Prosecution Service in the dock…

NEWTON Emerson asks what a lot of people have been thinking lately – is the Public Prosecution Service fit for purpose? Any lay observer of the recent failed prosecution of Chris Ward in the Northern Bank case, or Sean hoey in the Omagh bomb case could have predicted the result very easily, with minimal knowledge of the law. Both cases were doomed to failure because of the lack of evidence, leading one to question why the cases were brought to court. I tend to favour cock-up (the PPS wanting to be seen to be doing something to deal with the biggest successful cash heist in British history and the largest single loss of life in the Troubles) over conspiracy (‘pro-process’ political influence, or believing that the days of a sympathetic judge prepared to pull a fast one are still here), but however you perceive it, whether unionist, nationalist or other, it is very hard to have much confidence in the courts when it comes to the big cases, the McCartney murder being another. Emerson concludes that the “kindest explanation is that the PPS is suffering from the malaise which inevitably afflicts every unaccountable public-sector body” but laments that nothing is likely to change with the devolution of policing and justice.

  • I think the problem is not so much with the PPS as such, but with it and the police’s recent tendency to charge people in high profile cases to make it look like SOMETHING IS BEING DONE. That seems to me to be the problem, especially with the Mc Cartney case as well as these two.

  • Horatio and the team have a lot to answer for…

    it’s just getting too easy to be a criminal..

  • josey

    if, as you say, anyone with a minimal knowledge of the law could see that the three cases you mention would have no success then presumably the PPS was also able to see that, given that their office is stuffed with capable lawyers! – and if the PPS could see that but was concerned, as you put it, to be seen doing something about these notorious crimes then this surely was an argument against proceeding!
    far from the PPS emerging as a diligent and able prosecutor, taking on three cases that had no chance of success could only, as has happened, raise question marks about the PPS’s motives/competency.
    You dismiss the possiblity of a political motive ie burying cases that were an embarrassment to the SF leadership but give no reason for this other than the presumed argument that ‘responsible’ observers never indulge in conspiracy theories. history however shows that conspiracies do happen and have at times influenced events. this peace process has been full of examples of conspiracies happening and succeeding, not least gerry adams’ manoeuvring of the IRA into this course.
    your argument that this was a cock up would have merit if the PPS had screwed up just once, or even twice. but three times in a row is, i suggest, something beyond coincidence or cock up!

  • Dec

    The other side of the coin is the PPS’ tendency not to bring the expected charges in certain cases despite the evidence, the Gerard Devlin murder being a prime example. Personally, I tend to favour conspiracy.

  • Mick Fealty


    I would really love to meet you and chat sometime, but you don’t seem to understand the UK legal code. I would hate for it to be in the ante chamber of Belfast High Court.

  • I would too, especially in the Belfast High Court as I have said these things about Hayward, ‘Steak knife’, the FRU, the murder of Francisco Notranatonio, etc., ad nauseam for years, going back to the series I wrote about the whole matter about five years ago on but without any threatened court cases, only the occassional threats and appropriate maps necessary to kill me.

    And all my 113 articles about this and various, similar matters on have not resulted in any court challenges – what I relish to finally getting a hearing about.

    You are just copping out on the whole matter.

    As for a chat, I have already seen more than enough about you to want one.

  • Yvette Doll

    The ACPO have issued guidance saying that if you are gay you can rob banks so long as you are naked at the time.

    They simply haven’t thought it through

    What is to stop a heterosexual, getting naked, and walking into a bank, and bondage effecting up the odd security guard?

    Do the IRA do that bondage stuff? I’m not one to say, I’m a conservative kind of girl.

    I think the appalling sense of dress, was like a smokescreen, I think the boyos might have been up for a bit of the old tory party caper.

    They’re rich, bored, and lets be honest, many of their early videos didn’t have enough sex.

    Yvette Doll

  • congal claen

    The judge fekked the Omagh case by throwing out the low copy dna evidence. This technique has since been proven to be sound and is being used for prosecutions.

  • ciaran

    low copy dna has not really been proven to be sound. It is still questionable. Also in the omagh case it was not just how valide low copy dna is but how it was collected and stored.