I'm not pressing charges: Tohill


The dissident republican at the centre of Friday’s ‘abduction’ drama in Belfast city centre has told the Andersonstown News that he will not be making any complaint against four men arrested at the scene who last night were charged with unlawful imprisonment, GBH and IRA membership.

In an exclusive interview at a Belfast hospital Bobby Tohill said he had made no statement to the PSNI about the alleged kidnap now at the centre of a peace process storm. Legal sources agree that if Tohill carries through his promise, then the case against the four men will collapse. Two men arrested in West Belfast on Saturday in connection with the incident have been released without charge. However, a seventh person, a woman, was arrested on Sunday. The four men charged last night will appear at Laganside Magistrates Court this morning.

'Kidnap' case will collapse

“I’ll not be pressing charges”: Bobby Tohill

Bobby Tohill’s solicitors will tell the PSNI today that he will not be pressing charges against his alleged abductors.

In an exclusive interview with the Andersonstown News at his hospital bed the prominent dissident republican accused the British government of using him as a “political pawn”.

Two hours before his alleged abduction last Friday evening the 45-year-old told our reporter he was being targeted by both the Provisional IRA and loyalists. However, despite claims to the contrary, he now insists Friday’s incident had nothing to do with a paramilitary dispute and was a fallout from a drunken argument.

Legal experts told the Andersonstown News yesterday that Bobby Tohill’s take on events had the potential to collapse any case the PSNI may pursue.

"So long as the four men arrested have not made statements, Bobby Tohill’s refusal to press charges should wreck any case the PSNI might bring,” said a legal source.

Bobby Tohill admits his recollections of Friday night’s events are unclear. But what he is sure of is that he was not kidnapped.

“What I can remember is arguing and then fighting in Kelly’s Cellars,” explained a bloodied and bruised Bobby.

“I have not and will not be making any complaint to the PSNI about this so-called kidnapping affair. I will sign an affidavit confirming this was not a kidnapping.

“The PSNI have been hassling me to make a statement, but the only one I’ll be giving is to my solicitor saying I will not press charges.”

Bobby Tohill insisted that reports carried in weekend newspapers claiming the kidnapping was the work of the IRA were wrong.

“A newspaper photographer gained access to my room on Saturday and took my picture while I was drugged,” he added. “This is the first full interview I have given to any newspaper after the incident. All I want is to be left in peace and get on with a normal life – something that I haven’t had since first getting caught up in the conflict as a 12-year-old boy.”

Journalist:: Ciaran Barnes

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