STATEMENT OF SIR PETER OPENSHAW
In December 1994 I was leading prosecuting councel in the case of R v Thomas Bourke, who was charged with the double murder of Alan Singleton and Simon Bruno, two department of transport inspectors, who had been shot dead in a garage in stockport.
This was at the time a very high proile case and naturally I remember the general course of the proceedings very well.
I still have my notes of evidence .
I also have the copy of my opening, which I have handed to the police.
I do not however have my notes of the particular matters about which I am now asked to speak 12 years after the event; I have done my best to remember what happened but my thirtyfive years experience in the criminal courts warns me that on matters of detail my memory may be at fault.
The case had commenced on the 21st November 1994 at the Crown Court, Crown square, Manchester before Mr Justice Sachs and a jury .
I have been asked for my recollections of events in repect a gun being found at HMP Manchester; I think this happened right at the end of the trail, possibly after speeches but before the summing up.
I remember arriving at Court in the morning and being told by one of the senior officers in the Case (after this length of time I cannot remember who it was) that, following a tip-off, a gun had been found in a washroom in the prison.
I think - but after this time I am not sure - that the gun was said to been loaded.
I do remember that there was intelligence, from the same tip-off, linking the gun to Tommy Bourke, who - I was told - would have had access to the wash-room.
It may have been inference on the officer's part, but I think I was also told that the most likely explanation was that a corrupt prison officer had put the gun in the prison.
I think that all this was told to me orally; I do not think that in the time available a written report was available.
I am sure that I was not told the identity of the source of this information: this is not something which counsel are usually told or about which they usually ask.
Such information should only be disclosed on a 'need to know' basis and I did not need to know.
Plainly I had to do something about this to protect the integrity of the trial, as I knew that Bourke was a dangerous man and had considerable influence and power in the criminal underworld.
Since there was an obvious risk to the trial process, I considered that we should ask for armed protection for the Court.
I was familiar with the protocol in these circumstances, which required me to apply in the first instance to the trial judge.
Accordingly I went to see Mr Justice Sachs, in private.
A police officer might have accompanied me to verify what I said, but I have no positive recollection of this being done.
I do not think that my junior, Mr Anthony Russell, went with me .
I do remember whether the proceedings were taped or if a shorthand writer was present: I know that we would have followed the practice of the time but I cannot remember what it was.
Mr Justice Sachs readily agreed that armed protection should be given but he could not authorise it without further application to the presiding judge on circuit, who I believe at the time was Mr Justice Morland.
I think that we spoke to Mr Justice Morland, who also agreed , but in the time available before the commencement of proceedings at 10.30am that day we could not make contact with the senior presiding judge for England & Wales (i think it was then Lord Justice Auld), whose authority was also required.
It is my strong recollection, therfore, that no authority for the deployment of armed officers was actually granted and none were deployed inside the Courtroom or inside the Court building or indeed outside the Court buildings.
There was therefore nothing to alert the jury to the fact that the trial was attended by heightened security risk.