Belfast Telegraph

Arrest of witness 'not a bid to get U-turn on statement'

BY ALAN ERWIN

A detective has denied claims that the father of a key prosecution witness was arrested in a bid to get him to retract a statement branding his son a liar.

Evidence given by the man's son – Witness M – was central to the prosecution case against Brendan McConville, who is appealing his conviction for murdering PSNI officer Stephen Carroll.

The father told the court on Monday that no-one should be jailed on the word of his son, whom he branded a liar and a Walter Mitty-style character.

He's a liar, father of witness tells court appeal 

The father, who can't be identified, was held by police for two days on suspicion of withholding information before being released without charge.

Defence lawyers have already claimed the PSNI held the father in a bid to sabotage their appeal.

Barry Macdonald QC put it to the detective constable: "Do you think you are entitled as police officers to go and arrest a witness in this way so you can cross-examine them before they get into court to be cross-examined in the proper circumstances?"

The detective said it had been a senior officer's decision.

Asked if he had ever done anything like it before when a witness was due to give evidence, he said: "No."

McConville, of Glenholme Avenue in the town, was jailed for at least 25 years for the murder.

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