Reasonable people will read this account of what is happening to Michael Mc Kevitt with a mixture of sadness and anger. People who value good legal systems and appreciate the courage of those who struggled to create them will read it with deep disappointment as well.
The treatment and trial of Michael Mc Kevitt will outrage all of them. Some of us who attended the Green St. court any time during the hearing of his trial will always remember the grip of cold fear we felt at how similar this trial was to what we had read about years ago, the show trials of the dictatorships.
Bringing in a witness who admitted he was motivated by money, opening the court to free passage of police and government agents, the complacence of judges and state lawyers faced the clear presumption that the safety of the state is more important than justice for the individual. We had heard it all before. In the past however, news media and church and universities and all kinds of people had condemned what was happening in those countries which they described as under dictatorship or communist rule. Now we were witnessing in our own people’s courts the misuse of a system which we believed was so superior, so basically just, so presided over by people of such integrity that it would always be found better to set the guilty free than to convict even one innocent. This trial has been one of the most frightening and revealing of the past forty years in Ireland’s courts north and south.
The case of Michael Mc Kevitt must go to the European courts and when it does our fellow Europeans may well be shocked. We who are already shocked need not feel helpless. Michael Mc Kevitt and his family need our help and that help should be given for the sake of justice for all of us. In no circumstances must we allow political needs to dictate how our courts will work. And if there is one prisoner unfairly treated then every one of us should feel honoured to make justice rather than political opinion prevail. If any prisoner needs help we are bound and privileged to give it.
Please read this document. Please do what you can to make clear that the safety of the state can never be served by the suffering of even one of its citizens.