Also last week, the PSNI was found out in its attempt to cover up for its role in the torture of men 50 years ago, when it was called the RUC.
The President can properly investigate the evidence from over a century ago, yet the PSNI cannot investigate evidence from half a century ago. It is a question of will. The Irish President had it and the British PSNI did not.
There is an irony in there somewhere in that it was not an Irish court that found against the PSNI but a British one. While the PSNI was valiantly, in its view, trying to protect British justice, the supreme authority on British justice, was rewarding it with a well placed kick up the swingers for its efforts.
Rejecting the PSNI spin, the Supreme Court in London unanimously found it likely that:
the deplorable treatment to which the Hooded Men were subjected at the hands of the security forces would be characterised today, applying the standards of 2021, as torture.
What happened to the hooded men has been common knowledge from the time it kicked off. The torturers far from ashamed at their handiwork allowed it to make its way into the public sphere for the purpose of terrifying the nationalist population into abject submission. In August 1971 the British tortured inside and massacred outside. The effect was not to cow the nationalist population, but to enrage it, and hasten the plummet into insurrection.
Torture was not the errant behaviour of some rogue elements. Culpability went right to the top of British officialdom including:
the Secretary of State for Defence, Lord Peter Carrington, the Home Secretary, Reginald Maudling, the Minister for Home Affairs in Northern Ireland, Brian Faulkner, and the Minister of State for Defence, Robert Lindsay, who was styled as Lord Balniel at the time.
Nevertheless, in 2014, proclaiming it had a duty to investigate and would always follow the evidence as it justified the arrest of Sinn Fein boss Gerry Adams - himself a victim of internment torture - it was somehow finding that there was no evidence to warrant any investigation into allegations of torture against the Hooded men. In self-serving fashion, it relied on a "partisan and flawed" report by a member of the Historical Enquiries Team who was simply a Widgery on the beat. Drew Harris, the then PSNI pointsman for the British Security Services, sent a letter to the lawyers of the Hooded Men in which he stated that the allegations had been:
researched and reviewed by the Historical Enquiries Team, who have not identified any evidence to support the allegation that the British government had authorised the use of torture in Northern Ireland.
Incredibly, he is now Garda Commissioner despite having willfully undermined efforts by the Dublin government to have the British face justice in the European Court.
The Court of Appeal in Belfast subsequently ruled against the cops saying that the decision not to investigate was "inadequate", "unduly narrow" and "irrational". The PSNI unwilling to give up its pursuit of injustice appealed to the UK Supreme Court. The highest court in the UK rubbished the HET chancer's report, concluding that it "shows on its face a lack of fairness in the officer's approach and a willingness to base conclusions on partisan assumptions rather than evidence". It scathingly dismissed the PSNI response:
The upshot is that the decision taken by the PSNI on 17 October 2014 on the basis of such a seriously flawed report was irrational and should not be allowed to stand.
This treatment was administered as a matter of deliberate policy by the law enforcement agencies of the state. Those who administered it were acting under orders and were trained as to how it should be inflicted. It was authorised at a very high level including ministerial authorisation and was, therefore, an administrative practice of the state.
Blanket: Does the PSNI constitute the disbandment of the RUC?
Hugh Orde: On 4/11/2001, the name changed. It has got a different name.