ic Derry - Family Call For Justice For Derry Prisoner

Family Call For Justice For Derry Prisoner

Mar 5 2004

THE FAMILY of Derry man Seamus Doherty currently being held on remand in Maghaberry Prison on an explosives charge have called for support from the media and Derry City Council to have him released immediately.

Mr. Doherty's solicitor, Mr. Paddy MacDermott, is taking a judicial review over the decision to continue the prosecution and this may be heard next week.

The Derry man is being held on alleged DNA evidence in connection with explosives found outside Newry.

Two other men charged in connection with the same incident had the charges withdrawn when the defence discovered that British soldiers had interfered with evidence and that the PSNI had sought to have any forensic evidence relating to an informer, including evidence of explosives under his fingernails, in the case suppressed.

Recently the programme 'Insight' featured the case and now Mr. Doherty's family are calling for his immediate release.

They also revealed some evidence that was not mentioned on the Insight programme.

Anne Marie Doherty, Mr. Doherty's sister, explained: "Not everything to do with this case was disclosed by the Insight team.

"The PSNI are claiming that two traces of DNA were found on the explosives - one too small for analysis, the other was a possible match for DNA which resembles that of Seamus.

"If the informer/agent has semtex under his fingernails, the only clear and obvious inferences that can be drawn are - he was working with the device and was the actual bomb maker - he must have left very high levels of his own DNA.

"And what was his role that night as a paid informer/agent, was it to plant evidence? He now lives in an army barracks in England so we may never find out, however, if he didn't leave DNA, fingerprints, etc. then nobody else could have either."

But the Doherty family also revealed that what they believed to be a strange incident took place that only now makes sense.

Anne Marie Doherty said: "In April 2003 a very odd search team of the PSNI/FRU paid a visit to Seamus' apartment, the caretaker allowed them into the building and accompanied them to Seamus' door but maintains they had their own key to his door.

"When he heard a key being turned, Seamus went to the door and was confronted by three members of the PSNI/FRU. He was pushed and forced into his living room by one of them as the other two ran upstairs.

"He quickly realised something was wrong when the PSNI/FRU made a very clumsy attempt to justify their presence, so he forced his way out onto the landing of the flats to call for help from his neighbours.

"Immediately this PSNI/FRU shouted to his cohorts upstairs: "Wrong flat, let's go, let's go!" and they proceeded to run from the building."

She went on: "This is now highly significant to date, nearly a year on, no explanation has been received from the Strand Road PSNI to explain

what was going on. Secondly the easiest method to obtain someone's DNA is their bed, comb, toothbrush, etc. all of which were available upstairs in his flat.

"Finally and crucially, a letter dated a day before the illegal search in April 2003, from the forensic lab in England to the forensic lab in Carrickfergus, stated that DNA was found on the explosives but couldn't be identified.

"A hand-written note attached to it by a Detective stated: "Maybe more work is to be done?" - The PSNI/FRU were upstairs in Seamus' apartment less than 24 hours later without explanation."

The Doherty family say the whole case 'reeks with criminality' and 'highlights the depths to which the state can stoop to imprison innocent people.'

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