Ex-RUC men accused of faking evidence

Ex-RUC men accused of faking evidence

Two former RUC detectives have appeared in Londonderry Magistrates' court accused of perverting the course of justice in police investigations 35 years ago.

John McGahan and Philip Noel Thomson, whose addresses were given as PSNI headquarters in Belfast, are alleged to have falsified evidence by recording written statements that were not the accounts given by suspects.It is understood the charges are connected to how the RUC investigated the IRA murder of a British Army officer in Derry in 1979 and to how the police investigated an IRA shooting of a civilian man in the city, around the same time.The charge against 71-year-old McGahan is linked to the RUC investigation into the murder of Royal Welsh Fusiliers officer Lieutenant Stephen Kirby.In February 1979, 22-year-old Lt. Kirby was shot dead by a Provisional IRA sniper while on foot patrol at Abercorn Road in Derry.At the time the RUC charged four 17-year-old teenagers with his murder.Gerry McGowan, Michael Toner, Stephen Crumlish and Gerard Kelly became known as 'The Derry Four' when they skipped bail and crossed the border into the Republic.They continued to protest their innocence and lived in the Republic unable to return home for almost 20 years until all charges against them were dropped in 2000.Their treatment by the RUC was investigated by the Police Ombudsman and in 2012 the watchdog referred their case to the Public Prosecution Service.The four men were present in Bishop Street Courthouse for Friday's hearing.Both defendants stood side by side in the dock before Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes.When asked if they had anything to say in relation to the charges, both replied no.A solicitor for the Public Prosecution Service submitted that based on the papers before the court, both defendants had a prima facie case to answer.McGahan and Thomson, 64, were released on their own bail of £500 each to appear at a court hearing in Belfast in September.


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