By RFJ CEO Mark Thompson
Three years after the inquest into the loyalist murder of Tyrone pensioner Roseanne Mallon concluded Justice Weir, sitting as coroner in the case, today finally delivered his findings.
Having spent fifty minutes explaining away a litany of omissions from investigative failings, ballistic misinformation, the withholding of evidence by the state, refusal of former RUC officers to attend, to the deliberate destruction of evidence he concluded that he could not find collusion in the murder. This he emphasised to the court was based ONLY on the evidence before him.
Despite the origin of the murder weapon (MI5, British military intelligence and RUC special branch supplied), death threats made to family members by the RUC and British army, two major covert surveillance operations on the Mallon family home and adjoining family business at the time of the murder that included spy cameras and recordings, the destruction of key recordings, an order to covert soldiers secreted in a dug-out ‘not to react’ on hearing the fatal gunfire, to additional destruction of documents and notebooks by special branch.
Obviously Justice Weir couldn’t find evidence of collusion as it has all been destroyed, and so logically it is therefore self evident, and collusion could and should have been inferred. This was the approach of the Smithwicks Inquiry. The systematic destruction of evidence along with key and deliberate investigative failings are classic examples of collusive behaviour post the crime never mind in inciting the crime!
Crucially Justice Weir never addressed the key matter, one which he agreed needed to be addressed over three years ago during the inquest, which was and remains – was Billy Wright who was arrested near the murder scene shortly afterwards with others – a state agent?
This matter, as does this case after such a disappointing lengthy wait on a ruling that dares not delve into the underworld of state collusion, still screams out for proper resolution!!!
This judgment took over three years to be delivered and many will ask what happened to all the heat generated at the time and crucially what happened in the intervening years; years in which Bridget Mallon who was also shot and injured passed away without knowing the outcome.
The inescapable truth is that when it comes to the key question of state collusion, and much like the continued denial of an independent inquiry into the state murder of Pat Finucane, the inquest system is still failing families. It lacks the courage.
We cannot have a post-conflict society that alleges change when those involved in the criminal conspiracy of collusion and murder destroy all the evidence and benefit from their work.
The family of Roseanne Mallon issued the following statement tonight: “To those of you who think we as Nationalists or Republicans will get justice in a British court from a British Judge whose only interest is to protect his paymasters, read this judgement.” – Martin Mallon.
The Judgment can be read here Roseanne Mallon Inquest Judgment January 2019