Supergrasses: A Study in Anti-Terrorist Law Enforcement in Northern Ireland

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

bySteven Greer

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In the first half of the 1980s a succession of high profile and deeply controversial trials took place in Northern Ireland on the evidence of `supergrasses' from loyalist and republican paramilitary organisations prepared to betray large numbers of their former alleged confederates in returnfor immunity from prosecution or lenient sentences and new identities outside Northern Ireland. This, the first thoroughly-researched book-length study of this process, not only carefully documents the central trials - some of which were larger than any other criminal proceedings in the UK orIreland - but also opens a rare window on the highly secret world of the terrorist groups concerned. The origins of the supergrass system are traced through the complex web of intelligence gathering and counter-terrorist policy in Northern Ireland, and the broader criminal justice andcriminological issues are fully explored. The author also compares and contrasts the failure of the supergrass experiment in Northern Ireland with its much more successful counterparts in England, the United States, Italy and Germany, and considers why France and Spain chose not to go down thesupergrass path.The publication of this book could hardly be more timely. Northern Ireland is once again at the top of the political agenda in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the recent ceasefires have ensured that the Troubles are the focus of renewed international attention. The need for strong due processrights in the criminal justice system as part of an overall settlement of the Ulster conflict is firmly underlined, and the study adds further support to the case for more effective mechanisms of public accountability over policing and intelligence-gathering in liberal democracies generally.

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From the Publisher

In the first half of the 1980s a succession of high profile and deeply controversial trials took place in Northern Ireland on the evidence of `supergrasses' from loyalist and republican paramilitary organisations prepared to betray large numbers of their former alleged confederates in returnfor immunity from prosecution or lenient sent...

From the Jacket

This book is about the highly controversial use of supergrasses from loyalist and republican paramilitary organizations in Northern Ireland during the 1980s. 'Supergrasses' are informers or suspects prepared to testify in court against their alleged ex-confederates in return for rewards such as immunity from prosecution, lenient senten...

Steven Greer is a Lecturer in Law at University of Bristol.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:324 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.94 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019825766X

ISBN - 13:9780198257660

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`'This book is simply fascinating: a warts and all account of the supergrass system in Ireland.''Prison Writing