SISTER OF GERRY CONLON TO SUE RUC AND SURREY POLICE FOR TORTURE
Bridie Brennan is the sister of Gerry Conlon. Gerry Conlon was one of the Guildford Four, wrongly convicted of the Guildford Pub Bombings in 1974. Gerry Conlon was released from prison in 1991 and died in 2014 aged 60.
Bridie Brennan is issuing legal proceedings today in the High Court in Belfast. She is serving a of Writ of Summons on the PSNI (the successor authority to the RUC) and Surrey Police.
Gerry Conlon was arrested in Belfast following the Guildford Pub Bombings. He was detained and interrogated on the basis of ‘intelligence’ from the British Army and the RUC.
He had previously come to the attention of the British Security Forces in Northern Ireland, but he had never been arrested.
Intelligence shared between London Metropolitan Police Special Branch, Surrey Police CID and the RUC led to Gerry Conlon being detained in Belfast on 30th November 1974.
In addition, Surrey Police had a confession from Paul Hill who was also charged and convicted of the Guildford Pub Bombings. Paul Hill’s confession had been obtained by way of coercion and duress and named Gerry Conlon.
At Springfield Road RUC Station Gerry Conlon was beaten, subjected to wall standing, deprived of sleep and food, and was subjected to harshing (loud and prolonged ‘in the face’ shouting of abuse at the victim). His family was threatened. He was forced to ‘run the gauntlet’ and to be thrown to a gang of angry Loyalists.
Those responsible for these acts were police officers from the RUC and from Surrey Police.
The treatment of Gerry Conlon, a suspect in a police station in Belfast in 1974, was similar to that suffered by many others. The treatment he suffered was similar to the institutionalised torture – the Five Techniques – endured by The Hooded Men.
Careful analysis of Sir John May’s Report into the miscarriages of justice arising from the pub bombings in England in 1974, commissioned by the British government and finally published in 1994, makes it clear that the arrest, detention and interrogation of Gerry Conlon in Belfast and Surrey led directly to his conviction. His confession was the sole evidence against him following the wrongful exclusion of his alibi evidence.
Much of the evidence and testimony considered by Sir John May remains CLOSED.
The treatment of Gerry Conlon by the police has re-traumatised Bridie Brennan.
She knew her brother had been ill-treated and wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. She did not realise his fate started in a Belfast police station.
She will now sue the PSNI and Surrey Police for conspiracy to wrongfully arrest, detain, interrogate, and charge her brother. She will make it clear that Gerry Conlon was tortured in order to obtain his confession.
Despite admissions made by the Balcombe Street IRA ASU that its members had been responsible for the Guildford Pub Bombings, no one has been convicted for murder of the four soldiers and one civilian on 5 October 1974.
A recent resumed inquest into those deaths achieved nothing in terms of establishing who was responsible for the bombings.
Bridie Brennan knows that her civil action will be considered to part of the ‘Legacy’ and therefore will be dismissed by the policing authorities as a matter to be dealt with under the draconian and derided Legacy Bill. She contests that designation.
She believes that there is a continuing miscarriage of justice, regarding the wrongful imprisonment of her brother when the criminal justice authorities – the police, the prosecutors, and the judiciary – knew his confession was false and that an admission of responsibility by the actual perpetrators was known.
Bridie Brennan has faith in the legal process in Northern Ireland to facilitate her right to access justice in the name of her brother, Gerry Conlon.
Christopher Stanley, Litigation Consultant, KRW LAW said:
“Serious questions about the 1974 pub bombings in Guildford and Birmingham continue to be unanswered. Specifically, the question of who was responsible. The families of those who were murdered, and the families of those who were wrongly accused of those murders, continue to seek truth, justice and accountability.
Bridie Brennan knows that her ‘window of opportunity’ maybe closing with the pall of the Legacy Bill – as do many others – but she is determined to hold the RUC and Surrey Police to account for the torture inflicted on her brother in order to obtain a convenient confession whilst the real perpetrators remained, and remain, free.”