The suspicious custody death of an ex-IRA man raises questions
compiled from various sources
4WardEver UK – 28th December 2009
Updates listed at the foot of this item
Forty-year-old John Brady, a convicted republican, was arrested over an alleged assault on 2nd October 2009. An hour after police interviews on the 4th October he was dead. He was expected to be released from prison in November and had been on weekend release from Maghaberry jail when he was arrested following an altercation. Following his arrest by the PSNI and taken to Strand Road. On Saturday morning the 40 year old met with his legal team, led by John Finucane.
The line of enquiry that is being followed is that he had taken his own life. A Police Ombudsman investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death was subsequently launched.
The family of John Brady say they have ‘serious concerns.’ But the PSNI Federation Chair said he believes his officers will be exonerated of any responsibility. A white line protest was staged outside the police station where John was found dead. Protesters, carrying black flags and placards reading ‘Justice for John Brady’, lined the Strand Road.
Joining the protest was his sister Lorna, who said: “I have campaigned for six years to get justice for my brother whilst he was in jail. I didn’t get it and I am going to do my damndest to get justice for him in death. “We have serious concerns about how John died. The family is in bits and we just can’t believe this is happening.”
Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson said he would await the outcome of the post-mortem, however, it was believed Mr Brady took his own life. The Ombudsman said his office would conduct a fair, independent and impartial investigation into the incident. He passed on his sympathies to John’s family.
Attempted murder charges against John Brady were dropped in 2008, due to weak DNA evidence. He had been accused of planting a bomb under the car of a former security worker. In 1991, he was sent to jail for the murder of an RUC officer, David Black, who died in a 1989 booby-trap bomb blast in Strabane. He was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, however, he had his licence revoked in 2003, and was returned to prison.
A team of investigators from the Police Ombudsman’s Office were instructed to examine CCTV footage from a Londonderry PSNI station where John died. The team would also be gathering forensic and witness evidence in a bid to build an account of events leading to his death. A Police Ombudsman’s Office spokesman said the team would investigate the circumstances in which Mr Brady was arrested and his treatment and care throughout the period he was in police custody.
“Interviews of police officers who had contact with Mr Brady between the time of his arrest and death have begun,” the spokesman said. “We have also recovered all police records and documentation relating to his arrest and detention.”
The spokesman said the team was consulting with Mr Brady’s family and their solicitors “who had raised a number of issues”. “We have confirmed that the investigation will not be limited to events inside the police station but will consider any police-related issues which may have had a bearing on the tragic events of that Saturday night,” he said.
The Irish Freedom Committee totally rejects a suicide claim for the death in police custody of Strabane Republican John Brady. A spokesperson for IFC said: “We demand to know what happened in police barracks to cause John’s death. There is no plausible reason for a suicide claim in his death. John’s family have also rejected the suicide allegation by police, and as a consequence have been continually harassed with police vehicles stalking their home.”
A priest, Fr Declan Boland, speaking at the funeral said that the Police Ombudsman’s office must honour its pledge to conduct a full and impartial investigation into the death in custody. Hundreds of people packed into the Church of the Immaculate Conception at noon for Brady’s funeral.
During Requiem Mass, Fr Boland said: “His sudden death in tragic circumstances has profoundly shocked us and legitimate questions have been raised as to the exact nature of his death. It is important that all the facts surrounding his death be examined to establish the precise cause so that his family and the community can cope with his passing.”
IRA man’s family mount DPP protest
9 December 2009
Police ombudsman in suicide probe
4 October 2009
Inquiry begins into death of ex-IRA man in custody
4 October 2009