19/06/2008

Other NI News In Brief

Orde Obdurate

The PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde has insisted that he will not tolerate criminality within the service - despite an officer found guilty of having drugs with intent to supply receiving just a disciplinary letter. The officer is also known to be still in the service.

Ordered Out

Four men have been ordered out of Londonderry by paramilitaries, according to security sources. The sources said they were told the men were under threat after their names were passed to a local priest.

Assets Seized

Criminal assets worth more than £35m have been seized or frozen during the last year by law enforcement agencies in Northern Ireland. The figures were revealed in the annual report of the Organised Crime Task Force launched on Thursday.

Fish Wiped Out

A second serious fish kill has occurred on a river that flows into Lough Neagh. It is not yet clear what caused the pollution, into the Ballymartin river, but it is believed it came from the nearby industrial estate at Mallusk. Colin Dawson from the National Trust said: "Any fish that's in the water will be dead and any food and plant life will also be dead." This is the second fish kill in the Lough Neagh area in the past two days. The previous incident occurred at the Glenavy River.

Road Investigations Fail

A report has found serious shortcomings in the way the PSNI investigate road crashes and branded the level of deaths and serious injuries as 'unacceptably high'. The report reveals Northern Ireland has the worst safety record in the UK - with more than twice as many people killed on our roads as were killed as a result of the Troubles. The study also reveals that the standard of investigation and quality of evidence produced for prosecution are poorer than in England and Wales.

McCartney Trial 'Flawed'

A defence QC in the Robert McCartney murder trial says the case against a man accused of affray and assaulting one of the late 33-year-old's friends should be thrown out because a parallel investigation by a paramilitary organisation influenced the evidence of a main prosecution witness. Joseph Fitzpatrick, 47, denies affray and assaulting Ed Gowdy, a friend of Robert McCartney's, after a row broke out in Magennis' bar on January 30 2005. The said there was absolutely no other evidence against his client in this case apart from the identification evidence of Ed Gowdy. The lawyer insisted the evidence that Joseph Fitzpatrick had hit him across the face with a stick as he tried to calm the situation down in Market Street had been filtered through the prism of an IRA investigation as he insisted that it is known by the court he said that Mr Gowdy was interviewed by the IRA for between six and seven hours and that has coloured his evidence. He added Joseph Fitzpatrick could not obtain a fair trial as that information is not before the court.

Cross-Border Fishy Business

The NI Minister responsible for food and agriculture, Michelle Gildernew has met with members of the Dáil Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in Dublin. The Leinster House visit to the Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (DAFF) Joint Committee, at the Chairman’s invitation, provided the Minister with an opportunity to exchange views on a range of agriculture issues. She also discussed specific issues including the CAP Health Check, WTO negotiations, disease eradication, bio-security and the fishing industry. Following the meeting, the Minister said: "We had a useful exchange of views on the CAP Health Check. While this is not a fundamental reform of the CAP, it will cover a number of significant issues such as simplification of the Single Farm Payment, abolition of set-aside, the ending of milk quotas in 2015, modulation, changes to the model of decoupling and further decoupling in other EU Member States. The ensuing discussion was very beneficial in reaching a common understanding of respective views on these matters." The Minister also raised the issue of the current World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations to express concerns at the potential detrimental impact a WTO deal could have on the agricultural industry and the beef sector in particular.

(BMcC)

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