OUTRAGE AT JUDICIARY AS LOYALIST GETS PAROLED FOR TWELFTH
Nationalists have expressed fury that a senior loyalist facing 64
serious charges - including attempted murder and directing paramilitary
activities - was given special permission to attend a Twelfth of July
William James Fulton, from Portadown, had his bail conditions relaxed
yesterday to allow him to watch Saturday's march in the town.
The 34-year-old brother of notorious LVF leader Mark 'Swinger' Fulton,
who took his own life in prison just over a year ago, is also allowed
to attend another Orange Order event the next day.
The loyalist is awaiting trial on 64 charges including aiding and
abetting in the murder of grandmother Elizabeth O'Neill - killed in a
pipe-bomb attack at her Portadown home in June 1999.
Fulton, who was arrested in England two years ago by detectives
investigating the 1999 murder of Lurgan solicitor Rosemary Nelson, is
also accused of several attempted murders as well as possession of guns
and explosives and supplying class A and B drugs.
He is also charged with membership and directing the activities of the
unionist paramilitary LVF.
In a bail hearing last June the court heard that William Fulton, top
right, was a "dedicated terrorist" and had taken over the LVF
leadership after his brother was remanded in custody.
Mr Justice Higgins said at the time: "When I balance the nature and
number of charges with the risk of absconding, I have to refuse bail."
Fulton was granted bail two months later after it was argued that
keeping him in jail was a breach of his human rights.
Sinn Fein's Pat Doherty hit out at the decision, contrasting it to the
refusal of bail to republicans.
The Sinn Fein Vice President said that nationalists and republicans
were 'sick and tired of the double standards which operate at the
heart of the judiciary in the six counties'.
He pointed to a catalogue of similar rulings, including the release on
bail of a leading loyalist caught with a firearm in the middle of an
internecine loyalist turf war. The man, who was convicted of
assembling intelligence information on a Sinn Fein councillor,
received a suspended sentence.
Last month a locally-recruited British RIR soldier accused of stealing
firearms and ammunition was granted bail.
"Contrast this with recent cases involving nationalists," said
"A North Belfast man John O'Hagan has been held in custody awaiting
trial on documents charges for well over two years, with no prospect
yet of a trial or bail.
"Last month a six county Diplock judge refused bail to a 58 year
Belfast businessman accused of similar charges. Indeed the judge's
remarks were clearly prejudicial and biased.
"At the core of the criminal justice system in the six counties are
Diplock judges. These are the men who rubber stamped the Special
Branch activity in the torture centres. The men who refused to back
Sinn Fein Councillors in their demands for security measures on their
homes, and who continue to operate with a blatant anti-Catholic
securocrat agenda. Nationalists will never have confidence in the
Criminal Justice System as long as this ethos is allowed to operate."