“What one asks of a prosecuting authority is that it acts fairly and competently.”

The BBC reports that the 19 year old man shot in a paramilitary-style attack on Wednesday night was one of the three people convicted in relation to an September 2007 assault in which west Belfast greengrocer, Harry Holland, was killed. Harry Holland was the brother of a former Sinn Féin councillor and when Patrick Crossan was sentenced to four years for attempted affray and having an offensive weapon Gerry Adams declared that he was “deeply dissatisfied with the way this case has been handled by the Public Prosecution Service and with the sentences handed down today”. The Public Prosecution Service asked the Attorney General to consider whether the sentencing was unduly lenient and, “after careful consideration of the papers”, the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, replied

“No prosecuting authority has the luxury of being able to put cases before the courts because that is what the victim, the victim’s family or society generally wants. “That would be easy but would be wrong. The prosecuting authority, whilst it takes into account the views of victims and families affected by crime, is not there simply to represent their interests.

“The prosecutor has to act in the wider interests of justice and that includes taking cognisance of the defendant’s rights – whatever views society may have formed in relation to the defendant and his conduct. “The prosecuting authority has to weigh the evidence objectively and dispassionately and assess, using its own knowledge and experience, whether the test for prosecution is met. “What one asks of a prosecuting authority is that it acts fairly and competently.”

In September Gerry Adams publicly complained when Crossan was released from jail, and the party again complained when he was subsequently arrested in a stolen vehicle. And in November 2009 Baroness Scotland met with Adams and the Holland family. From today’s BBC report

At about 1830 GMT on Wednesday Crossan was bundled into a car in the Hillman Street area of north Belfast. He was driven around for a short time before being taken to Carrigart Avenue in the west of the city where he was shot in both legs. He was taken to hospital where his injuries are described as not life threatening.