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Northern Ireland's chief prosecutor Barra McGrory clashes with MLAs

By adrian rutherford

Published 12/06/2015

Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory
Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory

Northern Ireland's chief prosecutor has angrily rejected claims that public confidence in his organisation is at an all-time low.

Barra McGrory clashed with politicians during a heated meeting of the Assembly's justice committee yesterday.

The Director of Public Prosecutions was forced to defend his leadership amid a barrage of criticism over several high-profile cases. At one point DUP MLA Sammy Douglas questioned public confidence in the PPS.

It prompted Mr McGrory to remark: "To say that there isn't public confidence in the Public Prosecution Service is a sweeping and inaccurate statement."

Party colleague Edwin Poots said there had not been "such a poor service" from the PPS in decades. That drew an angry response from the senior lawyer, who hit back: "I am the Director of Public Prosecutions.

"I have come here to assist this committee, not to sit here and to have to listen to speeches which can be made on the floor of the Assembly or to the gentlemen and gentlewomen of the Press." During the 140-minute hearing it emerged no one had been disciplined over failings in how the PPS dealt with alleged IRA rape victims.

Sir Keir Starmer was asked to investigate three cases linked to the alleged rape of Mairia Cahill. His review concluded the PPS had taken too long to reach decisions and described the delays as "unacceptable".

Mr McGrory said he did not think the report "raised issues of indiscipline".

Asked if sanctions or disciplinary action had been brought after the report, Mr McGrory replied: "Not so far."

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