Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill’s cousin has this week been convicted of fuel laundering in Dungannon Magistrates Court.
Gareth Doris, who is 39 and from Coalisland, is a convicted IRA terrorist and cousin of newly appointed Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill. Doris is believed to have canvassed for the Sinn Fein leader in the past.
In 1997 Gareth Doris, then 19, was convicted in relation to a bomb attack on an RUC station. He was released under the terms of the Belfast Agreement.
The conviction will cause major embarrassment to Sinn Fein who have sought to build their election campaign on fighting corruption.
The latest criminal conviction comes only days after Gerry Adam’s former Solictor, Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory, announced that high profile South Armagh Republican Micksey Martin would not face charges in connection with the sectarian slaughter of 10 innocent Protestants at Kingsmill in 1972.
Martin, a close associate of notorious crime lord and former IRA Chief of Staff Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy, is a key supporter of Sinn Fein and was seen as instrumental, alongside Sean ‘the Surgeon’ Hughes, in keeping South Armagh IRA onboard in the formative years of the peace process.
The conviction of a close relative of the newly appointed Sinn Fein leader will raise numerous questions for the party, and Michelle O’Neill in particular.
The basis of this nonsensical investigation is Lord Morrow writing to the PSNI to claim the reputation of the DUP had been damaged.
The law raises two primary hurdles in order for the PSNI to substantiate any alleged offence. Firstly they have to prove that the alleged holder of public office committed the substantive offence, to do that they would have to show the disclosures were not in the public interest or were otherwise untrue; given the disclosures before the committee were true, they fail on that point.
Secondly the PSNI are trapped on the point of trying to rubbish the allegations, and therefore prove public harm, because the National Crime Agency are investigating many of the allegations.
I have asked the PSNI to clarify whether their understanding is that Mr Robinson is a suspect of the NCA investigation, as this is directly relevant to the public interest disclosures made at the committee hearing.
If the position is that the disclosures were made in the public interest, then the PSNI can not prove public harm therefore there can be no malfeasance committed by the individual in public office, and accordingly the fantasy ‘conspiracy’ theory promoted by Ms Pengelly and Lord Morrow falls.
It is somewhat hilarious to hear the DUP talk about their reputation. What reputation? This from a party that brought us NAMA, Red Sky, SIF and RHI. And that’s only scratching the surface.
I would welcome a court case in relation to this matter as in the course of such many extraordinary matters could be examined in the public domain.
This, I am very sure, could backfire very badly on the DUP and especially Mr Robinson who is liable to be called as a witness and cross examined under oath in any potential trial, in order to ascertain whether the disclosures made were true and therefore in the public interest, or false and caused public harm.