The book ‘Martin McGuinness: From Guns To Government’ gives a long list of McGuinness’s convictions.
Following his terror convictions in the Republic in the 1970s, most convictions involved petty penalties of two-figure fines.
The book’s authors – Liam Clarke and Kathryn Johnston – state that “a willingness to keep McGuinness in play” had been developing ever since 1974 (his last very serious conviction).
They say British soldiers had told them “he was under no circumstances to be shot”, and add that “there was no will to deprive him of his liberty, despite his guiding infulence on an IRA campaign that was claiming thousands of lives”.
For example, a message was once intercepted en route to him in the ‘70s, listing the religious backgrounds of police officers and a list of businesses to be bombed – read more about that here.
His criminal record as listed is as follows:
• In Londonderry Petty Sessions on October 27, 1969, he appeared on an accusation of disorderly behaviour. He was bound over for two years (meaning he must refrain from bad behaviour in that period), with a penalty of £50 if he failed to comply.
This is a civil, not criminal, sanction. At this stage he would have been 19.
• He was convicted of IRA membership on January 29, 1973 in Dublin Criminal Court and spent six months in jail.
• At Dublin’s Central Criminal Court on February 27, 1974 he was imprisoned for 12 months, and got a three-month jail term for withholding information about acts of terror.
• In Londonderry Magistrates’ Court on March 21, 1985, he was charged with assaulting police the previous October, and fined £25. He was also fined a combined total of £65 for two counts of obstructing police. According to the currency calculator www.thisismonth.co.uk, this combined fine of £90 would be equivalent to £266 today.
• In the same court on April 18, 1985, he was fined £20 for a different assault on police, which had also taken place the previous July.
• In the same court on January 19,1986, he was fined £20 for causing an obstruction with a vehicle the previous July.
• In the same court on April 7, 1986, he was fined £75 for assaulting police the previous April.
• In the same court on July 24, 1986, he was fined a combined total of £80 for obstructing police and causing an obstruction with a vehicle – both offences dating back to the previous August.
• In the same court on June 18, 1987, he was fined £50 for careless driving the previous December.
• In the same court on December 10, 1987, he was fined £60 for causing an obstruction with a vehicle the previous November. He was also jailed for 28 days for obstructing police.
• In Belfast Magistrates’ Court on January 25, 1988, he was fined £140 for taking part in an unlawful public procession the previous April. This was appealed on March 8, 1988, and he was given a two year conditional discharge.
• At Londonderry Magistrates’ Court on February 15, 1988, he was convicted of taking part in an unlawful public procession the previous April. He was given a conditional discharge for two years.
• In a court in Londonderry on February 23, 1988 (it is unclear which one), he was fined £100 for obstructing police.
• In Newry and Mourne Magistrates’ Court on March 8, 1988, he was convicted of assaulting police the previous May. He was fined £20.
• In Londonderry Magistrates’ Court on March 23, 1988, he was convicted of taking part in an unlawful public procession the previous June, and given a one-year- conditional discharge.
• In the same court on March 29, 1988, he was convicted of assaulting police the previous June, and fined £25. He was also convicted of obstructing police, and fined £175.
• In the same court on July 25, 1988, he was fined £100 for causing an obstruction with a vehicle in April that year.
• In Limavady Magistrates’ Court on August 2, 1988, he was convicted of driving with excess speed on May 16, 1988. He was fined £45.