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Root and branch Reform of PPS needed – Adams

25 February, 2010 - by Pat Sheehan

Sinn Féin President and west Belfast MP Gerry Adams has called for “a root and branch reform of the Public Prosecution System and for greater transparency within the PPS and judicial system”.

Mr. Adams said:

“The inadequate response by the PPS to the murder of Thomas Devlin is the latest example of how badly the Public Prosecution Service is dealing with serious cases.

There would not have been a prosecution in this case if it had not been for the diligence and determination of Thomas Devlin’s parents.

The PPS also grievously mishandled the Harry Holland case and in particular the way in which murder charges against two of those involved were reduced.

The Good Friday Agreement envisaged a wide-ranging review of the criminal justice system which led to the Criminal Justice Review published in March 2000.

Sinn Féin has sought through negotiations on policing and justice, including amending justice legislation and the transfer of powers, to create a situation where the PPS is accountable for the decisions it makes. An important element in this accountability framework is the role and the powers of a local Attorney General.

The report of the Criminal Justice Inspectorate in August 2007 on the PPS identified 40 weaknesses requiring action. Last year a further report was issued reiterating deficiencies in the PPS.

There needs to be a root and branch reform of the PPS.

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. Sinn Fein is committed to the achieving these ends.” CRÍOCH

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