Detectives investigating the activities of agent Stakeknife have rejected a claim that three former Crown lawyers and a senior Sinn Fein figure – or anyone else – have been recommended for prosecution.
In recent weeks the Operation Kenova team revealed that a file is due to be forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland for consideration.
Headed by former Bedfordshire chief constable Jon Boutcher, Op Kenova investigated a number of murders and serious crimes alleged to have been carried out by the Army spy working at the heart of the IRA’s internal security unit known as the ‘nutting squad’ – alleged to be west Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci. Mr Scappaticci has repeatedly denied he is Stakeknife.
The completed case file follows a three-year investigation and is said to contain evidence regarding a number of murders, kidnappings and torture.
As part of their investigation, the detectives examined claims that Army handlers and members of the security services had sanctioned or directed Stakeknife’s actions – going well beyond their intelligence gathering remit.
In a statement issued on October 2, the Op Kenova team said: “Jon Boutcher, the head of Operation Kenova, and his team has prepared files containing evidence regarding a number of offences outlined in the investigation’s terms of reference – including murder, kidnap, torture, malfeasance in a public office and perverting the course of justice. Those files are now in the process of being made available to the Public Prosecution Service for consideration.”
The statement went on to say: “It would not be appropriate to go into further detail regarding that evidence, or the number of individuals involved, until that consideration has taken place. A full report of Operation Kenova’s findings will be published at the conclusion of all legal proceedings.”
However, the Guardian newspaper subsequently claimed that several people had been formally recommended for prosecution – including three former Crown lawyers for perjury, a senior Sinn Fein member and a number of security force members.
A spokesman for Op Kenova told the News Letter that detectives have not yet forwarded their findings to the PPS, and that “the files simply outline what evidence has been found”.
He said it is “up to the PPS how they interpret that and whether they decide to bring prosecutions”.