[Sinn Fein]

8th July 2003

Orange Judiciary At Core Of Justice System

Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty has said that nationalists and republicans are `sick and tired of the double standards which operate at the heart of the judiciary in the six counties'. Mr Doherty's remarks come after loyalist Jim Fulton who is on bail on 64 charges including murder had his conditions varied to enable him to attend the Twelfth parades.

Mr Doherty's said:

`` Nationalists and republicans are sick and tired at the sectarian double standards which operate at the heart of the judiciary in the north. In recent times we have seen the judiciary in the six counties release on bail a leading loyalist caught with a firearm in the middle of an internecine loyalist turf war, a man was convicted of assembling intelligence information on a Sinn Fein councillor. He received a suspended sentence. Last month an RIR member accused of stealing firearms and ammunition was granted bail and now Jim Fulton is given a judges blessing to attend the Twelfth parades.

`` Contrast this with recent cases involving nationalists. A North Belfast man John O'Hagan has been held in custody awaiting trial on documents charges for well over two years, with no prospect yet of a trial or bail. Last month a six county Diplock judge refused bail to a 58 year old Belfast businessman accused of similar charges. Indeed the judge's remarks were clearly prejudicial and biased.

`` At the core of the criminal justice system in the six counties are the Diplock judges. These are the men who rubber stamped the Special Branch activity in the torture centres. The men who refused to back Sinn Fein Councillors in their demands for security measures on their homes, and who continue to operate with a blatant anti-Catholic securocrat agenda. Nationalists will never have confidence in the Criminal Justice System as long as this ethos is allowed to operate.'' ENDS

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