Former Loyalist prisoner accuses police of going on “fishing exercise”

Former Loyalist prisoner accuses police of going on “fishing exercise”
By Alan Erwin
09 February 2015
BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

Former Loyalist prisoner Winston ‘Winkie’ Rea accused the police of going after him in a “fishing exercise” after his legal challenge to his Boston College project interview.

Rea did not attend the court today but his fellow loyalist William ‘Plum’ Smith did and following the outcome issued a statement in his colleague’s name.

Rea said in the statement: “The controversy and speculation of the present legal battle by the PPS and PSNI to have my tapes impounded from the USA because they have suspicion or speculation that they might contain information that might be useful to them is nothing more than a fishing exercise.

“They list a wide ranging web of allegations that go beyond the realms of investigation.”

“They list that I met John Major in 1996 during the Good Friday Agreement negotiations which infers that I must be a senior member of an illegal organisation.

“That I was the bodyguard of my late father-in-law Gusty Spence, that I was responsible for a spate of robberies of debt collectors in north Down.

“They also refer to two murders and an attempted murder which I totally refute as well as the other allegations. Three allegations of directing terrorism… and three allegations of membership.”

Rea added that a newspaper interview he have about the Boston College project was used to claim he had inferred that he wanted his tapes back because there was something in them.

“The PPS presented at court that they were allegations of the utmost gravity, yet it took them two years and nine months before they even requested by tapes. Why?”

In the statement he pondered whether it had anything to do with the arrest of republicans and the decision to charge 77-year-old west Belfast man Ivor Bell with aiding and abetting the murder of Jean McConville.