What is Collusion?
Collusion: n."a secret agreement between two or more parties for a fraudulent, illegal or deceitful purpose".
There have been numerous cases of alleged - and proven - collusion between State agencies and paramilitary organisations in carrying out criminal activities in Northern Ireland. In the past it has not always been easy to identify what is meant by the term "collusion".
However, three sets of official inquiries into such activity have now given us a very clear idea of what it means in the context of Northern Ireland.
The authors of these reports are Judge Cory, a retired Canadian judge, Lord Stevens, former Commisioner of the London Metropolitan Police, and Nuala O'Loan, former Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland. They are widely recognised for their professionalism, independence and integrity.Their definitions of collusion are below.
Judge Cory says:
"Police forces must not act collusively by ignoring or turning a blind eye to the wrongful act of their officers or of their servants or agents. Nor can the police act collusively by supplying information to assist those committing wrongful acts or by encouraging them to commit wrongful acts."
"Any lesser definition would have the effect of condoning, or even encouraging, state involvement in crimes, thereby shattering all public confidence in important Government agencies."
Lord Stevens says:
"Collusion is... the wilful failure to keep records, the absence of accountability, the withholding of intelligence and evidence, the extreme of agents being involved in murder."
Nuala O'Loan incorporated both of the above definitions into her investigation of acts of collusion carried out by the RUC.
All of the above authors have found evidence of collusion between State agencies in Northern Ireland and paramilitary groups. These agencies included the RUC, British Military, and MI5. Justice for the Forgotten interprets collusion in line with the above definitions.