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Anger at PPS after arrest of notorious West Belfast criminal

11 October, 2009

Speaking after the arrest yesterday, in a stolen vehicle, of a person who was released last month after being convicted for his role in the murder of respected West Belfast man Harry Holland, West Belfast Sinn Fein MLA Paul Maskey said:

''The release of this person in September deeply angered the West Belfast community and highlighted once again the shameful manner in which the Public Prosecution Service dealt with those responsible for the murder of Harry Holland.

''At the time, along with the Holland family and the community, Sinn Fein expressed its outrage at the deal done to reduce the charges in the case of this person and the girl and the leniency of the subsequent sentences.

''In the case of Harry Holland's murder, it was clear that the PSNI made a considerable effort to build a strong case.

''Unfortunately, the PPS and the judiciary acted in a shameful manner and now we hear that one of those involved in Harry's murder has been arrested by the PSNI Auto Crime Team and charged with a very serious crime.

''Many families in West Belfast have lost loved ones at the hands of death drivers.

''How must all those families and the Holland family feel today, knowing that the PPS allowed this to happen because of a secret deal?

''Sinn Fein raised this deal with the British Attorney General at the time and we are awaiting a meeting with the British Attorney General about the Harry Holland case.

''Gerry Adams is still awaiting a response from the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alisdair Fraser, in relation to correspondence relating to the conduct of the PPS in the Holland case.

''The PPS needs to change. There needs to be a root and branch examination of how prosecution cases are conducted. We must ensure that we attain a prosecution service which is truly independent, accountable and which has the confidence of all sections of the community.

''The transfer of policing and justice powers represents a unique opportunity to begin this process and to construct a public prosecution service that is representative of and accountable to the community and free from partisan political control.

''The administration of justice must serve the people and be seen to serve the people.''

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