Chief Constable accused of ‘spin doctoring’ in Brown murder

Statement from the family of Sean Brown issued through the Pat Finucane Centre

The family of murdered Bellaghy man Sean Brown have reacted angrily to comments made on BBC radio this morning by Chief Constable Hugh Orde (see BBC Radio Ulster website). Speaking this morning Damian Brown son of the GAA official murdered by the LVF in 1997 said,

“The Chief Constable has ruled out an outside investigation into the murder of my father. He has taken this decision without any consultation with us. We are angry and deeply concerned that he has failed to acknowledge the full implications of the Police Ombudsman’s report. Speaking this morning the Chief Constable ruled out an outside investigation on the basis that the Ombudsman found “no evidence at all of collusion in that case.” This is an inaccurate and misleading statement.

The Police Ombudsman has made clear to our family that she had found no evidence of any direct involvement of members of the security forces in the actual murder. We never claimed that there was. Her report however detailed a number of concerns which taken both individually and in their totality make it absolutely impossible for us to have any confidence in an investigation which includes members of the PSNI.

The Ombudsman described the disappearance of vital documents as ‘sinister’. These documents were clearly misappropriated by one or more police officers.

The Ombudsman made clear that the withholding of Special Branch intelligence had seriously hampered the investigation. Special Branch remains an integral part of the PSNI.

The failure to interview witnesses, collect DNA and follow up ballistic links are all failures attributable to police officers who serve today in the PSNI. Only one of the senior officers referred to in the report has resigned. Others have been promoted.

It is distressing to us that Hugh Orde has chosen to take the route of spin doctoring and damage limitation. John Stevens stated that collusion,

“ranges from the wilful failure to keep records, the absence of accountability, the withholding of intelligence and evidence, through to the extreme of agents being involved in murder.”

In this context it is wrong for the Chief Constable to claim that collusion can be ruled out. A PSNI investigation will receive little or no co-operation in south Derry and will cetainly not receive any co-operation from our family. We have instructed our solictor to initiate legal proceedings to stop this ‘re-investigation’ by the same people who failed us in the first place.”

The Brown family have no further comment to make today.

Contact 07989 323418 or 02871 268846 for further information