The PSNI, PPS, US DoJ and Boston College: A Long Game of Blindfolded Darts

A Long Game of Blindfolded Darts
Chris Bray
Chris Bray Blog
24 June 2016

I’ve been arguing for years that the Belfast Project subpoenas aren’t an example of a police investigation, but rather offer proof that police in Northern Ireland are engaged in a theatrical performance and refusing to perform real detective work. Events in Belfast courts this week prove the point.

First, in a hearing regarding an American subpoena requested by the PSNI for Belfast Project interviews conducted with Anthony McIntyre, lawyers for McIntyre argued that the International Letter of Request (ILOR) sent by the British government to the U.S. government was “replete with errors, and that’s putting it mildly.” Among the errors alleged by McIntyre’s lawyers were claims made in the ILOR that McIntyre had previously been convicted for offenses for which he had actually been acquitted or never charged.

In response, lawyers for the police and the prosecution service made no argument at all, neither conceding nor rejecting the claim; instead, they told the judges hearing the case that they would have to look into it. “Counsel for the respondents were unable to confirm the claim, insisting archives would have to be checked,” the Irish Newsreported (emphasis added). Here’s what comes next in that newspaper story:

Lord Justice Weatherup, sitting with Lord Justice Weir, described the situation as unsatisfactory.

“It’s incredible; you have sent a letter to America… and you don’t know whether it was in respect of an offence for which he’s already been acquitted,” he said.

So the Police Service of Northern Ireland initiated a request for the U.S. Department of Justice to subpoena an academic archive in Boston, and now — now, after making an international request for legal assistance in a supposed criminal investigation — have begun to look into the factual background their own case. Oh, yeah, man, we’ll go, like, check the archives and stuff.

The laziness, shoddiness, indifference to professional standards, and general halfassedness scream across an ocean at the American prosecutors who are playing along with this nonsense. These worthless idiots sent off an ILOR, then started to think about what they were up to. (A pattern emerges, by the way.) I’m not in Belfast to check, but I assume the PSNI’s detectives drool on themselves and shit their pants.

Meanwhile, in another hearing over a different set of Belfast Project interviews, a different judge heard a legal challenge to the evidence obtained in the case of Ivor Bell, who is accused of aiding and abetting in the 1972 murder of Jean McConville. The federal appeals court in Boston, narrowing the decision of a district court judge, ordered that only two interviews with the interview subject known as “Z” — who is alleged, but not proven, to be Bell — be handed over to the PSNI. In fact, Bell’s lawyers claim, authorities in Belfast are attempting to go to court with several more of the Belfast Project’s “Z” interviews, evidence obtained far beyond the scope of the American court order.

Of course, Bell was charged in early 2014; now, two and a half years later, prosecutors in Belfast can’t even get their evidence into the courtroom for a preliminary inquiry, much less a trial.

One week, two shambles.

Meanwhile, note the incredible statement at the conclusion of the Irish News story on the McIntyre hearing, linked above: A lawyer for the PSNI’s chief constable “suggested PSNI officers who will be in Boston on Saturday to collect other materials could also bring back the McIntyre recordings and deposit them, still sealed, with the court.

The PSNI has gone back to Boston, in at least one other international request for a subpoena that has not yet been disclosed. They keep churning up garbage with their shoddy trips to Boston, and they keep going back to Boston.

Will anyone ever restrain this idiots? They’re embarrassing themselves, damaging the legitimacy of Northern Ireland’s political institutions, wasting the DOJ’s time, angering Belfast judges, and making a clown show of the rule of law. And the U.S. government keeps shrugging and typing up the subpoenas.