Massereene accused snubs PSNI in interview row

A man accused of murdering two soldiers refused to answer police questions because his solicitor was afraid their consultations were being monitored, a court has heard.

A man accused of murdering two soldiers refused to answer police questions because his solicitor was afraid their consultations were being monitored, a court has heard.

Colin Duffy’s solicitor, Pat Vernon, said Northern Ireland police refused to provide reassurances on his concerns at Antrim Custody Suite.

Solicitor Manmohan Sandhu was imprisoned for unrelated offences after an earlier case where his conversations with a client were recorded at the same police station.

Duffy and co-accused Brian Shivers deny the murder of Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar, who were shot outside their Army base in Antrim.

Mr Vernon told Antrim Crown Court today: “We were not in a position to answer any questions because of my inability to advise Mr Duffy given the failure of the police to confirm that the interview was not being monitored.”

Sappers Quinsey, 23, and Azimkar, 21, were shot dead by the Real IRA as they collected pizzas with comrades outside Massereene Army base in Antrim town in March 2009.

Duffy, 44, from Forest Glade in Lurgan, Co Armagh, and Shivers, 46, from Sperrin Mews, in Magherafelt, Co Derry, deny two charges of murder and the attempted murder of six others – three soldiers, two pizza delivery drivers and a security guard.

Duffy was told by his solicitor during days of police interviews shortly after the attack to deny membership of any organisation or any involvement in the offence.

His legal team at the trial want the interviews excluded and the judge to avoid drawing any adverse inference from Duffy’s non-co-operation.

Prosecution lawyer Paul Ramsey QC said Mr Vernon had reiterated several times that no evidence had been put to his client and asked why he had not put his concerns about monitoring on the record during interviews.

Mr Vernon responded: “I had made it clear to them (police) that I was not happy with their assurances so they were aware of my concerns about the question of monitoring.”

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