What's in a name…

NO-ONE seems to know who is responsible for parades, and the Parades Commission and the police appear to have received conflicting legal advice. I rather suspect that, legally, the Pardes Commission has been suckered on this one…

The Tele report:

The Government has since said there is confusion over the laws and that its legal advice has suggested forms may be legally completed even if the names of individuals were not submitted.

However, at a public meeting of the east Belfast District Policing Partnership this week, UUP MLA Michael Copeland asked Chief Superintendent Henry Irvine if the PSNI and Parades Commission received opposing legal advice on the forms.

Mr Irvine said there were two sets of legal advice. He said the view taken by the Parades Commission was that the completion of the 11/1 forms with multiple names was not acceptable.

He said he had taken guidance from the PSNI legal adviser and that because there was a difference in the two sets of advice, the matter should go to the PPS.

He said: “There were different pieces of legal advice, but they were only advice. They do not become guidance until the courts adjudicate.”

But Mr Copeland countered: “I find it hard to accept that the PSNI ignored their own legal advice, the consequences of that are frightful.

“I find myself in the middle of an experiment between two wings of Government who had different views on how a piece of paper should be filled in.”

  • crat

    When did it become the PSNI’s job to dispute the directons of the Parades Commission?

    Do these guys understand they have to take direction?

    Too used to ploughing their own furrow it seems!

    Do what you are meant to and paid for PSNI. Leave the legal challenges for others.

    When did the the PSNI get a remit to challenge the law? They are meant to enforce not investigate judicial challenges for the Orange Order.

    How much did this Orange Order protectorate research cost the PSNI legal department?

  • fair_deal


    “When did it become the PSNI’s job to dispute the directons of the Parades Commission?”

    1. The legal advice of the Parades Commission has been shown to be wrong before and that they have acted in excess of their legal powers i.e. the Ardoyne 2004 determination that was successfully challenged on human rights law by a Protestant resident.
    2. The PC is not an omnipotent body and the PSNI its plaything. Also it relies on the PSNI to formally investigate their complaints of what it considers breaches of its determinations. The PSNI cannot treat the word of the PC as holy writ. It must investigate in full before submitting the evidence to the DPP. So the PSNI has not overstepped its mark simply doing its legally defined role. If something goes wrong it is the PSNI not the PC that could be sued for harrassment, false arrest and malicious prosecution.
    3. The PSNI did not conduct any legal research for the OO. Before the OO in east Belfast began this process they sought their own legal advice. In the course of the investigation the OO informed the police that the legal advice the Institution had received was that the PC’s view was legally flawed. The PSNI did not take the OO at its word but sought its own legal advice which corrorborated the legal opinion the OO had received.
    4. The PSNI could have then dropped the case instead they forwarded it to the DPP.