Belfast Telegraph

Assembly may get PPS scrutiny power

The prosecution service could be held to account by the Northern Ireland Assembly under plans being considered by the Executive.

Proposals will go out for consultation in the new year which could see MLAs able to scrutinise the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

The office is independent from the legislature but Justice Minister David Ford wants to review arrangements while respecting the body's autonomy.

"The Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and I have agreed to consult on options for accountability arrangements. The Department of Justice would lead on this question," he told the Assembly.

The mother of murdered schoolboy Thomas Devlin has condemned the Public Prosecution Service's handling of the investigation into her son's death.

Penny Holloway said her grief had been compounded by the "spectacular, public and abysmally abject failure of the PPS to properly carry out its function".

Two men were convicted of Thomas's murder in August 2005. He had been stabbed at least nine times in north Belfast.

At one point, Ms Holloway became so frustrated with the PPS's lack of progress in her son's case that she made a formal request for an independent English QC to assess whether he felt that the case could proceed.

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