Countering Glaring Factual Inaccuracies

Siobhán McConville on behalf of the McConville Family hit out at erroneous reporting in press coverage of the Brendan McConville case.

In response to this article published in the Sunday Life newspaper 24-9-17 addition which contained a number of glaring factual inaccuracies The C 2 and the McConville family would like to take this opportunity to address and correct some of these erroneous points.

The first relates to a claim by Kate Carroll that "the plastic bag which held the weapon was 100% proven to have been purchased and used by Brendan McConville."

This claim was first voiced by Kate Carroll during a radio interview for BBC radio Ulster's Talkback program on the 19-2-15 in which she stated that during the trial she had heard evidence that "the actual plastic bag that the gun was wrapped in was in Brendan McConville's home."

On that occasion the false allegation went unchallenged. However the resurfacing of this untruth, which appears to derive from both a misunderstanding of the facts by Kate Carroll and lazy journalism and fake news, now demands correction.

The evidence relating to a role of black plastic bags from which a bag purportedly used to wrap the gun used, in the shooting is said to have originated can be found at paragraph 23 of the Crown Court judgement delivered on 30-3-12 and available from the Courts And Tribunal Service.

This state's that there was "compelling evidence of a linkage between the bags used to wrap up the weapon and magazine and the bags located in 309 Drumbeg."

It should be noted that this address in Craigavon, from which the roll of bags was recovered from the yard 9 days after the shooting, was in no way connected to either Brendan or John Paul who were both resident in Lurgan at the time of the incident.

The second issue relates to a claim by The Sunday Life which states "before being shot dead by McConville who was lying in wait with a AK47 assault rifle." This bears a remarkable resemblance to a similar claim published in the Irish addition of The Sun newspaper on 9-3-16 which claimed Brendan McConville "armed with a AK47 assault rifle shot the police man in the head."

It must be pointed out that at no time was it claimed by the prosecution that Brendan fired the shot that killed Mr. Carroll. In fact the Court of Appeal accepted that there was no specific role ascribed to either Brendan or John Paul and this remained the case even when sentenced. This was further emphasised by the Court of Appeal in a question it submitted to the Supreme Court which included the phrase "in a case which the prosecution is insufficient to establish any specified role in a crime by the appellant and there is no direct evidence of any agreement with those involved in the murder. "

Furthermore, we take issue with Kate Carroll's claim that "it was proven that Witness M's eye sight had improved, as he had stated." After having been found to have lied to the court about being prescribed glasses, Witness M did claim that his eye sight had improved. However no recent eye sight examination was presented to the court to support this unsubstantiated claim.

While we have come to expect a degree of unbalanced reporting from the Sunday Life it is our view that the public are entitled to and should be provided with an accurate account of the facts.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

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