Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by PartTimePongo, Jan 20, 2004.
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In 2002 the BBC Panorama programme, 'A Licence to Murder', made significant play of the evidence of Ken Barrett, one on those convicted of the shooting of Pat Finucane. This programme appeared to be broadcast as a precursor to the subsequent inquiry, presumeably to get the publics minds going in the right direction.
This is part of the transcript leading up to and including the so-called crucial evidence by Barrett:
Aged 17 when his father was killed.
(Finucane to camera and fades to reconstructed scene of shooting)
There was a bang from the hallway. My father jumped up. He slammed the door shut while my mother ran
behind him and hit the personal attack button. The next thing I remember is being on the floor against the
wall in the corner, holding my young brother and sister, and shots going off very loud and it seemed like
(Scene cuts to library film of Pat Finucane leaving court)
WARE: Pat Finucane was a solicitor. Many of his clients were IRA. The Loyalists claimed he was too.
Both the IRA and his family categorically denied this.
FINUCANE: (To camera) It's an insult, and a grievous insult. It was easy for them to believe that he was a member of
the IRA. Their limited mentalities did not stretch to differentiating between the role of the lawyer and the
offence suspected of the client. The line between the two was not apparent to them.
(Scene cuts to a remote camera view of meeting with Barrett)
WARE: The line became irrelevant to this man, Ken Barrett, one of the killers the agent Brian Nelson
worked closely with. Ken Barrett shot Pat Finucane and he gave us details about the weapons used.
Voice of Ken Barrett
No one knows this, right? Because everybody thinks he was hit by a magnum. But it was a 38 Special with
Magnum rounds. With Magnum rounds you remember that.
End of section of transcript.
So what was Barrett trying to prove by saying this? Was he trying to establish some kind of technical credibilty with his interviewer? Because, if he was, he was talking utter rubbish and any half-way-competent technical witness would tear him to pieces in the witness box:- eg:
The .38 Special was developed from the .38 Smith and Wesson cartridge in 1909; the case being extended to approx. 1.155 inches. Subsequently, in 1935, the .357 Magnum was developed from the .38 Spl. This time the case was extended to approx. 1.285 inches. Pistols chambered for .38 Spl cannot physically accept .357 Mag rounds as a result of this, being specifically designed to avoid the possibilty of blowing up the gun. However a .357 Mag pistol IS capable of accepting and firing a .38 Spl round. Barrett was quite emphatic about the ammunition used being Magnum, he did not refer to 38 Spl+P, which is a loading bordering on the limits of pressure for .38 Spl firearms, even for recently manufactured pieces.
Barret has already served time for his part in the killing. He therefore has nothing to lose by claiming some sort of inside knowledge but perhaps he hoped to secure some financial reward by doing so. Who knows?
I wonder whether the findings of the inquiry are not being published simply because one of the principal witnesses that motivated the inquiry was found to be talking a load of old bo££ocks in this instance, thus undermining any other testimony he might give!
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