road, Davis was spotted by  witness 3, an off duty police officer, travelling at a speed of between 80 and 90 mph towards Antrim. At such a speed Carson was less than 45 seconds from the collision point. It was about now that he called his wife on the mobile phone at her office in Templepatrick, probably to tell her that he was going to pick up their daughter.

About half a mile from the crash site, he overtook a Kango van   travelling in the same direction and driven by witness 4, a prison officer. He estimated the speed of the Subaru at around 80 mph. This witness was driving at around 50 to 60 mph at the time he was overtaken.

Carson approached the staggered junction still speaking on the phone to his wife. He did not slow down for any car crossing over the junction as he alleged, because no such car existed.

Witness 2, the schoolteacher, who was waiting at the stop line at Eskylane Road, watched as Carson raced past at a speed of up to 90 mph. She was fixated at his speed and watched as he went round the approaching corner ahead. He was in his own lane and she didn’t see his brake lights go on. As he passed the junction with Crosskeenan Road, the road around the corner was beginning to open out. He was now 2.3 seconds from collision, but would still not see the Nova coming in the other direction in its own lane until he had just passed the junction.

The Nova was in its own Kells bound lane approaching the bend. Its driver was just aware of the Subaru as it passed Crosskeenan Road approaching at high speed. He would have been alerted to the potential danger.

As the Subaru reached the apex of the corner, his directional control was disrupted either by the change of surface in the road before the corner, or by the reverse fitted tyres, or aquaplaning of one or more tyres, or the deliberate act of initiating a drifting manoeuvre or viloent braking. Only Carson would be in a position to know what might have happened. Certainly he had not finished the mobile call to his wife.

The loss of control resulted in the car slewing sideways and pointing at an angle of maybe 30 degrees towards the Kells bound lane. He was now only 720 milliseconds from the collision point. His direction of momentum was still parallel to the Antrim bound lane. The Subaru was   over 14 feet long and was now taking up most of the Antrim bound carriageway. His wheels did not mount the verge to his left nor did his rear bodywork touch the hedge.

Raymond also had 720 milliseconds to react. He was confronted by a car apparently coming on to his side of the road. His instinctive reaction was to steer to the right in an emergency manoeuvre. With a required thinking time of 600 milliseconds his car had only enough time to point right at an angle of around 30 degrees before the collision happened. The Nova came near to or just over the centre line of the carriageway when the two vehicles collided.  They met nearly head on. Evidence from Constable Cochrane would suggest the it was possible that the near side of the Nova hit the Subaru first, but it cannot be ruled out that the offside front wheel on the Nova was in line with the near side front wheel of the Subaru and that this contact acted as a fender. The outcome would have been the same.

The Subaru forced the Nova’s front clear of the ground during body collapse and pushed and rotated it clockwise to its right. This rotation would have minimally occurred over one length plus of the Nova but possibly more. The windscreen was shattered and the mirror and stem and glass particles were thrown by centrifugal force into the grass verge of the Antrim bound lane.  The cross member close to the inside of the front nearside wheel was bent down into a V shape The Nova came down heavily after rotation and this bent metal made the first deep gouge.  As the Nova continued to travel essentially in a straight line towards the hedge, it was bouncing and swaying  under the twin influence of the collapsed wheel and vertical oscillation and a further three gouge marks were made. The oscillations died down, the damaged front wings were dragged under their respective wheels and the Nova mounted the verge.

The Nova’s engine had stalled, it was in gear, the underside was damaged, and its front wheels had collapsed so it could be considered to be fully braked on the way to its rest position.

It mounted the verge and hit the side of the hedge at an angle of about 10 degrees glancing off it and collecting hedge debris under its nearside bonnet. It hit the hedge at a relatively slow speed. It caused some damage to the hedge which had acted somewhat as a crash barrier and forced the front of the Nova into the carriageway to a position right of its final rest position.

 At the point of collision, the Subaru driver was flung forward and his head hit the windscreen to the left of his steering wheel before being saved by activation of the airbag. His nearside wheel was punctured and collapsed. His speed was reduced and his tyres gripped again. His car’s momentum vector, modified to his left, veered his car to the left at an angle along the Antrim bound lane towards the Nova. He caught up with the Nova before it came to rest with its nose in the Antrim bound carriageway and crashed into it at a relatively slow speed. It scraped along the Nova’s offside, leaving horizontal score marks along the Subaru’s nearside and depositing paint on the Nova’s damaged  driver’s door as detailed by Constable Cochrane. The fresh debris seen clearly in Police photograph  at the side of the Nova’s front offside wing is the result of this second collision. The Nova was pushed back against the hedge, and the Subaru’s path was altered to the right to its final rest position straddling the centre line.

(The damage to the rear offside wing is irrelevant. All the marks were caused by a previous incident.)

 Carson’s mobile phone was still functioning in the car and his wife heard the crash and heard him say “I’m wrecked, I’m wrecked.”  She put down her phone and raced to the scene.

Witness 2 saw the debris flying in the air over the hedge but did not see what the Subaru had crashed into, confirming that the collision had happened on the Kells bound lane and no closer to the Antrim bound lane than the centre line. She got out of her car and made her way to the boot to recover her mobile phone.

Witness 4 was half a mile from the scene when he was overtaken by the Subaru at speed. If he was travelling at 50 mph to 60 mph, he was turning into Crosskeenan Road about 12 seconds after the collision occurred. He saw Witness 2 at the boot of her car. He was the first person to call the Police, and the call on his mobile account showed that it was made at 1449. The time of the collision must have been at  somewhere between 1448   and 1449.

Witness 1 was the first to arrive at the scene from the Antrim side where he found the road ahead blocked by the Subaru. After checking the two drivers, he telephoned the Ambulance Service. This call was received by their Controller at 1449. The call was made before he removed Carson from the car.

 This evidence shows that the accident happened at or around 1449 with a margin of 30 seconds either side allowing for rounding up or down of the nearest minute as recorded on mobile accounts. The Police and Ombudsman’s response to this evidence will be explored in a later post.

Accident investigation is not a precise science but it is also true that a  collision has but one true history. In this case, all of the evidence points to the events which I have described.  The provable evidence dismisses outright the impossible scenarios described by the Police and the Forensic Officer. 

The final decision is left to you.

If the police and/or the Forensic Officer had done their duty, then there is no doubt that, at the very least, they would have garnered sufficient evidence for a case of causing death by dangerous driving against Carson could have been considered by the Court.

To prevent that, it was  decided to forge or  corrupt the evidence.

 

The next post will be about the actions of the Police Family Liaison Officer.

Carson’s Second Set of Statements

Admin Note:-  Some readers are finding it difficult to use the Follow box and receive an email notification of the next post. Hopefully this can be fixed but in the meantime you can expect that a new  post will be scheduled for every Monday morning. I will tell you in advance should, for any reason, that pattern is broken.

PS  The follow button suggests you are are agreeing to a “subscription”. It does not mean you have to pay. The site is completely free !

 

 

As soon as I knew myself, I told Police in Antrim that I was concerned that the four uni-directional tyres were fitted back to front and that there was evidence that Carson was speaking to his wife on the phone when the crash happened and she heard it all. I also told him that I had a Report from Bridgestone in Canada that “the driver doesn’t receive the full benefit of wet weather tyre traction when tyres are reverse mounted.”  As a result it was decided by someone that Carson would have to be interviewed again.

When Carson was interviewed on 30th December 2003 about the ill fitted tyres and the mobile call, it was done so in the presence of his solicitor, Sgt Mc Bride and Constable Miller, and contemporaneous notes were taken of the conversation.  This is a record of the interview. ( I presume that his original statement was read to him.)

 

“Q. Is there anything you wish to add or alter to this statement?

    A. As I said to you before he was that far over on my side that I think I had to steer towards the right. If he’d been less on my side I’d have steered to the hedge.

General discussion about location of debris and point of impact. Discussion of Mr Carson’s actions at time of impact what he remembers seeing and the arrival of persons at the scene to assist him

Q.What speed were you doing at the time of the impact?

A. Being truthful I can’t be absolutely certain, but I wasn’t doing more than, I would say I was doing 50, 52 MPH.

Sgt McBride reads out statement of evidence of witness Three (Police Officer) verbatim to Mr Carson. 

Q.Have you any comments?

A. No. I definitely was not doing that speed at any time on that road. 

Q. If the conditions were wet, you would agree that a speed of 80/90 mph would be dangerous?

A. I would agree. I wouldn’t be doing any kind of that sort of speed in those conditions. It would be too dangerous.

Sgt McBride reads out statement of evidence of Witness Two ( female teacher).

Q. Have you anything to say?

A. I was definitely not doing that sort of speed definitely not. You shocked me when you mentioned speed. No way was I doing that speed no way. Q. Who services your car?

A. Subaru itself. (Name of Company given). My car was serviced about a week before accident, but I wasn’t given a stamp. Carson offered to supply evidence of this servicing.

Q.Who selected and fitted the tyres?A.

I would say it would have been me. I’ve two sets of tyres, a gold set and a silver set.

Q.Two sets of wheels?

A. Yes. Sometimes I change them over when I clean the car. Discussion of regularly changing the wheels.

Q. We believe the tyres have been rotated round the wheels. Who done that and when?

A.It could have been me, about a month or 6 weeks ago. I’d think it was me when I cleaned it.

Discussion if this could have been done by the Service people.

Extract of statement of Constable Cochrane read to Mr Carson. Explained that he is an AO for Police and examined the vehicle.  Extract refers to tyres on Mr Carson’s vehicle and that the tyres are directional

Q. Do you know what directional tyres are?

A. No.

Q. Further quote from Constable Cochrane. The tyres are back to front. All four of them. Your tyres, as they are fitted, were not able to disperse water as well as designed. Have you any comment?I wouldn’t know. 

A. I’ve never heard that before. I have changed back to front before.

Discussion of the effect of changing tyres and their performance on wet roads.

Q.Did you reverse the tyres for any speed advantage?

A. I wouldn’t have any idea of that kind of thing.

Discussion of rest of Constable Cochrane’s statement and performance of these tyres in wet weather and rotation of tyres to reduce wear.

Q.Prior to impact when you were driving where was your mobile phone ?

A. In my pocket, I can’t mind which one to be honest. When I was taken from the car I just fell to the ground.

Q. Was your mobile turned on at the time ?

A. No

Q.Did you make or receive any calls prior to the accident?

A.Yes I phoned the baby-minder or did I phone ****** (his wife), I can’t remember. To tell them I was going to lift the child. Prior to that I could have rung a wee girl in Kells.

Q. Were you using your mobile at the time of the accident ?

A. No.

Q.Were you receiving a call, was the phone ringing or in other way distracted you ?

A. No.

Q.Was the stereo on in your car ?

A. Yes, 9 times out of 10, yes.

Q.Were you adjusting or in any way moving parts of the stereo.

A.No.

Q. From the Crosskeenan junction to the location of the accident, there is a very mild right curve in the road. There is a natural tendency when travelling to Antrim to cut across this curve. Is it possible that you could have cut this curve and been on the wrong side of the road when the Nova appeared. You would have both veered to your side of the road in order to avoid each other. Could this have happened?

Constable Miller presents Mr Carson and his solicitor with a map of scene of the accident. Is there any possibility that you cut the centre of the road to take the slight bend in the corner?

A. No I stayed on my side of the road I only turned to the right to avoid the other car.

  1. General conversation re support for Mr Carson after accident provided.

 Mr Carson was then asked if he would like to say anything else at this stage, but he declined to say anything further.

Given Carson’s well-known expert knowledge of cars and motor cycles over many years, his reputation as a mechanical wizard, and his fearsome record for speeding means that the contents of this oral interview is simply a load of nonsense.

From this interview it is clear that Sgt McBride was aware that the collision happened on the Antrim side of the corner but later recorded it as being on the Kells side of the corner. He was also aware that there was a corner but his Report sketch shows only a straight road and he does not refer to the corner in his Report. This omission is repeated on the map prepared the Mapping Office. He was also aware that the tyres would possibly have a detrimental effect on handling in the wet. He also appears to know that unidirectional tyres are sometimes reversed for one reason or another to save wear.  

What happened to the map shown to Mr Carson at the interview showing the bend?

Mr Carson makes no mention in this interview of a call to his wife after he was removed from the car. That was to come in his unsolicited statement a few days later.

I did not receive this last statement detailing the interview with Mr Carson until the end of February 2008 and then only by a circuitous route.

As a result of that interview, Carson made another statement which he personally wrote a week later on 5th January 2004. He said:

“Following the visit of the police to my home on 30th December when certain allegations were put to me, I wish to make a further statement to clarify a number of matters. In the first place I am absolutely adamant that my speed was around about 50 mph, perhaps slightly over, perhaps slightly under. I know this quite simply because the weather conditions were very poor indeed. I also want to clarify the time of the accident which according to the police occurred at approximately 2.52pm. My mobile telephone records show that a few minutes after the accident, when I was pulled from the car, my first telephone call was to my wife and that has been recorded at 2.48pm. I therefore assume that the accident occurred around 2.43 pm to 2.44 pm. I was travelling to my daughter’s school which is approximately 3.5 miles away and therefore I had plenty of time to pick her up. There was no need for me to hurry and as I have said before I was aware of the weather at the time. As I explained in my earlier statement when I first noticed the other driver’s vehicle it was on my side of the road. I assumed that the other driver had moved over to my side of the road to avoid an obstruction or something. I simply could not believe when he did not move back to his side of the road but kept coming towards me. I would estimate his speed to be the same as mine, namely 50 mph. I instinctively braked and turned the car to the right in an effort to avoid an impact but it was far too late. The other driver (did) nothing to prevent the accident. I completely refute any suggestion that I was speeding either before the impact or at the time of the impact. The accident was not my fault and there was nothing in my opinion which I could have done to avoid it.”

Carson accepts that he made a call to his wife  at 1448 and that it was recorded in his phone records. Sgt McBride  knew this but pretended he didn’t know Inspector Ian White knew about it but lied to the Police Ombudsman. Everyone else agreed initially that the crash happened at 1449 or 1450 including all phone and message records recovered by me.

The time of 1448 agreed with my evidence that Carson’s wife was talking to her husband about the children when she heard the crash.

In a later post, I will lay out in detail how a series of police officers were corrupted in the Police Control Room to change the timing of the crash to 1444 to agree with Carson’s second written statement and so protect him from a probable charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

These two supplementary statements were withheld from me and my legal team until February 2008. In June 2008, I visited the garage which carried out the servicing on Carson’s car. It was serviced under warranty on 14th October 2003 some 27 days before the crash. The owner stated that they did not sell or fit tyres although they may have removed a wheel or two to carry out work on a front brake pad. Had his staff found any tyre fitted back to front they would have made it known to the driver and had it remedied. They found no such fault. The tyres were fitted correctly.

For Carson to then say that he may have  fitted  them himself incorrectly is just beyond rational belief. He would have to fit the tyres onto the loose rims incorrectly and/or then fit all four rims to the car incorrectly. One can safely conclude that he fitted the tyres deliberately back to front for a purpose. 

 Some three weeks after interviewing Carson, Sgt McBride stated on 24th January 2004 that “The Police found no evidence that the driver was on his mobile phone at the time of the accident and that I hadn’t checked his wife’s mobile or home phone as I wasn’t permitted to do so.”

Just over a year after these statements I had decided to make a formal complaint to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. As part of their investigation my solicitor was asked to put certain questions to the Police. Inspector Ian White replied :-

  1. Question. It is not disputed that the Subaru was fitted with Bridgestone Potenza RE011 unidirectional tyres and that all four tyres were fitted against the required direction of rotation. On 22nd January 2004, the Police stated that the local Bridgestone representative had assured them that the tyres would have had no bearing on the cause of the accident. This is contrary to the views of Bridgestone in Canada and other reputable bodies who have been asked for their views. It is accepted that detailed research may have to be carried out to establish the effect ill fitted tyres might have but the Police Report should include relevant factors such as the condition of the road, weather, adverse camber, angle of corner, change of road surface etc., pending such tests.
  2. Answer. Police have been informed by a Bridgestone representative that the tyres had no bearing on the cause of the accident. If you wish to follow your assertions I suggest you employ the services of the relevant person you require in Canada to follow this up for you. I do not see the need for any further police investigation.
  3.  Question.It is a fact that a telephone conversation took place between Mr Carson and his wife at or around the time of the accident. Mrs Carson states that her husband phoned her immediately after the accident although Mr Carson does not mention it. The police have stated that they have checked Mr Carson’s mobile account and he had not made a call at the relevant time. Mr”witness 1″ who was one of the first individuals on the scene, indicated that no call was made by Mr Carson and therefore it can be argued that there was very little time for Carson to initiate a call before Mr “witness 1” arrived. When one considers that Mr Carson had been injured as a result of this very serious accident, and in fact had broken both knees and had injured his head as well as other injuries, it is most unlikely that he was able to make the call and therefore it will be necessary to investigate this matter again. To confirm exactly when the telephone call was made i.e. before the accident or just prior to the accident or as the accident happened. No doubt this would have a great bearing on the case once it is established when this phone call was actually made. We believe this is quite an important factor and can therefore not be left in abeyance.
  4. Answer. Police have already checked the mobile phone account of this person, as agreed by you. No call was made at the relevant time on checking this account. Mrs Carson may state her husband phoned her immediately after the collision, however Mrs Carson was not present at the scene and cannot say when the collision occurred. Therefore no further investigation is necessary.

Not only did I find Inspector White’s replies arrogant and contemptuous in the extreme but he seemed to be cocking a snook at the Ombudsman who was pointedly suggesting a reinvestigation of these points. He was also lying through his teeth.  The Police are the appointed investigators of fatal road crashes, but he was suggesting that we should find our own experts. He deliberately ignored inaccurate or false evidence in the Police Report added more and was suggesting that his investigator’s Report was fine and accurate. 

If they haven’t already left the Police Service both of these officers should be removed forthwith.

My next post will be a good deal shorter and will try to explain exactly how the crash happened.

Soon after that I will tell you why,  if you take my advice, you will never accept the offer of a Family Liaison Officer(FLO) from the PSNI to assist you in your dealings with the Police even if you are completely innocent and on the side of the angels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Brief Descriptions

DRIFTING

Drifting is a driving technique where the driver intentionally oversteers, with loss of traction in the rear wheels or all tyres, while maintaining control and driving the car through the entirety of a corner. Car drifting is caused when the rear slip angle is greater than the front slip angle, to such an extent that often the front wheels are pointing in the opposite direction to the turn (e.g. car is turning left, wheels are pointed right or vice versa. This is also known as opposite lock or counter steering). Good and responsible drivers do it on closed tracks, whilst irresponsible and criminal drivers feel free to do it on quiet roads with lots of excessive bends. Please click on the link below to see a sample of drifting taken by me at Nutts Corner Track. Note that the track has been deliberately soaked to increase slipperiness (or reduce friction) . It is also done to help preserve tyre wear  because drifting seriously damages tyres and seriously shortens tyre life. My research shows that drifters often have two sets of tyres, one set for everyday use and another solely for drifting. It is also worth noticing at this stage that the front wheels of the drifting cars are pointing in the opposite direction to the direction of travel.

http://streamable.com/nu9sh

 

As part of my investigation, I employed an experienced drifting instructor from England who visited the scene, studied all the evidence and wrote a detailed Report which I will refer to later in more detail. Suffice to say that, although the corner in question was insufficient to carry out a full drifting manoeuvre,he concluded that the Subaru collided with the Nova in a serious oversteer  configuration. He will also say that drifters often fit uni-directional tyres backwards, not to make drifting easier, but to preserve tyre wear. He does so at his own drifting school because of the cost savings.

Later again, I will detail Reports from Bridgestone Tyre Company Canada, a full Report from a senior tyre researcher from Goodyear, another Report from an engineer from Europe’s leading tyre trader along with other expert views.

Neither the PSNI nor Forensics ever properly researched the use of reversed uni- directional tyres in the wet let alone the tyres fitted to the Subaru. Either they couldn’t be bothered or they didn’t want to know the truth lest it would reflect badly on themselves or on Carson.

Uni-directional Tyres

These are tyres that should only be fitted in one direction onto a car. The direction is indicated by an arrow and the word Rotation as demonstrated in this photograph.

Unlike the multi-directional tyre used on most family cars, if this tyre is fitted against the direction of rotation there is a serious loss of adhesion between the tyre and the road surface. This applies only if the road is wet and not if the road is dry. The degree of deterioration of grip is varied  depending on the amount of surface water, the depth of tread remaining and the speed of the vehicle. It is recommended that these special tyres should be fitted only by an experienced fitter.

The uni-directional tyre was brought into use to overcome a problem with modern sporty cars such as the Subaru Impretza driven by Carson. It was found that the new wheel width and flatter profile fitted to such cars could not disperse the water on the road surface fast enough to ensure that the rubber of the tyre was in contact with the road surface. Research found that these tyres needed a special tread pattern.  A channel which pointed rearwards to the direction of travel was the most successful way to disperse the surface water. This in turn meant that the tyre itself could only be fitted in one direction, otherwise the channels would tend to fill up with water instead of dispersing it. This in turn would decrease the speed where aquaplaning could take place, or the speed at which the car would skid and control could be lost.

The water channels are facing rearwards to clear the channels. If the tyres are reversed then the road water will tend to be forced into the channels and turn the tyres into a slick surface. It is less simplistic than I have  described but, in my defence, there are hundreds of scientists around the world working to fine tune these tyre patterns to achieve maximum grip with many possible combinations. To see the effect of slick tyres on wet tracks just watch the next F1 race when a sudden downfall hits a dry track. The race cars slow down and gingerly make their way back to the pits to change to wet weather tyres. Some might even crash on the way back to the tyre change.

Uni- directional tyres are fitted on most motor bikes and scooters and the simplest pattern can be seen on the rear wheels of a Tractor! You might ask a farmer what happens if he has to reverse a tractor  across a muddy field. The channels will soon fill up with mud and the wheels will proportionally lose their grip. These are just two examples of uni-directional tyres. I might ask Forensics and the Police, who insist the tyres are irrelevant if they think they know more than a vast team of dedicated scientists. I’m sure they don’t.

Aquaplaning

This term is used when a layer of water forms between the surface of the car tyres and the road surface, breaking the contact between the car tyres and the road. When the car begins to aquaplane, its tyres lose contact with the road and the car stops responding to control inputs such as braking, steering and acceleration.

Tyres also fulfil the duty of helping the car grip onto the road through corners. The grooves in them are designed to dissipate water that is on the road. If the volume of water on the road is greater than the volume of tread on your tyres, there will be a surplus of water which cannot be dissipated and the car can start aquaplaning. If  the tyres are reversed against the direction required by the design of the tread, then the risk of aquaplaning is increased as the tread depth is decreased as the channels fill with water which is noncompressable. My tyre expert in Canada estimated in his Report that the loss of traction of the reversed tyres in the Subaru could be up to 48%.

In the next post, I will deal in greater detail with Carson’s second verbal and second written statement. I will also detail the  extent of the PSNI response to my well founded concerns about the falsehoods in their initial investigation.

 

 

Analysis of Carson’s Statements to Police

Carson made two written statements and two oral statements. At the scene of the collision he made a verbal statement to the Police which simply said “The other driver veered across me towards me.” This conflicts with his written statement for Police the day after the collision.

“I am the owner of a Subaru Impretza, black coloured registration mark AJZ 7200. On Tuesday 11/11 2003 at approximately 1430 hours I left Ballymena in my vehicle and headed towards Antrim. I went along the Steeple Road as I intended to collect my daughter at Antrim Primary School. I recall the weather as being a wet and being an awful day. I cannot honestly say what speed I was doing. I remember that I was not in any hurry or panic. I recall as I was approaching the McClenaghan’s crossroad (a local name of the staggered  junction) a red car, possibly a Renault, pulled out from my left, crossed the Steeple Road and through the junction and continued carrying onwards to my right. I do not recall who was driving the car or how many people were in the car. I remember placing my foot on the brake to slow the car down, but I didn’t stop. I would say that the red car passed in front of me at a distance of about 20 yards. I continued on the Steeple Road towards Antrim. I remembered a grey Nova coming over the brow of the hill. This vehicle was on the Steeple Road travelling from the Antrim direction. As our two vehicles became closer I remember the Nova started to gradually cross the centre of the road and come onto my side of the road. Initially I thought that there must be something at the side of the road that this car was avoiding and that the car would pull back onto its own side of the road. I was not worried at this stage and I didn’t brake. I can only say that the next moment that it was too late and both our cars collided head on. I don’t remember if I braked before the impact but my right ankle is swollen so I might have braked heavily. Before the impact I don’t remember seeing who was driving the Nova or what physical state the person was in. After the impact I can recall just sitting there for a few moments, I didn’t go unconscious at any time. I then remember taking off my seatbelt and trying to get out of the car but I couldn’t. I think I was trapped slightly in the car. I remember a chap coming towards my car from the direction of Antrim. I don’t remember what he was driving or what he looked like. I can only   say he was about 35 years old. This man helped me out of the car and put me down on the road. I lay down on the road next to the car with my head towards the rear of the car. I can remember a few more people coming on the scene. I can remember that a woman was there and her name was Sally. I can remember before I got lifted out of the car that the Police had arrived and a policeman holding my head. As I lay on the road the ambulance arrived. I remember a needle being stuck in my arm and my clothes being cut off. I was conveyed by ambulance to Antrim Area Hospital where I was x-rayed and my legs put in a cast. Later that evening I was conveyed to the Royal Victoria hospital, Belfast. As a result of the collision I have cuts to my forehead, bruises and cuts to my hands, both kneecaps broken and my right ankle is broken.”

 Before I review the content of this first written statement I will explain the significance of the photograph below.

This photograph shows the first position that Carson could see any part of the road on the Antrim side of the crash site.

 It will be worthwhile now to analyze the contents of Carson’s first verbal and written statement and check the contents against the known facts.  I am sufficiently realistic to know that it is in the nature of some people to make a statement that would protect their own position. They might  weight the evidence  in their own favour, and might even fabricate it to convey a different version of events. They would lie.  It would be the Investigator’s job to check the statement against the known facts, to point out any discrepancies, and take those into consideration when finally arriving at a conclusion about the cause of the collision or the consideration of prosecution. It seems clear to me that Sgt McBride did not attempt to verify the contents of these statements against the facts but seems to have accepted them as they agreed with his conclusions about the cause of the collision. If he had done so, then it would have been clear to him that Carson’s account was not consistent with the facts.

Carson says that he slowed down on his way to the junction to allow a red car coming from the Crosskeenan Road to cross in front of him. Why didn’t Sergeant McBride check with Witness 2 if this was true. If he had done so as I did, he would have found that no such car existed.

Carson states that he saw the Nova coming over the brow of the hill. This could not be so.  He cannot see the brow of the hill until he passes the junction with the Crosskeenan Road.  If he was travelling at 60 mph   at the time he says he first saw the Nova, he was just 3.2 seconds away from the collision point. For the Nova to arrive at the collision point from the brow at the same time, he would have had to travel at over 180 mph. This was impossible.

He could not see any approaching vehicle until he had reached the junction with Crosskeenan Road,and he could not see a vehicle on the Kells bound lane until he was some 10 yards past the junction.

If the Subaru was travelling at 80 mph, as claimed by the witnesses and, as later confirmed by Conservation of Momentum calculations, then he was a mere 2.4 seconds away from the collision  point the first time he could have been aware of an oncoming car on either carriageway. But during that short time he says that “As our two vehicles became closer I remember the Nova started to gradually cross the centre of the road and come onto my side of the road. Initially I thought that there must be something at the side of the road that this car was avoiding and that the car would pull back onto its own side of the road. I was not worried at this stage and I didn’t brake. I can only say that the next moment that it was too late and both our cars collided head on.”

He wasn’t worried?  He was  2.4 or 3.2 seconds away from disaster and death !

 It seems that this statement was plausible to Sgt McBride perhaps because he had not bothered to check the sight lines of the drivers. These assertions remained unchallenged.  For me, this written statement conflicts with Carson’s verbal statement at the scene where he said that the Nova “veered across me” which is different to it coming down the wrong side of the road.

In his first statement he couldn’t “honestly say what speed I was doing”. In his second written statement he remembers that both vehicles were travelling at 50 mph. This will shortly be detailed in a later blog when the second verbal and second written statement are analysed and published.

In his first statement he makes a point of saying that he released his own seatbelt before he was removed from the car. Why was it important to include that detail in the statement? In any case, both his hands were badly cut and bruised and he had  fractures to both his kneecaps and a broken ankle and he had received a blow to the head. To remove a seatbelt would have been painful in the extreme if even possible. Clearly the seatbelt didn’t work or at least didn’t stop him hitting his head on the windscreen.

These injuries are consistent with a seat belt not being used.  Police Constable Cochrane who was the PSNI vehicle inspector made it clear in his Report that Carson was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash. I understand that Carson later admitted this to Alliance Insurance assessors. It is worth noting that, almost uniquely for the PSNI, Constable Cochrane presented an accurate, honest and detailed vehicle Report with integrity and professionalism. 

In his first written statement, Carson makes no mention of phoning his wife post crash. In his subsequent verbal interview with Sgt McBride, he cannot remember if he phoned his wife and he says nothing about phoning her post collision. In his second written statement a few days later, he remembers that he called his wife at work after he was removed from the car. The circumstances surrounding the call to his wife and the use of his mobile at the time of the collision will be dealt with in a later post.  When you read it you will probably not believe what the Police did to support his story.

It must have been a great relief to both Carson and McBride that they arrived at the same conclusion as to the cause of my brother’s death even though they both included so many falsehoods in their respective Reports.It is quite uncanny to me.

I try to keep these posts to a manageable size. I have therefore decided to leave Carson’s second verbal and written statements till after the next post.

I think it might be important that you know something about the terminology which will begin to creep into the narrative over the next few posts. Therefore, in the next post I will explain as best I can what is meant by DRIFTING, UNI- DIRECTIONAL TYRES, TREAD PATTERNS, AQUAPLANING and a few other weird words.  I may even throw in the word TRACTOR.! To those who do not find these words strange I apologise. You can skip to the next post. For the rest of us I will try to keep it informative.

 

 

The False Police Report of the Collision

This post will detail the many falsehoods or deliberate lies in the Police Collision Report. It was prepared by Sergeant  McBride who was crash investigator and its contents supported and supervised by Inspector White. Additional details of the cover ups will follow in future posts.

The Collision Report was the primary reference on which all conclusions were based including that Carson was blameless and the crash was caused by my brother driving down the wrong side of the road. Its contents and conclusion still remain in place and not amended even today and its many recipients have never been informed that it is a tissue of lies even though the Police admit it is. This includes the two insurance companies, the Public Prosecution Service, the Coroner,  other police experts, civilian crash investigators, Forensics, various legal teams, and Courts. It  is why my brother’s family received no compensation from either insurance company for his death and why they have had to live with the false evidence that was used to accuse him of causing his own death.  This Report and subsequent false additions created to support its contents ensured that Carson was never considered to be charged for causing death by dangerous driving.

Soon after the crash I had started my own investigation, obtained a solicitor for legal advice and contacted several expert investigators to help with the more technical aspects of the collision. Some three months after the crash  Chief Inspector Purce of Antrim Station confirmed that the investigating officer believed the accident arose as a result of the Nova’s presence on the wrong side of the road.  I had previously been told by Sgt McBride on 24 Jan 2004 that the case had already been sent to th Public Prosecution Service for final disposal. Since I had already concluded that there may be a prima facie case to consider a charge of causing death by dangerous driving  against Carson, I asked for a Forensic Accident investigator to be appointed to report on the case. This was eventually done and I will detail his involvement in a later post.

We asked for a copy of the Police Report but it was not made available to us until well after the Forensic Report was completed. It was made available, for a fee,  on November 2004, some one year later.

The “Report of Traffic Collision” showed itself to consist of 21 pages and we had received 9 pages. I have no reason to believe that there was anything sinister in not including the missing 12 pages. Attached to the Report was a map of scale 1:50,000 prepared by the Mapping Section at Police Headquarters. The pages were laid out in a logical format with a list of questions down the left hand side and a series of boxes or sometimes blank spaces to be filled in on the right. Other questions required a narrative.  It was obviously designed to ensure that all essential evidence collected by the Investigating Officer was accurately recorded and that no essential information was excluded. Here is a sample page from the Report :-

 

I quickly worked my way through the Investigator’s entries and then again line by line because I could hardly believe what I had just read. Mostly it was a load of fiction that bore no relation to the facts. I will list the errors:

  • The time of the collision was shown as 1450 hours but  reported to the Police at 1543 some 53 minutes after the event. This was clearly wrong.
  • He failed to indicate if the person who reported the collision had made a statement.
  • The exact location of the collision is reported as having occurred 30 metres on the Antrim side (south) of the junction with the Crosskeenan Road when in fact it happened some 85 metres from the junction and on the other side of the corner. This was an extremely serious error as any reader would conclude that the collision happened after the Nova came round the blind bend and the Subaru was on the straight part of the road. The opposite was true. The Subaru had come round the corner and crashed into the Nova.
  • He failed to indicate who made the sketch map of the scene, or when it was made, a careless omission.
  • He showed himself as a witness to the collision when clearly he was not.
  • He did not show the cubic capacity of the Subaru’s engine as he is required to do so.
  • He failed to list fully the type of Subaru which would have given a clear indication of its performance.
  • He did not record the colour of the car.
  • He failed to indicate if ABS brakes were fitted to the Subaru although this information may have had a vital significance in the crash.
  • He failed to indicate if Davis was wearing his seatbelt given that his head had hit the windscreen, but instead completed the question with the letters N/A which could mean not available or not applicable.
  • He suggested that the driver had given a breath test at the scene which proved negative. Given the driver’s injuries, I doubt if this occurred. He was later given a breath test at the hospital. This proved negative.
  • He showed that the weather at the time was fine, even though he later briefed the Forensic Officer that it had been raining at the time.
  • He failed to show the cc of the Nova which would have indicated its performance.
  • In section 4.6 he failed to record that there was a critical bend in the road as the form instructs.
  • Again in section 4.6 he indicated that the road narrowed at the scene of the accident even though careful measurements showed that it widened by a few inches at the scene.
  • In section 5.1 he described the collision debris as being “all over the area” when it was his duty as Investigating Officer to accurately record it in detail.
  • In the same section he states that some debris was distorted by the Emergency Services at the scene, even though Police photographs suggest that this wasn’t so and that none entered the debris field. One fire engine parked at the start of the debris field would not have distorted the main field. In any case, a slow-moving vehicle might crush debris, but it wouldn’t re-distribute it to any significant degree.
  • In section 5.4 he stated that the Subaru “would have a clear unobstructed view of the road ahead.” This was untrue as he was clearly approaching a blind corner.
  • In this same section, he suggested that the Nova driver had a clear view to the staggered junction when this was clearly  not true. The video of the scene clearly shows these sight lines.
  • In section 6.1 he stated that the Subaru driver was wearing a seatbelt, conflicting with his previous entry.  The Police vehicle examiner stated clearly that Carson was not wearing his seatbelt.  He later agreed with this and had his compensation reduced.

I checked the detailed map which accompanied the Report and found that the road was mapped as being perfectly straight without the hint of a bend. The blind bend had been dismissed.Three gouges were indicated instead of four but a series of thirteen marks on the road surface between gouges 1 and 2 are shown where I found none.

 About five years later, I received a copy of the original sketch map drawn at the scene. It showed a perfectly straight road all the way from the final positions of the two vehicles to the staggered junction and showed neither  debris nor gouge marks.

 Some errors in the Report were relatively minor whilst other vital information was totally wrong and would give a false understanding of the causes of the collision. I found it almost impossible to understand how anyone could introduce so many errors into what was a crucial Police Report which would be used as a reference by every agency involved. After all, a man had died as a result of this collision, and it wasn’t simply the Report of a damage only accident. There was very little information in it that was not corrupted or falsified.

 Of the 19 main errors, I assessed that 4 of them were neutral, 15 favoured Davis’s version of events and none favoured the driver of the Nova. If the errors were random, then one would expect that they would fall approximately equally for and against each driver. Using the Laws of Probability, I calculated that the chance of 15 out of 19 being randomly in favour of one driver were 32,768 to 1. The chance of none of the errors favouring the Nova driver was calculated to be 524,288 to 1.  It is worth pointing out that Sgt McBride did not disagree about the existence of the errors only about how they arose, as will be explored later. It was clear to me that these could not be considered random errors.

I tried to find a reason why the Report was so inaccurate.

There is a behavioural phenomenon known as confirmation bias where there is a tendency to only seek and interpret information that confirms existing beliefs and ignoring everything else.  A well-known example would be the cause of the Kegworth Air disaster where the pilot was convinced that the good engine was in fact the damaged one, and, in spite of indications to the contrary,  he ignored the evidence and closed down the good engine with disastrous results. Sgt McBride arrived at the scene and was briefed about Raymond’s heart condition. As a result he may have come to the conclusion that Raymond had a heart attack and drifted onto the wrong carriageway. I considered that his later Report might be a case of confirmation bias.  Later I was to be convinced that it was much more sinister and a more conscious act than that. However innocently it started out, it ended up by the Police changing a lot of other evidence to justify their initial findings.

Early in March or April of 2005, Sgt McBride admitted to the Police Ombudsman that much of his Report was wrong. However, neither he nor Inspector White felt the need to change it, or their conclusion based on it, or to tell the many recipients of the Report’s failings.

Over time, I told all the recipients of McBride’s admissions but none felt the need to question the original Report. The Chief Constable ( Hugh Ord) was also informed but did nothing. Even  in 2012  when Chief Constable Hamilton called for a new investigation and found that the Report was wrong, his investigator would not admit that the conclusion was also wrong.He did not even suggest that the Collision Report should be changed. By then other lies had been introduced in order to reinforce the findings and to cover up the original Report.Those additional lies were taken as fact by the investigator. I will detail those lies much later in this blog and name the perpetrators of them.

Is it too harsh to call Sgt McBride and Inspector White liars ? You can decide for yourself by reading the following evidence.

Every witness, including the Police and  Ambulance phone records show that the crash happened at 2.49-2.50 pm.

Within the first two weeks I had informed the Police that I was told by two reliable witnesses that Carson was  speaking to his wife on his mobile phone at the time of the crash and that she heard it happen.

On 22nd January 2004, I was told by Sgt McBride that “the police found no evidence that the driver was on his mobile phone at the time of the accident and that he hadn’t checked his wife’s mobile or home phone as he wasn’t permitted to do so.”

On 23rd July 2005 in response to a question posed by the Police Ombudsman through my solicitor regarding my allegation about the use of a mobile phone used by Carson at the time of the crash, Inspector Ian White wrote :-     “Re the phone call – Police have already checked the mobile phone account of this person, as agreed by you.  No call was made at the relevant time on checking this account. Mrs Carson may state her husband phoned immediately after the collision however Mrs Carson was not present at the scene and cannot say when the collision occurred. Therefore no further investigation is necessary.”

On 26th November 2004, I received a copy of the Collision Report. The witness statements were missing from the bundle even though they had been paid for.

On 14th December 2004 the seven witness statements arrived with a covering letter from Dorothy ……….. of the Criminal Justice Unit for District Commander which stated “The witness statements are enclosed for your perusal, no other statements are available.”  The one statement by Carson was included.

On 8th November 2005, through my solicitor, I received a 2nd statement written by Carson .  It had been passed to us from Dorothy ………  Previously I had not known of its existence, but McBride and therefore White did when they made their statements to me on 22nd January 20004 and 23rd July 2005 respectively.

The statement was written by Carson on 5th January 2004 and witnessed by McBride at the time !

In his second statement Carson admitted that his phone record showed that he had made a call to his wife at 2.48pm, ie just a minute or two before the official time of the crash and argued that he crash was at 2.44 pm instead.

Much later in this blog, I will give you  full details of the fantastic fairytale that the Police then spun in  to change the time of the crash to 2.44 pm to agree with Carson’s assertion in his second statement. You will be able to read Carson’s statements in the next post.

Meanwhile, you may wish to ponder if you would be happy to have either of these two officers deal with a case you were involved with. You might also wonder if either will be held account for their behaviour.

I hope you all had a lovely Easter. The weather today is pretty awful.

 

 

The first 7 days after the crash

I was told of the fatal crash when I returned home around 6 pm. I made my way to Raymond’s home and was told that some of the family had visited the scene. The police were still sweeping away the debris and they stated that the crash was most probably caused by Raymond having a heart attack, crossing unto the wrong side of the road and crashing into an oncoming Subaru. It was later confirmed to me that the Police had also suggested this cause to he pathologist when a post-mortem was called for. Although Raymond had been given a clean bill of health to resume working, we all accepted that the Police conclusion was probably accurate.

That night,Raymond’s family asked if I would deal with his affairs and I readily agreed and some time later raised Letters of Administration for his estate . Part of that responsibility was to recover any Insurance compensation due to his estate as a result of his death in the crash.

The following day, with Raymond’s eldest son, I went to the crash site.  The crash had clearly happened as Raymond was approaching a blind bend on the narrow road. Some of the debris was still lying at the side of the road, and the  gouge marks were clear on the road surface and other marks on the grass verge. It was a cursory visit but later the area would be given a very detailed and professional inspection.

We made our way to the storage pound to where the two vehicles had been recovered.

Subaru Impreza WRX

The driver’s head had hit the windscreen just to his left of the steering wheel. Did that suggest that he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and did it suggest that his car was in some sort of sideways skid when it crashed ?

Vauxhall Nova

The roof had been cut off by the firemen at the scene to give access to Raymond, so the car might appear worse than it was. However, the crash damage was still horrendous.

We met an Insurance Assessor involved in the case. He said that, in his view, “massive speed” was involved in the crash

He pointed out to us that all four tyres on the Subaru were one-directional and all had been fitted back to front. He did not say and we did not know to ask the significance of that. It was sometime later when we found out.

He also said that he could find no record of the Subaru being insured.  I knew Raymond was insured Third Party Fire and Theft and according to Police, had caused the crash, so there was no claim to be made. I didn’t follow this up and dismissed it from my mind when I saw the  Police Report for the first time and a policy was listed for the Subaru.It is shown as

Norwich Union Company

Date of Issue     22 December 2002

Number NBN 58343 – cover note number

Policy Holder Glyn Carson

Vehicle number  AJZ  7200

Given the lies in the rest of the Police Report which you will see shortly and even after such a long time, I am curious if this refers to an authentic policy for the Subaru. You can contact me in confidence through the Blog or through http://www.tincart@virginmedia.com

 

I was asked by the family to help identify Raymond’s body at Belfast City Mortuary and I agreed. We were driven there and back by a Police Officer who was appointed as the Family liaison Officer(FLO). After the formalities were over we were approached by a female member of staff. She told us that she thought we would like to know that, after examination, it was clear that Raymond did not have a heart attack on the day of the crash.The pathologist was later to write in his Report that “the old heart attack and an old stroke played no part in the fatal outcome.”

Even though the FLO heard this and the Post-mortem Report later stated this  clearly, the Police would not amend their conclusions.

Much later I will relate in detail how, many years hence, the Police and the Chief Coroner combined to persuade the pathologist to change his Report. They were almost totally unsuccessful thanks to a pathologist of integrity.

Later still, I will tell you why in my view you should never accept the help of a Police Family Liaison Officer (FLO) even if you consider yourself the innocent party.

The funeral was attended by a large crowd reflecting the esteem in which Raymond was held and the tragic circumstances of his death. Carson’s wife was attending another funeral at the same time. One of our party who knew her well spoke with her, offered her sympathy and asked about Glyn’s injuries. Her reply was “Don’t concern yourself about him. He got everything he deserved” When I heard this, I was left with the distinct impression that Carson, who I did not  know personally, might have a reputation reference his driving methods.

Over the coming days and weeks, people called in to my shop to express sympathy but also to tell me more about Carson’s reputation as a driver. I heard about his love of fast cars and fast driving and his convictions. I heard about his behaviour when he was a member of the local motorcycle club. I heard he was a fine mechanic,was very knowledgeable about cars and had his own well equipped garage. He was even known to service and tune the private cars of the local Police whom he knew well through his work. I decided I would need to investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash just to satisfy myself that the Police had got it right. I was also told by several people that they would never accept the offer of a lift in his car because of his reckless ways.

A close member of Carson’s family confirmed to me that Carson was speaking to his wife on the phone at the time of the crash and she heard it happen. She was in her office at the time. This was confirmed by an independent witness who knew it to be true. The family member also informed me that Carson had been drinking in a club in Kells before the crash. I will detail my investigations into these matters at a later time and how the Police responded to them. As for his reputation for being a fast driver, I experienced it myself a few months later. I was travelling along the Dublin Road from Belfast International Airport  towards Antrim. Just before Dungonnell Orange Hall, Carson overtook me in his replacement car at a speed I estimated to be 90 mph. I was probably doing around 60 MPH at the time. It was clear that his standard of driving had not improved after the crash.

The next post will detail the lies in the Police Report and the comparison with the lies in Carson’s first written statement. You might wonder how two independently prepared statements could mesh so accurately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location of Crash

So that you may more easily follow my dealings with the Justice System in later posts, I am including a short video of the site of the crash and beyond. I also introduce the four witnesses who were involved close to the crash. I have given each a number only because they acted as all good citizens would but were  further rewarded with unnecessary hassle from the Justice System. I have no wish to involve them further other than to thank them for all that they did.

I apologise for the quality of the video. My camera and voice are both very old ! To view the short video :

Click on link below.

https://streamable.com/g67yq

 

Aerial view of the scene

Exposure of Northern Ireland’s “Justice” System

On Tuesday 11th November 2003 my brother Raymond was driving along the Steeple Road outside Antrim on his way to collect his two grandchildren from primary school. He was travelling at about 35 mph. As he approached a blind corner on the narrow road, a Subaru Impreza car driven by Mr Glyn Carson exited the blind bend and crashed into my brother almost head on.  All independent professional witnesses found that Raymond was on his own carriageway when the collision happened.

Three civilian witnesses assessed the speed of the Subaru at or near the collision to be  70 to 80 MPH and other expert calculations assessed its speed above the speed limit. The legal speed limit was 60 mph.

It was later discovered that Carson had many convictions for exceeding the speed limit, that he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, that he was using his mobile phone at the time of the crash, and his unidirectional tyres were fitted back to front ( a favoured configuration for drivers who indulged in illegal “drifting”).

My brother did not survive the crash and died at the scene. Carson was badly injured.

The Police, Ambulance and Fire Brigade all attended the scene and the Police investigation was led by Sgt Alan McBride who, in turn, was supervised by Inspector Ian White as Criminal Justice Manager of Antrim Police Station.

A fireman, who knew my brother well, rightly told the other Emergency staff that  Raymond had  a previous heart condition. On this flimiest of evidence and ignoring all other possibilities, Sgt McBride decided that the crash had been caused by Raymond suffering a heart attack, crossing on to the wrong side of the road and crashing into the Subaru. That night he also indicated this cause to the pathologist and then went on to complete a false Collision Report which supported his conclusion. Forensic Offficers were not called to the scene to investigate.

Strangely, Carson’s first written statement  tended to  support the Sergeant’s conclusion but a cursory inspection  shows that his story had no basis in fact.

As soon as the post-mortem was completed, the pathologist stated firmly that his examination showed that Raymond did not have a heart attack of any kind and his health prior to the crash was fine. His first written Report reflected this finding.

Even though Sgt McBride was told this he did not review his findings or his Report.

I was granted Letters of Administration to settle my brother’s estate, but since my brother was insured Third Party only, I was unable to make a claim against Carson’s  insurance policy on behalf of his estate whilst the false Police Report remained in place.

It took 10 years and many hundreds  of hours to finally get the Police to admit that the original Report was false, but they did not change their conclusion as to the cause of the crash or even circulate the amended Report to the original recipients. You might wonder who they were trying to protect.

Its clear to me now that  the Police will never reverse this injustice, not least because they would also have to admit that they also lied to all of the other Justice Agencies who rode to their defence and protected them when their actions were first challenged. Further, the Police knew full well that they had little expertise in collecting evidence or assessing blame at road crashes.  Knowing this they still refused to get help from or use outside experts but chose instead to cover up for their own mistakes.

It has taken another 4 years to bring this shocking story to a wider readership. I will detail the actions that most of the Justice System took to protect itself against any criticism or challenge and the way each colluded with the other to do so.

I will not present all of the  evidence I have to show in detail how and why the crash really happened except where it is required to clarify my case against the Justice System. It is for a court to apportion blame and punish the perpetrator should it find cause. In this case the PSNI never gave the Public Prosecution Service a choice. However, by the end  of this blog you will probably be in a position to come to a reasoned conclusion about everything.

You will see, as this exposition unfolds, the default of the Police was to delay, falsify, collude and threaten in order to sidestep any responsibility towards providing Justice. They were ably helped in this by most  of the rest of the Justice System, who, at the very least, were prepared to turn a blind eye to the truth.

During these many years, I have sought help from practically every body connected with the administration of Justice in Northern Ireland.

The long list includes the PSNI, the Forensic Service, the Police Ombudsman, the Public Prosecution Service, the Attorney General, the Lord Chief Justice, the Policing Board, the NI Ombudsman, the Coroner’s Office, the Assembley’s Dept of Justice, Several MPs and MLAs, many civilian experts and even HM the Queen.

With the use of correspondence, recordings,videos etc, I will relate the whole sorry  tale. By the end, you may come to the conclusion as I have that our Justice System is corrupt to the core, that the corruption is institutionalised, and its prime purpose is to protect those who are its practitioners within and always overriding  the need for Justice.

 

STANLEY LYNN

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beginning

The Aftermath

(Note that my brother’s car has been forced across the road and rotated through almost 180 degrees by the  Subaru.)

 

In spite of everything I have experienced in this case, it is still my belief that, as with the vast majority of citizens in Northern Ireland, most people working in the Justice System here do so with integrity and honesty. However there is a coterie who are prepared to set Justice aside in order to protect the failures of one of their own. Further they have the expectation that they will never be challenged, probably because they have been doing it successfully for a long time without censure.

Someone said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil was that good men should do nothing.”

I ask all good men  and women to read this blog and decide for themselves if it has a familiar ring of what they have experienced or have heard almost daily in the news.  You might  then agree that our Justice System needs an immediate and comprehensive overhaul and a culling of those within it who believe that they have a right to manipulate it to their own whims and needs.

You can follow the whole story by ensuring that http://www.junkjusticeni.com is in your browser and you have completed the “Follow” box.

It is planned that this blog will begin during the second week of March 2018 or thereabouts, when I expect that the initial admin is completed.

In the meantime feel free to use the Comment box.