Belfast Telegraph

I was right to charge John Brady, PSNI inspector tells inquest into death in police custody

John Brady
John Brady
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

A police inspector yesterday told an inquest into the death of a former IRA prisoner that he made the decision to charge the man hours before he was found hanging in a Londonderry custody suite.

The inquest in Omagh into the death of John Brady (40) from Strabane on October 3, 2009 heard the same police inspector say he was unaware until 2018 that there had been two Special Branch officers in the custody suite who wanted to carry out an intelligence interview with Mr Brady.

However, this was in conflict with evidence given by the custody sergeant on duty the day Mr Brady died, who said she told the inspector about the two Special Branch officers that same day.

Mr Brady had been taken to Strand Road Police Station on October 2, 2009 after he was arrested in connection with an alleged altercation with his brother-in-law John Kennedy, who claimed Mr Brady struck and threatened to kill him. At the time, Mr Brady was a weekend parole prisoner who was due to be released on licence within weeks.

The inspector said his decision to charge Mr Brady was based on a number of factors, including that the alleged offence was a domestic incident; Mr Brady had been previously prosecuted for a terrorist offence; and the presence of a dissident republican group in Strabane meant Mr Brady had access to firearms.

The inspector said this information was passed on to Mr Brady's solicitor John Finucane, now Sinn Fein MP for North Belfast, who made "robust" representations on behalf of his client and left the station in Derry, but returned a short time later when he received a call telling him Mr Brady had died.

When coroner Joe McCrisken asked the inspector if "on reflection" he felt his decision to charge Mr Brady was the right one, he replied: "Absolutely."

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